33 Best Beach Destinations in the US | 2023 (with Photos)
The US has a plethora of spectacular beaches that capture visitors with their unspoiled splendor and distinct qualities.
Carmel Beach in California is a magnificent paradise with its craggy cliffs, white dunes, and crashing waves. Cannon Beach in Oregon features magnificent rock formations, including the famed Haystack Rock, set against immaculate sands. Jekyll Island in Georgia has beautiful beaches, plentiful wildlife, and the chance to see breeding sea turtles.
Asbury Park Beach in New Jersey blends a bustling boardwalk atmosphere with a vast sandy beach, whilst Orange Beach in Alabama provides the ideal combination of leisure and family enjoyment.
These greatest USA beaches, with their individual traits and irresistible attractiveness, provide unforgettable experiences for beach aficionados and nature lovers alike.
But there are plenty more. In this guide, we take you through the best beach destinations in the US, helping you plan your next vacation on the coast.
1. Maui, Hawaii
Maui is a tropical paradise in Hawaii noted for its beautiful vistas and natural splendor. Maui, with its white sandy beaches, crystal-clear oceans, and lush flora, provides the ideal combination of relaxation and action.
The Road to Hana, Haleakala National Park, and the famous Kaanapali Beach are among the iconic sites on the island. Snorkeling, surfing, and whale viewing are all options for visitors.
The white sandy beaches, framed by swaying palm palms, provide a postcard-perfect scene for sunbathing and watching the colorful sunsets. Maui's rich culture, kind friendliness, and breathtaking natural beauties make it a dream destination for visitors from all over the world.
2. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach is a thriving coastal community located amid South Carolina's stunning coastline. It has miles of sandy beaches where visitors may swim in the warm Atlantic waves and construct sandcastles on the gleaming white sand.
Myrtle Beach has a variety of leisure options, such as amusement parks, golf courses, shopping malls, and live entertainment venues. Visitors can walk along the famous boardwalk, eat delicious seafood at seaside eateries, or participate in exhilarating water sports.
Myrtle Beach is a popular holiday destination due to its family-friendly ambiance, exciting attractions, and natural beauty.
3. North Carolina's Outer Banks
The Outer Banks, a chain of barrier islands off North Carolina's coast, is a true coastal treasure.
This region is well-known for its beautiful beaches, notably Cape Hatteras National Seashore, which features miles of pristine white sand along the coast.
The banks also have spectacular sand dunes, making for a one-of-a-kind scene for exploration and adventure.
Visitors can climb the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, go fishing in the plentiful seas, or simply relax and enjoy the coastal landscape.
The rich maritime history, attractive coastal communities, and natural wonders make it a must-see vacation.
4. Destin, Florida
Destin, located on Florida's Emerald Coast, is known for its magnificent beauty, sugar-white sand, and eye-catching sand dunes.
Destin's beaches provide a picture-perfect environment for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports.
Travelers can visit Henderson Beach State Park, which is known for its natural splendor and nature paths.
The location is also renowned as the "World's Luckiest Fishing Village" and provides outstanding deep-sea fishing.
The Destin Harbor Boardwalk offers a variety of stores, restaurants, and exciting entertainment.
Whether it's relaxing on the beach, spotting dolphins, or savoring fresh seafood, there are plenty of things to do in Destin.
5. Hilton Head Island
Hilton Head Island, located on South Carolina's southern coast, has some of the best beaches on the East Coast.
It is ideal for leisure and outdoor sports due to its long expanses of sandy shoreline and calm waves.
Visitors can sunbathe, swim, and beachcomb, or participate in water activities such as kayaking and paddleboarding.
Visitors can also experience the island's natural splendor by visiting the world-class golf courses, biking routes, and Coligny Beach Park.
Coligny Beach Park on Hilton Island, South Carolina, has clean sands and a lively ambiance, as well as beach volleyball courts and other surrounding facilities.
6. Santa Monica, California
Santa Monica is a charming coastal community on Southern California's lovely shoreline.
Its stunning beach, lined with palm trees and framed by the iconic Santa Monica Pier, is a haven for visitors seeking sun, sand, and relaxation.
The soft sandy shores offer the perfect spot for sunbathing, picnicking, or playing beach volleyball.
Santa Monica's exciting seaside atmosphere is enhanced by its bustling shopping districts, sophisticated restaurants, and energetic street performers.
Santa Monica delivers a spectacular beach experience on the West Coast, whether strolling along the busy promenade or enjoying a magnificent sunset.
7. Clearwater Beach, Florida
Clearwater Beach, located on the west coast of Florida, is a renowned beach destination known for its stunning white sand and clear turquoise waters.
The beach's large expanse of pristine sand is ideal for both sunbathers and beachcombers. Visitors can stroll along the lively Beach Walk promenade, participate in water activities such as jet skiing or parasailing, or simply relax and soak up the sun.
Clearwater Beach also offers picturesque views of the Gulf of Mexico, with opportunities for dolphin sightings and stunning sunsets. Clearwater Beach is a must-see for tourists due to its beautiful surroundings and laid-back ambiance.
8. Virginia Beach
Situated along the Atlantic coast, Virginia Beach is a charming coastal city known for its inviting beaches and lively boardwalk. The stunning beach stretches for miles, offering ample space for sunbathing, swimming, and sandcastle building.
The boardwalk is a hub of activity, featuring restaurants, shops, and entertainment options. Visitors can explore the Virginia Aquarium, enjoy water sports such as surfing or kayaking, or simply take in the scenic beauty of the East Coast.
Virginia Beach's family-friendly atmosphere, diverse attractions, and natural charm make it an ideal destination for a memorable beach trip.
9. Laguna Beach, California
Laguna Beach, located along Southern California's gorgeous coastline, is known for its breathtaking beaches and unique environment.
The stunning beach, with its pristine sands and crystal-clear waters, is a paradise for beach lovers. Visitors can relax on the soft sands, swim in the refreshing Pacific Ocean, or explore the tide pools teeming with marine life.
Laguna Beach is also home to numerous art galleries, scenic hiking trails, and a vibrant arts festival. Its scenic beauty, artistic community, and laid-back coastal vibe make Laguna a captivating destination for a beach getaway on the West Coast.
10. Miami Beach, Florida
Miami Beach is a well-known coastal destination noted for its lively atmosphere and beautiful beaches. With its golden sand and pure blue waters, it provides the ideal combination of relaxation and amusement.
Tourists can sunbathe on South Beach, stroll along the busy Ocean Drive, or participate in watersports such as paddle boarding and jet skiing.
This beautiful beach destination is also known for its glitzy Art Deco architecture, world-class dining, and lively nightlife.
Miami will captivate you with its lively appeal and magnificent coastal landscape, whether you're looking for a beachfront escape or a bustling metropolitan experience.
11. Gulf Shores, Alabama
Gulf Shores, on the Gulf of Mexico, is a hidden treasure along Alabama's coast. It is, without doubt, one of the most understated but best beach destinations in the US.
This lovely coastal town has immaculate white sand beaches and emerald-green waves, making it a tranquil and picturesque backdrop for beachgoers.
Visitors can unwind on the sandy beaches, go for a swim, or participate in water sports like kayaking and paddleboarding.
Gulf State Park, which has nature walks, a fishing pier, and a golf course, is also located in Gulf Shores. The neighborhood is well-known for its relaxed ambiance, friendly residents, and delicious seafood.
12. Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Cape Cod, a traditional New England beach location, provides a wonderful seaside hideaway in Massachusetts. Its scenic coastal towns, charming lighthouses, and beach chairs make it a popular summer vacation destination.
The white sandy beach of Cape Cod provides a tranquil setting for sunbathing, beachcombing, and enjoying the cool Atlantic waves.
Travelers can explore the National Seashore, eat fresh seafood, or ride bikes along gorgeous coastal roads. It is among the best spots for beach vacations due to its rich maritime history and quaint New England charm.
13. Ocean City Beach, Maryland
Ocean City Beach, located in Ocean City, Maryland, is a gem among the best beach destinations in the US. It provides a classic beach experience with its immaculate sands, stunning blue waves, and colorful promenade.
The beach's long beachfront offers plenty of area for sunbathing, picnicking, and constructing sandcastles.Known for its clear waters and stunning views, Ocean City rivals other picturesque beaches in the country.
As one of the top destinations on the East Coast, it draws visitors from near and far.
Ocean City Beach, with its bustling environment and closeness to attractions like Clearwater Beach and North Beach, provides a great time whether you're looking for water sports or relaxation.
14. Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Kiawah Island, located off the coast of the state of SC, provides beachgoers with a calm respite and idyllic surroundings.
This barrier island is known for its beautiful white sandy shores, gently sloping dunes, and lush coastal scenery. Visitors can unwind on the beach, swim, or participate in outdoor sports such as riding and kayaking.
Kiawah Island also has championship golf courses, nature walks, and a diverse wildlife population, including loggerhead turtles.
The island's tranquil atmosphere, isolated beaches, and opulent resorts make it a great location for anyone wanting a tranquil and intimate beach experience.
15. South Padre Island, Texas
South Padre Island is known for its beautiful beaches, making it one of Texas' greatest beach getaways.
Its warm Gulf seas and smooth sandy beaches make it a great location for sunbathing, swimming, and water activities such as kiteboarding and surfing. The island is also well-known for its exciting nightlife, delectable seafood restaurants, and family-friendly attractions.
Nature reserves, dolphin watching, and simply relaxing on the warm sand beach are all options for visitors. South Padre Island is a favorite choice for beach enthusiasts due to its blend of stunning beaches, recreational activities, and active entertainment opportunities.
16. Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
Carmel-by-the-Sea, nestled along California's scenic Central Coast, is known for its stunning beaches that rank among the best in the state. The white sand beach, framed by rugged coastal cliffs and cypress trees, creates a picturesque setting for beachgoers.
Tourists can relax on Carmel Beach, take leisurely walks along the shore, or explore the tide pools teeming with marine life.
Carmel Beach, with its breathtaking vistas of the Pacific Ocean and the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links, is a peaceful haven. Carmel-by-the-Sea, with its art galleries, shops, and fine eating places, adds to the attractiveness of this coastal jewel.
17. Cannon Beach, Oregon
Cannon Beach is a scenic coastal town in Oregon that is celebrated for having some of the best beaches in the Pacific Northwest.
The long stretches of towering sand dunes, framed by dramatic rock formations and the iconic Haystack Rock, create a stunning backdrop for beach enthusiasts.
Visitors can stroll along the beach, explore tide pools, or watch the sunset over the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean.
Cannon Beach also offers a vibrant arts scene, with numerous galleries and boutiques showcasing local talent.
18. Tybee Island, Georgia
Tybee Island, located just off the coast of Savannah, is home to some of the best beaches in the USA. With its wide sandy shores, gentle waves, and warm Atlantic waters, it offers a perfect escape for beach lovers.
Visitors can relax on the beach, swim in the Atlantic Ocean, or engage in water activities like fishing and kayaking. Tybee Island's charming beach town atmosphere, with its colorful cottages and local eateries, adds to the appeal.
Nature enthusiasts can explore the island's marshlands and wildlife refuges, while history buffs can visit the historic lighthouse. Tybee Island is a delightful coastal retreat on the Georgia coast.
19. Gulfport, Mississippi
Gulfport is a hidden treasure along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Its many beaches make it one of the best beach destinations in the US.
The warm Gulf waters make it an ideal location for leisure and recreation. Gulfport's beaches appeal to all beachgoers, whether they are sunbathing, swimming, or participating in water sports.
There is also a thriving beach culture in the area, with beachside resorts, seafood restaurants, and exciting entertainment alternatives.
Gulfport is a top choice thanks to its stunning beaches and countless coastal activities.
20. Montauk, New York
Montauk, located on the eastern tip of Long Island, is a well-known beach resort with some of the best beaches in the USA.
Its towering sand dunes and crashing waves combine to offer an unforgettable coastal experience. Visitors can relax in the sun, swim in the Atlantic Ocean, or participate in exciting water activities such as surfing and fishing.
Montauk's relaxed beach town ambiance, shops, and wonderful seafood restaurants contribute to its charm.
For beachgoers looking for a mix of relaxation and activity, Montauk is the ideal setting for spectacular beach holidays.
21. Sanibel Island, Florida
Sanibel Island is a tropical paradise that boasts some of the best beaches in the USA, making it an ideal destination for a remarkable beach trip.
Its gorgeous white sandy coastlines, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and plentiful wildlife combine to form a captivating coastal sanctuary.
Tourists can relax on the sandy beaches, enjoy beachcombing, or participate in aquatic activities like kayaking and snorkeling. Sanibel Island's tranquil environment, shell-strewn coastline, and magnificent sunsets make for a relaxing getaway.
Sanibel Island, with its attractive beachfront accommodations, natural preserves, and numerous eating options, provides the best beach vacations in the United States.
22. Nantucket, Massachusetts
Nantucket, an island off the coast of Massachusetts, is synonymous with charming New England beach vacations.
Its pristine beaches, like Surfside Beach and Jetties Beach, offer a picturesque seaside retreat. Visitors can enjoy sunbathing, swimming in the ocean, or strolling along the sandy coastlines. Nantucket's historic charm, with its cobblestone streets and elegant captain's houses, adds to the allure.
Explore the island's art galleries, dine on fresh seafood, or take a boat ride to see the famed Brant Point Lighthouse. Nantucket's ageless appeal, along with its beautiful beaches, make it a classic coastal vacation.
23. Malibu, California
Malibu is synonymous with the epitome of beach getaways and is home to some of the most spectacular beaches in California. With its breathtaking coastline, the best beaches like Zuma Beach and Surfrider Beach draw visitors from all over.
With its pure white sand, rolling waves, and renowned coastal houses, Malibu provides an exquisite beach experience. Tourists can relax in the sun, ride the waves, or simply take in the breathtaking ocean views.
Malibu is also known for its breathtaking sunsets, which create a wonderful environment. Malibu is a perfect seaside vacation for beach lovers, with its laid-back coastal feel and unsurpassed beachfront scenery.
24. Poipu Beach, Hawaii
Poipu Beach, on Kauai's sunny south shore, is a tropical paradise recognized for its pristine beauty and family-friendly ambiance.
Its golden dunes, crystal-clear waters, and gentle waves make it a safe and pleasurable place to swim and snorkel. Poipu Beach is also home to an endangered Hawaiian monk seal population, which adds a touch of natural wonder to the beach experience.
Visitors can explore nearby attractions, indulge in delicious Hawaiian cuisine, or simply relax and soak up the sun. Poipu Beach is a must-visit destination for those seeking the best beaches in the USA and a perfect blend of natural splendor and family fun.
25. Waikiki Beach, Hawaii
Situated on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, Waikiki Beach is world-renowned for its beauty and vibrant atmosphere.
With its golden sands, turquoise waters, and iconic Diamond Head backdrop, it epitomizes the best beaches in the USA.
Visitors can enjoy swimming, surfing, or simply lounging under swaying palm trees. The beachfront promenade is lined with hotels, shops, and restaurants, offering a lively and cosmopolitan beach experience.
Whether you're seeking thrilling water sports, vibrant nightlife, or breathtaking sunsets, the relaxing beaches in Hawaii have something for everyone.
26. Coast Guard Beach
Located in Massachusetts, Coast Guard Beach is a beloved destination among the best beaches in the USA.
It provides a classic New England beach experience with its beautiful beachfront, undulating dunes, and panoramic views of the ocean.
Coast Guard Beach is recognized for its beautiful natural patterns of colorful beach grass and dune formations. Sunbathing, swimming, and wandering along the sandy shoreline are all options for visitors.
The beach's peaceful atmosphere, scenic beauty, and proximity to Cape Cod's lovely towns make it a great choice for a family fun summer holiday.
27. Sand Beach, Maine
Nestled within Acadia National Park in Maine, Sand Beach is a hidden gem among the best beaches in the USA.
It offers a romantic and peaceful beach experience, surrounded by steep cliffs and lush foliage. With its soft, golden sand and sparkling waters, it provides a tranquil setting for beachgoers to unwind and recharge.
Sand Beach also offers opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking in Acadia National Park. Whether you're basking in the sun, exploring the park's trails, or simply enjoying the romantic beaches, Sand Beach promises an unforgettable getaway.
28. Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island, Georgia
Located on Jekyll Island, Georgia, Driftwood Beach is one of the most unique and captivating USA beaches.
With its natural arrangements of weathered driftwood scattered along the shoreline, it offers a surreal and picturesque setting. Known for its tranquility and stunning views, it is a top choice for those seeking the best beaches in the USA.
Driftwood Beach also offers opportunities to spot wild horses that occasionally roam the area, adding to its allure.
Whether you're enjoying a romantic stroll, exploring the natural surroundings, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, Driftwood Beach is a must-visit destination.
29. La Jolla Cove, California Beach
Located in San Diego, California, La Jolla Cove is a clearwater beach that exemplifies the best beaches in the USA. With its breathtaking coastal cliffs, crystal-clear waters, and abundance of sea creatures, it offers a romantic beach experience.
The cove is well-known for its natural arrangements of craggy rock formations and tide pools, which are ideal for exploration. Snorkeling, swimming, and simply relaxing on the golden sand are all options for tourists.
La Jolla Cove's proximity to San Diego, as well as its gorgeous natural appearance, makes it a preferred choice for beachgoers wanting a mix of calm and urban activity.
30. Main Beach, California
Situated in California, Main Beach is a stunning destination that stands out among the best beaches in the USA. Its pristine sands, vibrant blue waters, and picturesque surroundings create a romantic atmosphere that captivates visitors.
Main Beach offers volleyball courts for those looking to engage in beach sports, as well as a boardwalk dotted with shops and eateries.
Families can enjoy building sandcastles, picnicking, and exploring tide pools. With its artistic flair, scenic beauty, and convenient location, Main Beach is a must-visit destination for those seeking a blend of the best beaches in the USA.
31. Orange Beach, Alabama
Located along the Gulf Coast of Alabama, Orange Beach is a popular destination that showcases some of the best beaches in the USA.
With its soft white sands, emerald-green waters, and warm sunshine, it sets the stage for a romantic getaway.
Couples can enjoy leisurely strolls along the romantic beaches shore, breathtaking sunsets, and candlelit dinners at beachfront restaurants.
Orange Beach also offers volleyball courts for active beachgoers and a range of family-friendly activities, including dolphin cruises and water sports.
32. Siesta Beach, Florida
Siesta Beach in Sarasota, Florida is frequently cited as one of the best beaches in the USA. Its beautiful, fluffy white sand, brilliant blue waters, and gentle waves make it an ideal beach getaway.
It is a great choice for couples looking for a romantic holiday due to its romantic environment and spectacular sunset beach. The natural arrangements of swaying sea oats and palm trees contribute to its allure and create a tranquil ambiance.
Siesta Beach guarantees a fantastic and romantic beach experience, whether you're strolling hand-in-hand along the shore or sharing a picnic with your loved one.
33. Coronado Beach, California
Coronado Beach, located in California, is a hidden treasure among the best beaches in the USA.
It provides an intimate setting unlike other romantic beaches, with its huge expanse of golden sand, dazzling Pacific Ocean, and renowned Hotel del Coronado as a backdrop.
Couples can enjoy a romantic stroll along the beach, sunbathing together, or a beachside meal. The natural patterns of coastal dunes and native plants enhance the picturesque appeal of the beach while also providing a calm environment.
Coronado Beach delivers a memorable experience, whether you're cuddling up for a sunset or enjoying a relaxing day on the beach.
FAQs: The Best Beach Destinations in the US
In this section, we answer some of the most asked questions relating to the best beaches and the best beach destinations in the USA.
Are there any secluded or hidden gem beaches in the USA?
Yes, there are remote and hidden gem beaches in the United States. Driftwood Beach in Georgia, Sand Beach in Acadia National Park, Lanikai Beach in Hawaii, and Cape Lookout National Seashore in North Carolina are a few examples. For beachgoers looking for off-the-beaten-path destinations, these stunning beaches offer tranquillity and a more private ambiance.
Which USA beach offers the best water sports activities?
Clearwater Beach in Florida offers the best water sports activities in the USA. With its stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters, it provides the perfect setting for jet skiing, parasailing, paddleboarding, and more. Waikiki Beach in Hawaii and Sand Beach in Maine are also popular destinations for water sports enthusiasts.
Can I observe marine animals on any of the beaches in the USA?
Yes, many beaches in the USA provide opportunities for observing underwater life. From sea turtles nesting on Jekyll Island in Georgia to seals and sea lions at La Jolla Cove in California, the country's beautiful beaches offer fascinating encounters with marine wildlife.
Summary: The Best Beach Destinations in the US
The USA is home to some of the world's most stunning beaches, each with its own unique charm. Carmel-by-the-Sea in California gives scenic coastline vistas, whilst Sea Island in Georgia provides elegance and quiet. Henderson Beach State Park in Florida is famous for its white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters.
Miami's South Beach is famous for its dynamic atmosphere and stylish beach scene. Driftwood Beach in Georgia has beautiful scenery with weathered trees.
With its white sands and bustling ambiance, Coligny Beach Park in South Carolina provides a lively beach experience. With its pristine shoreline and plentiful wildlife, Georgia's Jekyll Island offers a tranquil respite.
From California to the Carolinas, these beautiful beaches provide an array of breathtaking experiences for beachgoers seeking white sands and stunning natural splendor.