The Getaway
The Best Beaches in the United States

With over 12,000 total miles of coastline, the United States is home to thousands of beautiful beaches waiting to be explored. Nestled in all corners of the country, the best beaches in the United States provide countless activities and hours of fun. Take a surf lesson, plan an idyllic picnic, attend a sandcastle competition, or play an arcade game on the boardwalk at these iconic beach locales. Spring break and the summer months prove to be the busiest times of the year at these vacation spots, but the beach towns provide entertainment all year around.


01 Kauna'oa Bay, Hawaii

Kauna'oa Beach, Hawaii StephanHoerold / Getty Images

Kauna'oa Bay, Hawaii, is the picture of paradise on the Big Island of Hawaii. The crystal blue water remains relatively calm, making this an ideal spot to swim and snorkel. After the sun goes down, enjoy dinner and a show at the Mauna Kea Oceanfront Luau. The luau tells the history of Hawaii through hula and fire dances while you get to enjoy fresh meat and tropical fruit. The beaches of Kauna'oa Bay are public, and parking is free, but be sure to arrive early to secure a prime spot.


02 Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Marthas Vineyard colorful Aquinnah Cliffs, Massachusetts Denis Tangney Jr / Getty Images

Hawaii may take all the credit, but the United States is home to many picturesque islands. Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts is one such island. The rocky cliffs and iconic lighthouses show Martha's Vineyard's beauty in postcards and in person.  Martha's Vineyard has a rich history and was originally inhabited by the Wampanoag. Book a lighthouse tour to learn about these historic buildings dating back to 1817.


03 West Palm Beach, Florida

Sunrise by the pier at West Palm Beach, Florida

Add an element of glitz to your next vacation by visiting West Palm Beach, Florida. West Palm Beach is home to a number of luxury retailers, five-star restaurants, and exciting nightlife. During the day, catch some sun and snorkel on Singer Island. If you are looking for some culture, the Norton Museum of Art is Florida's largest art museum. And music lovers should book their trips for early May when SunFest, Florida's largest waterfront music festival, comes to town.


04 East Hampton, New York

The deck on Main Beach, East Hampton Kirkikis / Getty Images

Each summer, thousands of hardworking citizens of New York City pack their bags and leave the hustle and bustle of Manhattan to spend their weekends in beautiful East Hampton. East Hampton provides miles of scenic beach to bicycle down, sunbathe, or have a clambake with friends. Rent a kayak or canoe for an upper-body workout while enjoying the water. East Hampton is also home to a number of wineries that offer tours and tastings.


05 Monterey, California

Stunning natural landscape in California beach gangliu10 / Getty Images

In a state with hundreds of great beaches to choose from, Monterey is a gem offering some of the best views, dining, and shorelines California has to offer. Rent a convertible and take a road trip down Highway 1 for some of the best coastal photo ops in the country. Or visit Monterey Bay Aquarium, a non-profit aquarium home to a variety of sea life and reptiles.


06 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Ferris wheel at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Sean Pavone / Getty Images

The boardwalk and coastline of Myrtle Beach make it a cant-miss vacation spot for thousands of visitors every year. The cluster of family-friendly beaches is known as the "Grand Strand" and invites you to hop from beach to beach in search of your favorite. Beat the heat with ice cream on the boardwalk or take in an evening show at the Carolina Opry.


07 Gulf Shores, Alabama

Seaside Beach Walkway Path in Gulf Shores, Alabama Freelance_Ghostwriting / Getty Images

Travel down south to enjoy the warmer waters of Gulf Shores, Alabama. The city offers beaches, a pier, walking trails, and golf courses. Tour boats ship out daily during the summer for fishing excursions and dolphin watching. If you have had enough of the saltwater, head to Waterville USA, a family water park in Gulf Shores.


08 St. Augustine, Florida

Boardwalk to the beach at Matanzas Inlet near St. Augustine, Florida Michael Warren / Getty Images

St. Augustine, Florida, holds the claim as the oldest city in the United States. It offers breathtaking views of its Spanish colonial architecture. The white sands of St. Augustine Beach are perfect for an afternoon picnic or a round of sand volleyball. After a day at the beach, take a haunted trolley tour or visit the World Golf Hall of Fame.


09 Hilton Head, South Carolina

Atlantic ocean in Hilton Head, South Carolina Ejla / Getty Images

Avid golfers agree that Hilton Head, South Carolina, is one of the top coastal towns for golf. This island community is under 70 square miles, and residents and tourists alike prefer to travel by golf carts around the island. Rent a beach cruiser bicycle to ride along the shoreline and then head to Salty Dog Cafe for some of their famous crab soup.


10 Santa Monica, California

Aerial View of Santa Monica Beach at Sunset chrisp0 / Getty Images

Santa Monica and its famous pier are known as one of the most recognized beaches in California. On any given day, you will find residents rollerblading down the beach and street musicians performing for the tourists. Pacific Park is a seaside amusement park with games and rides for the whole family.


11 Ocean City, Maryland

Crowded beach in Ocean City, Maryland Eliyahu Yosef Parypa /

The beautiful resort town of Ocean City offers visitors miles of serene beaches and a beautiful boardwalk that hosts a plethora of shops, restaurants, and hotels. The boardwalk is also home to Trimper's Rides, a theme park that's been around for decades.

In addition to the amazing shopping and entertainment on the boardwalk, Ocean City is also known for offering many water attractions. On any given day, you can find hundreds of kayaks and tour boats out on the beautiful water. And if you happen to be an angler, this quaint town is known as the White Marlin capital of the world.


12 Pope Beach in Lake Tahoe, Nevada

Clear skies at Pope Beach in Lake Tahoe, Nevada Kusska / Getty Images

Located in the south of Lake Tahoe, Pope Beach is a beautiful sandy stretch perfect for swimming, picnicking, kayaking, and paddleboarding. While Lake Tahoe is known for its endless stretches of pine trees, this particular area offers plenty of sand for relaxing in the sun or building sandcastles.


13 Harris Beach, Oregon

Children playing on the beach at Harris Beach State Park, Brookings, Oregon Blaine Harrington III /. Getty Images

A state park named after a Scottish pioneer, it has great beaches, beautiful sightseeing and is even great for birdwatching: The nearby Bird Island is a wildlife sanctuary that's home to rare species of birds. Facilities include day use and camping. If you're near Portland and you're looking for the perfect beachside camping destination, Harris Beach is the place.


14 Glass Beach in Port Townsend, Washington

If you're looking for a fascinating and unique experience that isn't necessarily about swimming and tanning, Glass Beach in Port Townsend is the place. Its name comes from the fact that it's a prime location for finding beautiful beach glass. Formed when there are adequate amounts of surf tumbling, beach glass or ocean glass are beautiful stones that you can use to make jewelry or just simply admire for their beauty.


15 Oak Street Beach in Chicago, Illinois

Located in Chicago, Lake Michigan's Oak Street Beach is an amazing destination for those living an urban lifestyle but looking to enjoy a little sun and waves. If you visit in the summer, it's a fantastic place to go swimming while still being able to see the sprawling Chicago skyline. The locals enjoy the beach's running and biking paths as well as its close proximity to downtown shops and attractions.


16 Poipu Beach

Poipu beach park in Kauai, Hawaii. ALEAIMAGE / Getty Images

No passport is necessary to experience this lush tropical oasis. Golden sand crescents are separated by a tombola, creating two sunny beaches in one. Adventure lovers can snorkel with sea turtles, snag a bird's-eye view on a helicopter tour, or soak in the island's vibrant culture at a hula show or luau. Hike the scenic four-mile trek to Mahaulepu Beach, or hit the heritage trail to discover more about Kauai's history and culture. Swimming, surfing, and bodyboarding abound, and wherever you turn, a small-town aloha ambiance creates an experience that can only be found in Hawaii.


17 Coronado Beach

Aerial view of famous Hotel Del Coronado with surrounding arrea in San Diego, USA. EXTREME-PHOTOGRAPHER / Getty Images

A crown jewel situated on the San Diego waterfront, Coronado Beach features mile after mile of sparkling golden shoreline. Experience the iconic Ocean Avenue's must-see shops and eateries, which include everything from fresh seafood to fine dining. Take in picturesque views of the city from the 200-foot-tall Coronado Bridge, or visit the legendary Hotel Coronado, a film favorite featured in Marilyn Monroe's Some Like It Hot. On the water, you can relax and soak in the sunshine, or try surfing, paddleboarding, fishing, and boogie boarding in the bay.


18 Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach, Florida John Coletti / Getty Images

Striking white sand encompasses the entire shoreline at Clearwater Beach, which features engaging activities for the entire family. Stretch your legs along the 1,080-foot pier, a multipurpose oasis offering everything from fine dining to fishing, shopping, and live entertainment. Visit the marina to hop on board some of the state's finest fishing and sailing charters, take a sightseeing cruise, or swim with the dolphins. From parasailing to swimming, surfing, and jet skiing, aquatic activity lovers will never have a shortage of things to do.


19 Carlsmith Beach

Carlsmith beach park

One of the Big Island's premier beaches, Carlsmith stands apart from the pack. Instead of golden sand, you'll discover a manicured lawn that's ideal for relaxing, picnicking, or simply enjoying the view. A lava shelf shoreline leads into several large lagoons protected by reefs, providing a safe inner swimming and snorkeling area that functions much like a pool. Friendly Green Hawaiian sea turtles are drawn to the area, so don't be shocked if you spot them feeding in the cool, shallow waters.


20 Wrightsville Beach

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina BSPollard / Getty Images

Named one of the world's top surfing towns by National Geographic, Wrightsville Beach has a lot to offer. Riveting waves make for excellent surf and SUP excursions any time of the year, while the Intracoastal Waterway is brimming with boats of all kinds, from fishing charters to dinner cruises. Get closer to nature and spot incredible wildlife at nearby Masonboro Island, or stroll through town and soak in the ambiance at local eateries, surf shops, and spas. From laid-back beach bars to festive live music venues, diverse nightlife keeps the town awake long after sundown.


21 Asbury Park Beach

Asbury Park Beach Andrew F Kazmierski / Getty Images

With miles of eye-catching shoreline, this New Jersey gem is an adventure lover's oasis. Surfing reigns supreme, as does swimming, boating, fishing, and every water sport you can imagine. Out of the water, you'll discover a downtown district that's brimming with arts and culture. From charming galleries and antique shops to Zagat-rated restaurants, there's a lot to explore. Along the boardwalk, give the cuisine a go; Korean fusion tacos, oysters, and Italian ice are all waiting. Relive your childhood at the Silver Ball Museum Arcade, play oceanfront mini-golf at Ashbury Splash Park, or soak in local culture at the annual Oyster Festival.


22 Carmel-by-the-Sea

Carmel beach Image by Chris Winsor / Getty Images

Southern California's coastal charm comes to life in iconic Carmel-by-the-Sea. White sandy shoreline, Cypress trees, and picturesque paths offer an awe-inspiring refuge for water lovers. Discover uncharted territory in the European-style village with zero street addresses, mailboxes, parking meters, or streetlights. This creative haven is rich with Bohemian history, so you'll find one-of-a-kind galleries, boutiques, and wine tasting rooms. With captivating sunset views, dolphins and otters swimming the waves, and surfers in every direction, rejuvenation awaits.


23 Alki Beach

Kayaks along pebbled Alki Beach with view of Seattle Washington downtown skyline along Puget Sound David Gn Photography / Getty Images

This lengthy strip of Seattle beach offers unparalleled views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. Hop on a ferry or sailboat and explore the aqua waters, or take some time out and enjoy a stroll along the shore. Play volleyball, rollerblade, bicycle, or jog along well-manicured paths. Kick back and soak in the rays along the sand, visit the distinctive 2.5-ton anchor, and tour the historic Alki lighthouse. With downtown just 25 minutes away, prepare for an action-packed itinerary.


24 Ocean Beach Park

New London, CT's premier sugar sand beach and boardwalk is brimming with action — 50 aces of it, in fact. Along with white sandy shoreline, you'll find an Olympic-sized swimming pool, an 18-hole mini-golf course, a family fun center with a video arcade, and the popular Sandbar cafe with its outdoor deck and flavorful fare. Every visit delivers a unique experience. Festivals take over the boardwalk throughout the year, along with volleyball tournaments, sporting events, live entertainment, a triple waterslide, and a plethora of amusement park-style rides.


25 Coney Island Beach

Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn, New York Stacey Bramhall / Getty Images

Legendary Coney Island Beach lives up to its reputation with nearly three miles of sandy shoreline and rolling waves. The beach and boardwalk are brimming with entertainment all year, including over 50 unique rides and attractions. Boost your adrenaline at Luna Park or the Scream Zone, take a ride on the Wonder Wheel, or catch a show at the 5,000-seat boardwalk amphitheater. Along the shoreline, you'll find lively volleyball, handball, and basketball games, or you can take it a step further and dash around the Abe Stark Ice Skating Rink. Check out the Coney Island Museum, the circus sideshow, or the New York Aquarium. Wherever you turn, countless entertainment awaits.


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