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Affordable Beach Towns in Florida – Cheap Beach Vacation Tips

Florida has over 1,350 miles of coastline offering endless opportunities to soak up the sun, but the most popular tourist cities can be pretty pricey. Should you look for an inexpensive way to enjoy Sunshine State, here are some affordable beach towns in Florida where you can vacation on a budget.

Anett Victoria - Author of SeaSpiration

Written by Anett Victoria

When it comes to a beach vacation, Anett is the person who certainly has tips on where to go and what to do no matter it is a luxury tropical holiday, a romantic seaside getaway, or a fun family trip to the ocean. As a world traveler with years of experience in exploring tropical countries and a water sports fan, she creates this inspiring site where she writes travel guides, reviews and recommends beach gear, and gives travel tips to make planning your trip quicker and easier! Are you curious about where She wanders now? Follow her adventures on IG too!

Anna Maria Island

Anna Marie Island is a quiet barrier island on the Gulf Coast west of Bradenton. Since Bradenton has such a popular beach area, many people do not drive out to the barrier island beaches. However, it is their loss. This is a beautiful quiet beach where you can enjoy the very warm water, no undertow, and find some of the best shells on the West Coast.

Bradenton beach - Anna Maria island

The island has three smaller communities, Anna Maria, Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach. There several small boutiques and affordable places to eat, and the best is that a free trolley runs up and down so you don’t need to spend money on getting a taxi. If you are looking for a cheap Florida beach town to stay, Anna Maria Island is definitely a place to check out for your next trip!


Exploring the Florida Keys is something you cannot miss on a Florida beach vacation, but we recommend skipping the busy and expensive Key West if you are on a budget.

Marathon consists of 13 small barrier islands between the mainland and Key West and offers tons of free/cheap activities such as snorkeling at Sombrero Beach, kayaking but you can go for a bike ride too along the Old Seven Mile Bridge.

Sombrero beach marathon

While in Marathon, you can also visit the mangroves, and you may even see Key Deer, tiny deer about the size of a dog that is only found in the Keys. You can also visit the Dolphin Research Center or the Museum of Natural History that focuses on the tropics.

New Smyrna Beach

A little south of the famous Florida party beach, Daytona, lies the less-crowded New Smyrna. When looking for the most affordable beach towns in Florida to vacation that are quiet but are still close to the state’s must-visit places, consider coming to NSB, as locals call it.

American flag - New Smyrrna

The pedestrian-friendly Florida beach town of NSB is everything that you could hope for a perfect vacation, from surf shops to unique dining experiences. There is a cute downtown area within walking distance of the beach, where they often hold wine-tasting walks through the area. If you are a nature lover, walk the boardwalks where you can spot tortoises and native birds.

Clearwater Beach

Clearwater can be considered one of the affordable beach towns in Florida where you can do various free and inexpensive activities. This large white sand beach has lots of restaurants and shops around so it is easy to find cheap places when you get hungry or need to buy some beach accessories.

Clearwater beach harbor - Florida

The area is a great place if you love looking for shells and other marine creatures. And the best is, that Clearwater belongs to the handicap accessible Florida beaches so everyone can enjoy its calm waters and laid-back vibes.


Pensacola is not only a cheap beach town in Florida, but the area has the best beaches for families in Florida Panhandle. Pensacola Beach features white silica sand that feels like powder when you walk on it. It is a large area with plenty of room for activities and sunbathing. Part of the beach is designated as a National Shoreline.

Lifeguard station at Pensacola

The Pensacola Beach Boardwalk has everything for a pleasant day. It has fun places to eat, shop, and be entertained. If you prefer a quiet beach experience, visit the nearby barrier island, Perdido Key. With the least-crowded Florida Panhandle beaches, it is an excellent spot to relax or have a picnic while your kids play in the surf.

Cocoa Beach

Lot of budget hotels and condos and free beach fun make Cocoa Beach one of the most affordable beach towns in Florida to vacation on the East Coast. Located by Cape Canaveral, it has been known to be the home of the Astronauts since the 1960s. This area is also very famous as being the home of Kelly Slater World Champion surfer.

Cocoa beach - FL United States

Cocoa Beach has dark sand and a wide beach area. There is a large pier that you can walk out on or going fishing from during the day. It also has some wave action for those who like to surf.

Most people come to Cocoa Beach when there is a rocket launch because it is the perfect location. You are so close to the space center you can even feel the ground rumble when they lift off.

Fort Walton Beach

Fort Walton is overall one of the cheapest beach towns in Florida visit. Located on the Emerald Coast, Fort Walton is home to beautiful white-sand beaches and exceptionally warm and calm water.

This northern Gulf beach town is filled with interesting things to do and see, and you will love how all the buildings in the area are painted pastel colors for an authentic look.

Sunset over Fort Walton pier

There are plenty of affordable places to take the kids for a day-out. You may want to visit the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, a fun and educational theme park with everything from alligators to penguins that you can see, or go to the Emerald Coast Science Center. When it comes to cheap beach vacations in Florida, Fort Walton must be on your list.

Big Pine Key

Big Pine Key is known as one of the most affordable beach towns in Florida we recommend visiting if it comes to a budget family trip to the Keys. It is located about 30 miles north of Key West and is often overlooked as travelers head south through the Keys.

If you love marine life, head to the Bahia Honda State Park which is one of the best beaches to go snorkeling in Florida and you can observe various creatures in calm, shallow waters.

Florida keys overseas heritage trail big pine key

Big Pine Key has the best seafood in the area, and you are guaranteed that it will be fresh. You can also go through the protected area to see endangered birds that call this area their home. If you wish to stay away from the busy (and often overpriced) attractions of Key West, this is the place you cannot miss.

St George Island

St. George Island, a barrier island located off of the Florida Panhandle is another perfect town to enjoy a cheap beach vacation in Florida. The unspoiled coast with sugary sand is a well-kept secret among the locals.

St George island - Florida U.S.

Enjoy a great day in the St. George Island State Park and relax at the quiet beaches. The white soft sands make it perfect for outdoor activities, and the warm Gulf waters are a perfect place to cool down. There are a few places to eat on the island that serve amazing seafood. However, if you are looking for more lively entertainment, you will need to go back to the mainland.

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Cheap beach towns in Florida to vacation