Our family really loves the beach. It’s a good thing we live on the East Coast, where terrific beaches are everywhere. Sometimes we can only get away to the beach for a weekend. But our best beach trips are week-long family vacations. We spend sun-filled days gathering seashells, soaking up the sun and riding the waves. After a late dinner at one of our favorite seafood restaurants, we head back to walk along the boardwalk after dark. With so many great beaches, how will we ever choose just one?
Which Beach Is Best?
The toughest decision to make when planning a beach trip is picking the perfect beach. Myrtle Beach is one of the favorites, but you have to drive to get to most of our favorite attractions. Many of our favorite hangouts at Virginia Beach are located along the boardwalk so we can park once and then enjoy a stroll. The Outer Banks of North Carolina have always held a special place in my heart. Unless we really want to visit a particular beach, we let price determine our destination.
With Travelzoo, The Price Is Right
Since there are so many choices, I’ll start with Travelzoo.com and check for special deals. I receive weekly Top 20 emails with lots of special deals. I’ll keep an eye out each week for summer bargains at any of our favorite beaches. I follow several Myrtle Beach and Outer Banks pages on Facebook and watch for specials there too.
Myrtle Beach Tips
If we decide on Myrtle Beach, I’ll check VisitMyrtleBeach.com to find everything from coupons and hotel deals to campground information, free stuff to do, family restaurants, maps, contests and lots more. This website has helped us plan a fun-filled beach trip more than once.
Virginia Beach Planning
If Virginia Beach wins out, I’ll visit VirginiaBeach.com to find the best bargains. Virginia Beach offers something for everyone. From hotels and rental houses to event information, this website is packed with everything we’ll need to fall in love with Virginia Beach all over again.
Saving Little By Little
By setting aside $50 each paycheck, we save enough for a week at the beach in less than a year. Just like a Christmas club, our vacation club earns a little interest in our credit union account. We also save spare change in a big jar. Once the jar is full, we cash it in and add to our vacation club account.
Groupon Saves Us Money
In addition to being registered on Groupon for local deals, I’ve added my favorite beach cities to my Groupon profile. Whenever there are deals offered at restaurants, hotels or other beach attractions, I’m ready to spring into action. Every little bit we can save helps out. We’ll also save the old fashioned way with free coupon books from the hotel or rental office.
Traveling By Car Means Lots of Space
When we head to the beach, it looks like we’re moving in forever instead of for a week. It’s a good thing we always travel by car. That means we have plenty of space for beach umbrellas and chairs, coolers packed with food for meals and snacks, boogie boards, rafts and plenty of sand toys. Traveling by car also means we can take advantage of bargain shop deals at the beach shops.
Restaurant or Home Cooking?
It’s expensive to go to restaurants for every meal. We always stay somewhere with a full kitchen. We also bring breakfast foods from home. Since we know we’ll be out in the sun, we eat a light breakfast of cereal with toast or muffins most mornings. Our cooler from home carries sandwich fixings and at least one fully prepared dinner to reheat. Lasagna is my favorite since it’s so easy to transport. Having dinner ready for the first night at the beach means we save money and enjoy the first day at the beach. After the first night, we may eat a couple of lunches or dinners at our favorite restaurants, but most of the meals are home cooked favorites.
Minimize the Souvenir Shopping
It’s easy to spend a lot of money at the beach buying souvenirs. Instead of aimless roaming through each souvenir shop, we decide in advance what we plan to buy. Postcards and salt water taffy are always at the top of the list. Key chains are another inexpensive souvenir. By minimizing the souvenir shopping, we save our money for other things we really want.
Ice Cream Night
No matter if we’re walking along the boardwalk, wading in the waves or walking up the sidewalk beside the shops, the smell of waffle cones is everywhere. Saving money while souvenir shopping means there’s a little extra to splurge on ice cream night. A fresh waffle cone filled with my favorite ice cream is the perfect ending to a perfect beach day.
Our summer always includes a trip to visit family in the Midwest. By keeping the cost of our beach trip at a reasonable level, we can enjoy two vacations. I’d never want to pick between visiting family or visiting the beach. Planning ahead and saving money keeps everyone happy.