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Atlantic Ocean Background. Boardwalk through dune grass to the Atlantic Ocean with a pier in the background. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
ehrlif | Adobe Stock

The Cheapest U.S. Beach Destinations

As the cold winter months fade, many of us find our daydreams drifting to warm sandy beaches and the prospect of a relaxing summer getaway. However, popular coastal destinations can come with a premium price tag, quickly putting those visions of an affordable beach vacation out of reach. 

Fortunately, a recent study by the travel experts at Divein aims to uncover the most affordable beach spots across the country. To determine the cheapest beach vacation destinations, the Divein team analyzed the median cost for popular American beach destinations for a six-night hotel stay for two adults, along with typical meal and beer prices.

The findings highlight the nation’s most inexpensive beach destinations, which deliver big value for a small cost. For those looking to indulge their summer wanderlust without breaking the bank, these enticing locales deserve a spot at the top of your list.  

These are the cheapest U.S. beach destinations where you’ll get the most bang for your buck. 

Twelvemile Beach, Michigan

Topping the list as the most budget-friendly beach destination is Twelvemile Beach in Michigan. As you may have guessed, this area is home to a 12-mile-long stretch of gorgeous sand beach along the shores of Lake Superior.

12 mile beach in UP, Michigan
espiegle | Adobe Photo

For those looking to keep costs as low as possible, Twelvemile Beach has a very affordable and popular campground where you can sleep right on the beach. Still, if you’re looking for a few more amenities, nearby hotel stays average just $464 for six nights. Visitors can enjoy affordable meals for around $20 and beers for $7.50 while enjoying the untouched natural beauty.

Mustang Island State Park, Texas  

Mustang Island State Park in Texas is not far behind Twelvemile Beach in affordability. This state park gem delivers the classic Texas beach experience without the inflated prices found at many popular tourist areas. 

Mustang Island
JDSoui | TripAdvisor

For travelers really looking to maximize their savings, Mustang Island has budget-friendly overnight options right within the park’s boundaries. There are 48 campsites with water and electricity, as well as 50 primitive sites for a more rustic experience. If you’d rather stay in a hotel, there are numerous ones available nearby for less than $100 per night.

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

Known for its great waves and beautiful sand, Wrightsville Beach is America’s third most affordable beach destination. Voted as one of the top surfing towns in the world by National Geographic and one of the best SUP hubs in the U.S. by Outside Magazine, Wrightsville Beach is a paradise for watersports lovers. This walkable island offers plenty to do on land as well, including The Loop fitness trail, beachside yoga, or shopping in the open-air villages. 

Johnnie Mercers Fishing Pier at sunrise in Wrightsville Beach east of Wilmington, North Carolina,United State.
Chansak Joe A. | Adobe Stock

Located a short drive from Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach offers an affordable oceanfront escape, with meals costing around $15 and beer at just $4. A six-night hotel stay costs an average of just $636 for the entire week.

Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

The area around Coast Guard Beach in Eastham, Massachusetts, is a surprisingly affordable beach destination. This classic Cape Cod beach is the start of what Henry David Thoreau named the “Great Beach,” a beautiful, long stretch of sandy coastline that stretches for over 20 miles. With sandy shores and relatively calm waves, this beach is popular for swimming during the summer. 

Coast Guard Beach
Juliette | Adobe Stock

Coast Guard Beach is part of the National Seashore in Massachusetts, so you won’t find a mega beachfront resort here. Instead, venture to the surrounding towns, where you can find small bed and breakfasts and boutique hotels that will only cost an average of $651 for a six-night stay. 

Sand Beach, Acadia National Park, Maine

For a less traditional but still affordable beach vacation, head to Sand Beach, located within Acadia National Park in Maine. Although it’s not your typical hot-weather beach destination (brace yourself for chilly water even in August), this unique setting offers a distinctly New England coastal experience that’s popular with national park visitors.  

Sand Beach, Acadia National Park, Maine
ericurquhart | Adobe Photo

As the name implies, Sand Beach stands out with its rare swath of soft sand—it’s the largest beach along Acadia’s iconic rocky shoreline. Stay past sunset to enjoy the best of Sand Beach—this remote destination is an incredible spot for stargazing.

Since there are no lodges or hotels within Acadia’s borders, beach-goers must stay outside the park in one of the many charming towns nearby. Opt for a hotel on the outskirts of Bar Harbor (where most people stay to visit Acadia) to find the best deals.

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