Plan My Vacation for Me!
June 13, 2012 8:38 AM   Subscribe

Vacation Filter: The girlfriend and I are looking for a place within the US to take a beach vacation with dining and groceries a walkable distance away. Looking for recommendations.

We'd like to fly to wherever, take a taxi to where we're staying and not need to rent a car. Money is a little tight so renting a beach house by ourselves probably won't be an option. We're based in NYC and flight costs are a consideration. Key West has come up as a possibility. Outer Banks too but it seems like you would need to drive everywhere. There's some decent finds on Groupon for places like Costa Rica and Honduras, but she let her passport expire and we're not sure we can get her passport updated in time. I grew up in South Jersey so a week on the Shore will not cut it for me. I'm also thinking about camping, but her car has been a little iffy so we're concerned about long distances. If there's decent beach camping in the New York region, I'd be interested in that as well.
posted by edbles to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (18 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
If there's decent beach camping in the New York region, I'd be interested in that as well.

Fire Island. There's camping within walkable distance to groceries and restaurants, and while getting to the ferry to take you there would be an expense, it'd be a cheaper one than a flight.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:41 AM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

South Beach, Miami.
posted by willbaude at 8:42 AM on June 13, 2012

We love Key West and it is exactly as you described. Check out for condo rentals by owner. There are some nice places available that are a bike ride away from the beach and everything else is walkable/ride-able. We were there in Jan. and our rental car sat parked for four days before we finally just returned it. There are tons of restaurants of various price ranges and a good grocery store all within a 10-20 block radius of most condos. We are headed back in July and are very excited! Definitely check out El Siboney, a Cuban restaurant off the beaten path. Fantastic food for super cheap.
posted by Nathanial Hörnblowér at 8:42 AM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you're based in NYC, how about saving the flight costs and planning a weekend in Martha's Vineyard? It's lovely and romantic and has a few nice beaches, and there is a little bus system all around the island that makes a car unnecessary. You can camp at the campground in Vineyard Haven.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:45 AM on June 13, 2012

Block Island RI is nice.
posted by a3matrix at 8:48 AM on June 13, 2012

Maybe it's sentimental childhood memories but I love Ogunquit, Maine. You could take the train rather than flying, though it would be a longish ride and you'd have to change in Boston (and take the Downeaster to Wells), and not necessarily any cheaper than flying somewhere else. But it's very cute, very walkable, and there's a trolley system that can take you to neighboring beaches and towns (York, Wells, Kennebunk). The beach can be crowded, but that may just be the case anywhere that's easily accessible, you know?
posted by mskyle at 8:58 AM on June 13, 2012

Tybee Island, near Savanah Georgia
posted by genrand at 8:59 AM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

MeMail for more info on Key West if you want. I did a ton of research before our last trip and can pass along firsthand recommendations too.
posted by Susanna King at 9:06 AM on June 13, 2012

St. Pete Beach, FL. A couple weeks ago I bid and won the Don Cesar for 120 a night, Priceline. We are staying week of July 16. I live on East Coast of Florida and prefer the Atlantic Ocean over the Gulf. St. Pete Beach is a nice vacation. We go to catch some Tampa Bay Ray games and enjoy the beach. There are many stores, chain and locally owned restaurants on Gulf Blvd. Publix Supermarket 1.0 mile away. Walgreens drugstore 0.8 miles away. Subway 1.3 miles. If you want a refrigerator and microwave the Tradewinds Island Grand is a good place to stay.
posted by Fairchild at 9:13 AM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding South Beach, Miami.

We did the same research for taking a similar vacation in 2007 Nov. (i.e. public transportation + buy your own groceries) and we finally settled on South Beach. It is very well connected by bus.

However, South Beach can be expensive - if you can't find a good deal. It also has a distinct vibe that you may or may not like. If you want a far-from-the-madding-crowd kind of place, this is not it. On the other hand, it has interesting art deco buildings, a very good food scene and proximity to Key West and Everglades (in case you want to rent a car for a day and make a day trip of it). We chose to stay with the public transportation theme for that trip went to Key West on a tour bus for a day.
posted by justlooking at 10:16 AM on June 13, 2012

I lived in Key West - if you're looking for vast expanses of white sand or surfing, it isn't the place. meMail me for specifics.

I liked Pensacola Beach (more car required), St. Pete Beach (walkable).

One of my favorite beaches is Anna Maria Island, FL. It's on the south side of Tampa Bay. You'd have to fly into Sarasota/Bradenton Int'l. Mostly vacation rentals, some beachfront motels. Eminently walkable, and wonderful beach.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:51 AM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

The islands of Vieques and Culebra are part of Puerto Rico which is a commonwealth of the United States so you don't need a passport. JetBlue is cheap from JFK to San Juan, and the short flight to either island is a little over $100 round-trip. You can camp on Sun Bay Beach on Vieques or Flamenco Beach on Culebra.
posted by nicwolff at 11:28 AM on June 13, 2012

Check out Watch Hill on Fire Island. they have camping with showers and toilets. You can walk to Davis Park to the west. I used to boat camp there as a kid with my family. Nice quiet beach.
posted by tman99 at 11:29 AM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Cape Cod in MA is really nice.
posted by spunweb at 1:22 PM on June 13, 2012

Seaside! Also a lovely place to rent bikes for a leisurely cruise to other 30A towns.
posted by cyndigo at 2:10 PM on June 13, 2012

Never been there myself, but I have a close friend whose parents live in Oriental, North Carolina. She spends her summers there with them. I gather that it's mostly somewhere people go to retire, but she is my age (mid 20s) and she makes it sound like heaven. No one has cars, lots of little shops, cafes, boating, biking, relaxing, everyone waves and smiles.
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 3:28 AM on June 14, 2012

You're not going to be able to do much on the Cape without a car unless you're in Provincetown, which I suspect will not be cheap.

That said, the area is beautiful and given the crowd P-town attracts the people watching at night is unbeatable.
posted by Aizkolari at 7:46 AM on June 14, 2012

Yeah. All the Fire Island places you need to book a couple of months in advance unfortunately. We ended up finding a deal on an all-inclusive place in St. Marten. But these are awesome suggestions for next summer.
posted by edbles at 8:46 AM on June 19, 2012

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