With spring settling in across the U.S. and temperatures warming, thoughts turn to summer vacations and beachside getaways. Considering the sheer mileage along the East Coast, there’s plenty of diverse options to choose from too, from the craggy Maine shoreline to Florida’s famed warm-water beaches. Along with leisurely pleasures like sunbathing and hot tubbing, these hotels offer plenty of summery activities for all walks of life, from kayaking to lobster boat tours. Here are some of the best East Coast hotels and inns to check out this summer.
Blockade Runner Beach Resort, North Carolina
Nestled along the Atlantic oceanfront in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, the Blockade Runner Beach Resort boasts all the lavish amenities one would look for in an opulent beachfront hotel, minus the pretense. This longstanding institution is a favorite for families near and far, especially considering the abundance of outdoor activities available to guests. Sailing, fishing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and surfing are all popular options, along with kid-focused offerings like aquatic animal encounters hosted by the North Carolina Aquarium and the “Sandcampers” program with lawn and beach games. For adults, there’s yoga on the lawn, a dry sauna, fitness center, seafood galore at East Oceanfront Dining and cocktails at the pool bar. The Blockade Runner is also the rare North Carolina hotel where guests are surrounded by water; every room has either an oceanfront view or one overlooking the Banks Channel Sound, giving the property the title of the state's only “surf-to-sound” resort.
Royal Blues, Florida
Florida is world-famous for its coastal resorts, and the creme de la creme is the Royal Blues Hotel in Deerfield Beach. A short drive north of Miami and Fort Lauderdale, the 12-room property affords a quieter, more intimate ambience, making it particularly great for romantic getaways. Art plays a big role here, not only in regards to its immaculate aesthetics but also in terms of culinary arts. Chanson is the definition of destination dining, revered for its ever-changing seafood-centric menu, a sentiment echoed by the massive 1,500-gallon saltwater aquarium tank on display along the restaurant's ceiling. The property is designed to resemble a yacht, with rooms anchored by leather, wood and marble accents. Each room offers sweeping views of the ocean and the nearby fishing pier from private balconies. As far as amenities and activities, guests can expect the royal treatment with gratis glasses of Champagne upon arrival, beach chairs and umbrellas, Japanese-style bidets, LED HDTVs, yoga on the pool deck and more.
Seaside Inn, Maine
Nestled along the quaint shores of Kennebunk Beach in Maine, the Seaside Inn feels like a hotel preserved in time. A trip here is like journeying to a bygone era, with colorful cottages lining the horizon and a lush front lawn leading directly onto the tranquil beach. The only Kennebunk inn located right on the beach, the property is classic Maine at its best, with activity options like lobster boat tours, whale watching, wake boarding, bicycling, sea kayaking and antique shopping. It’s got 22 rooms, a second-floor deck and a hot tub overlooking the ocean. For groups or extended stays, the inn also oversees a handful of cottages available for weekly rentals.
Sonesta Resort, South Carolina
Every direction you turn, you’re surrounded by beaches and water at Hilton Head Island’s Sonesta Resort. With tropical gardens, a lagoon pool, palm trees, waterways and bridges, the property is a transportive experience unlike anything else on the island or in the state. It feels utterly immersed in nature, making it a great place to zen out and forget about the outside world. It’s easy to do so from one of the resort’s poolside lounge chairs, its hot tub or its full-service Arum Spa. Complimentary shuttle services whisk guests around the Shipyard Plantation, home to golf courses, beaches, bike rentals and tennis courts. There are 340 rooms on-property, each with its own balcony and pristine views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Sea Crest Beach Hotel, Massachusetts
White sand beaches, timeworn cottages and salty sea breeze provide a picture-perfect backdrop at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel in North Falmouth, Massachusetts. A premiere destination on Cape Cod for families or couples looking to unplug for a bit and let the stress melt away into the Atlantic, the resort boasts 263 rooms and suites, plus a three-bedroom cottage for added privacy and luxury. The motif is iconic Cape Cod, with a design scheme adhering to neutral hues and an adorably retro facade. Although the property went through a $15 million renovation in recent years, adding Red’s restaurant, a poolside bar and fire pit, the Sea Crest Beach Hotel retained its old-world charm, harkening back to its earliest days in the mid-1900’s. The hotel also offers activities fit for all ages, from paddle boarding and yoga to family movie nights, ping pong s’mores-making by the fire.
At Melissa’s Bed and Breakfast, Delaware
Easily one of the more underrated states for its beaches, Delaware is lined with world-class oceanfront destinations, from elegant resorts to pint-sized boutiques. At Melissa’s Bed and Breakfast falls into the latter category, a cozy cottage located a block away from Rehoboth Beach. Great for travelers looking more for seaside relaxation than crowded beach scenes, the B&B is a real blast from the past. Built in 1910, the property features an expansive front porch, backyard, wooden floors, six rooms and a sunny color scheme. It’s the only gluten-free continental breakfast in the area and Melissa’s bills itself as “LGBT-friendly, kid-friendly, everyone-friendly,” making it a place where everyone can feel right at home in a peaceful seaside town.
Written by Matt Kirouac
Read more posts by Matt Kirouac