From coast to coast, America boasts amazing beach towns with beautiful vistas, tranquil surroundings, and unlimited fun. Whether you're a solo traveler on your latest journey or seeking family-friendly destinations, you can’t go wrong with a beach town vacation. Spend days soaking up the sun and listening to crashing waves. Or discover exquisite art galleries, delectable local cuisine, and live music.
From historic landmarks to nature parks, outdoor excursions to fine dining, these coastal communities offer everything you need for a standout vacation.
Located on Amelia Island at Florida’s northeast border, Fernandina Beach makes for a tranquil, relaxing getaway due to its quaint charm, open spaces, and expansive shore. Here you’ll enjoy thirteen miles of pristine beach and clear, calm water.
Don't miss the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival that celebrates the town's seafood-supplying history with a parade, live music, an art show, and of course, food booths stocked with plenty of local shrimp and seafood.
Water activities abound, with guided tours in war canoes and hydro-bike rentals. Seeking out marine life? Book a sight-seeing tour to watch the dolphins, manatees, and sea otters.
Hilton Head Island is a family-friendly Lowcountry resort town where you can relax on the beach while the kids build sandcastles and splash in the waves. Take a break from the sand and sun with a movie or shopping at Coligny Plaza.
Kids of all ages will enjoy the Coastal Discovery Museum. Don’t miss checking out the largest Southern Red Cedar, firmly rooted since 1595, or the most recognizable landmark of Hilton Head: the Harbor Town Lighthouse in the Sea Pines Resort District.
Bandon is a quaint town along the southern Oregon coast, known for friendly locals, historic lighthouses, and highly acclaimed golf at the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.
Outdoor enthusiasts will love the stunning ocean vistas, wild wooded areas, and gurgling streams. Moderate year-round temperatures allow for fishing, hiking, and kayaking on the Wild Rivers Coast at practically any time of year. Surf enthusiasts come for classic and kite surfing, while mountain bikers enjoy the Whiskey Mountain trails. If the weather cooperates, make sure to take part in one of the most popular tourist activities: storm-watching.
Known for years as the “Nation’s Summer Capital,” this picturesque Delaware destination is an All-American beach resort town. Nostalgic Rehoboth provides optimum relaxation with plenty of options for entertainment. Spend the day at the beach or go deep-sea fishing. Take advantage of tax-free shopping at local outlet malls and shops.
Stroll the boardwalks to experience old-fashioned family attractions and beach stores.
Craft beer lovers will want to take in Dogfish Head Brewery, and out on the water, dolphin and whale watching tours are available from late July to early October.
One of New England’s most popular summer resorts, Bar Harbor is a vintage coast town with a rich past. History buffs will want to take a walking tour of downtown to visit sites such as The Abbe Museum and the Bar Harbor Post Office.
Nature-lovers should explore Acadia National Park, with over 50 square miles of mountains, lakes, and coastline, ideal for hiking, biking, camping, boating, and fishing.
Other must-sees include the town’s artsy shops, charming historic homes, fine restaurants, and the astounding view from The Frenchman Bay.
The scenic coastline of Pismo Beach in central California will not disappoint. One family-friend attraction you’ll want to check out is Dinosaur Caves Park. Trek to the top of the rugged bluffs to enjoy the mesmerizing view of both the ocean and the sea caves below. If you’re visiting between November and February, Monarch Butterfly Grove gives you a chance to see tens of thousands of monarch butterflies overtake eucalyptus and pine trees.
Thrill-seekers can ride ATVs across the sand, surf the famous California waves, or explore seaside coves. And wine enthusiasts should definitely partake in wine-tastings at the many vineyards and wineries nearby.
In charming and romantic Carmel-by-the-Sea, explore the historic Carmel Mission, the only Spanish mission in California with the original bell and tower.
Accommodations range from luxurious bed-and-breakfasts to historic inns. While the town is a peaceful haven with a secluded feel, it is proximate to the Big Sur coastline and Monterrey for additional exploring.
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is a must-see, with its breathtaking coastal view of the Pacific and abundant wildlife. Hike the trails through forests. Visit Sea Lion Point Trail for the best view of sea lions, and Cypress Trail for the otters.
Southern charm awaits you in Gulf Shores. This beach town and its pristine, sugary sand will appeal to those who simply enjoy the sun, surf, and sea.
While there, hike the well-maintained trails of Gulf State Park. For additional fun, rent trail or beach bikes, kayaks, Segways, or paddleboards. Parasail over turquoise waters or catch a lively dolphin cruise.
Anglers enjoy fishing off the Gulf State Park Pier, or book a fishing charter to try deep-sea fishing. If you’re new to fishing, the Angler Academy offers lessons.
If you’re seeking a laid-back destination with a cosmopolitan ambiance, look no further than Paia. This small Hawaiian town on Maui's north shore is a former sugarcane plantation that is now home to charming boutiques, surf shops, eateries, and galleries.
Unlike other Hawaiian beach towns, Paia has avoided over-commercialization. The place, with its bohemian vibe, is nicknamed the "windsurfing capital of the world" and is known for Ho’okipa Beach Park, that attracts wind and kite surfers from around the globe.
Baldwin Beach is the ultimate place for lounging, swimming, and sunbathing. If you're traveling with small children, the west end or "Baby Beach" has calmer waters and more quiet space for families.
A true destination for seizing that classic island lifestyle, Sanibel Island offers amazing accommodations in private vacation homes and gulf-front rentals.
Sanibel is famous for some of the best shelling. In fact, people travel from all over the world to experience shelling here. You can learn even more about shells and their history at the Bailey Matthews Shell Museum.
Both guided and self tours are available at the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge. The Sanibel Historical Museum is another great stop to learn about the location's rich past.