Budget & Saving

Some Beach, Somewhere: Affordable Summer Destinations

July 16, 2013 : Ariana Arghandewal-Guest Contributor


Ed note: We’re smack dab in the middle of summer, so it’s time to hit the beach. No need to dig out your passport though – there are plenty of beautiful sandy spots right here in the U.S.A. Ariana Arghandewal breaks down the top 3 most affordable – and most expensive – domestic destinations.

The summer months send travelers flocking to beach destinations around the world. While the beaches of Thailand and Indonesia are lauded as some of the best, there are plenty of gems right here in the U.S. Whether you’re on a budget or looking to splurge, there are great places throughout the U.S. that cater to every demographic.

Here is a list of the top 3 cheapest and most expensive beach destinations in the U.S.:


 #1 Myrtle Beach, SC

Situated along the Grand Strand, Myrtle Beach tops the list with its affordable lodging and restaurant options. With so many beachside condos and timeshares, there are plenty of great deals for those looking for a beach vacation. For as low as $120 per night in high season, guests can book a 2-bedroom condo at the Ocean Creek Resort. Many timeshare resorts also offer summer specials like complimentary breakfast, free nights and other savings.

Myrtle Beach also offers plenty of dining options for the budget conscious. The Boathouse Waterway Bar & Grill has a great menu, with items ranging from $3-14. Patrons can grab a bite by the deck while enjoying live music, courtesy of the free concert series that runs through September.

#2 Naples, FL

With many of the Gulf states still recovering economically from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the area offers great travel deals during the summer months. While Naples has a reputation as a ritzy town, hotels are incredibly affordable. Only in Naples can you stay at an upscale Waldorf Astoria property for under $129 per night in the summer. The quaint Bayfront Inn on 5th Ave. can be booked for under $100 per night.

In terms of restaurants, First Watch gets rave reviews for its breakfast selection, moderately priced at under $10. For a great burger, head to Brook’s Gourmet Burgers and Dogs, which has a vast selection of All-American fare for under $10.

#3 Morro Bay, CA

This waterfront city is as no-frills as it gets, but it more than makes up for it with stunning scenery. With beachfront hotels like the Bayfront Inn starting as low as $110 per night, this is a great little getaway for those looking to keep it low key.

Local eateries like Frankie and Lola’s get high marks for low prices and delicious food. For a great atmosphere and moderately priced dining experience, STAX Wine Bar & Bistro is also an excellent choice.

Most Expensive

#1 The Hamptons, NY

Rubbing shoulders with New York’s elite doesn’t come cheap. Even a stay at a quaint little East Hampton inn will set you back upwards of $840, while a motel in Southampton prices out at $250 per night during high season. Most folks opt for a summer rental in the Hamptons, which doesn’t come cheap at an average of $7,500 per week.

High-end restaurants dominate this wealthy enclave, and a simple lunch can cost $40+ per person. After lightening your pockets at the local bistro, you can do some real damage to your wallet at one of the area’s pricey designer boutique shops.

#2 Nantucket, MA

Nantucket has been a favorite vacation destination for socialites, celebrities and even a few US presidents. As such, lodging isn’t going to be cheap on this island. During high season, local B&Bs and inns go for $350+ per night, while the White Elephant Village has rates starting at $1,100 per night. Off-shore houses can be booked for $300-$400 per night, while classic beachside cottages start at $1,500 per night.

The island does have a few affordable restaurant options, with places like Island Kitchen offering menu items ranging from $5-15.

#3 Big Sur, CA

Everything from hotel accommodations to a tank of gas is pricey in this upscale California town. Guests staying at the iconic Ventana Inn & Spa pay upwards of $1,300 per night in high season for a secluded location with breathtaking views of the coast. There isn’t much along the lines of bargain accommodations, though adventurous types can rent Yurts at the Treebones Resort for as low as $199 per night. Filling up a tank of gas in this remote coastal town can cost upwards of $7 per gallon, which may be why most folks choose not to venture far from their resorts and camp sites.

No matter where you live, there is sure to be a beach town nearby that meets your budget needs. What are some of your favorite beach vacation spots?

Ariana Arghandewal-Guest Contributor

Ariana Arghandewal-Guest Contributor

Frugal Travel Guy

Ariana is an avid traveler and collector of frequent flier miles. She is the Managing Editor of Frugal Travel Guy and PointChaser.

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