There are few greater pleasures than bidding farewell to the confines of your office and heading to the beach for some much-needed sun and sand. Days spent with a cocktail in hand as your skin develops a healthy, sun-kissed glow, and evenings being lulled to sleep by the sound of waves crashing on the shore are the perfect cure for the doldrums that descend after too much time cooped up indoors.
Luckily, you don’t have to venture far to find the beach bliss you seek. From exhilarating surf off Oahu to tranquil Colorado swimming holes, we’ve rounded up our top picks for the best beaches in America. And if you need a little more incentive to enjoy some time away from the office, The 35 Best Reasons to Take a Vacation might just motivate you yet.
Bowman’s Beach, Sanibel Island, FL
Sanibel Island has long been a popular destination for beachgoers, but Bowman’s Beach is truly this Florida destination’s piece de resistance. This stunning beach isn’t marred by residential or commercial development, offering miles of pristine white sand to explore and clear water perfect for swimming. And if you’re looking for more exotic vacation ideas, here are the Best Star Wars Locations You Can Actually Visit.
Lanikai Beach, Kailua, HI
Lanikai means “heavenly sea” and that’s just what you’ll enjoy at this gorgeous Oahu beach. Located on the lip of Kailua Bay, palm-tree-dotted Lanikai Beach offers crystal blue waters and ample waves, making it a prime destination for surfers. And for more secluded getaway ideas, check out the 20 Most Zen Places on Earth.
Tybee Island Beach, Tybee Island, GA
Just half an hour outside Savannah is Tybee Island, home to one of Georgia’s most beautiful beaches. Perfect for fishing, swimming, or simply spending a peaceful day relaxing on the shore with a good book, Tybee Island Beach is well worth the trip. And if snow is more your vibe, don’t miss the 9 Best Luxury Ski Resorts in America.
Assateague Beach, Assateague Island, MD
Wild horses may be a rare sight in most parts of America, but they’re among Assateague Island’s most famous residents. On Maryland’s Assateague Beach, you can take a dip while admiring the area’s lush vegetation, as well as its adorable pony population.
Surfrider Beach, Malibu, CA
Malibu’s reputation as a waterfront paradise is well-earned. However, it’s Surfrider Beach that takes the cake, offering hillside vistas, clear water, and waves that will wow even veteran surfers. And when you’re ready for a vacation that gets your blood pumping, the 11 Ultimate Adventure Vacations are adrenaline-junkie-approved.
Cahoon Hollow, Wellfleet, MA
Cape Cod’s Cahoon Hollow is among the area’s most picturesque places to swim and surf. Steep sand dunes lead the way to this waterfront escape, which offers unobstructed water views for miles and perfect temperatures for cooling down on those hot days. And wherever you’re headed, bear in mind the 30 Airport Secrets Only Insiders Know.
Pine Point Beach, Scarborough, ME
Scarborough, Maine’s Pine Point Beach makes it clear why this New England state has earned the moniker Vacationland. Spanning four miles of Atlantic coast, this peaceful beach offers plenty of space to swim, surf, or spread out in the sand.
Presque Isle Beach, Erie, PA
Located in Presque Isle State Park on Pennsylvania’s northwestern tier, Presque Isle is inarguably the most beautiful beach in all of Pennsylvania. A tree-lined perimeter, a wealth of native birds flying along the horizon, and ideal surfing conditions make this a prime destination for vacationers.
Hulopoe Beach, Lana’i, HI
While virtually every beach in Hawaii is gorgeous, Hulopoe Beach is unrivaled in terms of tranquility. Located on Lana’i, Hawaii’s smallest inhabited island accessible to the public, Hulopoe feels like a private paradise, with immaculate sand and crystal clear water stretching as far as the eye can see. If the thought of a long flight has you stressed out, mastering the 20 Ways to Make Travel Less Stressful will have you more relaxed in no time.
Chic’s Beach, Virginia Beach, VA
If you find yourself in Virginia Beach, make a point to spend some time on Chic’s Beach. In the shadow of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, this low-key beach and its small waves make it perfect for swimming or simply taking a leisurely stroll along the sand.
Neahkahnie Beach, Manzanita, OR
Craggy hillsides and tall trees make Manzanita, Oregon’s Neahkahnie Beach particularly picturesque. While the beach welcomes swimmers, its wealth of other outdoor activities, from horseback riding to hiking, are even better-known.
Isla Blanca Park, South Padre Island, TX
South Padre Island has been a popular vacation destination for decades, but Isla Blanca Park Beach is, without a doubt, its best asset. Abutting the Gulf of Mexico, this Texas beach is perfect for swimming and surfing. When you’re done, make sure to snap a photo with the park’s enormous statue of Jesus Christ, who has become an Instagram fave.
Spruce Cape Beach, Kodiak, AK
While Alaska’s chilly temperatures may make you think of snow, rather than sand, Spruce Cape Beach is a welcome exception to that reputation. Located in Kodiak, this beach is one of the best whale-watching spots in the United States, with multiple species calling the nearby waters home. If you want to extend that vacation, This Secret Trick Leads to More Vacation Days at Work!
Brighton Beach, Duluth, MN
Minnesota may not border the ocean, but its 90,000 miles of lakefront coast more than make up for it. Brighton Beach in Duluth is the most Instagram-worthy among them, however, thanks to its rocky shores, tree-lined hills, and picturesque views of Lake Superior.
Hatteras Beach, Hatteras Island, NC
Avid swimmers will be charmed by the beauty of North Carolina’s Hatteras Beach. Located on the southern end of Hatteras Island, this idyllic beach offers warm water, temperate weather, and beautiful panoramic water views.
Kelleys Island State Park Beach, Erie County, OH
Just because a state is landlocked doesn’t mean it’s not home to beautiful beaches. Case in point: the gorgeous Kelleys Island State Park Beach in Ohio’s Erie County. Bordering Lake Erie, this sandy beach is set against a backdrop of dense vegetation and offers stone pathways through the water on which visitors can stroll.
Montauk Point Beach, Montauk, NY
East Hampton is known for its A-list residents, but the real star of this Long Island enclave is Montauk Point Beach. This pristine stretch of sand on the Long Island Sound welcomes countless visitors each year, who swim, surf, and fish along this hamlet’s shore.
Cherry Creek Reservoir, Denver, CO
Cherry Creek Reservoir offers some respite from the bustling urban areas that surround it. This state park’s beach is particularly pretty, offering gorgeous views of hills and mountains on the horizon.
Truman Lake Beach, Warsaw, MO
Located inside Harry S. Truman State Park, it’s easy to see why this Missouri beach has become such a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Offering perfectly placid waters ideal for swimming and boating, there’s no better place to beat the heat in the Show Me State.
Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, AL
Gulf Shores, Alabama is home to some of the most beautiful views of the Gulf Coast, but Orange Beach is undeniably the most enjoyable of its beaches. White sand, turquoise sea, and just enough heat to make you interested in taking a dip make this one of our favorite southern swimming spots. But before you hit the beach in that out-of-style suit, check out our picks for The 25 Best Swim Trunks For Summer.
Chimney Beach, Tahoe, NV
Lake Tahoe’s Chimney Beach is a must-see for any outdoorsman. Lush forest, sandy shores, and plenty to keep you occupied, from leisurely swims to high-intensity hikes, will make this a trip you won’t soon forget.
Cave Point Beach, Door County, WI
Whether it’s boating, swimming, hiking, or fishing that piques your interest, Cave Point Beach in Door County, Wisconsin, has something to suit every taste. Better yet, the vibrant green vegetation and clear blue skies that surround it make it the perfect place to take enviable vacation photos.
Zephyr Cove Beach, Zephyr Cove, NV
On the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe, Zephyr Cove Beach offers everything people visit the western United States for: big blue skies, crystal clear waters, and hilly backdrops perfect for hiking.
Lighthouse Point Park, New Haven, CT
Yale and pizza aren’t New Haven’s only claims to fame. Beach-goers would be wise to check out the city’s Lighthouse Point Park, which spans 82 unspoiled acres along the Long Island Sound.
Dale Hollow Lake Beach, Burkesville, KY
If you find yourself in the Nashville area, treat yourself to a detour to Dale Hollow. Dale Hollow Lake Beach in Burkesville is rarely crowded, but provides some of the most scenic views in the state, with evergreen-lined sandy beaches and clear, tranquil waters perfect for veteran swimmers and newbies alike. And if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, set your sights on The Best Exotic Vacations in the World!
Lighthouse Beach, Evanston, IL
Just a few miles north of Chicago, you’ll find one of the most beautiful beaches in the Midwest. In Evanston, Lighthouse Beach offers sweeping views of Lake Michigan and a quaint lighthouse in the background, making for postcard-perfect photos.
Antelope Island Beach, Davis County, UT
They don’t call it the Great Salt Lake for nothing. On Antelope Island in Utah, you’ll have 42 miles of placid, prairie-grass-surrounded lakefront to explore, with little but clear blue water and sky to occupy your view.
Pass Christian Beach, Pass Christian, MS
Cool off from the Mississippi heat with a dip at Pass Christian Beach. This peaceful waterfront is great for swimming, and offers plenty of guided boat tours of local wildlife, from dolphins to sea fowl. Luckily, when summer has come and gone, you can still enjoy some much-needed outdoor adventures at one of The 9 Best Luxury Ski Resorts in America.
Shi Shi Beach, Clallam Bay, WA
Located inside Olympic National Park, Washington’s Shi Shi Beach is well worth exploring. This beautiful tree-lined beach is a top destination for hikers, as well as wildlife enthusiasts, with everything from Orcas to gray wolves spotted within the park.
Watch Hill Beach, Westerly, RI
If you’re looking for a beach with a unique view, look no further than Watch Hill in Westerly, Rhode Island. Watch Hill offers sandy beach, areas of rocky waterfront, and massive mansions to gaze upon as you return from your swim. And when you want to explore a beach that’s a little more off the beaten path, book yourself a flight to one of these 5 Underrated But Amazing Island Vacations!
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