The Best Seaside Cottage Rentals
If a quaint little place on the beach sounds like an ideal vacation plan, book now and start counting down the days.
Renting a cottage attached to an inn or resort doubles the bonus. Want room service? Have a question for a local expert? Need a concierge to arrange dinner reservations or a spa appointment? Done. Here are 16 rental opportunities, on every coast, that offer all the comforts of home.
Field trip: Take a book and a blanket and wander through the dunes to the Outlet, a shallow flow of warm water that connects Lower Herring Lake to Lake Michigan. Also, the inn can arrange hikes with a local naturalist.
Night out: Coho Café offers casual bistro-style local and regional food, while The Fusion dishes out a mix of Asian fare. Both are in Frankfort, about five miles from your cottage.
Contact: 231/352-9083 or watervaleinn.com.
Field trip: Arrange a private sail aboard Endeavor at the dock outside the cottages and enjoy a sunset cruise for two or a pirate-themed adventure with the kids.
Night out: You might hear a live piano and sing-along on a stroll through downtown. That’s The Club Car, an iconic seafood and steak restaurant in an old train car.
Contact: 866/838-9253 or thecottagesnantucket.com
Field trip: Have the concierge schedule a trip on a lobster boat. It’s a popular activity, maybe because you get to reap the benefits in your cottage’s kitchen.
Night out: Bandaloop in downtown Kennebunkport has a slick atmosphere and a local, organic menu including such fare as wild haddock in horseradish-panko crust.
Rates: $185–$695; 877/524-2004 or cabotcovecottages.com
Field trip: The front desk will organize chartered windjammer sailboats for a sunset cruise and harbor tour. Pick up a lobster roll and slice of Key lime pie at Phil the Baker’s roadside restaurant.
Night out: The inn’s dining room is tough to beat, but head into town for the summer lobster paella at historic Thistle Inn.
Rates: $1,500–$6,000/week; 800/654-5242 or newagenseasideinn.com
Field trip: The Farmer’s Market on weekend mornings is a sight to behold. Grab coffee, a pastry, The New York Times, and a seat on the lawn, and watch it all go by.
Night out: Cittanuova in East Hampton is a lively spot, with all the Hamptons beauties nibbling on steamed mussels and such.
Rates: $275–$650/night for cottages for two to six; 631/267-3133 or gansettgreenmanor.com
Field trip: Climb the 199 cast-iron spiral stairs to the top of the 1859 Cape May Lighthouse and wander through wetland trails on the property.
Night out: Reserve a table on the oceanfront patio at Peter Shields Inn, then look for the Maine lobster crab cake.
Rates: Cottages rent by room, $90–$700/night. White Cottage rents by floor. Summer rentals are generally weekly; 800/732-4236 or virginiahotel.com.
Field trip: Drive about 20 minutes to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore for miles of empty beaches.
Night out: The 1587, the restaurant of the Tranquil House Inn in historic Manteo, calls the fresh daily catch the “Freestyle Fish,” and there’s almost always local tuna steak.
Rates: $125–$285 for cottages; 252/473-2434 or theislandmotel.com
Field trip: Grab a bucket of fish and feed the tarpon at Robbie’s Marina, then rent a kayak and paddle 20 minutes to Indian Key.
Night out: You don’t have to go far for the best dining options. For high-end, find Pierre’s Restaurant in a two-story plantation house; for more casual, head next door to Morada Bay Beach Café.
Rates: from $250/night (cottages) up to $10,500/week (houses); 305/664-4708 or themooringsvillage.com
Field trip: You’re on your own with kayaks, bikes, and fishing gear provided. Or take the naturalist-led sunrise shorebird excursion to the south end of the island.
Night out: Rates include dinner in the lodge. Put on your finery and delicately dig in to fresh blue crab, shrimp, and red snapper—probably caught that day.
Rates: from $395, includes three meals and tours; 866/401-8581 or greyfieldinn.com
Left: Greyfield Inn gardens
Field trip: Take a bike from the inn and coast about two miles over Western Lake to the town of Grayton Beach for lunch and shopping; try the Shops of Grayton.
Night out: In neighboring Grayton Beach, the owners of Fire restaurant brought their New Orleans coastal cuisine to the 30-A area. Save room for warm toffee sticky pudding.
Rates: $230–$645 for one- to two-bedroom rental homes; 866/426-2656 or watercolorresort.com
Field trip: Mendocino is a few miles up the road, and there’s never been a bad walk through that town, but take a hike past Van Damme State Park’s redwoods in the early morning. You’ll see.
Night out: If you’re staying at Sea Ridge Cottage, the Ledford House restaurant is a mile away. Every table has an ocean view, and the husband-wife chef team leans to the French side of California cuisine.
Rates: on-site rooms and suites, $121–$326/night, and Sea Ridge Cottage, $213–$305/night; 800/822-4536 or glendeven.com
Field trip: You can bike the entire island in a four-seater surrey from the hotel. Also check out the surf lessons on the island’s perfectly mellow beginner waves.
Night out: Take a ferry or drive 10 minutes into downtown San Diego and find The Fish Market right on the water. Go upstairs for fine dining, downstairs for casual.
Rates: from $675/night; 866/433-3030 or delbeachvillage.com
Field trip: Put on your fanciest flip-flops and head down the Pacific Coast Highway to the Hog Island Oyster Company for grill-your-own oysters on the edge of Tomales Bay.
Night out: Stay in for this one. Chefs Mark Franz and Adam Mali adhere to a farm-to-plate menu in the inn’s restaurant. It’s roadhouse in appearance but overachieves with dishes like Bandit’s shellfish cioppino with Dungeness crab, mussels, clams, and shrimp.
Rates: $255–$595/night (weekends, on the water); 866/636-4257 or nickscove.com
Field trip: The resort will connect you to San Juan Outfitters for a whale-watching tour to Lime Kiln Point State Park, an orca playground.
Night out: Tucked into a side alley in Friday Harbor, the Backdoor Kitchen serves local oysters, farm-to-plate salads, and pork chops with an international flair.
Rates: cottages, $199–$339/night (summer), and Village Homes, $379–$799/night (summer); 800/451-8910 or rocheharbor.com
Field trip: Grab lunch to go at the Coupeville County Deli and hike down Ebey’s Landing to reach an empty sweep of Puget Sound beach.
Night out: At Café Langley, the Garibyan brothers serve a mix of Northwest and Mediterranean cuisine like Penn Cove mussels and Dungeness crab cakes.
Contact: 360/221-3033 or innatlangley.com
Field trip: Hike Waimea Canyon, or drive along the cliffs of the Na Pali Coast.
Night out: The 20-mile drive from Waimea to Poipu is worth it for wasabi-crusted snapper at the waterfront Beach House Restaurant.
Contact: 808/338-1625 or waimeaplantation.com
(published April 2010)