Book these epic seaside rentals for your next ocean vacation

When the daily grind starts to wear you down, nothing lifts your spirits like a vacation at the beach. And whether you've got 2 days to recharge your batteries or 2 full weeks to fully get your groove back, you can't go wrong with a seaside rental. Pretend you live here—whether in a historic New England cottage or modern Sarasota home—and get to know the area and explore its treasures. Find out where the locals eat, listen to music, and—of course—the perfect local spot to watch the sun rise or set over the sea.

History and beaches in your Cape May rental

With miles of golden sands and a downtown full of gorgeous Victorian homes, New Jersey's Cape May is as beautiful on land as it is by the water. It’s as much of a pleasure here to look back at the shoreline's gingerbread fretwork as it is to look out over the Atlantic. Stroll the 2 miles of the Cape May Promenade or climb the Cape May Lighthouse and visit the Emlyn Physick Estate and Historic Cold Spring Village for a window into how seaside residents lived here centuries ago. Soak up the atmosphere and imagine yourself lifting the veil between past and present when you stay in a historic Victorian rental home downtown or a century-old fisherman’s cottage by the sea.

Modern charm in a Sarasota seaside rental

It may be a seaside town, but when you have a style of architecture named after you, you know that you’re no ordinary city in the cultural department. With its own opera, symphony, performing arts center, and multiple art galleries, Sarasota has always offered so much more than a day at the beach. You can sink your feet into sugar-white sand on Siesta Key Beach and dine on sophisticated French cuisine at the Maison Blanche by night. St. Armand’s Circle is a popular shopping center that was laid out by circus magnate John Ringling, whose Italianate mansion, Ca d’Zan, is also a fascinating place to explore. Whether you opt for a villa with a pool, a contemporary condo close to the beach, or a restored cottage, you’ll find that there’s plenty to occupy you for days, or even weeks, in this charming town.

Classic seaside charm in New England

Just the names of these iconic islands in Massachusetts conjure up history and high society. Compact Nantucket offers excellent shopping in “town,” as well as lovely beaches, gourmet cuisine, and historic homes aplenty. Hilly Martha’s Vineyard boasts 3 towns and 3 villages where you can choose to look for a seaside rental. Whether you’re here for a few nights, a couple of weeks, or a whole season, prepare to settle into the rhythms of New England island life. Sample a lobster roll, climb a lighthouse, visit the Whaling Museum, and mix yourself a cocktail to enjoy while you watch the stars emerge over the sea. You’ll see plenty of the other kinds of stars as well: Both islands are popular with celebrities.

Laid-back fun in your Orange County seaside rental

A weekend is hardly enough time to spend in Orange County, California’s epicentre of glamor. You’ll need days, maybe even weeks, to scope out your favourite surfing beach, dive bar, street taco stand, or shopping mecca. And that’s without venturing throughout the area to check out Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, or any of the other attractions of nearby Los Angeles or San Diego. So. take your time to find your beach vibe—whether it’s tony Newport, hipster Venice Beach, or laid-back Dana Point—and find the perfect condo. As well as amenities like surfboards, modern decor, and bicycles, some beachfront rentals even come with patios that let you sink your feet right into the sand as you take in another glorious sunset.

Feel like a local in a Virginia Beach rental

For a peaceful seaside vacation that packs a variety of entertainment into as many days as you can spare, consider Virginia Beach. Because of its location at the spot where Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, variety is a watchword here. As well as sandy Atlantic beaches, you’ll also find myriad inland waterways along the Back Bay to explore by kayak or boat. There’s plenty of local seafood to be had, but you'll also find also an eclectic array of all sorts of ethnic cuisine. Accommodations span as broad a range—you can opt for a funky condo and immerse yourself in the ViBe arts district or spread out in a 3-bedroom house a few blocks from the beach.