Luxe Beach Getaway, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Bayside dining, huge oysters and your own pad just a few minutes’ walk from the beach: Virginia Beach is a salty, sandy, surfy playground. Sandy beaches line the oceanfront, while Chesapeake Bay has seafood restaurants and parks. This bright, family-friendly home has all of this on its doorstep and there’s no compromising on style, with soul-soothing decor and open-space living areas dotted with plants. The three-bed property sleeps up to eight people at $695 for three nights at booking.com.
Carpinteria Beach Cottages, Carpinteria, California
Carpinteria, a small coastal city little outside Santa Barbara, is cute as a colorful button. These cottages are just as beguiling and match the area’s chilled-out retro vibe with breezy blue-and-white decor and fun vintage details like 1950s-style fridges and an old motel sign. All the cottages, which sleep between two and six people and cost from $150 per night, are charmers and a short walk from the sandy beach. There are complimentary beach cruisers, boogie boards, beach chairs and towels for guests’ use.
Moody Sands Villas, Wells, Maine
This two-bed cottage – which costs around $245 per night – is the dream beach house, all white clapboard and blue shutters. The best bit is the private sandy beach that’s right under your toes as you step outside. Picnic tables and Adirondack chairs face the ocean head on, and the cute southern Maine fishing village of Ogunquit is nearby. New England residents can rent without restrictions but currently visitors from other states must provide negative COVID-19 test results to avoid quarantine.
Beach Cottage, Islamorada, Florida
Sandy beaches are surprisingly rare in the Florida Keys, and luxury beachfront properties are even rarer. This two-bed beauty, in serene Islamorada, goes one better with its own private, palm-fringed beach. It’s pinch-yourself gorgeous, inside and out. The rental, from $373 per night, includes the use of two kayaks for fishing or just paddling out to nearby islands. The Florida Keys area is open to travelers with social distancing and masks required – check the website for updates.
Maison Bon Temps, Grand Isle, Louisiana
Grand Isle is the location those in the know would probably prefer to keep quiet. The breezy barrier island is unusual in a state better known for bayous than beaches, and this huge beachfront home – rented on Airbnb from around $495 per night – is a particularly lovely surprise. It sleeps 16 people and makes the most of its location with plenty of outside space, including the deck dotted with wooden swing chairs that tempt you to stay and stare at the ocean all day.
Dolphin Sunset, La Jolla, California
Chic La Jolla, north of San Diego, is the place to live the coastal dream. Staying in this four-bed property, from $4,000 per week, feels like having a chic boutique hotel all to yourself. Cool off in the outdoor pool, watch the sunset from one of the two private decks – and generally just pretend you’re among the lucky few who get to enjoy this lifestyle all the time. The beach and La Jolla Cove, with upscale restaurants, cute shops and a sea lion colony, is just a block away.
Sea Breeze 702 Deluxe, Biloxi, Mississippi
Mississippi’s often-underrated coastline – known as ‘The Secret Coast’ – is all blazingly white beaches, seafood restaurants and fishing piers, and this self-catering apartment, sleeping up to six, is the perfect base for discovering its charms. It faces Biloxi West Central Beach, with a balcony to make the most of the views, and is close to restaurants and Broadwater Marina. There’s also a shared outdoor pool and, of course, the sandy beach itself just steps away.
SeaLily, Carolina Beach, North Carolina
Close to the college town of Wilmington, Carolina Beach is a lovely, laid-back spot for an oceanfront escape. This cute, colorful cabana, with one bedroom and sleeping two from $150 per night, is pretty much as close as you can get without floating. It overlooks the dunes and is a short stroll from the boardwalk, where you’ll find shops and restaurants. There’s also use of a shared pool, though you might not bother with the ocean so close. Most of the area is open, but check for the latest visitor information.
Sunsetter on Sapphire Shores, Siesta Key, Florida
The sugary beaches that stretch either side of Siesta Key, a barrier island off the coast of Sarasota in western Florida, would look very much at home in the Caribbean. This gorgeous three-bedroom home is right by a private stretch of sand. The decor inside the cubic white property is as impeccable as the surroundings, with minimal decor brightened with pops of color and bold prints. Wide windows frame the views throughout. Just lovely. Rent from booking.com for around $2,000 for a week.
The Houses on Manzanita Beach, Manzanita, Oregon
The seven-mile stretch of beach that sweeps through Manzanita is all the beauty of Oregon’s coastline, distilled: burnished gold sand, rolling dunes and a backdrop of misty mountains, with the occasional bald eagle sweeping overhead. This cluster of beach houses, which range from two to seven bedrooms, offers front-row seats, whether that’s by the firepits or in living spaces where the ocean is framed by picture windows. Prices start at $175 per night.
The Peekytoe Cottage, Old Orchard Beach, Maine
This cottage, named after a species of Maine crab, is as cute as it sounds but packs in a lot of space. It’s a little outside the center of southern Maine’s Old Orchard Beach, whose stretch of sand sweeps around Saco Bay for seven miles (11km), and all the better for it. You can step right onto the sand from the patio and take in views of the island-dotted bay, while the busier attractions – including the amusement park, pier, and lobster restaurants – are within easy reach. Weekly rentals start at $3,500 with room for up to 19 people. Check the area’s COVID-19 resource page for the latest updates.
Waterfront Serenity House, Cape May, New Jersey
Cape May presents a different, more serene face of the Jersey Shore: one of pretty, pastel-hued Victorian homes, pristine beaches and mesmerizing sunsets. This spacious cottage is as immaculate as its surroundings, with soft decor that reflects the beachy vibe, two decks to make the most of the bayfront location and direct access to a private slice of sandy beach. Rental costs around $600 per night on Airbnb for up to 10 guests.
Once Upon A Tide, Seaside, Oregon
This is the place to stay if you want to avoid rowing over who gets which room – there simply isn’t a short straw to draw. Each of the five bedrooms has an enormous king-sized bed and, more importantly, windows that gaze out to the ocean. It’s a short stroll to the caramel-colored sandy beach and an easy walk to Seaside’s boardwalk, where you’ll find seafood restaurants and surf shops. If the weather is stormy, take refuge in the rental’s hot tub or vintage arcade games room. Prices start at $350 per night booked direct.
Island Sands, Clearwater Beach, Florida
This cute apartment is right on Clearwater Beach and, rather greedily, within walking distance of other stretches of sparkling white sand. Which is what this relaxed, sunny town – which sits on a barrier island west of Tampa – is best known for. Stroll along the shore, take a dip in the ocean, try stand-up paddle boarding or just chill out on the apartment’s balcony. A week’s rental via booking.com costs from around $1,300, sleeping up to five people. Check the area’s COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Sea Dream Cottage, Orcas Island, Washington
Tiny, densely forested Orcas Island is part of the San Juan Islands archipelago, a short drive and ferry journey from Seattle, and it punches well above its weight when it comes to scenery, seafood and serenity. Tuck yourself away in this romantic rental for two, right by the beach. The deck juts right over the water, which can be seen through huge picture windows, and there’s a stone patio with barbecue and access to the sand. Priced from $500 for two nights. The San Juan Islands are open for non-essential travel with some restrictions in place – check the website for updates.
Double Eagle, Homer, Alaska
Here’s a way to really feel like you’re sleeping on the water – a docked ship on a bluff overlooking the Homer Spit and Kachemak Bay on the tranquil Kenai Peninsula. The wooden shrimping boat has been beautifully restored into a unique, cozy beachfront rental with two bedrooms, a decent amount of living space and – most crucially – three decks that open up to a vista of forest, ocean and snow-cloaked mountains. Prices start at $375 per night via booking.com.
Villa at Casa Mariposa, South Padre Island, Texas
South Padre Island is where Texans go for respite from summer heat and to cool off in the calm, clear waters that lap the sparkling sand. This four-bedroom villa, from $400 a night, feels like a hideaway within a hideaway, with courtyards filled with plants and color. It’s right by the beach and backed by a bird sanctuary. The island and its beaches are open with distancing measures in place – check the official visitor website for updates.
Waterfront house, Camano Island, Washington
Staying at this sleek waterfront home is a little like being on your own private cruise ship, with the best suite on board and no other guests. It’s actually perched above Cama Beach on Camano Island in Washington’s Puget Sound region, and it isn’t going anywhere. Not that you’d want it to. It’s a few steps to private beach access, with kayaks and paddle boards provided, and you can see Olympic National Park – and the occasional passing orca – from the broad deck. Rental starts at around $180 a night.
Villa 504, Jekyll Island, Georgia
Georgia’s coastline runs for a relatively brief 100 miles (161km) but it crams in the beauty, particularly in the Golden Isles, a set of barrier islands off the Atlantic coast. This chic oceanfront villa, renting for around $365 per night on Airbnb, couldn’t be much closer to the water. Each of the three bedrooms and breezy living areas are elegantly decorated in fresh, breezy shades befitting the coastal location. The best bit, though, is the balcony that gazes over Driftwood Beach, whose soft sand is minutes away.
Beach Haven Lakefront, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
It isn’t an ocean beach but, when you’re staying by the shores of North America’s largest alpine lake, it doesn’t feel much different. This incredible home is right by the water and has direct access to a sandy beach. The views inside are equally lovely, from the cozy living room with brick fireplace to the angled floor-to-ceiling windows that lead to a huge deck overlooking the water. Rental costs from around $650 per night, sleeping up to six people.
Pepper Creek Cabin, Seward, Alaska
Getting to this beachside cabin requires a boat or helicopter ride from Seward Harbor, but that’s half the fun – and also the reason why it’s so wonderfully secluded. Inside are two cozy beds (one tucked in a loft) and a cute kitchenette and living space. But, of course, the best stuff is found outside, from bird (and sometimes whale) spotting on the private beach to alpine trails that weave past kettle ponds and up into the mountains. Rent via Airbnb from around $225 per night.
Providence Beach Front Home, Providence, Rhode Island
Every room has perfectly framed views of the beach and water in this gorgeous home on Narragansett Bay, a short drive from downtown Providence. It can be viewed even closer just steps from the broad porch. Best of all, renters have the private beach all to themselves. It’s worth the cost for the sunsets alone. Rental starts at around $490 per night at Airbnb, with four bedrooms sleeping up to eight guests. Now take a look at the world’s most stunning clifftop towns.
Oceanfront home, Pacific Grove, California
Ever get the feeling you’re being followed? In this spectacular home in California’s coveted Pacific Grove, it’s the ocean that seems to keep its big blue gaze on you as you move from room to room. It’s mutual, though, as you’ll want to stare at those views day and night. Four of the six bedrooms have Pacific views, as do the living spaces, kitchen – and even the roll-top bath. Outdoor treats include a hot tub and deck. Rent for around $1,200 a night for up to 13 guests. Take a look at the most beautiful views on Earth.
Oceanview Cottage, Dennis, Massachusetts
Cape Cod is beach home heaven, with either side of the peninsula gazing over the bay or the Atlantic. Take full advantage of this salt-sprayed outdoor playground by staying in this sleek and stylish oceanfront cottage, whose porch leads directly to the sand. With two bedrooms sleeping up to four people, everything’s covered to help guests make the most of the location, including beach chairs and an umbrella. Rent from around $150 a night via Airbnb.
8 Junket, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
The location could hardly be more breathtaking, overlooking the Palmetto Dunes Plantation on South Carolina’s idyllic Hilton Head Island. The interior is just as perfect, with plush decor adding to the general sense of luxury. The Atlantic is framed by huge windows in pretty much every room, while the decks and outdoor pool are positioned to make the most of the views. Rent via Airbnb from around $1,550 per night for up to 12 guests, with six bedrooms and six bathrooms.
Westview Cottage, Onancock, Virginia
This two-bed cutie feels like an escape from pretty much everything. Apart from the water, which is just steps away from the cabin and reached via fields and a tiny beach. It’s a short distance from downtown Onancock on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, though feels blissfully remote. Rent kayaks to paddle in the saltwater creek or just sit and watch the sunset. Priced from around $165 a night via Airbnb, sleeping up to four guests in two bedrooms. You won’t believe these places are in the USA.
Aftah Dune Delight, Frisco, North Carolina
Frisco is one of the small communities dotted through the Outer Banks, a strip of barrier islands off North Carolina’s coast that’s basically paradise for beach lovers. It’s pretty impossible to find a rental that doesn’t have views of the water. This bright, breezy cottage, which sleeps six from $155 per night, has direct access to the dunes for a sandy stroll to Frisco Beach plus a terrace with views over Pamlico Sound, perfect for watching the sun dip down. Social distancing measures are in place and face coverings are required in public areas – see the official website for details.
Beachwalk Place, Milton, Delaware
Delaware’s coastline is rather underrated, which is a real riddle when there are places to stay as stunning as this beachfront home. Step straight out of the door and onto the sand, sprouting with dune grass and leading down to Delaware Bay, which is particularly gorgeous at sunrise. It’s rarely even close to busy, so you can stroll, swim or go hunting for shells in blissful solitude. Available to rent via Airbnb from around $415 a night, sleeping up to six in three bedrooms.
Pacific Mists, Albion, California
Mendocino County, a couple of hours’ drive north of San Francisco on California’s famed Highway 1, is pinch-yourself beautiful. The coastline rises to apricot cliffs and falls away to beaches backed by redwood forests. This chic beach home is perhaps even more dreamy, particularly the hot tub perched at the ocean’s edge. The views from inside, and from the rest of the wooden deck, are just as lovely. Prices start at around $270 per night, sleeping four people (over 12s only).
Rest Area East, Gulf Shores, Alabama
The beach homes on Alabama’s Gulf Coast have bagged all the best views, sitting right over a sweep of alabaster sand that stretches for miles, interrupted only by clumps of dune grass. Options range from quaint cottages to beachy dreams like this beauty, with six bedrooms and an incredible deck with private pool and direct access to the soft sand. Most of the area is open to visitors – check the official website for updates.
Inspired further? Take a look at America’s most charming seaside towns
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