Best of America

10 of the Best Beaches in America to Hit This Summer

Whether you're looking to relax on a secluded, sandy island, hit up a major tourist spot, enjoy some culture, or find a beach filled with activities for your kid, you'll find a beach on this list that you'll love!

Grayton Beach, Santa Rosa, Florida

AP/ShutterstockKnown for its classic "beach town" appeal, Santa Rosa is considered one of the spots to enjoy your best beach vacation in the United States. Though there are other beaches in this beautiful town, Grayton Beach is a gem just outside of Destin known for its white sand beaches. Vicky Shickles of Indianapolis notes, that the beach is beautiful and well maintained. "It's great because it is not over populated and is very quiet," she notes. Don't miss these charming small towns in America.

Waikiki Beach, Hawaii

miues27/ShutterstockHawaii is known for its laid-back atmosphere and beautiful beaches. Waikiki is noted as one of the best beaches because of its tranquility and easy access from most resorts and hotels in Honolulu. Lalie Williamson of PLACE, has visited and notes that it also wasn't very crowded. "It was great to just lay on a towel and read without worrying about being disturbed." Another reason it makes her best beach list? The clear water perfect for swimming.

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

PETER-LAKOMY/ShutterstockVacationers flock to Hilton Head for its seven beautiful public access beaches and close proximity to restaurants and other activities. Gorgeous hotels and home rentals make this a popular "best beach" family vacation spot as well.

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Riis Beach (Jacob Riis Park), Far Rockaway, New York

Willens/AP/ShutterstockQueens, New York and beautiful beach may not be synonymous in your mind, but this beach is called "The People's Beach," for a reason. Known for its art deco bathhouse, this is a great beach retreat for a day off from the daily grind. According to Riel Peerbooms of Brooklyn, New York, "It's super diverse, so close to the city, and yet such an escape—it's all the things we love about the city, but at the beach!"

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Jack-Nevitt/ShutterstockLooking for quaint and historical? One of the best beach and island vacations in the U.S. that meets that criteria is Martha's Vineyard. Both Aquinnah and Edgartown boast beautiful lighthouses and Aquinnah is known for its cliffs. The Vineyard is also home to some of the best seafood and is ideal for exploring, fishing, and if you're so inclined, sketching and reading! Just know that if you're planning on driving there, the summertime ferries are booked months in advance.

Anna Maria Island, Florida

Mark-Winfrey/ShutterstockJust 20 minutes from Bradenton, Anna Maria Island is a family-friendly vacation destination. With restaurants and lots of beautiful houses to rent for the weekend or a few weeks, this is a popular year-round destination. Orlando, Florida teacher, Angela Meechin, goes with her family and loves it thanks to its "laid back feel, wide open beaches, and beautiful water on the gulf side."

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South Beach, South Haven, Michigan

haveseen/ShutterstockSouth Haven is a popular summer retreat thanks to its beautiful beaches on Lake Michigan, a popular destination of Midwesterners. South Beach is especially well-known as it boasts wonderful children's playgrounds and its famous red lighthouse. Also, close to many colleges, it provides an escape for students and staff. "It allowed me to get away from all the stress," notes Dustin Thomas of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Boca Grande Island, Florida

tornadoflight/ShutterstockLocated on the island of Gasparilla on the Gulf shore, this is a stunning beach revered for great fishing and stunning views. Within a reasonable driving distance from Fort Myers, this is a great beach to visit in Florida that will have more locals than tourists. Enjoy shopping, lunch, and ice cream nearby. It also makes for a unique wedding destination.

Carpinteria Beach, California

Jose-Antonio-Perez/ShutterstockFormer California resident, Shelby Beam, explains that Carpinteria is one of the best beaches in the U.S. due to its beauty as well as the activities. "There are lots of tide pools to explore, rocks to climb, starfish, and sea anemone that you can touch and hold," she says. "The beach was great for riding waves on boogie boards, building sand castles, and exploring." Looking for a camping spot as well? This beach is perfect for that!

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Gulf Shores, Alabama

Nicholas-Courtney/ShutterstockNow a major tourist destination, Gulf Shores, Alabama is considered the best beach by many. Florell Hand of Indiana has been traveling there for about 25 years. "Having grown up about a half hour from the Florida coast, beach vacations were simply non-negotiable and became a yearly retreat," she says. What keeps her coming back? "We return year after year for the clean white sand, favorite restaurants, bike trails, the variety of shopping, and the down-home, laid back atmosphere."
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