Looking for a Florida beach vacation that won’t break the bank? We’ve discovered the best spots along Florida’s coast where you can enjoy sun-kissed scenery and beachfront accommodation without the hefty price tag. These cheaper beach alternatives offer fewer crowds and easy access to white-sand beaches, budget-friendly attractions and low-cost outdoor adventures, from seashell collecting and snorkeling to activity-filled state parks. Satisfy your desire for sun, sand and surf at these top affordable beach destinations in Florida.
Amelia Island and nearby Fernandina Beach offer a vacation for when you want to get away from it all. Your days here can be spent searching for seashells on the white-sand beach, strolling the historic downtown area’s collection of charming shops or signing up for a memorable horseback riding tour along the shore at sunset. History enthusiasts can marvel at the well-preserved Civil War-era fort at Fort Clinch State Park, while Boneyard Beach in Big Talbot Island State Park is a dream for photographers with unique landscapes. Feeling thirsty? Stop by The Palace Saloon for a cold one—it’s Florida’s longest operating saloon.
Where to Stay: Hampton Inn Amelia Island at Fernandina Beach offers family-friendly accommodation just one block from the beach, with complimentary breakfast and an outdoor pool.
If you love searching for colorful seashells along a quiet shoreline, Sanibel Island is the perfect beach vacation destination for you. Known as the “Shelling Capital of the World,” you’ll find visitors from around the world scouring places like Bowman’s Beach for whatever unique pieces of treasure that have washed up. This laid-back area boasts small-town vibes, where you can take day trips to the wildlife haven JN Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge or kick back on the pristine shoreline along Lovers Key State Park and nearby Captiva Island.
Where to Stay: Sanibel Island Beach Resort is just steps from the shore, offering spacious suites, on-site restaurants and a pool.
New Smyrna Beach
Located 15 miles south of Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach is a local favorite with a less-crowded shoreline where you can play in the surf in peace. Known for its wide, white-sand Atlantic beaches and charming sidewalk cafes, there’s plenty of budget-friendly activities to keep you busy, from shopping and golfing to fishing, hiking and biking. Join an exciting eco-tour of the Indian River Lagoon or visit the Marine Discovery Center to learn more about the area’s wildlife, then take a stroll along the beach’s boardwalks and see if you can spot native birds and gopher tortoises.
Where to Stay: Sea Vista Resort is perfect for families with affordable beachfront apartments and outdoor pool, while couples will love the romantic rooms and easy access to the beach at Anchor Inn NSB Bed & Breakfast.
Sarasota is one of Florida’s most underrated vacation destinations, offering a seemingly endless array of cultural attractions. Spend a day exploring the circus memorabilia at the John Ringling Museum of Art, observe gators and other local wildlife in Myakka River State Park or go window shopping along St. Armand’s Circle. You’re spoiled for choice with nearby beaches, from the award-winning pure crushed quartz sand at Siesta Key and surfable waves at Lido Key to the family-friendly facilities at Coquina Beach in nearby Bradenton.
Where to Stay: Hyatt Place Sarasota/Bradenton Airport is located near Sarasota’s top attractions, while Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach and Twin Palms of Siesta Key are great options for those who want to be close to the beach.
Skip the expensive prices in Key West and the crowds in Key Largo and head to Marathon instead, a picturesque Florida Key considered a hotspot for divers, water sports enthusiasts and fishing excursions. It’s a great place to enjoy an affordable beach vacation in Florida, from snorkeling adventures at Sombrero Beach and standup paddleboarding or kayaking tours with Captain Hook’s Aquatic Learning Center to scenic bike rides along the Old Seven Mile Bridge to Pigeon Key. Only a 20-minute drive away, don’t miss the award-winning beaches at Bahia Honda State Park.
Where to Stay: Unwind at Tranquility Bay Beachfront Hotel & Resort, where the two and three-bedroom beach houses and luxury on-site facilities offer a tranquil retreat.
Clearwater Beach is arguably one of the most popular beaches in Florida, but with it comes a wide array of activities that allows you to tailor your vacation based on your travel budget. Stretch out and soak up the sunshine along the white sand, then meet marine animals at Clearwater Marine Aquarium or catch the nightly celebrations with musicians and street performers at Sunsets at Pier 60. You can also take day trips to other beaches, including Caladesi Island, Pass-a-Grille Beach and Fort De Soto Park.
Where to Stay: Pier House 60 Clearwater Beach Marina Hotel is a great alternative to the more expensive Clearwater hotel options, only a five-minute walk from the beach. Don’t forget to cap off your day with sunset views at the hotel’s 10th-floor rooftop bar, Jimmy’s Crow’s Nest.
Beach enthusiasts will delight at the white-sand shoreline of Naples, which is fringed by turquoise Gulf waters and offers easy access to an array of family-friendly attractions. Lowdermilk Beach features a playground and picnic tables, while Naples Pier and Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park are great places to enjoy leisurely strolls and dolphin spotting. Kids will love the water slides at Sun-N-Fun Lagoon, while Naples Botanical Garden showcases colorful flora and fauna in 170 acres of lush gardens.
Where to Stay: Just a half-mile from the beach, Hilton Naples features an outdoor pool and popular steakhouse restaurant. For access to a luxurious day spa, a private beach and multiple outdoor pools, stay at Naples Grande Beach Resort.
Located along Florida’s alluring Space Coast, Melbourne Beach is home to a string of unspoiled beaches perfect for a summer vacation. Get out on the water with a day of snorkeling or fishing, then stroll the shops and restaurants lining the historic Downtown Melbourne area. Try your hand at surfing at Sebastian Inlet State Park or take a day trip to Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge to learn about sea turtle conservation and nesting season. Craving a classic diner-style burger, fries and milkshake? Head to Burger Place, a local favorite in Melbourne.
Where to Stay: Radisson Suite Hotel Oceanfront is set along a picturesque stretch of beach, offering spacious suites with oceanfront balconies and a poolside bar. Enjoy the view from the floor-to-ceiling windows in the rooms at Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place, which also features an outdoor pool and tennis court.
Once dubbed the “Most Fun Small Town in America” by USA Today, Delray Beach is a beautiful coastal town around 50 miles north of Miami. Outdoor enthusiasts will love surfing, kayaking, sailing and snorkeling at the pristine beach, while culture vultures can experience tea ceremonies at Morikami Musem & Japanese Gardens and admire contemporary artwork at Cornell Art Museum. Enjoy retail shopping along East Atlantic Avenue, then stroll the boardwalk at Wakodahatchee Wetlands for a chance to see birds, turtles and alligators.
Where to Stay: Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Sundy House is a historic Queen Anne-style bed and breakfast that dates back to 1902. You’ll find individually decorated rooms with kitchenettes, patios and Jacuzzis.
Panama City Beach
With 27 miles of picture-perfect coastline, Panama City Beach is far more than its former “spring break” reputation. If you’re a surfer, diver or nature lover, this northwest Florida destination has plenty of affordable activities to choose enjoy, from snorkeling and kayaking in St. Andrews State Park to dolphin watching on the undeveloped Shell Island. Enjoy a romantic sunset boat cruise or hire dive gear and explore the “Wreck Diving Capital of the South”, then dine on locally caught seafood at Hook’d Pier Bar & Grill.
Where to Stay: Traveling with the family? Days Inn by Wyndham Panama City Beach/Ocean Front is located on the beach and offers upgraded suites with separate living areas, while private balconies and an oceanfront pool at Bikini Beach Resort also boast stunning Gulf of Mexico views.