Heading to the Gulf Coast for a sunny, relaxing getaway is a beautiful thought. White sand beaches, turquoise waters, and all the sea breeze you could dream of.
It is, however, typically expensive. Sometimes so expensive that it’s cost-prohibitive. To help you make it to some beautiful shores for your next vacation, we’ve found four off-the-radar beach towns that are not only gorgeous, but also affordable.
Gulf Shores, Alabama
Cheapest Beachfront Hotel Room: $149
You may not immediately think of Alabama when you think of the Gulf Coast, but the name of this town speaks for itself. With 32 miles of pristine white beaches, you won’t even know you’re not in Florida.
Wildlife refuges and state parks abound, many of them right along the coastline. You can rent a kayak, go to the zipline park or mini golf. Bringing the kids? If you somehow get tired of sitting on the beach, take them to the local zoo or waterpark. Even though Gulf Shores isn’t widely known, it still has many of the amenities of a major beach destination—with a lower price tag.
Anna Maria Island, Florida
Cheapest Beachfront Hotel Room: $154
Anna Maria Island may just be Florida’s best-kept secret. You won’t find any major chains or cheesy, standard beach attractions. Instead, you’ll find a small town that has prohibited the influence of major corporations or franchises on their shores. Everything is locally owned, and as a result, it’s largely affordable.
You can watch manatees up close and personal in the wild, veg out on the numerous white sand beaches or visit the small, town museum in this laid back destination.
Cheapest Waterfront Hotel Room: $75
Matagorda is a remote location that offers good fishing, beautiful outdoor life, and admittedly very little else. If soaking up the rays is what you’re after, though, this wild location may be just what you’re looking for, and the prices are hard to beat.
The town proper is located at the inland base of two bays, but if you travel down the Colorado River to where it meets the gulf, you’ll be rewarded with the visual delights that are very Gulf Coast. This is also one of the best places to bird watch in the entire country, as many species migrate through Matagorda.
Fernandina Beach, Florida
Cheapest Beachfront Hotel Room: $129
Fernandina Beach is on Amelia Island, closer to Florida’s border with Georgia. The town boasts numerous state parks, a couple of local history museums, boat tours and plenty of “to-do”s with kids, including a pirate playground and horseback riding opportunities for both children and parents.
There are also lots of artsy things to do, from museums to galleries. The town is also big enough to host a couple of quality waterholes, and provide some entertainment by way of community theater.
Book Your Hotel
Prices listed are for the height of summer and have been pulled from Hotels.com. Be sure to use promo codes before booking your trip to save even more on the affordable prices these towns have to offer