“Get me a stretch of sand and a hammock and I’m happy,” says Kirsty Hathaway of U.K.-based BeachTomato.com, a fashion and travel site focused on beach vacations. “Awaking to the sound of rumbling waves, completely immersed in nature and wildlife. This, for me, is the epitome of true escapism.”
Escapism looks a little different for everyone, but we can all agree that a reasonable price tag spells relaxation almost as much as a hammock and a cold one. So we’ve rounded up our favorite affordable beach resorts worldwide, each checking in between $50 and $250 per night.
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After all, a beach vacation isn’t rocket science. The three key ingredients are simple: sun, sand, surf. It’s not all about the tanning butlers or 12-course molecular gastronomy tasting menus or the flat-screen pool-cabana entertainment systems. And it certainly isn’t about watching your bank account wash out to sea.
So what can you get that’s comfortably priced? How about Auberge Carnish, an airy modern cottage along a rugged curve of the Scottish coast where otters frolic in the misty dawn. Reclaimed merbau hardwoods and bath products of local lavender and seaweed bring the outside in. Price tag? $175 per night.
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It’s also perfectly possible to splash out in a trendy destination like Panama, and still come in within budget. Donald Trump’s curving skyscraper in Panama City should do the trick—with a deep-soak tub and high thread count included. Pair that urban beach experience with a stay along the Pacific coast beaches—fantastic for surfing—at the rustic-but-stylish El Sitio (from $99 per night).
Further afield, you, too, can find your bliss among the beaches of Goa, India, which have welcomed bohemian types since the ’60s. Amarya Shamiyana, a collection of four Moghul-inspired tents in a palm-shaded oasis—just down the beach from Jade Jagger’s boutique—channels that carefree, chic spirit. The hotel bursts with color, from playful hand-painted damask murals to metallic beanbag chairs, and puts you within walking distance of the beautiful party people (from $110 per night).
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Luxe-mod Peruvian surf breaks? Nouveau preppy Kennebunkport, ME? Avant architecture in Norway? Yup, we’ve got those too. So go ahead and dive in. The forecast is sunny for this choose-your-own-resort adventure.