The best beach resorts in the USA

European sightseeing trips and adventures in the Amazon all have their place in your photo albums—but when you really need to unwind, book a villa at one of these stunning US beach resorts. Staying at one of these gorgeous resorts will ensure access to a plethora of amenities that can elevate a simple vacation to a blissful life-changing escape. From an aquarium you can swim in to a lobby featuring museum-quality artwork, there’s so much in America’s top resorts to excite the imagination and soothe the soul.

A Key West resort to remember

Follow the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway and head down on the Overseas Highway until you can’t go any further. Then kick off your shoes, crank up the volume on your favorite Jimmy Buffet song, and check into your villa rental by Smathers Beach. You’re in Key West, where chickens roam free and bicycle-riding residents meander to the bars on Duval Street and meet friends at Mallory Square to serenade the sunset. At the Southernmost Beach Resort, you’ll be at the center of it all, with access to 3 pools, 2 beaches, and a fitness center. From your turn-of-the-century guesthouse with Atlantic Ocean views, sally forth to explore shipwrecks, visit Hemingway’s famous 6-toed cats, or snap a selfie at the “Southernmost Point” marker.

New England beach resort fun

The Winnetu Oceanside Resort on Martha’s Vineyard has every aspect of your New England vacation covered—beach, shopping, and dining—all just 250 yards from South Beach. You can also enjoy yoga, tennis, fitness classes, or fun in the 2 heated pools. Hop on a shuttle or water taxi for a night out in Edgartown or arrange a portrait session or family tour of nearby lighthouses. If you’d like some quality time as a couple, there’s a children’s club perfect for the little ones. You can find 5-bedroom townhouses and private homes at the resort, and plenty of vacation home rentals all throughout the area.

Vacation in style at The Breakers

Step back in time when you drive up the magnificent palm-lined driveway of The Breakers, founded in the late 1800s by industrialist Henry Flagler to cater to the elites who had begun flocking to the island of Palm Beach on the Atlantic coast of Florida. With 4 pools and a private beachfront, plus shopping, tennis, golf, and a children’s club, there’s no shortage of activities with which to fill your days. For a day of indulgence, reserve a private poolside bungalow for the day, and lounge in comfort while your every need is attended to. While there’s enough to do at the beach to stay busy for days, you might also enjoy browsing the shops and restaurants of downtown Palm Beach’s Clematis Street and driving past the stunning Gilded Age mansions that line the seaside boulevards.

Laid-back resort style in California

High above the Pacific, majestically laid out atop a coastal bluff, is the Arts & Crafts-inspired Montage Laguna Beach. Spread out over 30 acres, the property reflects the elegance and artistry of its environment, with Craftsman architecture and a collection of museum-quality art. Relax at the beachfront, at the 20,000-square-foot Spa Montage, beside one of the 2 pools, or at one of the 3 bars and restaurants. You can opt to stay in an on-site beach villa, each of which features wood and stone architecture, beach access, ocean views, and private entry courtyards. You can satiate your thirst for art at one of Laguna Beach’s many galleries, and if you gravitate towards nature, wander the beaches and coves of this Orange County jewel.

A Hawaiian idyll at this top beach resort

At the Four Seasons Resort, Hualalai, experience Hawaii from the lap of luxury. Your room, suite, or luxury villa might sit directly on the ocean front, allowing you spectacular views of the waves and seasonal humpback whale migrations. As well as golf, gourmet food, luxurious rooms and villas (some with beachfront balconies and porches), this resort has the distinction of having 7 pools. There’s one for kids with a sandy bottom and a collection of water toys, as well as a lap pool, and an adults-only pool that features ambient music and couple's massages in cabanas. There’s a saltwater pool divided by a breakwater from the actual ocean, and a family pool surrounded by thatched palapas and oversized daybeds. There’s even a pool carved out of lava rock stocked with 4,000 tropical fish. You can swim, or snorkel here, or simply sit back and watch the beauty dart through the water.

The charms of the south in this Georgia beach resort

To bask in southern hospitality with luxury at your fingertips, head down to Sea Island in Georgia, which has entertained families and dignitaries since the 1920s. With 5 miles of private beaches, a beach club, tennis center, yacht club, and shooting school—not to mention 3 championship golf courses—there’s no shortage of entertainment at the twin resorts, Sea Island Beach Club and The Cloister. As well as restaurants and an ice cream shop, you’ll find a bar, 3 pools, and a spa. You can stay at the hotel, or in one of the “cottages,” which are more like stylishly appointed mansions, some oceanfront, with amenities like beamed ceilings, private pools, and gourmet kitchens.