Beach vacation guide

From all-to-yourself islands to hidden beach towns to iconic coastal experiences, the West has the beach vacation of a lifetime in store for you

30 iconic beach experiences

Ignite your love for the shore with these classic beach icons. From boardwalks to bonfires, here are our favorite ways to dive in

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The island inn
Barry Hill

The island inn

3 seaside escapes that put us in the mood for romance:

The 1920s mansion. For grand panoramas of Catalina Island’s Avalon harbor, stay where William Wrigley, the chewing-gum magnate, chose to live—the Inn on Mt. Ada (top right). The 6 rooms in this 1920s-era mansion all have jaw-dropping views. Prices, no surprise, are steep, but they include breakfast, lunch, beer and wine, pick-up and drop-off at the dock, and the use of a golf cart to zip into town. September has the advantage of summer sun without its crowds. From $415; 2-night min.; innonmtada.com

A front-row seat to whales. It’s all about the water at Rosario Resort, a 1905 estate turned restful retreat on the San Juans’ Orcas Island. The 22 rooms—including 6 suites—have private balconies, and almost all overlook placid Cascade Bay. It’s easy enough to stare at the water from your room, or you can head down to the beach for a picnic, read on the new beachside deck, or nap in an Adirondack chair to the sound of gently rocking boats. From $129; 2-night min.; rosarioresort.com

Paradise in the tropics. Surrounded by swaying palms, lush mountains, and verdant valley views, it’s not hard to fall into the Zen of the islands at the Palmwood Inn (pictured). At this 3-room gem on Kauai’s North Shore, the West Room is our fave. While it’s small, you can’t beat the private deck and garden with hillside vistas and an outdoor lava-rock shower and pond with fish and blooming orchids. The crescent-shaped Moloa‘a Bay is a short walk away, where a crowd-free white-sand beach awaits. From $295; 3-night min.; thepalmwood.com  

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