The Best U.S. Beach Hotel Getaways
Nothing beats spending an entire vacation next to the ocean—in fact, it’s a scientific fact that water makes people happier. Even though American travelers might not be able to jet off to the Mediterranean coast or choose a Caribbean island at will right now, there are plenty of hotels in the United States that are perfect for your next beach getaway. We’ve rounded up our favorite oceanfront hotels spanning the entire contiguous U.S., and we guarantee there’s a listing here for every type of traveler. So whether you’re craving an intimate retreat in Big Sur, a family-friendly cabin on Cape Cod, or a five-star high-rise located directly on Miami Beach, this list of the best beach getaways should have you covered.
The Chanler at Cliff Walk, Newport, Rhode Island
Newport has a long history of catering to the country’s upper-crust, and few places appeal to that “I’m friends with at least one Vanderbilt” clientele better than The Chanler at Cliff Walk. The gilded-age manor was built in 1873 for Margaret Astor Ward (great-granddaughter of John Jacob), but opened its doors to the public as a hotel in 2003. The rooms are decorated in the styles of different historical periods, each somehow more extravagant than the next. Our favorite is the Martha’s Vineyard villa, an ocean-view beauty with a mantled fireplace, two prim blue chairs, and a canopied, four-poster bed with intricately carved wooden frame.
Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa, New York
It’s no secret that Montauk is one of the best beach getaways for New Yorkers, but booking a room at Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa will take your semi-staycation to the next level. With its ocean-fed saltwater pool and in-the-sand daybeds adorned in yellow and cream, the beach scene here is the stuff Hamptons dreams are made of. People come to Gurney’s beach club from all over the area just for happy hour, but you can dodge the mid-afternoon crowds in one of the resort’s 38 oceanfront guest rooms, complete with private verandas and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club, Miami, Florida
The Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club is like one giant breath of fresh air—especially compared to the clubby vibes that seem to infiltrate most of Miami. Your relaxing stay begins as soon as you enter the palm-filled, beamed lobby, and certainly continues into the minimalist rooms. The category to choose is an Oceanfront room (its name should tell you why), but even the city-view rooms look across Biscayne Bay to mainland Miami, which offers the opportunity to see some striking sunsets. You can even see the ocean from your shower in some of the rooms, which shows that The Surf Club takes its views very seriously. With great location comes great responsibility, after all.
Chatham Bars Inn, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
With its shingle-style cottages and beautiful surroundings, Chatham Bars Inn is exactly what you picture of a country inn. Scattered around 25 acres atop a seaside bluff, the hotel’s charming, New England–style cottages have bay windows, fireplaces, and private decks or patios with views of the ocean, grounds, or golf course—but we’re obviously going for the ocean views if we can get them. Chatham Bars Inn also somehow manages to appeal to both quiet-seeking adults and families with young children, with daily, supervised activities to occupy the young ones and a relatively quiet beach with plenty of opportunities to view wildlife (mainly seals, which is all anyone really needs to be happy).
Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, California
Clinging to the 1,200-foot cliffs above the Pacific, Big Sur’s iconic Post Ranch Inn delivers both ocean views and elevated, tranquil spaces. The nineteenth-century homestead features floor-to-ceiling glass walls facing the shoreline, while the seven treehouses (yes, there are treehouses) have custom beds tucked under huge skylights. In other words: This place is all about soaking in those views. To really take it all in, treat yourself to the Post House private home, which has a private outdoor hot tub and patio that face away from the rest of the Inn, making it feel like you have the grounds to yourselves.
Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, Little Torch Key, Florida
Recently reopened after Hurricane Irma forced a two-year closure, this elegant resort on Little Torch Key is already reminding us why it’s been a beloved favorite for so many years. Little Palm Island Resort & Spa already feels remote, seeing as it’s only accessed by boat or seaplane, but the overall design and thoughtful amenities easily fool us into thinking we’re in the South Pacific: We’re talking more than 250 coconut palm trees, thatched-roof bungalows, and outdoor showers. Add to that a spa with a two-story atrium, some incredible ocean views, and direct access to white sand and turquoise waters, and you have yourself a vacation spot that you may never want to leave.
The Cloister at Sea Island, Georgia
Set on Georgia’s tiny Sea Island (just five miles long and under two miles wide), The Cloister is a palm frond-flushed palazzo that definitely lives up to its name. The Mediterranean-style resort offers the Lodge, encircled by three separate golf courses on St. Simons Island; the Cloister, the most centrally located, with beach access and spa; and the Cottages, private, and optimal for couples and families seeking space. The decor varies from room to room, but we’d sum up the overall look as “Italy meets the American South”: think overstuffed chairs, floral curtains, and exposed wood beams. Did we mention there are seven restaurants on the property? Get ready to eat sea bass and lobster off of exquisite, hand-painted china.
Headlands Coastal Lodge & Spa, Pacific City, Oregon
Oregon’s Pacific coastline is one of the most beautiful natural sites in the country (those boulders!), so why not book a hotel situated directly on the sand? We love Headlands Coastal Lodge & Spa not only for its location right next to Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area, but also for its spacious rooms and cottages, all of which have a terrace or balcony affording once-in-a-lifetime views. While you could easily watch the waves from your room all day long, be sure to take advantage of the many outdoor activities the hotel can help you experience, from kayaking the Nestucca River to bike-riding along the coastline.
Hotel del Coronado, San Diego, California
It’s nearly impossible to think of San Diego hotels without immediately conjuring up images of Hotel del Coronado, one of the grandest, most iconic buildings in the entire city. The first thing you’ll notice while pulling up to the hotel is the red, turreted roof—unless you already spotted it from your plane window, that is. But you’ll have to spend a couple days here to really see what all the fuss is about. Stay in one of the California Cabanas or the Ocean View Towers for rooms with white shutters and bright pops of color, plus easy access to the beach and pool. Or, for something even more beachy (and definitely more private), book a room in the Beach Village, the Del’s secluded cottages by the ocean with separate entrances and private valets.
Montage Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina
Photos of Montage Palmetto Bluff do not do this South Carolina stunner any justice, as beautiful as those photos may be. The 20,000-acre property is like its own little world, with an on-site bird conservatory, Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, and arching trees dripping Spanish moss. In fact, 75 percent of the grounds are a protected nature reserve. Opt for one of the lagoon- or May River-front cottages to watch the sunset from your screened porch, but make sure you save the swimming for one of the resort’s many pools. Trust us, it’s the only way your soak won’t put you face to face with a resident alligator.
Shutters on the Beach, Santa Monica, California
First opened in 1993, Shutters on the Beach has become something of an icon in the game of California hotels. As its name suggests, the hotel sits right on the sand of Santa Monica Bay, and guests can see the Pacific from the pool and Jacuzzi (take your pick: chaise lounge or private cabana). The 186 breezy guest rooms and 12 suites all feel residential—hardwood floors with Tibetan rugs, built-ins instead of bulky furniture, and spacious bathrooms. Just be aware that very few of the rooms have ocean views, so be sure to get the skinny before you book.
The Tides Beach Club, Kennebunkport, Maine
An hour and a half north of Boston, Kennebunkport is quintessential Maine, complete with rocky beaches, antique stores, and lobster shacks galore. It also happens to be home to one of the most luxe hotels in the state: The Tides Beach Club. The modern-but-beachy, 21-room hotel sits pretty on Goose Rocks Beach, whose powdery white sand is exceptional as far as Maine beaches go. As for the hotel itself, you can expect big porches overlooking the ocean, nautical paintings and coffee table books, and preppy rooms decked out in turquoise and coral.
The Wauwinet, Nantucket, Massachusetts
Arguably the most well-regarded hotel on Nantucket, The Wauwinet is a classic New England retreat perfect for well-dressed vacationers looking for some quiet time by the sea. The 5-star hotel is tucked away on the far northeastern side of the island, meaning the only crowds you’ll run into are fellow guests and friendly staff members. And we think silence is the best way to enjoy those spacious rooms, comfortable beds, and private terraces with wicker lounge chairs and direct beach access.
Rosewood Miramar Beach, Montecito, California
If The Great Gatsby took place on the West Coast, the parties probably would have been held at Rosewood Miramar Beach. Indeed, its rows of white roses and trim boxwood, and clapboard cottages seem too pristine to be real, but a stay here is more like an elevated version of life than a fictional one. If you’re able, be sure to book one of the Beach House Suites, which are bigger than the garden-view bungalows and have ocean-facing terraces—although, with access to one of the best beaches along California’s central coast (Miramar), you probably won’t be spending too much time in whichever room you choose.