Ahhhh summer vacation.
To my family, this means lazy days on the water, relaxing and enjoying the company of family and friends. Pools, beaches and lakes all get the job done!
Summer is a great time to escape together as a family. And this year, there are plenty of amazing deals out there, making a fabulous and important family getaway more accessible than ever before.
After consulting my travel industry friends and scouring the web for the best deals, I’ve discovered some amazingly cheap options for summer beach vacations this year.
The good news is it’s not too late to plan and book your family’s summer getaway. If you’re looking to book a family beach vacation this summer, consider heading to the southern United States, or even Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America, for the best off-peak season deals. Airline travel packages are also very inexpensive right now, and a good way to stretch your vacation dollar. Or stick close to home and explore regional lakes.
Do you represent a destination or hotel with a cheap summer vacation package that would appeal to families? I’d love to know about it!
Here are the 20 best cheap summer family vacations at the beach for 2015.
St John, US Virgin Islands from $93 per night
Flying to the U.S. Virgin Islands is always a little pricey, but flights are at their cheapest during the summer months. Between May and December, Cinnamon Bay Campground on St. John is a screaming deal for families. Kids under 16 stay free with paying adults. Kids love this eco-resort camp with platform tents connected by a series of wooden walkways. The beach alone offers enough fun to keep the kids busy with swimming, sailing and snorkeling in the waters protected by the US Virgin Islands National Park.
Book it! Cinnamon Bay Campground is considered the best campground in the Virgin Islands, and perhaps in all of the Caribbean.
Key Largo, Florida from $169 per night
Consider booking a vacation rental in the Florida Keys. Key Largo, the first and northernmost of the Florida Keys, is only about a one-hour drive from the Miami airport but feels like a world away. All you’ll need here is a rental car and some sand toys for a relaxing, inexpensive family beach vacation this summer.
Or, consider Hawks Cay Resort, a family favorite located on Duck Key with beautiful rooms and family suites starting at $229 per night.
With 22 acres of soft white sand, family-friendly accommodations, onsite water sports, four restaurants and more, Roberts Grove Beach Resort in Placencia, Belize, is a perfect family beach getaway. Kids love the three fresh water pools as well as the private beach, but don’t miss out on local tours of the Mayan Ruins and nearby towns and villages. Rooms have mini-fridges and plenty of room to spread out. Plus, kids 12 and under always stay free!
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic from $204 per night (including flights!)
The Dominican Republic is an up-and-coming beach destination know for easy access and affordable prices year round. Santo Domingo is the capital of the Dominican Republic. At the heart of the city is the Zona Colonial, where you’ll find one of the oldest churches, charming cobblestone streets and the oldest surviving European fortress among other New World firsts.
For many vacations, airfare is the largest expense. Consider booking a package through an airline, who often subsidize the price of the airfare in combination with ground services like hotels and tours.
Book it! The Be Live Experience Hamaca Beach offers excellent value for money. Superior rooms start at only $167 per night.
For an amazing deal, book a vacation through American Airlines vacations and stay at The Hilton Santo Domingo, a luxury hotel right in Santo Domingo with a pool on site. Beaches are about 30km away, and day excursions can be booked via the hotel’s concierge.
San Juan, Puerto Rico from $133 per night (including flights!)
Americans don’t need a passport to escape to this tropical island that is a territory of the U.S. Thanks to the addition of new and increased services from airports around the U.S. in recent months, flights to Puerto Rico are now among the cheapest to the Caribbean. Expect to find deals on flights and hotels during the summer months, when the Spring Break crowds have left and the deep sea fisherman have not yet arrived.
Book it! Book flights and a stay at The Condado Plaza Hilton in San Juan (Condado), you’ll be close to Condado Beach and San Juan Cathedral. This 4-star resort is close to La Fortaleza , Palacio de Santa Catalina and Puerta de San Juan.
Nicaragua from $147 per person per night
Skip Costa Rica, Nicaragua’s more expensive neighbor, and instead spend a week or two exploring this up and coming destination.
Today, Nicaragua is safe, friendly and affordable. You’ll find access to high-quality health care with several highly specialized hospitals, especially in the greater Managua area, and self-driving in Nicaragua is easy. This is a destination best explored when you can take your time.
Book it! I love the team at Vapues, an in-country Nicaraguan tour operator, for their great prices and fast, friendly correspondence.
Lake McConaughy, Nebraska from $145 per night
Nebraska’s largest reservoir at 35,700 acres, Lake McConaughy is a surprisingly large lake in the heartland of the United States. Camp right on the lake’s white sandy beaches, and rent a pontoon boat and spend a full day exploring the shores of this largely uninhabited area. Located 9 miles north of Ogallala, the lake offers excellent fishing, boating, and camping.
Book it! Book one of these fully-furnished cabins for a comfortable place to sleep for the whole family, including a full kitchen and an escape from the wind, which can be pretty intense here from time to time.
Clear Lake, Iowa from $125 per night
Travel to Clear Lake, Iowa for a good, old-fashioned Midwestern lake experience. Rent a condo or cabin in Clear Lake and spend the days swimming and boating in the calm, clear waters.
Book it! Your best bet in Clear Lake is to book a vacation rental, like this one from VRBO.
Lake Tahoe, California from $108 per night
Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America, making it an ideal destination for a summertime beach vacation. With 72 miles of tranquil sandy beaches, snow-capped mountains and crystal-clear water, these beaches provide a breathtaking backdrop for beach lovers.
Enjoy the soft sandy beaches at Zephyr Cove or the beautiful backdrop of Emerald Bay. If you’re keen to get off the beaten path, check out one of the boat-only-access campgrounds offer a camping experience. Large outdoor pavilions with covered seating create the perfect venue for barbecues, corporate events, weddings and receptions.
Book it! Families love the Aston Lakeland Village Beach and Mountain Resort for their full schedule of kids programming and an on-site kids club.
Charleston, South Carolina from $99 per night
Wild Dunes is an island resort near Charleston, South Carolina. Relax with your family along the serene Isle of Palms, South Carolina beach or one of the resort’s pools. Choose from vacation homes and condo rentals with a variety of views and locations along the resort, the AAA Four Diamond Village at Wild Dunes guest suites or AAA Four Diamond Boardwalk Inn guestrooms both located in the heart of the resort for your summer family beach vacation.
Riviera Maya, Mexico from $261 per adult per night
The area known as the Riviera Maya stretches along the Eastern coast of Mexico, starting in Cancun and extending South through Playa del Carmen almost all the way to Tulum. Mexico’s Riviera Maya is super easy to access, safe, and offers a wide range of accommodations, including plenty of comfortable vacation rentals perfect for families and multi-generational groups.
Book it! I loved the Paradisus Esmerelda for families. Kids love the on site cultural activities and unique classes ranging from tango lessons to sushi-making classes. This summer, kids stay free at this amazing all-inclusive resort. Consider booking one of the swim up rooms for the best experience!
San Diego, California from $112 per person per night (including flights!)
Consistent sunny weather and 70 miles of magnificent coastline are what draw active families to San Diego. Mission Beach, La Jolla and Coronado are all perfect places to spend a leisurely day with the family.
Book it! Expedia has excellent flight + hotel packages this summer. This package includes 7 nights at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort offers amenities for the whole family.
Ixtapa, Mexico from $119 per person per night
Ixtapa and the sister-city of Zihuatanejo both offer some of the best beaches on the Western Pacific coast of Mexico. Here you’ll find soft, golden sand and amazing sunsets. This health-concious region is also a great place to stay active by surfing, hiking or joining a fabulous yoga class on the beach.
Book it! If you’re looking for a larger resort with plenty of family-friendly amenities, The Club Med Ixtapa has continuously high marks among traveling families.
Los Cabos, Mexico from $159 per night
The Mexican beach towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, commonly referred to as one combined destination of Los Cabos, is a popular family destination. From getting up close and personal with wildlife, to pirate-themed boat rides, there is plenty for kids to do in Los Cabos.
Book it! Many hotels in this area have been closed since the hurricane in 2014 and are offering some amazing “re-opening” specials during the summer of 2015, like this package at the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos Resort.
Ocean City, Maryland
If miles of beach and a famous wooden boardwalk lined with shops and restaurants are calling, Ocean City is the spot for you and your family. From fishing charters to kayaking to jet-skis, the options of this great destination seem endless.
Book it! The Princess Royale offers direct access to Ocean City MD beachfront and has a 4 story indoor atrium. This hotel has been around for a long time and has 4 star+ ratings on TripAdvisor and Google.
St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, Port St. Joe, Florida from $24 per night
A little-known beach on the Florida Panhandle with 10 miles of white sand and spectacular sunsets. St. Joseph Peninsula State Park is a fun, inexpensive beach getaway. If your family is into camping, this is an ideal spot to pitch a tent and enjoy an extremely cheap beach vacation this summer.
Book it! If you would prefer not to camp, the El Governor Motel, in the nearby town of Mexico Beach, is a 50-minute drive from St. Joseph Peninsula State Park. All 120 guest rooms include balconies and sweeping views of the Gulf; amenities include a beach-side pool and a tiki bar. The motel runs a campground directly across the street.
Oval Beach, Michigan from $120 per night for a cottage
Surprisingly, the state of Michigan boasts some of the longest stretches of white sandy beach anywhere in America. The state’s Western shore bordering Lake Michigan is home to gems like Saugatuck Michigan’s Oval Beach. Here you’ll find lovely sand dunes and beautiful sunsets that set the stage for a perfect family beach vacation.
Book it! The Beachway Resort is the closest hotel to Lake Michigan’s Oval Beach. Situated between downtown Saugatuck and Lake Michigan overlooking the Saugatuck Harbor, this family-friendly hotel is a great option.
Have you discovered a great summer family beach vacation deal? I’d love to know about it! Leave me a comment below. Happy travels!