No need to wait for June to feel the sand and hear the waves. Winter is a special time to hit the beach in the Northeast. Let the crowds stay in the city while you enjoy the solitude of the sea. When the cold wind blows, the prices tumble for those hearty souls who enjoy the ocean despite the chill.
Leave your flip-flops and sunscreen at home, but be sure to pack your warmest socks and coziest mittens to bundle up for your moonlit seaside stroll. These five beach resorts near NYC are open year-round, ready to show you the wintry charms of the off-season.
Chateau Inn & Suites | Spring Lake, New Jersey | chateauinn.com
If you haven’t experienced the charms of this seaside community, get ready to be won over. Although it manages to avoid feeling crowded even in the height of summer, winter visitors will experience peace and quiet like no other time of the year. You can bike or jog this town’s commercial-free boardwalk in all but the harshest of weather. The shops and restaurants along quaint Third Avenue remain open year-round, so you will have the opportunity to sample those delicious handmade chocolates at the Third Avenue Chocolate Shoppe. The Chateau Inn provides guests with a super location, only a few minutes walk from the beach or the shops. Some of the 37 rooms boast Jacuzzis and fireplaces, so inquire when booking. All effortlessly blend charm with modern amenities like plasma TV’s. The common area is full of sweet touches, such as afternoon tea and biscuits.
Cost: The Winter Weekend Getaway Package serves up a bottle of champagne, two nights (Friday or Saturday arrival) in a lovely room with a 7 p.m. checkout on your departure day, and continental breakfast served in the parlor each morning starting at $257 per couple.
How to get there: NJTransit to Spring Lake takes 75 minutes. You can see the Inn from the station.
Ocean House | Watch Hill, Rhode Island | oceanhouseri.com
If you are looking for the ultimate luxurious beach hotel, you have found it. Ocean House manages to effortlessly blend opulence and understatement in just the right measures. This is the place to come and pamper yourself. If you don’t, a member of the super-professional staff will. Head out to the verandah to watch the waves from a comfy wicker chair, and someone will cover you with a cashmere blanket and hand you a hot mulled cider before you even realize you are cold. Everything about this place screams style and elegance. This once-historic grande dame hotel was completely rebuilt and re-opened last spring, with meticulous attention to detail, keeping much of its genteel original flavor. Rooms feature every comfort, from the finest linens to bathtubs with ocean views. In the off-season, you may have the indoor salt-water lap pool all to yourself. The OH! Spa menu changes seasonally, so look for an array of cinnamon, orange and clove inspired treatments this winter. Don’t miss the chance to dine at the resorts farm-to-table restaurant, Seasons. Dynamic wunderkind Chef Eric Haugen works closely with the in-house forager to create nightly menus using predominately locally sourced ingredients. The open kitchen allows you to see Chef’s talents in action, as he works with the precision of a surgeon, perfecting each plate before it arrives at your table. The resort has just enough activities planned each day, from morning yoga to classes with the Pastry Chef to keep you busy even if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Whatever Mother Nature throws at you, a walk on the beach is in order, because the Ocean House is located on one of the Atlantic’s most pristine stretches.
Cost: Check the Seasonal Packages page for information on frequently updated deals like Bed, Breakfast and Beyond, which includes waterfront accommodations, daily farm-to-table breakfast and dinner, and afternoon refreshments in the seasons lounge. Package rate starts at $584/weekday and $670/weekend for a deluxe king room. A Bed & Breakfast package being offered starting January 1, 2013 will only include breakfast at a rate of $400/night. Call 401.584.7000 to book your stay.
How to get there: Amtrak to Westerly, RI. takes 3 hours. The resort’s Mercedes will shuttle you the short drive back and forth, just let them know when you reserve.
Sag Harbor Inn | Sag Harbor, Long Island | sagharborinn.com
Long celebrated as a hideaway for literary greats like John Steinbeck and E.L. Doctorow, this quaint village makes a fine off-season retreat. Of course Sag Harbor is just that, a harbor, so don’t expect to feel sand between your frozen toes. Do expect to wander the village’s narrow streets and get an authentic feel for this historical whaling town. Restaurants and stores on Main Street, including the much-loved independent bookstore, BookHampton, are open year-round. Cinephiles should enjoy watching the eclectic programming of foreign and art house films at the old-fashioned Sag Harbor Cinema. The Sag Harbor Inn offers 42 rooms and the sort of attentive, friendly service that you can find at family owned and operated hotels.
Cost: The Hamptons Wine Tasting Getaway Package includes a chauffeured tour and wine tasting at three south fork wineries: Channing Daughters; Duck Walk; and Wölffer Estates. This overnight package requires a minimum of two, maximum of six participants. It costs $416 per couple for a party of two, $265 per couple for two couples, and $216 per couple for three couples. Even if you are mathematically challenged, you will see that this might be the time for that long overdue reunion with a group of your old college mates. It also includes a harbor view room and continental breakfast.
How to get there: The Hampton Jitney has numerous pick-up spots in NYC, and will drop you off three blocks from the Sag Harbor Inn. The ride takes about two hours.
The Inn at Stonington | Stonington, CT | innatstonington.com
Locals call this once thriving Portuguese fishing village “The Borough.” You can walk to all the shops and restaurants on Water Street as well as the Old Lighthouse Museum and The Point, the picturesque beach near this Inn’s ideal location. The Borough blends the natural beauty of its scenic port with cultural offerings that are quite diverse for such a petite village. The La Grua Center is a non-profit cultural organization that host’s concerts, lectures and art exhibits open to the public year-round. On a Sunday afternoon at 5pm, the local literati will gather at the Stonington Free Library for the Sunday Evening lecture Series. The individually owned shops include Dockside Dogs, a proper pet boutique and a must stop-in for dog-lovers. The Inn has 12 rooms in the main building and an additional six in the annex. They are spacious and many offer harbor views, and nearly all have Jacuzzi tubs and gas fireplaces. Décor is vaguely nautical, but in just the right dose. The clean, neutral colors are never obtrusive, and the friendly staff adds to the ambience of a homey boutique hotel. Wine-and-cheese receptions are held nightly, and guests can enjoy a copious continental breakfast. The common areas provide stunning views of the harbor, and comfy seating encourages lazy afternoons curled up with a good novel.
Cost: Winter weekday rates start at $170. For weekend rates: A Village Side Room/1st Floor/$199 or Seaside Room 1st Floor/$199/weekday and $240/weekend.
How to get there: Take Amtrak to Mystic and arrive in under three hours. Yellow Cab (860.536.8888) will pick you up at the Station, but you need to reserve. Peter Pan bus goes to Mystic, but be sure to book your cab in advance, as there are none roaming in the vicinity. The cab will only wait for five minutes, so call if you hit traffic and are running late. Cabs to Stonington cost around $10 from the train station, $15 from the bus stop.
Allegria Hotel | Long Beach, New York | allegriahotel.com
You don’t need to fly to South Beach to feel like you are at the latest “it” hotel. The LIRR will get you to Long Beach in under an hour. The Allegria is trendy, sleek, and festive. Pack your sneakers for a morning jog or stroll along the boardwalk and watch the surfers, who are out in every season. Rooms feature blond wood tones and many have ocean views. Don’t miss the chance to dine at the hotel’s restaurant, Atlantica. Chef Todd Jacob’s seafood couldn’t be any fresher, and his magic touch extends all the way to dessert. (If blueberry-cornbread pudding is on the menu, you’re in luck.) His menu champions local, organic fare, and he has earned a “Green Skillet Award” for promoting its use.
Cost: Rise & Shine package from $219 and includes ocean room accommodations, full American breakfast at Atlantica Restaurant or Continental room service.
How to get there: The LIRR gets you to Long Beach in 50 minutes. The Allegria is located five blocks from the station.