With 23 out of 50 states having a shoreline on an ocean and another seven offering access to the Great Lakes, you have lots of choices when it comes to booking a beach vacation in the United States. With everything from gorgeous tropical beaches in Hawaii, sun-kissed beaches of California, whale watching Los Angeles, and the windswept shores of Maine, you’re sure to find something for you.
In this post, we’ll look at how to plan a budget-friendly beach adventure in the United States. With the money you save, you can stay an extra night or treat yourself to a really nice meal or a night out during your trip.
Have a staycation (if you can)
A beach holiday in the United States doesn’t have to mean heading to Hawaii or Miami… unless you live there of course. If you can take advantage of having a staycation, then do so! It hugely cuts your costs on travel, to begin with. It also means you don’t have to worry about several of the trappings of a cross-state vacation – getting to the airport, long LONG journeys (unless you live in California or Texas), and if you’re going abroad – sorting passports and travel insurance. Those are all big expenses! Staycations aren’t just kind on your pocket either. If you’re supporting the places nearest to you, you’ll be giving your local economy a boost too. And, if you’re short on time or money you can just take a day or two – it’ll be enough to disconnect from the stresses of everyday life.
Head off the beaten track
Location is a really important thing to consider when choosing your beach vacation. Waikiki Beach in Hawaii, the fairground at Santa Monica Beach, and Miami’s nightlife are all high up on travelers’ bucket lists. However, everyone knows about them and this means accommodation, places to eat, and things to do in those areas all come with a premium attached to them. Instead, look a little off the beaten track. With some careful research, it’s not hard to find a perfect beach where you can relax, spend time with your family and friends, and even do water sports. Also, who wants to be around thousands of tourists every day?!
Avoid peak times
It’s not just important to think about where to go, but when to go. While you might be planning your labor day or Christmas break away, so is everyone else in the country. With demand so high around Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, and other national holidays, accommodation prices go right up. A good time to visit the beach, especially in more southern states, is in April, May, or September. The waters will still be warm, the weather is generally good, but you’re less likely to have lots of families as the school’s not out quite yet!
If you absolutely must go away during a national vacation or busy time, be sure to get your plans in order months – if not years in advance!
Plan your activities in advance
If you’re planning on doing more than chilling out and swimming at the beach, you might want to get those penciled in early on. For example, you may want to take up a new sport like stand up paddleboarding. Should this be on your itinerary, make sure to shop around at local rental shops and surf schools, where you’ll not only be able to find the best price for lessons but equipment too. If you have your own stand-up paddleboard and essential equipment, then you can buy your own!
Get your accommodation booked ASAP
Accommodation is one of the biggest costs when traveling anywhere. When choosing where to stay near the beach, be sure to think carefully about which accommodation best suits you. For solo travelers, a dorm in a hostel is usually a great way to keep your costs down. For couples, private rooms in Airbnbs or hostels can often shave a big chunk off the price you might pay in a hotel. And for big groups? Take a look at a vacation rental. Rather than booking out multiple rooms in a hotel, you can have your very own home away from home. One of the big positives of a vacation rental is that you get more than just a bedroom and bathroom. There’s space to cook your own food and other cool activities like pools and large living areas. Not only are they perfect for family celebrations, they mean you can save money on going out!
Travel in a group
We’ve already touched on it, but traveling in a group is a great way to keep your costs down. It’s not just helpful when it comes to accommodation, but other stuff too. Instead of shelling out on an expensive train fare, rent a car and split the costs between all travelers and gas too. And when it comes to eating, you can always get sharing platters in a restaurant, or if you have decided on a vacation rental, cook up a big meal in the kitchen!