Spring is here and that means it’s time to start planning beachside vacations. And from coast to coast, the U.S. boasts some of the most beautiful beach resorts you’ll find anywhere, all with a flavor and flair of their own.
When you choose a beach resort or hotel, decide how you’ll want to spend your vacation. Are you looking for an area like Montauk or Miami with active, adults-only nightlife? Or do you prefer to spend your time riding the surf and lounging in the sun?
Do you need a kid-friendly hotel and resort? If so, you’ll want to see if they have kid-centered activities or even a day care program that will give you time to relax, kid-free, during the day.
Whether you’re traveling as a couple, a family, or with friends, you’ll want to consider the hotel’s amenities, such as a spa, pool and hot tub, bar and grill, and a fitness center. Are there good restaurants close by? Do you want a suite where you can cook some meals in the room or prepare sandwiches to reduce costs?
Remember to use a travel rewards credit card to book your trip and maximize your points -- but pay your bill when it comes due to avoid interest charges
Finding the best hotel is really about finding the perfect vacation location for you and your fellow travelers. We’ve spotlighted some of our top picks in well-known beachside cities across the U.S. As always, there are hotels to match nearly any budget.
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Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
In a crowded space with many family-friendly oceanfront hotels, The Crown Reef Beach Resort & Waterpark stands out as a multi-award winner. It boasts two, four-story waterslides, a best-in-class 575-foot lazy river, and plenty of water fun for the kids.
A variety of rooms can fit any size party, up to a three-bedroom beach house minutes from the main resort that sleeps up to eight people. Resort amenities include pools, hot tubs, an arcade, and plenty of options for food, like an ice cream and sweet shop, a coffee bar, and the Loco Gecko Beach Shak Restaurant for casual oceanfront dining.
Palm Beach, Florida
Billed as “the original home of R&R,” The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida, is all about luxury and adventure for couples, families, and friends. Outdoor fitness classes on spin cycles, tennis instruction, champion golf courses, and a spa are just some of the wellness-centered amenities you’ll find.
Enjoy the private beachfront or take a dip in one of four pools, including an Adult Only Infinity pool. Rent a poolside bungalow to become your home away from home (away from home) while you relax and soak up the sun.
If you’re traveling with kids, multiple activities ensure you’ll never hear, “I’m bored.” From bicycling to basketball, mini golf, an arcade and a video game lounge, there’s something for every age to enjoy.
The Breakers hotel features luxurious, modern rooms. For an even more exclusive experience, book a suite in The Flagler Club -- a boutique hotel within the hotel.
Another south Florida landmark of luxury, the Mandarin Oriental in Miami, blends exclusive beachfront luxury with renowned nightlife for a vacation to remember. Dine at La Mar by Gaston Acurio or party at the MO Bar + Lounge after a day at the beach. Choose from a wide array of spa experiences, engage in watersports on Biscayne Bay, or take a dip in the infinity pool.
With a 4.7 out of five-star rating on Google Reviews, the Mandarin Oriental is deemed “Miami’s best five-star hotel.” It provides close proximity to Downtown Miami on the private island of Brickell Key off the coast of Florida. You can walk to Brickell City Centre, the outdoor retail, dining and entertainment complex considered by TimeOut.com to be the “crown jewel of Brickell.”
Laguna Beach, CA
Situated between Los Angeles and San Diego, Laguna Beach is considered a hidden gem in Orange County, California. Just steps from the beachfront, the Montage Laguna Beach is considered by many to be the premier resort in the region, with three restaurants, two swimming pools, a spa, and activities for the whole family. Children can take mermaid swim lessons in the Mosaic Pool, or splash in the kiddie play area. Guests of all ages can sign up for activities and excursions ranging from cruises to kayaking.
The resort’s modern rooms are spacious with a beachy vibe and most include marble bathrooms with a soaking tub and separate shower, as well as a private patio or balcony.
Montauk, Long Island, New York
Garnering a 4.1 out of 5 rating on Expedia.com, Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa is a beachfront paradise on Long Island’s East End. With a choice of 158 rooms, suites, or private beachfront cottages with ocean views, Gurney’s gives guests access to a 2,000-foot private beach, and easy access to Montauk’s shopping, dining and nightlife.
Settle in at Gurney’s Beach Club and Fire Pit for the Sounds By the Sea concert series. Enjoy a variety of treatments at the Seawater Spa or engage in watersports lessons as you learn to ride Long Island’s legendary waves.
Ocean City, Maryland
Ocean City, Maryland, offers a fun and affordable family vacation spot with plenty to see and do in the region. The Hilton Ocean City Oceanfront Suites is ranked as one of the best hotels in the area, blocks from the boardwalk and close to the Jolly Roger Amusement Park.
With two outdoor pools, one indoor pool, a fitness center, and multiple dining options, this classic Hilton Resort feels luxurious yet familiar. Suites include a private balcony and kitchenette so you’ll feel right at home during your stay. This sustainable, four-star hotel includes EV charging stations for guests’ convenience.
Coronado, San Diego, California
If you’re looking for a historic, oceanfront luxury hotel in San Diego, your search is over. The Hotel del Coronado, part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, boasts a 134-year history of hosting celebrities and the world’s elite. Just across the San Diego Bay from Downtown San Diego, the hotel offers proximity to tourist attractions and nightlife while providing a private beach experience and all the amenities you’d expect from a world-class hotel.
Accommodations are divided into four “neighborhoods,” each with their own style and character. The Victorian is the original hotel, dating back to 1888, with a grand lobby, glorious front porch, and stained glass windows. The Beach Village boasts a mix of cottages and villas within a gated community. A room in The Views puts you in the center of the action and steps from the beach with a relaxing balcony view. The Cabanas are more than just private retreats. The hotel rooms open up into a private beachside or poolside cabana, making it easy to enjoy the hotel’s water-based amenities.
Wildwood Crest, New Jersey
Affordable, family-friendly, and close to NYC and Philadelphia, alike, the Jersey Shore remains a fun summer vacation destination. The Water’s Edge Ocean Resort puts you in the center of the action, close to the Wildwood Boardwalk and the Atlantic Ocean.
Relax on the white sand beach, take a dip in the heated outdoor pool while the kids splash in the nearby kiddie pool, and enjoy a sweet treat in the Cone Crazy Ice Cream Shop.
Nearby Morey’s Piers offers plenty to do in terms of shopping, food, water parks, and thrill rides. You may also want to explore the many historical sites around town.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Virginia Beach offers many hotels at a variety of price points for families, couples, or any travelers. If you’re looking for a deal, you might choose the affordable Comfort Suites, the colorful Best Western Plus Sandcastle Beachfront Hotel or one of the oceanfront Hilton properties, all ranked on TripAdvisor.com’s Top 10 list for Virginia Beach Hotels.
If budget is not a consideration, there’s just one top choice on Virginia Beach: the newly restored Historic Cavalier Hotel and Beach Club. After a four-year, multi million dollar renovation, the four-star resort is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Guests gain access to the private, white sand beach, and six dining locations on premises, including The Hunt Room, which hosts the Tarnished Truth Distillery, the only distillery within a hotel.
Other amenities include bike rentals, an EV charging station, fitness classes, and the SeaHill Spa, as well as shuttle service to the boardwalk. Guests also gain access to the pool and fitness center at the neighboring Marriott Resort Virginia Beach Oceanfront.
South Padre Island, Texas
A friendly beachfront community on the Gulf of Mexico, South Padre Island is a great place to escape from the daily grind in the southwest U.S. There are many hotels to choose from on “hotel row,” directly on the white sand beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. The Hilton Garden Inn South Padre Island received high marks from multiple travel review sites, with few customer complaints.
Suitable for families or couples looking to get away, the hotel offers everything you’d expect like clean rooms, affordable prices, beach access, a fitness center, and The Great American Grill Restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s worth noting that the hotel website says it is undergoing guest room renovations and construction for a new beach bar through May 31, 2022.
In addition to its location on a private beach, the Hilton Garden Inn South Padre is close to area attractions. Go on a dolphin watch, take sandcastle lessons (and explore the creations made by locals), go fishing, or take the kids to the 25-acre waterpark.
Space enthusiasts may want to take a drive to the mainland and visit Boca Chica, Texas, to catch a look at the latest SpaceX Starship iteration under construction. You might even catch a test flight or launch from your hotel room on South Padre Island.
Plan Your Escape to a Beachfront Paradise
One of the great things about booking a beachfront vacation is you might find no need to leave the comfort of your resort and its private beach. This can reduce travel costs if you don’t need to rent a car and can lend itself to a stress-free vacation where your only question might be: “Pool or beach, which do I want to visit first?”
Prices are accurate and items in stock at time of publishing.