The hottest destinations for oceanfront vacation rentals

There's really nothing like it – waking to the scent of salty air and the sound of crashing waves. Whether it's on the great Pacific blue, the vast Atlantic, or even the Gulf of Mexico, there's no question that an oceanfront vacation rental promises something truly unique and unforgettable. This guide has oodles of destination ideas to fuel the wanderlust and get you booking your next coastal getaway.

Oceanside vacation rentals in fabled California

No list of the top spots to seek out oceanfront rentals in the United States could possibly be complete without at least nod to California. In fact, the Golden State has such a wealth of eye-watering coastal inlets and glowing sands, you could wax lyrical about its shores forever. A pick of just a few is below.

Wave-washed San Diego

Surf's up. San Diego's beaches are some of the most legendary for maestros of the board. In fact, the whole city can seem like a string of laid-back surfer villages, rather than a complete metropolis. Seek out the chic villas of La Jolla and Mission Beach to get your own place amid the brunch bars and microbreweries where the wave riders head after a session.

Magical Malibu

If you're eager to settle in an oceanfront beach rental with real panache, there's something undeniably alluring about glitzy Malibu. This is where villas crown the clifftops with audacious infinity pools, huge mansions have marble-clad kitchens, and art-filled condos come with cutting-edge design features. You can also put buzzing Zuma Beach and the dramatic coves of Point Dume right on the doorstep.

Monterey Bay for something to make you gasp

Whale pods and splashing sea lions combine with pine-clad cliffs that roll into redwood forests up near Monterey Bay. The result is a cut-out of California that seems sculpted for lovers of the sublime. The oceanfront vacation rentals follow suit, too. They cling to precipitous cliffs with outdoor decks and gardens or cast their gaze over to the carved rocks of the Big Sur for added drama.

Oceanfront house rentals on the East Coast

The Atlantic side of the United States ranges from the isolated coves of New England in the north to the glinting sands of Miami Beach and the Florida Keys down south. With those two bookends, it's easy to see why the whole seaboard is such a doozy for oceanfront house rentals.

North Carolina's salty retreats

North Carolina's coast is ringed by lonely barrier islands where vacationers continue to venture for birdwatching, charter fishing trips, and hearty seafood restaurants. Perhaps you want a timber-faced home on the Outer Banks, where New World history lurks in the forests of Roanoke Island? Maybe you'd prefer Carolina Beach, where low-key boardwalks have aquariums and miniature golf courses for families?

South Carolina and the joys of Myrtle Beach

Located right at the center of the so-called Grand Strand, Myrtle Beach has long been the hottest ocean escape in South Carolina. An oceanfront house rental here is a stepping stone to a whopping 60 miles of pristine white powder and cobalt Atlantic swells. Condos are everywhere, but there are also charming Southern cottages with wooden decks and boardwalk access to the sand.

Oceanfront house rentals courtesy of Maine

New England's Maine unfurls along the northern reaches of the Atlantic Ocean. It's a land of aromatic chowder kitchens and handsome lighthouses, with historic skiffs and fishing towns that are laced with cobbled streets and shanty taverns. The oceanfront vacation rentals in these parts also ooze a unique character – think wood-panelled exteriors, heart-warming nautical themes, and steep-gabled roofs.

Oceanfront beach house rentals on the Gulf Coast and Hawaii

The Gulf Coast might be the shortest of the United State's shores, but the scintillating sands of places like Destin and Panama City Beach ensure that stat really doesn't matter when it comes to the quality of the beaches. The same surely goes for Hawaii, where you'll catch some of the most romantic oceanfront vacation rentals in the country, hemmed in by palm-fringed lagoons and volcanic tidal pools.

The Florida Panhandle

Move over Caribbean – the white-sand beaches that grace the edge of the Florida Gulf Coast have just plenty of shine to them. What's more, they come with oceanfront rentals to suit all sorts of travelers. Take Panama City Beach and its endless array of compact condos primed for Spring Breakers. Then look to Destin, where family homes spill onto dune-ringed boardwalks.

Lone Star oceanfront rentals

One name should spring to mind when you're looking for oceanfront beach house rentals in Texas – Galveston. A buzzy place of brick-built Victorian cottages and vintage trolley cars, you simply can't go wrong booking into a self-catering pad here, especially with Moody Gardens and the cosmic draws of Space Center Houston at hand for any rainy days.

Oceanfront beach rentals in the Aloha State

A whopping 2,000 miles off the nearest beaches in the contiguous USA, Hawaii offers somewhere totally different to get a fix of salt and sand. It's a place where the oceanfront rentals could be mysterious Tiki cabins huddled into coconut groves in the shadow of smoking volcanos. Or, they could just as easily be swish mansions with sparkling pools and hot tubs.