15 Affordable Beach Destinations in the USA + Where to Stay (2023)
Finding a cheap beach destination in the US is a great way to relax and recharge without spending a ton of money on travel. Spanning many geographical locations and climates, the United States has so many incredible beaches to explore that are not only world-class but great for every style and budget.
With these budget-friendly beach destinations, you can enjoy sun-kissed sandy beaches and have none of the money stress. Here are 15 affordable beach destinations in the USA!
15 Affordable Beach Destinations in the USA
San Juan, Puerto Rico
The capital of US territory Puerto Rico is perfect if you’re craving a Caribbean vacation – it’s home to beautiful beaches and US citizens don’t need a passport to visit. Plus, San Juan is a hotbed of culture, history, and food if you’re looking for a beach vacation with a ton of activities and experiences.
The beaches here hold a little something for everyone, with Atlantic Beach being popular with the LGBTQIA+ community, Condado beach perfect for people watching, and Isla Verde Beach a favorite among watersports lovers.
Where to Stay in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Tropica Beach Hotel is a highly-rated budget option just steps from Ocean Park Beach, and the San Juan Marriott s a 4-star hotel right by Condado Lagoon.
Read more: Where to Stay in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Gulf Shores, Alabama
When you think of Alabama, do you think of gorgeous beaches with a ton of fun coastal activities? Well, you should! Alabama, especially the city of Gulf Shores, is a great budget-friendly beach destination that offers a ton of activities and serene sand to relax on.
Here, you’ll find turtle sanctuaries (check out Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge), adventure activities such as scuba diving and ziplining, dolphin watching experiences, and gorgeous white sand beaches that stretch on for miles. Some of the best beaches in the area include Gulf Shores Main Public Beach, Orange Beach Waterfront Park, and West Beach.
Where to Stay in Gulf Shores, Alabama
The Lodge at Gulf State Park is a highly-rated property located right on the beach.
Often skipped over for more obvious Floridian beach destinations, Pensacola is a gem that is both gorgeous and easy on the wallet. Located on the westernmost tip of the Florida Panhandle, temperatures here stay pretty warm all year round and the white sand beaches are stunning against the clear water.
Given its proximity to Alabama and Mississippi, this spot is popular among coastal southerners, and you won’t regret getting in on some of the action. Some of the best beaches to check out in Pensacola include Casino Beach (also known as Pensacola), Opal Beach, and Perdido Beach.
Where to Stay in Pensacola, Florida
SpringHill Suites is a great mid-range option just a couple of miles from Pensacola Beach.
Read more: 6 Must-Dive Sites in Pensacola, Florida
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Virginia Beach is not a secret destination, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a wonderful, budget-friendly place for the next time you want to chase sun and sand! Located on Virginia’s southern coast (right on the border with North Carolina), Virginia Beach’s beach culture is in full swing from May through September.
Some of the best beaches in the area include Sandbridge Beach (there are plenty of activities including great surf), Chesapeake Bay Beach (there are great lighthouses nearby), and Little Island Park.
Where to Stay in Virginia Beach, Virginia
Coastal Hotel & Suites or Four Sails Resort are both perfect if you want to stay right on the oceanfront.
Almost all of the southern California coast is known for its gorgeous, wide, sandy beaches, but if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, then look no further than Carlsbad. Located near San Diego, Carlsbad is known for Tamarack Beach, South Ponto Beach, and South Carlsbad State Beach.
Looking to get off the beach for a day? Other great things to do in this coastal town include the Legoland California theme park, the seasonal Flower Fields, and Leo Carillo Ranch Historic Park.
Where to Stay in Carlsbad, California
Tamarack Beach Hotel is a popular mid-range place to stay in Carlsbad, whereas the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa is great if you want a more upscale option.
Of course Hawaii is known for its beaches, but when considering budget-friendly beach destinations in the US, it tends to get overlooked (understandably so). That said, not every place in Hawaii is the same level of expensive, and so if you’re looking to visit on a budget, then I have to recommend Oahu.
One of the oldest developed islands in Hawaii, Oahu is home to over 20 maintained beaches. There are spots for surf fanatics, snorkelers, and families alike. Some of the best beaches are Lanikai Beach, Kailua Beach Park, and Sunset Beach.
Where to Stay in Oahu, Hawaii
Oahu can be expensive, but the Aqua Oasis and Pagoda Hotel are both awesome mid-range options.
Read more: The Best Time to Visit Hawaii (Weather, Cheapest Time To Go & More)
Tybee Island, Georgia
Tybee Island is a favorite beach destination among Georgian locals, but have you considered it for your upcoming US beach destination? Located an easy 20-minutes from Savannah, Tybee Island is miles of gorgeous white sand beaches, palm trees, and tranquil waters.
The three miles of beach here is perfect for relaxing, but while you’re here it’s also worth checking out some of the activities that make Tybee Island unique. In particular, you’ll want to check out the Tybee Island Lighthouse (the oldest of its kind in Georgia), browse the shops, walk the Tybee Island Pier, go dolphin watching, and hunt for megalodon fossils in the sand.
Where to Stay in Tybee Island, Georgia
Admiral’s Inn and Hotel Tybee are both affordable, yet highly-rated, options close to the beach.
South Padre Island, Texas
Located on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico in the southeasternmost point in Texas, South Padre Island is a beachy gem. The island is only a half-mile wide, so you’ll be able to see the beach from almost every vantage point.
Besides relaxing on the sandy shores, some of the most popular things to do in South Padre Island include visiting the sea turtle conservation area, going bird watching, checking out the amusement parks, and hopping on a sailing tour.
Where to Stay in South Padre Island, Texas
La Copa Inn Beach Hotel and The Inn at South Padre are both affordable options on South Padre Island.
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
For those in the know, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina is a staple US beach destination. It has more than 12 miles of pristine beaches, features all kinds of watersports, and the locals are famously welcoming. There has been an influx of development and resorts in the area over the past few years, but you can absolutely still plan a beach vacation to Hilton Head on a budget.
Some of the most popular beaches here (not to mention some of the top-rated in the country), include Coligny Beach, Folly Field Beach, and Driessen Beach. That said, most of the beaches here are connected so, when it’s low tide, hop on a bike and go exploring as many as you can.
Where to Stay in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Because of the recent developments, Hilton Head Island can be pricey, but Palmera Inn and Suites is one of the more affordable locations.
Cannon Beach, Oregon
For a more northerly US budget beach destination, Cannon Beach, Oregon delivers in spades. It’s easily one of the most scenic beach destinations in the US (it has multiple times been voted the best beach in Oregon) and, if you visit during the right time of year, can be easy on the wallet too.
The town of Cannon Beach itself is a small municipality by the sea and is home to one of the state’s most famous sites – Haystack Rock (a gorgeous volcanic rock that towers out of the sea and makes the shoreline wonderfully dramatic.) Of course, this part of Oregon also features waterfalls, plenty of marine life adventures, and great artsy shops and galleries.
Where to Stay in Cannon Beach, Oregon
The Waves and Tolovana Inn are two great, mid-range, beachside hotels in Cannon Beach.
Ocean City, Maryland
With a continuous 10-mile beach featuring silky soft sand, Ocean City, Maryland is a great budget beach destination in the northeast USA.
Though all beaches here are worth a wander, they’re not all made equal. Downtown Ocean City has the busiest beaches due to the boardwalk and proximity to shops, North Ocean City is known for being more serene, and nearby Assateague Island is perfect if you want a nature escape.
Where to Stay in Ocean City, Maryland
Atlantic Oceanfront Inn and Bonita Beach Hotel are both great mid-range accommodation options in Ocean City.
Cape May, New Jersey
Did you know that Cape May, New Jersey is America’s first oceanside resort town? It’s true – and the city has over 600 Victorian-era structures to prove it. The whole town of Cape May is charming and full of history (taking a tour is highly recommended), but there are also miles of sand where you can jump in the Atlantic Ocean and soak up some sun.
Some of the best beaches in Cape May County, New Jersey include Wildwood Beach, Sunset Beach, and Poverty Beach.
Where to Stay in Cape May, New Jersey
The Southwinds and Avondale by the Sea are two great affordable hotels super close to the beach.
Osage Beach, Missouri
For a great budget US beach destination that’s a little less ocean and a little more lake, check out Osage Beach in Missouri. Located in the center of the state (near the Ozark Region), Osage Beach is home to fantastic boating, golfing, and entertainment experiences.
This region is also known for its resorts and is practically a beacon for families looking to have a great beach experience every summer.
Where to Stay in Osage Beach, Missouri
Osage Village Inn and WorldMark Lake of the Ozarks are two highly-rated accommodation options in Osage Beach.
Ormond Beach, Florida
Located on Florida’s Atlantic Coast, Ormond Beach is the budget-friendly northern neighbor to heavily-touristed Daytona Beach. The beach here is world-class, and way less crowded than Daytona, but don’t skip the other natural wonders nearby.
Ormond Beach is also famously home to Tomoka State Park – a nature-filled wonderland with great campgrounds and boating opportunities. There are great hiking trails here, and fishing and kayaking are also popular.
Where to Stay in Ormond Beach, Florida
Oceanfront Inn & Suites and The Cove On Ormond Beach are two popular, affordable, options.
Ocean Shores, Washington
Located in Gray’s Harbor County, Ocean Shores Washington is a famously long, sandy beach not far from sand dunes and gorgeous lakes. Some of the best beaches near Ocean Shores include those at Ocean City State Park, North Jetty, and Pacific Beach.
Ocean Shores is also a hotspot for culture. There is a wealth of natural and man-made history museums in the area, and you’ll also find tons of festivals, culinary experiences, and art on offer.
Where to Stay in Ocean Shores, Washington
BayVue Hotel and Wanderlust Inn are two great mid-range properties in Ocean Shores.
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