Best Beaches for Budget-Conscious Travelers

Are you longing for relaxing beach escapes without spending a fortune? Visit discount travel-booking websites to compare offerings and rates. Look for package deals including airfares, rental cars, and hotels costing less than purchasing those components separately. Consider options besides standard accommodations.

Many hostels near major coastal locales feature private rooms with surprisingly cushy amenities. B&Bs and vacation rentals provide varied housing at bargain prices. Check specific destinations’ state, region, island, and park tourism sites to explore sections promoting lodging, attraction, and dining specials.

Select towns and areas near national or state seashores featuring clean but basic motels, cottages, and cabins. For example, Rhode Island’s South County is a more economical Cape Cod replacement. Choose California’s recreation-focused Huntington Beach rather than sophisticated Santa Monica. Consider Florida’s enchanting Panhandle over pricier Miami Beach.

Details on these and other budget-friendly locales and appropriate beachwear will help you plan fun, fashionable getaways to beautiful yet affordable destinations.

dc029Rhode Island: South County
Imagine the hordes of Cape Cod tourists stuck in traffic as you motor leisurely past Rhode Island’s scenic coastal vistas and fishing villages. South County boasts over 20 inviting strands. Narragansett Town Beach’s two full-service pavilions feature surfing lessons and concessions.

Bumper boats, an antique carousel, and batting cages are star amusements at Westerly’s Atlantic Beach Park. South Kingstown’s East Matunuck State Beach is a pristine gem with ample picnic tables. Surprisingly low room rates are available near beaches.

For surfing, choose apparel with adequate coverage that won’t disappear with the waves. Examples include this high-neck women’s tankini swimsuit with skirted bottom in a tempting watermelon shade. The lace crochet ensures lightweight comfort. Also take beach towels and sunscreen.

California: Huntington Beach
Jan & Dean dubbed Huntington Beach “Surf City” in that catchy 1963 hit song. Discover eight miles of stunning sand and famed Huntington Beach Pier, stretching 1800 feet over impressive whitecaps. This cool hangout’s year-round events idolize surfing, volleyball, music, and artistry. Numerous lodging and casual dining options will fulfill your dream of relishing Southern California’s good life. Visit the International Surfing Museum to immerse yourself in its classic vibe.

Before hitting the beach, don this vibrant women’s one-piece bathing suit. The print depicting sunset reflecting on water sets the mood for rippling adventures. This style maintains coverage during vigorous activities, avoiding embarrassing overexposures.

dc030Florida: Gulf Coast Panhandle
Gorgeous sugary sand awaits Gulf Coast tourists. Inexpensive hotels and eateries line Pensacola’s shores. Enjoy unique attractions like diving to explore sunken shipwrecks, or marveling at elite Blue Angels jet fighter pilots flying in the exciting air shows.

Destin is a charming escape with dockside cafes and fishing boats enhancing its oceanfront appeal. Grayton Beach, St. Andrews, and St. Joseph Peninsula rank among the country’s most beautiful state parks. Other thrifty sites include Panama City and South Walton.

Pack hats and swimsuit cover-ups for sun and wind protection. Swimsuit Direct’s vast selection of women’s tops, dresses, skirts, and pants boasts many popular colors and patterns to coordinate or contrast with swimwear. Neutrals like black and white are versatile choices that complement any bathing suit. Florals and other fun prints make subdued to bold impressions. Coverage spans from concealing suits partially to completely.

U.S. Virgin Islands: St. John
Skip the luxury-priced Caneel Bay Resort in spectacular St. John. Instead, look for bargains like platform tent camps sharing communal restrooms. Or step up to eco-studio units or villas at Estate Concordia Preserve and Maho Bay featuring kitchens and private restrooms. You’ll frequent the same magnificent Caribbean beaches as wealthy patrons while spending just a tiny portion of their exorbitant lodging costs.

Casual sandals are protective and fashionable beach necessities for all ages. Swimsuits Direct carries flip-flop and sling-back styles with flat and wedge soles. Women will admire embellishments like metallic and studded straps. Color-coordinate an extensive shade spectrum with other beachwear. Patterns range from cool graphics to animal prints for adults and favorite cartoon characters for kids.

Belize: Ambergris Caye
A trip to picturesque Belize is a time-travel fantasy that inspires relaxation. The small Central American country’s biggest island, Ambergris Caye, contains a single town. San Pedro’s locals traverse sandy streets on golf carts. Pass up posh resorts in favor of affordable lodging and eateries.

Snorkelers and divers journey here to explore renowned coral reef systems including the world’s second largest and the Western Hemisphere’s longest natural wonders. Wear rash-guard swimwear to enhance underwater comfort.

5 Beach Trips to Take on Holiday Vacation

While the words “beach vacation” may universally inspire images of sand and ocean, there are several other factors that will determine which coastal destination is right for you. Some people want a break from civilization at a distant, exotic locale, while others may want to soak up the shore during the day and hit a downtown party scene once the sun sets. Whether you’re looking for relaxation and peace or high-energy excitement, there are plenty of options for your next beach trip. Here are 5 of the most diverse destinations for a memorable holiday vacation.

1. Barbados

This exotic island is much more accessible than most people realize. Sitting just north of the shores of South America, Barbados is technically part of the Caribbean. Its proximity and the fact that English is the official language make it a convenient place for holiday vacations. Among the Caribbean islands, Barbados offers the most attractions per square mile, making it a perfect destination for those who want to do more than relax on the sand. Here are a few of the entertainment options available:

  • Jeep safaris
  • Submarine tours
  • Ziplines
  • Fine dining
  • Nightlife
  • Golf
  • Spelunking
  • Shopping

There are several more activities, but many visitors choose to relax. Barbados is known for its laid-back style, making it a top choice to unwind for a carefree holiday.

2. Lizard Island

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to stay on a secluded island, Lizard Island may be the perfect vacation spot for you. Located along the Great Barrier Reef, it’s a short flight away from Queensland in Australia. This beach trip is great for those looking for extreme seclusion and pristine waters. The island is home to just one resort with only 40 suites and no cell service. guests can enjoy being completely unplugged from the modern world as they dive with manta rays, seat turtles, dolphins and humpback whales. The lack of visitors means the exotic reef fish are untouched and plentiful. To truly get away from it all, consider a getaway to Lizard Island.

3. Cannon Beach

For those looking for a mountainous, woodsy backdrop to their pristine shores, Cannon Beach in Oregon offers dramatically beautiful views in any weather. This spot is a great place to watch for whales and tour lighthouses. While the Pacific Northwest is cooler than many tropical locations, it can also be more accessible and less crowded than warmer spots. Plenty of visitors each year come to enjoy the unique beauty and refreshing atmosphere of this relaxing locale.

4. Boracay

For those looking for a completely foreign experience, a tiny island south of Manila offers surprisingly modern amenities mixed with a backdrop of ancient civilizations gone by. Five-star resorts welcome travelers who come to relax in yoga studios and day spas or compete on some of the world’s best kite surfing beaches. The blindingly white sand beaches melt into miles of the clear blue waters that are often calm and smooth as glass. The reef protection and swimmable seas contribute to the tranquil ambience of this ultimate relaxation destination.

5. Miami

For a warm-water experience that’s closer to home, many people choose to spend their holidays in Miami. This is an especially popular destination for those seeking vibrant nightlife along with sun-filled days. You can find everything from luxury dining and clubs to beach volleyball tournaments and surfing. For an exciting trip with plenty of options, head to the coastal shores of Miami.

As you’re wondering what to do with your time off work for the holidays, give yourself a vacation to remember with a customized beach trip. Whether you’re looking for relaxation and peace or excitement and fun, you’re sure to find the perfect location for you.

Why Do You Go to the Beach?

We as human beings have been lured to the ocean waves and their accompanying sandy beaches for as long as we can collectively remember. Beachfront and ocean view properties still command top dollar, whether you’re visiting for a few days or trying to settle down for a lifetime—and with good reason. When it comes to the beach, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Are you looking for a family-friendly destination, a party that never ends, a romantic getaway, or just a chance to relax and unwind? Why do you go to the beach?

Soak Up the Sun

For many beachgoers, the answer is simple: they love the sun, and the beach is the perfect place to catch some rays and work on those tans. And while it’s obviously important not to overdo it, getting a little sunshine every day is a fantastic way for your body to naturally maximize its vitamin D production. Just don’t forget your sunscreen and umbrella, and please don’t overdo it when your skin is telling you enough is enough for the day.

Birthdays

If you are lucky enough to live close enough to a local beach, why not have that next birthday party right on the waves? Beach birthday parties can be as extravagant as your imagination—and budget—allows, and most beachside restaurants are more than happy to accommodate birthday parties. If you’d rather be more casual or frugal, simply locate some picnic benches nearby, or bring some folding chairs and blankets. Pack some plates and napkins, don’t forget the cake and camera, and let the party begin!

Destination Weddings

Even though they may be few and far between, destination weddings often coincide with a beach theme. They are the perfect opportunity to appreciate the sun and surf while celebrating a happy union.

Watersports

If you love staying active, the ocean certainly supplies no shortage of physical activities that will help you stay in shape while having fun. Here are just a handful of ideas:

  • Swimming
  • Boating
  • Kayaking
  • Snorkeling
  • Canoeing
  • Surfing
  • Parasailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Frisbee
  • Volleyball

For the littlest ones in our lives that may still be too young for some of these advanced watersports, fun on the beach can be as simple as collecting seashells, flying a kite or building sandcastles.

Romantic Retreats

It may be the epitome of clichés, but there is still something undeniably romantic about long walks on the beach with a loved one. You can be sure to find the perfect place for you and your special someone near the ocean—whether that’s a charming cottage right on the waves, a luxurious oceanfront hotel, or anything in-between. Many happy couples simply cannot stand to be away from the water for too long, and wind up buying ocean vacation properties or timeshares as a result!

Single and Mingling

Let’s face it—for many individuals, beaches are perfect opportunities to show off our bodies and take inventory of the local singles scenes. Take advantage of your natural surroundings; sand is perfect for naturally exfoliating your legs and feet, and seawater is amazing for the elasticity of your skin.

If you’re trying to attract that cute new love interest your way, the competition can be fierce, so you’d better dress to impress. SwimSuitDirect has suits and cover ups of all shapes, colors and sizes. Look your very best, smile, and you’re bound to turn some heads!

No Reason At All

Who says you need any particular reason at all to appreciate the beach? Grab your favorite swimsuit, flip-flops, a good book, and your towel. Make your way to your favorite spot on the ocean for some much-needed time for yourself. Relax and enjoy—you’re worth it!

5 of the Most Stunning Beaches in Europe

Vacationers seeking warm waters, blue seas and unpolluted sands often flock to the beaches in Europe. Pack your bathing suit and sunscreen and enjoy one of these stunning seaside gems.

Navagio Beach in Greece

This romantically secluded cove on the coast of Zakynthos bears many names, including “Shipwreck Beach” and “Smuggler’s Cove”. You’ll need a boat to access the beach, which is surrounded by sheer limestone cliffs. Enjoy the crystal clear water as you approach the white, sandy shore.

Isola Bella beach in Italy

On the northeast edge of the island of Sicily, Isola Bella literally means “Beautiful Island”. A narrow path connects the island to the mainland when the tide is low. Its pebbled beach has long been a popular destination for sunbathers, who enjoy the temperate waters and beautiful vistas.

Our Lady Beach in France?

Southern France is famed for its beautiful beaches and beautiful people. While Nice is nice, vacationers hoping to escape the crowds will enjoy this family-friendly destination. The water here is clean and warm, and the fresh scent of the nearby pine forest mingled with the sand and salty water creates a heavenly aroma.

Marinha Beach in Portugal

On the Atlantic coast of Caramujeira, this beach is so lovely it has been featured internationally in television shows and advertising campaigns. Its stunning rocks and cliffs add drama to the pristine sand and foamy blue surf. Often called the “Golden Beach”, it is the perfect place for sunbathing, swimming and sandcastles.

Sveti Stefan in Montenegro

Another Mediterranean treasure, Sveti Stefan is one of the top beaches of the famed resorts of Montenegro. Sveti Stefan is a pink, sandy islet on the Adriatic Sea connected to the mainland by a thin isthmus. Guests who want to stay and play will find gorgeous accommodations at the nearby Villa Milocer.

Whether you like to frolic in the sea or relax on the sand, you’re sure to enjoy the view at these breathtaking European beaches.

7 Easy Snacks for a Fun Beach Trip

If you are planning to go the beach, don’t forget to check your beach bag before you leave home. Besides packing your swimsuit, sandals and beach towel, don’t forget to include some snacks. Here are seven easy snacks you should take along with you.

Nuts

Cashews, almonds, and peanuts are very portable snack that you can take anywhere, especially to the beach. You can mix them up or eat them alone to keep hunger away.

Fruit

Freeze or enjoy your favorite fruits fresh or dried when you go to the beach. Fruits that hold up well include grapes, apples, oranges, and bananas.

Veggies

Chop up your favorite veggies into small pieces or purchase their bite size counterparts. Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery sticks and bell pepper are tasty snacks that go great with hummus, guacamole or salad dressing.

DIY Trail Mix

Purchase it already made or prepare your own with some granola and nuts. Add a little natural sweetness by drizzling a little honey onto your granola and nuts before popping them into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Add some dried fruit for more flavor and nutrients.

Jerky

Jerky is full of protein and can help to keep you full and energized while you’re playing in the sand. It doesn’t matter if you like turkey, beef or chicken, you can find jerky in many different mouthwatering flavors.

Chips

Baked veggies, such as sweet potatoes or kale taste great as chips. Once they are out the oven, sprinkle them with a little salt, black pepper or cinnamon before placing them into a sandwich bag.

Muffins

Muffins can be purchased or made fresh. You can freeze them until you are ready to eat them. When you’re ready to go, grab a few out of the freezer and drop them in your bag after packing them into little baggies. They’ll thaw fast and be ready for you to eat by the time you get to the beach.

When it comes to choosing snacks for a beach trip, always try to choose foods that are light, filling and easy on your stomach.

Best Beach Vacations to Take During the Holiday Season

The holiday season is a magical time, but it can also be stressful and overwhelming. More people are making plans for beach vacations, especially during the holidays. You don’t have to leave the holidays behind. Many resorts are fully decked out to celebrate the holidays in a relaxed and uncomplicated atmosphere. Here are just a few amazing ideas for holiday beach vacations:

  • The Bahamas Out Islands. For a true Bahamas experience, the Bahamas Out Islands are packed with seemingly endless beaches, natural wonders and wildlife with a variety of uniquely Bahamian resorts and boutique hotels.
  • Belize. The best Belize beach vacations include the island of Ambergis Caye. Activities include diving, fishing, snorkeling and boating. Golf carts are the main form of transportation on this island.
  • Costa Rica. For a seriously fun and affordable place to visit around the holidays, this country hosts one of the most traditional Christmas celebrations in the region. The best beaches in Costa Rica are a wonderful mix of surfers, hippies, scuba divers and nature lovers.
  • Myrtle Beach. Continually ranked as one of America’s best holiday beach vacation destinations, you can find unique nightlife, endless golf courses and over 60 miles of sandy shores.
  • The U.S. Virgin Islands. If you want a perfect place to hide away from the hustle and bustle of the holidays or are looking for a trip filled with exotic adventures, the beaches on the three distinct islands provide picturesque beaches and amazing food.

If the holiday allure is disappearing, plan an escape to a balmy destination. This year, trade your winter hassles for sand castles by gifting yourself with the best present: a fabulous holiday beach vacation. Some of the best beach vacations are more affordable than you might think. In no time at all, you will be ready to head where warm waters, beaches and outdoor adventures await you. So pack up the family, the sunscreen and your swimsuit and head south this holiday season!

How to Plan an Ideal Beach Trip

Looking great in your new swimwear from Swimsuits Direct is only the first step in having a perfect day at the beach; you’ll also need to do a little planning. Here’s a look at some items you won’t want to forget.

  1. Food and Drinks

If you have children, you know this is the first priority when it comes to a pleasant day out. Kids like to eat and get drinks often. If they don’t have food when they are hungry, the day can quickly spiral downward. Pack picnic fare, but also have some healthy snacks to keep them fueled: It can take a lot of energy jumping over waves.

  1. Equipment

Of course you’ll remember the sunscreen and beach towels, but there are plenty of other goodies to make the day run smoothly. Bring along:

  • Beach chairs: it can get tiring standing or sitting without back support, especially for adults
  • Hats and sunglasses: your weary eyes will thank you
  • Camera: you’ll want to remember that epic sand castle
  • Goggles: little ones can get a closer look at the underwater world
  • Beach umbrella: a little shade goes a long way on a hot day
  • Cooler: keep the drinks cool and refreshing
     
  1. First Aid Kit

From aloe vera gel to soothe sunburns to lip balm for cracking lips, a first aid kit can keep everyone more comfortable should the need arise. Include basics like bandages and acetaminophen as well as gas relief tablets and antidiarrheal medicine, in case the burger shack fries don’t agree with you.

  1. Toys

Digging in the sand or collecting hermit crabs is much easier and enjoyable if you have the proper tools. Bring along pails and shovels, and a few re-sealable plastic bags for any treasures. Water guns can be fun for the kids and adults.

Being prepared is the key to having a great day at the beach, no matter the age of the beach-goers. Pack the essentials, but also remember a few comfort items to help the day go off without a meltdown.

How Much Time Should You Really Spend in the Sun?

Counter to most reports, exposure to the sun is not all bad. There are some good reasons for soaking up some rays, such as helping regulate your internal clock, adjusting your mood and positively affect your health. However, too much sun is harmful, increasing the risks of skin cancer for anyone spending extended periods of time outside without wearing sunscreen or covering up. So if you are outside for extended periods, don’t forget to put on the sunscreen when you’re putting on your swimsuit.

Safe Sun Exposure Recommendations

While a little bit of exposure to the sun is enjoyable, overexposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation can result in a painful sunburn. This can lead to dangerous health problems, including premature skin aging, cataracts, immune system suppression, and skin cancer. Children are especially at risk. So how much time should you spend in the sun? Following are some safe sun exposure recommendations for experiencing the outdoors without exposing yourself to harm:

  • Try not to burn. Sunburns significantly raise the lifetime risks of skin cancer.
  • Skip tanning beds and sun tanning. UV radiation from the sun and tanning beds cause wrinkling and skin cancer.
  • Wear protective clothing. Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.
  • Apply sunscreen generously. Apply one ounce of sunscreen with a 30 Sun Protection Factor (SPF) or higher to your skin before going outside. Reapply even on cloudy days every two hours, and after sweating or swimming.
  • Use extra caution near water and sand. Water and sand reflect the sun's damaging rays, which can increase your chance of sunburns.
  • Stake out the shade. Look for shade as much as possible, and don't forget that the harmful UV rays from the sun are the most potent between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

It is critical to shield children and young adults from overexposure to the sun. Avoid exposure for babies less than six months old, and dress infants in brimmed hats, lightweight long pants and long-sleeved shirts.

5 Fun Games for Everyone to Play At the Beach

As soon as summer arrives, the beach is the one place everyone wants to go to cool off and have fun. A day on the sand and in the sun is a great time to play some fun beach games. After everyone has the chance to cool off in the water, playing some games can get the whole crowd involved and give them an opportunity to do something novel and different. Take a look at our list of the five fun beach games for everyone to play at the beach the next time you head to the shore.

  1. Beach volleyball. Whether the match is super competitive or casual, everyone will have fun. If you don't have a net, don't worry. Just trace a line in the sand and launch the ball back and forth over it.
  2. Beach golf. Station water bottles, buckets, beach balls and coolers around in the sand. Have players stand at least 15 feet away and try to hit each item with a Frisbee.
  3. Sand darts. Draw a big target in the sand and a line for players to stand behind. Toss shell, pebbles or rocks to try to get as close to the center as possible.
  4. Beach bowling. Use a sand pail to dig holes in the shape of a triangle. Pass out tennis balls to perform as the bowling balls. Players try to roll the tennis balls into the holes to win.
  5. Water balloon toss. This is a fun game involving tossing balloons filled tightly with water. Toss the balloons from person to person until they burst. This a great game for kids and adults who are already in swimming suits.

The beach is a marvelous place to spend time, and there are plenty of fun beach games for all ages of kids. Whether it is just an ordinary day at the beach or a celebration, you can plan a few games to get everyone active and engaged.

Swimsuits Are Not Optional

When you think of California, do you imagine yourself in one of your gorgeous swimsuits from Swimsuits Direct, lounging on the beach with a light breeze blowing over your little spot of land? You should! There are plenty of sandy spots to make your dream day come true, but here are five of the best.

1.     Coronado

For glamorous coastline, it’s hard to beat Coronado’s beaches. You can unroll your towel anywhere along the 1.5 miles of seashore behind Ocean Boulevard and get started on an epic sand castle. Kids and adults can explore the tide pools or hit the water for some bodysurfing or boogie boarding. Sneak a peek at the famous Coronado hotel while you’re there.

2.     Venice Beach

If you prefer a little entertainment while you lounge in the sun, check out Venice Beach. Besides sand and surf, you’ll find street artists, sand sculptors and impressive weightlifters strutting their stuff. Need a snack? You can stroll the concrete boardwalk to find a snack shack.

3.     Newport Beach

Since your swimsuits look like they cost a fortune, you’ll be right at home at Newport Beach. The miles of silky sand play host to million-dollar bungalows, but it’s still a welcoming place for young adults and families.

4.     La Jolla Cove

It may be small, but La Jolla Cove doesn’t skimp on beauty. You’ll find this beach hidden between towering sandstone cliffs, giving it a secluded feel. Bring your snorkeling gear along and enjoy the San Diego La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve.

5.     Hermosa Beach

Beach hopping is not just about relaxing or frolicking in the water. Sure Hermosa has the usual swimming and surfing, but you’ll also find plenty of opportunities for other sand play, like paddleball and volleyball. Joggers, bikers and rollerbladers keep the adjacent paved boardwalk bustling.

Pull out your swimsuits and get ready to enjoy the beaches of California. They have the expected sand and water activities, as well as plenty of other kinds of entertainment.