Seaside hotels in beach towns across New England buzz in the summer. Once the crowds depart in September, things begin to slow down. And just because the temps drop and the chilly air sets in, doesn’t mean you don’t have plenty to enjoy or views to take in. Some might argue this region is at its best in the final months of the year. By the time winter rolls in, it’s all about brisk walks on empty beaches (with a cup of hot coffee or cocoa in hand) and soaking in the littoral loveliness sans, well, anyone else.
A handful of hotels around the region remain open year-round. So there’s no off-season for a seaside escape. Some of our favorite shoreline respites don’t just welcome guests but also turn up the cozy vibes with fireside cocktails, spa treatments, and snuggly bedding. The ocean views hit differently without another soul on the sand. And off-peak rates certainly don’t hurt either.
The next time you’re looking for a less-obvious winter getaway that doesn’t involve skiing or holing up at a luxury mountain lodge, consider these coastal New England hotels, from Cape Cod to Newport. It’s never too late to indulge in a long weekend getaway and these properties make the case for planning one now.
Weekapaug Inn: Westerly, Rhode Island
Weekapaug Inn sits on Quonochontaug Pond with the Atlantic Ocean in the distance and supplies water views at every turn. Sightlines aside, it’s a heritage-rich and halcyon place to trade chaos for quiet in the winter months. The distinctive combination of New England charm, warm hospitality, and serene ambiance that enchanted the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt so many years ago remains in full effect today. Rooms are refined yet relaxed with subtle nautical nods, antiques, and luxurious linens. Nature walks around the grounds and farm-to-table dining makes for a memorable experience in any season.
Chatham Bars Inn: Chatham, Massachusetts
Cape Cod is a classic New England retreat that’s just as darling when the weather calls for busting out a bikini or bundling up. Dating back to 1914, Chatham Bars Inn continues to come up with creative ways to wow travelers during the off-season. Winter programming includes cooking, mixology (the property boasts an extensive roster of bespoke spirits partnerships), astronomy, photography, painting, and floral arranging classes. Besides enriching activities, adults-only spa suites featuring fireplaces, saunas, hydrotherapy steam showers, and soaking tubs provide a cozy setting for a little plush pampering.
Ocean House: Watch Hill, Rhode Island
The stately grand dame of Watch Hill stands tall as a bastion of seaside elegance in all seasons. It’s a summer hotspot that draws an upscale crowd of well-dressed travelers who play croquet and catch rays on the serviced beach. In the winter, the fireside restaurant is the perfect spot for classic American bistro fare and hot toddies. The hotel also hosts wine tastings and movie screenings in the theater. The spa beckons with massages and caviar facials, plus a saltwater lap pool, fitness center, and a movement studio for yoga. Rooms flaunt gas-burning fireplaces, king-size beds, and comfy sitting areas to watch the waves of the Atlantic Ocean batter the sand.
Greydon House: Nantucket, Massachusetts
Despite the fact that the majority of businesses on Nantucket shutter in the winter, there’s one picture-perfect place solitude-seekers can check in anytime. A former sea captain’s house turned 20-key boutique hotel, Greydon House sits right in the heart of town. In addition to overnights in antique-studded rooms and hearty meals in the Venetian-inspired restaurant, the property offers well-being retreats in partnership with Lavender Farm Wellness and long-stay packages during the slow season. The abandoned energy of the island might inspire you to write the next great American novel — or, at least, tick a few books off the ol’ reading list.
Wequassett Resort & Golf Club: Harwich, Massachusetts
Wequassett Resort & Golf Club is chock-full of coastal charisma and amenities. In the absence of summer crowds, it almost feels like a private Cape Cod estate with tennis and pickleball courts, outdoor firepits, and two outdoor heated pools. There’s also a fine dining restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the churning sea and an intimate club bar for slumping into a leather chair, sipping a craft cocktail, and noshing on some comfort food. Of course, you will have to share the fantastic facilities with a few other off-season travelers, but all things considered, it’s as close as anyone gets to having the whole 27-acre property to themselves.
Yachtsman Hotel & Marina Club: Kennebunkport, Maine
Kennebunkport may slow to a crawl, however, it doesn’t fully shut down in the winter. Off-season travelers can look forward to carriage rides, ice skating, and a restful stay at the Yachtsman Hotel & Marina Club. Park-in-front bungalows show off bright striped rugs and throw pillows, patterned headboards, gas-burning fireplaces, and waterfront terraces. Sure, the floating barge pool will be closed, but that just gives you more time to sink into solitude and explore the storied coastal town. It’s a short walk to Dock Square, which means getting to shop and sample fresh seafood without having to brave the elements for too long.
The Brenton Hotel: Newport, Rhode Island
Over the last few decades, Newport — the Seafaring Capital of Rhode Island — has established itself as much more than a well-heeled summer resort. The Brenton Hotel channels the maritime heritage of its environs in a fresh, contemporary way that feels very of the moment. Not surprisingly, the property’s approach to all-season hospitality mirrors its modern mindset. Travelers are invited to enjoy spacious accommodations, in-room massages, and sips and small plates in the lounge throughout the year. Even when the thermometers dips, proximity to the harborside shops and seafood restaurants ensures a pleasant — albeit frosty — stroll.