When the weather’s warm outside, there’s nothing like a beach getaway to inject some color, excitement, and good times into your vacation. If you’ve been scouring around for ideas about an exotic getaway by the sea, but are worried that it may be a bit over your budget, think again. There are plenty of cheap beach vacations in US locations that won’t burn a hole in your wallet. Here are 7 beaches that prove you can still have fun in the sun without a hefty price tag.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Unrecognizable woman walking down the beach on summer holiday in bikini on famous Hispanic travel destination.

Surrounded by miles of water and sand, Puerto Rico gives you plenty of options for affordable Caribbean beaches. The capital city of San Juan has some amazing stretches of beach and is your best bet for cheap flights. Since Puerto Rico is considered a part of the United States, you don’t have to splurge on a passport if you are a U.S. citizen, which just makes it even more appealing.

Bonus tip: you can sleep on the beach for around $10 to $20 a night in either a hammock or tent. Now that’s truly ‘viva la vida’.

South Padre Island, Texas

Texas may not have any islands like Hawaii or the Caribbean, but South Padre Island still makes you feel like you’ve escaped somewhere away from the bustle of life. It’s actually a secluded city that just happens to be on the southernmost part of the world’s largest barrier island. In fact, it reaches far enough into the Gulf of Mexico to give you that picturesque white-sand-clear-water setting you’re probably dreaming of. Everything really is bigger in Texas, because the world’s largest barrier island also inhabits the largest outdoor sandcastle you’ll ever see in the United States!

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach Landscape, Oregon USA

Your inner ‘80s child will freak out when you spot a very familiar rock on the beach that has its 15 minutes of fame thanks to the classic flick The Goonies. If you’re looking for accommodations on your visit, the famous Tolovana Inn is right in the heart of Cannon Beach. While it’s still affordable compared to other hotels in the area, the Tolovana Inn may be at the higher end of your budget during the peak of tourist season. To get the most bang for your buck, pop over to Seaside, which is a small town nearby with plenty of free activities. The Coast River Inn in Seaside offers you a free bike to ride around the town, and the hotel has a ton of amazing backgrounds (like a rainbow mural) for your Instagram photos.

Clearwater, Florida

If you’re one of the many that think “Florida”  as soon as you hear the word “beach”, luckily for you, there are quite a handful of budget-friendly beaches in the Sunshine State. Clearwater definitely lives up to its name and is an easy drive from Tampa International Airport. Make sure to catch the sunset at Pier 60 at least once. You’ll have to cough up a dollar if you want to walk down the pier, but that’s such a steal when you throw in live music, jugglers, and other types of free entertainment that you can enjoy while you’re there.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA city skyline

Not only does it give you a perfect dose of southern charm, but it also has a gigantic Ferris Wheel, an aquarium with panoramic views, and is located right in the middle of the “Grand Strand” — a fancy term for 60 beautiful, uninterrupted miles of beach. Airfare tends to be very affordable, with cheap round trip flights available throughout the year to and from South Carolina. On top of reasonable flight prices, Myrtle Beach offers a huge — and we mean, HUGE — an array of free activities year-round to make it even easier on your wallet.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

If you’re a history buff with an appreciation for seafood and adorable shabby-chic beach houses, then Cape Cod is the perfect getaway for you. The cape was a popular vacation destination for the Kennedys back in the day, and the lower part of the cape is also famous for being the landing site of Plymouth, where the first few pilgrims came ashore in America. On a rainy day, you can stop by the Woods Hole Science Aquarium and visit the Cape Cod potato chip factory, and both places have free admission year-round. Most of the beaches are free, although there is a minimal fee for the Cape Cod National Seashore, established by Kennedy in August 1961 and explored by David Thoreau in the 1800s. See, I told you it would be perfect for a history buff!

San Diego, California

Lifeguard Tower at the Beach in San Diego, California

I bet you’re thinking, “Wait, isn’t California supposed to be super expensive?” Surprisingly enough, the Golden State has a lot of hidden gems scattered along its Pacific Ocean coastline that’ll meet every kind of budget, whether you’re a solo traveler or visiting with a big group of family and friends. It goes without saying that San Diego is very accessible with a major international airport, and the city’s public transportation is always a breeze to use. A great wallet-friendly option for large groups of people would be Crystal Cove, which is only 85 miles away from San Diego. Crystal Cove has large beach cottages that can accommodate up to 7 people for around $250, but make sure to plan way in advance because cottages are always booked out.

We hope our suggestions will help you plan your next beach vacation without stretching your budget. Let us know in the comments if you have any other ideas for affordable beach destinations in the United States.

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About The Author

Tali Love
Lifestyle Influencer & Travel Writer

Tali Love is a seasoned solo traveler, trip planner and travel writer. She owns and operates the blog Talilove.com, there she writes about all things lifestyle and travel. Tali loves spending time in nature, good wine, theatre and documentaries. Find her and say hello on Instagram @with_love_tali or Facebook @withlovetali.