While I live reasonably close to a beach and even a theme park, I don't find the quality of the cheaper options to be worth the trip. You really do get what you pay for in that regard.
I have often been surprised by my own town just by exploring a different area that I do not normally drive through. Visiting shops that I have passed by numerous times but never explored, eating somewhere I hadn't given a chance, and even just checking out a few of the historical sites. While I am not particularly interested in learning all the ins and outs of my town's history, sometimes the view makes the trip worthwhile.
Seeking out a bed and breakfast that is nearby makes the experience more complete. Making a point not to shop anywhere you favor, get gas anywhere you frequent, or visit people you would normally can almost make it seem like a whole new world.