Lerici is a great destination on the Gulf of Poets and can make a fine base from which to explore the area. From Lerici you can walk to San Terenzo. You can catch boats to Portovenere and the Cinque Terre (in the summer). The tourist center in Lerici will sell you a great map showing the hiking trails which make it easy to explore the small fishing villages to the southeast like Fiascherino, Tellaro, and Montemarcello.
The Hotel Doria Park (read reviews, check prices, and book direct) is recommended by many travelers to Lerici.