11 Chic And Affordable Beach Escapes

Is it just us, or does January sometimes feel like an extra-long case of the Mondays? We spent all our loot on gifts for loved ones and holiday travel, and now it's cold, we're broke, and we're supposed to be dieting. Rather than focusing on the low points, we researched some of the best deals on flights to and hotel stays in some sunny beach towns, to beat winter blues without crippling what's left of our travel budget. (And no, these aren't beaches on the Eastern Seaboard that are cheap because they're cold now.)

Click here to see the 11 Affordable Beach Escapes Slideshow.

There are only a few essential ingredients for a stellar sun-drenched retreat, not the least of which is coming home with a tan rather than an overdrafted bank account, and these 11 hotels have them in spades. From rustic and romantic properties to design-conscious boutique hotels, these accommodations put you in prime sunbathing, scuba, and swimming locations, from Jamaica to Key Largo and from Cabo to Hawaii, and for no more than $250 per night. And while the destinations may be classic seaside choices, the hotels are anything but enormous, impersonal resorts.

Some take a beach getaway as a chance to go off the grid in, say, a well-appointed tent at Bahari Beach in Costa Rica, while others just want to pay less for a still-supreme escape at, for example, the Townhouse in Miami or Jake's Hotel in Jamaica. All these places have proximity to the beach in common, but their amenities and services run the gamut from inviting hammocks overlooking the sea to prime scuba-diving points and from private gardens to deep-sea fishing for your dinner. 

So leave your puffy coat at home, and don't forget your sunglasses.