Where to Find the Best Last-Minute Beach Trips
Five awesome getaways to book today
Who wants summer to end? Not us! Luckily, with Labor Day right around the corner, it doesn’t need to. If you haven’t gotten enough salt water, then one of these last-minute beach trips is the perfect way to say goodbye to summer and hello to autumn.
Here are our favorite beaches to head to when the weather cools and the days get shorter.
Cape May, NJ
While it’s not as warm as the southern beaches, Cape May makes our list thanks to its genteel charm. In fact, many of this beachfront resort’s hotels, shops, and restaurants are converted from restored Victorian mansions.
But Cape May’s real beauty goes far beyond its architecture. The natural beauty of the area includes sandy dunes, grassy hills, and the rolling waves of the Atlantic in the background.
Adding to the city’s bygone-era past, the Cape May Carriage Company offers rides through the city, one of the prettiest ways to play tourist.
Best Beach Spot For: a touch of old-fashioned seaside grandeur
There are dozens of beach options in Cali, but the easy-going charm of Carlsbad makes it a shoo-in for our list of last-minute beach trips.
Just 30 minutes from San Diego, this laidback beach town offers all of the same sunny fun without the crowds.
Novice surfers can visit Ponto Beach, where surf shops and local pros team up to offer lessons. The small but consistent waves make it ideal for first-time surfers.
Carlsbad is also an amazing destination for street photographers. The public art makes it a highly instagrammable city, with murals, sculptures, and statues just waiting to be snapped.
Best Beach Spot For: unleashing your SoCal spirit
Daytona Beach, FL
Florida is full of beaches, and it’s hard to pick just one. But for a spur-of-the-moment getaway, you can’t beat Daytona Beach. The Atlantic Ocean destination has been a fun-in-the-sun mainstay for decades, thanks to the races at the Daytona International Speedway.
“The World’s Most Famous Beach” is one of the best last-minute beach trips if you’ve brought the kids with you. You’ll find a trove of family-friendly activities along the popular boardwalk, from mini golf to amusement parks to live music at the bandshell.
Daytona Beach is close enough to visit the theme parks, too. Then go back to the beach to enjoy a seaside drink (or two) while you recover from the roller coasters.
Best Beach Spot For: a quick family vacay
South Padre Island, TX
Everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes the beachfront. This spring break offers a whopping 34 miles of sand, packed with some of the best shells in the state.
You can hit the hammock and work on your tan, but South Padre Island provides plenty of opportunities for a more active adventure: surfing, parasailing, wakeboarding, and kiteboarding.
South Padre Island is also known for its sea life. Expect to see dolphins, turtles, and even alligators!
Best Beach Spot For: some seriously active fun in the sun
Tybee Island, GA
Just 20 minutes from historic downtown Savannah, you’ll find Georgia’s hidden treasure, a barrier island with miles of wide sandy beaches.
Quirky, colorful Tybee Island offers five miles of oceanfront fun, including biking, fishing, kayaking, and dolphin spotting. When you’re ready for a bit of shade, check out the Tybee Pavilion for food, drinks, and live music.
And make sure you climb the lighthouse, Georgia’s oldest and tallest, for 360-degree views that include the Atlantic Ocean.
Best Beach Spot For: salty fun with Southern charmlast-m
So, what do you say? Is a spur-of-the-moment weekend calling your name? Then pick one of these last-minute beach trips, pack allllll your favorite bathing suits, and enjoy!
Of course, you’ll enjoy your trip even more if you don’t have to worry about your luggage. Ship your stuff to your hotel or Airbnb with LugLess. No lugging suitcases around the airport and no waiting at the baggage carousel. Just good, beachy fun!