From the Adirondack chairs on Westward restaurant's waterfront patio, the view of the Seattle skyline across Lake Union is the only reminder of city life. If it weren't for that, diners might believe they were feasting on whole branzino with eggplant caponata or radishes cooked in goat butter somewhere in the Greek isles. "You can take a bite, close your eyes, and imagine being somewhere else," says chef Zoi Antonitsas of the "water-inspired" restaurant; westwardseattle.com.
When it comes to water views in Stuart, it’s tough to beat the patio of this two-story restaurant and bar on the St. Lucie River. It gets major points for fun décor - you can dine at a custom-built boat table! - and for simple, fresh seafood paired with truly humongous cocktails. Located adjacent to the Stuart Riverwalk’s band and entertainment stage, it’s also a convenient stop before or after the Rock’n Riverwalk’s year-round free weekly concert; stuartboathouse.com.
The best spot to watch the sun set over the Mobile Bay is from the waterfront patio of Bucky’s. With lawn games for family fun and firepits for romantic lighting (or warmth when a chill comes in off the water), this is an easygoing spot to post up day or night; marriott.com.
Locals congregate around the fire pit and bocce court at the harborfront Bar Bocce patio for sourdough-crust pizzas and pitchers of sweet and tangy house sangria, but the best spot at this popular hangout may be on the restaurant's little strip of beach, where waiters deliver right to your blanket by the water; barbocce.com.
Watch Hill, Rhode Island
This historic Rhode Island beauty has been named our Best Beach Hotel in the World, and with good reason: It has stunning water views at every turn, and takes advantage of them with ultra-wide wraparound porches and well-appointed outdoor seating areas. In the summer months, the Verandah Raw Bar is the place to be. There’s nowhere better to feast on fresh local shellfish and creative ceviche dishes while staring out into the Atlantic and Little Narragansett Bay. It also offers a front row seat to the property’s legendary waterfront croquet court; oceanhouseri.com.