School is out and the temps are rising, meaning it’s past time to plan your summer vacation. If you long to chill out at a cozy bed-and-breakfast, but other family members insist on sticking their toes in the sand, book a beachfront inn that pleases everyone.
Many inns offer discounts, especially in the summer, so don’t book a room until you check the list of Current Discount Offers.
The Elizabeth Pointe Lodge, a Nantucket-style resort with wrap-around porches, sits on Amelia Island’s pristine Atlantic beach, in Northeast Florida. The inn accepts children 10 and older, and there’s plenty besides the beach to keep them busy.
With 25 rooms, the resort is larger than a traditional bed-and-breakfast, but provides complimentary breakfast made-to-order, along with extras like hot and cold appetizers and beer and wine every evening. A friend of mine stayed at Elizabeth Pointe and gave it a big thumbs up. Fernandina Beach’s historic district, with fine dining and shopping, is minutes away.
In Northwest Florida, known as the Panhandle, relax on an unspoiled white sand beach 300 feet away from Lisbeth’s Bed & Breakfast By The Sea, with French doors that open wide to panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico. Leave your car and walk to Seaside, a New Urbanist beach neighborhood. (Adults only at Lisbeth’s.)
Back on Florida’s east coast, in St. Augustine, you’ll find the Beachfront Bed & Breakfast, another adults-only inn that focuses on romance, with an outdoor heated pool and a Jacuzzi. The main house sits on the beach, with magnificent views of the ocean and dunes and an oceanfront veranda on the second floor. The many attractions of the nation’s oldest city are 10 minutes away.
Farther south down the east coast you’ll find Windemere Inn by the Sea, on a barrier island, like Amelia Island. The Windemere, where the staff will deliver your lunch on the private beach, is located in Indialantic, east of Melbourne and south of Kennedy Space Center.
Three of the five rooms in the main house come with private balconies overlooking the ocean, steps away from the inn. For families, the two rooms in the separate Carriage House can be combined to sleep six.
The Port d’Hiver Bed and Breakfast is a neighbor of the Windemere on the same half-mile barrier island, between the Atlantic and the Indian River Lagoon. Several rooms at Port d’Hiver, in Melbourne Beach, offer private or shared balconies with views of the ocean, across the street. I toured this B&B a few years ago and have longed to stay there ever since. Port d’Hiver welcomes children 10 and up.
You’ll also find riverfront bed-and-breakfasts, located in Florida beach towns. Among them: the Night Swan Intracoastal B&B and the Black Dolphin Inn, both in New Smyrna Beach, and the River Lily Inn, in Daytona Beach, all three just a few minutes’ drive from the beach.
The Night Swan Intracoastal sits across the street from the Indian River, with incredible views from guest rooms in two historic homes, and its own dock, where a schooner resides and offers cruises. Children of all ages are allowed in certain rooms, with their parents. I have toured the Night Swan and hope to stay there next time I visit New Smyrna.
A few blocks down the street is the Black Dolphin Inn, a Spanish-style 1947 boutique hotel where I stayed overnight in 2014. As you’ll discover when you read my review, I could not lavish enough praise on the luxurious inn. (Review.)
The Black Dolphin makes the most of its waterfront location, with balconies on almost every room, providing dazzling river views. My room had a balcony on each end! The first-floor courtyard rooms are designed for families, with two king-sized beds. All ages are accepted.
The River Lily Inn overlooks the Intracoastal Halifax River — with a heart-shaped pool to boot. Half the rooms have private verandas with sweeping river views. Children at least 10 years old are allowed.
Finally, I can recommend a beachfront B&B where I have stayed twice, Harrington House Beachfront Bed & Breakfast, on Anna Maria Island, a popular tourist destination that has managed to retain much of its small-town charm. (Review.)
The Harrington House offers a variety of amazing accommodations in the main inn, plus three other houses, five bungalows and a three-bedroom, three-bath villa. Lovers of historic B&Bs should choose a room in the main building, a restored 1925 coquina block home that fronts the gorgeous white-sand beach. Five of the rooms offer incredible Gulf views from the balcony or patio. Guests may bring children over 12.
As I have illustrated, there’s no need to give up the charm and comfort of a fine bed-and-breakfast to stay at the beach, or on the waterfront. So don’t delay. Get busy planning a summer vacation that makes everyone in the family happy.
(Note: As always, I accepted no compensation in exchange for writing this article.)