If you are looking for a places to travel for a cheap beach vacation in the USA this year, you will love these beautiful USA beaches for an affordable family beach trip.
Tillamook, Oregon Coast
If you’re looking for a unique and economical visit to the Oregon Coast, camping at Cape Lookout State Park may be just what you’re looking for. Located in Tillamook, Oregon, this state park has something for just about everyone. With traditional tent and RV sites, plus cabins and yurts, you have plenty of choices for where to rest your head. On a recent day trip to the park, our kids especially enjoyed playing on the beach and finding bull kelp, while hiking was the highlight for the adults. And, with views that stretch for miles, a hike to the tip of the cape provides an ideal location for whale watching during the migration season. We can’t wait to go back and try our luck!
During a weekend stay, there are plenty of other activities to keep everyone busy. Nearby, in the town of Tillamook, we highly recommend taking the free self-guided tour at Tillamook Cheese Factory. Learn how their famous cheese and ice cream is made, and even taste some of their most popular cheeses! The Aged White Cheddar is my favorite! Then, consider heading up the coast to visit the town of Cannon Beach for the evening, where you’ll find shops and restaurants. By far, though, my favorite part of Cannon Beach is closing out the day with an epic sunset at Haystack Rock.
Submitted by Tiffany from The Stoke Fam
Galveston, Texas is an underrated beach town that is worth a visit if you’re in the area. It offers a vast span of stunning beaches and inlets that stretch over 32 miles. With a large array of cheap and free things to do in the area, it makes for an affordable getaway while providing a break from everyday reality.
Take the free ferry ride going between Galveston and Port Bolivar for front row seats to see the dolphins jumping out of the water and easy access to walking paths along the boardwalk of the Galveston Historic District.
Spend the afternoon exploring on a self-guided tour to discover the 30+ tree sculptures scattered around the city. If you’re into birding, Galveston has over 500 species in the area and is considered one of the top bird-watching areas in the country.
With so many places to stay and eat, you’ll easily be able to find a variety of affordable options. Your vacation will not only be memorable but light on your checking account as well.
Ann from Ann Plans Travel
South Padre Island, Texas
The Texan resort town of South Padre Island is a great budget-friendly beach destination in the USA for so many reasons. The island has excellent beaches, birding and wildlife encounters, foodie destinations, and water sports for adventure lovers. Located at the southern tip of Texas on the Gulf Coast, this barrier island is connected to the mainland by the Queen Isabella Causeway and is an easy 6 hrs drive from Houston.
While spring break at South Padre Island is dominated by the college crowd, the island is a wonderful family beach destination rest of the year. There are many things to do on South Padre Island for kids of all ages. Our favorite place to visit is the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center. The center has everything from rescued alligators, a butterfly garden, birding trails with bird blinds, and a 5 story watchtower with excellent views of the island.
Our kids also love going on a dolphin cruise and watching the playful creatures splash and swim around the boat. Other popular things to do on the island include climbing the Port Isabel Lighthouse, horseback riding on the beach, beachcombing for seashells and driftwood, learning to build sandcastles, and seeing rescued sea turtles at Sea Turtle Inc. We also love dining on fresh seafood, island tacos at food trucks, and fresh produce from the Rio Grande Valley.
By Ketki of Dotted Globe
Cape Cod, MA
Don’t rule Cape Cod, MA out if you are in need of a cheap beach vacation this year. While Cape Cod, Massachusetts can be pricey, there are many ways to experience this special seashore on a budget for a family. One of our family’s favorite places to stay is the Red Jacket Inn. The Red Jacket has several Cape Cod properties, so depending on whether or not you want to be oceanfront, you could score a pretty good deal.
Even if you aren’t ocean front, the beaches are just a short drive. For a beach front property that is reasonably priced, Red Jacket’s Riviera Resort and its Beach Resort are right on the ocean with fantastic wide, white sand beach for relaxing. The resort itself is ideal for families, with pools, a kids club, an on-site restaurant, comfortable rooms, and a full calendar of family-friendly activities.
The Cape Codder in Hyannis is another family-friendly option that often offers good deals, depending on the time of year. With an indoor/outdoor water park, heated pool, family restaurant on site, and an assortment of family activities including nightly fire pit and movies, it is a great family-friendly Cape Cod option. Though it is not beach front, it is a short drive to Barnstable town and the popular beaches there.
You can also camp on the cape! There are several camp sites not far from local beaches, including the family-friendly Sweet Water Camp Ground in Brewster. This site offers a variety of family-friendly in-camp recreation activities and is only a a mile from the beach of Cape Cod Bay. My husband and I have done this, and it is a great way to experience a beach vacation on a budget.
In addition to spending time at the beach and seashell collecting, most beach towns on Cape Cod offer a variety of traditional beach vacation activities. From family friendly dining to mini-golf followed by a traditional soft-serve ice cream, there are plenty of ways to enjoy family time on the shores of Cape Cod. There are also groceries stores available for families to shop, as Cape Cod beaches are perfect for picnic meals and day long visits to the beach. You are also not far from Boston, about an hour and a half drive, if you care to extend your vacation by a day and visit all the city has to offer.
Keri of Bon Voyage with Kids
Related Reading: Is It Cheaper To RV Or Stay In A Hotel?
Morro Beach, CA
The town itself is called Morro Bay and is a quiet seaside village on the central California coast offering a range of cheap accommodation options and plenty of free outdoor activities for the family making it a perfect cheap beach vacation for your family.
Morro Rock is an instantly recognizable landmark that sits on the headlands between the bay and the beach and gives this town part of its character.
Searching for marine life along the coast is a fun day out. You will find a big colony of sea otters along the Morro Rock walkway. Sea lions are also very common in the bay area and you will see them popping their head up from time to time as they swim along.
At the right time of year there are whales just off the coast. For a closer encounter you always have the option of jumping on one of the cruises to head off the coast.
If you want to stay on shore then you can continue your walk all the way around Morro Rock where you will be greeted with scattered rock formations that are lots of fun to climb.
But be careful, the sea will cut you off before you can continue your journey around to the beach area. If not, this is a great spot for fishing and a picnic.
There is an RV park right on the beach, which provides some amazing views and easy access to the sand.
Being on the west coast you get some spectacular sunsets behind this uniquely shaped horizon.
Closer to the main town there is a pleasant harbor area with a waterfront promenade with restaurants, wharfs, and a stunning view back towards Morro Rock.
Avila Beach, CA
Avila Beach on the Central Coast of California is the relaxed cousin of beaches to the north and south. With a sheltered location and calm waters, it is a good place for families with young children to visit. Though the Central Coast is growing in popularity, it’s still relatively undiscovered by tourists and thus, an inexpensive and quieter alternative to Los Angeles.
For active families, there are plenty of water activities to enjoy, like kayaking and surfing. If you want to stay on land, a paved bike trail runs from the beach through different terrain, past the charming Avila Valley Barn, where the kids can feed farm animals and everyone can partake of a freshly made slice of berry pie.
Whales, otters and sea lions swim and play in the waters off Avila Beach, and the shores are a great vantage point from which to observe them.
There’s plenty to explore around Avila Beach—Hearst Castle is definitely worth a visit, with its ornate rooms and beautiful, jewel-like pool. Some Hearst Castle tours are only 1 hour long, a good length for young families before some family members might get restless and start to tantrum.
There are olive farms and wineries with tasting rooms further inland from Avila Beach—and again, these Central Coast producers are more low-key than their counterparts in Napa wine region. In fact, many of the wineries such as Eberle Winery and Tobin James offer free tastings and tours.
A potential one-day itinerary could be a morning spent at Avila Beach chilling by or on the water, followed by a drive to the farms and wineries to sample complimentary tasty foods and wines. An affordable way to enjoy a perfect California day!
Jane Liaw, Owner—Bella Bird Journeys
Fort Myers Beach, FL
One of the best USA beach destination towns is Fort Meyers, Florida. Not only is it sunny 271 days of the year, but it is also affordable and family-friendly.
First things first, the 7 miles of gorgeous white beach coastline are incredible. The kids will love the beach and will especially love hunting for seashells. The beach is also very safe and perfect for a family vacation due to its shallow water and no undertow. And if you want to switch things up, consider visiting neighboring Sanibel and its beaches!
Depending on where you’re coming from, you can either drive to Fort Meyers or find relatively cheap flights into the Southwest Florida International Airport. There are also lots of affordable accommodation options, from hotels and vacation rentals that you can choose from based on your budget.
Since the beach is the main attraction of Fort Meyers, you don’t spend money on much else, making it a super affordable and cheap beach vacation. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Hannah & Adam from Getting Stamped
Myrtle Beach, SC
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is the perfect cheap beach vacation for budget minded families. Part of the 60 mile stretch known as The Grand Strand, it’s a beautiful, destination, that boasts a variety of free and inexpensive attractions to entertain the family.
There are dozens of hotels along the Myrtle Beach coastline that will fit in any budget. Every summer hotels offer discounts including some who offer a seven night stay for the price of 5 nights.
Camping is even easier on your budget. A weeklong stay at Myrtle Beach State Park Campground is less than $300!
Besides the beach, there are several other inexpensive attractions. Six piers offer the chance to walk above the water. Many of them are free to walkers, but do charge small fees for fishing.
The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk is another option. You can walk the 1.2 miles stretching from the 2nd Avenue Pier to the 14th Avenue pier. There are plenty of places to shop, eat and play along the way, including an arcade!
The Boardwalk also plays host to festivals throughout the year including the Hot Summer Nights festival. This festival features tons of free family friendly activities along with live entertainment.
If you’re a baseball fan you can even catch a game of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. This year they even have a Friday ticket package which will get you 4 game tickets, on field fireworks passes, 2 fun zone wrist bands, and 2 free kids meals at Bar Louie for only $40.
Of course, Myrtle Beach also has over 50 miniature golf courses priced between $9-11 per golfer.
For an additional discount, head out to play in the afternoon. There truly is fun for all ages and all budgets when you visit Myrtle Beach.
Kimberly at Mommy Can Do This
Glass Beach, CA
The Fort Bragg area is best known for its colorful Glass Beach. The beach was created by previous generations of residents who would throw their garbage in the ocean. Back then, much of their trash included glass bottles. Over the course of time, the ocean rocked and rolled the debris, turning it into pebbles of sea glass that now line Glass Beach.
This unique beach is one of the coolest places to visit on the California coast and one of the more affordable due to its location in the sleepy coastal town. Your kids will love exploring the colorful glass on the beach and finding all the different sea glass colors. You can also take a quick, family hike along the beach side bluffs for beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean.
Fort Bragg and its Glass Beach are perfect destinations to stop at if you’re taking a road trip up the California coast to the redwoods.
Constance of The Adventures of Panda Bear
Coronado Beach, San Diego, CA
Coronado is a land-tied Island just across the San Diego Bay. To gain access to this amazing beach you will have to cross the Coronado Bridge which will give you the best views of the entire city!
Coronado Beach is a 1.5 mile wide sandy beach located in the San Diego area. It has an impressive back drop of both the Hotel del Coronado and Loma Point.
Coronado Beach has free access and free parking making it a great family destination to swim and enjoy the ocean without breaking the bank!
On our 3 days in San Diego trip we made sure to go to Coronado Beach to swim and of course chase the seagulls that are all around. Surfing and boogie boarding are other great activities to enjoy in this area.
Coronado Beach is a great cheap beach destination in California!
Lisa from Planning Away
Bonus: Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina
We know we said, 10 Cheap beach vacations, but when we heard about Ocean Isle Beach, we just had to include it.
Ocean Isle Beach is the perfect destination for a cost-effective family vacation. The first major bonus is that it’s free to get on to the beach. There are no badges or resorts that hold beach access, making it easy for sunbathers and swimmers to come and go as they please. Keep in mind that free beach access also means no lifeguards, so always stay close to little ones.
In addition to the beach itself being a major (free!) attraction, there are tons of fun activities in the nearby area. The Ocean Isle Beach Sea Turtle Protection Organization offers plenty of free programming for the whole family to learn about the local sea turtle population. Off the beach, there’s mini golf and a marina. The casual restaurants right on the marina are the perfect place to watch the boats going in and out while grabbing a cheap meal.
For lodging, many vacation home rentals sit right on the beach or within close walking distance and are large enough for a group to stay together. There’s a Publix supermarket on the main road onto the island where you can pick up anything you need to cook at your rental. Afterall, there’s nothing better or cheaper than a family beach picnic!
Mari at Mari On The Map
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