South of San Francisco Costanoa's tent cabins are a short hike from wild empty beaches.
8. Ventura, CA
INN ON THE BEACH
Straightforward name, straightforward premise ― three floors and 24 neat, simple Victorian-style rooms with fireplaces, parked smack-dab on the sand, facing Santa Cruz and Anacapa Islands. A favored getaway for locals ― who know that third-floor rooms with patios and views can be had for right around $100 midweek. Ask about the dunes if you're booking a first-floor room; built-up sand can block some views but does offer extra privacy. From $109; www.innonthebeachventura.com or 805/652-2000. -Ken McAlpine9. La Jolla, CA
THE BED AND BREAKFAST INN AT LA JOLLA
Strike up the band. Located a block and a half from the beach, this is the onetime home of composer John Philip Sousa. But it's not only the inn's pedigree that makes it special ― it's the details: sherry and fresh flowers in each of its traditionally styled rooms. The lower-priced rooms are a bit small, but you can stretch out in the inn's gardens and deck if you need a little extra space. 15 rooms from $179; www.innlajolla.com or 800/582-2466. -M.J.
10. Sayulita, Mexico
The feel of sea air on your face and a view of early-morning fishermen setting their lines ease you into the day at the Villa Amor, on the windswept Nayarit coast. A collection of oceanfront cottages built into a steep hillside, the villa epitomizes warmth, authenticity, and artfulness. Thatched roofs, curvy adobe walls, and ― in some villas ― plunge pools perched right over the hill will make you wish you could pack up the mood of this place and take it home. 35 cottages from $75; www.villaamor.com or 619/822-2731. -Amy Wolf