34 Last-minute Beach Trips to Extend Your Summer

There's still time for one more beachfront vacation, even after Labor Day.

Exterior view of Hotel Coronado from the beach in San Diego
Photo: Courtesy of Hotel Coronado

Some say all good things must come to an end, and that goes for summer — although in most places, autumn has a lot to offer too. However, if you're realizing that warm, sunny days are numbered, and a return to the office, classroom, or daily routine is heading your way, you might want to celebrate summer's end with one more beach vacation.

No matter where you are, a beach is probably a road trip or short flight away. And whether you opt for pampering at a luxury resort, oceanfront camping, lounging in a beach chair, or paddling a kayak, you'll have a chance to put the finishing touches on your tan among fresh air and sea breezes. Check our ideas or come up with your own, and start packing for your end of summer getaway.

Life guard stand in Malibu during sunset

Tobiah Lui/Travel + Leisure


In California, you have reliably warm weather and more than 800 miles of coastline with gorgeous beaches from San Diego in the south to Crescent City near the state's northern border, with Orange County, Los Angeles, Malibu, Central Coast, Big Sur, and more in between. From campsites to upscale oceanfront resorts, California is a perfect beach trip destination. Here are a few suggestions:

San Diego's legendary Hotel del Coronado is set on one of America's most iconic beaches, a one-stop resort with spa, pools, and a range of accommodations. Up the coast, the Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas features a stunning beachfront setting, and the Mission Pacific Hotel and The Seabird Resort offer boutique-style rooms. In the lovely town of Dana Point, the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort is home to an elegant spa, golf course, and a beachside bar.

At Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach, you can enjoy the town's sandy shores or explore the bay in an electric Duffy boat. Huntington Beach, known as "Surf City," offers a variety of hotels including the popular dog-friendly Paséa Hotel. In Laguna Beach, the Surf & Sand Resort's name describes its location precisely, just steps from the Pacific.

The beach chairs at Malibu Beach Inn
Courtesy of Malibu Beach Inn

Santa Monica's Fairmont Miramar Hotel combines coastal ambiance and urban amenities. Another luxurious Santa Monica hotel, Shutters on the Beach offers ocean views from guest rooms and the large outdoor Living Room. Heading north along the coast, Malibu boasts the Malibu Beach Inn, set along the sand. For a serene coastal stay, Nobu Ryokan Malibu, with traditional Japanese minimalist style, features teak soaking tubs, fireplaces, and ocean views. Santa Barbara is the place for a beach trip in wine country, with a stay at one of the city's elegant oceanfront hotels. The Ritz-Carlton Bacara and Rosewood Miramar Beach offer luxury along with views of the sea.

Atlantic Coast

More than 2,000 miles and 14 states border the Atlantic, and barrier islands, peninsulas, rugged coastlines, and white sand beaches are plentiful. Depending on your starting point, your last-minute getaway can be a road trip or a flight to Florida in the south or Maine in the north.

Buildings and shops in the New England town of Kennebunkport
Getty Images

Maine's beaches bring to mind lobster, rocky shores, lighthouses, and history. In Kennebunk, the White Barn Inn combines rustic, modern, and luxury within walking distance to the beach. Cape Cod's beaches are classic summer destinations, and a stay at Chatham Bars Inn is ideal for couples or families. Check the mid-Cape casual beachside Parker Beach Lodge, steps from the sea. On the coast of Rhode Island, Weekapaug Inn offers a sandy beach and a variety of waterfront activities.

The Rockaway Hotel, New York's urban beach hotel in Queens, is set on one of the city's most beloved beaches, conveniently accessible by public transportation. On eastern Long Island, visitors can add wineries to their beach vacation and stay close to the sand at Gurney's Montauk. At The Roundtree in Amagansett, you can celebrate summer's end with a beach bonfire.

The New Jersey shore is lined with popular beaches, and Cape May welcomes visitors to its classic seaside town and pristine shore. For entertainment and beach time, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City offers a free shuttle to nearby Brigantine Beach. Sanderling Resort on North Carolina's Outer Banks is set on 13 acres between the Atlantic and Currituck Sound, with two dune-side pools. In South Carolina, oceanfront Wild Dunes Resort on Isle of Palms near Charleston is an ideal family destination.

In Florida, beach seekers have their choice of the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico.

The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, in the northeast, overlooks miles of dune-lined sandy beaches. Heading south, The Setai is set oceanside in buzzing Miami Beach. Another luxurious Miami destination is the beachfront Faena Hotel with panoramic ocean views. On the Gulf Coast, Ritz-Carlton Sarasota features the exclusive Beach Club on the white sands of Lido Key with cabanas and al fresco dining.

Lakefront Beaches

While we might think of the Atlantic and Pacific for beaches, the country's lakes also offer stunning shores, water activities, and luxurious resorts. From Lake Tahoe in the west, where Edgewood Tahoe Resort is set along a sandy beach, to New York's Finger Lakes, with Lake House on Canandaigua, these inland seas are lovely late summer vacation spots.

Crystal clear waters and pebbled beaches, Mackinac Island, Michigan, United States of America, North America
Laura Grier/robertharding/Getty Images

On Michigan's Mackinac Island, Mission Point Resort spans 18 acres of Lake Huron's waterfront. The Abbey Resort on Lake Geneva in Wisconsin features 90 acres of landscaped grounds, boat rentals, and Fontana Beach passes. A variety of beaches are located on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Plan Your Getaway

So, if you're noticing the shorter days, earlier sunsets, and perhaps an evening chill in the air, it's not too late to plan one more summer vacation. And what says summer better than a lounge chair on the beach? There's still time, so start planning and packing for your end of summer escape.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles