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20 sleeps by the sea: for ocean worshippers.

1 | HONOLULU

Ride the bunny waves at Waikiki

Maybe you think you're not a Waikiki person. Maybe you think you prefer something a bit more secluded and exclusive. But consider this: With its warm water, dependably gentle waves, and novice-nurturing surf schools, Waikiki Beach remains the most forgiving place in the world to learn to surf or steer an outrigger canoe. The Sheraton Waikiki stands midway along the 2-mile-long beach, and while its high-rise architecture shouts 1970s, a $187 million renovation has given it 21st-century polish. And those Waikiki waves are timelessly perfect. From $225; sheraton-waikiki.com or 800/325-3535.--PETER FISH

2 | LA JOLLA, CA

Give the stand-up craze a try

Anyone ready to try stand-up paddleboarding can get a thorough intro at Surf Diva's three-day SUP & Yoga Getaway, launching next month. Both sports are all about core strength, balance, and flexibility, making them a natural pairing. In between two paddleboarding lessons and one "surfer yoga" class per day, guests rest their rubbery limbs at the beachfront--and recently updated--La Jolla Shores Hotel. Packages from $977; Oct 1-3; surfdiva.com or 858/454-8273.--ELIZABETH EXLINE

3 SAN FRANCISCO

Choose the city's wavy side

DEAL San Francisco's hotels cluster down-town. But there's something to be said for a stay on the city's saltier, breezier, and less-known Pacific Ocean edge. Out here, a room at the Ocean Park Motel gets you in with the wetsuit-wearing, wave-riding crowd at Ocean Beach, famously foggy in summer but warm and sunny come September. The 1930s streamline moderne motel has a pretty courtyard and (in many rooms) cute kitchens--all at a reasonable price, especially for the city. And it takes dogs (from $10/night), which is handy because Ocean Beach is dog heaven. From $135; oceanparkmotel.com or 415/566-7020.--P.F.

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4 | SANTA MONICA

A smarter beach sleep

An affordable room in Santa Monica is nothing to take for granted--which gives the Bayside Hotel secret-weapon status in our book. We're still getting over the shock of staying a stone's throw from the beach and paying a third of what we'd pay across the street. The Bayside is more motel than hotel, but, hey--sticks and stones ... The 45 newly refurbed rooms are fresh-looking, with all-white linens and beachy surf posters, and there's a palm-dotted garden for lounging out back. Ocean-view rooms get noise from the street, so quiet-seekers will be happier with a courtyard or garden-view room. From $159; baysidehotel.com or 310/396-6000.--MACKENZIE GEIDT

5 | LAGUNA BEACH, CA

Some serious surfer cachet

You don't have to be a surfer dude to enjoy the splashy surf suites at the Hotel La Casa del Camino. They're done up with wall-size underwater-photo murals, surfboards on the walls, pillows made of boardshorts material, and, in some cases, views of the crashing waves from the window. Pop up to the rooftop bar (the only one in town) for drinks and insanely gorgeous sunsets. From $229; lacasadelcamino.com or 949/497-2446.--M.G.

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6 JUST LIKE HOME

VENICE, CA

The Venice Beach Eco Cottages have a sweet spot on a leafy street between Venice's famous beach and the shops and restaurants along Abbot Kinney Boulevard. We felt right at home basking in front of the Victorian fireplace, sipping coffee at the sunlit breakfast banquette, and soaking in the red claw-foot tub. From $215; 3-night minimum; venicebeachecocottages.com or 866/802-3110.--M.G.

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NEW CLASSICS

7 | SANTA MONICA

Art deco beauty near the beach

The recently renovated Hotel Shangri-La, across the street from the sands, oozes old-school details. Even the building has curves! Grab an era-appropriate drink from the poolside bar or from the rooftop bar, which looks out to the Pacific Ocean. But truth is, the view from the in-room soaking tub is just as blue, blue, blue--these are some of the best tubs in California. (Fair warning: Weekend parties by the pool last past some people's bedtime.) From $295; shangrila-hotel.com or 877/999-1301.

--MIRANDA JONES

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8 | CAMBRIA, CA

Meet the Central Coast's new kid

Almost but not quite within sight of the Pacific, the new EI Colibri Boutique Hotel is hidden by the trees along Santa Rosa Creek. That said, a 1/4-mile boardwalk path leads you to Moonstone Beach, the kind of beach that makes even seasoned coastal wanderers stop and whisper, Wow. As for the hotel, it breaks out of the town's famous cutesiness for something that's a more Tuscany-meets-SoCal flavor of luxury. Check out the small but pretty top-floor spa for a massage. From $189, including breakfast elcolibrihotel.com or 805/924-3003.--P.F.

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9 DREAMY HIDEAWAY

ACAPULCO, MEXICO

Sleek new architectural stunner Hotel Encanto is becoming known for its sexy nighttime lounge scene. But, really, it's at its best when sunlight streaks across chalk white walls. Lounge poolside beneath a sail-like awning to take in the view from the hotel's covetable blufftop perch, well above the city's more chaotic quarters. From $375 U.S.; hotelencanto.Com.mx--MARIBETH MELLIN

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10 | KAUAI

The Islands' best view

You might suspect the St. Regis Princeville Resort of stocking its corner of Hanalei Bay with sea turtles, rays, and Technicolor coral--the snorkeling is that good. But with big mountain-to-bay views from the private beach, you'll hardly miss out if you don't snorkel. Even better: Since the always luxurious but once oddly European resort got a jillion-dollar redo last fall, it now has the contemporary Hawaiian look its spectacular perch deserves. Best thing about the rooms? It's a tossup between the shower with a view of the green Na Pali Coast (the glass magically turns opaque with a click of a button) and the butler service--they'll unpack your bags, print your boarding pass, and get you into chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's on-site Kaua'i Grill ($$$$). From $460 (sometimes less--search the resort's website); stregis princeville.com or 808/826-9644.--KATIE TAMONY

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11 | LAGUNA BEACH

A room above the sand

The shag carpets are long gone in what was once the eight-building Vacation Village. Now it's the Pacific Edge Hotel, with a snazzedup new look on what has to be the prettiest stretch of beach in Laguna. You'll get bright chartreuse walls, surf posters, and a pillow menu in all the rooms, but it's worth the splurge on a Surf Wing suite for the best ocean views and patios right above the waves. Down on the sand, a beach sherpa brings out chairs and umbrellas. We also love the choice of two pools, and, well, we at least considered finally taking a surfing lesson. We'll definitely be camped out here every summer to come. From $169; pacificedgehotel.com or 949/494-8566.--M.G.

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12 | PACIFIC CITY, OR

Swish pad in a kick-back town

Pacific City doesn't do coastal kitsch. It doesn't do fudge shops or malls or traffic to the beach. The Oregon town of 1,000 lucky souls is a quiet, kick-back kind of place. Those who don't live here will dig the Cottages at Cape Kiwanda. With gourmet kitchens, heated slate bathroom floors, and private decks, they're a civilized launching pad for days spent peering into tidepools at Cape Kiwanda marine gardens or combing McPhillips beach--the locals' secret strand just over the famously steep sand dune. Two and three bedrooms from $299; kiwandacottages.com or 503/965-7920.--KATHRYN TRUE

13 LITTLE RIVER, CA

A retro-chic hideout

DEAL The Andiron's 1950s cabins are something out of the ordinary along the sleepy, rural stretch south of Mendocino. They don't look it from the road, but peek inside and you'll see that the inn's new owners have redecorated each of the 11 redwood-paneled rooms with quirky rummagesale finds. (Our favorite: No. 5, done up in "library chic" and nicknamed Read.) Half the rooms have kitchenettes and wood-burning stoves; all have decks looking down the grassy hill to a fringe of cypress trees and the ocean beyond. From $89; theandiron.com or 800/955-6478.--CHRISTINE RYAN

14 | VANCOUVER ISLAND, B.C.

Cabins on the cliff

Victoria may be only an hour away, but the 25 cabins at Point-No-Point Resort might as well be at the end of the Earth--a rugged, woodsy, ocean cliff stretch of it at that. Cedar-cute and woodstove-cozy, many of the one- and two-room cabins were built in the '50s but ace the test of time. All have picture windows framing the Pacific, wooden decks with bright red Adirondacks, and pebbly paths that lead to the intimate, window-walled Tearoom restaurant ($$$)--and the private beach below. Tired of that one? Just hit the winding road to a host of others along this southwest corner of Vancouver Island--French Beach, China Beach, Botanical Beach--each an easy hike and all-but-abandoned. From $168 U.S., 2-night minimum; point nopointresort.com-RACHEL LEVIN

15 | GOLD BEACH, OR

Cuddle up in a coastal forest

It's always a gamble when a classic lodge changes hands. But in the case of Southern Oregon's luxe, romantic hideaway Tu Tu' Tun, new ownership means new energy and tweaks that even longtime regulars will embrace. Wake up to ponder the hugeness of the Rogue River from your room's wall of windows. That knock on the door? It's just the morning's coffee and juice delivery. Some spend the day picking apples in the orchard; others hike the Douglas fir-thick coastline a short drive away, then get a massage in a riverside tent. Or there's always catching up on your novel out on the gigantic lawn. At 6:15 sharp--listen for the bell--stroll into the lounge for lavish hors d'oeuvres. From $235; 2-night minimum; tututun.com or 800/864-6357.--ELIZABETH JARDINA

16 SAYULITA, MEXICO

Slow way, way down

DEAL Quaint and compact Sayulita is Mexico's chillout destination du jour, but in September, when the weather's hot and kids are back in school, things slow down considerably. Savor the tranquilo vibe on the stylish rooftop lounge at Petit Hotel Hafa, a tiny boutique hotel two blocks from the beach, where the Moroccan-inspired decor in the middle of the Mexican tropics draws both design enthusiasts and hideaway seekers. Owners Christophe and Marina Mignot know everyone in town and are happy to share all off-season secrets, so a stay here feels like the real local's-eye-view. From $53 U.S.; 2-night minimum; hotelhafasayulita.com--SAMANTHA SCHOECH

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17 | WESTPORT, CA

A roadhouse is reborn

DEAL Along a stretch of coastline too far north of San Francisco and too far south of Redwood National Park to get much traffic, the six-room Westport Hotel is a civilized outpost on a bracing cliff. There's blissfully little to do here but walk nearby Blues Beach or sit on the wide porch and watch the churning sea. Yes, State 1 passes directly in front of the hotel, but in this town of 300, it's merely a quiet country road. The rooms upstairs are peaceful and uncluttered. Don't miss the hotel's fantastic Old Abalone Pub ($$)--the place to be on weekend nights. From $140, including breakfast; westporthotel.us or 877/964-3688.--FREDA MOON

18 | ILWACO, WA

Privacy, pls.

Big views of Baker Bay's serene tidelands tempt guests to hunker down at the Craftsman China Beach Retreat. But don't get too comfortable: The bay is perfect for kayaking, and headland hikes and wild beaches are minutes away in Cape Disappointment State Park. For maximum privacy, check out China Beach's stand-alone Audubon Cottage. From $199, including breakfast; chinabeachretreat.com or 360/642-5660.--MARIA DOLAN

19 BACK TO THE WILD

SAN JUAN ISLAND, WA

DEAL A quick, calming country drive from the bustle of San Juan Island's ferry landing, Lakedale Resort sits on 82 forested acres with 3 freshwater lakes. It's always had campsites, cabins, and a lodge, and now it's added a cluster of 13 canvas tents decked out with pillow-top bedding, lanterns, even bath products to cart to the bathhouse. Canvas tents from $149; lakedale.com or 800/617-2267.--R.L.

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20 BIG ISLAND, HAWAII

Your tropical estate

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Think of it as the anti-resort. Not that Puakea Ranch's four private bungalows on a rural, grassy slope at the Big Island's northern tip are short on luxury: You'll nap in four-poster beds dressed with Italian linens, cool off in your own dipping pool, and enjoy views of the Pacific from your tree-shaded front porch. But the low-key property, once a sugar mill and a cattle ranch, is also refreshingly rustic. Collect eggs for an omelet from the chicken coop, and ride one of the ranch's horses to the top of the grassy hill for a view of the famed Kohala Coast--a short drive away when you're ready to hit the beach (we like Kauna'oa, at left). From $200, plus $100 cleaning fee per stay; 2-night minimum; puakearanch.com or 808/315-0805.--E.J.
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Title Annotation:SURF VIBE
Publication:Sunset
Article Type:Directory
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2010
Words:2125
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