Ask the average traveler, both in the US and abroad, what their favorite type of vacation destination is, and most of them will say the beach. Humans are drawn to the water for countless reasons, making beaches the most ideal vacation destination in the world.
As a country that borders the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Gulf of Mexico, the US is spoiled for beautiful beaches. There are countless places to go swimming, soak in the sites, and explore nature.
Keep reading below to discover the top seven beaches in the US and find your next vacation destination.
1. Miami Beach
In the continental US, no state has more miles of coastline than Florida. The state is surrounded by water, so it’s no wonder that many of the top beaches are located here.
Miami is one of the top tourist destinations in the country. There are many reasons for this, but the miles and miles of beautiful beaches, along with year-round warm temperatures top the list.
There are numerous beaches located here, each with a different draw. Lummus Park is perfect for those looking for exercise, as outdoor gyms abound. Other beaches nearby cater to families looking to relax, or those looking for places where swimsuits are optional.
Of course, you can head to South Beach where the party and nightlife opportunities extend far into the night.
2. Siesta Key
Looking for a more relaxing beach in Florida? Siesta Key Beach, on the Gulf of Mexico, offers exactly that. Miles and miles of shoreline on this beautiful island give you the space you need to find your peace and quiet.
It’s the perfect beach destination for traveling families looking to escape the cooler temperatures in the Northeast and the Midwest.
Siesta Key sits along the coast of Sarasota, a small but growing city about an hour south of Tampa. There’s plenty to do in Sarasota, as far as food, entertainment, and nature goes. But you’re also within driving distance of St Petersburg, Tampa, and Fort Myers, giving you plenty of options for daily activities.
If you take a vacation to the island, make sure to hire a local Siesta Key family photographer to capture your family memories. A photoshoot on the beach during the sunset will provide you with souvenirs that will last a lifetime.
3. Big Sur
Florida may have miles and miles of white sand beaches. But as the flattest state in the country, it doesn’t have beautiful mountains along its coastline.
The California coastline makes up for that. Big Sur is one of the most famous portions of the coastline in the Golden State. With stunning cliffs right up against the Pacific, it’s one of the most picturesque places to visit.
Big Sur is ideal for more active beachgoers. The water is wavy, the surf is on, and the hiking trails abound providing plentiful views of the ocean.
If you want to take a vacation here, you’ll likely camp at one of the many campgrounds in the area. This will get you up close and personal with the ocean and the phenomenal views it offers.
4. Cape Cod
When New Englanders need to relax at the beach, they head to Cape Cod. This ideal location in Massachusetts is one of the most famous stretches of coastline in the country.
Thanks to its far north location, you’ll want to visit in the heat of summer when the water heats up enough for a swim. If you don’t need to get in the water, fall makes for a quieter trip with far fewer tourists around.
There are plenty of sand dunes for the kids to climb. And lots of quaint villages to explore, eat and shop in.
5. Hilton Head
Not everyone likes to travel all the way down to Florida for a beach vacation. But they do want warm weather. So they head to Hilton Head South Carolina. It’s far enough south to avoid much of the cold, but still accessible for those along the East Coast and Midwest.
Some of the beaches here are ideal for swimming, while others are best for bike rides along the hard-packed soil. All of it is great for fishing and watching a beautiful sunrise.
6. Assateague Island
There are very few places in the US where you can find wild horses roaming about. And there’s only one place in the US where you can see wild horses on the beach. And that’s Assateague Island in Maryland.
This one-of-a-kind location is designated as a National Seashore, protecting it for future generations to enjoy.
The best way to enjoy the seashore is to camp at one of its campgrounds, so you can enjoy the peace and quiet that this barrier island offers.
It’s the ideal destination for active travelers, as hiking, swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, and horseback riding are all available.
7. Cannon Beach
The Pacific Northwest is loaded with beautiful beaches as well, though it’s not necessarily known for seaside vacations. The drizzly, cloudy weather of this region makes it less than ideal for swimming or sunbathing. The cold water temperature and rough seas prevent most people from swimming here, even in the summer.
But beaches like Cannon Beach are absolutely worth a visit thanks to the stunning scenery that you don’t see in warmer parts of the country.
A 235 rock, sitting in the shallows of the water, makes this beach famous. If you’re a photographer, this is a dream seaside destination.
Planning Your Next Seaside Vacation
You could make a much longer list of incredible beaches in the US to explore. But these are just seven of the top beach destinations to add to your bucket list.
We are spoiled for choice here in the US. So make sure you start planning your next trip to soak up the sun, sand, and fun awaiting you on the coast.
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