The famous Pensacola Florida water tower

10 Affordable Summer Vacation Spots In Florida's Emerald Coast

With inflation at record highs, it’s important to be responsible with your disposable income. This being said, you also want to have fun and explore nature as much as you can, and it’s possible to balance both of these approaches. Florida’s Emerald Coast is a classic tourist destination for beach lovers, as the crystal clear waters and radiant white sands allow you to enjoy some of the best beach experiences, period. Here are ten affordable vacation spots that we found while browsing for a family of four traveling in August and looking to spend less than 200$ a night on their accommodations. It’s time to travel! 

Pensacola Surf & Sand Hotel

Aerial view of Pensacola Surf and Sand Hotel, via
Aerial view of Pensacola Surf and Sand Hotel, via Pensacola Beach Hotel | Surf & Sand Hotel (

Do you want a pet-friendly, family-focused, all-American hotel that gives you a clear view of the iconic Pensacola Beach Ball? The Surf & Sand Hotel is definitely on your list of places to stay on the Emerald Coast, and the set-up is guaranteed to help you save money: staying there gives you access to free beach cruisers, free kayaks, free paddle boards, free ice, free wifi, you name it! And you know you’re living in the right century when the owners offer accessible infrastructure as a way to accommodate every potential summer-loving guest. A four-person family making their way to the hotel through a booking website could get a room for as low as 166$ a night. 

Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort

Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Florida, via
Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Florida, via Pensacola Beach Hotel | Surf & Sand Hotel (

Four championship courses and 73 holes should be enough to satisfy the avid golfer’s need during their stay at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, whose name both promises and delivers on a variety of potential experiences. But swimming and golfing aren’t the only physical activities you can get up to at the Mirabar Beach resort: you’ve got tennis, paddleboard, ziplines, and a fitness center for the workout wonder who doesn’t want to break their routine. And after a fun, full day, you can just relax at the beach or at the Ara Rooftop Pool & Lounge. At under 200$ a night, you’re getting every dollar’s worth. 

McFarlin House in Quincy

Tallahassee Florida Bed and Breakfast Inn in McFarlin House, via
Tallahassee Florida Bed and Breakfast Inn in McFarlin House, via Tallahassee Florida Bed and Breakfast Inn - Quincy FL (

With rooms starting at 129$ a night, the McFarlin House offers some of the best experiences a traveler can hope for while visiting Quincy on the Emerald Coast. Built in 1895 by a tobacco farmer, this bed and breakfast is an ideal location for the history-hungry tourist, as they are a 45-minute drive away from such places as the Knott House Museum, the Museum of Florida History, and the St. Marks Historic Railroad Trail. Richard and Tina do their best to make sure the nine rooms are kept in a historic, antique atmosphere, all the while providing modern accommodations for the TV and Internet-friendly person of the 21st century. A must-see for cozy customers in Quincy.

Navarre Beach Camping Resort

Beach view in Navarre Beach Camping Resort,
Beach view in Navarre Beach Camping Resort, Navarre Beach Camping Resort - Florida Gulf Coast (

If you are an RV enthusiast traveling through the Gulf Coast, Navarre Beach Camping Resort is definitely the place for you. Advertising 85$ a night stays during the month of July, Northwest Florida’s best-kept vacation secret has a private beach on the Santa Rosa Sound, all the while being a five-minute drive away from the Gulf Beaches. Visitors have access to a heated pool, a hot tub, free cable TV, and shaded paved roads, and you can even rent cabins if you want to take a break from your recreational vehicle (but why would you?) You can also rent paddleboards and kayaks in order to benefit fully from the great outdoors.

Beach Front Motel, Cedar Key

View of Beach Front Motel in Cedar key, via
View of Beach Front Motel in Cedar key, via BEACH FRONT MOTEL | Home (

Fans of nature, wildlife, and hiking traveling through the Emerald Coast will not want to miss an opportunity to visit the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge, established by President Herbert Hoover in 1929. At 177$ a night, the Beach Front Motel is a great way to get close to that action since it’s a twelve-minute walk away from the refuge and just four minutes away from the Cedar Key Historical Society Museum. A dog-friendly hotel offering an outdoor pool with a view, the Beach Front Motel is your perfect getaway to an impressive wildlife refuge experience in Florida. 

Wyndham Garden Fort Walton Beach Destin

Wyndham Garden Fort Walton Beach in Florida, via
Wyndham Garden Fort Walton Beach in Florida, via (

Health enthusiasts will value the fitness center, the outdoor pool, and the entirely smoke-free hotel in Fort Walton Beach. Nature lovers will certainly enjoy the dolphin tours, snorkeling, fishing, and beach volleyball available nearby. This hotel also has all the amenities necessary for any business person on the go or in town for a convention or a conference. The hotel is just a short walk away from the beach, and a quick drive away from the Destin Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS), which means you get to enjoy a guaranteed bonafide summer experience with your family for 151$ a night. It’s a no-brainer! 

Beachcomber Beachfront Hotel, Panama City

Beachcomber Beachfront Hotel in Florida, via
Beachcomber Beachfront Hotel in Florida, via About The Beachcomber Hotel | St. Pete Beach Florida (

This Panama City establishment offers rooms with views directly overlooking the Gulf Coast, just minutes away from the Pier Park shopping and dining. You can seamlessly transition from the Jacuzzi suite to the classy outdoor pool to the crystal-clear beach water, and you’d still technically be in the hotel’s vicinity. Rent an electric bike and visit the neighboring attractions, such as St. Andrews State Park, the Panama City Conservation Park, or Zooworld Zoological Park, unforgettable experiences for families and nature lovers alike. Is there a better way to explore the 27 miles of white sand and pristine waters of Panama Beach? Explore nature, enjoy the nightlife, and relax!

Mainstay Suites

Exterior of the Mainstay Suites in Florida, via
Exterior of the Mainstay Suites in Port St. Joe, via The Mainstay Suites (

This pet-friendly hotel in Port St-Joe gives you all the amenities you need to enjoy your stay as a hotel guest while also feeling at home thanks to the apartment vibes. There’s a pool and a picnic area, as well as a business center and free continental breakfasts. Located in Saint Joseph Bay, the Suites are a short drive away from Mexico Beach and the St-Vincent National Wildlife Refuge. If you want to take a boat and go fishing, there’s probably no easier place on the Emerald Coast, as the suites are just a few minutes away from the Gulf of Mexico. You can check out St. Joe’s Lighthouse, have a drink at St. Joe’s Bar and pretty much live a complete and simple St. Joe experience that’ll help refresh the senses and connect with nature.  

The Lodge 30A

The Lodge 30A in Florida, via
The Lodge 30A in Florida, via Homepage - The Lodge 30A

This location also offers a home-away-from-home type experience, the Lodge 30A has rooms with views overlooking the Greenway Station, the Point Washington State Forest, or the state-of-the-art pool deck, if you want to freshen up without going too far away from your room. Guests can have access to a private beach club and two private championship golf courses. Otherwise, there are four public beaches located less than two miles away from the hotel. Nature lovers will be happy to hear that Deer Lake State Park admission fees are waived for all hotel guests, who also get discounts on paddleboard rentals, which are definitely worth it considering the stunning views and clear water around South Walton. 

Red Roof Inn DeFuniak Springs

Red Roof Inn in DeFuniak Springs, via
Red Roof Inn in DeFuniak Springs, via Budget, Pet Friendly Hotel in Defuniak Springs, FL 32435 (

This pet-friendly hotel in DeFuniak Springs allows you to visit such places as the Blackstone Golf Course, the Emerald Coast White Sand Beaches, and Twin Hills Park on a budget. Kids under 17 get a free stay on family trips. At Red Roof Inn, you are less than twenty miles away from all of your Emerald Coast visiting needs, such as the Chautauqua Vineyard & Winery, for a romantic date night between parents, Lake Defuniak, a perfect circle of a lake that inspired the founding of this town in 1881, and the famous Eglin Air Force Base, which is a must-see for a lot of travelers in the region. Definitely, time to go! 


If you’re into golf or paddle-boarding, and you want to visit beautiful state parks, go on hikes, see wildlife, and enjoy nature, Florida’s Emerald Coast is definitely a destination you have to add to your bucket list. With affordable hotels just a short walk away from pristine beaches, you can embark on a fun, family getaway on a budget without sacrificing on the amenities. Bring the kids, bring the dog, enjoy the view, and bring back some of the fondest memories you can imagine! 


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