Cheap Beach Vacation Deals

cheap beach vacationSummer is coming, and the beach is calling. Waves, sand, and sunlight – it sounds like paradise. But with the economy in the dumps and wallets hurting around the country, even a beach vacation seems out of reach. Not to worry! Beach vacations can be one of the most reasonable cheap vacation options you have, and cheap beach vacation deals make a great vacation possible for anyone, no matter how small your budget may be.

Drive-to Beaches

Save money by driving, if possible. Unless you live in a totally landlocked location, you'll probably find a great beach vacation destination within driving distance of your house. You may have to rethink your definition of "beach" – many lakes can deliver the beach experience while being more convenient and accessible – but if you stay open-minded and do your research, you can probably find a beach you can enjoy while still taking a cheap vacation. Sometimes driving isn't an option, or you may have your heart set on a farther-away location, in which case you'd better start planning early to find the best deal on plane tickets. In general, try to fly during the off-season if you can, and always fly both ways on a weekday instead of the weekend if you want to get the cheapest tickets. Be aware that if you do fly, you should work out transportation to and around your destination. A conveniently located beach vacation rental may be walking distance from the sand and from basic necessities (like a grocery store near the boardwalk) or give you access to good public transportation, so you won't even have to rent a car.

Set Up Camp

If you're looking for absolute bare-bones cheap beach vacation deals, you can always camp near the waves. This has the benefit of putting you as absolutely close to the beach as possible, and if you bring your own tent and buy your own supplies, you just can't beat the low price (some beach campgrounds are free). But if the thought of sand getting everywhere doesn't appeal to you, and you like running water, camping may not be the way to go. Sometimes with dirt-cheap vacations, you really get what you pay for, and roughing it isn't everyone's idea of a good time, especially with young kids!

Sleepy Beach Towns are Cheap Beach Towns

You can still save money without abandoning civilization altogether. Pick a sleepy, less-crowded area and go for a relaxing (and cheap) beach vacation. These beaches may be smaller, but they're also likely to be a lot less crowded while still scratching the need-for-sunlight itch. Pack your own beach chairs or rent a beach vacation rental that provides them – many beach vacation homes include chairs, beach toys and umbrellas so that guests can save the packing space. Cheap vacations can be a great excuse to relax and take it easy, spending quality time with your family instead of sightseeing and running from activity to activity at breakneck speeds. Pack a couple of board games for the evenings or the occasional rainy day and you won't even miss your usual active (but not so cheap) vacations.

Stick to the Sea

Speaking of activities, if you do choose to visit a popular beach town, you're likely to find a ton of other choices, like amusement parks, water parks and more – but resist the temptation to explore everything with the whole family if you want to keep this a cheap beach vacation. Forgo expensive attractions and stick to the beach. Amusement parks may promise a lot of fun, but they'll do a number on your wallet. Instead, make your own fun. Take advantage of free or cheap activities above and below the water, like snorkeling, shelling and building sandcastles. If you absolutely must sample the other entertainments, choose one (and choose carefully, to make sure you get the most bang for your buck) and make it an all-day outing.

Cheap Beach Rentals

beach vacation dealsAvoid the high costs of resort hotels or uncomfortable motels and choose a beachside vacation rental home to get the best deal and the most space for your money. Most vacation rentals can fit an entire family plus friends, all while giving you privacy and room to spread out. Book well in advance if possible, or take advantage of last-minute vacation rental deals; because you'll be dealing with individual vacation rental owners instead of hotel corporate, sometimes you can negotiate lower prices or special freebies that will cut down on the cost of your cheap beach vacation.

Cut Food Costs

Most of your vacation budget is going to go to feeding your family, so if you can cut down on food costs, you might surprise yourself with how budget-friendly a cheap beach vacation can become. Pack snacks for the road or the flight instead of giving in to cravings for overpriced (and under-nutritious) fast food. Bring a cooler to the beach with your own bottled water and snacks, and take picnic lunches with you everywhere you go. If you rent a beachfront vacation home with a kitchenette or full kitchen, you can even stay in for dinner without paying much more for groceries than you would at home. This way, even if you do decide to eat out occasionally, you'll still be saving enough money to make it a cheap vacation.

Skip the Souvenirs

And finally, don't waste your money on expensive, kitschy souvenirs, especially not from souvenir shops in popular beach and resort towns. A beautiful photograph, printed and framed, makes a treasured keepsake to remind you of your fun (but cheap) beach vacation. You can even bring home sand dollars to decorate the frame! Help kids make their own souvenirs by finding the perfect seashells and drilling holes or using existing ones to make seashell necklaces.

With enough planning and creativity, anyone can successfully take a cheap beach vacation - so don't wait around wondering if you can do it. Start planning, grab a snorkel and head on out there!

Ready to plan your ultimate cheap beach vacation? Check out Fort Morgan beach cottages, condos in Brant Beach, New Jersey, or (for a change) go lakeside with a waterfront Indiana Beach vacation rental.