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From Sea to Shining Sea: Five Houses with Stunning Water Views

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Judging from these five luxury properties, a breathtaking water view can add millions to the value of a trophy estate. Then again, while the numbers attached to these five listings might be high, their priceless locations more than make up for it. This cliff-side home in Carmel, Calif. enjoys panoramic views of the crashing surf, both from the stone and stucco main house and from an idyllic clearing equipped with a row of teak chairs and little else. Just the sort of simplicity necessary to take in such a striking perspective. But while that vantage point might be simply furnished, there's nothing rudimentary about the price: $11.5M.

? This Hawaiian idyll has an appropriate name for our purposes: "Window To The Pacific." It's a wonder they stuck with the singular, considering how many panes face the water in this $13.75M mansion. The 11,000-square-foot, nine-bedroom house sits on 25 acres at the northernmost point on the Big Island, Hawi.

? On the opposite side of the country, in Little Compton, R.I., this aging waterfront farm offers a different take on the waterfront view. With only a few ramshackle structures on the property, the oceanfront acreage is being sold as "land," perhaps seeking to woo a developer. We'd rather see someone transform that old school barn into a casual getaway. Well, as casual as things can get at $12.9M.

Not far from Rhode Island, on the actual island of Nantucket, Mass., this view is available to the first buyer willing to cough up the $10M asking price. As an added bonus, the property also backs onto Nantucket Harbor. The house is quite rustic, with brick fireplaces and uninsulated walls, but it certainly fits the bill for an unpretentious getaway at a very pretentious price.

? Lastly, it's back to California for a look at the most expensive spread on our list, a $27.5M masterpiece in Belevedre, Calif. Set on a cliff above San Francisco Bay, the 9,500-square-foot manse is privy to panoramic views of the Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the San Francisco skyline. A series of terraces and setbacks provide plenty of vantage points from which to enjoy that staggering vista.

· Riveting South Coast Panorama [Sotheby's]
· Window To The Pacific [Sotheby's]
· Brayton Point Farm [Sotheby's]
· Ocean and Harbor [Sotheby's]
· A True Belvedere [Sotheby's]