Cheapest beach destinations: 15 ideas for a tight budget

By Tetiana PavlichenkoSep 28, 2023 15:03 PMBeaches
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Cheapest beach destinations: 15 ideas for a tight budget
Enjoy the best affordable beaches around the world, from Florida to Malaysia. Source: Image Fonthip Ward/Pixabay

The classic way to spend a warm-weather vacation, perfect for a family trip with kids, a romantic getaway, a fun day out with friends or a solo adventure, is to head to good beaches with a wide variety of activities, beautiful scenery and cool resorts. There are an incredible number of beach destinations in the world, and luckily, even among the coolest ones, there are budget beach destinations. These can be places with modest but good hotels, campgrounds in picturesque regions with access to luxurious sandy shores and clean waves. Learn more in this list of the best cheapest beach destinations around the world, which will confirm that an exciting coastal vacation is accessible to any wallet.

1. Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida

Florida has many popular beachvacation spots like Palm Beach, Miami, but this east coast town between Pompano Beach and Lauderdale, though lesser known, can offer great cheap vacation spots beach locations. The local beach fits the bill of a Florida vacation: white sands, blue waves and plenty of coastal activities. But before going to them, walk along the pavilion to the pier. Interesting cafes, restaurants, bars and ice cream stores line the oceanfront Engin Square, and there's a bar scene at night. There are a variety of budget-friendly lodging options in this city, from small family-run and boutique hotels to larger resorts.

2. Panama City, Panama

Cheapest beach destinations: 15 ideas for a tight budget
These places are ideal for swimming and water activities. Source: Image Justin Hilton/Pixabay

Panama is a very popular destination with a huge number of accommodations and a choice of activities to suit every taste. But it is also possible to plan an affordable vacation here. In the off-season, serious discounts on hotels and plane tickets are available. Excellent locations for affordable beach vacations can be found in Nueva Gorgona, about an hour's drive from Panama City. The beaches here are quiet and calm, with amazing white and black sand and clear water that makes for ideal swimming and surfing conditions. After a day at the beach, it is worth visiting the famous Panama Canal to see the ships passing through the locks and the tourist center of Miraflores nearby. It's also an interesting stroll through Panama City's historic district, full of old churches, restaurants and stores. Here you can also find affordable accommodation options, such as the affordable Magnolia Inn or the stylish Selina Casco Viejo Panama City Hostel.

3. Sayulita, Mexico

Compared to Mexico's most famous resorts of Cancun and Cabo, cheap beach places to travel can be found in the beach town of Sayulita. It is located on the west coast near Puerto Vallarta. The town is particularly popular with surfers, but you can have a great time by the water even if you're not a fan of boarding. These are quieter places for inexpensive beach vacations, so nothing and no one will stop you from enjoying the sun and waves on the beautiful local coasts of La Lancha, Carricitos, Playa de los Muertos or Sayulita Beach. There are many great stores nearby to suit all tastes, from surfing gear and fashion clothing to art galleries. If you're looking for lodging closer to the water, stay at Casablanca Sayulita, the area's only beachfront hotel with great views and nice rates.

4. Islamorada, Florida

This village in the Florida Keys archipelago can offer just as memorable, yet cost effective beach vacations as other popular islands like Key West. In addition to great beaches, you can diversify your stay with interesting attractions. Visit the historic Indian Key State Park. It covers an 11-acre area that displays the remains of a shipwreck that occurred in the 1800s, and there are good places to sunbathe, swim, and hike. Also great scenery, coral reefs and nature trails under mangrove forests can be found at Windley Key Fossil Reef State Geological Park. Luxury accommodation at affordable rates can be found at Cheeca Lodge & Spa with a tiki bar on the beach.

5. Gold Beach, Oregon

Oregon also has plenty of decent beach vacation spots, but popular ones like Cannon Beach are quite expensive. But there is a great (and budget-friendly) alternative. Gold Beach isn't as famous, so there are some wonderful secluded and less crowded beaches. Other options for tourists include tide pools, ocean kayaking, speed boat tours, and fishing on the Rogue River nearby. If you visit the area in March and May, you can watch the gray whale packs as they migrate. There are plenty of accommodation options for cheap vacations at the beach. You can stay in bed and breakfast hotels or rent a lodge on the banks of the Rogue River, such as Tu Tu 'Tu Lodge.

6. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

This beach town offering best value vacations has a great selection of activities for the whole family. Above all, it's popular with miniature golfers, with championship courses and over fifty themed golf courses. No wonder Myrtle Beach is considered the miniature golf capital of the world. But for vacationers who are not particularly reverent about it, there are plenty of interesting places to visit as well. First of all, explore the vibrant downtown, stroll the Hudson Surfside Flea Market and Market Common stores, or rent a sailboat for a tour of La Belle Amie Vineyard. Myrtle Beach's main lure for vacationers is its 114 public cheap beaches to go to for swimming, sunbathing, surfing and shell hunting. There will be no problems with accommodation: there are apartments, cabins and hotels for every budget.

7. Corfu, Greece

Cheapest beach destinations: 15 ideas for a tight budget
The Greek islands have many great beaches and attractions. Source: Image Mark/Pixabay

Beach front vacations in Greek resorts can be noticeably expensive, but along with the most popular places there are cheaper options. The island of Corfu is washed by two seas at once - the Adriatic and the Ionian and is famous for its picturesque pebble and sandy beaches, its connection to myths and interesting historical sites. The local beaches are really great: clean water, developed infrastructure, gentle shore and shallow depths are good for swimming with children. Stroll the winding streets of the Old Town and check out the Archaeological Museum, the historic Achilleion Palace and the 19th-century Casa Parlante mansion-museum. Corfu offers rooms for economical beach vacations even in five-star hotels, such as The Olivar Suites or the family-run Domes of Corfu.

8. Tybee Island, Georgia

A great place for cheap nice beach vacations is 20 minutes from historic downtown Savannah. It has a wonderful three-mile long beach divided into several zones. North Beach has good spots for watching passing ships and birds. At Mid Beach, walk along the shore to find beautiful shells and shark teeth, and at South Beach, play volleyball and watch dolphins. The latter is a busy place, but Back River is a more secluded beach with a pier suitable for fishing and admiring the scenery of the Little Tybee Nature Reserve. There are also free parks, hiking trails and playgrounds nearby at Tybee Island. There are a variety of options for abeach trip on a budget, including excellent campgrounds.

9. Patong, Thailand

Thailand is one of the most popular cheapest beach destinations in the world. For those on a tight budget, it's the perfect place to go. Thailand is the place to go for unbridled fun, and Patong Beach on the lively island of Phuket is a great option. The white sand beach with crystal water is filled with bars, cafes and restaurants. Closer to nightfall, your adventure can continue at the many cabarets on Bangla Road and explore the vibrant nightlife. To take your mind off the beach and water activities, explore the local markets. For example, look for souvenirs at Malin Plaza or try street food: try mango rice and coconut ice cream at Banzaan Market. There are many cheap hotels in the area for super cheap beach vacations in picturesque locations with all the amenities, such as Amari Phuket or Burasari.

10. Palawan Island, Philippines

Hotels, entertainment and dining in the Philippines will not be a problem on a tight budget. What can get expensive for travelers is the flight here, so your first task will be to catch inexpensive tickets. Once you arrive on the island of Palawan, there should be no problem with prices. There are many affordable tropical activities in the Philippines: parasailing, jungle walks, snorkeling in Bacuit Bay or cave tours. But the main attraction for traveling here remains the beautiful coastlines with the most affordable pristine beaches to visit, such as El Nido in the northwest of the island. You should also enjoy a day trip to Honda Bay, from which you can take excursions around the islands. Go here if you've always dreamed of a tropical vacation in a villa on a private island but are on a tight budget, for example, Flower Island Resort has it all.

11. Virginia Beach, Virginia

Charming spots for cheap beach getaways are offered by this seaside town with plenty of creative adventures and delicious food at waterfront restaurants and cafes. It boasts several miles of golden sandy beaches perfect for basking in the sun, swimming and wading along the water. It's a great location to admire the fantastic Fourth of July fireworks display. After your leisure time at the beach, continue the fun by visiting local breweries on the Virginia Beach Beer Trail and enjoy oysters on the patio at Terrapin Restaurant. Family trips include a visit to the local aquarium, the Marine Science Center, and the lighthouse at Henry's Pier. To save money on lodging, look for hotel rooms along the promenade. There are both expensive options and more affordable bed and breakfasts, such as Barclay Cottage around the corner from the beach.

12. Cambria, California

California beaches are one of the most popular destinations in the world for swimming and water adventures. The most famous places, like Los Angeles or San Diego, tend to be expensive, but there are also more affordable beach destinations. Cambria is a classic California-style beach town, most notable for its beaches. In particular, the picturesque Moonstone Beach - brown sands surrounded by hidden coves, rocky cliffs and crashing waves. Take a promenade along the shore to search the tide pools for moonstone or jade. Alternate cheap vacations at the beach with visits to the city's boutiques, the San Simeon Bay Discovery Center and art galleries. It's also worth making time for a trip to Hearst Castle. There are good budget options here with a wide range of amenities, for example, the budget Cambria Pines Cottage provides a spa, lounge and restaurant.

13. South Haven, Michigan

Cheapest beach destinations: 15 ideas for a tight budget
Beach vacations are not only possible on seashores. Source: Image manalshakir/Pixabay

The best beaches to visit on a budget are not only found on the shores of oceans and seas. Michigan has many beautiful lake beaches with wide, flat coastlines. One of the most attractive resort towns of South Haven is located on the western border of the state at the mouth of the Back River and Lake Michigan. People come here for beach vacations and water activities such as boating, water sports, and fishing. There are at least three public beaches and several other places to swim or launch a boat, including the Michigan Maritime Museum, the historic bright red lighthouse at South Pier, and state parks. If you come here in August, you can catch an interesting blueberry festival, including a parade and pie-eating contests. Accommodation for cheap beach trips can be booked at local, atmospheric hotels such as the Yelton Manor Boutique Hotel B&B.

14. San Juan, Puerto Rico

The best cheap beach destinations are also available in the Caribbean. For example, Puerto Rico's capital city of San Juan is home to gorgeous sandy beaches and iconic historical sites. Finding cheap airfare here is usually easy, especially from Florida and East Coast airports. Good places to swim and snorkel are at public beaches like El Escambron with white sand and palm trees. After relaxing by the water, go for a stroll through San Juan's cobblestone streets with colorful buildings housing restaurants and nightclubs. Admire the architecture of this city by visiting the Spanish forts and fortresses at San Juan National Historic Site. Accommodation here is both upmarket and for limited budgets. For the best beach vacations on a budget, consider all-inclusive resorts to combine lodging, dining, and entertainment.

15. Penang, Malaysia

Malaysia's northwest coast offers excellent options that combine best budget friendly beach vacations, natural and historical attractions and exclusive adventures. Penang Island boasts magnificent beaches such as Tanjung Bungah and Batu Ferringi. These spots with blue-green water and golden coastline attract water sports fans and swimmers, and are notable for their exhilarating scenery at sunset. The island's capital, Georgetown, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its colonial architecture and many museums and temples. Many of the museums are free, which is especially nice if you're on a budget. To take your mind off the gorgeous coastline, head into the rainforest for a ride on the world's longest water slide at Escape Penang amusement park. Other must-see attractions include the Tropical Spice Garden, Penang Botanical Gardens and the Kek Lok Si Buddhist Temple. Not far from Batu Ferringi Beach, inexpensive chic rooms can be rented at the beachfront Shangri-La Golden Sands Hotel.

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