10 beach towns for under $500 this Fourth of July

Between barbecues and beach days, there’s nothing better than summer. And with Fourth of July as one of the season’s major travel weekends, we know you want to make the most of it. Don’t let the fact that it’s a holiday weekend deter you from living your best vacation life. In fact, these 10 destinations are just the beachy celebration your Independence Day needs — an all for under $500.

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Median airfare: $245

Head to the Jersey coast for some casino action, boardwalks and wide beaches. Go beyond GTL (gym, tan, laundry) and spend your weekend on (in)famous Jersey Shore at some of the East Coast’s best beaches. According to our data, you can expect to spend around $245 on your airfare for the July 4th weekend. Looking for fireworks? The Borgata Hotel is celebrating its 15th anniversary with a pyrotechnic display on the Fourth. Plus, the Kennedy Plaza has free summer concerts every night from 6pm-9pm. When you’re headed out to dine, you can go casual at Shari’s Bistro or plan for a special occasion at Dock’s Oyster House.

Flights to Atlantic City Hotels in Atlantic City Restaurants in Atlantic City

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Median Airfare $257

Part of a 60-mile-long string of beaches, Myrtle Beach’s energy has been attracting travelers for decades. When looking at flights, expect to see prices around $257 for Independence Day. Check out its challenging golf courses, ferris wheel, and boardwalk with plenty of outdoor shopping and entertainment. If you’re bringing the kids with you on July 4th, spend a day at Family Kingdom Amusement Park before hitting up the fireworks at Broadway on the Beach, Cherry Grove Pier, Murrells Inlet Marshwalk or Barefoot Landing. Also at Murrells is the Annual Inlet Boat Parade. Plan your pre-fireworks dinner on the waterfront at Cafe Amalfi or The Local on the Water.

Flights to Myrtle BeachHotels in Myrtle BeachRestaurants in Myrtle Beach

West Palm Beach, Florida

Median airfare: $266

Close to Miami and Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach is a ritzy resort town with a breathtaking waterfront, bustling shopping district, a great arts scene and plenty of outdoor, entertainment and cultural attractions. Independence Day travelers can expect to find flights for around $266. And while you’ll want to spend your holiday weekend on the beach, don’t forget to get to the fireworks celebration early. You’ll find live entertainment at the Meyer Amphitheater from 5-8:30pm, just before the 9pm fireworks display over the Intercoastal Waterway. If you’re with the kids, head to the post park stage instead for children’s’ entertainment. Fill up before you head out with some down-home cooking at Table 26 or load up on margaritas and chips at Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bar.

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Charleston, South Carolina

Median airfare: $285

What better way to spend the birth of American than in a historic city like Charleston. Walk its cobblestone street, ramp up the romance in horse-drawn carriages and overlook the Harbor from the Battery Promenade and Waterfront Park. Our data shows that you can expect to find flights for around $285 round-trip. And while the beach is always a perfect setting for a holiday weekend, be sure to explore other entertainment options as well. The Uncle Sam Jam takes place on July 4th at Mount Pleasant Pier from 7-11pm. Or, enjoy fireworks at the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum – where the celebration kicks off at 4pm. For waterfront dining, head to Fleet Landing Restaurant & Bar, which is housed in a 1940s former naval building. Or, if handcrafted cocktails and intimate lighting are more your speed, don’t miss out on a meal at Prohibition.

Flights to CharlestonHotels in CharlestonRestaurants in Charleston

Providence, Rhode Island

Median airfare: $304

Rhode Island’s capital city is home to prestigious universities, Roger Williams Park Zoo and the historic homes of College Hill. Celebrate the 4th with flights around $304 and plenty of opportunities to explore one of our nation’s first cities. Drive 20 minutes (or take the bus) to nearby Warwick for a number of pretty beaches and coastal parks. Conimicut Point with its picture-perfect lighthouse is one of our favorites. To celebrate the Fourth, catch the fireworks show at India Point Park at 9pm in nearby Bristol. For some rooftop action (it is summer after all) dine at Rooftop at Providence G or get romantic at trendy Massimo. Providence is also less-than-an-hour drive from the roster of beaches in Newport. No car? No problem. Take the ferry for $22 round trip. 

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Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Median airfare: $322

Close to Savannah, Georgia, and known for its beautiful beaches, Hilton Head Island is an oasis you can’t miss. With July 4th flight prices around $322, it’s a great option for both a family and a romantic escape. Play a round on one of the Island’s legendary golf courses or splash in the waves for a day at the beach. Trek out to the Harbour Town Lighthouse and Museum or hit the trails at Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge. Independence Day activities include the Firecracker 5k at Shelter Cove Community Park (if you’re awake and want to run at 8am), a 4th of July Parade at Harbour Town and plenty of local celebrations. Dine out at Skull Creek Dockside Restaurant for water views or get classy at Coast – Hilton Head.

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Wilmington, North Carolina

Median airfare: $342

Plan a holiday getaway to Cape Fear Coast beaches, with their strong surf, long boardwalks, and plenty of restaurants, galleries and shops. For fitness buffs, you can run along the Cape Fear River where the Battleship North Carolina is moored. For the holiday weekend, prepare to gather on the Riverwalk to watch the fireworks at 9:05pm. Attend the Red, White & Bluegrass concert, with free live music from 6pm-10pm at Pier 33. And, of course, they’re plenty of beach to stretch out on. Get your prescription for a great meal out at Rx Restaurant or slurp oysters at PinPoint.

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Nantucket, Massachusetts

Median airfare: $388  

Plan an idyllic island escape off of Cape Cod. Nantucket’s dune-backed beaches, unpainted cedar-shingled buildings, wharves and cobblestoned streets are the perfect setting for a holiday weekend. Plus, for a tiny island there are still plenty of restaurants, high-end boutiques and steepled churches to take in. Check out CRU Nantucket and Galley Beach for some delicious eats. Median airfare to Nantucket is $388, but beware that on-island hotels are few and expensive. You can save by staying on the Cape and taking the ferry from Hyannis. Independence Day traditions include a water fight between Nantucket Fire Department and Boynton Lane Reserves, which kicks off at noon. Fireworks come a day later with children’s beach games starting at 5pm, music on the bandstand begins at 6 and the firework display on Jetties Beach at 9pm.

Flights to NantucketHotels in NantucketRestaurants in Nantucket

Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

Median airfare: $408

Next to Nantucket is this Massachusetts island south of Cape Cod. A longtime New Englander colony, the Vineyard’s harbor towns and lighthouses, sandy beaches and farmland make it the perfect backdrop for an All-American weekend. Bike past quaint cottages or take a spin on the iconic carousel. Be sure to take part in the parade at 12pm in Edgartown, and attend fireworks at 9pm at Edgartown Harbor Master. Take a break from the beach to dine at Farm Neck Cafe or grab a pint at the Chilmark Tavern before hopping on the plane home.

Flights to Martha’s VineyardHotels in Martha’s VineyardRestaurants in Martha’s Vineyard

Nassau, Bahamas

Median airfare: $420

It’s always island time in the capital of the Bahamas. Nassau’s hilly landscape means you’ll have a perfect vantage point no matter where you are on the island. Known for beaches and offshore coral reefs, it’s a popular spot for diving and snorkeling. Want to up your Instagram potential? Just snap a pic of those pastel-colored colonial buildings for your feed. Though it may seem strange to travel internationally for July 4th, you can still get in a solid celebration. Catch the July 4th fireworks on Atlantis Paradise Island at the Royal Deck fair site or head to West Beach for a 4th of July celebration at the Royal Deck 6pm-10:30pm. And since you’re in the Bahamas, you’ll want to sample some traditional Bahamian fare at Lukka Kairi on the water. Or, for an upscale pan-Mediterranean experience, grab a table at Cocoplum Bistro.

Flights to NassauHotels in NassauRestaurants in Nassau

 

When to Book

If you’re staying in the US and budget is your top priority, traveling on the holiday itself is your best bet. Specifically, leaving Monday, July 1 or Tuesday, July 2 and coming back on July 4th will only set you back between $172 and $208. For those who don’t want to travel on the holiday, your next best bet is to leave on Monday, July 1 or Tuesday, July 2 and fly back on Friday, July 5.

For those planning to take off the long weekend (knowing that the Fourth falls on a Thursday), be aware that you may run into higher flight prices. Specifically, flying back on Sunday, July 7th is the most expensive day that week to fly home, with median airfare setting you back $300+.

Whether you’re exploring beaches in the good ol’ U-S-of-A or headed towards international waters for July 4th, we can help you plan your holiday trip confidently.

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Methodology

All data is based on median airfares on searches conducted from KAYAK US and is intended to be used as a guide. Travel dates comprise July 1, 2019 through July 5, 2019, and search dates comprise May 1, 2019 through May 30, 2019. For the best combination of days to fly over July 4th weekend, KAYAK looked at travel dates of July 1, 2019 through July 7, 2019 with search dates between May 1, 2019 through May 30, 2019. All data was pulled from KAYAK’s internal database. Prices may vary based on users’ own searches.

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