Budget Friendly Weekend Beach Getaways
You don't have to spend a fortune to enjoy a beach vacation. Get away to one of these hidden gems, and plan your trip around low and no-cost activities, simple pleasures and the value of a great vacation rental.
Cannon Beach, Oregon
This quaint beach, located just 90 minutes from Portland, is often compared to the pricier Carmel area. Although the prices in this sleepy Pacific Coast village are affordable, you can find plenty of things to do that won't cost a penny.
- Gaze at the massive Haystack Rock that towers above the shallow coastal waters as you stroll along the sandy beach.
- Visit Ecola State Park for a hike through the majestic Emerald Forest to experience the shady reaches of ancient Sitka spruce trees that are just as impressive as any redwood tree.
- Hike through the forest until the trees thin to reveal sandstone bluffs above pinkish beaches and the Pacific Ocean.
If you find time to visit Bay City , a small fishing community to the south of Cannon Beach, you can get the best inexpensive lunch of your life at Pacific Oyster or enjoy a dish of ice cream at the Tillamook Cheese Factory for a pittance.
Outer Banks, North Carolina
If you stay in a vacation rental home and skip the expensive restaurants, the Outer Banks is one of the best cheap weekend beach getaways imaginable. Look for great last-minute deals for beach houses. Once you're there, visit one of the local grocery stores or a seafood market to stock up on supplies and cook your own meals to keep the vacation expenses down.
Enjoying the beaches is completely free. Because these islands are so narrow, any house will be within a minute or two from the waterfront. If you have a 4WD vehicle, you can even lay claim to your own stretch of isolated sand on one of the beaches designated for this type of travel. Pay attention to the tips when you enter to make sure you don't get stuck in the sand or caught by the high tide.
Cape Ann, Massachusetts
For a true taste of salty New England, skip Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard and head to Cape Ann. Not only will this choice leave more cash in your wallet, but it also has an authentic feel that no tourist trap can reproduce. Get up early and check out the action on the docks of Gloucester, the oldest port dedicated to fishing in America. When you're ready for a little local cuisine, head over to the famous Woodman's restaurant . This is the spot that invented fried clams way back in 1916.
And, who could miss a chance to bask in the sun at Singing Beach ? This hidden treasure sits below towering cliffs that hold teetering mansions high above the visitors on the beach. If you're on a tight budget, you don't even have to spend money on gas to drive to Cape Ann. This affordable treasure is located 40 miles to the north of Boston and is a stop on the commuter rail.
Now that you see what you can do on a shoestring budget, what are you waiting for? Pack up the entire family and enjoy one of these relaxing, cheap weekend beach getaways this summer!