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7 Beach Getaways Where You Wouldn't Expect To Find Them

Beach-lover Debra Kamin shares her favorite hidden beach spots around the U.S. to help you plan your next summer getaway.

Lazy summer days spent in the sand, surf, and sun: It’s a tradition as American as apple pie and baseball. But as the days get longer and the mercury creeps up, the nation’s coastal hotspots become equal parts more tempting and more thick with crowds.

For sun-seeking travelers who are savvy, however, there are still plenty of hidden beach towns across the nation that remain refreshingly off the grid. Whether you’re looking for dramatic craggy cliffs jutting out over the ocean; the quaint nautical charm of historic lighthouses and shopping districts or a secluded natural hideaway replete with tufted puffins and pet-friendly accommodations, these hush-hush spots offer warm hospitality, plenty of open sand, and a hearty helping of authentic coastal Americana.

Grab your flip flops and don’t forget your SPF 50: here’s a line-up of the best unknown beach getaways across the United States, all packed with undiscovered flair.

Lewes, Delaware: Laid-back Beaches

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Quiet, charming and utterly unpretentious, Lewes, Delaware. is an ideal getaway for beachgoers who want to unplug. Located in Cape Henlopen, where the Delaware Bay feeds into the Atlantic Ocean, Lewes offers pristine and unspoiled beaches as well as nature trails and flocks of migrating birds. But best of all is the city’s relaxed and progressive attitude, which can be felt in its museums, its pleasant downtown, and its welcoming shops and restaurants.

Visitors looking for upscale accommodation should look no further than the Blue Hotel, where they’ll enjoy plush linens, in-room fireplaces, and a rooftop pool. Each room in this canal-front property is unique and one-of-a-kind, with options including a suite that boasts its own koi pond; a jewel-toned deluxe room with glowing sinks; and a canal-facing suite with curved windows for watching the sunset.

Hotel Blue

8.8 Excellent (330 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.3 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Gym
Hotel CTA

Chatham, Massachusetts: Cape Cod Without The Crowds

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Beaches are packed up and down the cape in the summer and hotels are sold out. The tourist rush makes the little town of Chatham, Massachusetts, nestled in Cape Cod’s elbow and featuring walkable streets and spectacular history, all the more a revelation. Cockle Cove Beach and Harding’s Beach offer particularly gentle tides, making them a good choice for travelers with kids in tow. The city’s crowning glory is the historic Chatham Lighthouse, a scenic piece of American history that’s still in use today.

To best soak up the city’s nautical charm, book a stay at The Captain’s House Inn, a four-star bed and breakfast that has been meticulously restored. This is a handsome, grand property with fireplaces in every room, afternoon tea served every day and a rich history that infuses every corner with extra meaning. Captain Hiram Harding built the structure for his new bride way back in 1839; many of the rooms on the property bear the names of the couples’ nine children and some also are a nod to Harding’s ships.

The Captain's House Inn

Top rated
9.3 Excellent (296 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.6 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Gym
Outdoor swimming pool
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Bay St. Louis, Mississippi: Gulf Coast Charm

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Cute, quaint, and drenched in Southern charm, Bay St. Louis is a tiny Mississippi town that punches well above its weight. Surrounded by marshes, a river and the sparkling Gulf of Mexico beach, Bay St. Louis is packed with old southern history, and populated by friendly locals eager to share a slice of their laid-back city with visitors.

The city is best savored from the lush Carroll House Bed & Breakfast, which sits in a refurbished old Mississippi home and is a short bicycle ride from Old Bay’s waterfront dining and shops. This charming historic house dates back to 1890 and offers four rooms, including the sweetly named Sunshine Room and The Sunset Room. Each is unique, and all put you in the heart of Old Town Bay and in the warm and welcoming hands of the owners.

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Carroll House Bed & Breakfast

Top rated
9.0 Excellent (66 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.1 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Air conditioning
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Cannon Beach, Oregon: For Families and Animal Lovers

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With a long shoreline packed with soft sand and a whimsical downtown packed with adorable boutiques, Cannon Beach is a family-friendly destination that offers just the right amount of adventure. Home to Ecola State Park, where easy-to-navigate hiking trails offer coves to explore and sweeping views of the Pacific, Cannon is also home to Arcadia Beach where adults can lounge on the sand while kids splash in tide pools and snack at on-site picnic tables. Animal lovers will get a kick out of Haystack Rock, a towering monolith off the coast which is home to migrating tufted penguins.

At the lush Inn at Cannon Beach, there are manicured gardens and pet-friendly rooms. The property, which is just a short walk from Haystack Rock, offers a number of different styles and sizes of rooms, making it a good choice for all types of travelers. Little touches help put it over the top, including fresh-baked cookies for guests upon arrival and perks available at the front desk including s’mores kits and baskets of sand toys for the kiddos.

Inn at Cannon Beach

Top rated
9.1 Excellent (1286 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.5 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

Bandon, Oregon: Dramatic Nature

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Nestled on the southern Oregon coastline is the rugged town of Bandon, where nature-lovers will struggle to decide which adventures they want to tackle first. There are undulating sand dunes, rolling across the beach line toward a coast dotted with mountainous rock formations. There’s kayaking and fishing, camping and crabbing. And always within site is the historic Coquille River Light, a lighthouse dating back to 1895 and built in the handsome American Colonial style.

The views are best at the beautiful Bandon Inn, which sits high on a bluff facing the ocean. With rich, jewel-toned, old-world style interiors and newly renovated rooms featuring fresh linens and club chairs, the hotel merges history and style. But it’s what’s just outside the hotel that will keep your attention. The quaint town of Bandon sits directly beneath the property, and the dramatic Pacific shoreline beckons beyond all the way to the horizon.

Bandon Inn

8.5 Excellent (151 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.1 / 10
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Block Island, Rhode Island: Impressive Cliffs and Migratory Seabirds

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You’ll be hard-pressed to find a New England landscape more sweeping and dramatic than that of Block Island, Rhode Island, which sits just south of the state’s mainland and offers both dramatic clay cliffs and a striking rocky beach. Aficionados of nautical lore will be enchanted by the town’s two lighthouses–the Southeast Lighthouse sits perched atop the cliffs of Mohegan Bluff, while to the north, the aptly named North Lighthouse watches over the coastline. Both date back more than 100 years. A wildlife refuge brings gulls, swallows, and migratory songbirds to the island as well.

Take it all in from the sprawling 1661 Inn, which is spread across nine buildings each offering unique New England architecture and design. Choose from a room in the main building or instead opt to stay in one of the fascinating cottages. Taken together, the multiple structures offer the feeling of a sprawling resort, but with authentic, small-town charm.

The 1661 Inn

Top rated
8.5 Excellent (324 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.1 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Restaurant
Hotel CTA

Long Beach, Washington: History and Modern Charm

1/4

With an iconic boardwalk and a beach boasting silver sands, Long Beach, Wash. combines its critical history with colorful modern charm. Located on the Long Beach Peninsula, the city offers The Discovery Trail, where visitors can walk the same pathway taken by explorers Lewis and Clark. For a more modern activity, the city’s kite museum, which bursts with color and fun, offers a comfortable respite from the summer heat.

Rent a room at the historic Shelburne Inn, which dates back more than 100 years. This is the longest continuously operating hotel in Washington State, and it wears its history as a badge of pride. Communal spaces, like an on-site pub, a nook packed with billiard tables and shuffleboard, and peaceful gardens featuring sculptures and beds of vegetables and flowers all encourage guests to meet and mingle rather than staying in their individual rooms. For dinner, an on-site restaurant features hyper-seasonal fare that puts the flavors of the Washington coast on full display.

The Shelburne Inn

8.2 Very good (143 reviews)
Excellent Service 8.9 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA