I know when you think of the beach, you think of a tropical destination with clear blue water and never-ending summer nights, right? Well, the beach isn't always like that. Sometimes, it's even better.
I am only 19 and have been to the beach more than I can count. My family owns a condo in Fort Myers, Florida so the beach is literally a 5-minute drive from there. I used to vacation there every year as a little girl. Not to mention the cruises that I have been on and the days-long trips to Myrtle Beach. I could not tell you how many times I have met people who have never been to the beach and have never even been outside of the state of Ohio. There are so many beaches near Ohio that are less than a 12-hour drive away or after just about an hour flight away. Virginia Beach being one that is only a 9-hour drive from Ohio, and honestly, is a nice beach in the summer. If you are one of those people that has never been to the beach, I would recommend Virginia Beach as a quick getaway.
Another beach that is very nice any time of year is Myrtle Beach. Myrtle Beach is 12 hours from my town of Lagrange, Ohio and is nice all year. The winter is when it's not usually swimming weather, but still nice to put shorts and a t-shirt on compared to a coat and boots in the winter. The summer is when Myrtle Beach is home to many tourists. It definitely is not a place to live if you don't like people and a wild nightlife. There are many hotels there within a tight budget and so, so, SO many things to do there. For example, there is a Ripley's Believe it or Not and a Ripley's Aquarium. There are amusement park rides, piers, shops, and arcades. Flying is an option for both Virginia Beach and Myrtle Beach, but it's pretty costly if you are a broke college student like me.
The last beach that I would recommend for a first-time beach-goer is the Outer Banks in North Carolina. It is an 11-hour drive from Lagrange and is not as touristy as Myrtle Beach is. The Outer Banks is in the northern part of North Carolina, so it is very much a summer destination for most travelers. I knew a group of people that went there over our spring break in high school and they said that the water was very cold and that was in April of 2017. I can imagine that it would be colder in the winter. Outer Banks is a beach that many people would not go to if they were looking for a party on the beach or for bustling nightlife. It's secluded and quiet, which some people might like. As for me, I like a beach that has people on it and big waves.
Traveling may be scary to some people because of the money, but with the right loopholes, you can travel to really any place you want (including the beach) on a budget and still have a great time.