10 Adorable Beach Cottages You Can Actually Afford

Jamie Moore, June 03, 2014
Fares from Washington DC:

    You don't have to be ultrarich to score an irresistibly charming beach cottage this summer. We've turned up some of America's cutest affordable cottages on the coast. From Cape Cod to the Outer Banks to Southern California, each of these rental properties delivers a nostalgic beach vacation. There are sprawling decks for morning coffee, fireplaces for cozy nights, and shelves of games for reconnecting with family and friends. If you almost cry when it's time to leave, you won't be the first.

    Editor's Note: Availability is limited as cottages book up quickly during the summer high season. You can find other similar properties on vacation-rental websites. Also, many vacation homes are priced per week and sleep multiple people. Be sure to divide the total price by the number of days and guests to get the per-person rate.

    (Photo: HomeAway)

    Melbourne Beach Cottage, Melbourne, Florida

    Sleeps: 4
    Summer Rates: $1,300 weekly

    This Old Florida-style beachfront cottage charms with its pink exterior, breezy interior, and excellent location. On a barrier island between Cape Canaveral and Vero Beach, the little pink Melbourne Beach Cottage is tucked into a residential area where there are no high-rise condos or commercial hotels. Here, you can walk on a private beach for miles and occasionally see nesting sea turtles. Enjoy dinner outside at the table in the cottage's covered courtyard. Inside, Florida-inspired decor and Mexican tile flooring are wonderful reminders that you're on vacation.

    Summer Fun: The cottage's bicycles, boogie boards, ocean kayaks, fishing poles, and tackle are free for guests to use. Surf fishing is popular in the area, and several charter services will take you to the ocean or nearby lakes. After snagging a big one, you can use the cottage's outdoor fresh-water cleaning station. Don't miss biking the path to the nature trails at the Barrier Island Center

    (Photo: HomeAway)

    Cape Cod Cottage, North Truro, Massachusetts

    Sleeps: 7
    Summer Rates: $2,895–4,400 per week

    Built in the 1930s, this quintessential Cape Cod cottage on the beach has seen multiple families and friends return year after year. The wood walls, ceilings, and floors are all original, while the rest of the three-bedroom cottage has been fully updated. One past guest calls this charmer "sweet as pie." Play on the bayside beach or explore the tide pools behind the house at low tide. On cool nights, you can pull out quilts and board games from the closets and reconnect over a game of Scrabble around the wood-burning brick fireplace. From here, it's a short bike ride into Provincetown. The town shuttle is available at the end of the driveway.

    Summer Fun: Rent bikes and follow the trails around Race Point, or rent kayaks and paddle Nauset Marsh. There are plenty of fresh-fish markets where you can pick up the day's catch for the barbecue.

    (Photo: HomeAway)

    Olympic Peninsula Cottage, Moclips, Washington

    Sleeps: 4
    Summer Rates: $250 per night

    The beachfront Sunset Beach Carriage House, 140 miles west of Seattle and just south of Olympic National Park, exudes elegance. Clean lines, white furniture, and an open-concept layout bring a chic sophistication to this West Coast cottage. The new, custom-built property is patterned after early 1900s coach houses but with modern comforts and conveniences added. There's a bedroom and bathroom on each of the two floors, making this an ideal rental for two couples. As the name suggests, sunsets are fantastic here, coloring the wide sky in crimson and bright orange. And nearly every room in the cottage claims an unobstructed view.

    Summer Fun: Walk just steps to the beach at night beneath a starry sky, and then warm up in the dry sauna or around the gas fireplace. You can explore rainforests and deep canyons on hikes in the nearby Olympic National Forest.

    (Photo: HomeAway)

    North Shore Cottage, Waialua, Oahu, Hawaii

    Sleeps: 4
    Summer Rates: $200 per night

    Tucked away in quiet seclusion, this breezy beachfront North Shore cottage is a quick drive to the island's top attractions but feels miles away. There aren't any souvenir shops or crowds of tourists along this stretch, only a sandy beach and excellent snorkeling. You'll likely see green sea turtles feeding and colorful fish weaving through coral formations. The recently renovated cottage boasts travertine tile flooring and a kitchen and bathrooms with the latest upgrades, but the bamboo furniture and slat-style windows make this place feel like a cottage. Trade winds and ceiling fans keep you cool through summer, and open windows will fill every room with the constant sound of waves. The cottage sits on six acres with others that share a heated outdoor pool and tennis court.

    Summer Fun: North Shore surf conditions are calmer in summer, which is a good time for beginners to learn. After surfing, eat rainbow-colored shave ice in nearby Haleiwa.

    (Photo: HomeAway)

    Matunuck Beach Cottage, South Kingstown, Rhode Island

    Sleeps: 6
    Summer Rates: $290 per night

    Dragonfly Cottage on Matunuck Beach captures the simplicity of family trips before the days of theme parks. This weathered cedar-shake cottage sits directly on the beach just south of Newport, offering the open ocean in one direction and the state's rural farmlands and charming historical villages in the other. After a day at the beach, you can rinse off in the heated outdoor shower and catch the sunset while barbecuing on the oceanfront deck. Bring your brood together around the six-person dining room table or take turns playing the Wii console. For nights out, South Kingstown's bistros and oyster bars are nearby.

    Summer Fun: Sailing and fishing charters are popular in the area. On land, tour the region's wineries, breweries, and farms. Ferries run regularly to Block Island, where hiking trails lead to excellent bird-watching spots.

    (Photo: HomeAway)

    Casco Bay Cottage, Harpswell, Maine

    Sleeps: 4 (adults only)
    Summer Rates: $1,250–2,100 per week

    This newly built seaside cottage, with its classic style and understated beauty, looks like the set of an L.L.Bean catalogue photo shoot. There's a rugged elegance here that reflects both the self-reliant character of Maine's coastline and the intellectual old New England feel of the town of Harpswell. Cathedral ceilings with exposed beams, pine flooring, and craftsman-style details add to the cottage ambiance. Take in the views of the bay dotted with islands as you relax in Adirondack chairs and watch for eagles and seals from this private, wooded peninsula.

    Summer Fun: You can jump off the private dock or use it for sailing, fishing, and kayaking. The waterfront is a mix of rocky coastline and sandy beaches perfect for swimming. From the nearby Cooks Marina, you can watch working lobster boats or hire a fishing charter. Portland is less than 30 minutes away.

    (Photo: HomeAway)

    Outer Banks Cottage, Nags Head, North Carolina

    Sleeps: 6
    Summer Rates: $1,100–1,500 per week

    As many of the charming old 1950s Nags Head beach cottages are being torn down and replaced with palatial homes, the cozy Surf Shack hangs onto the old-school character of the Outer Banks. It's been completely renovated with wainscoting, crown molding, and simple beach-inspired decor, yet it remains rustic enough that you still feel comfortable coming and going with a bit of sand on your feet. While not oceanfront, the cottage is just across the street from the beach and the Nags Head fishing pier. A local ice cream parlor is within walking distance.

    Summer Fun: Catch live music most nights at the Nags Head Pier or bring a blanket and beverages down to the sand and listen on the beach. Nature programs run throughout the summer at Jockey's Ridge State Park nearby.

    (Photo: HomeAway)

    Tybee Island Cottage, Tybee Island, Georgia

    Sleeps: 11–12
    Summer Rates: $1,500–$2,500

    Vibrant hues and local art in Island Dog Cottage capture Tybee's laid-back vibe and help you reset to island time. Bright and cheery, the cottage sits four houses back from the beach. There are two levels with separate entrances, so it's ideal for two families. You can rent it as a three-bedroom or a five-bedroom cottage. For morning coffee and afternoon drinks, you'll find lots of great sitting areas inside or outside where you can come together. The wrap-around screened-in porch with wicker furniture and a large picnic table is a favorite spot for curling up with a good book or playing games with the kids. Sun lovers can settle into an Adirondack chair on the front porch. Visiting family dogs get their own space in the large, shady white picket-fenced yard with a cute, colorful doghouse.

    Summer Fun: Go dolphin watching or deep-sea fishing. Tybee Lighthouse tours and Fort Pulaski tours are also popular in summer. The cottage is a 15-minute drive to Savannah.

    (Photo: HomeAway)

    Southern California Cottage, Oceanside, California

    Sleeps: 4
    Summer Rates: $150–$195 per night

    Between San Diego and Los Angeles, this one-bedroom beachfront cottage in Oceanside is a romantic spot for a getaway. It's on the shore where the rocky coastline meets a sandy beach, so you get the best of both worlds. Wake to the sound of waves rolling into the rocks, and spend days on the sand just a few steps from your door. Light streams in through walls of windows in this bright, uncluttered space with new amenities. The cottage sits along a paved path that's ideal for morning walks or bike rides. There are several places to eat and shop within a 10- or 15-minute walk of the cottage. Or stay in and watch the surfers and dolphins play offshore.

    Summer Fun: Walk to the harbor or the Oceanside pier to go fishing. You can also fish right in front of the cottage and catch perch in the surf.

    (Photo: HomeAway)

    Martha's Vineyard Cottage, Aquinnah, Massachusetts

    Sleeps: 9
    Summer Rates: $2,500–2,800 per week

    Cozy and comfortable, this classic beach house is the kind of place families can settle into away from the crowds but still enjoy stunning views of the Vineyard Sound. It's not the most luxurious cottage in Martha's Vineyard, and that's exactly why guests love it. There's no pretense here. Cute quilts and interior wood walls and beams create a homey space where there's more than enough room for two families to relax without worrying about the kids breaking something. A five-minute walk on a path through beach grass leads to a private beach shared with only four other families. From here, you can walk out to a sandbar for fishing or follow the beach one mile to the Gay Head Cliffs.

    Summer Fun: Bring a net and catch blue crabs at the sandbar, or bike to Menemsha and check out the fish markets and the excellent library.

    You Might Also Like:

    This article was originally published by SmarterTravel under the title 10 Adorable (and Affordable) Beach Cottages for Summer.

    (Lead Photo: HomeAway)