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Crystal Blue Water And Affordable Stays: These 3 Northern Mexico Beach Towns Are Perfect For A Summer Vacation

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Mexico will be jam-packed this summer, especially in the vacation destinations you would expect.

Every year, travelers in search of incredible beach vacations set their sights on one of three iconic beach cities in Mexico – Cancun, Los Cabos, and Puerto Vallarta.

As great as these places are, beaches can be more cramped than a Frontier Airlines economy seat.

Nooo bueno.

Tourists gathered on Rosarito beach

Crowds aren't going to stop everyone from packing their bags and jetting off to paradise, but travelers should know there are some other vacation options that fly under the radar.

Not every Mexican beach has millions of tourists pour in, but there are many well equipped for a summer vacation.

Three of them are in Northern Mexico not far from the border, but don't let that word trigger you into thinking it's unsafe or run down.

Home to crystal blue waters and affordable stays, these 3 Northern Mexico beach towns are perfect for a summer vacation:

Puerto Penasco

Beach hammocks in Puerto Penasco

Perhaps best visited on an epic road trip, Puerto Penasco, also known as Rocky Point, won't disappoint no matter how you get here.

You may have heard George Strait's classic hit Ocean Front Property, where he claims he owns prime real estate with sea views from Arizona.

While that's physically impossible, Puerto Penasco is one of Arizonians' favorite beach getaways just over an hour from the border.

Home to beautiful blue waters and even white sand beaches along the Sea of Cortez, this small Sonoran resort city packs a punch and isn't discussed enough as a top Mexican vacation spot.

Blue waters and white sand of Puerto Penasco

Locals in the know probably prefer it that way too, but hey, just doing my job here!

There are no major airports near here, so this truly is a secret spot those nearby know about, yet it's surprisingly fit for vacationers with cheap resorts, fresh seafood, and plenty of fun activities like fishing.

Better yet, the gorgeous waters are swimmable despite being close to the border where infrastructure is notoriously faulty.

Resorts line the scenic beaches and are nowhere near the sky-high rates of Cabo, for example.

Upscale hotels can easily be found in the low $100's to $200's.

San Felipe

Blue water of San Felipe

Another Sea of Cortez gem lies on the Baja side, and it's even more quaint than Rocky Point.

From the clear waters to the stunning views and so much more, a getaway to San Felipe is the perfect place to reset away from the hustle and bustle of Mexico's action-packed vacation hotspots.

While San Felipe makes for a great road trip too, reaching this small coastal town is much easier with new direct flights to Tijuana. You can also cross into Baja from San Diego or Arizona.

San Felipe is also nearby to Tijuana's vast wine country. In other words, this region of Baja is the ultimate place to kick back, relax, and enjoy the finer things in life.

As a proud fishing village, you know you will get the best selection of food here as well while enjoying your seaside stay without breaking the bank.

Tourist's feet in water of San Felipe, Mexico

While not know for resorts, there are ample places along the coast ranging from vacation rentals to boutique stays – many in the low $100's.


Northern Baja's most notable beach town is fun, festive, beautiful, and definitely a foodie destination.

About 30 minutes south of Mexico's busiest border crossing, Rosarito is easy to reach from Tijuana and/or San Diego.

Here lies a small beach town where it seems they borrow New York's slogan, “the city that never sleeps”.

Rosarito has it all – beachside bars, horseback rides, lavish hotels, and incredible cuisine where the main strip rivals downtown Cabo in terms of knowing how to party.

Beachgoers in Rosarito

There are more blissful sides dispersed throughout the region. You can still relax at multiple beachfront hotels such as the high-rise Hotel Corona in the low $100's.

Unfortunately, the picturesque pier was damaged in a recent storm, but there are still awesome ocean views elsewhere.

Downsides To Rosarito

As a recent visitor to Rosarito, I can tell you there are two downsides to visiting…

First being the waters are not swimmable, despite many beachgoers tempting fate with potential bacteria infections.

Second being tourist scams, which I was a victim. Papas and Beer is the most popular bar in the area. Quite honestly, one could argue the most popular bar in Northern Baja.

Beach hotels in Rosarito

The bar is massive and even includes a swimming pool and stage where famous acts, such as Cardi B, have performed.

Menu prices were not honored on my visit. Both the server and manager wouldn't exactly be up for an Oscar when pretending to be surprised.

The clearly displayed “2×1” cocktail special turned out to be double the price on what is already inflated for a watered-down, melted Jolly Rancher-esque drink – a far cry from what is supposed to be an adult beverage.

Their excuse? “Oh, this is a seasonal promo.”

As these types of bars surround the area, their goal is to get tourists drunk and hope they don't notice.

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Saturday 8th of June 2024

I love in Rosarito Beach. It has been cold..dreary..drizzles. Not sure we'll get summer. The police pull over many people with US plates and harassing them. Know they can pay. We are all avoiding. Huge construction project along side border wall causing delays. Coming south the wait is two hours. Please visit before you write. Rosarito has vhanged