Rochester Local

Ready to Get Away? 5 Beach Destinations One Stop Away from RST!

This post is sponsored by Rochester International Airport

beach vacations from rst
Clearwater, Florida

It’s no secret that this time of year everyone wants to get away. The days here in Minnesota are still too short, too cold, and our skin hasn’t seen the sun in…well…what feels like an eternity. Nothing sounds better than a trip to the beach!

Whether you’re on the fence about booking the trip or ready to finalize your plans, consider flying out of RST. While many of us are used to flying out of MSP or driving to another airport, perhaps it’s time to reconsider the actual cost of doing so. Drive time, gas, parking, and wait times all add significant costs to a flight, not to mention the price of your sanity if you happen to be traveling with small children.

On a recent flight out of MSP with our kids, we spent a full hour standing in line to check our bags, over an hour standing in line at the TSA security checkpoint–with three kids 8 and under– *at 5:30 am*–after having left the house before 4:00 am. Let me tell you, I was wistfully thinking of the ease and short wait times we experienced when we flew out of RST.

RST connects to MSP and Chicago making for easy transfers to get anywhere in the country or world if you’re looking to fly internationally. You can park inexpensively ($10/ day), take Lyft or Uber, or have a friend drive the 10 minutes to drop you off and have your car comfortably at home in your garage.

Need a little more convincing to just book it? Here are five great beach destinations that you can get to via RST!

LAX | Check Flights

Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Malibu

There are a lot of reasons to head to LA and no shortage of experiences to be had. If you’re headed with the family for a visit to Disneyland, or Universal Studios, don’t stop the fun there! The LA area has loads of beautiful beaches to give you a break from crowds and lines.

Whether you’re looking to visit the iconic Santa Monica beach and pier, the funky and unexpected flair of Venice Beach, or the picturesque beaches and restaurants with a view (possibly even a celebrity sighting!) in Malibu, you’ll find it all. A romantic getaway, a beach vacation with the kids, or a girls’ weekend away- there’s something for everyone here.

Santa Monica Pier


SAN | Check Flights

Coronado Beach, La Jolla Cove, Pacific Beach

After visiting the #1 zoo in the world- San Diego Zoo– head to Coronado Beach, with “sand that literally sparkles” thanks to mica deposits mixed in with the golden sand.

Continue your immersion into the wonders of the animal kingdom with a trip to La Jolla Cove. The Ecological Reserve surrounding the waters of La Jolla Cove means there are ample opportunities to see seals, sea turtles, and a multitude of fish. Add to the adventure by snorkeling, scuba diving, or kayaking to fully appreciate the beauty and diversity of the wildlife here.

Looking for a beautiful beach that doesn’t stop when the sun goes down? Pacific Beach (“PB” to the locals) has got you covered. Let that beach-waved hair down as PB’s legendary nightlife will keep you moving and dancing till the early hours.

La Jolla Cove

CHS | Check Flights

Folly Beach, Isle of Palms, Kiawah Island

The historic city of Charleston, SC has enough to keep you occupied all on its own, but it also is an access point for some incredible beaches.

The closest beach to Charleston, Folly Beach, has everything you’d expect from a quintessential beach community, and more: restaurants, souvenir shops, miles of sandy shoreline, the iconic Morris Lighthouse, and the Folly Beach Pier, which stretches over 1,000 feet into the ocean.

To enjoy resort life a short drive from Charleston, check out Isle of Palms. This barrier island has beautiful beaches, combined with year-round recreational activities, from golf and tennis to biking, sailing, and kayaking.

Escape the hustle and bustle by driving an hour to Kiawah Island. This pristine barrier island has white sand beaches, sand dunes, marshes, and maritime forests, all of which sustain a host of treasured wildlife. Kiawah Island is known for its world-class golf course and resort, but non-resort vacation home rentals are readily available. This mostly private island is perfect for a quiet and serene getaway.

Folly Beach


TPA | Check Flights

St. Pete Beach, Clearwater

The city of Tampa Bay has loads of things to do, from Busch Gardens to the world’s largest Pirate Festival. Just a 90-minute drive from Orlando and Disney, Tampa also is the gateway to some of the best beaches Florida has to offer.

The white sugar-sand beaches of St. Pete Beach make it a popular tourist destination, with a family-friendly vibe. For art lovers, take time to visit the Salvador Dalí Museum in the art district in downtown St. Petersburg. John’s Pass boardwalk has shopping galore, right on a beach pier, making it a fun place to browse or eat. Vacation rentals are plentiful here, as well as beaches further north and south. For a quieter stay, look at Madeira Beach and Redington Shores.

St. Pete Beach

Clearwater is a longstanding favorite for locals and visitors alike, for many reasons. Its beautiful white sand beaches are everything you’d hope for in a beach vacation, but with plenty of water sports, fishing, aquatic life, dining, and nightlife options, it really has everything! Visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to take a break from the sun, and see Winter the Dolphin, the star of the “Dolphin Tale” movies.

RSW | Check Flights

Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel Island, Punta Gorda

Popular for its gorgeous beaches, the Fort Myers area brings you to beaches famous for eco-tourism, shells, and sharks’ teeth. Rent a jet ski, or a stand-up paddle board, or take a sunset cruise to see dolphins swim right under your boat.

Sanibel Island is well-recognized as one of the best shelling beaches in the country, as its unique geography operates as a scoop, trapping all the shells that wash into the Gulf of Mexico from the Caribbean. Leave extra space in your suitcase for the 60 varieties of shells that can be found on Sanibel Island during low tide.

For shark teeth, head north to Manasota Key and Venice, Florida, the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World.” Having recently returned from a vacation on Manasota Key, I can personally vouch for how easy it was for the kids to collect literally hundreds of shark teeth in a one-week stay.

In addition to its beaches, Punta Gorda offers an old-Florida atmosphere with historic streets, boardwalks, and Fishermen’s Village. With 18 miles of bike paths winding through the city and along the shoreline, a bike adventure makes for a great way to see the sights.

Sanibel Island Lighthouse


Wherever your next trip takes you–to the beach or not–consider flying out of Rochester International Airport.

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