10 Best Affordable Beachfront Hotels
BT's summer-getaway challenge: to find 10 properties where you can go from your bed to the beach in five minutes or less—for under $150 per night.
Memories from your beach vacation should involve the breeze in your hair and the sand in your toes—not the bill at the front desk. Our challenge? To find 10 getaways under $150 that are less than a five-minute walk to the ocean's edge—a tall order for summer's peak season, when the average price of a waterfront hotel starts around $250 per night. We steered clear of the Caribbean (hurricanes) and Southeast Asia (monsoons) to focus only on the most desirable summer destinations in places that don't strand you in the middle of nowhere (unless that's the point). The resulting collection of hotels and resorts, from the family-friendly mainstay of Myrtle Beach to Barcelona's sizzling shoreline, proves that wherever you want to go this summer, you can be right on the shore without breaking the bank.
Azul del Mar
Key Largo, Fla.
Retro-glam rooms next to turquoise waters.
Near the top of the arc that forms the Florida Keys sits Key Largo, long celebrated for its glamorous watering holes and unspoiled beaches. In 1948, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall shone a spotlight on the town with a film of the same name. Today, about 200 feet away from where the stars cracked wise at the Caribbean Club, stands Azul del Mar. Thanks to husband-and-wife proprietors Karol and Dominic Marsden, the eight-year-old hotel evokes the island's heyday. Facing Blackwater Sound and Florida Bay, guest rooms feature round porthole windows, faux Ionic columns, and colorful accents throughout. Lounge on the lawn amid tropical trees, key-lime bushes, and frangipani, or oceanside on the private, man-made shale beach. The hotel can also arrange excursions, including sunset cruises, snorkeling adventures, and fishing trips (if you'd like, you can choose to bring back your catch and cook it on Azul's grill). 104300 Overseas Hwy., 305/451-0337, azulkeylargo.com, from $139.
Best Western Plus Beach Resort Monterey
The scenic Pacific Coast and classic American attractions.
Finding affordable waterfront digs in coastal California can be a daunting task—which makes this spot right on the beach such a pleasant surprise. Here, you're also adjacent to the 18-mile-long Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail, which leads right to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, San Carlos beach (popular with divers), and Fisherman's Wharf. This is a "Best Western Plus" (as opposed to a straightforward "Best Western"), which means perks like free Wi-Fi. The 196 rooms are painted in sweet, muted tones of cream with cranberry accents and are furnished simply with wicker furniture. Floor-to-ceiling windows maximize the star attraction—the view of Monterey Bay. The restaurant prepares local seafood, such as clams and sand dabs, to order. 2600 Sand Dunes Dr., 831/394-3321, montereybeachresort.com, from $150.