The ultimate guide to booking bed and breakfasts
Looking for something a little different for your vacation this year? Want to feel like a local, meet locals, taste local food? Do you prize going off the beaten path to hidden neighborhoods and regions? Yes, yes, yes – it's got to be a bed and breakfast for you. B&Bs are unique to the T. They are stays that channel the heritage of a place and crank up the charm. They have touches of romance and history about them, along with coveted locations by mountain peaks, in historic-listed districts, or by roaring ocean waves. There are loads to get that wanderlust a-going…
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Top articles to find your ideal bed and breakfast
If you've only got a few days to play with, a short break from the Rat Race to local B&Bs can really help recharge the batteries. Thankfully, it's super easy to book bed and breakfasts near you, with plenty of tips and tricks around to help unearth the guest houses, lodges, and historic homes that are just around the corner. Before you do, however, it's a good idea to be certain they're the stay for you and know how to score a bargain in the process.
Channel your inner conquistador and get in the buccaneer spirit by opting to stay in St Augustine bed and breakfasts. Steeped in centuries of heritage and oozing history from each of their iron-wrought balconies or wood-framed living spaces, these establishments are everything you'd expect in a swashbuckler's colonial city that was founded in the 1560s. What's more, they are a gateway to amazing European fortresses, wide Matanzas Bay, and the glowing beaches of Anastasia Island.
Guest houses offer an altogether unique sort of vacationing experience. With in-the-know locals at hand to offer top tips on where to go and what to see, they're a sure way to inject some more authentic sights and pursuits into any trip. Then comes the eye-catching architecture, whether it's a steep-gabled 1600s cottage or an Antebellum farm estate with Spanish moss draped overhead. What's more, B&Bs are a chance to tread off-beat neighborhoods and districts, taking you away from popular sightseeing areas to bohemian hubs and quiet residential quarters.
The joys of Key West bed and breakfasts are endless. These are the pads that can have you waking to the sound of lapping waves on white-tinted beaches and rising to bristling palm trees as the trade winds blow in, all without even jetting off from the United States. There's also the buzz of Duval Street to uncover, where daquiri bars and mojito cocktails clink in samba jazz dives, and folk dine on fruity Carib fish dishes.
If someone decreed that the party was over – New Orleans certainly didn't get the message. From the moment you step foot in this bumping Southern city, you'll be glugging Sazerac cocktails and swinging to trumpet tones. From Bourbon Street to the Caribbean-feel cottage rows of old Marigny, there's undeniable energy and pizzazz about the Big Easy. And then come bed and breakfasts in New Orleans, touting a ticket to local homes and handsome Victorian mansions, rambunctious neighborhoods and beautiful bayous on the outskirts. They're a chance to forge a jazzed-up jaunt to Louisiana you certainly won't forget in a hurry.
Prepare to be wowed by the dazzling church tops and Bermudian-cabana styles of South Carolina's oldest town, a place that traces its story back 100s of years to the time of European settlers and marauding Caribbean swashbucklers. A bed and breakfast in Charleston, SC, is a sure bet for history buffs, romantic types, and folk who like something a little extraordinary from their accommodation choice. You can choose places huddled between the cobbled piazzas and heritage sites or go to the coast for cotton-tinted sands on oak-clad barrier islands. All stays promise something special, backed up by hand-cooked breakfasts that are great for fueling days of sightseeing, military history, and beachcombing.
Prepare to be wowed by the grand lines of Antebellum homes, the Neo-Classical museum buildings, the redbrick rows of historic mansions. And that's just a taster of what the oldest city in Georgia has up its sleeve. There are also fairy-tale parks with carved fountains and ancient oak trees draped in Spanish moss, along with seaside escapes with wild waves and soft sands. Amid it all are enchanting bed and breakfasts in Savannah, GA. They can whisk you away to sumptuous times gone by, with heritage architecture and a warm Southern welcome.
One sure way to lose yourself in the rich German heritage, pioneer history, and wine-making traditions of this much-loved Hill Country town is to opt for a bed and breakfast in Fredericksburg, TX. You'll find them huddling with the beer gardens and chocolatiers of Main Street, between lederhosen-toting boutiques and bumping Oompah bands. You'll find them dotting the Lone Star forests and fields nearby, on the grounds of enticing wineries or apple orchards. They tend to have stacks of character, and they go the extra mile for romance seekers and couples who are looking for something truly special.
A place to wake up as the Atlantic Ocean crashes against the shores of the Garden State, to watch gleaming sunsets shimmer across the bay, and explore chocolate-box old districts that burst with Victorian mansions from way back when, Cape May is a perennially popular destination on the East Coast. And it doesn't end there, either. There's whale watching, wine tasting, and dolphin spotting to add to the mix, not to mention Cape May bed and breakfasts that have a warm NJ welcome and historic designs.
Delve into the salt-caked cobbled alleys of the Old Port and strut along the Western Promenade of the West End, spying out cozy shanty taverns, aged shipbuilding berths, hearty lobster kitchens, and the handsome whitewashed lighthouses that are now a veritable icon of New England. Between the bunch are some seriously alluring bed and breakfasts in Portland, Maine. They come with a warm welcome and plenty of sumptuous extras, along with endearing nautical themes and stunning locations right by the Atlantic.
Get ready for a warm Midwestern welcome in the bed and breakfasts in Michigan. Straddling no fewer than four of the Great Lakes, thrumming with the gearheaded draws of Motor City, and offering up glinting beaches and dunes, they beckon travelers to one darn enticing corner of the country, that's for sure. Homey and cozy, quaint and laced with all sorts of heart-warming touches, they are also accommodations that can help get the romance and R&R flowing. You can catch them housed in historic lights above the high cliffs of Lake Huron, popping up between the grape vines of wineries near Traverse City, or waiting in the remote Upper Peninsula. You pick.
Asheville sits between the wooded valleys of the Blue Ridge Mountains right on the cusp of North Carolina's part of Appalachia. It's a town that's long been a hub for hikers and bikers, a base for drivers on the legendary Blue Ridge Parkway, and a jump-off point for adventurers of all shapes and sizes. More recently, it's become an arts center, too. Galleries showcase local sculpture and painting all around the downtown core, while creative boutiques, vegan eateries, and yoga studios abound. Bed and breakfasts in Asheville, NC, are a sure way to really get under the skin of the city, whether you opt for a pioneer-style lodge near the creeks of Weaverville or a vintage home in a historic district.
Vermont's got something for loads of different types of traveler. There are snow-caked slopes for powder hounds between December and March. There are hiking trails surrounded by wildflower meadows and craggy peaks for avid walkers. There are bucolic landscapes peppered with cattle farms and old-timey hamlets that can trace their origin back to the Colonial period. There's hardly a sprawling metropolis to be seen, but Burlington does offer lively weekend farmer's markets, organic shops, and art walks. Between the bunch, Vermont bed and breakfasts promise to be unique and interesting spots to settle in.
Search out bed and breakfasts in Virginia to discover a medley of salt-caked cottages by the First Landing and the buzzy boardwalks of Chesapeake Bay. Delve into the mix of mountain inns in the Old Dominion state and it's creaking porches ringing mossy cabins with views over eye-wateringly-wonderful Shenandoah. And between those are amazing cities and towns where you can transport yourself back 100s of years, hopping 1600s taverns and wandering cobblestone streets.
Spur-spinning ranches and pine-shaded cabins, old Antebellum homes once inhabited by oil magnates and hearty Bavarian lodges set to foot-stomping oompah music – there are all sorts of places on the line up of bed and breakfasts in Texas. Of course, the character of the one you choose will depend on what part of the vast Lone Star State you opt for. Will it be the glowing beaches of South Padre Island? Will it be the long-lost woodlands of East Texas? Will it be the romantic wineries and farming communities of the Hill Country?
Bed and breakfasts in Newport, RI, are a ticket to one of New England's great sailing hubs. Many will have suites that peer across a harbor laden with yachts and the two-hulled outlines of catamarans – they'll be in high demand when the yearly regattas swing around. Others might be wedged behind powdery sand stretches like Easton's Beach, with easy access to the dramatic Newport Cliff Walk – a National Recreation Trail – and frothing surf breaks. And then there are the places that draw on Newport's glitzier side, with touches of the grand mansions of Bellevue Avenue about them, and deluxe rooms with whirlpool baths and historic furnishings.
Maine is a hefty cut-out of New England. It rolls from the family-packed beaches of Wells and York, all the way to the remote tracts of lake-carved landscapes and wooded mountain peaks in the Highlands region. And that's not even mentioning the charming towns, including cool and collected Portland, with its brew scene and art galleries, and Old Orchard Beach, topped with a Ferris wheel and tailor-made for sandcastle builders in the summer. Bed and breakfasts in Maine cover the whole state. They offer enchanting escapes in the backcountry – think timber cabins with log fires and pine-scented gardens. And they are a ticket to amazing shores, sitting above whale-ringed Bar Harbor and wide Saco Bay alike.
Recharge the batteries and get your taste of laid-back living in the middle of the Midwest, all with help from Door County bed and breakfasts. These quaint and cute retreats speckle a 75-mile-long peninsula that juts out from the edge of Wisconsin into the Green Bay and Lake Michigan. They put apple orchards and organic farms, boat-bobbing marina towns and oodles of Scandinavian-flavored villages right on the doorstep.
Curling like a fish hook around the shores of Massachusetts, the much-vaunted lands of Cape Cod remain one of the East Coast's most popular vacation destinations. That's particularly true during the summer, when folk flock to laze on glimmering beaches and soak up the rays on oat-clad dunes. But there's something to be said for every season in this stunning swathe of New England, whether you come for wild walks in winter or to taste the lobster catches in fall. What's more, Cape Cod bed and breakfasts always promise something enchanting, with a touch of seafaring character and a fabled MA welcome.
Get yourself out to the green fields of America's Dairyland with a bed and breakfast in Wisconsin. There are places that fringe the wiggling Mississippi River in the east, popping up on cattle-grazed hills between pockets of pine woods. And there are farm stays where you'll meet local folk. But that's not it. The Badger State has oodles more up its sleeve, too. Head north and B&Bs could get you sleeping to the sound of Lake Superior's light ripples. Head east and there's Door County – the charming Cape Cod of the Midwest.