Affordable Seaside Inns
Courtesy of Agate Cove Inn
These 15 inns deliver front-row seats to the prettiest U.S. shorelines without breaking the bank.
With cooling ocean breezes and
miles of striking coastline, Newport was an obvious place for
turn-of-the-century tycoons to build their summer mansions. But you too can
live like a steel baron at the OceanCliff
Hotel, a red granite Rhode Island estate surrounded by 10 acres of rolling lawns that overlooks the graceful
yachting traffic in Narragansett Bay. The price, however, is decidedly less
aristocratic: just $250 a night.
Oceanfront hotels, with water views
and steps-from-shoreline locations, usually command a premium price. But don’t
let your budget keep you from getting close to the water. All along the U.S.
coastlines, you can find charming inns set right on the water for $250 and
Sometimes it takes a little
research and flexibility to get these great rates. But it doesn’t mean endless
web searching. Now innkeepers are searching out former and prospective guests
with social-networking tools to lure them with discounts and promotions. The ’Tween
Waters Inn in Captiva, FL, recently alerted
its more than 5,000 fans on Facebook of a summer getaway sweepstakes. Up for
grabs: two nights free at the playful resort straddling the Gulf of Mexico and
Pine Island Sound.
Travelers can also save money by
zeroing in on seashore destinations where small inns and B&Bs are not as
common, says Bill Montcrief, president of Select Registry, an association of
independently owned inns. The little-known Waimea
Plantation Cottages are a bargain on Kauai, where the bulk of guest
rooms are found at major resorts in Poipu. Every cottage at the former sugar
plantation features a private lanai and barbecue grill for guests to best enjoy
the low-key, authentic Hawaiian vibe, for as low as $239 a night during high
season. The pool looks out over the shoreline, and a hammock strung between two
coconut trees makes for the perfect spectating spot to watch the sun sink into
the ocean. Active explorers can enjoy close access to the trails of Waimea
Canyon and the mind-boggling beauty of the Na Pali coast.
Lastly, explore all pages of your
calendar when planning your trip to the seashore. “On the East Coast, the
mid-Atlantic during fall gives the best value because demand is down,” says
Montcrief, who is also owner of the Candlestick Inn in the seaside town of North Wildwood, NJ. “Many
people don’t realize that the water temperature usually stays above 70 degrees
through the end of September.”
On the West Coast, where the
weather is less variable, some places have no high season, such as the Agate
Cove Inn on California’s
Mendocino coast, a farmhouse set on a bluff overlooking the Pacific coast,
where rates stay unchanged all year long (rooms from $179 to $329 a night) and
every season offers a different attraction: whale-watching in winter, the
birth of harbor seals in spring, blackberry picking in summer, and
mushroom-hunting walks through the forest in autumn.
So whether you want to play in the
waves or catch your own seafood dinner, you’re bound to find that perfect
summertime escape with our list of affordable seaside inns.