The best American beach resorts

Where will you spend your summer weekends this year? How about one of these great beach resorts, all highly ranked by our readers in the annual Readers' Choice Survey.

1. The Cloister

(Conde Nast Traveler)

Sea Island, GA

At this stately 1928 compound designed by Addison Mizner, between the Atlantic and the Black Banks River, you can stroll a five-mile private beach, horseback ride, or swing clubs on three 18-hole golf courses. Dinners in the stately Georgian Room, under gold and crystal chandeliers, are served on hand-painted china. Elegant rooms, with 24-hour butler service, have Turkish rugs, antiques, and European linens.

2. The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island

(Conde Nast Traveler)

Kiawah Island, SC

Barely ten years old, The Sanctuary already feels like a classic resort—surrounded by towering live oak and facing the Atlantic (nine out of ten rooms face the water and have balconies). Off the ten-mile stretch of beach, 5 championship golf courses, 24 tennis courts, and 6 pools keep guests active while rooms retain a calm, sophisticated Plantation style ambience.

3. Little Palm Island Resort & Spa

(Conde Nast Traveler)

Little Torch Key, FL

Arriving guests are greeted with a rum punch and personalized wooden plaques on doors to their bungalows at this very private five-acre island, accessible only by boat or seaplane. The crushed-seashell paths, more than 250 Jamaican palms, and wildlife (Key deer) give the island a convincing South Pacific vibe. With only 30 rooms and more than a few pretty, tiny beach “corners,” it’s a thoroughly peaceful (albeit pricey) dream getaway.

4. Inn by the sea

(Inn by the sea)

Cape Elizabeth, ME

Barely half an hour south of Portland, overlooking unspoiled, mile-long Crescent Beach, this cheerful small resort (only 61 nautically themed rooms and cottages) appeals to adults, kids, and pets alike. Canoeing on Casco Bay with L.L. Bean instructors, storytelling on the lawn, nature walks with Audubon guides, and marshmallow roasts aside an outdoor fire pit add to the authentic Down East charm.

5. Watercolor Inn & Resort

(Conde Nast Traveler)

Santa Rosa Beach, FL

A much-loved Panhandle favorite, set amidst tall sand dunes near the restaurants and shops of Seaside’s planned community (3rd and 4th floor rooms have prime Gulf views, bungalows have outdoor showers and small courtyards). Activities include canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and electric boating on the Western Lake as well as biking through woodland forests when folk aren’t lazing on the broad swath of sand on their doorstep.

6. Ritz-Carlton Naples

(Conde Nast Traveler)

Naples, FL

Overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, this Mediterranean-style resort is filled with European art and antiques, crystal chandeliers, and silk carpets (note: all but 11 rooms have private balconies and water views). Beyond the beach, an enormous, tri-level spa with outdoor mineral pool keeps adults pampered while kids can engage in the entertaining Nature’s Wonder center with 11 aquariums, a science lab, and Wonder Walks.

Read the full article to see the full list of The Best American Beach Resorts.

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