17 Best Beaches in The USA

Beaches aren’t typically the first thing that comes to mind when people think of the United States.

Although the United States receives more attention for its cultural, historical, and entertainment offerings, it is also home to some world-famous beaches.

In the United States, places like Hawaii, Florida, California, the Golden Isles, and many more boast beaches that regularly break Guinness World Records for things like having the whitest sand.

If you want to know where to go, if you want to visit the best beaches in the United States, or if you wish to see how the United States ranks internationally, read on.

  1. Maui — Hawaii

Maui, the second largest island in Hawaii, has been named the “Best Island in the US” by readers of Condé Nast Traveler year after year for over 20 years.

Why We Recommend This Beach

What more could you want from a vacation spot than Hawaii, with its palm trees, miles of fine white sand beaches, nature trails, wildlife, volcanic remnants, and tropical scenery?

Certainly, Maui is more than just another idyllic tropical destination.

Discover the many hidden treasures of an island named after an ancient demigod, including a lavender farm, brewery, bamboo forest, and the world’s most majestic golf course.

Expert Tip

Kapalua Beach, Maui, is the most well-known beach in the United States due to its spectacular coral reefs.

In addition to Wailea and Kaanapali, there are a couple of other well-known beaches on Maui.

Waianapanapa is where you go if you’re looking for black sand.

  1. Kauai — Hawaii

The island of Kauai is the second oldest in Hawaii.

Kauai’s 63 miles of picture-perfect coastline are ripe with opportunities for adventure and discovery, so it’s no wonder many people choose the island as their next vacation destination.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Kauai has been called “Garden Island” due to the abundance of tropical valleys, emerald rainforests, exotic rock formations, and jagged cliffs found throughout the island.

Expert Tip

Kekaha Beach is known for its breathtaking sunrise and sunset vistas, Poipu Beach is home to monk seals and sea turtles, and Polihale Beach is the longest stretch of sand on Kauai.

  1. Destin — Florida

Destin is a city on Florida’s northwest coast, overlooking the beautiful Gulf of Mexico.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Destin, located on the northwest coast of Florida, has an abundance of Vitamin Sea and tropical warmth.

Destin’s beaches are picture-perfect, with turquoise waters and sands so white that they could be mistaken for snow.

Destin is one of the most visited beaches in the United States, and for a good reason: it has some of the whitest sand in the world.

Expert Tip

Crystal Beach is ideal for the stereotypical beach bum who dreams of powdery white sands and turquoise waters.

However, if you’re looking for more than just a day at the beach, Henderson and Grayton Beach have nature trails you can explore.

The sand at Henderson Beach is the whitest you’ll find anywhere.

  1. St. Petersburg — Florida

Three bays surround St. Petersburg, Florida: Upper Tampa Bay, Middle Tampa Bay, and Lower Tampa Bay, earning it the nickname “Sunshine City.”

Why We Recommend This Beach

St. Petersburg’s location on Florida’s western coast makes it a natural hub for the state, and as such, the city is home to many beautiful beaches with the white sand that has made the Sunshine State famous.

The resort town is located eight miles southwest of the city center and features a wide variety of water activities, including kiteboarding, windsurfing, parasailing, stand-up paddleboarding, and much more.

Expert Tip

Fort de Soto, located on a chain of five islands off the coast of Sunshine City, is a popular destination for marine history buffs and beach bums.

Treasure Island Beach, meanwhile, is a favorite among sunbathers, and Sunset Beach is where vacationers go to witness breathtaking sunsets.

  1. Key West — Florida

Key West, Florida, is the southernmost city in the United States and a charming island city.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Home to conch-style architecture, lush greenery, natural parks, and a dazzling blue ocean, Key West is a popular port of call for cruise ships.

Even though it’s only 4.2 miles long, this tropical paradise is packed with activities like snorkeling, water sports, and visiting historical sites.

Expert Tip

People in Key West often say that the beach at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park is the best on the entire island.

However, due to its central location on the island, Smathers Beach is where all the action in Key West takes place.

  1. Laguna — California

Situated on the coast midway between Los Angeles and San Diego, the city of Laguna Beach is home to some surprisingly unique landscapes.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Although once considered Orange County’s best-kept secret, nowadays, even the locals know about Laguna Beach.

The year-round warmth of its climate, the beauty of its tide pools and fine sand beaches, and the excitement of exploring its many hidden coves all contribute to its six million annual visitors.

Expert Tip

Crystal Cove, Crescent Bay, and Main Beach are just a few of Laguna’s excellent beaches.

The attractions mentioned above in Laguna can be found in these specific areas.

Meanwhile, Heisler Park is perfect for those who enjoy spending time in nature. It features a marine refuge, walking trails, gardens, picnic tables, and barbecue grills, all in a forested setting right next to the breathtaking ocean.

  1. Outer Banks — North Carolina

The Outer Banks, a chain of barrier islands off the North Carolina coast, stretches for about 200 miles.

Why We Recommend This Beach

People worldwide flock to North Carolina’s Outer Banks to relax and enjoy the region’s more than 100 miles of coastline and quaint fishing villages.

The Outer Banks are only short distances away, but they feel like another planet.

No urban remnants remain to trigger unpleasant flashbacks.

Expert Tip

The place names of the Outer Banks give you an idea of the mystery that permeates the region.

Explore the area known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic, where thousands of ships sank, or read up on the mysterious disappearance of the Roanoke Colony from Roanoke Island.

Legends and tales of pirates in and around Kill Devil Hills are as plentiful as these islands’ unique experiences and sights.

  1. Cape May — New Jersey

This small, historically significant city in southern New Jersey is widely considered to be among the finest beach communities along the entire Middle Atlantic coast.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Cape May is the oldest seaside resort city in the United States, and its beauty has been praised for decades.

About 600 preserved Victorian buildings in the city provide a sunny backdrop to the city’s pristine beaches, making a trip there feel like a trip back in time.

Expert Tip

In addition to the typical beach activities like swimming, skimboarding, surfing, kayaking, sand sculpting, picnicking, and fishing, Cape May also features vintage wineries, an alpaca farm, a lighthouse built in the middle of the 1800s, and several theaters.

  1. Hilton Head — South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, is a historic resort city with 12 miles of beautiful Atlantic Ocean shoreline.

Why We Recommend This Beach.

Hilton Head maintains an authentic island feel despite its many developed tourist areas, making it an excellent place for families to enjoy the outdoors.

Hilton Head guarantees families a memorable, relaxing beach vacation with a wide variety of activities, from boating and crabbing to fishing, sailing, cruising, and dolphin-watching.

Expert Tip

With its shallow, tranquil waters and watchful lifeguards, Coligny Beach Park is the best beach in New York City for families with young children.

If you want to avoid the crowds that form later in the day, it’s a short walk north to Driessen Beach, which is just as lovely and secure but offers more seclusion.

On the other hand, visitors who seek wilderness and peace visit Mitchelville Beach.

  1. Monterey — California

The Spanish established Monterey, a coastal city in central California, in 1770.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Monterey slows time and provides endless opportunities for recreation, including watching whales, sea otters, and migratory birds, swimming, kayaking, hiking, shopping, and golfing, thanks to its stark white sand, blue waters, rugged shore, seaside cliffs, and historical spots.

Expert Tip

Carmel Beach is regarded as one of Monterey’s most beautiful beaches and a popular spot for beach bonfires, jogging, and swimming.

Point Lobos and Pebble Beach are famous for their powerful surf and otherworldly diving.

  1. Kennebunkport — Maine

Kennebunkport is the best beach resort in Maine, perfect for a weekend getaway.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Prepare to soak up some rays on soft sand and swim in calm waters kept safe by reefs.

Kennebunkport is a mecca for watersports enthusiasts, from swimming, fishing, sailing, and sunbathing to whale watching, surfing, lobster tours, and even seal encounters.

Expert Tip

Goose Rocks Beach and Mother’s Beach attract many families due to their gentle waves, white sand, and a full complement of facilities.

If you’re looking for more than just a swim, Kennebunkport has a variety of exciting tours, sails, and excursions that can be booked in advance.

As you might expect from a place that started as a quiet fishing village, the seafood in this coastal town is excellent.

  1. Cannon Beach — Oregon

Cannon Beach, in Oregon, is known as one of the top 100 beaches in the world due to its breathtaking scenery, tidepools, and Haystack Rock.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Cannon Beach is a popular destination for families looking for a relaxing beach vacation.

This coastal city has a beautiful coastline, tide pools, and dunes, making it perfect for beach bums of all stripes.

The village is known for its beautiful beach and abundance of exciting art galleries and studios.

Exult, all you art friends!

Expert Tip

Tide pools teeming with marine life and puffin nesting grounds can be found along Cannon Beach’s four miles of shoreline.

Cannon Beach is ideal for strolls along the sand, sightseeing, and cuddling with a loved one because the water is always excellent.

Enjoy the thrill of a zipline tour at High Life Adventure on your next trip to the beach.

The forest at Ecola State Park is another must-see.

  1. Nantucket — Massachusetts

Nantucket is an island with beautiful scenery and pleasant beaches about 30 miles south of Cape Cod.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Nantucket’s 82 miles of tranquil coastline are rich in maritime history, culture, and nature, making it an ideal destination for families.

The best part is that it serves delectable seafood that will please everyone.

Expert Tip

All your beachside needs can be met at Jetties, Surfside is a quiet place to catch some waves, and Madaket offers the most breathtaking sunset vistas.

After a day at the beach, you can learn more about Nantucket’s history at the Whaling Museum and Atheneum or explore the island on two wheels to see sights like the Brandt Point Lighthouse and the Cisco.

  1. Virginia Beach — Virginia

Virginia Beach, where the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean meet, is a bustling seaside metropolis.

Why We Recommend This Beach

A trip to Virginia Beach is in order for those who want to make the best beach memories possible. The city has miles of beautiful beaches, a thriving local culinary scene, a rich history, a wide range of arts and entertainment, and hundreds of hotels and restaurants along its oceanfront.

Expert Tip

Atlantic Fun Park in Virginia Beach is a waterfront amusement park with 16 rides, food stands, games, and a go-kart track.

Go to Sandbridge Beach to find a tranquil haven away from the crowds.

  1. Golden Isles — Georgia

The Golden Isles, a group of four islands off the coast of Georgia, is well-known worldwide.

Why We Recommend This Beach

The areas of Golden Isles (which include St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Jekyll Island, Little St. Simons Island, and Historic Brunswick) have earned their reputation for good reason.

The islands were named “World’s Best in Continental US” in 2020 for their “unspoiled beaches, vast stretches of marshland, maritime forests, sparkling rivers, thriving wildlife, and an unexplained natural radiance.”

Expert Tip

Driftwood Beach, on Jekyll Island, is a forest that has been accidentally eroded into a beach and is a must-see attraction for any visitor.

St. Simons Island, on the other hand, is a popular destination for those seeking a relaxing day at the beach, thanks to its pristine stretches of sand, gorgeous shells, and picturesque sunrises and sunsets.

  1. San Francisco — California

Every year, the Golden Gate Bridge attracts millions of tourists, especially photographers, who admire its iconic scenery.

Why We Recommend This Beach

San Francisco is famous for more than just the Golden Gate Bridge; it also has beautiful beaches that dolphins and seals frequent.

You won’t find any typical white sand beaches in Golden Gate City; instead, you’ll see dramatic, postcard-familiar rugged coastlines with the occasional glimpse of a modern world wonder.

Expert Tip

The ocean in San Francisco is always chilly, so its beaches are reserved for the hardiest of adventurers.

Bicycling, sunbathing, picnicking, hiking, birdwatching, walking canines, windsurfing, and kiteboarding are all popular on San Francisco’s beaches.

  1. Siesta Key — Florida

Siesta Key, a small island off the coast of Florida, looks like paradise.

It is regularly voted as the best swimming beach in the United States.

Why We Recommend This Beach

There’s a reason Siesta Key is consistently ranked as one of the best beaches in the United States: the island’s sand is soft and quartz-fine, and its water is calm and incredibly healthy; the air is clean; the weather is perfect, and lifeguards are always on duty.

And not just once but twice, it has been named one of Florida’s most beautiful beaches!



Expert Tip

The Sarasota Jungle Gardens, Smuggler’s Cove, the Ringling Museum, the Mote Marine Aquarium, and many more exciting attractions are all within easy driving distance of Siesta Key.

The island comes to life at night, with lots of people enjoying the sights, sounds, and libations.