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13 Ideas For Budget-Friendly Beach Weekend Getaways For New Yorkers

Beach therapy.

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So here are 13 sunny places to escape to when you're having your yearly existential crisis about why you ever moved to the iceberg known as NYC.

Annie Daly

All of these flights are around $400, give or take, from any NYC airport — now all you have to do is find a cheap Airbnb, and you're well on your way to a budget-friendly winter beach getaway.

[Note: All flight prices listed below are approximate, and may vary depending on when you book.]


1. San Juan, Puerto Rico

Flickr: breezy421

FLIGHT DURATION FROM NYC: ~Three hours and 40 minutes

PRICE: Most people fly into San Juan International Airport; that flight is around $269 RT. However, there are a bunch of other airports if you want to go more off-the-beaten path.

WHY GO: One of the best parts about traveling to San Juan is that you don't need a passport, so it's a super easy trip. But also, Puerto Rico's capital, which was founded by the Spanish more than 500 years ago, has loads of culture, not to mention amazing food. For more info, click here.

2. Jamaica

Annie Daly

FLIGHT DURATION FROM NYC: ~Three hours and 50 minutes

PRICE: You can either fly into Kingston for $390, or Montego Bay for $386, both RT. FYI, Montego Bay gets you to the more touristy/resort-y side of the island, whereas Kingston is closer to lesser-known areas.

Of course the beaches are beautiful; that's a given. But a trip to Jamaica is really all about the happy people. If you get outside of resort land, you'll definitely get your dose of local ~positive vibes,~ which will come in handy when you're back in the urban igloo hating on life. Also, Jamaican food is so, so delicious! More info on the country here.

3. Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Flickr: caymanstingraycitysnorkel

FLIGHT DURATION FROM NYC: ~Three hours and 50 minutes

PRICE: Flights are around $389 RT.

WHY GO: The Cayman Islands are a British Overseas territory in the Caribbean made up of three islands: Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman. Grand Cayman is the largest of all of the islands, as well as the capital, so it offers more activities than the other two. It's very well-known for its underwater reefs, so definitely plan on going snorkeling! More info on Grand Cayman here.

4. Costa Rica

Annie Daly

FLIGHT DURATION FROM NYC: ~Five and a half hours

PRICE: Costa Rica has two main airports. The largest is in Alajuela, north of San Jose, which is in the middle of the country, and the other smaller one is in Liberia, which covers the Guanacaste region in the northwest. Flying into Alajuela is around $207 RT; Liberia is around $394 RT.

WHY GO: Costa Rica's got everything! Beautiful beaches, rainforests, culture, cute animals, adventure activities, and more. Generally, towns in southern Costa Rica, like Uvita and Dominical, and on the Caribbean side, like Manzanillo, are less touristy than the ones in Guanacaste (the Gold Coast). Costa RIca's especially great if you're going with a partner, and one wants beach and the other wants forest, because compromise. More info here.


5. Dominican Republic

Annie Daly

FLIGHT DURATION FROM NYC: ~Three hours and 45 minutes

PRICE: The Dominican Republic, or the DR, has seven international airports, though you may want to stick with the most popular three (the others are smaller and more expensive). The most popular is Punta Cana International Airport; RT flights there are around $406. The other two popular ones are Santo Domingo and Puerto Plata; RT flights are around $402 and $511, consecutively.

WHY GO: The DR has an inexplicably magical feeling that you must experience for yourself. One way to do that? Go local. Sure, you can hit up resort-y towns like Punta Cana, but if you want a more authentic approach, try Samana — the beaches are largely undisturbed, like the one above. More info here.

6. Cancun and the Riviera Maya, Mexico

Flickr: esparta

FLIGHT DURATION FROM NYC: ~Four hours and 20 minutes

PRICE: Cancun International Airport is the second-largest airport in Mexico, preceded only by Mexico City. RT flights to Cancun are around $265.

WHY GO: It's all about the beach-town feel, and, of course, the Mexican food! Since Cancun and the Riviera Maya — a stretch of coastline on the Yucatan Peninsula that includes famous towns like Playa del Carmen and Tulum — are close to each other, it's possible to visit them all in one trip. Generally speaking, Tulum is more laid-back than Cancun, which historically has been associated with raging spring breakers (though it's in the midst of changing its image now to appeal to more of an upscale crowd). The Yucatan Peninsula in particular is known for its cenotes, which are natural swimming holes formed by the collapse of limestone bedrock. More info here.

7. The Virgin Islands

Flickr: jennkahalauphotography

FLIGHT DURATION FROM NYC: ~Four or five hours, depending on which island you choose.

The cheapest way to get there is to fly into St. Thomas; RT flights are around $358.

WHY GO: The Virgin Islands archipelago includes the U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix, mainly), the British Virgin Islands, and the Spanish Virgin Islands (Puerto Rico). The U.S. Virgin Islands are generally cheaper to get to than the other two, just FYI, but all of them are just as aquamarine everything as you'd expect them to be. More info on what to do in the Virgin Islands here.

8. Key West, Florida

Flickr: gabepopa


PRICE: RT flights directly into Key West are around $369.

WHY GO: It's in the U.S., first of all, but it doesn't necessarily feel like that's the case. Located just 90 miles north of Cuba, Key West is the southernmost tip of Florida, and has a laid-back Caribbean vibe. However, it can also be quite a party and get pretty touristy, but those can be avoided if you follow the advice here.


9. Miami, Florida

Flickr: lilith121

FLIGHT DURATION FROM NYC: ~Two hours and 45 minutes

PRICE: Fly directly into Miami's international airport for around $207 RT.

WHY GO: Miami has a reputation for being super clubby. But while it does have its fair share of fist bump-y places, it's also a very artsy city; it even hosts the big art festival Art Basel every year. And of course, it has beautiful beaches. Here's more info on cool, unexpected things to do in Miami.

10. Curaçao

Nicky39 / Getty Images


PRICE: RT flight is around $380.

Curaçao is an island in the Dutch Antilles that's north of Venezuela. Generally speaking, it's considered pretty under-the-radar, especially in comparison to its well-known neighbor Aruba. But since JetBlue introduced direct flights to Curacao, it's become an increasingly popular destination for New Yorkers. One of the best parts is that the beaches are crystal clear and beautiful, yes, but the colorful, vibrant streets are just as pretty! More info on a weekend getaway in Curaçao here.

11. Antigua

Flickr: andryn2006

FLIGHT DURATION FROM NYC: ~Four hours and fifteen minutes

PRICE: Around $280 RT.

Antigua is an island in the West Indies, and the main island of the whole country of Antigua and Barbuda. The locals there love saying that they have 365 beaches — "one for every day of the year!" More info here.

12. Scottsdale, Arizona

Flickr: athomeinscottsdale

FLIGHT DURATION FROM NYC: ~Five and a half hours

PRICE: RT flights are around $256.

You may not think of Scottsdale, Arizona when you think of a warm-weather getaway. But actually, the weather in the desert town is generally in the high 70s in winter, and it has something for everyone: amazing desert hikes, an up-and-coming food scene, and, yes, river and lake beaches just outside the main city (which are a great alternative for people who are anti-salt). More info here.

13. Nicaragua

Annie Daly

FLIGHT DURATION FROM NYC: ~About six and a half hours

PRICE: RT flights into Managua are around $424.

Nicaragua is a bit of a longer flight than some of the other places on this list, but it's worth it. Many people say Nicaragua is a more chill, less-developed version of Costa Rica. The picturesque beaches aren't as crowded, but just as stunning (if not more), the prices are a bit cheaper, and there are lots of Big Sur-esque cliffs, like the ones above. It's also a great place for surfers — one of the best in the world! More info here.