If you are like me, you don't have an unlimited budget when it comes to taking a beach vacation, and a week at the beach in many Florida vacation spots can easily set you back several thousand dollars. There are some things you can do to save a ton of money and still enjoy a nice vacation on a Florida beach.
Finding an inexpensive, clean, comfortable place to stay can be a challenge in some areas. In most beach resort towns you can find lower-priced options. However, they are not always of acceptable quality. For instance, a $79 per night motel along Ft. Lauderdale Beach or Miami Beach might not feel clean, comfortable, and safe to the average person. But a $79 per night hotel room on St. Pete Beach might be just fine. A beach resort area with a larger number of available rentals often offers better opportunities for cost savings, especially during the off-season. For instance, there are some great deals to be had with Fort Myers vacation rentals.
Food in resort areas can be expensive too. We took a trip to Grayton Beach (Beaches of South Walton) in the Florida Panhandle. Finding a reasonably priced breakfast and lunch was no problem. Finding a decent meal for dinner at a reasonable price was quite difficult (We ended up paying $80 for two with no alcohol). That's because it is in a remote, upscale area that caters to people with money.
Had we been in Cocoa Beach, we could easily gotten a nice dinner for $12 per plate, drink included. We encountered a similar problem in Old St. Augustine. Dinner was expensive. But we could drive or walk outside the Historic part of the city that caters heavily to tourists, and find a restaurant with great food at a reasonable price.
Things To Do
Attractions can be expensive, like Disney, Universal Studios, Sea-World, Busch Gardens, or they can be inexpensive or even free. There are lots of inexpensive museums, historical exhibits, marine aquariums, piers, forts, lighthouses, and tours that are dirt cheap. You can spend a thousand bucks for a private fishing charter, or you can enjoy fishing from a pier, beach, or even a fishing party boat that takes 20 people out at once.
A great cheap beach vacation for me is finding a place on the beach for $99 per night, eating oatmeal or bagels and fruit in my hotel room for breakfast and making a sandwich for lunch, then finding a good restaurant where I can buy dinner for $12 per plate. I spend the day either on the beach, or exploring local beach parks, lighthouses, piers, jetties, nature museums, or I take some kind of free or inexpensive tour. Historical exhibits are also very interesting and educational. After dark, instead of heading to a bar or night club, I might take an evening walk around the town, or head out to the beach and enjoy the sound of the surf or watch the moon rise. A nighttime fishing trip on a nearby pier is fun too.
Once you are in Florida, your main expenses are:
Follow the links above to find out how I save money when I'm out beachhunting, and how you can too. As much time as I spend exploring Florida beaches, I have no choice but to go on-the-cheap. All of my cost-cutting techniques may not appeal to you, but I've no doubt that you'll find some helpful suggestions, unless you are already a seasoned cheapskate beach bum like me.
More Florida Beach Vacation Tips
Happiness is a Cheap Florida Beach Vacation
Finding Inexpensive Beach Accommodations
Eating Well on the Cheap at the Beach
Go Mobile, Live Cheap, See More, Stay Longer