The Best Beaches in the US
by Daniel | Last Updated December 3rd, 2019
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the United States is home to approximately 95,471 miles of coastline. So, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the country is home to some of the world's best beaches.
America's beaches run the gamut from rock to sandy to energetic to desolate. Regardless of your preferences, there's an American beach that will suit you.
Interested in learning about a few of America's best beaches? Then don't stop reading now. We're going to discuss the absolute best beaches in the US below.
Coast Guard Beach (Cape Cod, Massachusetts)
Coast Guard Beach isn't particularly known for its swimming or its sunbathing (the sand can be rough and the water is generally cold). However, from a purely aesthetic standpoint, it's a marvel.
Not only does it provide great views of the Nauset Spit barrier system but it also sports one of the greenest coastlines the country has to offer. That green coastline -- combined with its blue-green waters -- is like a classic painting come to life.
Interested in visiting Coast Guard Beach next summer? Don't plan on driving there. Parking isn't available during the summer months; You'll instead have to take a shuttle in from the Little Creek Parking area.
Kiawah Island (South Carolina)
Located on the outskirts of Charleston, South Carolina, Kiawah Island is a 10-mile beach characterized by sandy dunes, seagrass, and a general sense of wilderness. Sporting a bevy of marshes and forests, it's home to everything from turtles to deer to birds to bobcats to a variety of other animals.
But Kiawah Island isn't all about nature. It's a great place to sit back and relax as well. Whether you're looking to sunbathe, swim, surf, or otherwise, it will accommodate you.
Surrounded by high-end mansions and summer houses, it carries an elegant atmosphere rivaled by only a few other American beaches. If you're looking for a truly unique beach experience, Kiawah Island is the place to be.
Grayton Beach State Park (Santa Rosa Beach, Florida)
If it's sheer natural beauty you're seeking, you need to take a trip to Grayton Beach State Park in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. Characterized by fluffy white sand and clear turquoise waters, it's a sight to behold.
And then there are the dunes. Grayton Beach State Park is home to some of the most magnificent sand dunes the United States has to offer. Falling and rising in close proximity to the ocean, they provide the beach with a unique and adventurous charm.
While this beach sees plenty of visitors, it maintains a calm and tranquil atmosphere. This is due largely to the lack of industrialization in its surrounding area.
If you're going to visit Grayton Beach State Park, you should consider camping out. It's the best way to take in the unique environment.
Lanikai Beach (Kailua, Hawaii)
One of the most colorful beaches in the world, Lanikai Beach is characterized by neon turquoise waters, bright, open skies, green, dense trees, and a bevy of hills and volcanoes. Though it consists of only 1/2 a mile of coastline, it's a sight you have to see.
This beach is terrific for activities of all kinds. Whether you're sunbathing, swimming, people-watching, or surfing, you're bound to have a great time. Kite flying is popular on the beach as well.
Into snorkeling? Lanikai Beach will accommodate you on that front too. With coral located just yards from the coastline, it's the perfect place to dive down and see some marine life.
Coopers Beach (Southampton, New York)
Long Island is home to a variety of top-notch beaches. However, the best of the bunch has to be Coopers Beach in Southampton. Flanked by traditional but high-end summer homes, it's the epitome of the Hamptons.
Characterized by golden sand and dark blue waters, it offers up a sparse beauty that you won't find with many other beaches. And when the sun sets, there are few other places you'd rather be.
There is plenty to do at Coopers Beach. You can go swimming, catch some rays, enjoy some food, or just sit back and people-watch. If you're taking a trip to New York City, it's a great place to venture out to.
Note, however, that your trip could end up being expensive. Parking in the area sits at around $50.
Lighthouse Beach (Buxton, Outer Banks, North Carolina)
The Carolinas are home to some of the most popular tourist beaches in the country. These beaches run the gamut from energetic to tranquil and everything in between. While they all have their own individual charm, the best of the bunch has to be Lighthouse Beach in the Outer Banks.
A low-key beach characterized by golden sand and beachgrass, it's most famous for its proximity to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, a picturesque light station located 2,970 feet off of the shoreline.
That said, Lighthouse Beach is much more than just a beautiful view. Sporting solid surfing waves and ever-present sunshine, it's a great place for both recreation and relaxation.
Aquinnah (Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts)
Along with Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard is one of the most popular tourist beach spots in New England. And while all of its coastline is beautiful and inviting, its greatest stretch of coastline has to be the stretch that sits in the town of Aquinnah.
Located on the southwestern side of the island, Aquinnah is characterized by its famous rocky cliffs. These cliffs sit beside dark blue waters, offering some of the most beautiful ocean views the United States has to offer.
To be sure, this is not a busy part of the island. Quite the contrary, in fact; It's tranquil and scenic. So, if you're looking to sit back and relax by the ocean, this is a great place to be.
Siesta Beach (Sarasota, Florida)
When it comes to the Gulf Coast, there are few beaches as magnetic as Siesta Beach. Located in the city of Sarasota, Siesta Beach consists of 8 miles of soft, white sand and clear, teal waters.
Though it sports a relaxed and laid-back vibe, it still attracts quite a few tourists. In fact, it's lined with hotels, motels, and resorts.
Visitors come to Siesta Beach for a variety of reasons. Not only does it offer some of the best beachcombing and ocean swimming in the country, but it's also a terrific place to go snorkeling.
If you're looking to get away from everything for a while, this is the place to be. It's one of the nation's top relaxation spots.
Coronado Beach (San Diego, California)
San Diego might just be the most beautiful city in the United States. As such, it sports one of the country's most beautiful beaches: Coronado Beach. A major tourist spot, it's known for attracting famous celebrities.
That said, everyone's welcome at Coronado Beach, invited to enjoy its sandy beaches, its light blue waters, and its luxurious atmosphere. Flanked by mansions and high-end resorts, it possesses an atmosphere of near-magic.
There's plenty to do at Coronado Beach. Whether you're looking to swim, surf, paddleboard, or just lay on the beach and catch some rays, it will accommodate you. Sporting warm weather each and every day of the year, it's arguably the best tourist beach destination in the country.
South Beach (Miami, Florida)
But South Beach isn't all glitz and glamour. There's a lot of beauty to be found there as well. With its soft, white sand and its turquoise waters, it's as exotic a location as you're going to find.
It doesn't matter whether you're looking to swim, surf, sunbathe, or just relax with a drink, South Beach is one of the best places in the world to do so. It's a must-see for any beach enthusiast.
Kapalua Bay Beach (Maui, Hawaii)
Hawaii is America's resident tropical getaway. So, as you might expect, it's home to one of the country's best beaches: Kapalua Bay Beach. Located in Maui between two lava-formed headlands, it's characterized by clear waters, calm breezes, and a bevy of beautiful palm trees.
Kapalua Bay Beach is great for all sorts of activities, including but not limited to swimming, sunbathing, and scuba diving. Sporting two reefs, it's home to hawkfish, parrotfish, seals, and a variety of crustaceans.
Note, however, that this is a very public beach. It gets busier and busier as the day goes on, often making it difficult for visitors to find parking. So, if you're going to give it a go, make sure to show up early.
Venice Beach (Los Angles, California)
One of the nation's most renowned beaches, Venice Beach is characterized by a free-spirited and bohemian atmosphere. Sporting everything from street performers to runners to rollerbladers and more, it's flanked by a series of shops and restaurants.
The beach itself is wide open, sporting golden sands, blue waters, and an array of palm trees. Always crowded, it's bustling with energy from morning to night.
You can do essentially anything at Venice Beach, from surfing to swimming to sunbathing to people-watching and more. The most popular beach in Los Angeles, it has a little something for everyone.
What you can't do at Venice beach is enjoy the tranquil atmosphere. Why? Because there isn't one. If you come here, you should be prepared for a lively experience.
Thousand Steps (Laguna Beach, California)
If you're looking for a beach that's secluded and beautiful, you needn't look any further than Thousand Steps in Laguna Beach, California. Also known as 10th Street Beach, it's located between cliffs, trees, and high-end houses.
The vibe at Thousand Steps is laid-back, making it the perfect place to sunbathe. That said, with its ample and large waves, it's great for surfing and bodyboarding as well.
Characterized by golden sand, rock caves, and turquoise waters, it carries an almost mystic beauty. Whether you're looking for a calm morning, an adventurous afternoon, or a romantic evening, Thousand Steps will have you covered.
Boca Chica State Park (Brownsville, Texas)
Texas is such a massive state that many people forget it has a coastline. Well not only does it have a coastline, but a pretty beautiful coastline at that. And while all of its beaches are worth a visit, the best of the bunch has to be Boca Chica State Park in Brownsville.
Characterized by sparse surroundings and wide, open skies, it's as rural an ocean beach as you're going to find. A calm and tranquil location, it's a terrific spot to sit back and relax.
The ocean next to Boca Chica is relatively calm. So, while it's not the ideal surfing spot, it is a solid place to swim. With camping nearby, it's a great spot for a weekend getaway.
Spend Some Time at One of the Best Beaches in the US
When it comes to the topic of the best beaches in the US, it's almost impossible to choose a handful. That said, the beaches reviewed above are certainly worthy of the title. Not only are they breathtakingly beautiful, but they're pretty darn fun as well.
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My name is Daniel and I am a full-time world traveler and constantly on the move.