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10 Best Beaches in the US to Visit This Summer

best beaches in us

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If you’ve been counting down the days to plan your ideal summer vacation, now might be the perfect time to finally book those tickets. With the summer solstice here, it’s time to embrace the season, cash in that PTO, and take off on a getaway. And between the hot weather and the longer days, who wouldn’t want to be on a beach right now? Packing your bags for one of the best beaches in the US is an fast-track pass to relaxing this summer.

The best US beaches are far more than just your typical white sand oceanfronts. Some are known for their impressive driftwood pieces, some are known for their native ponies, and others have had famous visitors for decades. Whatever your favorite style of beach, there’s at least one on our list that will surprise you. So pack your beach bags and lather up on sunscreen—and don’t forget to have your favorite pool toys and beach games ready for travel!


Sanibel Island, Florida

sanibel island blind pass florida

Bowman’s Beach, Blind Pass Beach, and Gulfside City Park Beach are three of the most beautiful beaches in Sanibel Island, Florida. Each have their own beautiful shorelines and offerings. But Blind Pass Beach, seen here, is special for its bridge that connects two islands: Captiva and Sanibel. The Gulf beach is filled with pristine seashells, shark teeth, and wildlife like blue herons.

Stay: The beachfront island sanctuary Sanibel Island Beach Resort, the Lighthouse (a luxury villa directly across from the beach), or the highly-walkable Parrot Nest Cottages.
Dine: Gramma Dot’s at the Sanibel Marina for casual dockside eats, MudBugs Cajun Kitchen for live music and delicious bites, or Wickies Lighthouse Restaurant for relaxed, coastal vibes.
Visit: Rent a bike from Billy’s Rentals and explore the whole coastline on cycle, visit the captivating Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum & Aquarium, or sail along the water and sightsee with a ticket to Copacetic Day Sail.


Jekyll Island, Georgia

driftwood beach on jekyll island, georgia

Photo by Zach Reiner on Unsplash.

At Driftwood Beach in Jekyll Island, Georgia, expect to see a near endless amount of picturesque pieces of driftwood and fallen trees. It looks like something almost otherwordly! Though the beach is rugged and rocky, the views are unforgettable. Make sure to bring a camera so you can brag about your journeys on Pinterest.

Stay: The beach island resort Jekyll Island Club Resort near the Jekyll Island National Park, the ritzy beachfront Jekyll Ocean Club, or rent an entire home at the Island Vibe.
Dine: Grab a fresh, delicious bite at the quintessential Beach House, visit the Georgia craft brewery Silver Bluff, and then treat your sweet tooth to some fresh fudge and ice cream at the Island Sweets Shoppe.
Visit: Visit the Georgia Sea Turtle Center and learn more about the local sea turtle rescue, or go on a guided kayak tour of the entire island to see the sights up close.


Coronado Beach, San Diego, California

coronado beach san diego california

Coronado Beach, right off the coast of San Diego, is a scenic waterfront filled with a variety of views and landscapes. You can see the San Diego skyline on one end, and the endless Pacific Ocean waters on the other. As a beach town, Coronado is known for its relaxed vibe and prominent fame in Old Hollywood. The iconic Hotel del Coronado was actually featured in Marilyn Monroe’s 1958 film Some Like it Hot, and has been a popular vacation spot for many actors, celebrities, and people of interest, like the Duke of Windsor, Thomas Edison, Charles Lindbergh, and Charlie Chaplin, to name a few.

Stay: Stay at the iconic Hotel del Coronado for a truly memorable experience, or embrace the California class at El Cordova Hotel in historic downtown.
Dine: Grab a fresh bite at The Henry, an ĂĽber-stylish cafe, and then stop by the Moo-Time Creamery for a sweet treat.
Visit: If you plan on bringing your pup, the North Beach is dog-friendly. Boogie board or paddleboard to your heart’s content—gentle waves face west, and tranquil waters face the bay.


Cannon Beach, Oregon

cannon beach oregon

Cannon Beach is a small coastline city that perfectly combines the salty air beach feel with the moody mountains. Just south of the town, there are beautiful rock formations that hug the shoreline at Arcadia Beach. Haystack Rock, a marine garden just off the shore, is a seasonal destination for tufted puffins, while the 7-mile trail at Ecola State Park provides breathtaking ocean and lighthouse views. Just downtown you’ll find a bounty of boutiques, restaurants, and galleries to stroll around in after a day by the ocean.

Stay: Book the Inn at Cannon Beach for comfy rooms right in the downtown district, The White Heron Lodge for a seaside escape, or Surfsand Resort for a more upscale coastal experience.
Dine: Check out Castaways for delicious cajun creole seafood, the Lazy Susan Cafe for yummy brunch spread, or visit Pelican Brewing for classic pub grub.
Visit: Take a full-day guided Oregon coast tour from Portland, check out the working hot shop and art gallery at Icefire Glassworks, or get zen at the spa Elements by the Sea.


Ipswich, Massachusetts

crane beach ipswich massachusetts

Ipswich is a tiny coastal tine about 13 miles north of the historic Salem, Massachusetts. It’s known for its clams, especially celebrated at its annual Chowderfest. But apart from the delicious seafood, Ipswich is also well-known for Crane Beach, a barrier beach by the stunning Crane Estate. White sand stretches and wraps around the calm Ipswich Bay. Tide pools and sand bars can be enjoyed along the southern parts of the beach. The beach’s conservation efforts are also impressive. Crane Beach is one of the most important nesting sites in the world for piping plovers, a small shorebird that was once hunted almost to extinction.

Stay: The Holly House for a quaint stay in a historic Victorian-style home, the Briar Barn Inn for a spa-like escape, or stay at the iconic Crane Estate Inn, nestled inland near the beach.
Dine: Check out the small craft meadery 1634, or Choate Bridge Restaurant for delectable lobster rolls, fried clams, and other seafood favorites.
Visit: Walk through the grassy open field at Greenwood Farm and take a look at the historic Paine House, or tour the grand Castle Hill on the Crane Estate for a stunning experience of the Tudor Revival mansion.


Malibu, California

malibu california El Matador State Beach

Malibu, California is a chameleon—whatever you’re looking for in an oceanfront getaway, you’ll find it here. It’s known for its ritzy visitors and Hollywood vacays, but it’s also known well for its rich surf culture, sprawling waterfalls, and robust coastal sightseeing. And El Matador State Beach, in particular, is known as one of its most stunning beaches. El Matador has three small cliff-foot beaches. Its rock formations and caves make it a gorgeous beach for photos, unforgettable views, and breathtaking sunsets.

Stay: The chic and cozy Sonder The Beacon right on the beachfront, the effortlessly luxurious hotel and spa Santa Monica Proper Hotel, or instead go inland at the upscale and relaxing Calamigos Guest Ranch and Beach Club.
Dine: Go to Malibu Farm Restaurant for fresh cafe foods, Dukes Malibu for seafood right on the oceanfront, or head to Moonshadows if you’re looking for delicious vegan and vegetarian-friendly bites.
Visit: Take a surfing lesson, go on a private Malibu wineries tour, or take a scenic electric mountain biking tour to see the sights up close.


Fajardo, Puerto Rico

This small, uninhabited island in Puerto Rico looks like something right out of a postcard. Fajardo is an eastern Puerto Rican beach town with iconic water sports, boat life, and the bioluminescent Laguna Grande. The beach at Cayo Icacos is also one of the main attractions in town. Its crystal-clear waters and perfect white sand beaches line the coast, looking and feeling like a true island paradise.

Stay: Book a suite right near the bioluminescent laguna at El Conquistador Resort, or stay at the private, relaxing Villa Camelia right near the beach.
Dine: Las Vistas Cafe has fantastic fresh local foods and Carribean flare, and La Estacion features fun seafood barbecue bites.
Visit: Go night kayaking at Laguna Grande to get a glimpse of the bioluminescent bay glowing in the moonlight, take a guided rainforest tour with family, or take a snorkeling and boat tour on the shores of Cayo Icacos.


Assateague Island, Maryland

assateague island maryland

Assateague Island is a 37-mile strip that spans the coastlines of both Virginia and Maryland. The Maryland side is more convenient for those looking to swim, camp, boat, and see wild ponies, while the Virginia side is almost all National Park land. The island itself is uninhabited, so make sure you plan a whole day to visit the beach and witness the breathtaking views. Note: Though these wild ponies might seem harmless to pet or feed, it’s important to let them be. For your safety and the safety of the horses, obey park regulations and leave the Assateague horses alone.

Stay: Since the island is uninhabited, you’ll have to travel inland for food, hotels, and supplies. Book the coastal-chic Lavender Beach House close by, or rent the entire home at the charming coastal Assateague Pointe.
Dine: The Assateague Crab House in Berlin for local shellfish and beers, or Sinepuxent Brewing Company for a friendly comfort food.
Visit: Go on an off-road vehicle tour of the island to enjoy a unique experience, or take a kayak tour to see the sights from a new perspective.


Cape Lookout, North Carolina

cape lookout lighthouse in north carolina

Cape Lookout is the southernmost point of the Core Banks, a barrier island on North Carolina’s Atlantic coast. Among its allure is Cape Lookout’s gorgeous wildlife, rich history of shipwrecks and sailors, and its beautiful waterfront. The Cape Lookout lighthouse is a famous relic that’s interior is now closed to the public, but you can still look on in admiration from the beach.

Stay: The pet-friendly sound front Whispering Oaks, the charming and cozy Core Sound Lodge, or stay right on the water’s edge at the Lookout Harbor.
Dine: Aqua Restaurant for some fusion flare, Fish Hook Grill for fresh catches, or 34° North Restaurant and Bar for unbeatable crab cakes.
Visit: Go on a sunset cruise and explore the shore for sand dollars and seashells, or book a private tour uniquely designed for your experience preferences.


Koloa, Hawaii

poipu beach, koloa, hawaii at sunset

Photo by Benjamin R. on Unsplash.

Poipu Beach in Koloa, Hawaii has earned itself a name for its stunning sun-drenched shores and sunset views, but it also has near-perfect waters for things like swimming, bodyboarding, surfing, and snorkeling. Fingers crossed, you might even catch a glimpse of a Hawaiian monk seal here, too. The clear, warm waters and towering palm trees make the beach, and the town of Koloa, a picturesque island experience.

Stay: The family-friendly and beautifully-maintained Kaloa Landing Resort, stay just steps away from the beach at Kahala 623, or rent the quiet Sugar Mill Cottage for a relaxing getaway.
Dine: Keoki’s Paradise for local Hawaiian cuisine in the shopping district, Ilima Terrace Restaurant for a tropical eatery with gorgeous scenery, or Tidepools for a romantic waterfront meal.
Visit: Explore the coast like never before with the Secret Kauai Canyons & Coastlines Tour, go on a fun snorkeling adventure with the family, or embrace an adrenaline rush with a zipline tour through the gorgeous mountain valleys.

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