Perched on not only some of the tallest, but also most historically significant oceanfront cliffs in the area, the Blue Lantern Inn offers guests breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, coastline and hundreds of boats docked at Dana Point Harbor marina. Massachusetts student Richard Henry Dana, who sailed up the California coast in 1835, memorialized the geographic features towering above these beaches as a romantic spot. Built in a Nantucket style, the inn offers 29 rooms, each with a fireplace, sizeable baths and the ambiance of a classy resort that larger, cookie-cutter hotel properties up and down PCH often can’t deliver. A bonus is a staff that seems genuinely eager to make stays enjoyable. When you aren’t in your room, there are plenty of local adventures: sailing, surfing, whale watching, fine dining and hiking. Or take a 10-minute trip up the coast to explore Laguna Beach. Rates currently range from $210 to $625.
34343 Street of the Blue Lantern, Dana Point, (949) 661-1304; www.bluelanterninn.com.
Readers’ Choice: Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa