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Places to sleep on the beach

Carrie Havranek


If beachfront hotels aren't close enough to the water's edge for you, you'll want to check out these hotels, casitas, chalets, bungalows, eco lodges, and cottages that are on the beach.

From Mexico to Australia's Whitsunday Islands, don't miss these 10 places around the world where you can sleep as close to the water as it gets.

Hayman Villas
: Whitsunday Islands, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

You'll find these eight villas, which opened in August 2011, on the northernmost Whitsunday Islands. Each villa comes with a king-size bed, a private terrace with views of the Coral Sea and Whitsundays, a private pool with a daybed, and an outdoor shower.

Should you want to plug in, wireless Internet is available in the room, along with movies and a Bose digital music system. The villas are part of a resort with four restaurants (your breakfast is included every day), a white-sand beach, tropical gardens, a lagoon, and a pool.

Casa Sandra
: Isla Holbox, Mexico

Picture 20 suites fronting the ocean at this boutique hotel owned by Sandra Perez, a painter, poet, and Latin Grammy Award-winner who dreamed up the property as an artists' retreat. It's just two hours north of Cancun on the island of Holbox, where the streets are made of sand.

Two thatched daybeds are available for daytime napping (or nighttime sleeping) on a first-come, first-served basis at no extra charge. If you change your mind, your room is just paces away, and there's a hammock on your room's balcony. Yoga, Reiki, and massages are available on-site, too.

Dakhla Surf Hotels
: Dakhla, Morocco

Stay at this wind- and kitesurfing destination, where the desert meets the Atlantic some 600 miles south of Marrakech. Hang out on the lagoon beach, which for windsurfers and kitesurfers means no waves, no current, no rocks -- just good wind. (Swimming is ideal from November to January.)

The 22 Ocean Vagabond bungalows are set among the dunes and include accommodations for two people, three meals, and a private porch; the hotel itself has a restaurant, a bar, and a surf shop.

Amanwana Resort
: Moyo Island, Indonesia

When you reserve one of the 20 luxury tents at this resort, be sure to ask for one of the 11 that's on the beach. You'll be tucked away in a cove on Moyo Island, a protected nature preserve just east of Bali with teak, tamarind, and Banyan trees. These are no ordinary tents; they're air-conditioned with bathrooms, king-size beds, and large picture windows that look out on the Flores Sea. Staying here is truly an indulgent experience, with meals, beverages, laundry, daytime and nighttime snorkeling, a hike to a waterfall, airport transfers, and more all included in the price.

Kosrae Village
: Kosrae, Micronesia

Run by two U.S. expats, Kosrae is a dive resort and eco lodge with 10 traditional palm-thatched lohms (cottages) right on the sand. Each is no farther than 50 feet from the ocean. The cottages are elevated and hidden in the jungle vegetation of mangrove, coconut and pandanus trees. All have electricity and hot water; a Wi-Fi signal reaches some of the cottages, should you want it.

The Jalousie Plantation
: Sugar Beach, St. Lucia

Enjoy beachfront luxury at the Jalousie Plantation, built on a former sugar plantation in a rain forest. These eight bungalows, which opened in January 2012, are positioned anywhere from 20 to 100 feet from the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean.

Each bungalow is decked out with hardwood floors, high-beamed ceilings, and a Jacuzzi in a private courtyard. A personal butler is on hand to draw a bath for you, iron your clothes, or reserve a table at a great restaurant anywhere on the island.

Playa Viva
: Zihuatanejo, Mexico

Let the ocean waves lull you to sleep in one of eight open-air casitas right on the beach about 100 feet from the water. Constructed from locally sourced woods, bamboo, and palapa, all the rooms in this solar-powered resort have private bathrooms; rates include meals, snacks, hotel-airport transportation, and yoga classes. The resort also has an on-site turtle sanctuary, where you can even help release newly hatched turtles back into the ocean.

Medjumbe Resort
: Medjumbe, Mozambique

During high tide, this private island off the northern coast of Mozambique is a half-mile long and 1,050 feet wide. Thirteen palm-thatched beach chalets are lofted. Each has hammocks on the porch that overlook the Indian Ocean. All chalets have air-conditioning and a private plunge pool. All meals are included, along with alcoholic beverages, access to a mini-bar, non-motorized sports, laundry services and more.

The Beach Hut
: North Cornwall, United Kingdom

Built in the 1920s, The Beach Hut offers a charming seaside getaway in Cornwall. The cottage is essentially one large room that can sleep up to two guests. If you feel like cooking, there's an oven, a sink, and a microwave to help you prepare simple meals. The pebbly beach is backed by cliffs and is reputedly one of the best-kept secrets for surfing in England -- provided you're wearing a wetsuit.

OARS Rafting Trips
: The Grand Canyon, Arizona

Did you know there are beaches in the Grand Canyon? And that you can pitch a tent and sleep there during a 38-mile rafting trip down the Colorado River? Fall asleep under the stars, thousands of feet below the canyon rim. These trips include all gear, a guide, meals, accommodations, and transportation to and from the river.