There’s nothing more alluring than a powder-white sand beach, emerald green waters and riveting good read. And by opting for one of these budget-friendly beach destinations, you can enjoy some fun in the sun for longer!
Costa Blanca, Spain
It’s time to rediscover the Costa Blanca, which has been a perennial summer holiday hotspot since the 1960s. With over 200km of balmy Mediterranean coastline there are plenty of pristine white sand beaches framed by turquoise seas waiting. And with over 100 beaches achieving the highly coveted blue-flag award, there’s a beach out there for all occasions and all budgets. The horseshoe bay of Arenal-Javea has shallow waters, ideal for families to swim, is surrounded by cafes and restaurants and has a lifeguard on duty during the summer. Granadella Beach is off the beaten track and more popular with locals. And for some adventurous watersports activities head to the Arenal and Cantal Roig beach at Calpe and the main Benidorm beaches of Levante (sunrise) and Poniente (sunset) which offer parasailing, kite boarding, jet skiing, surfing and kayaking. And if the beachlife all becomes too much there are plenty of other things to do in the Costa Blanca. Hike up Calpe’s Rock in the Natural Park of Penyal d’Ifac, sample the fine local wines at Jumilla and soak up the traditional culture in the town of Murcia.
Rhossili Bay, Wales
Recently crowned the ‘Best beach in the UK’, Rhossili Bay is certain to be popular this summer! Get in early and enjoy a bracing winter walk or soothing springtime stroll along Rhossili Beach. With three miles (4km) of white sand on Wales’ Gower Peninsula, you’ll soon see why this was voted the tenth best beach in the world, beating Hawaiian and Caribbean beaches! Visitors can catch a local flight or train into Swansea just a few miles down the road and stay in Rhossili Village, which was the first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the UK. And diehard Doctor Who fans will be interested to know that both Rhossili and Swansea have featured in the popular BBC series, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year! This is a great value UK break and Swansea is 190 miles west of London, which takes about 3 hours to drive.
Sure, Florida is better known as the home of Disney World, Universal Studios and Cape Canaveral, but the Sunshine State also boasts some fabulous beaches. And with a rock solid tourism infrastructure, is also one of the cheapest beach destinations to explore this year. When all that themepark action gets too much, head to the coast for some sun, sea and sand Florida-style. Dubbed a village-by-the-sea, Delray Beach lies north of Boca Raton and is family friendly with two miles of pristine beach which is prefect for swimming and sunbathing. If you want to watch the rich and beautiful hang out, then head to Naples, which has pristine white sands and rolling waves perfect for watersports, all surrounded by the extravagant mansions of Millionaires Row. And to find out why Clearwater Beach is often touted as the best beach in the USA, head to the Pinellas Peninsula on the Gulf Coast of Mexico, to find out.
The Azores Archipelago lies in the North Atlantic Ocean, 1,500km off the coast of Portugal. The Azores is made up of 9 volcanic islands with Ponta Delgada the capital and largest city, on São Miguel Island. The volcanic soil has created black sand beaches and the most popular in the Azores is Praia Formosa. Santa Maria Island bucks the trend with glorious white sand beaches surrounded by cliffs and coves. Surfing fans should head to São Lourenço beach, which has perfect watersports conditions. And to get away from it all, head to the delightfully secluded Prainha and Praia do Sul beaches. And when you’re ready to head inland, you can try hiking the magnificent Caldeira das Sete Cidades Park at Ponta Delgada, sail and kayak on the Lagoa do Fogo Lake on Sao Miguel Island and try rock-climbing at Algar do Carvao on Terceira. The nine Azores islands of Sao Miguel, Santa Maria, Terceira, Faial, Pico, Sao Jorge, Graciosa, Flores and Corvo offer a budget-friendly European getaway with a difference.
Dominican Republic, Caribbean
The tropical island of the Dominican Republic has long been considered the most cost-friendly island getaway in the Caribbean. And with over 20 miles (32 km) of pure sands swaying with palm trees and surrounded by emerald waters, the Dominican Republic is a dead-cert all year round! The eastern resorts of Punta Cana and Bavaro are the most popular with tourists although most of the beaches are crowded with all-inclusive resorts. There are a great range of watersports on offer though with sailing, snorkelling, deep sea fishing, scuba diving, canoeing, windsurfing, waterbiking and parasailing on offer. Soana Island is more of a getaway which offers ideal swimming and scuba diving opportunities. Cabarete Beach on the north coast is frequently mentioned in the top 10 watersports destinations lists, and rightly so! With perfect north Atlantic sea winds, people flock here for the perfect windsurfing and kitsesurfing conditions. Boca Chica Beach has waterbikes, hobby cats, scuba equipment and kayaks for hire.
The tropical island of Phuket is Thailand’s largest and sits in the southern provinces. With a hedonistic reputation, Phuket is colourful, lively and cosmopolitan, although the more seedy side is never too far away! The most popular area of Phuket is the west coast which had pristine beaches and the turquoise Andaman Sea. There are also plenty of watersports on offer as well as plenty of international resorts, restaurants, bars and shops. Patong Beach is the place to be to experience the 24/7 frenetic party atmosphere for yourself and Kamala Beach is on the opposite scale; deserted and lazy. Head to the undeveloped Mai Khao Beach, enjoy fresh BBQ good at the Surin Beach and check out the budget guesthouses and restaurants of Karon Beach. In all, Phuket is both a rollicking fun island and a pretty cheap destination to boot!