Photo by iStock. Design by Erik Mace.
Who doesn’t dream of an escape to a small and charming hotel near the beach. Even better if the rates are under $100 a night. We combed the country for some of the most amazing — and affordable — hotels in beachy locations. Now, a couple caveats: these might not be right on the sand, but they’re within easy reach. And we can’t guarantee that these places are still available this summer. So if they’re booked now, think about a great fall getaway or get a jump on next year’s vacation planning. You won’t regret it.
Crystal Cove State Park, California
Stay in a quaint beach cottage for two twenties a night! (Photo: TripAdvisor)
Crystal Cove, a Southern California state park near Newport, used to be a popular vacation spot for Hollywood celebs who flocked here back in the 1930s for its 3.5 miles of stunning coastline. The seaside colony of beachfront bungalows has recently been spiffed up, and now you can stay in one of the dorm-style cottages for as little as $42 a night.
Costanoa packs in amazing views for an unbeatable price. (Photo: TripAdvisor)
The tiny town of Pescadero, a former stagecoach route stop south of San Francisco, has a little bit of everything: empty beaches, redwood trees, and great mountains for hiking. Perched on a bluff over the ocean just beyond town, the Costanoa Lodge also has a little something for everyone, with its tented bungalows, cabins, and a log-cabin lodge. Rates start at just $86 for a canvas-cabin with a queen-size bed. You’ll need to share bathroom facilities to get the lowest rates, but it’s worth it for a setting like this.
Hotel Pemaquid, Maine
Hotel Pemaquid, founded as an inn in 1888 and still going strong. (Photo: Hotel Pemaquid)
You don’t expect to find a hotel along the Maine coast for under $100 a night in August, but here it is: Hotel Pemaquid, just a stone’s throw from the Pemaquid Point Light House, considered one of the most beautiful lighthouses in America. This is your dream of a Maine inn: wraparound porch, rocking chairs, and a big fireplace for cool coastal evenings. Rates start at $99.60 for a room in the main house, though you might want to splurge on the Pilot House, carved out of an old fishing boat (from $132.85).
Front Beach Cottages, Ocean Springs, Mississippi
With such stylish furnishings, you’ll have a hard time believing it costs less than $100 a night. (Photo: Front Beach Cottages/Facebook)
Set on the Gulf Coast, low-key Ocean Springs is a quintessential Southern beach town, with oak tree-lined streets that lead to the sand. The place to stay is Front Beach Cottages, a little collection of restored fishing shacks just a block and a half from the shore, with rates starting at $99 a night. There are free bicycles and kayaks for guests, and even Fido is welcomed with open arms.
Westgate Myrtle Beach Oceanfront Resort, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Westgate Myrtle Beach Oceanfront Resort, set right on the “Grand Strand.” (Photo: Westgate Myrtle Beach Oceanfront Resort)
Families flock to Myrtle Beach, and with good reason: there’s an endless beach, a fun boardwalk, more golf courses than you can imagine, outlet shopping, and tons of affordable places to stay. Our choice is the beachfront Westgate Myrtle Beach Oceanfront Resort with a heated pool, free food for the kids, and a front-row seat to that beautiful view. Book now, and you can get a room on September 1 for just $81.90 a night. Oh, and the Family Kingdom Amusement Park is right across the street. Can’t beat that!
Lois Janes Riverside Motel, Southport, North Carolina
Gorgeous view on the cheap? Yes, please! (Photo: Lois Janes Riverside Motel)
The charming harbor town of Southport, North Carolina, is such a summer-time classic that it has had starring roles in movies like I Know What You Did Last Summer and the more forgettable Summer Catch, with Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Jessica Biel. The family-run Riverside Motel is pretty basic, but its waterfront setting on the Cape Fear River can’t be beat, as well as the rates, starting at $95. Southport itself has a small stretch of sand, or you can take a short ferry to the Bald Head Island, which has one of the most gorgeous beaches around.
Volcano House, Big Island of Hawaii
A clean-lined cabin at Volcano House. (Photo: Volcano House)
This one combines volcanoes and easy access to a dramatic back-sand beach. At the Volcano House on the Big Island of Hawaii, set within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, there are 10 one-room wooden cabins that rent for just $80 per night. The Namakanipaio Camper Cabins sleep four people with one full bed and one bunk. These accommodations are bare bones, meaning you’ll need to use a shared bathhouse. But what you get in return is unrivaled access to one of the planet’s most incredible spectacles — and gorgeous Punaluʻu Beach, just a 30-minute drive away.
Riviera South Beach, Miami
The cool pool area at the Riviera South Beach. (Photo: Riviera South Beach)
Miami is great any time of the year, but we love to visit before the high-season rates of January make everything out of reach. It’s worth staying a couple blocks off the ocean at the Riviera South Beach for the good prices, the spacious rooms, and the sleek setting near the Bass Museum of Art. Rates are rock-bottom in August (starting at $74.10) and go up only slightly from September through November (from $93.10). The hotel has a rooftop pool, but we can’t resist the one in the courtyard, under a lush canopy of bamboo and palms.
Commodore Hotel Astoria, Astoria, Oregon
The entrance to the Commodore Hotel Astoria. (Photo: Commodore Hotel Astoria)
The wild and windswept northern Oregon coast is home to Astoria, surrounded by rugged beaches, sand dunes, and lighthouses. A byproduct of the settlement that Lewis and Clark founded upon reaching the Pacific, Astoria still feels like a discovery today. Set in the center of town with views out to the water is the Commodore Hotel Astoria, an old flophouse turned hipster hideaway with rates from $89.
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Silver Lake, Michigan
A cabin at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Silver Lake. (Photo: Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park)
This rustic campground with cabins starting at $70 a night might not be for everyone, but kids definitely get a kick out of meeting Yogi Bear himself at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park. And everyone loves getting a chance to see the breathtaking sand dunes on nearby Lake Michigan, which look like something you’d find in Cape Cod. During high season, a costumed Yogi Bear will come to your cabin and greet your kids with milk and cookies, read them a bedtime story, and tuck them in. How’s that for service?
Editor’s Note: Unless otherwise noted, rates listed in this article are for a starting double before Labor Day 2015 and do not include additional charges, such as taxes or resort fees. Rates were accurate and verified when this story was published on Monday, Aug. 10. Note that many hotels practice dynamic pricing, so at some of these properties, the lowest priced rooms sold out after the publication of this article.
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