Last week, I wrote about AAA’s recommendations for Memorial Day weekend. How because of people's need to break free after the pandemic, hotel bookings are soaring.

AAA says look right now or you won’t be going anywhere this holiday season. But, for a lot of people, that’s easier said than done. Between inflation, gas prices going through the roof, and everything being just a lot pricier.

Hotel rates have increased significantly from last summer. If you start looking, you’ll see that. Not everyone wants to leave the state, either. Remember, the further your drive the more expensive your trip is.

So how about keeping it in state this Memorial Day weekend? There are so many affordable hotels in this state that people may not even know about. Everything from resorts to quaint little B&Bs.

Here’s a list of some of the ones we found that people in New Jersey like a lot. But remember, book now, or forever hold your trip. Well, maybe not forever, but for a while, anyway.

The Majestic Hotel
19 Main Ave, Ocean Grove

The Majestic Hotel is a top-rated boutique hotel along the New Jersey shoreline in the historical landmark town of Ocean Grove. Built in 1888, this elegant hotel is less than a block from the beach and very close to all that Asbury Park has to offer, too. Plus, Ocean Grove is a unique beachy resort town where you can stroll through the streets and enjoy the Victorian homes, the great auditorium, and the beautiful ocean grove beach and boardwalk.

Château Inn & Suites
500 Warren Ave, Spring Lake

The Chateau Inn & Suites, situated on the Jersey Shore in the seaside village of Spring Lake, is a truly unique hotel experience. Its location is a hop, skip and a jump from Spring Lake's fantastic shopping area where you can enjoy breakfast or lunch and a great day of window shopping. It has a quaint atmosphere and an array of accommodations to fit your personal style. People love this little gem of a beach town and The hotel fits the vibe of Spring Lake perfectly.

The Tropicana Hotel and Casino
Atlantic City, NJ

A gem on the boardwalk, Tropicana is one of the stunning boardwalk hotels in Atlantic City that you can actually afford to stay in. Yet, its Havana-themed décor makes it feel luxurious and expensive. Set on the beachfront boardwalk, it is huge. You never really have to leave the resort but you’re going to want to experience the beautiful beach and beach bar. It’s inspired by Havana, Cuba‘s former Tropicana casino and the feel is chic and tropical.

Colts Neck Inn
191 County Road 537, Colts Neck

The Colts Neck Inn is a family property that prides itself on a higher level of service to its customers. Colts Neck and its surrounding area have a lot to offer with upscale shopping destinations, top attractions, family activities and the Jersey shore just minutes away. It’s pet friendly too so you won’t have to leave your fur baby at home. There are 48 individually decorated rooms including two grand suites, each with a Jacuzzi. In your spare time, you can check out the restaurant, the bar, and the gym on the property.

Harrah’s Resort
777 Harrah's Blvd, Atlantic City

It’s one of the lesser-known properties in Atlantic City, but let it be your little secret. Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City is truly special. It’s beautiful, has superior amenities and great entertainment for an unforgettable stay. The pool at Harrah’s is a standout in the city. You can Chill with a cocktail by the indoor tropical pool and party with A-list DJs at The Pool After Dark nightclub. Then you can retreat to plush rooms and suites, including pet-friendly spaces. There’s delicious dining, too. All of this at a price you can afford.

El Coronado Resort
8501 Atlantic Ave, Wildwood Crest

This isn’t the most luxurious hotel you’ll ever stay at but it’s a fun affordable way to have a memorable weekend with your family. El Coronado Resort has everything you need. It’s a beachfront full-service condominium Hotel located in the heart of Wildwood Crest just minutes from fine restaurants, nightlife, the world famous Wildwood Boardwalk. It's also a short drive to Cape May & Atlantic City. There a variety of accommodations from a king or 2 queen-bed rooms to 1, 2 and 3 bedroom suites, so you definitely can bring the family! You’ll enjoy gorgeous ocean views from your balcony or the beachfront sun deck plus free poolside barbeques and live entertainment.

American Hotel
18 E Main St. Freehold

Freehold is a charming town, so after the beach, check into the American Hotel in downtown. You’ll be entranced by this classic hotel which is a former stagecoach stop built in 1827 and has a classic New Orleans style façade. Historic downtown Freehold has so much for you and your family to do. And Main Street is where all the fun and events take place. You’ll fall in love with the intimate charm and elegance of this fully renovated 20-room boutique hotel and its fireplace-lit Lobby Lounge. Oh, and The Grille Restaurant onsite, a New York-style steak house, serves classic American cuisine you’ll love.

The Château Grande Hotel
670 Cranbury Road, East Brunswick

The Château Grande Hotel is refined and elegant and Conveniently located in East Brunswick, which is a hop skip and a jump from so many great spots you’ll want to visit for Memorial Day weekend. The French-American design makes the hotel feel much more expensive than it is. And the highlight is the dining. Orchard Park by Chef David Burke, called, “serious food in a relaxed, refined setting.” Le Petit Café for coffee and small bites, and their fabulous bar, c’est la vie. Luxury lodging and a central location make this the perfect NJ place to stay.

The Berkeley Hotel
1401 Ocean Avenue North, Asbury Park

The Berkeley’s been around for over 100 years and is an important landmark within the Asbury Park seaside community. Nestled along the Jersey Shore, just a few steps from the famous Asbury Park Boardwalk, the hotel overlooks the Atlantic Ocean providing stunning ocean views. You’ll be so close to all the cool places Asbury Park has to offer including the Stone Pony and the Paramount Theatre. It’s pet friendly and has an outdoor tiki bar and a beautiful resort-style pool with private cabanas.

The Chauncey Hotel & Conference Center
1 Chauncey Rd., Princeton

The Chauncey Hotel & Conference Center is surrounded by 370 acres of peaceful lakeside woodlands. Imagine the atmosphere here surrounded by 370 acres of woodlands. The hotel is a 7-room B&B in a former hunt club. There’s a great hot breakfast included, beautiful grounds, and an indoor pool to boot. This place is a hidden gem, The service is first-rate. The food is excellent, And the ambiance is breathtaking. Highly recommended by so many New Jerseyans who go back again and again.

Desert Palm Inn
Seaside Park

Is this going to be a luxurious resort stay? No. But the clean, neat, rooms and it’s perfect location will make for a perfect, affordable beachfront vacation in New Jersey. 1505 North Ocean Ave. You'll find very friendly staff ready to meet all your needs and being right across the street from beach, you’ll have views for days from the balcony. Two beach passes are included with your room and post-beach everyone can enjoy a dip in their warm onsite outdoor pool. And Desert Palm has a perk a lot of places don’t offer: After checkout, you can feel free to use the amenities for the day.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.

You can now listen to Dennis & Judi — On Demand! Hear New Jersey’s favorite best friends anytime, anywhere and any day of the week. Download the Dennis & Judi show wherever you get podcasts, on our free app, or listen right now:

Judi's double decker eggplant chicken marinara recipe

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM