30 Free Beach Getaways All Across the United States
Have you ever packed up your whole car and headed to the nearest beach, only to find that there’s a fee just to enter? Us, too. So we rounded up the best free beaches we could find––that way, you can have fun in the sun without shelling out major bucks.
Gulf Shores Public Beach, Alabama
Just one of the beach getaways along Highway 59, Gulf Shores offers lifeguards, picnic areas, and restrooms (with showers!). While there is a small parking fee, you can almost always find free parking at beaches nearby.
Venice Beach, California
Venice Beach, one of Los Angeles’ infamous beach getaways, is known most for its boardwalk. Artists, musicians, and other creatives flock to Venice Beach to sell, practice, and perfect their crafts, so you shouldn’t go there expecting a quiet, serene day on the beach. Parking fees apply along the beach, so we recommend finding street parking farther away from the shore. If you’re interested in the boardwalk at Venice Beach, read up on 14 of the best beach boardwalks in America.
Rock Canyon Beach, Lake Pueblo State Park, Colorado
Rock Canyon Beach is nestled within one of Colorado’s many gorgeous parks. This beach is pet-friendly and has showers, restrooms, and plenty of other on-site activity options. Traveling with Fido? Check out 14 other dog-friendly beaches your pooch will love.
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Rehoboth beach boasts Delaware’s most charming mile-long boardwalk, perfect for when you want to take a break from the sun and grab a bite to eat. Both metered and non-metered parking is available nearby. Read up on other budget-friendly beaches to plan the perfect cheap summer vacation.
Clearwater Beach, Florida
One of Florida’s many white-sand beach getaways, Clearwater is a perfect location for a low-key beach day. Parking is available nearby at rates as low as $2.
Kaanapali Beach, Hawaii
Kaanapali Beach, which is located in West Maui, is world famous for its beautiful white sand. And remember to bring your camera—this beach is known for its spectacular sunsets.
Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Beaches dot the shoreline of Northern Idaho’s breathtaking Lake Coeur d’Alene. There are plenty of boat docks, and the lake is known for its ultra-clear water which is perfect for timid young swimmers. Free parking is available a few blocks away, but paid lots can be found closer to the beach. Check out this list of 10 beaches with the clearest water in the world.
Cedar Bluff State Park, Kansas
The beach at Cedar Bluff State Park is less developed than most beaches on this list, but that’s what makes it great. It’s secluded, but still has the amenities you want (and need), including a volleyball court, plenty of trails, and restrooms. Parking is paid by vehicle.
Green River Lake, Kentucky
Green River Lake is complete with sandy beaches along the coastline of the lake, as well as a rental office where you can rent out jet skis, houseboats, pontoons, and more.
North Beach, Lake Charles, Louisiana
Fun fact: North Beach is the only white sand inland beach from Texas to Florida! It has gorgeous white sand and it’s easily accessible from Interstate 10.
Ocean City, Maryland
All of OCMD’s 140+ beaches have free access, and free parking can be found if you hunt around long enough. You can find a quieter beach uptown if you want to relax and read a book, but if you’re looking for entertainment, stay downtown by the historic boardwalk.
Coast Guard Beach, Massachusetts
Fun fact: When the Mayflower came from England, it docked at what is now Coast Guard Beach! This beautiful beach is open year-round, and shuttles take you from nearby lots straight to the shoreline.
Eagle River Beach, Michigan
The beach along Eagle River has a deep history and a beautiful view of the sunset. Check out 11 more amazing beaches to add to your bucket list.
Long Branch State Park, Missouri
This lakeside sand beach is perfect on a hot summer day. It’s open from May-September, and it includes a volleyball court and a change house facility. There are no lifeguards, so be sure to keep an eye on your kiddos. Definitely read up on these 10 important beach safety rules before you go, too.
Bozeman Beach, Montana
The beach along the 4-acre lake hosts a dock for fishing and diving, picnic pavilions, volleyball courts, climbing rocks, and more for a fun way to spend a summer day. Non-Montana residents must pay a parking fee.
Lake McConaughy, Nebraska
There are plenty of beach access spots along the Northeast side of Nebraska’s gorgeous Lake McConaughy. There are campgrounds nearby with public facilities, as well as boat ramps and plenty of sand. Parking fees are required upon entrance to the state park.
Wingfield Park, Nevada
Wingfield Park made our list because it’s unlike any of the other free beach getaways around. The rock formations in the Truckee River make the surrounding area somewhat of a free water park, with places to jump, dive, and slide. We think it’s a perfect way to cool off and have a great time this summer.
Wildwood, New Jersey
While many of New Jersey’s beaches require beach tags, Wildwood is one of the few Jersey Shore beach getaways that is free and still well-kempt. The white sand beaches and world-famous boardwalks are perfect for the whole family to enjoy. Paid parking is available in nearby lots, but finding free street parking is common. Plus, check out our guide for family-friendly beaches at the Jersey Shore.
Brighton Beach, New York
Coney Island’s tranquil neighbor, Brighton Beach, is sure to be a blast. The shoreline is dotted with colorful shops and restaurants, and the surrounding neighborhood is a hub of diversity—perfect for a day away from the bustling city. Free parking exists, but it’s not easy to find.
Carolina Beach, North Carolina
If the white sand and bright blue waters at Carolina Beach aren’t enough to entice you, then the fishing, arcades, shops, and restaurants will.
Rockaway Beach, Oregon
Rockaway Beach combines dense forests with gorgeous shorelines to provide you the best of both worlds. You can go hiking, swimming, tide pooling, whale watching, and the list goes on.
Isle of Palms, South Carolina
This tranquil southern beach offers everything you could possibly want for a day trip (or week-long trip) to the beach. Indulge in relaxation or try your hand at tennis, volleyball, paddle boarding, and other available outdoor adventures. Free roadside parking is available first come, first serve, but paid parking is as little as $1 an hour.
Sylvan Lake, South Dakota
The swimming beach at Sylvan Lake is nestled in the forests of Custer State Park and features nearby hiking trails as well as kayak, canoe, and paddleboat rentals.
Cape Charles Beach, Virginia
This free beach is family-friendly and serene, with no waves, making it the perfect beach for floating and wading. Plus, the surrounding neighborhood is as charming as you’d expect a Southern beach town to be. Traveling with little ones? Don’t forget these 10 beach day lifesavers that parents shouldn’t leave home without.
North Beach, Wisconsin
North Beach has received several national accolades for its cleanliness and family-friendliness. There are lifeguards, snack stands, and playgrounds. Plus, there is plenty of free parking located in lots nearby. Looking for more family-friendly beaches? Here are 7 amazing vacation spots everyone will love.
Colter Bay, Wyoming
The beach at Colter Bay is located near picnic areas and is typically not crowded—it’s also known for its spectacular views. Just remember to bring water shoes, because this beach has rocky sand. Next, check out our list of the best beaches in America.