Is your family begging for a beach break but your bank account is begging for a break from big spending? Not to worry! It’s definitely possible to take the family to the beach on a budget. Here’s our list of some of America’s best value-for-money seaside getaways.
Cannon Beach, Oregon
When National Geographic places you on a list of the 100 most beautiful places in the world (2013) you know it has to be pretty spectacular right? Cannon Beach’s instantly recognizable Haystack Rock should top any family getaway short list. With nine miles of picturesque shoreline, small-town charm, and puffin watching (most active from April to July) this Oregon destination is almost the definition of good clean honest fun for the entire family.
If you like the idea of a great family vacation in Florida, think Clearwater. Here you can enjoy Florida the old-fashioned way while visiting some of the state’s most beautiful beaches. Treat your family to a Clearwater Jolly Trolley bus tour or head out to the marine aquarium and get up close and personal with dolphins while the kids learn all about saving and preserving wildlife. You could also make a break for nearby St. Petersburg, where you can check out the fun-for-the-whole-family Museum of Fine Arts and the Dali Museum featuring some of the famous surrealist painter’s most iconic works.
Gulf Shores, Alabama
If you and yours love white sandy beaches – and having them all to yourselves – then Gulf Shores, Alabama is a perfect place for your next vacation. Visit the Civil War-era Fort Morgan or Fort Gaines where you can catch live canons firing to start your weekend off with a bang! Alternatively, you can watch sea turtles hatch and help them on their way into the ocean at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. Either way, a trip to this Alabama coastal community promises to be a weekend to remember.
Outer Banks, North Carolina
The Outer Banks of North Carolina are for family crews of buccaneers and scallywags! Follow in the footsteps of Blackbeard, Calico Jack, and Anne Bonny — the infamous pirates who made these shores their home and wreaked havoc amongst the ships that docked here in the past. Escape to the inlets and explore their secret hiding places for a weekend you will not forget.
San Diego, California
San Diego has bragging rights to some of California’s most gorgeous beaches and some of its biggest attractions. To name but two, there’s San Diego Zoo, home to more than 650 species living in incredibly landscaped enclosures that replicate their natural habitats, and then there’s the USS Midway, the US Navy’s longest serving carrier of the 20th century. Make sure not to miss out on the flight simulators when your visit this massive ship — the kids are sure to love it.
Where’s your family’s favorite beach? How often do you manage to make it to the shore every year?