Best Bed and Breakfast Beach Destinations
You may have trouble choosing among your options in this charming little port city. There's a historic Colonial edging the Cape Arundel Golf Course, private coveside cottages, an 1805 sea-captain's mansion, even a cushy lodge next to the marina. The summers (and all seasons, frankly) fill with alluring events and festivals, so it's always a good time to bed down here; 207-967-0857 or visitthekennebunks.com.
Check into: The Cottages at Cabot Cove are tiny and utterly charming; 207-967-5424 or cabotcovecottages.com. The Captain Jefferds Inn, a restored home and carriage house, serves breakfast and afternoon tea; 800-839-6844 or captainjefferdsinn.com. The Kennebunkport Inn is right in the midst of all the excitement in Dock Square, with a beautiful patio and firepits for stretching the enjoyment into the night; 800-248-2621 or kennebunkportinn.com. Book it here: The Cottages at Cabot Cove, the Kennebunkport Inn.
The state capital welcomes visitors to spend a night at restored Colonial homes in the historic district, where you're a short walk from shops, art galleries, and the bustling dock area. Or, head across the drawbridge to Eastport for a water-view room near restaurant row. For more information, call 888-302-2852 or visit visitannapolis.org.
Santa Barbara, California
For those who dream of living in Santa Barbara, staying in one of its many bed and breakfasts is the next best thing. Find 100-year-old Victorian inns, France-inspired cottages, and Craftsman-style country homes nestled within exclusive neighborhoods. One standout, the Simpson House Inn, sits amid English gardens and has garnered accolades as one of the best B&Bs in North America. For more information, call 805-966-9222 or visit santabarbaraca.com.
Check into: The Eagle Inn is a short walk to the beach; 805-965-3586 or theeagleinn.com. AAA five-diamond-rated Simpson House Inn is another beautiful stay (shown here); 800-676-1280 or simpsonhouseinn.com. Book it here: The Eagle Inn, Simpson House Inn.
Cape May, New Jersey
Cape May has attracted visitors since the late 1700s. Restored Victorian inns line the streets of the "Queen of the Seaside Resorts." The Mainstay Inn, a former private gambling club, operates as the town's oldest bed-and-breakfast. For more information, call 609-884-5508 or visit capemaychamber.com.
Check into: Angel of the Sea, a castle-like inn about a half-block from the beach; 800-848-3369 or angelofthesea.com. The Queen Victoria, 32 rooms in four restored properties in the historic district (complimentary bicycles included); 609-884-8702 or queenvictoria.com. The Mainstay Inn has six guest rooms, six more cottage rooms, and a beach apartment; 609-884-8690 or mainstayinn.com. Book it here: Angel of the Sea, Queen Victoria.
Georgetown, South Carolina
Stay overnight in a Georgetown bed-and-breakfast and step back in time. Visitors can turn in at a renovated circa-1765 Colonial on the historic waterfront, while others bunk at a pre—Civil War plantation featured in the film, The Patriot. For more information, call 843-6595 or visit visitgeorgetowncountysc.com.
Lacking fast-food chains and strip malls, Yachats (derived from a Chinook Indian word meaning "dark waters at the foot of the mountain"), is a small vacation town known for uncrowded beaches and a breathtaking location on Oregon's central coast. Accommodations with simple amenities and water views welcome travelers. For more information, call 800-929-0477 or visit yachats.org.
Check into: The spectacular Heceta Head Lighthouse has accommodations with breathtaking views: the Lighthouse Keeper's House also serves a seven-course breakfast; 866-547-3696 or hecetalighthouse.com.
Key West, Florida
The old town section of Key West has a timeless appeal not often associated with the free-spirited Conch Republic. Century-old trees shade classic-American homes with white or pastel finishes, ornate gingerbread trim, and working shutters. The large Hemingway Suite at Lighthouse Court, which neighbors the writer’s home, melds history with modern amenities (including a 42-inch plasma television), and offers views of the lighthouse.
Check into: The Popular House, a three-story Victorian home built by Bahamian shipbuilders in 1898; 800-438-6155 or keywestbedandbreakfast.com. Lighthouse Court, next door to the Key West Lighthouse and Keeper’s Quarters Museum; 877/294-9588 or historickeywestinns.com. Book it here: Lighthouse Court Hotel.
This small fishing town off southeast Alaska embraces its Norwegian heritage with public art and sidewalks embossed with traditional designs. Accessible only by boat or plane, it's a rustic getaway filled with friendly, no-frills accommodations. B&Bs, many with water views, welcome visitors after a day of seeing wildlife and exploring the Tongass National Forest. For more information, call 907-772-4636 or visit petersburg.org.
This Great Lakes town features old mansions and cobblestone streets and its inns combine that historic charm with just right amount of modern touches. Each is within view or earshot of Lake Superior, and near the Lakewalk, Canal Park shopping district, and great eating. Nature lovers can stay at one of the "birder-friendly" inns that offer birding resources and excursions. For more information, call 800-438-5884 or visit visitduluth.com or duluthbandb.com.
Check into: The Firelight Inn loves to cater to birders; 888-724-0273 or firelightinn.com. The Olcott House (shown here) is a Georgian Colonial mansion with carriage house; 800-715-1339 or olcotthouse.com. Solglimt is right on the water between the lake and Superior Bay; 877-727-0596 or solglimt.com.
Minutes from the popular Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo resorts, Troncones has an attraction all its own. The small village has emerged as an eco-retreat with more than 10 boutique inns. Choose from beachfront bungalows, waterfront rooms, private suites, and villas. Most inns offer yoga sessions, spa treatments, and snorkeling and surfing lessons. For more information, visit troncones.com.mx.
Check into: Casa Delfin Sonriente, a Mediterranean-style retreat; 831-688-6578 or casadelfinsonriente.com/delfin.htm. Casa Viva is rustic-charming, with thatched-roof bungalows and solar panels; 011-52-755-553-2913 or casavivatroncones.com.
Book it here: Casa Viva.