How to Plan a Budget-Friendly Beach Vacation

Beach vacations are popular for families, and with good reason; they offer something for everyone.

The beach might be the number one draw, but coastal dining, boating, fishing, hiking and shopping add to the experience. With just a bit of planning, they are also economical.

So, how do you plan a vacation that pleases everyone? Start at Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, of course!

Then decide…

view of beach from balcony

Where to stay

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offer a wide variety of lodging options including budget hotels, high-end hotels, Orange Beach condominiums and Gulf Shores beach houses. Pet-friendly options are even available, so your furry family friend can come along (though dogs are not allowed on the beaches). Numerous dog parks are available for your furry friends.

Planning Tip: If traveling on a budget, don’t rule out condos and beach houses. They offer kitchens, living space and amenities you won’t get at a budget hotel. Staying in a condo or beach house, you can cook your own meals to save money on dining out.

girl eating a pizza

Where to eat

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offer some of the best family-friendly restaurants anywhere. You can’t go wrong with great food, much of it locally sourced, with children’s play areas, outdoor dining and waterfront views. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach restaurants offer cuisine to meet every craving. Check out the Eat Your Way Around the Beach Directory to find the perfect place for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Planning Tip: Take a break from the sun and sand and take advantage of shorter wait times by eating your main meal at lunchtime. As an added bonus, lunch menus are often a few dollars less than dinner menus.

woman kayakingWhat to do

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offer wide, white sandy beaches and warm Gulf waters, a perfect combination for beach-going families. Be sure to look beyond the beach though! The Gulf State Park offers hiking trails on the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail, fishing lakes and golf at a budget-friendly price.

How about looking at the beach from the water? Explore the waterways from your own kayak or paddleboard. Charter a fishing boat and catch your dinner. Make memories that will last a lifetime with a sunset cruise or daytime dolphin tour.

Planning Tip: Choose a splurge activity your family can’t do at home and build the rest of your schedule around that. Book in advance since cruise tours sell out during the summer travel season.

Planning a beach vacation doesn’t get much easier! Start today by ordering your Alabama Coast Vacation Guide. Check the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Dealspage for bonus savings and package deals. Then, use the tips in this article to plan a vacation the whole family will love, even your checkbook!

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