Amazing destinations for oceanfront cottage rentals

Settled on an oceanfront cottage rental? Great choice. These enticing getaways balance comforts with historic charms. Now all that's left is to choose where you want to go. Will it be east, west, or somewhere a tad more tropical?

Oceanfront cottages in Florida

When it comes to unearthing oceanfront cottage rentals, the Sunshine State is the obvious place to start. It's ringed by coastline all the way from its border with Georgia to where the light waves of the Gulf of Mexico roll in. The upshot? It's littered with amazing places, islands, and nature reserves that could capture the imagination…

Secure an oceanfront cottage in Sanibel

The flamingo-speckled inlets and waterways of the J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge separate Sanibel Island from the Florida mainland. That's helped to keep things low-key and chilled, even if there are rows of sprawling mansions with swimming pools hiding in palm groves near the shore. They do share space with quaint cottages, though, which but right up to prime shell-hunting beaches.

Hammock time on the Florida Keys

Oceanfront cottages take on a tropical air when they're bathed in the balmy breezes of the Florida Keys. In fact, you're much closer to the Caribbean here than you are to Washington DC, so expect pink-painted wooden shacks and little palm-topped cabins aplenty. You can even find options on private islands, ringed by mangroves and totally cut off from the outside world.

Beachfront cottages for rent on Santa Rosa Island

Running westwards out of sleepless Destin, Santa Rosa Island is one of the protected swathes of the vast Gulf Islands National Seashore. It's largely untouched by development, which means sprawling hotel resorts and high-rise condos are nowhere to be seen. Instead, towns like Pensacola and Okaloosa Island are laced with bungalows and salt-washed cottages, where you can step straight from your bedroom and onto the sea oat meadows.

The East Coast has beachfront cottages

From Maine to Florida, the East Coast is a doozy for lovers of sand, sea, and surf. Bring a rich history of seafaring, fishing, and exploration into the mix and it's easy to see how you could stumble upon so many character cottages by the ocean.

Tybee Island is a Georgian jewel

Because Tybee Island has long been one of the favorite coastal resorts of the Peach State, its shores are gilded with handsome 1940s and 1950s homes. Many have now been renovated to offer a mix of modern comforts and retro vibes, putting sleek living rooms behind whitewashed porches and azalea-blooming gardens.

Myrtle Beach isn't only condos

The SkyWheel and the boardwalk aren't the only things to come and see in Myrtle Beach. The 60-mile length of pristine Carolinian beachfront that's known as the Grand Strand offers sunbathing spots and surf breaks aplenty. Even better, the further you go from the hub of the resort, the more classic the vacation homes become – think whitewashed cottages with breezy decks and grills.

Maine beachfront cottages

Maine lives up to its reputation for classic New England styles along its coast. You only need to check out some of the charming beachfront cottages in resorts like Old Orchard Beach. They are so often laced with nautical themes, host homey living areas, and painted in navy and white hues.

West Coast and Hawaii for beach cottages

Aloha and radical, dude…hitting the West Coast of California and the far-flung isles of Hawaii promises to open up oodles of extra beach cottage rentals. For surfers, sunset buffs, honeymooners, and more, they could just be perfect.

Kauai and Maui

Although the well-known retreats of Princeville and Kaanapali are mainly the province of sleek resort hotels, country clubs, and uber-plush mansions, there's still room to discover unchartered stays in these jewels of the Aloha State. Look to the volcanic rock pools around Lihue, for example, or consider hopping over to the rugged coast of Hana, where Polynesian-flavored cabanas could be waiting by the Pacific.

Ocean Beach has gorgeous cottages

Ever since it first entered the surf world back in the 50s and 60s, San Diego's Ocean Beach has been drawing bohemians, artists, and laid-back lovers of the SoCal lifestyle. Not too much has changed today, and you can still get cozy lodgings in the blocks that line the boardwalk area, between surf-and-turf grills and barista-led coffee shops.

Beachfront cottages by the Big Sur

When California's Central Coast gets really wild, it gives way to the reserves of the Big Sur. The region is now nothing short of legendary, and a major pitstop on the Pacific Coast Highway. The beach cottages there try to make the most of dramatic visions of whales in the ocean and waterfalls cascading from pine forests by clutching steep bluffs just feet from the waves.