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Ah, the beach. Ocean breezes, crashing waves, sand between your toes… nothing says vacation quite like a seaside getaway. Whether your vision of a beach holiday involves a hammock and a cocktail or a surfboard and a nightclub, there’s a beach out there that’s just right for you. And perhaps more importantly, one that fits your vacation budget. 

Here, we dive into spectacular beach destinations around the world, while keeping spending power in mind. Of note: these budgets (in USD) are based on a one-week sojourn for two people and do not include airfare. For tips on how to save on flights, eats, accommodations and more, check out our recent blog on travel planning. Given the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic and certain countries’ travel restrictions, be sure to check your ideal destination’s travel requirements before finalizing your travel plans. 

Budget: $250

Destination: The nearest beach, via RV

Wherever you live, the most cost-effective way to the waterfront could be on four wheels. When that vehicle also serves as your cozy accommodations, it’s a win-win. If you live smack-dab in a country’s interior, the definition of beach can easily be expanded to include reservoirs or lakes — perhaps Lake Michigan or Lake Como — or you can save up extra for gas and see some incredible sites on the road to the coast.

rv-facing-beach-sunset

Find your RV on VacationRenter, hit the road, set up camp (you can check out Hipcamp, OnxOffroad, and The Dyrt for campsites), cook your own meals, and enjoy free outdoor fun, courtesy of Mother Nature. For Americans, look for undeveloped swaths of shoreline where free and inexpensive camping is permitted. For westerners, think Pismo Beach or the Olympic Peninsula. On the other side of the country, check out National Seashore hotspots along the eastern seaboard, or head south to San Padre Island on The Gulf Coast. Book and plan ahead, as campgrounds fill up — particularly during school holidays.

Ready to book your RV? See available rentals at any starting location and select the “RV” filter to find your vacation-home-on-wheels.

Budget: $500

Destination: Palawan, Philippines

Looking for that tropical getaway trifecta of turquoise waters, rich flora and fauna, and uncrowded beaches? “The Most Beautiful Island in the World,” according to Conde Nast Traveler, Palawan is a gorgeous Philippine archipelago that has all the ingredients for an exotic vacation with a nice dose of eco-tourism.

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Whether you’re down for watersports, adventuring into caverns or coves, snorkeling with sea turtles and dolphins, exploring the jungle, or just basking in the sun, it’s all just a quick plane-hop from Metro Manila. Plus, once you get there, Palawan is downright affordable. According to budgetyourtrip.com, $33 USD per day should cover your basic expenses, so you’ll have some pennies left over for unforgettable adventures.   

Must-dos (beyond beach days):

  • Boat through Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park, a World Heritage Site (permit required or take a boat tour)
  • Island hop and look for whale sharks on a Honda Bay eco-tour
  • Explore Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park
  • Scuba in Bacuit Bay
  • Check out Ugong Rock spelunking and/or ziplining

If you’re dreaming of paradise, check out Coron, Palawan in the Philippines.  

Budget: $1,000

Destination: La Paz, Mexico

On the eastern side of the Baja peninsula, laidback La Paz pulls off the rare feat of retaining an authentically Mexican vibe that’s also surprisingly cosmopolitan. The city itself is not quite as buffed out as some resort destinations to its south, but that’s part of La Paz’s beauty. Baja California Sur’s capital now blends old-world charm, sophisticated eateries and shops, and a rising bohemian influence. Plus, the beaches are stunning!

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Think clear, teal-green water, quiet coves, and swimmable waters — thanks to a peninsula sheltering the shores from the Sea of Cortez. Stroll the Malecón, a few miles of the recently revamped, boardwalk-like waterfront sprinkled with beaches, art, parks, ice cream, and more. Head inland for ATV tours in the desert, or hit the water for all manner of adventure, like kayaking and deep-sea fishing. As you explore the coast and islands, keep an eye out for sea lions, too. 

Must-dos (beyond beach days):

  • Take a snorkeling tour to Espíritu Santo Island
  • Rent a paddleboard at gorgeous Playa Balandra
  • Check out the new Baja California Sur Museum of Art (reservations may be required)
  • Soak up some local culture at Plaza Constitución, a.k.a. Jardín Velazco, where you may happen upon a concert or fair
  • Golfers should consider heading two hours south to Cabo San Lucas for top-ranked links

 For your peaceful Baja getaway, check out these accommodations on VacationRenter.

Budget: $2,500

Destination: Anna Maria Island, Florida

Pack your flip-flops and get ready to kick back and relax at this unspoiled, seven-mile barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico. Forget high-rise developments and superhighways! Natural shores of ivory beaches and aquamarine waters are accompanied by charming, boutique-lined villages and historic piers, where both chic and casual restaurants source their fish du jour.

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If that doesn’t help you get into a chilled-out holiday vibe, the maximum speed limit of 35 mph will. Get hooked on some serious deep-sea fishing — think snapper and blackfin tuna — or paddle into the waters for rare glimpses of manatees and not-so-rare dolphin sightings. Dine outdoors at the iconic Rod and Reel pier or the Sandbar Restaurant, or just picnic and sunbathe atop the sugary sand.

Must-dos (beyond beach days):

  • Set sail for a dolphin-watching tour
  • Kayak Robinson Preserve
  • Stroll Bridge Street and Pine Avenue for shops, eats, galleries and throwback charm
  • Saddle up for a horseback ride
  • Pop over to a neighboring Key or two via the Intracoastal (by vessel or vehicle)

Prepare to unwind at the perfect-for-you accommodation on Anna Maria Island. 

Budget: $5,000

Destination: Maui, Hawaii

Aloha! The hibiscus-tucked-behind-the-ear, poster child for the ultimate beach vacation — Hawaii has a well-deserved reputation as paradise. The second biggest island in the state, “The Valley Isle” delivers a vast palette of eco-adventure landscapes, from spectacular waterfall-fed pools in the lush rainforest and a towering (dormant) volcano at its interior to dramatic beaches, and top-ranked golf courses along its coast.

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For ocean lovers, the options are virtually limitless: surf, windsurf, boogie board, cliff dive, paddle board, sea kayak, snorkel, scuba, fish, whale-watch, stroll the sand, or just camp out under an umbrella for consecutive days of perfect air-and-water temps. Or head inland for tropical hikes, ziplines, helicopter tours, and more. Maui can cater to whatever your bucket list involves: swimming with sea turtles, learning the hula, sipping a smoothie from a locally grown pineapple, and teeing off with waves crashing in the distance.     

Must-dos (beyond beach days):

  • Surf learner wavesin sheltered Kihei, and for the pros, test your mettle at Jaws
  • Hike 10,023-foot Haleakala at sunrise (reservations required)
  • Take a snorkel or scuba tour to crescent-shaped Molokini (or DYI snorkel at Makena)
  • Golf Kapalua’s Plantation Course
  • Explore the road to Hana

Time for surfing at sunrise and/or mai tais at sunset? Escape to stunning Maui.  

Budget: Unlimited

Destination: Byron Bay, Australia

A survey-topping dream destination, “The Land Downunder” hosts some of the world’s most spectacular beaches as well as arguably the No. 1 oceanic attraction anywhere: The Great Barrier Reef. By loosening the ol’ purse strings, you can cover a great deal of Aussie sand, waters, and Outback, too. With beautiful Byron Bay as an initial basecamp, head north along the Gold Coast and continue all the way to the reef in The Coral Sea (don’t overlook the Whitsundays) or venture south to iconic beaches, like Bondi.

byron-bay-australia

Don’t miss rainforests as well as sacred interior landscapes such as Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock. Whether you prefer happening cityscapes like Sydney or Melbourne, untamed wilderness, wine country, or eucalyptus-scented mountains, keep in mind that Australia this massive island is roughly the same size as the continental United States. In other words, carve out as much vacation time as possible, and don’t forget the reef-friendly sunscreen!

Must-dos (beyond beach days):

Need the perfect Aussie accommodation? No worries, mate. VacationRenter’s got you covered.