The $400 weekend getaway

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It came down to this: Two exhausted parents needed a quick getaway while grandparents were in town to babysit. Should we spend our limited budget on one night in a luxury hotel near home or two nights at a no-frills beachfront inn? We opted for the extra time and booked a room for $125 a night at the three-story Inn on the Beach in Ventura. We weren’t disappointed, and the whole weekend was enhanced by the fact we weren’t racking up the credit card bill.

Don’t expect luxury at the Inn on the Beach, but it’s clean and friendly. You will be accosted by Victorian-esque wallpaper (pink and green and very unhip) upon entering the lobby and rooms, but this is quickly trumped by the uninhibited ocean views from all the 2nd and 3rd floor rooms. We took long walks on the beach, discovered a great fish and chips place nearby, and spent hours reading and watching the waves from the balcony. I won’t soon forget waking up the first morning and sipping my first cup of coffee while gazing at those magnificent Pacific waves.

One of these days, we’ll check out the Langham Pasadena, but we have no regrets at all about our budget beach getaway. All in, the weekend cost us about $400, including gas and meals.

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