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The 13 best beach hotels in the US

We know that travel is especially difficult right now. But alongside the latest COVID-19 travel advice and updates, we want to continue to inspire you with new travel content so that when the world opens its doors again, you'll be ready.

Before you know it, beach weather will be here. Not that we need the summer months to enjoy some sun and sand, especially now, when we are all looking to get away from it all. Long walks on the beach, outdoor seaside dining, falling sleeping to the lulling sounds of crashing waves is a year-round activity. Plus there are these 13 best beach hotels!

Whether you are a family itching for some responsible fun in the sun or a couple on a tight budget, we’ve got you covered. However, if you are not ready to travel right now, or state-wide preventive measure is in place, we hope this list inspires your future beach gateway.

Please note: All hotels on this list are taking precautions to keep guests safe. In addition to requiring face coverings in public spaces and enhanced cleaning protocols, we’ve outlined supplementary steps the hotels have taken to safeguard their guests’ and employees’ health.

Make sure to check local government websites such as the CDC for the latest information before you make a booking or pack for your trip.  You can also check out Skyscanner’s COVID-19 travel advice page. Here, you’ll find up-to-the-minute travel regulations and restrictions on a state-by-state basis. These include whether you need to quarantine or monitor your own health while traveling in certain places.

Here are the best beach hotels for every kind of traveler!

Best Beach Hotels for Budget Travelers

No need to break the bank to enjoy some fun in the sun, sand, and waves. These budget-friendly picks have it all on the cheap!

Cape Sands Inn in Yarmouth, MA

Colorful and clean room at the Cape Sands Inn best beach hotel
Photo courtesy of Cape Sands Inn

Although not directly on the beach, this lovely inn offers a major bang for your buck. The rooms are spacious, bright, and clean, with some overlooking Lewis Bay where you might spot an osprey catching its meal. Lewis Beach is just five minutes away, and Seagull Beach is ten. With indoor and outdoor pools, yummy breakfast, restaurants, and bars close by, as well as Hyannis Terminal, Cape Sands Inn is ideal for exploring Cape Cod and beyond.

Cape Sands Inn offers guests the option of phone check-in, thus limiting interaction with the staff.

Please note: Travelers are required to fill out a travel form and self-quarantine for 10 days upon entering the state or produce a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival.

Shoreline Hotel Waikiki in Honolulu, HI

Best shoreline view of Waikiki in Hawaii and the surrounding beach hotels

As far as Hawaii goes, hotel stays can get pricey. Enter Shoreline Hotel Waikiki, chic and budget-friendly, without sacrificing style and amenities such as a rooftop pool. Its design and vibe– colorful, playful, and modern–harks back to the 70s. The beach and a vibrant downtown with restaurants, shops, galleries, and bars (with takeout and outdoor seating) are just blocks away. The welcome snacks made up of yummy Hawaiian treats add that extra touch that makes Shoreline stand out from the rest.   

Shoreline is protecting guests by frequently disinfecting and sanitizing all public area surfaces, along with frequently touched objects.

Please note: Visitors to Hawaii are subject to the pre-travel COVID-19 testing program and a 10-day quarantine.

La Copa Inn in South Padre Island, TX

A lone woman sitting on an sandy beach beach.

South Padre Island is said to have some of the best beaches in Texas and the state’s clearest waters. La Copa Inn has all the comforts of a Gulf Coast beach getaway–private beach access, free breakfast, spacious rooms with Tempur-Pedic mattresses and ocean views, proximity to restaurants, and an outdoor pool. What it doesn’t have is a hefty price tag!

The use of face coverings and social distancing norms is required of both guests and employees.

Best Beach Hotels for Couples

The formula is simple, our recommendations for the best beach hotels plus your sweetheart add up to an unforgettable romantic beach getaway.  

Harbor House Inn in Santa Barbara, CA

exterior of Harbor House Inn beach hotel
Photo courtesy of Harbor House Inn

Thoughtfully designed and beautifully appointed rooms await at this family-owned and operated 17-room boutique hotel, located in a quiet residential area. A block from West Beach, beach chairs, umbrellas, towels, and boogie boards are provided for guests. After a day in the sun, hop on a cruiser bike to explore Stearns Wharf and the Santa Barbara Harbor. Or head to Funk Zone to taste and sip the flavors of Santa Barbara. Harbor House Inn is an ideal choice for couples looking for a little beach and a little city.

Harbor House Inn conducts regular temperature checks for staff. Likewise, all guest rooms have exterior entrances, minimizing contact with both other guests and staff.

Please note: Non-essential travel is banned statewide. Some areas are enforcing a 10-day quarantine.

Best Western Plus Ocean View Resort in Seaside, OR

View of the ocean from the balcony of Best Western in Seaside, Oregon.
Photo courtesy of Western Plus Ocean View Resort

If love is free, why should a beach getaway with your sweetheart cost an arm and a leg? Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to. Best Western’s beach resort has simple rooms, but they overlook Seaside Beach, and it’s beautiful!

Request a room with a fireplace and an ocean-facing hot tub from which you can watch the sun set, or rise. Visit Seaside Brewing Co. for a pint of Oregon Coast brewed craft beer. Then head to the famous Bell Buoy of Seaside for fresh fried fish, razor clams, oysters, or crab melts. Make a final stop by Sea Star Gelato before calling it a night. We just spelled out the perfect romantic budget getaway. You’re welcome! 

All Best Westerns are enhancing their sanitization procedures throughout their hotels, with disinfecting taking place regularly.

Please note: Visitors traveling for non-essential purposes are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival in Oregon.

Inn By the Sea in Cape Elizabeth, ME 

Beach houses on stilts in Orchard Beach, Maine.

Elegant guest rooms, beach suites, and cottages, many with en suite fireplaces, does it get any more romantic? Yes, it does. A private boardwalk connects the Inn by the Sea to a secluded sliver of Crescent Beach. There is an on-site spa, daily yoga sessions, an outdoor pool, a gorgeous indigenous garden, and a sea-facing restaurant serving regionally-inspired and locally-sourced cuisine. The hotel is very dog-friendly, offering canine spa services and treats, in case your sweetheart is your pup. This idyllic, eco-friendly hotel is a lover’s paradise.

Inn by the Sea is safeguarding guests with enhanced housekeeping services and strict social-distancing practices in the pool and restaurant.

Please note: Individuals traveling to Maine must self-quarantine for 14 days. Masks are mandated in all public settings. Visitors and residents from New Hampshire and Vermont are exempt from the quarantine requirement.

The WaterColor Inn in Santa Rosa Beach, FL

Balcony view from WaterColor Inn in Florida
Photo courtesy of St. Joe Hospitality.

There is no other way to say this: this beach hotel in Florida is gorgeous and oh so romantic! The secluded beach retreat sits on 500 acres of private, sugar-white beach backed by perfectly landscaped grounds and a pine forest. The WaterColor Inn is the epitome of coastal elegance. As part of a broader resort community and as a St. Joe Hospitality-managed property, this beach hotel offers access to the best resort recreational amenities, including pools, restaurants, golf courses, kayaks, canoes, bikes, and tennis courts. And if none of these spikes your interests, there is always the spa!

The WaterColor Community Association monitors the community pools. Chairs and tables in these areas are set in line with physical-distancing guidelines. Mask and gloves are available to guests upon request.

Best Beach Hotels for Families

On the beach, you don’t need much to keep kids of all ages entertained. There is swimming, shell hunting, castle building, seagull chasing, wave hopping, to say nothing of endless watersports.

The Westin Jekyll Island, Jekyll Island, GA 

Washed up drift wood on a beach.

This beautiful, LEED-certified, family-friendly hotel boasts large rooms and suites, many with sweeping ocean views, a pool, and four onsite dining options, ranging from formal steak dinners to finger foods by the pool. Close by is the Summer Waves waterpark, Jekyll Island Miniature Golf, Georgia Sea Turtle Center, and Tidelands Nature Center, which offers guided kayak tours, nature walks, and hands-on exhibits. Hop on bikes available to Westin guests for a tour of the boardwalk. Or head to Driftwood beach where you can spend hours collecting washed-up treasures.

The Westin offers guests mobile check-in, service requests, and room service orders  via the Marriott Bonvoy™ mobile app. In addition, seating capacities have been reduced in all restaurants.

Beach Shack in Cape May, New Jersey

Two kids playing in the ocean at sunset.

If your family is boisterous and colorful, then you’ll feel right at home at Cape May’s Beach Shack, located on the Southern tip of New Jersey. A stone’s throw from the historic downtown and Cove Beach, it’s your all-in-one family beach getaway. The on-site restaurant, The Rusty Nail, is a local favorite. You’ll find yourself gathering around its outdoor picnic tables for a kid-friendly meal of tacos, burgers, and mac-n-cheese. Bring along the family dog–the Rusty Nail has a special doggy menu. Apart from the beach, kids can participate in the seasonal children’s programs, which include anything from bird watching excursions to slime making.

Before each check-in, guest rooms are sanitized using UV-light technology, air purifiers, as well as EPA-approved cleaning products. In addition, guests receive in-room alcohol wipes and personal size bottles of hand sanitizer.

Please note: Travelers from anywhere beyond New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware are asked to fill out a travel form and self-quarantine (length of quarantine varies depending on circumstances).

Ashworth by the Sea in Hampton Beach, NH

A seaside room at Ashworth by the Sea best beach hotel
Photo courtesy of Ashworth by the Sea

New Hampshire may not have the longest Atlantic Ocean shoreline, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s an ideal New England oceanside getaway, especially if your family seeks cooler temperatures and great waves. Ashworth by the Sea, a historic Hampton Beach hotel, is literary steps from the sea and the lively boardwalk, with its cornucopia of restaurants, shops, arcades, a beach playground, the Hampton Beach Casino, and Seacoast Science Center. Most of the spacious rooms have private balconies with either full or partial ocean views and can easily accommodate families. There is a heated indoor pool. An onsite restaurant serves American and seafood classics. There is also a cafe and bar.

Electrostatic sprayers with hospital-grade disinfectants are used to sanitize surfaces throughout the hotel. All non-critical “high touch” equipment has been removed.

Please note: Travelers to New Hampshire are asked to self-quarantine for 10 days unless they are coming from the following states: Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Holiday Inn Resort Wilmington in Wrightsville Beach, NC

Ocean and pool view of Holiday Inn Resort Wilmington E-Wrightsville Beach.
Photo courtesy of Holiday Inn Resort in Wilmington

The off-peak season brings prices down at this comfortable hotel where the balconies overlook crystal blue waters and an expansive shoreline. On-site at the Holiday Inn Resort Wilmington are two restaurants, three pools, two whirlpools, a playground, and an indoor playroom where fun activities await. Bike rentals are available. Besides the beach, the area is excellent for immersing the family in nature with a visit to Airlie Gardens, a 67-acre public garden with lots of walking trails and freshwater lakes. Stop by the Arboretum, a community garden, filled with unique coastal greenery. Or visit the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History to learn about Wrightsville Beach’s colorful past.

Guests can expect to see additional deep cleaning of high touch surfaces, social distancing measures, and the implementation of ‘last cleaned’ charts.

Best Beach Hotels for Luxury Travelers

Fontainebleau in Miami Beach, FL

Lifeguard station on a beach in Miami.

Tap into Miami’s glamourous vibe at Fontainebleau, a decadent mid-century 5-star hotel right in the middle of Miami Beach’s famous ‘Millionaire’s Row.’ At Fontainebleau–20-acres of oceanfront property–luxury is opulent spas, celebrity-chef helmed restaurants, multiple pools, pristine beaches, and a world-class nightclub (albeit on pause at the moment).

The rooms boast incredibly comfortable beds and all-marble bathrooms. This best beach hotel in Florida is suited for all types of travelers–family and business–but if you are looking for a fun stay, book an oceanfront room in the Chateau tower.

All guests receive a Bleau Clean Amenity Kit containing disposable masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes. Electrostatic disinfecting sprayers are used in each room before guest arrival. Likewise, public gathering areas are arranged to ensure social distancing.

Wequassett Resort and Golf Club in Cape Cod, MA

Long wooded stairs lead to a sandy beach

Luxury is not just glitz and glamour. It’s is elegance, understated, refined, all of which you’ll find at Cape Cod’s Wequassett Resort and Golf Club. Seeped in history, the 22 building resort leaves nothing to chance. Every minute of your stay is thought out to help you relax and enjoy the best of Cape Cod— delicious food at one of five dining options, long walks on the private beach, evenings on the cottage patio, in front of an outdoor fireplace, cocktail in hand, or lounging in a private poolside cabana.

If you want adventure, there is kayaking, sailing, fishing, golf, and tennis. And plenty of activities with the kids, should you bring them along to this slice of pure paradise.

Curbside check-in and remote check out is available. All guests receive a written breakdown of specific policies and practices regarding cleanliness and sanitization.

Please note: Travelers are required to fill out a travel form and self-quarantine for 10 days upon entering the state or produce a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival.

In Closing

Long winter months are reason enough to start thinking about your next beach getaway. However, don’t let low temperatures stop you. You can still visit these beautiful beaches in winter, and with the added benefit of thin crowds, better room choices, and off-season rates. Whether you are one big happy family, a couple, or budget travelers, the US shoreline, is more beautiful than ever. See for yourselves, but please take the necessary precautions to keep yourself and those around you safe.

FAQ

How long is the US shoreline?

While there is no consensus, and complexities of geometry and geography make it difficult to come up with an exact number, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimate it at 95,471 miles.

What state has the most beautiful beach?

This, of course, depends on your personal preference and “official” determining factors such as water temperature and clarity, sand color and softness, beach safety and accessibility, and views. For example, if by most beautiful, you mean a beach that most resembles a tropical one, according to CNBC, it’s Kailua Beach Park in Kailua Bay, Oahu, Hawaii. If by beautiful, you mean a beach with dunes and marshlands, then Coast Guard Beach in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, takes the prize.

Are beaches safe to visit during a pandemic?

According to the CDC, when individuals, as well as local government agencies, take the recommended measures such as social distancing, use of face coverings, and avoidance of shared items with people they don’t live with, the risk of transmission while visiting beaches during a pandemic can be lowered.

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