THE BLOG

Last-Minute Beach Getaways for Summer

07/28/2014 11:47 am ET | Updated Sep 27, 2014

You're dreaming of sun-kissed days on the sand and the sounds of the ocean, but you haven't made your summer vacation plans yet. No need to worry--there's still time to book a beach getaway. We've tracked down 10 spots enjoyable for all types of travelers, whether you're a foodie, a fisherman, or fixing to become a beach bum. These destinations are not only easily accessible, but are also underrated, uncrowded, and full of fantastic last-minute deals. From Virginia to California, here's where you can enjoy the sun and the sea before the summer is out.

by Kathleen Squires

A serial traveler who often lets a country's cuisine dictate her itineraries, New York City-based writer Kathleen Squires has visited all 7 continents and over 60 countries, with stints living in London, Tokyo, and Buenos Aires. Her work also appears in The Wall Street Journal, Saveur, Cooking Light and National Geographic Traveler.

  • Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
    Photo Credit: Binu Mathew/Shutterstock There are a few reasons the D.R. is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the Caribbean: warm, crystalline waters; abundant sand and sunshine; and a laid-back tropical rhythm that pervades the daily vibe. Punta Cana, where the Atlantic and the Caribbean meet, is a hub for all-inclusive stays, many showcasing great eleventh-hour deals. One of the newer resorts, the Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro, is offering junior suites for as low as $115/night, per person, all-inclusive, with spa credits and golf discounts. Jet Blue Vacations is also featuring reasonable, last-minute airfare and hotel packages for purchase by August 24. Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Dominican Republic Guide
  • West Beach, Alabama
    Photo Credit: Darryl Vest/Shutterstock Nature-lovers and golfers are drawn to this Gulf Shores getaway, an impossibly soft, sandy six-mile stretch. Set out for the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, home to various migrating birds and sea turtles. Golfers can head to the quaint condos of the Kiva Dunes Resort, which is running special "Play All Day" rates until the end of the summer. Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Alabama Guide
  • Virginia Beach, Virginia
    Photo Credit: Lou Taylor/Shutterstock For something quintessentially American, look no further than Virginia Beach's famous three-mile-long boardwalk, where games, food, and amusements of all kinds await. Or, climb the tower of the historic Cape Henry Lighthouse, built in 1792, for panoramic views of Chesapeake Bay. This is one of the country's most family-friendly destinations, and the area's newest beachfront resort, Oceanaire, is not only conveniently located right on the boardwalk, but is offering great deals for the rest of the summer. Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Virginia Guide
  • Panama City Beach, Florida
    Photo Credit: Rob Hainer/Shutterstock Swimmers are poised for dolphin and skate sightings here, as this Gulf Coast spot is a go-to for wreck and reef diving. The town of Panama City itself brims with art, antiques, restaurants, and seafood markets, where you can pop in for a bite, or take fresh fish back to prepare at a condominium rental; try the reasonably-priced Grand Panama Beach Resort. Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Florida Guide
  • Horseneck Beach, Massachusetts
    Photo Credit: by Dan Mahr Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License Let the crowds flock to the Cape—locals in-the-know prefer the waves, dunes, and the gulf stream-fed warm waters of this New England beach. It's a favorite for campers, and a great pick for last-minute travelers. Those who prefer more creature comforts should head to the landmark Paquachuck Inn nearby, a destination in its own right for its private dock, and a favorite for fishing and boating. Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Massachusetts Guide
  • Cancún/Riviera Maya, Mexico
    Photo Credit: michelepautasso/Shutterstock Possibly the perfect pick-up-and-go vacation spot, Mexico has no shortage of places to stay along the Riviera. Whale sharks arrive mid-summer, so swimming with the gentle species is a popular pastime. For those who want a break from the endless white sand beaches, Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza and Tulum are nearby. Delta Vacations is partnering with various hotels for hotel and airfare packages, including the Melia and Fiesta Americana, through the season’s end. Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Cancún Guide
  • Cannon Beach, Oregon
    Photo Credit: Peter Kunasz/Shutterstock The spirit of James Beard, the great American foodie, pervades the Oregon coast. It's where the "Dean of American Cookery" loved to vacation, and fresh local bounty like salmon, Dungeness crab, and razor clams make the area mouth-wateringly alluring for foodies. Gourmands looking for a last-minute romantic escape can cozy up at the Stephanie Inn, which overlooks the beach and the iconic Haystack Rock, the third largest monolith in the world. When booking one of the 41 rooms, guests should seek out the special "Romance Packages" add-ons from $49. Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Oregon Guide
  • Laguna Beach, California
    Photo Credit: (c) Littleny | Dreamstime.com Artists like to take refuge on this stretch of sand halfway between LA and San Diego for its various galleries, public art, craft markets, and annual festivals, such as the Sawdust Art Festival and Festival of Arts, both of which last through Labor Day. The area's official tourism site, Visit Laguna Beach, is hosting summer-long steals. Water sport enthusiasts will be especially keen on packages that include surfing, paddleboarding, and more. Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's California Guide
  • Montego Bay, Jamaica
    Photo Credit: lilyling1982/shutterstock Discover the true meaning of "irie" at the ultimate island escape, the perfect spot to unplug and revel in reggae music, distinctive cuisine, and bathtub-warm waters. American Airlines' AA Vacations has a slew of hotel plus air packages into Montego Bay; frequent flights and abundant hotels make it especially sweet for spur-of-the-moment travelers. Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Jamaica Guide
  • Greenport/Shelter Island, New York
    Photo Credit: Americasroof [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons For those who require more scenery and less of a "scene" than the Hamptons, the North Fork of Long Island is the place to be. At its tip, just past the myriad vineyards and wineries, the quaint village of Greenport is a lovely spot to decompress. The sedate community of Shelter Island lies just a few minutes across the Long Island Sound, where a stop at Sunset Beach is a happy hour must. If you're staying over on a Sunday, The Greenporter Hotel has a package that includes a complimentary three-course meal. For cottage rentals, it's hard to beat Silver Sands. Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Long Island New York Guide