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Articles for ‘Beach Vacation’ Category

Top 5 travel destinations with cheap and enjoyable off seasons

Friday, August 15th, 2014

The same way Canadian geese fly south in late fall, we travel-lusting people of the world all seem to flock to the same locations at the same time—Mexico and the Caribbean in March, Europe in June, Hawaii pretty much anytime of the year.

Fighting the instinctual urge to travel during peak season means cheaper rates and smaller crowds. Avoid paying an arm and a leg; here’s a list of travel-friendly shoulder seasons to take advantage of year-round.

Utah in summer

The Rocky Mountains in general are breath-taking during the summer. Salt Lake City and Park City draw in large numbers of skiers and snowboarders in the winter, so that’s when they make their bread and butter. The summer months see smaller crowds. Ski-centric towns usually drop their hotels rates by $100-$200 during summer and fall. To the southeast and less elevated part of the state, Moab is home to nature-carved red rocks not to be missed. Strike out on a more frugal outdoorsy vacation from June-September to experience some of the best mountain biking, hiking, white water rafting and outdoor concerts in the nation.


Arches National Park, Moab, Utah; Credit: Gautam Dogra ©

New Orleans in late summer and fall

Mardi Gras may only come once a year, but New Orleans is full of life year-round. The absolute cheapest time to go is in the peak of summer, but it’s hit or miss on if you’ll enjoy yourself. It depends on how you feel about extremely damp heat. So let it cool down a tad; plan your jazzy trip for the tail end of summer or early fall. The 4-star JW Marriott New Orleans has rates as low as $149 in August, while they reach a high not at $289 during February festivities. The party on Bourbon Street never actually stops, so be sure to pack your party pants.

New Orleans; Credit: Jeff Turner©

New Orleans; Credit: Jeff Turner ©

Ireland in March

You’d think with St. Patrick’s Day in March, Ireland would be a giant island of festivities and high hotel prices. Actually, the holiday in its homeland isn’t the drinking day it’s become in the U.S. It can cost $200-$300 less to travel during early spring, namely March, than in the summer. Don’t worry about the weather; it’s rare to have anything more than an occasional flurry in Ireland’s winter due to The Gulf Stream, and by March, some of that famous green is starting to regain it’s hue. Book now so you can start planning your itinerary.

Muckross Head, County Donegal, Ireland; Oisin Mulvihill ©

Muckross Head, County Donegal, Ireland; Oisin Mulvihill ©

Mexico in summer

Northern Americans and anyone who shares their latitude, know that the only thing getting them through winter is the dream of a beach vacation in the spring. To Mexico they go! Spring breakers, families, couples, girls weekends, everyone. Except you, you savvy little cheapo, you. All-in-one packages for July travel will only set you back about $800-$900, while the same package in February and March clocks in at $1,000-$1,100. Hold off on the all-inclusive Cozumel package until June or July. It’ll be hot, but you’ll have constant access to a pool and/or beach, and your tan will be legend. Be careful of hurricane season, which is known to pick up in August toward the end of the summer.

Playa del Carmen, Mexico; ramonbaile ©

Playa del Carmen, Mexico; ramonbaile ©

Costa Rica in July and August

Central America is a beautiful destination where most nations are affected by a wet and dry season. Costa Rica’s wet season runs June to November, which leaves it pretty empty of tourists. No one wants to go and get rained on, true, but this wet season acts a lot like an isolated daily shower. July and August typically see the least amount of rain within this time period. The short-lived rains sometimes happen over night and if they strike during the day, it’s usually not enough to ruin your plans.

La Fortuna Falls, Costa Rica; Credit: Kyle May ©

La Fortuna Falls, Costa Rica; Credit: Kyle May ©


Boardroom meets bedroom in a Fort Lauderdale suite

Friday, July 20th, 2012

A room that multitasks: The conference suite at Sheraton Suites Plantation, Ft. Lauderdale West.

By Mara Tilen

We get it. Spending your work week in hotel rooms can get monotonous after a while, but look at the bright side: Sometimes that hotel room is a gateway to a cheap vacation. Case in point: South Florida, a sunny, affordable destination that begs to be explored when the client meetings are said and done. With a thriving nightlife scene, serene spas and a 600,000-square-foot convention center, you’ll feel that much more productive in beautiful surroundings. (more…)

Florida’s cheap thrills, from mermaids to mullet tosses

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

By Valerie Moloney

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Florida is proud of its offbeat status — and cheap vacation deals. Where else would gators, Goths and bats share the same real estate? Expand your Floridian context beyond a Disney vacation this year to experience the sandy underbelly, and go back to your home state with a few quirky tories and a better tan. (more…)

Cheap, cheaper & cheapest: 3 travel deals for Isla Mujeres

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Fertile grounds: Ixchel Beach Hotel in Isla Mujeres is ripe with cheap hotel deals -- and breathtaking views.

By Valerie Moloney

The Mayans were onto something when they named this 5-mile-wide island after the goddess of fertility. With sugary beaches and water tinted the perfect aquamarine, it’s easy to see how lovers could lose themselves in a sea of coral, fresh ocean eats and tequila.Well here’s another reason: price. Isla Mujeres, or the Island of Women, rules as a budget beach destination. Think boutique hotels with some of the same amenities as pricier Cancun hotels – sans the partiers – and on a stretch only accessible by ferry. (more…)

In the pipeline: cheap Hawaii vacations for surfers

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

You won't be surfing Oahu's Banzai Pipeline like the pros, but that doesn't mean you can't get your feet wet. Credit: surfglassy.

By Amy Drew Thompson

Okay, sure. It doesn’t hurt to be born and raised in Hawaii (or blessed with natural talent), but Oahu native John John Florence — at 19, the youngest-ever champion of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing — still had to practice. Where can you get your start? On a cheap Hawaii vacation, of course, learning from natives in the waves where many believe the sport was born.  You might want to avoid the monsters at Sunset Beach and the Banzai Pipeline for now, but there are plenty of kinder, gentler beaches for beginners getting their sea legs. And it never hurts to get a lesson.


Spotting the spouts: Whale watching tips from an expert guide

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Gray whales near Baja, Mexico that interact with humans are called "friendlies." Credit: Jim Dorsey.

By Blane Bachelor

When it comes to whales, especially gray whales, Jim Dorsey knows his stuff. The Los Angeles-based naturalist is trained by the American Cetacean Society and for 15 years has been the resident naturalist in the Gray Whale Nursery of the pristine San Ignacio Lagoon in Baja, Mexico. A popular destination for cheap Mexico vacations, the Baja Peninsula also boasts some of the world’s best whale watching, as its warm, protected waters draw thousands of once-endangered gray whales from January through April. Here, Dorsey offers his years of experience on how to get the best out of any whale watching excursion. (more…)

Year of the Dragon: Chinese New Year in Paradise

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

The Chinese New Year Parade is just part of the month-long celebrations in Honolulu. Credit: Valdezign.

By Erin Behan

Hear that roar? It’s a month of Chinese Lunar New Year festivities in Honolulu getting off to a good start. The year 2012, of course, is the Year of the Dragon, and the celebrations run from Jan. 6- Jan. 21 in Chinatown. The best part about entrance to each of the month’s Chinese New Year events (besides getting in touch with both Chinese and Hawaiian culture)? They’re all free. (more…)

Free local flair and cheap eats at Wailuku’s First Fridays

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Local restaurants cook up specials for Wailuku's monthly street party.

By Erin Behan

There’s nothing wrong with feeling like a tourist in Hawaii, but every once in a while it’s nice experience something like a kama’aina or local, and Wailuku First Friday fits the bill with plenty of local flair. (more…)

Road-trip Oahu: One-tank adventures from Waikiki

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Pretty in paradise: Explore Kualoa Ranch's lush landscape via horseback or ATV tour. Credit: mporter5.

By Amy Drew Thompson

Recent weeks have seen gas prices dropping, even in the Rainbow State — where fuel costs rank among the country’s highest. In Honolulu, prices have dipped below $4 per gallon, making conditions ripe for cruising the scenic Kamehameha Highway to hit out-of-town attractions on a self-guided loop that’ll have you back on the beach for dinner. Fuel up and say aloha to cheap Hawaiian vacations with these Oahu attractions:


Budget travel: Holiday vacation in St. Thomas?

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Make the season merry and bright with a cheap Caribbean vacation to Point Pleasant Resort.

By Valerie Moloney

A girlfriend spent the days after Christmas and before New Year’s with her entire family — 2 brothers and their girlfriends, 3 sisters and their husbands, parents, 2 nieces and a nephew –  in a Los Cabos hotel. While my first instinct was shock at the thought of all of them traveling at the most stressful of times, she countered with, “It was the best vacation of my life.”  No baking. No cleaning up after themselves. Just sun, sand and catching up. (more…)