The 10 Best Cheap Beach Vacations in the US

by Brendan
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landscape photography of trees on shoreline

We all dream of a beach vacation, but ideally without the expensive price tag. Luckily, you can plan the best cheap beach vacations in the US at popular destinations—and a few hidden gems—that will likely surprise you! So, scroll no further because you’re about to discover excellent budget-friendly beach cities around the US.

1. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

With more than 19 million visitors every year, Myrtle Beach is one of the top places to visit for a cheap beach vacation in the US. Its 60 miles of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean centers around the Golden Strand, named for the sands glistening on hot summer days.

 

 

There are plenty of hotels and rentals to fit everyone’s budget, and you’ll likely be steps away from enjoying beach activities every day of your vacation. Delight yourself with swimming, jet skiing, parasailing, kayaking, etc. During the peak summer beach season, you’ll frequently find events and festivals happening right on the shores.

2. Daytona Beach, Florida

Most people recognize Daytona Beach as home to the famous NASCAR Daytona International Speedway. However, it’s the sandy shores that will truly have you racing to book a vacation to Florida. Thanks to the Florida sunshine and beautiful weather year-round, visitors arrive for summer vacation travels, winter escapes, and every season in between.

 

 

Colorful umbrellas line the 23 miles of Atlantic Ocean shoreline as you walk across the seashell-filled sands to find an ideal place to sunbathe. Go for a swim in the refreshing waters to cool off or explore the lively marine life below the surface with snorkeling and scuba diving. All of these factors make Daytona Beach a top cheap beach vacation in the US.

3. Cannon Beach, Oregon

You’ve likely already seen photos of the iconic Haystack Rock while scrolling through your TikTok for you page. Now, you can snap your own viral photo and more at its location on Oregon’s Cannon Beach. This cheap beach destination in the US showcases the beauty of the Northwest coast, full of stunning natural landmarks and wildlife.

 

 

Arrive at Cannon Beach while driving along the famous Pacific Coast Highway to save even more during your transit. You’ll arrive at an artsy beach town that hosts its annual Earth and Ocean Art Festival and other events on the coast. It costs nothing to explore the tide pools during low tide or enjoy with friends around a warming bonfire in the evening.

4. South Padre Island, Texas

Did you know that South Padres Island is one of the world’s largest barrier islands? But, if you’re patient enough to wait till after the busy Spring Break crowds fade away, this 34-mile-long island coastline becomes a place for families looking to enjoy a cheap beach destination.

 

 

Drive across the Queen Isabella Causeway to arrive on the island where every day is a beach day to lounge around on the white sand Gulf shores. Whether sunbathing or windsurfing, you’ll soak up plenty of sun. There’s also the 50-ft tall Port Isabel Lighthouse, which has a small price to pay for priceless views sweeping over the island. South Padre Island isn’t just one of the cheapest destinations in Texas, but also one of the best cheap beaches to visit in the US.

5. Mission Bay, California

San Diego is far from being short on stunning beaches to visit. However, if you’re looking for a cheap option, set your GPS to Mission Bay. The beauty of the beach makes it hard to believe that it’s an artificial beach!

 

The cool, refreshing waters of the bay wash away the footsteps before you that have trotted through this picturesque beach landscape. Its designation as Mission Bay Park keeps the land and waters in pristine condition for visitors looking to enjoy swimming, stand-up paddle boarding, or even friendly games of volleyball on the beach. All of these factors make Mission Bay a great beach destination for adventure seekers.

5. Gulf Shores, Alabama

The white sand shores of Alabama’s Gulf Shores extend for 32 miles. So even during the peak travel season for this cheap beach resort destination, there’s still a place to fit you in to enjoy your day at the beach.

 

 

Avoid the casinos if you’re looking to save a bit of money and go directly to the sandy shoreline to marvel at the vibrant turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico. In addition to swimming and kayaking, you can enjoy a walk along the wharf to chat with local fishers or take in the 360-degree views atop the Ferris Wheel. The Gulf shores has something for everyone that’s looking for some beach fun!

7. Virginia Beach, Virginia

Street performers set the lively atmosphere as you stroll the 3-mile long paved boardwalk at Virginia Beach before sinking your feet into the warm coastal sands. There’s never been a better cheap beach vacation in the US than Virginia Beach.

 

 

If you’re lucky, you’ll arrive for one of the annual art or food festivals held at the beach. Of course, the vast Atlantic Ocean is always welcoming for those going for a dip in the water. However, even lounging on the beach gives views of the extensive pier and photos in front of the King Neptune statue before you depart. 

8. Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Known for its clean water, lively boardwalk, and free live entertainment, Rehoboth Beach has turned Delaware into travelers’ favorite cheap beach destination in the US. Be sure to stop by the Rehoboth Beach visitor center for info on all the upcoming free things to do at the beach.

 

During the day, spend time swimming or sunbathing on the tan-colored sands. Then, go for a walk on the boardwalk for snacks before attending one of the free shows at the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand.

9. Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida

Skip the glitz and glamor of Miami’s beaches and head 40 minutes north to Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, where you’ll get many of the same beach perks without the expensive price tag. Palm trees line the 2.5-mile-long beach with warm golden sands full of sunbathing couples and kids building sandcastles. 

 

The Atlantic Ocean will beckon you to go swimming, snorkeling, and other water activities. Grab a couple of scoops from Sloan’s Ice Cream before walking the 900-ft boardwalk for an amazing view looking out to the endless horizon. If you are looking for a fun and cheap spring break destination, Fort Lauderdale is a great option.

10. Ventura, California

Whether enjoying views of the coast while strolling along the promenade or immersing yourself in the beach environment on California’s Central Coast shores, Ventura is one of the best cheap beach vacations in the US. This public beach is free and open to the public with tons of cool things to do.

 

Rent bikes and go for a ride on the paved biking paths or take a walk down the pier for excellent backdrop scenery to your next viral TikTok. Also, don’t forget to explore the shops and eateries in Ventura Harbor Village for some shopping!

Conclusion

You’re never far from a cheap beach vacation in the USA, thanks to all the options across the country. From coast to coast, you can find the perfect place for enjoying the water, beautiful scenery, and more. Be sure to follow us on TikTok: @affordabletraveltips for even more content about how you can enjoy cheap travel! 

 

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