Furama Resort, Vietnam
Courtesy of Furama
The Furama Resort ($215) is located on China Beach, the famous 18-mile stretch of coastline in central Vietnam. The resort offers everything from tai chi classes on the beach and tours of the four nearby UNESCO World Heritage sites to serene night dives with sea turtles in the South China Sea.
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updated 3/12/2010 8:47:43 AM ET 2010-03-12T13:47:43

From the plastic palm tree–lined beaches of the Jersey Shore to the powdery white sands of Belize, beach vacations never go out of style.

“Beach destinations remain incredibly popular with travelers right now,” says T+L A-List agent Kimberly Wilson Wetty; they’re “great for the time-starved couple who needs a mini-escape and perfect for families with kids.”

Best of all, that perfect beach getaway—whether it’s an exotic island hideout or a nearby home away from home—doesn’t have to cost a fortune. We found 40 amazing spots ranging from $75 to $250 a night.

“These days more and more travelers are avoiding the large resorts for a more individualized experience,” says agent Georgia Johnson of AMT American Express Travel. “People want that perfect little cottage away from the crowds.” A prime example:

Beachside Bed & Breakfast on Folly Beach, S.C. There are just four quirky rooms here, including a private bungalow with vintage mahogany furniture. Another trend among beachgoers: requests for private spas and plunge pools. “Especially with honeymooners, people are looking for that extra bit of privacy,” Johnson explains. Thailand’s Outrigger Serenity Terraces Resort, located on Phuket Island’s lively Rawai Beach, has 78 suites that come with floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies, six with private plunge pools.

Inn at Cape Kiwanda, Oregon
Courtesy of Inn at Cape Kiwanda
Just 400 feet from the sand, the 35-room Inn at Cape Kiwanda in Oregon ($169) is the perfect base for a weekend at the shore. Suites are cozy—gas fireplaces; down comforters—and offer amazing views of the surf crashing into Haystack Rock, a 327-foot-tall basalt monolith jutting out of the bay.
If getting away from it all is your number one priority, check out some of our super-remote beach destinations. At Barefoot at Havelock, on India’s Havelock Island, you’ll find 19 secluded cottages—though you might have to share the ocean with Rajan, the resort’s resident elephant.

Fortunately, you don’t have to fly 20 hours (travel time from Los Angeles to India) for a little bit of beach paradise. Case in point: L.A.’s Hotel Erwin, with 119 super-modern rooms just 200 feet from the Pacific; or the Riviera Hotel at Miami’s South Beach, where 54 roomy suites face the ocean. And in the warmer months, the Northern Atlantic spots are just as enticing: the Surfside Cottages of Wellfleet, Cape Cod, or Long Island’s retro-cool East Deck Motel at Ditch Plains beach.

Whether you’re looking for something on the pebbled strands of a quaint French fishing town or near the azure waters of Aruba, read on: your perfect beach vacation awaits.

Copyright © 2012 American Express Publishing Corporation

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