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25 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

Known 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 overpopulated and is very quiet," she says. Don't miss these charming small towns in America.

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Waikiki Beach, Hawaii

Hawaii is known for its laid-back atmosphere and beautiful beaches. Waikiki is noted as one of the best beaches on the islands 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.

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Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Vacationers 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. These are the 12 best beach island vacations in the United States.

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

Queens, 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!"

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Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Looking for a quaint and historical getaway? Check out 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.

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Anna Maria Island, Florida

Just 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." You can take the whole crew to Anna Maria Island, or any of the 20 best family-friendly beaches.

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South Beach, South Haven, Michigan

South 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.

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Boca Grande, Florida

Located 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. Find out the 10 beaches with the clearest water.

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Carpinteria Beach, California

Former California resident Shelby Beam explains that Carpinteria is one of the best beaches in the United States 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

Now 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." Make sure you get the best deal possible with these 16 secrets for amazing airfares.

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