High season in Natal is December through February, and then again in July during Brazil's winter holidays. Outside of this period there are substantial discounts.
Within Natal's city limits Ponta Negra beach is your best option. It's wide, clean, and busy, with good waves for surfing. On the waterfront, a pleasant walkway runs past a number of beachside restaurants and barracas. Many of the city's better restaurants are located in the area, and the cafes, bars, and nightclubs of Natal's Alto de Ponta Negra nightlife area are a 5-minute cab ride away.
The Via Costeira parkway makes a lovely setting for a hotel but there are a couple of drawbacks. Though you get outstanding views and unmatched isolation, the ocean is rougher, the beach rockier, and there is nothing within walking distance, so you're looking at a cab ride any time you want to leave the hotel.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.