Sometimes it’s only the salt gently dancing in the air and the sound of crashing waves that can cure the exhaustion of our daily responsibilities. A beach vacation can be the perfect remedy for a family that needs to reconnect and recharge. And, if you go off the beaten path, there are ways it becomes affordable, too. The rooms are nice and, in some cases, spectacular. But who stays in their room on a beach vacay anyway?
Visit the first hotel built in Nuevo Vallarta, a 25-minute drive from bustling Puerto Vallarta, and stay steps from the Pacific Ocean. In the peak season, get a standard room for a family of four for just more than $100. In off season, get it for less than $100. Even the newly built deluxe rooms are less than $150 in peak season. Choose between all-inclusive or a la carte options. There are free daily breakfast buffets. Boogie boards, kayaks and bicycles are available to borrow. A kid’s club gives parents time for romance or adventure. The zen spa features one of the best massages we’ve ever experienced, a bargain at $30 per hour!
Tip: Get your adrenaline kicking at nearby Vallarta Adventures.
Dine: There are four restaurants at the hotel but nearby Dona Tere is also wonderful. Its outdoor playground gives kids a chance to make new friends while parents enjoy a margarita and authentically prepared dishes.
Located just two blocks from world-famous Waikiki Beach, this pet-friendly hotel has a rooftop sun deck with partial ocean views. There are plenty of room categories, easy on budgets, starting at just more than $100 a night, depending on the day. Check its calendar for exact rates.
Tip: Don’t miss the chance to take surfing at Waikiki Beach off your bucket list! No experience? No problem! Hans Hedemann Surf School will teach you and provide everything you need.
Dine: The Rainbow Drive-In is a 15-minute walk and the place to meet locals and taste some of their favorite “plate lunch” specials. Don’t miss the favorite Loco Moco, an explosion of taste.
A block from the beach, in the best little Mexican city you’ve never heard of, Loreto languishes on the Sea of Cortez. A half hour from Loreto International Airport, a glass-bottomed, rooftop pool illuminates their eclectically decorated lobby. You won’t know if you want to explore the beaches or melt into the artistic ambiance. Standard rooms start at just more than $100 but look into its special deals to make it even better.
Tip: Take a boat to Isla Coronado for snorkeling and abundant sea life viewing. If you go between January and March, you’ll see Blue Whales giving birth around the pristine Loreto Bay National Marine Park.
Dine: The restaurants in Loreto are culinary masterpieces, but try Mi Loreto for unbelievable handmade tortillas, freshly caught seafood and the tamarind margarita.
About 45 minutes from Maui’s famous Kaanapali Shores is Kihei. Just a stroll across the street is Kamaole Beach Park II, where you’ll find plenty of sand and ocean and not many tourists to compete for them. Prices during peak season are less than $200 and some rooms include kitchens and washers/dryers.
Tip: Snorkel at nearby Molokini Crater.
Dine: Cafe O’Lei is a must try. Housed on the second floor of a strip mall, with stunning ocean views, the blackened mahi-mahi, poke bowls and ceasar salad are favorites.