Whether you want to plan your next summer holiday, or take a break from the cold weathers with a short beach holiday, then you will want to head off to the best beaches in the USA. 

Relax on a white sandy beach and cool, clear waters. Take a short romantic break, or a family holiday to a fun packed beach. Learn to ride the waves, with various water sports available. Whatever you’re looking for, there is a beach just waiting for you. 

Best beaches in USA 

With thousands of miles of coastline, where should you go for the best beach experience? 

We have a wide selection of the best beaches in the USA, just for you.

To help you plan your best beach holiday, we have broken it down into states:

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Best Beaches in Oregon

Here are some of the best beaches you’ll find in Oregon:

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach is one of the best beaches to visit, whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple, or with the family!

The beach is located on the coast of Oregon, and is known for the iconic Haystack Rock that towers over the ocean. The beach is easy to get to, with public parking lots close by and public restrooms close to the water. So it’s a convenient location for everybody!

It’s one of the best beaches in the US because of the incredible scenery, and because of how much there is to do. On the beach itself, you can surf, swim, explore tide pools, watch puffins nest on Haystack Rock, or just relax in the sun!

Cannon Beach is one the best beaches in USA
Cannon Beach

If you want to hit the trails, there are tons of amazing hikes near Cannon Beach, ranging from easy walks to long treks, all offering some incredible views of the ocean.

The town of Cannon Beach is great to explore too. It’s a cute beachside town with local cafes and shops, art displays, and more!

There are adorable beachside cabins and Airbnbs to stay in, and Cannon Beach is the perfect place whether you’re taking a day trip, stopping to stretch your logs on a road trip, or taking a vacation.

Written by Anna | Anna Tee

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Harris Beach

While Harris Beach is definitely one of the best beaches in Oregon, considering it’s located quite far south along the coast, it just simply doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

Everyone runs to the beaches that are closer to the larger cities while the southern part of Oregon remains a bit under the radar.

No complaints though! Harris Beach is stunning and part of its appeal is that it’s not as inundated with visitors!

There are tons of amazing activities to do at Harris Beach State Park. Tidepooling is certainly fantastic here.

There are plenty of gorgeous rock formations sprinkled along this beach to admire, and when rocks and water meet, there is a treasure trove of marine life. A rainbow of sea anemones, starfish, and crabs can be found here.

Harris Beach
Harris Beach

Keep an eye and ear out for larger creatures like seals, whales spouting out in the distance, and even tufted puffins.

If you want to get in the water, you can put in your kayak and take a paddle along some of the more sheltered bays.

The best way to see everything around Harris Beach is to simply walk it. There are tons of little pathways carved into the rocks along the shore that bring you to tiny secret bays and lead you to the different smaller beaches that make up Harris Beach State Park.

If you’re loving your time here and want to stay to enjoy longer, this state park has some excellent camping with some of the sites looking over and on to the beach.

There are nice bathroom facilities and you’re very close to Brookings which will have tons of shops and gas stations for you to re-up your supplies. 

Written by Nina and Garrett | oregonisforadventure.com

New York

Here are some of the best beaches you’ll find in New York State:

Hamptons

“Looking for the best beaches in USA? If so then head to the Hamptons, a group of towns on Eastern Long Island that are home to some of the best beaches in New York. 

After all, this iconic summer destination is brimming over with serene sand dunes, exquisite beachside mansions, historic lighthouses, and stunning views that will make you never want to leave. 

And while there are many top beaches in the Hamptons, one of the best is Main Beach in East Hampton. You’’l find it at 101 Ocean Avenue, all the way out on the end of Long Island, near the town of Jericho. 

So, while it’s not exactly a hidden gem, it is a perfect place to sunbathe, go swimming, play a round of golf, or admire the historic windmill at the Old Hook Mill. 

Hamptons near New York in USA
Hamptons

Other on-site perks include lifeguards, spacious changing areas with showers, shaded decks, and tons of bathrooms. 

But, if you have small children, do be careful since the waves here can be quite strong – a fact that also makes this an ideal spot for surfing. 

Also, if you’re not a resident, you’ll need a parking permit, which costs around $50.00 per day. Otherwise, if you want to save a bit of money, you can just take a free shuttle here from town.”

Written by Kelly | Travel New York Now

Washington

Here are some of the best beaches you’ll find in Washington State:

Rialto Beach

If you’re looking for a unique beach to explore, head over to Washington state’s Rialto Beach! You likely won’t find sunshine and warm sand here – the beach is full of enormous driftwood, colorful rocks, and moody weather.

Sitting in one of the most northwest areas of the United States, the Pacific Northwest is known for its rainy weather, cloudy days, and cold beaches. Don’t let that deter you though – Rialto Beach is ideal for adventure lovers, and people seeking a thrilling journey!

Some of the best activities to do here are looking for agate rocks, hiking, and coastal backpacking. One of the most famous trails here is called the Hole-In-The-Wall trail at Rialto Beach, which can be found 1 mile up the shoreline.

Here, you can literally walk through a hole carved out of the headlands and explore tide pools right below at low tide.

Rialto Beach
Rialto Beach

There is a bathroom (pit toilet), picnic tables, and a large parking lot to access Rialto Beach. The area is maintained by the Olympic National Park.

On the way to the beach, you’ll drive through Forks, WA, which is famous for being included in Stephanie Meyer’s series “Twilight”.

On the way to the beach, you’ll pass by the “Treaty Line”, which is the so-called boundary line between the werewolves’ and the vampires’ territory. It’s a fun stop to take on the way to Rialto Beach!

Written by Emily | The Mandagies

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La Push Beach

La Push is actually a cute Washington coastal town that takes no more than a few minutes to ride around. There’s hardly much to do here yet people flock to this area year-round! Why is that? Well, it’s for the not 1, not 2, but 3 awesome beaches La Push has!

There’s First Beach, Second Beach, and Third Beach and while they don’t have the most imaginative names, their views more than make up for it. Unsurprisingly these beaches are gorgeous, as are all beaches that are located in the stunning Olympic National Park.

First beach is the easiest to get to as it’s right there in town. Here you’ll find a nice long beach to walk down, a few hotels, and towering sea stacks to admire.

La Push is a stunning beach that must be visited in USA
La Push

At Second Beach, you’ll find more massive sea stacks sprinkling the shoreline with rough waves crashing up against them. You’ll need to walk about a mile to even get to this beach, so don’t come with too many beach items because it’s a bit of a trek to actually get to the beach. You can also apply for a pass to spend the night camping here if you’d like.

And lastly, Third Beach is the least popular due to its 3.5-mile round trip hike to get to. Again, there are heavenly views at this beach as well and way fewer people so if you’re after solitude, this La Push beach is certainly the one for you!

The town of La Push doesn’t have much so be sure to stock up before heading out here. The closest town with more variety is Forks, which is only about 20 minutes inland. None of the beaches offer up much in terms of amenities. First Beach is in town so you’ll have that right there but the other two have nothing, so plan accordingly.

Written by Nina and Garrett | Washington is for Adventure

Florida

Here are some of the best beaches you’ll find in Florida:

Sanibel

What better beach can there be but the seashell capital of the world, Sanibel, Florida? Take a lazy stroll along miles of sandy beaches, but bring a bucket. There are so many gorgeous shells to collect.

The only rule is that you can’t take live sea creatures home with you. Depending on how long you stay, you may want to check out the nearby shell museum or buy a book to identify your shell souvenirs.

One year, we actually witnessed the filming of Good Morning America here on National Seashell Day.

Sanibel is an island located at the southwest tip of Florida, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Gulf of Mexico.

Due to the Gulf influence, the waters are calmer than the ocean, making this a great place to try paddle boarding and kayaking.

Almost all accommodations are beachfront, so it is easy to have equipment delivered to you to use during your stay.

Sanibel
Sanibel

You can also go on dolphin sighting tours. However, if you are lucky you may catch a glimpse of these playful creatures jumping around in the water right from the beach.

There are many restaurants dotting the island. While I recommend going out for some good seafood while you are here, I suggest staying in a beachfront condo and bringing your own food. You can pick up groceries in Fort Myers before entering the island.

This way you are free to spend more time on the beach. After all, that’s why you came. We stayed in the Sundial Beach Resort. But you don’t have to be staying here for your kids to take advantage of Sanibel Sea School.

If they are budding marine biologists, sign them up for some hands-on experiences. Half day or full day classes are available with subjects such as sharks and sea turtles. The classes are a combination of indoor learning and time at the beach.

This is my favorite beach for family vacations because it has activities for all ages. Staying on the beach makes it easy to head inside for younger kids’ naps. There is also a good balance between adventurous activities and just relaxing, listening to the waves. 

Written by Donna | Explore the Road with Donnamarie

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Miami Beach

Located in South Florida, Miami beach is one of the most popular beaches in the country, famous for its 9 miles of white sand coast and turquoise waters.

A great place for both relax and adventure, Miami Beach offers a variety of activities, ranging from watersports (surf, kitesurfing, jetski, etc) to some of the best nightlife in the country, in addition to art galleries, unique architecture, world-class shopping, luxury hotels and spas and an amazing diverse cuisine. 

Take a walk around Ocean Drive (the most famous street of Miami). Discover the authentic Art deco architecture of Miami Beach, including the Versace’s mansion, the former home of the fashion designer Gianni Versace.

Delight your palate in the historic Española Way, a world renown dining area with a variety of restaurants and cuisines.

Miami Beach is a must beach to visit on a trip to the USA
Miami Beach

Discover the shopping experience in Lincoln Road,  a world-famous shopping street with hundreds of stores and galleries, or just enjoy a cocktail in one of the many bars and clubs that this vibrant city has. 

If you are willing to explore furthermore, cross one of the many bridges that connect Miami beach with Mainland Miami, and visit Downtown Miami. The urban center of the city, featuring everything from bars and shoppings to cultural centers and museums.

Wynwood is also a must, the most famous cultural district of Miami, known for its many colorful murals, basically an outdoor museum, a hub for contemporary and street art. 

Written by Selene | She Is Wanderlust

Tigertail Beach on Marco Island

One of the best and most unique beaches in southwest Florida is Tigertail Beach on Marco Island, the largest of the Ten Thousand Islands in southwest Florida. The beaches here are some of the most beautiful in the country and are consistently rated among the best in Florida.

There are actually two very different beaches at Tigertail Beach; the inner lagoon beach and the outer beach on the sand of the Gulf of Mexico.

You have the choice of staying on the beach along the tidal lagoon where kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, beach chairs and umbrellas are all available for rent.

This beach has a tall covered bird watching tower that has a 360° panoramic view of the surrounding area.

Tigertail Beach on Marco Island
Tigertail Beach on Marco Island

This is where you’ll find the parking area, a very nice snack bar, public restrooms, picnic tables, and outdoor showers. If you don’t have a Collier County beach parking pass, parking is $8 per day or $1.50 per hour.

To get to the outer beach you’ll have to wade a short distance across the shallow part of the lagoon. That’s the fun of Tigertail Beach. Just watch for other folks crossing and follow them. You can float your cooler and carry your chairs alongside you with your other beach belongings. 

Once you wade through the shallow water and reach the other side, you’ll find the pristine soft white sand, gentle surf, amazing shelling, and possibly the best view of the setting sun on Marco Island. It’s never crowded and is a perfect beach for swimming. With plenty of family and kid friendly amenities, there’s plenty to do for a few hours or for the day.

Written by Lori | Naples Florida Travel Guide

Vero Beach

Vero Beach located on the Treasure Coast of Florida is one of the best beaches in the USA.  It offers an exciting history, beautiful landscape, and an overall unique beach experience you will not find anywhere else. 

During the early 1800’s many Spanish ships sailed along this coast.  Many of these ships sank and treasure still lies at the bottom of the sea. Even today many people hunt for treasure along this beautiful beach.

One thing that makes this beach so unique is that one of the sunken ships is so close to the shore you can actually swim or kayak out to it and snorkel all around it. 

You will know exactly where the ship is because a tall pole protrudes from the water and an American flag is visible from shore. It is an amazing place to snorkel. There are so many tropical fish that like to hang out around the ship. 

Vero Beach
Vero Beach

After exploring the sunken ship you can explore the cute beach town, eat at some charming beachside restaurants, and even hire a fishing charter. 

There are some great accommodations along Vero Beach including a Disney Resort. If you are looking for a beach near Disney World and still want the Disney vibe, Vero Beach is the place.  Another amazing resort is Costa d’ Este.  Both of these resorts have direct beach access.  

Vero Beach offers a unique beach experience you will love!

Written by Lisa | Planning Away

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Siesta Keys Beach

Don’t believe that Siesta Keys Beach in Sarasota, FL  is one of the best beaches in the United States? Then talk to the folks at TripAdvisor.  Siesta Keys Beach was ranked as the #1 beach in 2020 with the TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice award.

Siesta Keys Beach is over eight miles of powder-white sand and turquoise water. In fact, the sand is made up of 99% quartz! Not only is the beach long, but it’s wide, 200-300 feet. The open space and beauty of the beach makes it a perfect destination for both family and adult enjoyment. 

Along the beach are multiple, large parking lots, making it relatively convenient to pack your car with all of your beach favorites and necessities. This is especially helpful for those traveling with kids.

Additionally, the beach is suited with a playground, tennis court, restrooms, concession stands (including beer and wine), and so much more. There is literally something for the entire family.

Siesta Keys Beach
Siesta Keys Beach

Since this is one of the best beaches in the United States, it is recommended that you arrive early as the beach fills up relatively quickly during peak season, especially the access points right off the Siesta Key Village.

The Siesta Key Village is a short walk from the beach. There you can find various restaurants, cafes, stores, and lodging.

In fact, there is a free shuttle which goes between Siesta Key Village and Turtle Beach. What’s better than being able to go from one beach to another, without worrying about transportation!

Written by Marquita | Marquitas Travels

Honeymoon Island

Looking for the best beaches to visit in the US? Look no further than Honeymoon Island State Park where you can find natural beauty and solitude.

It is not overcrowded like other Florida beaches, a perfect destination for all nature lovers and beach enthusiasts.

Located on the Florida Gulf Coast this natural barrier island still preserves the essence of old Florida and offers miles of pristine beaches with white sand, natural trails, and abundant wildlife.

The best way to reach Honeymoon Island State Park is via 2.5 miles long Dunedin Causeway. You can get an extensive view of scenic St. Joseph Sound on the causeway.

Honeymoon Island offers 4 miles of pristine shoreline. There are three popular beaches on Honeymoon Island – Main Beach, Pet Beach, and North Beach.

Honeymoon Island
Honeymoon Island

Although Main Beach is very rocky, it is ideal for shelling and walking. You will find designated areas for swimming on the Pet beach and North Beach. Keep an eye for the warning flags that indicate the swimming conditions of the beaches.

You will find here one of the best dog beaches near Tampa. This dog beach is a great place to spend some time with your puppies. You have to keep your dog on a leash but the soft sand, blue water, and lush green view assure you and your pet a great beach vacation.

Watching the sunset at Honeymoon Island is one of the most popular activities in this area. The sunset at Honeymoon Island is an incredible experience that you’ll find on Florida’s Gulf Coast. The vibrant colors of pinks, blues, purples, and oranges make a magical view as the blazing ball of sun descends.

Tip: Bring plenty of water and snacks, especially if you have a pet and a plan to hike.

Written by: Trijit Mallick | Dog Travel Buff

Miramar Beach

Miramar Beach near Destin, Florida is one of the best beaches in the United States.

Situated on the Emerald Coast, Miramar Beach boasts white sugar sand and refreshing emerald waters.

It’s a must-visit beach because it offers a variety of activities for both adults and kids. Plus, the water is crystal clear and you’ll feel like you’re on a luxurious vacation.

You can spend your time at the beach swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying the view.  The water is calm so it’s a great spot to snorkel and swim, especially for kids.

If you’re looking for some adventure, you can rent a jet ski, go parasailing, hop on a banana boat, and even go on a dolphin-watching tour.

Miramar Beach
Miramar Beach

The main beach access is located near Pompano Joe’s Seafood House and parking is free. Restrooms and wash stations are available at the beach access as well.

After a long day at the beach, grab dinner at Pompano Joe’s. They serve delicious seafood and the coconut shrimp is the best.

You can also explore Destin’s popular attractions. Take a walk on the Destin Harbor Boardwalk, check out Henderson Beach State Park, go on a day trip to Crab Island (a picturesque sandbar that’s definitely worth visiting), and do some shopping at Silver Sands Premium Outlets.

All in all, Miramar Beach is one of the best beaches in Florida. It is stunningly gorgeous and you’ll have a blast!

Written by Disha | Disha Discovers

Clearwater Beach

Nestled along the scenic Gulf of Mexico is the renowned Clearwater Beach. Known for its pristine white sand, world class sunsets and exquisite selection of restaurants and hotels, and all conveniently located within walking distance from the turquoise shores themselves. It’s easy to see why Clearwater Beach was actually dubbed the number one beach in all of the U.S in recent years! 

Clearwater Beach really is the perfect getaway. Be it as a solo trip to relax and unwind, a girls weekend away, a romantic couples destination or for a family-friendly holiday, there’s something at Clearwater for everyone.

The beach itself is composed of temperate waters that make for an idyllic reprieve from the Floridian sun, so opt for a swim or a snorkeling excursion at a nearby island.

You’ll find ample bathroom and showering facilities lining the waterfront, each of which are open for 24 hours a day, 364 days out of the year. 

Clearwater Beach
Clearwater Beach

In addition to these facilities, there are numerous shops and restaurants lining the beachfront. Simply take a stroll along the main road and peruse the eclectic selection. Just ensure that you leave yourself enough time to take in some activities available at Clearwater Beach too, such as parasailing, beach volleyball, jet skiing, stand up paddleboarding, or simply cycling/rollerblading down the beach’s picturesque promenade. 

If it’s kiddos you’re looking to entertain, the nearby aquarium is a popular choice. For a more traditional Clearwater Beach experience, hit up “Sunset at Pier 60” (Pier 60 is Clearwater’s infamous 1,000+ foot fishing pier, complete with recreational facilities), which boasts a variety of entertainment in the form of street performers, vendors, and more!

It’s also here that you can opt to partake in one of Clearwater’s famed fishing charters or cruises, such as a sunset and dinner cruise, a dolphin cruise for wildlife spotting, or if you’re really wanting to experience something out there; their pirate cruise! 

Needless to say, there’ll be no shortage of amenities, activities and waterfront relaxation to keep you busy and comfortable at the esteemed Clearwater Beach.

Written by Natasha | Planes, Trains and Karcz

Calusa Beach

One of the best beaches in the US can be found all the way in the Florida Keys. Calusa Beach is located inside Bahia Honda State Park on Big Pine Key, which is about two thirds of the way down US 1 on the way to Key West. 

Bahia Honda is one of the more tropical looking places in the Florida Keys and consists of two main beaches: Calusa Beach and Loggerhead Beach.

Calusa Beach is a curved shape with views of the Old Bahia Bridge and the Overseas Highway. While the beach is narrow, the sand is white and the area is dotted with palm trees and picnic tables.

Calusa Beach
Calusa Beach

The water is usually a two-tone blue and turquoise, giving it more of a tropical look. It’s also shallow here and a great place for families with kids to enjoy.

Because it’s a state park, you’ll find several facilities here, including a nature center, restrooms, gift shop and deli. You can rent snorkeling gear and kayaks through the state park as well as get a boat over to the reef to snorkel.

Another fun thing to do besides hit the beach, is take the short hike up to the old Bahia Honda Bridge. It gives you a great view of Calusa Beach from above as well as an ocean view from the Loggerhead side. Whether you plan on staying in the area or just stopping for the afternoon, it’s definitely a must-see on your trip to the Florida Keys.

Written by Ashley | Jetset Jansen

Naples

Naples Pier Beach located in Naples Florida, is the best beach in the USA. There are many reasons, first and foremost it is clean and beautiful. The sprawling white sand, and clear turquoise water will hypnotize you from the first time you see it.

The Naples Pier is lovely, and has restrooms, showers, and concessions all available. There is parking available for a fee nearby. It is perfect for couples looking to enjoy a picnic at sunset, or for families looking for a lovely beach day.

The Gulf of Mexico has little to no waves, so young swimmers can feel a bit safer wading into the waters here.

The Naples Pier beach often gets visited by dolphins, especially when the water is calm and it is closing in on sunset, so keep your eyes peeled.

Naples Beach
Naples Beach

If you are looking for a little more adventure, you can book some options nearby, including kayaking, stand up paddleboards, jet skis and sunset cruises. You can even rent a boat and take it out on the water if you are feeling like getting your captain on.

Naples Florida also offers amazing weather, (year-round, but many might find the summer a little warm), tons of outdoor shopping, dining, and late-night options to keep your crowd busy.

You can even visit one of the parks, rent kayaks and explore some of the mangroves. You really cannot beat Naples Pier Beach and the Naples area for an amazing beach vacation.

Written by Rebecca | Whatever Packs Your Bag

South Beach

Miami in Florida is one of the best places in the USA to catch some sun and some time at the beach. Miami enjoys some of the most excellent weather in the US, with temperatures usually pleasant most times of the year, making it an ideal beach destination, even when it is winter in most parts of the world.

You can do quite a few things in Miami, like visit Little Havana and watch the locals playing games or have some authentic Cuban cuisine. Wynwood walls are pretty popular due to the colourful murals that are always quite catchy and have a message to share.

South Beach
South Beach

However, the one thing that people make sure not to miss out on when in Miami is to spend some time at the numerous relaxing and beautiful beaches. South Beach is the most popular, and it is here you will find the most colourful beach huts that provide respite from the heat for the coast guards.

In addition to relaxing on the beach and catching up on your reading, you can also go snorkelling here and rent gear from nearby shops. Ideal for every type of traveller, you can also go for speedboat rides or take a walk down Ocean Drive and grab some fresh seafood too!

Written by Lavina | Continent Hop

California

Here are some of the best beaches you’ll find in California:

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach has a coastline that stretches around 7 miles around and consists of 27 beaches and coves. One of our favourite beaches here is Main Beach, it’s the largest of the beaches around this area. 

Laguna Beach is part of the Orange County region in Southern California and this part of California is well known for its warm weather and sunshine.

There is plenty of space here to lay your beach towel and the water is great for swimming, boogie boarding and surfing. There are lifeguards here too so it’s perfect knowing extra eyes are looking out for your safety. In fact, there is a famous lifeguard tower in the middle just of the walkway that stretches around the beach. This is a well-known landmark as it was built in 1929.

Just off the sand (towards the northern end) there are volleyball nets and basketball courts for those looking to get active. As well as plenty of grass areas for those looking to relax.

Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach

Our kids loved the playground here and although it can get quite busy there was plenty to challenge them and our kids didn’t mind waiting a couple of minutes here and there. It wasn’t long before they were chatting with other kids and making friends.

Heisler Park is at the north end of the beach, again just stick to the path that flows around the beach. This park has walking trails, beautifully manicured gardens, sculptures including a piece from one of New York’s Twin Towers. Local artists are also set up around the park showing off their talents and their pieces are all for sale. The views of the coastline from here are spectacular and make a perfect photo opportunity. 

From the park you can also head down to the tide pools and begin to explore for marine life, it’s a hidden gem. Again our kids love this spot. To be honest, it’s great fun for everyone. The tide pools are part of the State Marine Conservation Area so make sure you don’t take anything, this includes rock, saline, shells, etc

Finally one of our favourite cafes is here. On the corner of N Pacific Coast Highway and Aster St is Urth Caffe. Their organic coffee is the best and there is a range of delicious food, something for everyone’s taste buds.

Written by Scott | 4 Degrees of Destination

Del Mar Dog Beach

The Del Mar Dog Beach in San Diego, isn’t only one of the best beaches in California for humans, it’s also one of the best beaches in California for our little furry friends as well!

Going to the beach is fun, but if you can share this adventure with your dog, it can be much more fun. Especially, when your dog can be off-leash on the beach!

The north beach in Del Mar is known as the Del Mar Dog beach, and is the only place dogs can be off-leash in the area and enjoy running around the beach, maybe getting in the water, and having a great time with their owners.

Typically, in this beautiful beach you can find many surfers, volleyball courts, and of course – many adorable dogs!

As for parking, you can find great parking spots along Camino del Mar, behind the beach, and also at 29th Street.

As for activities, the main activity in this beach is having a great time with your dog, who can also enjoy some off-leash time, which is always fun for them.You can bring some toys, balls, freebies, play with your dogs, as well as go swimming with them (if they like it of course), and help them meet up with new dogs and make some new friends!

If all of these fun dog friendly activities aren’t enough, you can also see some beautiful sunsets at the Del Mar Dog Beach!

Written by Chelsey | Chelsey Explores

Santa Monica

Santa Monica Beach is one of the most iconic beaches in California and the entire United States.

Quintessentially SoCal, Santa Monica is over 3 miles long, and located just west of downtown Los Angeles.

The beach has something for everyone, and between the Santa Monica Pier and the accommodations dotting the shoreline, you won’t run out of things to do.

The beach is most recognizable by the Santa Monica Pier, which juts out directly over the Pacific Ocean. On the pier, you’ll find a full amusement park, Pacific Park, home to roller coasters and a ferris wheel to delight your adventurous little ones. Carnival games, food carts, performers, and more make the pier an exciting place to visit on the beach.

And then there’s the beach itself! North of the pier, North Beach Playground is an accessible playground that makes the beach ideal for young children.

Santa Monica Beach
Santa Monica Beach

South of the pier, you’ll find some of the more famous hotels in the area, including Hotel Casa del Mar, and the world-famous Original Muscle Beach, where athletes like to show off their tans while using the gymnastics equipment.

The wide, sandy swath of beach welcomes large crowds to play and sunbathe, and beach volleyball is a common activity on the sand.

But the ocean is alluring as well! Rentals are available for beach chairs and umbrellas, but also paddleboards and surfboards. 

The beach has paid parking available, restrooms, picnic areas, and staffed lifeguard stands for safety.

Roads to the beach can be crowded in the summer, but if you’re staying in L.A., several public bus routes drop off passengers right at the beach. Plus, while in California, you might as well take a bus from Los Angeles to San Francisco and check out some of the beautiful (albeit colder) beaches in the Bay Area.

Written by Mary | Bucket List Places

Carpinteria State Beach

If you are looking for one of the best beaches in the USA, Carpinteria State Beach is worth checking. Located in Southern California, only a few miles away from the city of Santa Barbara, Carpinteria has a lot to offer to families and adventure travelers.  It is even one of the best swimming beaches in California.

It has miles of white sands, small surfing waves and amazing sea creatures. While on the beach, you’ll be able to admire the beautiful landscape filled with palm trees, rocky formations, mountains and of course white sands. Afar, you’ll even see the Channel Islands.

The beach is home to harbor seals and dolphins. You may be lucky enough to swim near them early morning or later evening.

Carpinteria

There are also some tidepools where kids can safely play for hours and spot such starfish, sea anemones, crabs and sea urchins.

Carpinteria State Beach also offers camping facilities. As with many California State and National campgrounds and camping beaches, it’s important to reserve in advance to assure availability. While the campsites are not directly on the beach, you’ll fall asleep to the sounds of the ocean. It’s a short walking distance to the beach using an accessible boardwalk. For little travelers, there is a great playground called the Tomol Interpretive Play Area.

Written by Emilie | Love Life Abroad

Cayucos Beach

Cayucos is a small town on the California coast, roughly 3.5 hours from Los Angeles and San Francisco by road.

This seaside town has a laid-back atmosphere with long stretches of beach where you can relax and enjoy water activities at Cayucos State Beach in high temperatures of 70°F and lows of 40°F.

Cayucos State Beach is ideal for families and couples. Visitors can enjoy water activities such as swimming, surfing, and paddleboarding in the Pacific Ocean. There is also a playground right on the beach for young kids to play in between swims.

Right next to the playground are restroom facilities so you can stay all day at the beach! Cayucos is also dog-friendly, so you can bring your four-legged pet along.

Apart from water activities, visitors can stroll along the Cayucos Pier right on the beach, which was originally a port for commercial business with ships, but now is a site for the Whale Trail.

March and April are some of the best times to visit the Cayucos Pier as mother whales and their calves can be spotted swimming near the shoreline.

Cayucos Pier
Cayucos Pier

The best part of Cayucos State Beach is the line of restaurants on the oceanfront that are accessible within a minute’s walk.

For brunch, head to the Hidden Kitchen for some tasty blue corn waffles or tacos and a cold smoothie. Schooners, a restaurant filled with pirate statues and a great view, has mouthwatering halibut and chips.

Duckies, located right before the Cayucos Pier, has the quickest service with delicious blackened fish. After getting delicious seafood, walk a few minutes across the street to grab dessert at the Brown Butter Cookie Company. These cookies are made fresh daily and literally melt in your mouth!

Although the beach can be the only activity on your itinerary, there is so much more to do in Cayucos such as exploring the tidepools at the Estero Bluffs, finding all 9 local murals, and shopping at antique stores.

One of the best places to stay is at Shoreline Inn which is the only accommodation with beach access. Besides March and April, another great time to visit Cayucos is in November. However you decide to spend your time in Cayucos, you’ll have an amazing experience.

Written by Pafoua | Her Wanderful World

El Matador

One of the best beaches in the USA is located on the cliffs of the West Coast in Malibu, California! Famous for its cliff outcrops, El Matador Beach is one of the most famous beaches in California and one of the best day trips on a Los Angeles itinerary.

El Matador State Beach in California is a part of the  Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach, which includes two additional beaches. 

The unique cliffs might remind you of the beaches you see in Portugal! In fact, tons of movies and music videos have been filmed here! Therefore, it is not uncommon to find photoshoots happening at the beach, especially around sunset, which is absolutely stunning at this beach!. 

During a visit to El Matador Beach, you will find parking off the side of the highway atop the cliff. After parking, you will have to descend down the cliff to the beach.

El Matador,
El Matador,

Please note, it could be difficult to bring small children, or big items that need to be carried. Additionally, limited bathrooms are at the top, but no other facilities or lifeguard is present.

Besides the stunning caves at El Matador, you can also enjoy swimming in the Pacific Ocean, getting sun, and checking out the small tide pools around the rocks that usually have crabs and Mussels. 

The best time to visit El Matador is in the winter if you are looking to avoid summer crowds or during the weekday. Additionally, visiting during low tide allows you to explore the cliffs better!

Written by Sam | Find Love and Travel

Hawaii

Visiting some of the islands, then check out these amazing beaches in Hawaii:

Poipu Beach

Poipu Beach, located on the south shore of the Hawaiian island of Kauai is made up of two white sand crescents separated by a sand bar. 

There is something for everyone to enjoy at this popular beach: the shallow calm waters are perfect for young children (there is also a lifeguardon duty 7 days a week), and there are rocky reef areas where you can snorkel. Only a 4 minutes walk across the grass, nearby Brennecke’s Beach are bigger waves, great spot to watch surfers! 

Wildlife is common here. Along with tropical fish, you have a good chance of seeing sea turtles and monk seals swimming and sunbathing on the sand. From December to April, if you’re lucky, you might even spot Humpback whales out to sea! 

Poipu Beach, Hawaii
Poipu Beach

Behind the beach is Poipu Beach Park, a grassy area with picnic tables and beach showers, and beyond that are restaurants, bars and facilities renting everything you’ll need for a day at the beach, from snorkel gear, beach chairs and umbrellas to boogie boards, surf boards and stand-up paddle boards. 

For dinner or drinks we’d particularly recommend Brennecke’s Beach Broiler: right on the beach with beautiful sunset ocean views, this chilled out restaurant has been a local and tourist favourite for over 30 years. Enjoy a Lava Lava Flow cocktail traditional with Hawaiian pupus (small plates like tapas) like seared Ahi, Poke tacos and coconut shrimp. 

Only 15 miles from Lihue Airport, Poipu beach has a large car park and is really easy to visit, and if you’d like to make this area your base for a Kauai trip, there is a great range of accommodation available from bed and breakfasts and rented villas to a Marriott resort right on the beach front. 

Written by Emma | Team Thomas Travels

Punalu’u Black Sands Beach

Punalu’u Beach is one of the most famous black sands beaches in the United States. It is a beautiful beach and it is really common to see the endangered Hawksbill turtles and other kinds of turtles laying on the beach.

An accessible beach which is great. Some of the other black sands beaches in Hawaii require long hikes but this one you can drive almost right to it. This lovely beach is great for swimming, snorkeling, hiking, and picnicking.

While the beach is suitable for swimming, you do need to exercise some caution. There can be strong currents at times so you need to be careful and check the conditions before getting in the water. It can be especially dangerous if the surf is high.

Punalu’u Black Sands Beach
Punalu’u Black Sands Beach

If the water is calm you can get in some decent snorkeling at the beach. There is moderate visibility in the water, but it is a great place to snorkel with turtles if the weather conditions are favorable. Another great place to snorkel nearby is Ninole Cove.

There are restroom facilities, an outdoor shower, and a picnic area at Punalu’u Beach. There are also lifeguards on-site from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.

Punalu’u Black Sands Beach is on the south-eastern side of the Big Island in Hawaii. It is about 20 minutes outside Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park and an hour south of Hilo, Hawaii.

Written by Candice | CS Ginger 

Kaanapali Beach

Kaanapali beach on the island of Maui, Hawaii is an absolutely stunning tropical beach. It has everything: lush tropical plants and flowers, gently swaying palm trees, a wide, clean, sandy beach that leads into clear, warm waters, and drop dead gorgeous resorts with expertly developed swimming pools overlooking the sea. 

One added perk of this beach is the Kaanapali Beachwalk, a pathway that runs 1.5 miles along the beach between the sand and the resorts. This palm tree lined path is a really nice way to get around the area to the many restaurants and attractions up and down the beach.  The beauty and relaxed nature of the path serve to enhance the whole experience at Kaanapali beach.

Besides the resorts and the beaches, there are some really fantastic options for things to do in Kaanapali.

Top of any list should be to experience a traditional Hawaiian luau and there are three different luaus right on the beach to choose from.

You can do all sorts of adventurous water activities right from Kaanapali beach, such as a catamaran snorkeling tour, a whale watching tour, or a parasailing experience. 

At sunset, head to the north end of the beach for the Sunset Ceremony at Black Rock – a Hawaiian “warrior” runs up to the point, lighting tiki torches along the way, and then dives off the cliff into the water. The ceremony honors the last chief of Maui, who proved his spiritual strength by diving from Black Rock into the ocean. 

Kaanapali Beach
Kaanapali Beach

If you’re a golfer, there’s a golf course right off the beach, with views over the ocean.

Prefer a little retail therapy? There’s an outdoor shopping complex – Whalers  Village – with boutiques, local shops, and luxury brands that’s right off the Kaanapali beachwalk. 

Want more adventure? Take a daytrip off the beach to bike down the Haleakala volcano, take a helicopter tour over the island, or go ziplining between ridges of the west Maui mountains. 

Kaanapali beach is a public beach and there is a public parking lot nearby. However, if you’re staying on the beach itself, I recommend staying at either the Marriott Maui Ocean Club or the Kaanapali Ali’i condominiums. 

This beach is a great destination for couples or families. If you are traveling with kids, there are enough activities that kids will enjoy, and most resorts have designated kid’s pools, with shallower waters and cool features. 

If you are traveling as a couple, the adult pools and romantically lush surroundings will be a wonderful getaway.

Whoever you choose to go with, Kaanapali Beach is an unforgettable tropical experience in the United States you must add to your bucket list!

Written by Stephanie | The Unknown Enthusiast

Lanikai Beach

Hawaii is teeming with some of the world’s most renowned beaches but Lanikai Beach on Oahu is often called the island’s most beautiful.

Lanikai Beach, or Kaʻōhao Beach, is located in Kailua not too far from Honolulu.

Lanikai is famous for its turquoise waters and the Mokulua islands (the ‘Mokes’) lurking in the backdrop. The word ‘Lanikai’ technically means ‘heavenly ocean’ and it is just that – you will have your choice of plenty of activities while visiting!

One of the best things to do in Kailua that will give you incredible views of Lanikai Beach is to go hiking to the Lanikai Pillbox. The hike to Lanikai Pillbox is on the Kaiwa Ridge trail and is a 1.8-mile heavily trafficked out and back.

Lanikai Beach as seen from above in Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii
Lanikai Beach as seen from above in Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii

Once you’re at the top, you will have awe-inspiring views over the region, but especially of the beach. It is best seen at sunrise when the entire ocean illuminates under golden hues.

From below, you will find the beach from one of the 6 beach paths to get there (opt for one of the first four as the others lead to eroded beaches).

Lanikai Beach is a popular spot for families as it is kid and pet friendly. However, there are no lifeguards on duty. The usually-calm sea makes a great alternative to Hanuma Bay for snorkelers, and it is an even better spot for sea kayaking. The Mokulua islands in the distance are fantastic places to kayak to.

Getting to Lanikai is pretty easy but can be cumbersome from Honolulu without your own vehicle. Expect about 40 minutes by car if you’re driving (and about double that if taking a bus). 

Written by Megan and Aram | Next Is Hawaii

Puerto Rico

Another island with some great beaches:

Flamenco Beach

If you’re looking for the best beaches in the USA, then look no further than Flamenco Beach, Puerto Rico! Nestled on the tiny island of Culebra off the mainland, Flamenco Beach is routinely rated one of the best beaches in the Caribbean, and the world!

To get to Flamenco Beach, you have two options. For a day trip, you can book a tour. Considering that only gives you a few hours to see this magnificent beach, the second option is recommended. You can take a ferry or small plane to Culebra from mainland PR. You can stay just one night or a week on Culebra, depending on how much time you have. Once there, rent a Jeep to see the beach.

There’s a small fee to enter Flamenco Beach (less than $10), but it’s well worth the cost.

Flamenco Beach, Puerto Rico
Flamenco Beach, Puerto Rico

There are plenty of amenities at Flamenco Beach. Food trucks, restrooms, showers, etc. all greet visitors. You can even rent snorkel gear or beach chairs and umbrellas for ultimate comfort. 

The beach is crescent-shaped, lined with palm trees and beautiful rolling hills. It’s simply stunning!

The sand is incredibly soft and free of seashells and seaweed. The biggest waves are in the center of the crescent, so for shallow waters or less waves walk to one end of the beach or the other. Kids especially love seeing the old painted tanks at the west end of the crescent.

Flamenco Beach is one of the most stunning beaches in the world, and one you must see with your own eyes!

Written by Nikki | She Saves She Travels

Virginia

Here are some of the best beaches you’ll find in Virginia:

Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is a family-friendly coastal escape that enchants with surfing waves, a three-mile long boardwalk, multi-colored murals, and lots to do outside, like horseback riding on the beach and paddling easy-going waterways in search of bottlenose dolphins and river otters.

Make the 34-foot-tall King Neptune statue at the 31st Street beach entrance one of your first stops in Virginia Beach. Selfies with this underwater god are a must-do.

Just off the beach, wander the ViBe Creative District for vibrantly-hued murals, like the “Greetings from Virginia Beach” mural on 19th Street.

Stop in Lolly’s Creamery for a scoop of Mint Chocolate Chip or Cookie Monster.

Virginia Beach
Virginia Beach

Let the kids burn off energy on climbing structures and slides at 15,000-square-foot Grommet Island Beach Park. This wheelchair-accessible playground welcomes children and families of all abilities. It’s just off the boardwalk at the 2nd Street beach entrance.

Make Mount Trashmore your nest stop to fly a kite at this city park that was once an abandoned landfill.

At First Landing State Park, a hike along the Bald Cypress Trail guides moms, dads and kids across a freshwater swamp that wows with curious bald cypress trees with “knobby knees”. It’s one of the best hikes in Virginia Beach. Bring your bikes too to pedal the six-mile Cape Henry Trail at this state park.

Settle in for the night at the Holiday Inn & Suites Virginia Beach-North Beach, which has an indoor lazy river pool and a playful splash lagoon. There’s also an oceanfront outdoor pool and a 48-seat movie theatre at this kid-friendly stay that’s just steps from the beach. 

Written by Erin | Go Hike Virginia

South Carolina

Here are some of the best beaches you’ll find in South Carolina

Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach is definitely one of the best beaches in the USA, regardless of your age. With tons of family-friendly attractions, endless choices for golf lovers, plus 60 miles of Grand Strand coastline.

Myrtle Beach is so much fun however you like to spend your day.

The recently refurbished Myrtle Beach boardwalk gives that iconic, old-school summertime vibe. It’s perfect for strolling along with an ice cream cone in hand, people-watching and enjoying the salty air. 

There are also tons of restaurants and bars along the way. And you can’t miss shopping at the Gay Dolphin!

You also can’t miss a ride on the SkyWheel to get a jaw-dropping view from nearly 200 feet up in the air.

Definitely consider going to Myrtle Beach on Memorial Day Weekend so you can start the summer off right. 

Unlike some other East Coast beaches at that time of year, it’s already in the 80s and the water temps are already warm enough for a comfortable swim.

Speaking of swimming, there are obviously tons of water activities in Myrtle Beach! 

Myrtle Beach Skyline
Myrtle Beach Skyline

Rent a jet ski, try kayaking, or go parasailing, but the unique draw here is taking a dolphin sightseeing tour. Watching these super social animals frolicking in the waves in the wild is just such an awesome experience.

For the kids, Ripley’s Believe It or Not and WonderWorks are fun options indoors while beach fun is free and endlessly entertaining. 

For adults, Myrtle Beach doesn’t shy away from nightlife and fun! 

There’s also interesting history in this part of South Carolina. Go to Brookgreen Gardens to learn about the Gullah Geechee culture and language, endemic to this southeastern coastal region of the US.

If you’re a golfer, there are around 90 courses in the Myrtle Beach area, plus some mini-golf courses for a laugh. Grab an early tee time to avoid the midday heat though.

Finally, Myrtle Beach offers tons of entertainment, from Elvis or Motown tribute shows to pirate dinner shows and theater. 

While lots of beach destinations are really just all about being in the sun and sea, Myrtle Beach brings a whole lot more to the table! That’s ideal in case you happen to get bad weather…or a bad sunburn on the first day. 

By Amanda, Hey! East Coast USA

North Carolina

Here are some of the best beaches you’ll find in North Carolina:

Emerald Isle

One of the best, and most underrated places to visit in the United States for beach lovers is North Carolina’s Crystal Coast. And one of the highlights of the Crystal Coast is Emerald Isle, a town situated on beautiful Bogue Banks Island.

Emerald Isle is a great getaway for many different reasons, but most definitely for its beaches. The island contains several different public (and private ) beaches stretching all the way up to Atlantic Beach to its north.

The area around Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier is a great place for families to enjoy Emerald Isle Beach and some of the main restaurants, like The Trading Post (Southern Food and Spirits) and Plaza Mexico.

It is also near the Beachfront RV park which is a great place for those looking to camp while visiting Emerald Isle.

Sand Dunes and American Beachgrass at Emerald Isle in North Carolina.
Sand Dunes and American Beachgrass at Emerald Isle in North Carolina.

If you’re an active traveler, you can take surf lessons at El Surf Lessons in Emerald Isle or go hiking on the other side of the Bogue Inlet at beautiful Hammocks Beach State Park.

It is a hotspot for kayakers and those looking to do some coastal hiking, the 2.7-mile lightly trafficked out and back trail will take you directly along the beach (and it is dog-friendly). It is also the perfect spot to relax at Headys Beach, the most notable beach inside the park.

If you’re looking for things to do in Emerald Isle with children, you will find plenty of activities to occupy the entire family! Kids will love the Salty Pirate Waterpark and Fun World Motorsports. Emerald Isle truly is one of the most picturesque and activity-packed beaches on the East Coast.

Written by Megan and Aram | Virginia Travel Tips

Maine

Here are some of the best beaches you’ll find in Maine:

Sand Beach, Acadia

Sand Beach is not only the only sandy ocean beach in Acadia National Park, it’s also one of the most beautiful places in the entire park. 

The ‘sand’ that gives the beach its name is actually made from tiny fragments of broken shells created over thousands of years by the pounding surf. 

The beach is only 290 yards long, and is nestled between rocky outcrops on both sides, with a lagoon behind, and framed by the woods-covered Acadian hills, including the famous Beehive. The beach and setting are stunning but be warned – this is Maine after all, and the water is cold, even in summer!

Sand Beach
Sand Beach

There are restrooms, changing rooms and a parking area. It’s also one of the stops on the free national park shuttle bus that runs from nearby Bar Harbor.  A lifeguard is on duty in the busy summer season.  Pets are only allowed on the beach from mid-September to mid-May.

Sand Beach is also the start of a couple of great hikes.  The Ocean Path begins at the far end of the upper parking lot and hugs the coastline for 1.5 miles each way, passing Thunder Hole on the way.

Another trail leads around the Great Head headland.  That chilly water is welcome after working up a sweat on a hike!

Written by James | Parks Collecting

Maryland

Here are some of the best beaches you’ll find in Maryland:

Assateague Island

Off the coast of Eastern Shore Maryland, you’ll find Assateague Island National Seashore, one of the best beaches in the U.S. for nature lovers. 

The pristine white sandy beach stretches for miles along the Atlantic Ocean. It’s perfect for swimming, surfing, boogie boarding and sunbathing, but some of the best things to do are over the protective sand dunes.

Hundreds of species of birds including bald eagles, ospreys, great blue herons, and egrets inhabit this barrier island. The best way to spot them is to take one of the wooden platform nature trails through the marsh. You’re also likely to see fish swimming through the reeds, and if you’re lucky, some deer.

Assateague Island
Assateague Island

Assateague is most famous for its 2 herds of wild horses that roam freely. They may be spotted in the beach parking lot, on the dunes, in the marsh, on the uncrowded beach, and sometimes even on the roads. Although they seem tame, you must stay 40 feet away as they bite and kick; definitely do not try and feed them.

In regards to feeding yourself—while there are public restrooms and a visitors center, there are no restaurants, bars, or stores on the island. So, bring your food and drink with you, or stop in Ocean City or Berlin before you cross the bridge and fuel up. 

Witten by Denise | Chef Denise

Georgia

Here are some of the best beaches you’ll find in Georgia:

Simmons Island

Situated on the Lake Michigan Shore, Simmons Island is a beach and park. It is one of the best beaches to visit in the USA because it has a serene and calm environment, far from the crowded city routine.

Every year, the beach and park attracts thousands of Chicagoians towards its calmness. The beach is surrounded by two beautiful, colorful and historic lighthouses. Furthermore, the sand spread across the beach ensures that there is enough space for the visitors to have some rest under the sun.

The beach is most popular for its boardwalk, an open air picnic pavilion, a bike trail, lighthouse and a playground.

The fact that the beach is never overcrowded despite being one of the best beaches in Wisconsin makes it perfect for couples. The beach is situated in Kenosha, which has a chill downtown, making it preferct for families too.

They can explore bars and stunning restaurants after spending a day at the beach. The best time to visit there is summer, during the months of June to September.

Simmons Island
Simmons Island

Travelers can make a visit to the beach and enjoy a lot of fun activities including picnicking, exploring the bike trail, playing games at the playgrounds, discover the beauty of lighthouses, exploring the bars and restaurants in Kenosha’s downtown and even more.

During summer, the beach is filled with food trucks selling delicous foods. The 8-mile shoreline along the beach and the surroundings are perfectly suitable for a city-break vacation.

Moreover, the beach and island are fully facilitated with delicious food, adventurous activities, bars and restaurants and even luxurious stays.

Travelers looking to have a stay near the beach may consider the nearby top-rated hotels like Country Inn and Suites by Radisson.

Written by Paulina | Paulina on the Road

Conclusion 

Oh wow, there are some amazing selections of the best beaches in USA. We can’t wait to check these out on our next adventures to the USA.  

You can now plan a beach stop on your next holiday in the USA. 

What was the best beach you visited? Is there somewhere you would recommend but we haven’t mentioned? Maybe there’s a specific beach you have always wanted to visit, but not been yet? Tell us about it, by leaving a comment below. 

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Best beaches in USA
Best beaches in USA
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10 Comments

  1. Coming from Florida, I can agree with this list of Florida beaches! I love the look and feel of some of the Northern beaches such as Oregon 🙂

  2. I love the feel of Cannon beach. It’s very relaxing, even if it’s too cold to stay in long. I’ve always had Siesta Key on my “list” and hope to experience that soft white sand someday!

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