Sand dollars

Hit the beach on the cheap
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  June 14, 2006

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Just as we are more free with our cares during the summer months (One more round of daiquiris!), we must learn to be more frugal lest we see our bank accounts drained by Labor Day. Here are some tips for making sure beach days don’t leave you broke.

— For just $21 (and none of the hassle of high gas prices or heavy beach traffic), you can take the Amtrak Downeaster from Boston's North Station to Maine’s Old Orchard Beach. The beach itself, along with its concerts and fireworks displays, is free, so if you bring lunch and beverages you won’t have to shell out another penny.

— It’s pretty easy to find deals at Maine's smaller beaches. Scarborough and Crescent Beaches, just south of Portland, offer ample parking and a calm atmosphere, and they charge less than $5.

— Don’t forget that you can take the T to one of Boston’s city beaches, most of which offer free admission. Try Revere or Constitution Beaches, or take the Red Line to Wollaston Beach in Quincy. They might be a bit gritty — but you get what you pay for, right?

— Good news for Rhode Island college students: local state-beaches have huge parking lots and charge a standard fee per car. So pile everyone in, pack the trunk with food and beer, and it'll add up to just a few bucks per person.

— The key to cheap beach days on Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard: don’t even consider bringing your car. Take a bus from South Station to the ferry, then hoof it or take a bus once you get to your island destination.

  Topics: Lifestyle Features , Amtrak
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