9 Cheapest U.S. Beach Vacation Towns You’ll Want to Visit

There are dozens of beach resorts in the United States, suitable for solo travelers, couples, and families, available at very low prices. Non-motorized water sports, biking, hiking, and exploration can be affordable alternatives to expensive resort accommodations.

Whether it’s surfing in California, snorkeling in Florida, or tides in Maine, travelers will be thrilled and amazed to chill out at such places. In this article, we have managed to choose some of the most affordable seaside towns that welcome visitors to various attractions and activities to bring the fun of the American coast to your next seaside trip.

Beach vacation town
Image By EQRoy From Shutterstock

Cape May, New Jersey

Cape May is an elegant seaside town known for its magnificent Victorian houses, many of which have been converted into hotels, shops, or restaurants. Indeed, it is difficult to find cheap hotels during the peak season in the city of New Jersey, but once you have a place to stay, most of Cape May’s beauty lies in the many free activities you can enjoy. Head to the beach to find crabs and shells or explore inland trails through forests and swamps.

Cape May is also home to an amazing number of migratory birds, and you will see huge flocks of birds flying in the sky. Between March and November, you can even see some humpback whales emerging from the shore. Local people in Cape May likewise have a functioning novice theater local area, so you can enjoy live performances consistently.

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23 thoughts on “9 Cheapest U.S. Beach Vacation Towns You’ll Want to Visit”

  1. Delray Beach is very unwelcoming to tourists. We were fined for putting out our gear even after the posted signs said we could. They were quite rude and we will never ever visit again.

    1. I live in Delray Beach & love it! It was rated the most fun city in the USA a few years back by Rand McNally. People here are very welcoming & kind. There is so much to do & it is constantly evolving. It’s perfect for families or adults only. The only rude person I’ve ever encountered was a tourist. I’m sorry to hear you had one small problem & won’t return. It’s beautiful here & everyone that visits can’t wait to return. It has changed a ton from the sleepy beach town it was 20 years ago. I movdd here reluctantly, now I czn’t imagine living anywhere else!

  2. Cape May is charming but not cheap ever. Prices are high in the summer and now fall. Save up and go in the summer to take advantage of the entire experience.

    1. You are absolutely right, Kay! We LOVE Cape May! It’s a beautiful shore town, and the bed and breakfast Victorian homes are each unique and make you feel a different era of time. They usually have afternoon tea – ice tea and sweets on their porches in the afternoon. But, it is NOT cheap! Save up, for sure! They have a convention center which has concerts all summer. Restaurants are very good. The beach is raked through each night to remove anything left there during the day. They have a very special ceremony at Sunset Beach, nightly, honoring a veteran. They have a moving ceremony while they take the flag down. All the shops are privately owned. The only chain store is Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. The Cape May Ferry is right there, and you can take it to Delaware – including your car.

  3. We have a condo in Gulf Shores, and when people find out about Gulf Shores and Orange Beach (the two neighboring AL beaches on the Gulf of Mexico),for the first time, they’re amazed. White beaches, clean water, nice locals, great restaurants and bars, cute shops, etc. Florida is lovely, but GS and OB are great options!

  4. Carlsbad is expensive. No way it belongs on this list. If anything, Oceanside (just north of Carlsbad) would be more reasonable, and San Clemente, 20 miles north puts both Carlsbad and Oceanside to shame.

    1. I’m in Panama the weather is perfect from December to May the people are extremely polite and friendly and accommodations are modern clean and very inexpensive great restaurants although restaurant prices have gone up the past couple of years like the rest of the year gas is about $4 a gallon and taxi and bus fares are very cheap

  5. Michael Longfellow

    A beautiful sea-side community, but you failed to mention that Cape May is home to the United States Coast Guard Training Center, so there are lots of people there year-round. Also you will be attacked by the flies at the beach, so you’ll need an abundance of insect repellant.

  6. Orange Beach, Alabama Great visit in the fall. Not crowded, but the ocean and outdoor pool was still warm!

  7. Been going to Ocean City, Maryland since I was young… many years ago now. Still love it today although I have moved away from Maryland now.
    St. Augustine, Florida is also a wonderful place to visit. Lots of attractions and outdoor shops to walk around and enjoy. State park within easy driving distance of St. Augustine is also very nice for camping on the cheap. Only issue I have is they only offer seniors discount to Florida residence.

  8. I live near Carlsbad. Pretty, beautiful beaches, camping within walking distance of the beach, fun coastal town, great restaurants, near attractions. But, cheap? No.

  9. Flagler Beach is probably the last vestige of quaint beachfront communities left in the counrty. Only 3 condos taller than 3 stories. And two of them at the far end of town.

  10. Although there are some great places on this list, I have to say that DelRay shouldn’t be listed on any list unless the list is “Places you can go to possibly get introduced to the Florida Correctional institution”. They are always looking to give out tickets and get the fine money. Needless to say DelRay is NOT INEXPENSIVE.
    Now, two places that aren’t on the list are my hometown and the town I currently reside in, both are GREAT beach towns and a dollar goes a long way.
    My hometown of Pismo Beach, CA is a beautiful “right on the beach” place where you can enjoy yourself and find mllions of things to do.
    The town I currently reside in is Ventura, CA another beautiful town tucked where tourist are welcome and encouraged to get to know the “locals”.
    Both are on the “Central Coast” of California.
    Hope to see you here soon!!!

    1. I do agree Delray is not cheap! Ironically my daughter lived in Pismo Beach & just moved. It is beautiful there & lots to do. Two different beach town vibes however. If you want sun, Delray is fantastic. If you want to have COLD water, hiking, & camping yet need winter attire by night (which they loved), Pismo Beach is for you! Both friendly places but weather is drastically different!. Rarely do you see people in the water in Pismo. In South FL, you can be in the water year round! Both places are must see places imho. Happy traveling!

  11. St. Joseph Michigan has a beach ranked every year in the Top Ten by Parents magazine. It’s always on the top 100 on anyone else’s list. Two sandbars and gentle Great Lakes waves make it safe for the youngest children. There are life guards on the beach from 11am to 7 pm every day from mid-June till mid-August. I think we are the only Great Lajes beach to do so. We have two piers and a lighthouse. Plus two extra beacons. There is a port by the beach—a shipping canal—where giant Great Lakes freighters roll by. Great restaurants. Events all summer long. Art Fair, Vintage Car show, antique fairs, farmers markets. A pet boutique and rooftop dining with great views of the sunset. Totally affordable with lots of free parking. The beach is huge, too: 21 volleyball courts that you don’t even notice. Giant playground equipment for the kids. A refreshment stand with reasonable prices and lots of ice cream. Seeing fireworks from that beach is a great great great experience. The barge in the shipping canal shoots them right over the beach. It feels like you can reach out and touch them. Hundreds of boats anchored on the lake for the show. Very family friendly. College kids rent those exec buses and spend the day there with their own tents.

  12. Yes, I live in MS and the best kept secret of the south is right here. We have the white sand, not as clear water, and great places to see and visit (Ship Island), casinos with delicious varieties of food at so many restaurants. I love that I can take a trip to the beach when there are parades, car shows, and bunches of other things to do. It is cheaper than most beaches and full of history. We would love for you to come on down to our gem.

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