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Ligurian Indecision

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I'm currently in the planning stages of a trip to northern Italy this fall. As part of our three week trip, we would like to rent a place for a week on the Ligurian coast, but not in le Cinque Terre. I'm having a hard time trying to decide were to base ourselves - I've gotten information on rentals in Lerici, San Terenzo, Tellaro, Portovenere and Levanto, but can't decide which town might be best to stay in. We would prefer not to have the expense of a rental car, but would like to be able to visit some of the other villages and towns as day trips, perhaps CT one day, Camogli (where I spent a few idyllic days of a honeymoon twenty-some years ago) or SML another day, as well as enjoying the beach and perhaps some of the nature reserves in the area.

Do any or all of these areas have frequent bus service to nearby train stations, or will a car be necessary? Any thoughts on these locations, and as well, does anyone have a rental they'd recommend in this area? Another question is how late in the season are the beach clubs open, i.e. being able to rent sun beds and umbrella? Is the end of September too late?

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