Affordable beach retreats

Our 10 favorite seaside places from Washington to Mexico

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  • Oregon's Sylvia Beach Hotel is a must-do for literary-minded coastal travelers.

    Sylvia Beach Hotel

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4. Newport, OR

It's known as a hotel for book lovers. And for lovers. And others just seeking a little eccentricity-by-the-sea. Each room at this hotel on the bluff at Nye Beach, a neighborhood of shingled beach shacks, is decorated in the spirit and style of a favorite author, from Colette to Dr. Seuss. 20 rooms from $68; or 888/795-8422. -B.H.

5. Half Moon Bay, CA

An hour south of San Francisco, a gathering of cheery white tent bungalows dot the rolling bluffs like so many covered wagons crossing the tallgrass prairie. The mood here's breezy and wholesome ― kids riding bikes, communal cook-it-yourself barbecues, and ocean-watching from Adirondack chairs perched on the bluff. Inside, simplicity reigns, with cute plaid comforters and comfy metal camp beds. A bonus for garden lovers: The resort's idea-filled landscaping features whimsical driftwood sculptures and native plants. 131 units from $115; or 650/879-1100. -Abigail Peterson

6. Pacific Grove, CA

Find yourself smack in the middle of some of California's most pristine coast at this Julia Morgan-designed retreat on swanky Monterey Bay. Accommodations are basic but surrounded by the luxuries of nature ― tidepools, coastal wildflowers, and a sandy beach. An extra $10 gets you a cozy fireplace room. 312 rooms from $130; or 866/654-2878. -Jessica Hilberman

7. Big Sur, CA

These gorgeous wood-floored yurts offer the kind of views that fetch major bucks elsewhere on this stretch of coast. Sure, there are only communal bathrooms and showers ― but there are also barbecue dinners and complimentary morning waffles. And with a swimming pool and hiking trails that launch right into the heart of Big Sur, this is sleepover camp as it should have been. Space books quickly here, especially yurts 15 and 16, which are the most private. 16 yurts from $135; or 877/424-4787. -Matthew Jaffe



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