These U.S. Destinations Have the Best Deals for Last-minute May Travel, According to Expedia

If you're craving sun, sand, and surf but haven't even begun the booking process, don't despair — you can still squeeze in a spring trip to the beach without spending a fortune.

The public relations team at Expedia Group told Travel + Leisure by email that even though summer vacation homes on Vrbo, a vacation rental company owned by Expedia, are being snatched up earlier than ever — outpacing last summer by nearly 15 percent — there are still a handful of destinations where you can find a good deal. And that includes a last-minute trip to the beach.

Skyline of downtown San Diego, California, USA with office buildings and condos.
Skyline of downtown San Diego, California, USA with office buildings and condos.

Getty Images

Expedia reports that there are several beach destinations across the U.S. — from Hawaii and California to Alabama and Florida — that still have availability and good rates for last-minute travel in May. The five beachy destinations below still have an average daily rate (ADR) that's under $400 a night or are showing prices that are comparable to the same timeframe in 2019. (That's saying something considering that we're in the midst of a travel surge.)

  • San Diego, California

  • The Big Island, Hawaii

  • Virginia Beach, Virginia

  • Gulf Shores, Alabama

  • Pensacola, Florida

In addition to showing availability and stable prices — and providing a much-needed spring escape — each of the beach destinations offers travelers a little something different. You'll find water sports and coastal trails in Gulf Shores, a strip of sugar-white sand as far as the eye can see in Pensacola, and a mix of city and surf in San Diego. Travelers to Virginia Beach can cruise the three-mile boardwalk or visit one of the area's state parks. The inclusion of Hawaii on the list is particularly impressive. After the state lifted travel restrictions in March, Expedia reported a nearly 30 percent increase in searches for spring and summer trips to Hawaii's major ports.

An affordable weekend spent lounging on Hawaii's Hapuna Beach — or any of the beach destinations above — is a welcome idea for travelers who have historically gone to places like Mexico and the Caribbean for their beach fix. According to Expedia, those two beach destinations are seeing double-digit percentage demand increases as compared to 2019.

Looking for more May vacation inspo? Check out our list of best places to travel in May here.