The 10 Best Beach Vacations For The Frugal Family

Doesn’t everyone love a good beach vacation? Splashing in the surf, building sandcastles, maybe getting in a little pool time, eating dinner overlooking the water, and enjoying classic boardwalk rides are quintessential summer beach vacation activities. Sadly, many beach destinations are expensive. So, so expensive! How does a frugal family enjoy an ideal beach vacation? By choosing their location carefully. There are plenty of hidden budget beach getaways around the country that offer loads of family fun and beautiful beaches.

Wrightsville Beach, NC

Wrightsville Beach is just over the South Carolina/North Carolina border and offers white beaches and the Atlantic Ocean at affordable prices. Along with beautiful beaches, the town features Crystal Pier, a 475-foot walkout over the Atlantic. The pier includes access to fishing and free public events to be enjoyed. The boardwalk is home to many inexpensive bars and restaurants perfect for frugal vacationers who want to enjoy the nightlife. There are also plenty of spots to rent kayaks, paddleboards, and boats. The Fred and Alice Stanback Coastal Education Center offers a variety of educational programming at affordable prices.

Wildwood, NJ

Wildwood Beach stretches for five miles along the New Jersey coastline. The city often hosts beachside movies and sandcastle building contests. It also boasts an active boardwalk, which includes Morey’s Piers, a classic beachfront amusement park containing a large water park. Other nearby, family-friendly attractions include the Seaport Aquarium. Why is Wildwood so affordable? Because it was built as a middle-class family destination back in the mid-20th century (when Morey’s Piers first opened) and some of that ethos and infrastructure are still enjoyed today. Many people visit Wildwood for its mid-century modern architecture. Those original motels still make for affordable family vacations. Try the classic Jolly Roger Motel if you are looking for affordable, vintage beach trip experience!

Daytona Beach, FL

23 miles of white beaches bordering Florida’s Atlantic Coast make up Daytona Beach. Affordable motels, hotels, and condos abound. Staying slightly away from the beach is made more accessible by the fact you can load your car up with floats, coolers, chairs, and toys and drive right up on the beach. Daytona is also close to both Orlando and Cape Canaveral, so frugal day trips to typically pricier destinations (like Disney!) may be doable. There’s plenty at Daytona to keep you busy, though! Free concerts are offered at the Bandshell, or you can check out the pier that stretches 1,000-feet into the Atlantic Ocean and features a restaurant and a rooftop bar. Don’t forget the historic Boardwalk, which houses two different arcades offering classic games and rides, along with restaurants and gift shops.

Rehoboth Beach, DE

Delaware’s largest beach resort offers a mile-long boardwalk featuring Funland, an affordable amusement where. Free concerts are a weekend staple at the bandstand. Cape Henlopen State Park charges a small fee, but the walking dunes trail is a must-do on your trip and will provide plenty of Instagram-worthy backdrops. Getting around Rehoboth and visiting other Delaware beaches is easy with Jolly Trolley, the mass transit system of Delaware’s beach communities. Not only is it transportation, but many kids (and some adults!) will consider riding the Jolly Trolley a fun outing.

Pensacola Beach, FL

Pensacola Beach sits on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and offers a great budget beach vacation from April-October. Sam’s Fun City offers families the chance to enjoy an affordable amusement and water park. Everyone will enjoy the opportunity to play on the classic Goofy Golf mini-golf course, although some people might have a hard time leaving the white sand beaches lined with family-friendly restaurants and affordable hotels. You might also consider staying in Downtown Pensacola and driving to the beach daily to save money on lodging. Looking for something unique? Unlike other beach destinations, Pensacola offers air shows by the Blue Angels and the floating museum the USS Alabama is an easy drive away.

Long Beach, WA

Long Beach covers 28 miles of Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula. This affordable hidden gem offers clam digging, surfing lessons, biking, kite flying, bonfires, and hiking. Discovery Trail, an 8.2-mile hike, features markers from the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Visitors are allowed to drive their cars directly on the beach at no charge. The nearby Cape Disappointment State Park offers even more beaches and the ability to hike up to the lighthouses. Other activities include the International Kite MuseumMarsh’s Free Museum, and the Fun Beach Speedway.

Huntington Beach, CA

California beach vacations in places like San Diego or Santa Monica can be prohibitively expensive! Worry not; Surf City is the perfect destination for budget-minded vacationers. Huntington is known for its incredible surfing friendly waves. Those traveling with their dogs will especially love Huntington’s dedicated dog beach. Other than surfing and sunbathing in Pacific waters, other affordable activities include hiking, whale watching, and horseback riding. Enjoy dining out? There’s a variety of inexpensive restaurants to enjoy. There are also plenty of affordable, classic beach accessible motels available.

Cannon Beach, OR

If your idea of the perfect beach vacation includes seals and sea lions playing in the waves, dense fogs rolling in, and rugged beaches, then Cannon Beach might be perfect for you! During the busy season, hotels can be pricey, but Oregon allows beachside camping. That’s right-you can camp surfside! If you prefer your campsites with running water, Nehalem Bay State Park offers campsites starting at $11. Ecola State Park and Hug Point State Park are also nearby. The town of Cannon Beach offers unique shopping experiences, like the Yuletide Christmas Shop if you desire a little Christmas in the summer!

Lake Champlain, NY and VT

Lake Champlain is a natural freshwater lake with an 8,234 square mile catchment area that borders New York, Vermont, and Canada. For a few weeks in 1998, Champlain was considered one of the United States’ Great Lakes.
Travel + Leisure 
named Lake Champlain one of America’s best lake vacations, citing its rich history and beautiful landscape. The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum is an affordable way to learn about the lake’s rich history, including the role it playing in the Revolutionary War. Boat tours of the lake are available. Economical lodging options include camping at one of the many campgrounds surrounding the lake, or you can rent one of the many lake-adjacent cabins offered to vacationers around the area (frugal tip: when you have a kitchen in your vacation digs, you don’t have to eat out as much!).

Minocqua, WI

Minocqua is known as “Nature’s Original Water Park” due to being practically surrounded by the 1,339-acre lake that shares its name, but also because of its proximity to Kawaguesaga Lake, Mid Lake, Bullhead Lake, and Clawson Lake. Are man-made water parks more your family’s speed? Not to worry, The Waters of Minocqua offers a variety of slides for about $15 a day. Canoeing, kayaking, and paddle boarding are favorite activities in the natural lakes. Opportunities for birdwatching and hiking abound. Several vintage lake resorts, like Estrold Resort, offer affordable lodging and the chance to experience some vintage lake charm.

If financial emergencies should arise, it’s important to understand all of the lending options available to you. Personal loans and car title-secured loans/pawns are among the variety of lending options that may be available.

You might also like...

1 Title-Secured Loans, Secured LOCs and Title Pawns: Maximum pledge amount in Mississippi is $2,500. Maximum loan amount in Tennessee is $6,500, assuming customer qualifies for and accepts both the pledge max of $2,500 and Secured LOC max of $4,000. Refinancing is not available for Mississippi or Tennessee Pledge products. Minimum loan amount for title-secured loans in South Carolina is $601.

Must be at least 18 years of age (19 in Alabama). Account approval requires satisfaction of all eligibility requirements, including a credit inquiry and motor vehicle appraisal. Must present valid government issued ID. Certain other eligibility requirements and terms & conditions apply. Loan/LOC/Pawn amounts vary by states and product. LOC customers are subject to a periodic collateral review to maintain credit limit. Proof of income documentation and ability to repay analysis is required in Missouri, Nevada, some Texas locations, and Utah.

2 Personal Unsecured Loans/LOCs: Unsecured loan amounts and products not available in all stores/states. Max loan amount for first time borrowers is $1,000 ($500 for an in-store personal loan in AZ). Returning customers with a good payment history may qualify for higher loan amounts, currently up to $2,500. Loans above $1,000 ($500 for an in-store personal loan in AZ) require two consecutive pay stubs showing direct deposit. In-Store: Account approval requires satisfaction of all eligibility requirements, including a credit inquiry. Bring in proof of income (dated within the last 30 days), active bank account details (dated within the last 45 days), proof of residency, a voided check, and a valid government-issued ID to apply. In AZ, a valid AZ motor vehicle registration in your name is also required. Min $601 in SC. Without SSN or ITIN, max loan amount is $300. Online: If you do not have an SSN or ITIN, please visit us in store to apply. Additional items required for eligibility, including: a valid and active email address and telephone number, a valid SSN, and proof of residency for the state in which you are applying (currently AZ, DE, KS, MO, MS, SC, TN, TX, UT or WI). Min $610 in SC. Certain other terms and conditions may apply.

– California, Illinois and Virginia Residents: TitleMax® no longer originates new loans in CA, IL or VA, but continues to service existing loans.

– Please see our California Resident Notice at Collection and Privacy Policy: Submit a Verified Consumer Request to understand what information we collect, disclose, or sell, to request that we delete your information, and/or opt out of selling by clicking Do Not Sell My Personal Information.

– In Georgia, TitleMax offers Title Pawns.

– New Mexico Consumers: please see important New Mexico Consumer Information and Disclosures.

– In Nevada, title loans should be used for short-term financial needs only and not as a long-term financial solution. Customers with credit difficulties should seek credit counseling before entering into any title loan transaction. Ability to repay analysis with income documentation required.

– In Tennessee, TitleMax offers title pledges, and secured and unsecured Lines of Credit (“LOC”). Only one LOC account allowed per customer, inclusive of other lenders. LOC customers are subject to a periodic income (and collateral, if applicable) review/validation.

– TitleMax of Texas, Inc. and TitleMax Online of Texas, Inc., d/b/a TitleMax acts as Credit Services Organizations to assist customers in obtaining a loan through an unaffiliated third-party lender. Please see store associate for details. Please see Texas Schedule of All Fees. TitleMax does not offer pawn loans or pawn transactions in Texas.

– TitleMax®, TitleBucks®, and InstaLoan®, are not considered competitors. Please see a store associate for details.

Close Menu
Which login page are you looking for?

Opens in a new window