THE BLOG

Cool Off-Season Beach Resorts

02/18/2015 05:51 pm ET | Updated Apr 20, 2015

Leave your bathing suit behind, and embrace the pleasures of winter at the beach.

An ocean view is an ocean view -- and in winter, it comes with a much lower price tag and a certain moody romantic appeal.

Travelers practically have the beach to themselves during the off-season. The crashing waves and that chill in the air are the perfect excuse to linger by your room's fireplace or spend the morning at the spa. Staff often give an especially warm welcome, and some of America's finest seaside resorts make a point to host special events, whether wine tastings or whale-watching excursions.

Experience a cozy Montauk spot without long lines for the best restaurant in town or packed parking lots just to stroll along the beach. Step out in the sun in SoCal, or watch the sea mists rise in Oregon.

So fend off any winter blues by holing up at one of these cozy beach resorts before the tide turns and spring breakers come rolling in.

--By Megan Soll

  • Ocean House, Watch Hill, RI
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    An 1868 grande dame renovated to shipshape form, Ocean House is spectacular in sunshine or snowstorm. The stately veranda overlooks the private white-sand beach—moody and empty in the off-season—as does the spa’s lounge. The 49 light-filled guest rooms and 22 private villas come with oversize soaking tubs, classic preppy patterns, and thoughtful touches. (Each bed is made up with an accent pillow featuring the monogrammed initial of the respective guest’s surname.) Yoga and tai chi are offered daily in winter, as well as cooking demonstrations. Seasonal discount packages include an “epicurean adventure,” with meals included at the farm-to-table on-site restaurant.

    Photo courtesy of Ocean House
  • Sea Ranch Lodge, CA
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    Throw on a sweater and head out to explore the wooded parks, preserves, and beaches that distinguish California’s northern coast. From Sea Ranch Lodge, you can admire a panorama of ancient redwoods and rocky shores—until the mist sets in, that is. Whale-watching is at its prime in winter, and there are 50 miles of surrounding hiking trails. Sea Ranch’s 19 renovated rooms come with gas-burning fireplaces, while the ocean-view restaurant follows the seasonal, farm-to-table creed.

    Photo courtesy of Sea Ranch Lodge
  • Inn at Langley, Whidbey Island, WA
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    Don’t be deterred by Whidbey Island’s proximity to Seattle; it gets less than half of the rainfall of its drizzly neighbor. So the view is usually clear and serene from the waterfront Inn at Langley, which faces the Cascade Mountains. In winter, it’s easier to score a coveted spot at the inn’s single-seating dinner, where chef Matt Costello scours nearby farmers’ markets to concoct a six-course locavore prix fixe meal. Wildlife-sighting opportunities abound, from whale-watching excursions to birding treks. And after a day out, it’s a pleasure to settle in by the wood-burning fireplace in one of the 24 guest rooms—and treat yourself to a hot-stone massage at the newly renovated spa.

    Photo: © Jodi Starcevich
  • Ocean Isle Inn, Ocean Isle Beach, NC
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    Off-season rates drop to the $80 range for oceanfront rooms at Ocean Isle Inn, on a private stretch of sand halfway between Wilmington, NC, and Myrtle Beach, SC. Winter temperatures hover in the 50s, but swimming remains a pleasure at the heated indoor pool and Jacuzzi spa. Head to Wilmington and visit Fort Fisher Aquarium, or take a tour of the historic buildings on the waterfront.

    Photo: © Frank Hart
  • The Nantucket Hotel & Resort, MA
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    The Nantucket Hotel & Resort provides a welcome pop of color and charm during even the grayest of February days. Two-bedroom suites and cottages make it a great choice for families and groups—or couples wanting a wintry getaway with a sea view. It’s within walking distance from Nantucket’s harbor and beaches. For an excursion, consider family-owned Bartlett’s Farm, which hosts one of the largest farmers’ markets in Nantucket. It offers cooking demonstrations, family-style meals, and children’s crafts year-round. Back at the hotel, warm up with steamy lobster bisque or mulled cocktails.

    Photo: © Kit Noble Photography
  • WildSpring, Port Orford, OR
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    Misty mornings lead to sunny afternoons in Port Orford, along one of America’s most scenic drives. The five cabin suites at secluded WildSpring Guest Habitat feel extra cozy thanks to radiant-heated floors. Dark and stormy forecast? Stay in and watch the clouds roll in over the ocean. The guest hall has floor-to-ceiling windows and snacks like popcorn and chocolates to munch on at any time. Head out for trails to explore Blacklock Point’s dramatic cliffs, or stay in and get an in-cabin massage.

    Photo courtesy of WildSpring
  • The Ocean Lodge, Cannon Beach, OR
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    The rocky shores of Cannon Beach were the setting for The Goonies and host the real-life Ocean Lodge, a relaxed retreat steps from Haystack Rock. The hotel’s veranda is the spot to cozy up in an Adirondack chair. Peruse the beach town’s boutiques and art galleries, duck inside Sea Level Bakery and Coffee for a pick-me-up, or head to the wineries at Manzanita or Nehalem Bay to taste California reds. A warm welcome awaits in the main lodge, with its two-story wood-burning fireplace and regular supply of home-baked cookies and coffee.

    Photo: © Crowerks