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Save Money on Your Summer Beach Vacation

Headed seaside for this summer's vacation? Here's how you can do that waterfront vacation on a budget and save on everything from hotels to food and more.

The beach is a perfect summer vacation on a budget: you can pack a lunch and have a nice picnic on the sand, you can swim, build sand castles and spend time with family, and it's all inexpensive.

Just like any big city, waterfront cities also offer much more to do than the obvious, and you can do it at a reasonable price.

"There are plenty of things you haven't seen and explored," says Leah Cast, PR Manager for Galveston Island in Texas, guarantees. Here are tips and ideas to keep costs down while exploring any city by the water:

Explore Online First: Go online to check the town's Convention and Visitors Bureau. You'll find tons of "what to do" ideas. They may offer a coupon book that can get you savings up to 50 percent or more on attractions, dining and activities.

Stop by the Visitor Center: After visiting the website, go to the visitors bureau in person. They have great resources for coupons, guides, information and staff. Usually the staff are locals who know where the hidden gems are and the places you should go. They'll also have maps available.

Take a tour: This way you can see the whole city and get a history lesson, but only pay one price, which is a great value. Generally, they're not very expensive. Plus, you're not using your own gas.

Checkout Downtown: Make sure to check out the "downtown" or "strip," like Galveston's historic strand. Most waterfront towns have them. It's a great place to people-watch. And you can often find free samples at candy shops.

Look for State Parks: Most seaside destinations are near beautiful state parks. The America's State Parks website provides locations. Park entrance fees are usually low - most around $5 for adults with children under 12 getting free admission. This is a great destination for camping, fishing, nature trails, sight-seeing, picnics and more. If you are taking a camper or RV, State Parks usually offer accommodations.

Time Your Visit Well: The best money-saving value is to visit during off-season. And just because you're not going in peak season doesn't mean you'll be skipping out on entertainment. A lot of destinations offer special events during the holiday season and festivals all year round. This is a great time to come for uncrowded beaches, uncrowded attractions and lower rates at hotels and local attractions.

Check for Hotel Discounts: If you plan to stay overnight, check the hotel website for discounts, says Christine Hopkins, Director of Communications at the Hotel Galvez and Spa.

"Of course we encourage people to visit us Sunday through Thursday, but if you book in advance you'll get a 10 percent discount, if you're a member of AAA or AARP you should ask about those discounts as well. And if you book two days together you can get 20 percent off or 3 days, 30 percent off," she says.

Go To A Familiar Place: Even if it's a waterfront city you have been to several times before, if it's less than a tank of gas away, you're saving money if you make it a day trip. And chances are you can explore new things if you do your research first.

Thanks to the City of Galveston Island: Galveston.com

For more information about Hotel Galvez, visitWyndhamHotelGalvez.com.

For more information on State Parks, visit americasstateparks.org.
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