The 10 Best Oceanfront Hotels and Resorts in the U.S. — Best Life (2023)

For some travelers, an ocean view isn't just a plus, it's an absolute must. Nothing beats waking up and falling asleep to the sound of waves, or spending the day with the sand between your toes. Luckily, from South Beach to San Diego, the U.S. is brimming with prime hotels and resorts for a beach getaway.

A 2022 Hilton survey found that more than one-third (37%) of travelers feel mentally refreshed on vacation when they don't have to worry about leaving the resort during their stay. And that in itself is the beauty of an oceanfront resort: being mere steps from the beach means you have convenient access to a relaxing or fun-filled afternoon.

Below, we rounded up the best oceanfront hotels and resorts in the U.S. Whether you prefer lounging under an umbrella with a piña colada or staying active by snorkeling, surfing, or boogie boarding, these accommodations guarantee a memorable stay filled with plenty of sun, sand, and surf. Because, let's be real: life is just better by the beach. And next, don't miss the 10 Best U.S. Islands to Add to Your Bucket List—No Passport Required.

1

Cliff House: Cape Neddick, ME

The 10 Best Oceanfront Hotels and Resorts in the U.S. — Best Life (1)

Set right on the Bald Head Cliff, this nautical-themed resort and spa overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and Nubble Lighthouse. The outdoor pool and hot tub face the ocean, too, but if you're feeling adventurous, you can climb right out onto the rocks, spread out on a towel, and let the waves crash by your feet.

When hunger pangs strike, hit up the on-site restaurant, The Tiller, where you'll enjoy panoramic ocean views while feasting on line-caught fish and farm-fresh local produce.

Cliff House is also just a 10-minute drive to beautiful beaches in York and Ogunquit. Just be sure to request an ocean-facing room when you book so you can take advantage of the jaw-dropping views right from your balcony.

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2

Elk Cove Inn & Spa: Mendocino, CA

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This refined inn is set in a historic, Craftsman-style mansion right on a bluff overlooking the Mendocino coastline. And to boot, it also happens to be a two-minute stroll to Greenwood State Beach, which is perfect for a secluded picnic.

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"The property is continually being enhanced, with additions to the gardens and organic menu," says McCool Travel owner, Charles McCool. "But the astounding views are the primary reason people come to Elk Cove."

Travelers love that some of the rooms have fireplaces, private terraces, and whirlpool tubs, but you'll need to specifically book an oceanfront suite or cottage if you want to take advantage of those sweeping views. Did we mention that Elk Cove Inn also features a roof deck, day spa, beachfront gazebo, and gourmet breakfast in bed, complete with champagne?

After touring Point Arena Lighthouse and kayaking or whale watching nearby, enjoy dinner with an ocean view at the on-site restaurant Sibo, and then cap off the evening by building a beach bonfire at sunset.

3

Aulani: Kapolei, HI

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Siera Duiser, a travel agent with Destinations to Explore, names this Disney resort and spa as her top choice for a family vacation. It's easy to see why: there are plenty of activities to keep kiddos occupied and entertained (like live shows, character experiences, and a swimming pool splash zone), as well as amenities for grown-ups to relax and unwind (like a romantic infinity pool, on-site movie nights, nature tours, and the only outdoor hydrotherapy garden on the island). Rooms, suites, villas, and studios here are available with either a partial or full ocean view.

Aulani has a private stretch of beach roped-off that's reserved for guests only. After an action-packed day of paddle boarding, boogie boarding, and snorkeling at Rainbow Reef, attend one of the resort's famous on-site luaus, complete with spectacular dancing and a sumptuous Hawaiian feast.

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4

Alila Marea Beach Resort: Encinitas, CA

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Looking for a place to unwind and forget about all the daily stressors of life? Treat yourself to a stay at this luxe resort, which is perched on top of a seaside bluff just north of San Diego, right along one of California's most stunning stretches of coastline.

"The well-equipped modern rooms and suites have beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean," says Fred Baker, the Senior Travel Editor of Travelness. "This resort is meant to provide guests with a comfortable setting that allows them to pamper themselves after a full day of enjoyable activities. It features a spa, pool, fitness center, tennis courts, restaurant, bar and lounge, and 24-hour room service."

Between sunrise yoga, hikes around the Batiquitos Lagoon's 2-mile loop trail, guided beach runs, and coastal flight excursions in a vintage biplane, there's no shortage of activities to try at Alila Marea. Come nightfall, you can enjoy dinner by the sea at one of the on-site restaurant Vaga's outdoor tables.

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"We absolutely love the extra touches when it comes to luxury service here—like the beachside concierge ensuring your every need is tended to," says Danielle Riddle, cofounder and CEO of Inspired Travel Group. "Cruise the coast on one of the resort's complimentary electric bikes, or linger in a seaside cabana sipping cocktails and admiring the ocean views."

You can't go wrong with the views, either: all of the rooms either face the ocean or the lagoon and feature floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors out to the balcony and beyond.

5

Adrift Hotel: Long Beach, WA

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With sleek, minimalist rooms, a full-service spa, and a killer location, this hip hotel and spa is a hidden gem that's highly underrated, according to Valerie Stimac, travel blogger at Valerie & Valise.

"The property overlooks the longest continuous beach in the U.S.," says Stimac. "It's also set right on a boardwalk through the dunes and the tumultuous Pacific Ocean."

If you're in the mood for some serious R&R, step into the cedar wood barrel sauna, book a stress-busting integrated massage, chill by the fire pit, or enjoy some dollar spirit tastings at the adjacent Adrift Distillers. Then, enjoy innovative, locally-inspired dishes and craft cocktails at the hotel's top-floor restaurant, Pickled Fish, which overlooks the Pacific.

Pro tip: All King rooms and suites at Adrift Hotel boast partial or full ocean views, but if you book a queen or bunk room, you'll want to specify that you're looking for one that faces the ocean.

6

Hotel del Coronado: Coronado, CA

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"With historic architecture, modern luxury, personalized service, great shopping, an award-winning spa, and, of course, the beach, travelers can't go wrong with a stay at The Del," says Valerie Edman, owner and luxury travel advisor at Cultured Travel. "Plus, being only 20 minutes from downtown San Diego is in an ideal location."

The Del is set in an extravagant former Victorian property built in 1888 and features posh rooms, an infinity pool, fitness center, hot tub, and more. There are seven different bars and restaurants to choose from, but you can't go wrong with brunch or dinner at Sheerwater, which is known for its fresh seafood and unique vegetarian fare with a gourmet twist.

Many of the rooms have ocean views, and some upgraded rooms are actually set in a secluded location off the beach. The activities are endless: take surf lessons at the resort's academy, rent a beach cruiser to explore the local area, work up a sweat in one of the ocean-facing spin and yoga classes, roast s'mores at a beach bonfire, stretch out under the stars for a beach movie screening, or charter a yacht for a romantic sunset sail.

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Fun fact: A slew of famous films has been shot at The Del, including the Marilyn Monroe classic "Some Like It Hot."

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7

Little Palm Island Resort & Spa: Little Torch Key, FL

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If it's romance you're after, you can't beat this secluded luxury resort, according to Edman, which is set on an isolated island that can only be accessed only by seaplane or boat.

Upon landing at the airport, enjoy a complimentary motor yacht ride to Little Palm Island Resort. Once you arrive, the thatched roofs and island-inspired decor will instantly make you feel like you've traveled all the way to Bali, says Edman. And with furnished private decks with ocean views, outdoor showers and tubs, and exclusive fire pits, you may not even need to leave your bungalow to have a relaxing and memorable getaway.

"There are no TVs in the rooms, which is a great thing because it encourages you to connect more with your traveling companions," adds Edmond.

The best part? Your stay can be as low-key and lazy or active and adventure-packed as you want it to be. Sailing, snorkeling, kayaking, seaplane charters, scuba diving, skydiving, and swimming with dolphins are just a few of the many activities available. But if it's relaxation you're after, you can indulge in a few luxurious treatments at SpaTerre, followed by a private beach dinner by starlight.

8

Four Seasons Resort Lanai: Lanai City, HI

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Baker calls this island oasis "the epitome of luxury travel and exotic island getaways."

"This stunning property, situated on the shores of Hawaii's majestic Maui Bay, allows guests a private refuge with unrivaled views of sunsets over the Pacific Ocean," he adds.

There are many reasons to stay at the Four Seasons Resort Lanai. Not only does it overlook breathtaking Hulopoe Bay, but it also boasts some of the best restaurants on the islands, championship tennis courts, an archery and shooting range, lagoon-style swimming pools with ocean views, botanical gardens, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, a yoga studio with aerial hammocks, and so much more.

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"The area around the hotel is a protected marine preserve, so it is extremely well looked after," says Maria Kennedy, travel blogger at Travel for Food Hub. Kennedy notes that one of the many phenomenal dining options includes an outpost run by a renowned Nobu chef.

9

Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection: Waimea, HI

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Expect to be greeted with a warm "aloha" at this five-star oceanfront resort, which is Riddle's top pick for a rejuvenating and luxurious tropical getaway. Set right on the dreamy Kohala Coast, Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection just underwent a major makeover in 2020 with a brand-new spa, pools, lobby decor, room furnishings, restaurants, and a fitness center complete with Peloton bikes and other state-of-the-art equipment.

"With over 90% of the rooms offering incredible ocean views, this resort is certainly taking full advantage of its stellar location," says Riddle. "When wandering the rugged shoreline, it's almost impossible to miss the beautiful sea turtles sunning in the afternoon sand."

According to Riddle, the staff is welcoming and laidback yet also helpful and attentive, and the signature on-site restaurant, CanoeHouse offers a unique farm-to-table dining experience showcasing local ingredients. Outrigger canoeing, surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, and snorkeling are just a few of the fun activities to take advantage of here. And don't forget to take a stroll down to the ancient Kalahuipua'a fishponds, accessible from the resort via a walking path.

"As for the sunsets, they will forever remain etched in your memory of your blissful escape to paradise," adds Riddle.

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10

The Historic Cavalier Hotel & Beach Club: Virginia Beach, VA

The 10 Best Oceanfront Hotels and Resorts in the U.S. — Best Life (10)

This seaside escape is set in the semi-private North End of the Virginia Beach oceanfront, and thanks to its stunning location, it's hosted many legendary performers throughout history, including Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald.

Thanks to multiple standout restaurants, a spa, infinity pool, and even a distillery right on the property, there's hardly a reason to leave while staying at The Cavalier. And the activities are endless, from dance lessons and sunrise meditations to wine tastings and educational nature explorations. If you choose to spend your days here, though, don't miss the scrumptious Asian fusion cruising and panoramic ocean views at the rooftop restaurant.

Note that not all rooms have ocean views, so that's something you'll have to specify when booking.

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