Are you looking for an affordable beach vacation in Florida? The Sunshine State offers a plethora of options for those who want to enjoy sun, sand, and surf without breaking the bank. In this article, we will explore the top 10 cheapest beaches in Florida that offer budget-friendly accommodations, white-sand beaches, and low-cost outdoor adventures, from snorkeling to state park exploration.
1. Amelia Island
Amelia Island is a perfect destination to get away from the crowds and enjoy a peaceful beach vacation. The island offers beautiful white-sand beaches, horseback riding tours along the shore at sunset, and seashell collecting opportunities. Fort Clinch State Park is a well-preserved Civil War-era fort that history enthusiasts can marvel at, while Boneyard Beach in Big Talbot Island State Park offers unique landscapes for photographers. The Palace Saloon, Florida’s longest operating saloon, is a great place to stop for a cold one after a day of fun in the sun.
2. Sanibel Island
Sanibel Island boasts the title of “Shelling Capital of the World.” The island is a perfect destination for those who love searching for colorful seashells along a quiet shoreline. Visitors from around the world scour Bowman’s Beach for unique pieces of treasure that have washed up. Sanibel Island is a laid-back area that offers small-town vibes, day trips to JN Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, and pristine shorelines along Lovers Key State Park and nearby Captiva Island.
Place to Stay: Steps from the beach, the Sanibel Island Beach Resort features a pool, large accommodations, and on-site dining options.
3. New Smyrna Beach
New Smyrna Beach is a local favorite located just 15 miles south of Daytona Beach. It provides a less congested beach where you may enjoy the waves in solitude. The area is known for its wide, white-sand Atlantic beaches, charming sidewalk cafes, and budget-friendly activities, from shopping and golfing to fishing, hiking, and biking. The Indian River Lagoon is a popular eco-tour destination, while the Marine Discovery Center is perfect for learning more about the area’s wildlife. You can also take a stroll along the beach’s boardwalks and see if you can spot native birds and gopher tortoises.
Place to Stay: Families will love the inexpensive beachfront apartments and outdoor pool at Sea Vista Resort. Couples will love the romantic rooms and easy beach access at Anchor Inn NSB Bed & Breakfast.
One of Florida’s most underappreciated vacation spots, Sarasota has a nearly limitless selection of cultural activities. The John Ringling Museum of Art showcases circus memorabilia, Myakka River State Park is perfect for observing gators and other local wildlife, and St. Armand’s Circle offers window shopping opportunities. Sarasota also boasts nearby beaches, from the award-winning pure crushed quartz sand at Siesta Key to the family-friendly facilities at Coquina Beach in nearby Bradenton.
Place to Stay: The Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach and Twin Palms of Siesta Key are excellent choices for those who wish to stay close to the beach, while Hyatt Place Sarasota/Bradenton Airport is situated close to Sarasota’s major attractions.
Marathon is a charming Florida Key that serves as a popular destination for fishing trips, water sport lovers, and divers. The area is a great place to enjoy an affordable beach vacation, from snorkeling adventures at Sombrero Beach to scenic bike rides along the Old Seven Mile Bridge to Pigeon Key. Bahia Honda State Park’s award-winning beaches are just a 20-minute drive away.
Place to Stay: Tranquility Bay Beachfront Hotel & Resort offers a tranquil retreat with beach houses and luxury on-site facilities.
6. Clearwater Beach
Clearwater Beach is arguably one of Florida’s most popular beaches, but it offers a wide array of activities that allow you to tailor your vacation based on your travel budget. The white sand offers the perfect place to stretch out and soak up the sunshine, while Clearwater Marine Aquarium lets you meet marine animals. Sunsets at Pier 60’s weekly events including live music and street entertainers are a must-see. You can take day trips to other beaches, including Caladesi Island, Pass-a-Grille Beach, and Fort De Soto Park.
Place to Stay: A excellent cheaper choice to more pricey Clearwater hotels is the Pier House 60 Clearwater Beach Marina Hotel.
Naples has a stunning white-sand beach with blue Gulf waves that is bordered by, and it provides simple access to, a variety of family-friendly attractions. While Naples Pier and Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park are fantastic locations to take leisurely strolls and see dolphins, Lowdermilk Beach has a playground and picnic tables. Sun-N-Fun Lagoon’s water slides are perfect for kids, while the 170 acres of beautiful grounds of Naples Botanical Garden are home to colorful plants and animals.
Place to Stay: Hilton Naples features an outdoor pool and popular steakhouse restaurant, while Naples Grande Beach Resort offers access to a luxurious day spa, a private beach, and multiple outdoor pools.
8. Melbourne Beach
There are several unspoiled beaches in Melbourne Beach that are ideal for summer vacations. Get out on the sea for a day of fishing or snorkeling before exploring the shops and eateries that line the historic Downtown Melbourne district. Take a day trip to Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge to learn about sea turtle protection and nesting season, or try your hand at surfing at Sebastian Inlet State Park. Burger Place, a local favorite in Melbourne, is perfect for craving a classic diner-style burger, fries, and milkshake.
9. Delray Beach
A stunning seaside community called Delray Beach is about 50 miles north of Miami. In addition to enjoying the beautiful beach’s surfing, kayaking, sailing, and snorkeling, culture vultures may participate in tea ceremonies at the Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens and take in the modern art on display at the Cornell Art Museum. Retail shopping along East Atlantic Avenue is a must, and strolling the boardwalk at Wakodahatchee Wetlands is the perfect chance to see birds, turtles, and alligators.
Place to Stay: Sundy House is a historic Queen Anne-style bed and breakfast that dates back to 1902 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
10. Panama City Beach
Panama City Beach stretches for 27 miles along the Gulf of Mexico and offers plenty of affordable activities for surfers, divers, and nature lovers. St. Andrews State Park offers snorkeling and kayaking opportunities, while Shell Island is perfect for dolphin watching. Enjoy a romantic sunset boat cruise or dine on locally caught seafood at Hook’d Pier Bar & Grill.
Florida offers a plethora of affordable beach destinations that cater to all types of travelers. From Amelia Island to Panama City Beach, each destination offers unique experiences, from seashell collecting to surfing, snorkeling, and kayaking. No matter what your budget is, you can find a perfect beach vacation in Florida.
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