Monterey

Summertime is fast-approaching and we can’t wait till the days of top-down convertibles, cover-ups and flip-flops dress codes, and mini weekend getaways. After all, a share can be great but there’s something about a spontaneous trip to the beach to really make it feel like summer. So whether your home base is New York or Los Angeles, D.C. or San Francisco, or even Boston, we have a beach destination that can easily be reached via a quick road trip. So grab a map, your sunglasses, and some road trippin’ munchies, and make your escape!

Weekend Getaway from New York City: Montauk

Travel time: 2 hours, 30 minutes via car

Visit Montauk before the "too cool" Hamptons vibe has rubbed off on it.

It may seem cliche, but there’s a reason why Manhattanites flock to the Hamptons come summer. Home to upscale restaurants, trendy workout clubs, quirky shops, and of course, beautiful beaches, it offers a nice reprieve from the congestion and smog of the city — while maintaining that cool (and sometimes snobbish) city vibe. Montauk, located at the furthest tip, however, has a more laid-back feel; residents fear that a recent influx of visitors will taint its unpretentious reputation, but for now it’s a nice alternative to the ultra-exclusive vibe of other Hamptons.

Where to Stay: A cool party spot, Sole East attracts a young, beautiful crowd. With a tasty on-site restaurant, a small pool with loungers, and beach cruisers available for rent, it’s a great pick.

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We kind of hate to be sharing our best-kept secrets, but it’s our job, after all. So today we’re opening the vault of our favorite hidden gem hotels in California. From quaint, oft-overlooked boutiques in Los Angeles to tucked-away spots just minutes from the beaches of Carmel, we have nine picks for our favorite unknown (until today) hotels in the Golden State. Just please use some precaution when passing on the details — we don’t want to have to share these spots with just anyone.

1. Tradewinds Carmel

Surrounded by lush foilage, Tradewinds is a quiet sanctuary just a short drive from the beach.

The 28-room Tradewinds Carmel has a Zen vibe throughout the hotel — from the courtyard, complete with Buddha statues, a small waterfall, and a tranquil fire pit, to the rooms, decorated with Asian printsstalks of bamboo, and orchids. The rooms are large and feature well-decorated bathrooms with nice soaking or Jacuzzi tubs, but like many small hotels in Carmel, the Tradewinds lacks a fitness center and a spa (though in-room spa treatments are available). Still, it’s a quaint, cozy pick and is just a short drive from the beach.

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