Get the inside deals and steals on amazing resorts and gorgeous sandy beaches.
Written by Jacquelyne Froeber and Sarah Latta
1 of 14Courtesy of WaterColor Inn & Resort
WaterColor Inn & Resort
Located in Sata Rosa Beach on the Florida Panhandle, WaterColor Resort has access to 1,400 feet of sugar-white sand. The David Rockwell-designed boutique inn features 60 rooms, a spa, and miles of hiking and biking trails to explore.
Don't miss: Ask your concierge to set up the Grayton Beach Explorer adventure, which will have you kayaking across a rare, 220-acre coastal dune laketo historic Grayton Beach and the Gulf of Mexico. Watch for bottlenose dolphins, sea turtles, and the occasional stingray.
2 of 14Photo by: Peter Adams/Getty Images
Pink Sands Resort
On Harbour Island in the Bahamas, stay in one of the 25 pastel cottages in lush, tropical surroundings, enjoy three miles of pink-sand beach, access to a fresh-water swimming pool, and tennis courts. The one- and two-bedroom accommodations offer ocean and garden views and private patios with lounge-worthy teak furniture. Dine waterside on fresh conch, local stone crab, tiger shrimp, lionfish, and grouper at the Blue Bar or in the Garden Terrace restaurant.
Don't miss: Go birding in this Audubon-approved bird sanctuary. Bring your binoculars, and enjoy sighting many feathered friends--including that local favorite, the colorful Bahamas parrot.
3 of 14Photo courtesy of The Betsy
A grand note among its curvy Art Deco neighbors, this Miami Beach, Florida colonial-style hotel on Ocean Avenue boasts 63 stylish rooms, a rooftop deck (aglow with candles at night), and a hip, 1920s Prohibition-style bar that's popular with the locals.
Don't miss: Check out the colorful lifeguard stands in South Beach. These funky working stands were built to promote tourism following Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Most are replicas of the Art Deco-inspired originals.
4 of 14Photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel
The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel
Known as one of the finest luxury resorts located in Dana Point, California, the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel is situated atop a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Rooms are spacious with marble baths, 400-count Egyptian cotton sheets, and DVD players. The property includes a 12-room spa, Adirondack chairs on the lawn with a Pacific Ocean view, plus complimentary oceanfront yoga and Pilates classes.
Don't miss: Drive to the nearby glitzy SoCal towns of Laguna Beach or Newport Beach, where the open-air shopping center Fashion Island offers more than 200 specialty stores (Kate Spade, Michael Stars) and restaurants (Roy's Hawaiin Fusion Cuisine, La Brea Bakery at Macy's); 949/721-2000 or shopfashionisland.com.
5 of 14Photo courtesy of Costa d'Este
This luxury boutique hotel in the lovely seaside town of Vero Beach, Florida is owned by pop star Gloria Estefan and husband Emilio. The mod accommodations include a full-service spa and an infinity-edge pool with cozy poolside chaise lounges for two.
Don't miss: Explore Vero Beach's thriving art scene. Check out galleries near the hotel such as Tiger Lily and Gallery 14, for the work of local artist and sculptors, and visit the impressive collection at the Vero Beach Museum of Art.
6 of 14Photo courtesy of Trump International Beach Resort
Trump International Beach Resort
Located on Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, between Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach, this four-star contemporary resort has 390 rooms and suites with private balconies overlooking the ocean or the Intracoastal Waterway. Take a dip int he grotto-style pool, hit the tennis courts, or relax in the full-service spa. And bring the entire family: the on-site Planet kids club offers complimentary admission to hotel guests and teaches kids ages 4 to 12 about the environment through projects and games.
Don't miss: Grab poolside lunch at Gili's Pool Bar & Grill. Choose from 12 different pina colada flavors, and nosh on mini crab cakes with citrus mayo or a grilled mahi sandwich topped with spicy slaw, lime sour cream, and tomato salsa.
7 of 14Photo by: Cesar Garcia
Beachview Club Hotel
Amid the sweeping branches of ancient oak trees, the oceanfront boutique Beachview Club Hotel on Jekyll Island, Georgia offers bright, friendly rooms, most with private patios or balconies. The island was once the exclusive retreat of Rockefellers, Pulitzers, and Vanderbilts, but now you can roam Jekyll's 10 miles of white-sand beaches; navigating the small barrier island is easy by foot, bike, or golf cart.
Don't miss: Bike the island's more than 20 miles of paved paths that lead to the beach and forest, and through the Historic Landmark District. Rent a tandem bike, four-person surrey (electric cart), or mini surrey, and stop by the Pier Road shops to browse.
8 of 14Photo courtesy of Esperanza Resort
Though it's situated near the bustling nightlife of Cabo, Esperanza feels more like a peaceful hideaway in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Each spacious suite and casita has soft Italian linens, deep soaking tubs, and views of the Sea of Cortez. You'll also find a local art gallery, private beach access, an infinity pool, and four restaurants.
Don't miss: Take advantage of a complimentary Water Passage treatment for spa guests, including access to the soaking pool and steam caves, and a rejuvenating waterfall rinse.
9 of 14Photo courtesy of Caves Resort
On the west end of Negril, Jamaica, this resort boasts 12 cliffside cottages and suites, plus a four-bedroom villa. Most of the brightly colored thatched-roof bungalows offer expansive water views and hand-crafted wood and wicker furnishings, and the resort's labyrinthine landings and steps hug the cliffs.
Don't miss: Go horseback riding at tranquil, tropical Paradise Park. The concierge will arrange transporation to the 1,000-acre private estate and farm about 45 minutes from the resort.
10 of 14Photo by: Chris Garrett/Getty Images
Of the 40 islands that make up Turks & Caicos, only eight are inhabited. Parrot Cay is among the smallest (1,000 acres) and most private, so you can relax on the mile-long, white-sand beach without every worrying about crowds. The accommodations range from lush garden rooms with Balinese furniture and private verandas to villas with 360-degree ocean views.
Don't miss: Stop by the COMO Shambhala Retreat--a true sanctuary, encompassing pavilions with treatment rooms, an outdoor Jacuzzi garden, and japanese baths overlooking the island wetlands and the North Caicos Channel.
11 of 14Photo by: Raul Pinzon
Punta Caracol Acqua-Lodge
Located on Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro, Panama, this resort is surrounded by the Caribbean. Nine palm-roofed huts on stilts--each with solar panels and a private terrace--immerse you in nature. A boardwalk takes you to the on-site restaurant, specializing in light cuisine that includes just-caught fish and fresh fruits and vegetables, some from the property's organic garden.
Don't miss: Take a guided boat tour through rain forest creeks to see river turtles and howler monkeys.
12 of 14Photo courtesy of The Tides Zihuatanejo
The Tides Zihuatanejo
With views of the lagoons, ocean, and lush gardens, each room and suire of this luxury Zihuatanejo, Mexico hotel boasts one-of-a-kind decor, from the twisted-tree beams in one to the thatched-roof terrace in another. Three swimming pools--including an infinity pool--are steps from 600 feet of private beach.
Don't miss: Go on a two-and-a-half hour sunset cruise along the Pacific coast with views of swaying coconut palms, rolling beaches and the fiery orange-red sky. Open bar and snacks are included.
13 of 14Photo by: Hola Images/Getty Images
Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows
Located in Santa Monica, California, guest rooms and suites at this 10-story oceanfront tower have crisp blue-and-white interiors; some have private, furnished balconies. Thirty-two bungalows secluded amid the tropical gardens, with 24-hour concierge service. Cool off in the pool, indulge in spa therapies, and dine at FIG Restaurant.
Don't miss: Walk over to the boardwalk and aquarium at the Santa Monica Pier, just steps from the hotel.
14 of 14Photo courtesy of Oceano Hotel & Spa
Oceano Hotel & Spa
Cozy up by the fireplace or enjoy views of the Pillar Point Harbor, Pacific Ocean, and Montara Mountain from the private balcony of one of 95 luxe suites. Located in Half Moon Bay, California, just west of famed Highway 1, the hotel offers organic bamboo linens, a full-service spa, and the Oceano Bar & Grill restaurant.
Don't miss: Check out the 12 boutiques and eateries at Harbor Village, accessible from the hotel lobby. Stop at The Wine Bar for a sunset glass of local Santa Cruz Mountain vino.
Published May 2011. This information was correct when published. Coastal Living is not responsible for any changes to, availability of, or fulfillment of any offers. These offers are the sole responsibility of the individual hotels and resorts mentioned.