Almost everyone loves going to the beach for vacation, but no one loves paying the higher price tags for that time in the sun and the sand. If you are one of those people who want to plan your next vacation at the beach, I want you to know that there are plenty of cheap beach destinations that you can choose from for your next family vacation.
No, they won’t have the esteemed people that you would see up at the Cape in the middle of August, but they will have you relaxing with your family and having fun without blowing your budget!
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Affordable Beach Destinations in the USA for Families
Gulf Shores, Alabama
There are more than thirty miles of sandy beaches along the Gulf of Mexico within Gulf Shores, Alabama. These beaches are wide and filled with soft white sand that will feel fabulous between your toes. Your family will love the warm water during the summer months and when you are all tired out from the beach, there are plenty of other options of things to do nearby. You can choose from the water park, golf courses, and the ever-popular Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo.
Chincoteague Island, Virginia
This might not be the best option if you have small kids, but older kids will love everything that is available on this island. Plus, you will love that electronics cannot be easily used all day long! Your entire crew can spend the day riding bikes along the paths, kayaking out on the water, and fishing at the numerous tucked away fishing holes. The best part about this destination though is the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, which is where the wild ponies spend their time.
Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
This family-friendly beach can be found down near the border where North Carolina meets South Carolina, which may be why so many people forget about this area. There are plenty of things to do in the water and this is the perfect option if your family loves to kayak, windsurf, paddleboard, or simply swim. While they are doing all that, you might want to slip away to the pier for a yoga session or two. Wrightsville Beach is only approximately twenty minutes from Wilmington too, so a larger city is never out of your reach.
South Padre Island, Texas
South Padre Island is reasonably priced; however, you may want to stay away from the area during spring break. It is during that time that the area gets extremely crowded, think twenty thousand plus people. During the rest of the year though, you can easily find a reasonably priced place to stay. Once you have checked into your room, the fun can begin immediately, whether you choose to do a little dolphin watching, kiteboarding, or enjoy the water at the local water park or the beach.
Cannon Beach, Oregon
Cannon Beach is a quaint seaside village in the state of Oregon, and it has been considered as one of the most beautiful places in the world. If your family loves art, then this is the beach destination for you! There are multiple galleries to wander through, plus festivals are held there throughout the year. One of the best times to visit is the month of June because that is when the sandcastle contest is held every year.
Most of the beach areas within the state of California can cost you thousands of dollars for vacations. However, when you discover Pismo, you will quickly see that you can stay on the west coast without killing your budget! While you will love sitting on the sand and swimming in the water, I recommend that you also rent a kayak and see the views from a different perspective, out on the water. When you are not on the beach, you can travel out to wine country for a few sips of the good stuff or stop at Hearst Castle, where William Randolph Hearst, a publishing guru, lived for twenty years during the early 1900s.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Relaxation is not going to be on your list of things to do when you take your family to Virginia Beach, because there is too much going on there. Your entire family will not be able to sit on the sand for long before the water calls them in for a little surfing or swimming. At the end of the day, you must stroll along the three-mile boardwalk to watch the sun setting in the sky. If you get tired of the beach, there are nine trails to wander along over at the First Landing State Park.
Folly Beach, South Carolina
Folly Beach can be your family vacation beach of choice at almost any time of the year, because the winters are quite mild. This amazing beach can be found on an island, yet it is still extremely close to downtown Charleston. When your family is not swimming or learning how to surf, you can all do a little dolphin watching, fishing, or learn how to jet ski. Make sure you either grab some fresh seafood for dinner or visit one of the local restaurants near the pier for a reasonably priced meal.
Osage Beach, Missouri
Okay, so Osage Beach is not located on any of the oceans, but it is on a lake that has miles of shoreline. There are two beaches along the shore that are perfect, and designated, for swimming, so you won’t miss out on sand or water during your stay. At the end of a long day on the water inside Ozarks State Park, you might want to take your family to the Ozark Distillery for a little downtime. However, make sure you go back on Saturday when they offer a tour with a free sample of moonshine afterward.
As you can see, there are plenty of family-friendly and affordable beach areas for you to consider for your next family vacation! While some of them are best enjoyed during the warmer months of the year, a few of them would be perfect for those middle of the winter getaway from home trips that we all need every once in a while.
What other beach destinations can you recommend for a budget family vacation?
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Booking a Flight. When finding cheap flights, we try a combination of search engines to ensure we’re not missing out on the best deals. We use SkyScanner, Expedia, Kiwi.com, Kayak, and Google Flights, then compare them to the prices shown on the airlines’ website.
Booking Accommodation. We prefer staying in hotels. Booking.com is our favorite when it comes to finding the cheapest rate. Again, it won’t hurt to check the hotel’s main website. They usually offer discounts for booking directly with them. For last-minute booking, check out HotelTonight. There are also other types of accommodation like Airbnb, hostel (Hostelworld has the largest inventory), and Couchsurfing.
Sightseeing & Tours. We like DIY tours - it gives you freedom and flexibility. You can take advantage of the CityPass and Sightseeing Pass. But we have joined in several tours that maximized our time and made our trip easier. Feel free to check out Intrepid, and Trusted Tours & Attractions for discounted offers.
Author's Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the company in question before planning your trip.
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