Image: Depoe Bay, Oregon
Jeff Jessing
Watch bald eagles, gray whales, and distant ocean storms from the terrace in your suite at the Whale Cove Inn in Depoe Bay, Oregon.
updated 6/26/2009 12:13:36 PM ET 2009-06-26T16:13:36

The words seaside inn are likely to conjure images of a charming Victorian-era lodge atop a craggy peninsula, with bluffside walking trails, crashing waves, glorious sunsets, and a thoroughly easygoing pace. And that’s just what you’ll find in Prouts Neck, Maine, where the Black Point Inn has been providing travelers with a coastal getaway since 1878.

Escaping to a classic retreat on the coast is a time-honored summer tradition. After all, what better way to spend the peak days of the season than relaxing by the water—and then falling asleep to the sound of the waves?

The Black Point’s owners recently updated the public spaces and nautical-themed rooms, adding a sauna, an outdoor pool, and flat-screen televisions. These modern comforts play nicely with a real sense of history—the inn provides easy access to the Cliff Walk, where Winslow Homer painted scenes of the shore. When you’re through hiking, grab one of the Adirondack chairs, watch the tide go in and out, and relish views that go all the way to Mount Washington, the Northeast’s highest peak.

Maine has no shortage of hideaways to rival the Black Point. At the Camden Harbour Inn, which offers great views of the local fishing boats, the on-site restaurant prepares a top-notch lobster tasting menu. Farther north, on Mount Desert Island, the 19th-century Claremont Hotel offers a wraparound porch and a lawn that’s perfect for playing croquet.

But of course the East Coast isn’t the only place to find a great seaside inn—California has more than its share. Take the Blue Lantern Inn in Dana Point, where New England tradition meets kicked-back southern California. The airy rooms sit on a bluff above the harbor; be sure to reserve one with a view of the Pacific. After a gourmet breakfast, go biking along the point’s coastal paths or read in the gazebo.

Up the California coast, in Sausalito, the Inn Above Tide gives new meaning to the term waterfront—it’s built on pilings over San Francisco Bay. Guests here have a prime spot for taking in the harbor’s goings-on or even views of the San Francisco skyline.

And that’s just the start. From Florida to Washington State, where there’s a shoreline, an inviting inn is waiting for you to settle back and enjoy the best of summer.

Copyright © 2012 American Express Publishing Corporation

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