The Best Beach Hotels and Beach Houses to Book in the USA

The SoCal beachfront at its best, at Montage Laguna Beach
The SoCal beachfront at its best, at Montage Laguna Beach | Courtesy of Montage Laguna Beach / Expedia
Photo of Lilly Graves
24 November 2021
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When you’re chewing over various travel destinations, the one near the beach has a way of sneaking its way to the top of the list. With water views, fresh breezes and healthy activities – not to mention fresh seafood procured at the source – a beach vacation easily encourages relaxation. And isn’t that why many of us travel? Let us help you choose your next escape with these best beach hotels in the USA – bookable on Culture Trip.

Montage Laguna Beach, for incredible views and Californian cuisine

The large outdoor pool area at Montage Laguna Beach, California, with deckchairs along two sides and open water just beyond
Courtesy of Montage Laguna Beach / Booking.com

If you’re seeking the ultimate SoCal beachfront experience, the Montage has plenty to write home about. For starters, all rooms boast Pacific Ocean views off a bluff along with a stunning mosaic pool providing a photogenic centerpiece. It’s not just the rooms and pools that have views – you’ll be met by the sparkling ocean from most areas of the property, including the lobby and each of the restaurants that serve gluten-free options such as Japanese hamachi tartare. You can escape to the enormous spa with unique features including eucalyptus steam rooms.

The Breakers Palm Beach, for traditional glamour and dress codes

The Breakers Palm Beach
Courtesy of The Breakers Palm Beach / Expedia
With a private beach, this historic resort in South Florida oozes old-world charm thanks to its lovely architecture and beautiful grounds – we’re talking more than 100 acres (40ha) here. The grounds boast several outdoor pools, two golf courses, tennis courts, a stunning indoor-outdoor fitness center and numerous shops, restaurants and bars – some that even have dress codes. Waves at the beach are often big – this is called Breakers for a reason – but pool space is readily available if you’re just after the views. After a day in the sun, choose between dining options including one named after the resort’s father, Henry, serving upscale comfort food such as butter crumb Dover sole. For more options, it’s a short drive to downtown Palm Beach, though you might not venture too far off the property – if at all.

The Cloister, for family traditions and a wealth of activities

The Cloister in Sea Island
Courtesy of The Cloister in Sea Island / Expedia

Part of a larger Georgian resort on Sea Island, guests here have access to an impressive 5mi (8km) of private beach. It’s not just the beach that stands out – you have a choice of several activities, including horseback riding, tennis, sailing and a range of children’s programs, plus there are three golf courses, not to mention the fitness center and spa. Meanwhile, elegant rooms have soaking tubs, wood-beamed ceilings and Turkish rugs. Enjoy oysters and cocktails including the reggae beat with coconut rum before you head to a grand dining room for Southern-influenced cuisine. The icing on the cake? A bagpiper plays every night at sundown.

Faena Hotel Miami Beach, for chic decor appealing to a well-heeled crowd

Faena Hotel Miami Beach
Courtesy of Faena Hotel Miami Beach / Expedia

This striking resort pulls out the stops with art deco-style rooms that provide a welcome addition for those seeking high design – the hotel opened during the Art Basel show in 2016. Apart from its location overlooking Miami Beach for instant access to the sand and turquoise water, Faena has one of the largest hammams in the country, with a range of holistic treatments and healing rituals. Additionally, there are the chef-led restaurants and bars that include Asian starters such as smashed cucumber salad with sunchoke miso yogurt. Did we mention the hotel’s Damien Hirst sculpture? As for the rooms, guests can expect stylish furnishings and pops of red and blue – some with furnished balconies and views.

The Resort at Pelican Hill, for endless Pacific Ocean views and one of the best pools in the country

A large pool sits in leafy terraced gardens with a hazy ocean view in the background at The Resort at Pelican Hill
Courtesy of The Resort at Pelican Hill / Expedia

This enormous coastal property in Newport Beach transports visitors to the Italian Mediterranean upon arrival with its Palladian-style architecture and gorgeous grounds topping out at 504 acres (200ha). The resort is on a hilltop overlooking the ocean with endless sea and coastal views, but it’s a decent walk to get to the water. Guests don’t mind staying put in the stunner of a pool – called the Coliseum – where private cabanas play tunes from Bose music systems. The 36 championship holes of golf and a spectacular spa – plus six dining options including Northern Italian with house-made pasta – make for an unforgettable stay. Don’t skip sunsets from the bungalow rooms that come with Italian limestone fireplaces. Larger villas – up to four bedrooms – have their own kitchens.

Gurney's Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa, for chic rooms and one of the biggest beaches in the Hamptons

Gurney's Montauk Resort and Seawater Spa
Courtesy of Gurney's Montauk Resort and Seawater Spa / Expedia

This historic hotel has had its share of changes over the decades, but one thing remains the same: its enormous stretch of sand for epic beach walks. There’s also a private section for sunbathing. Taking it one step further, every one of the rooms, suites and beachfront cottages has at least a partial ocean view – making this one of the best beachfront hotels in the Hamptons. During cooler months, there are spa treatments available – while everyone can use the indoor pool, Roman baths, steam rooms and fitness center. The upscale bars and restaurants also have views of the water and food is sure to impress. Start your day with avocado toast – or perhaps something more exotic like brisket and kimchi fried rice.

The Chanler at Cliff Walk, for elegant decor and gracious hospitality

Exterior view of the Chanler at Cliff Walk
Courtesy of the Chanler at Cliff Walk / Expedia

This refined 19th-century mansion overlooks the ocean on Newport’s famous Cliff Walk – a great way to experience a slice of America’s Gilded Age. Rooms are thoughtfully furnished with antiques and custom fabrics and many come with soaking tubs, fireplaces and terraces. Whatever the view from your room, there are ocean vistas from the manicured gardens. Don’t miss the classy restaurants and bars with polished service. On cooler evenings, wrap up in a blanket and dine on items such as the calamari cookpot with pork belly and spicy bouillon – or head to more restaurants in town by using the free car service. Loan bikes are also on hand and it’s a short walk to Easton’s Beach.

Chatham Bars Inn, for New England elegance and lobster dishes

Chatham Bars Inn
Courtesy of Chatham Bars Inn / Expedia

This architectural gem in Cape Cod dates back to 1914 and stays true to its roots with antiques and seafaring decor. That’s not to say it hasn’t changed, though – the property has evolved into a resort over the years, with a variety of accommodation, including cottage rooms and spa suites providing romantic couples with an escape from the buzz. This is important because the numerous amenities attract a lot of families, with outdoor pools, clay tennis courts, a private beach, a golf course and a kids’ club. Menus at the restaurants feature local produce and fish – you can even watch the fisherman at the neighboring fish pier bring in the catch of the day. No surprise, lobster is omnipresent. Get your fill with options such as lobster cavatelli and cheese.

The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, for refined Southern hospitality with loads of activities

The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort
Courtesy of The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort / Expedia

Less than an hour from Charleston, this resort has unobstructed views of the Atlantic ocean on a huge stretch of beach with lavish rooms and villas. With 90 holes of golf, it’s no surprise that many guests are here to tee off. Family members along for the ride will find many ways to stay busy with surf lessons, kayaking, tennis and biking, plus a range of arts and crafts, and pool events for all age groups – even teens. Or simply wander through the beautiful grounds that feature hundreds of transplanted trees including live oaks that add to the southern atmosphere. When it’s time to eat, choose between a wide range of restaurants – including a premier steakhouse serving caviar and a dry-aged tomahawk ribeye.

Edgewood Tahoe Resort, for cozy environs surrounded by mountains and ultra-blue waters

Edgewood-Tahoe-Resort
Courtesy of Edgewood Tahoe Resort / Expedia

Beaches aren’t confined to the ocean and we can’t leave out this modern waterfront property on Lake Tahoe surrounded by the Sierra Nevada mountains. Remove whatever dated experience you might have had in Tahoe before – here, you’ll find a sleek year-round resort catering to guests who come for lake activities as much as they come for the slopes. Rooms stay cozy no matter which season it is – with gas fireplaces and balconies or terraces in abundance. After a day exploring the many beaches and hiking trails in the vicinity – ask for a ride from the hotel – enjoy the outdoor heated pool or take part in the property’s activities such as golf, yoga, or the spa and salon. There’s a pub and bistro with indoor and outdoor seating here – just be sure to leave enough room for s’mores prepared over one of the many fire pits around the property.

For more sandy options, discover our guide on the best hotels to book in Destin, Florida, and book now on Culture Trip.

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