I love the beach. The smell of the air, the feel of the salt water on my skin, and that general ahhhhh feeling I get just from looking at the ocean — it doesn't get much better than that.

In the past, we would usually go to the beach once or twice a year and either pay an arm and a leg for a hotel on the beach, or get a much cheaper room in-town and drive to the beach. Both were great in different ways, but with a toddler needing a nap in the afternoon, the drive didn't seem like a great option. And with the new budget, the price tag staying on the beach was prohibitive for us.

Then I found out the secret that made for a perfect vacation for us: off-season.

Lower rates
When shopping for the hotel room online, I was amazed to see that the price for one night's stay dropped by $100 two weeks after Labor day. For $141 per night we got an ocean front suite with kitchenette. That was less than the in-town hotel we used to get in August.

Better rooms
Because the hotel was far from capacity, we were offered a corner room with extra windows and the best view up the beach. Not to mention, no neighbors making noise on one side of us.

Perfect weather
Of course there are no guarantees, but mid-September was still plenty warm for bathing suits without the sweltering summer heat. High of 90 degrees with a breeze was just about perfect.

Warm ocean
Why go to the beach for Memorial day and freeze yourself in the water? The incredibly warm ocean temperature in the fall is enough reason alone to put off the beach trip until the end of the season. I could have stayed in the water all day.

No crowds at the pool
Taking my timid toddler in a crowded pool is just asking for an emotional meltdown. Not a problem on this trip. We had the pool practically to ourselves, and enjoyed every minute of it.

No waiting
To save money, we cooked dinners in our room, but we did eat our for lunches. Surprise — no waiting for a table. Smaller crowds during off-season mean you can get seated right away and the food doesn't take forever to come out. These two criteria haven't mattered as much to us in the past, but with a hungry toddler soon needing an afternoon nap, the speedy lunches were a huge perk.

Of course, in certain areas, off-season can mean taking a risk on the weather. With September being hurricane season in our neck of the woods, we knew booking the trip was a bit risky. But, way put down the $100 non-refundable deposit and hoped for the best. It payed off big time.

So, the next time you are planning a vacation, roll the off-season dice. You might just win big too.


  1. theroadtohobbiton // November 17, 2008 at 9:35 AM  

    The beach off-season is awesome - in fact we like to go alot of places off season. No crowds, lower prices. Sometime you have to time it right so you are just a little 'pre' or 'post' season, but in general it can work out really well.

    Just found your blog today ~ loved the title of it so I subscribed. Always looking for frugally-minded friends!