GloboTreks is reader-supported through affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I might earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support! – Norbert

Life can be stressful, and there’s no better way to remedy this than spending a few days relaxing on the beach. So, if you’re planning a getaway and looking for the best beach vacations in the U.S., you’re in the right place. 

From the gorgeous coast of California to the basalt towers of Cannon Beach, the U.S. offers diverse and unique options. Whether you’re traveling as a family, couple, or solo – you’ll find somewhere in this list to suit your needs. 

If you’re hunting for cheap vacation spots in the U.S. or want to splurge on a beachfront villa, this guide has got you covered. 

Best Beaches in the U.S. for Vacation 

Let’s take a look at some of the most beautiful beaches in the U.S. that you could be spending long, sunny days on. From quaint seaside towns to large, well-known beach destinations, take your pick and start packing.  

1. Capitola, California

Capitola Beach Wharf

You don’t get much better than the golden coast of California, and Capitola brings you a more private beach experience than some other popular places on this coast.

Characterized by colorful houses hugging the shore and a laid-back vibe, you’re guaranteed a wonderful beach vacation at Capitola.

The town gives off a Mediterranean vibe with its waterfront scenery consisting of a bay, wharf, and village shops. You’ll have a variety of dining options to choose between, from laidback taco joints and local pubs to fancier, wine-centric restaurants. 

If you’re looking to relax in a cute beach village away from the crowds, this gem of a spot is calling your name. 

2. St. Augustine, Florida

St. Augustine, Florida, US

Much like California, Florida boasts many white sandy shores with sparkling turquoise waters, and St. Augustine is no exception to this.

Not only are you treated to peaceful beaches, but this Spanish-settled town is steeped in rich history and cultural sites.

After you’ve spent a day soaking up the sun on the shores of St. Augustine, this town filled with old-world charm has a host of things waiting to be explored.

Check out Castillo de San Marcos – the country’s oldest standing masonry fort, and the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum. A great way to see this and more is with a Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tour.

For those not interested in museums, hit the European-style shopping streets of St. George and Aviles to pick up some unique items. Finally, end your day with a beer tasting at the St. Augustine Distillery. 

3. Block Island, Rhode Island

Block Island Lighthouse, US

Does a remote island off the coast of Rhode Island known for hiking, biking, sailing, and much more sound like the perfect place for you?

Well, head to Block Island, and you’ll find a beach destination that satisfies both adventure seekers and chilled beach lovers alike. 

Okay, so this Island is remote, but its population can triple over the summer months. So, if this is your destination of choice, be sure to book accommodation early.

In the Old Harbor, which resembles an old village town, you’ll find Victorian B&Bs and unique boutique shops. It’s also where you’ll find the island’s only grocery store.

Those looking for a slower pace need to look no further. On Block Island, your days will consist of misty mornings, lazy beach walks to the lighthouse, and relaxed sundowners on the porch – dreamy, right? 

4. Solana Beach, California

Solana Beach Sunset

Solana Beach is in the laid-back county of San Diego, and if you’re looking for the perfect West Coast beach adventure, it doesn’t get much better than this.

It’ll be hard to tear yourself away from the stunning beaches, but for those who can, you don’t need to look far to keep busy.

If you’re a foodie, you’ll enjoy trying out different things, from hot tamales to chocolate halvah at the Sunday farmers market. The seafood restaurants, wineries, and pancake houses also make for a delightful afternoon with friends and family.

The area boasts some breathtaking scenery too. For the best views of the ocean and lagoon, set off on one of the rugged hiking trails – Annie’s Canyon Trail is particularly stunning. 

5. Cape May, New Jersey 

Cape May Houses

If you’re looking for the best U.S. beach vacations on the East Coast, Cape May could just be your spot.

On the Southernmost tip of New Jersey, you’ll find one of America’s oldest and most charming seaside resort towns. To get into the seaside vacation mood, why not start your trip with a sunset & dolphin watching cruise?

Lovers of history and architecture will be wowed by the Victorian-style hotels and cottages.

Stroll through the brick sidewalks and pop into the mom-and-pop shops to make the most of the town. Here, you’ll find unique local goods and delicious saltwater taffy before hitting the beach for a day in the sun.

For kiddies’ entertainment, head to Congress Hall Hotel, where classic carnival nights are held every Monday evening during the summer months. Beach Plum Farm is also a great place for the whole family.

In summer, the working farm welcomes children to the adventure club for kids, with activities such as birdhouse making, archery, and nature hikes. 

For those traveling without kids, make sure you enjoy a night out at The Chalfonte. The fried chicken dinner served on the wraparound porch with live music is a great way to end your day. 

6. Oahu, Hawaii

Oahu Hawaii Beach

This wouldn’t be a list of the best and prettiest beaches in the U.S. if somewhere in Hawaii wasn’t on it. As you might imagine, Hawaii has some of the best clearwater beaches in the US!

Oahu is a U.S. island in the Central Pacific and is also home to Hawaii’s capital, Honolulu.

Given its location, Oahu, also known as “The Gathering Place,” is the perfect vacation spot for families or groups of friends looking for a fun tropical holiday packed with activities and pristine, white sand beaches.

Populated with many resorts, like the Sheraton Waikiki, it’s the perfect spot for every occasion – family adventures, romantic trips, or solo travel – it really suits every traveler.

For nightlife and excellent dining options, be sure to check out Waikiki Beach. History buffs should be sure to visit the Pearl Harbor Site, where you can learn more about the WWII bombing attack.

7. Cannon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach Sunset

Home to the distinctive Haystack Rock, a basalt tower protruding from the water just off the shoreline, Cannon Beach is worth a visit. Some even argue that this is the most beautiful beach in the USA, given its unique and striking rocks.

Debates aside, you can’t argue that the basalt towers aren’t worth the trip, and the 9-mile strip of beach certainly won’t disappoint. 

This beach doesn’t just offer stunning views; you’ll also be able to swim, kayak, and bird-watch along the shores of Cannon Beach.

If you really want to see something special, visit at low tide. This is when the ocean recedes and reveals secret caves and marine life. 

8. Provincetown, Massachusetts

Provincetown Massachusetts, US

You don’t have to worry about fitting in in Provincetown. The population increases from a mere 3,000 residents to a whopping 60,000 in the high summer months.

The bohemian crowds create an everyone-is-welcome atmosphere where you’re sure to enjoy a chilled-out seaside vacation. 

Spend long summer days frolicking in either Race Point Beach or Herring Cove Beach before grabbing a snack at one of the many eateries in town.

Other fun day activities include biking through the surrounding pine forests and dunes. A stroll down the funky Commercial Street, home to vibrant shops, galleries, and restaurants, should also be on your list.

Tip: For an affordable place to stay on the beachfront, check out the Breakwater Hotel

9. Bald Head Island, North Carolina 

Bald Head Island Beach

This peaceful beach community on the northern part of the East Coast is for those looking to slow down from the busyness of day-to-day life.

The subtropical island has miles of unspoiled beaches perfect for long walks and spending hours in the fresh ocean water kayaking or swimming.

The best part is that there are no cars on the island. Yes, you read right; no cars are allowed on the island, which means that you either have to catch a ride in a golf cart, ride your bike, or simply just walk. This gives off the quintessential feeling of laidback island life.

10. Port Aransas, Texas

Flying Bird

A stunning strip of beach may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Texas, but that’s exactly what you’ll find at Port Aransas.

The self-proclaimed “Fishing Capital of Texas” has so much more to offer than the catch of the day.

With 18 miles of beach just waiting to be explored, you’ll find a plethora of popular activities like kayaking, swimming, parasailing, and dolphin spotting.

Out of the water, you can enjoy a game at one of the local golf courses or try your luck with spotting some birds. Given the area’s marshy terrain, you’ll find birds such as pelicans, ducks, and roseate spoonbills (which look similar to pink flamingos).

11. Culebra, Puerto Rico

Tank in Culebra, Puerto Rico

Another US beach vacation destination that shouldn’t be missed is San Juan, Puerto Rico. With over 270 miles of coastline, there’s no denying that Puerto Rico will offer some of the best beach experiences in the U.S.

From the vibrant and bustling beaches of San Juan to the surfing haven of Rincon and the pristine crystal clear waters of Culebra, Puerto Rico has a beach experience for everyone.

The small island of Culebra is one of my favorite places on earth. It’s very chill and laid back, and it has some of the top beaches in the world, according to many “top beaches in the world” lists. And I don’t disagree.

The world-famous Flamenco Beach is considered the best beach in Culebra. Its crystal clear water and white sandy shores are protected by a picturesque cove that makes this beach a family-friendly stop.

Beyond the picturesque natural landscape, two WWII tanks are lying on the beach, which, as you’d imagine, are popular spots for photos.

Should Flamenco Beach be too crowded for your liking, then head to Zoni Beach on the opposite side of Culebra. It is just as stunning but not as famous as its sister beach.

12. Miami Beach

Miami Beach, Florida

Come on, you didn’t think I’d make a list of beach vacations in the U.S. without including Miami Beach, did you? It may be an obvious choice but it’s undoubtedly one of the best beaches in the country.

Its tranquil waters and gorgeous sand lend it a natural beauty that makes it the perfect spot for Instagrammable photos. You can also stroll along the boardwalk that stretches all the way to South Beach – two beaches for the price of one!

Of course, as it’s in Miami, there are also plenty of things to do nearby. You can get some retail therapy at the Lincoln Road Mall that’s packed with brand-name shops, local boutiques, and great restaurants.

You should make sure you check out the Art Deco district too, particularly Collin’s Avenue and Ocean Drive.

If you’re feeling adventurous, then you could even take a private airplane tour of South Beach.

13. Hilton Head, South Carolina

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Hilton Head is a sleepy island that comes alive in the summer months when tourists pour in to soak in its relaxing vibe. As an island, it offers plenty of beaches with the two most popular being Coligny Beach and Bradley Beach.

If you’re looking for a less crowded place to unwind, then I’d recommend checking out Burkes Beach, which isn’t as well-known but is just as nice.

If you’re an avid golfer, then this is the place for you. The island is home to more than 20 courses where you can perfect your swing. The most famous course is Harbour Town Golf Links which is internationally renowned.

The island is also great for inshore fishing, tennis, and cycling. In fact, the extensive paved trails here mean that you can travel around the entire island by bicycle.

For a truly luxurious stay on the island, I’d recommend booking yourself into the Beach House Resort.

14. Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

Wrightsville Beach is a small island near Wilmington with a laid-back atmosphere but still plenty to keep you occupied. The beach is a popular spot for finding seashells and shark teeth, and you can even go on cruises that’ll take you take you to the best seashelling spots!

When you feel like stretching your legs, take a stroll along The Loop. It’s a 2.5-mile path that runs through the island and it’s an excellent way to see all it has to offer.

If you’re on a family vacation, then be sure to spend some time at Wrightsville Beach Park. It has a playground where the kids can burn off some of the energy they’ll build up from chilling on the beach.

One of the best things about the island is its dining scene. I’d suggest trying EAST, Tower 7, and Zeke’s Beans and Bowls when you get hungry.

15. Ocean City, Maryland

Ocean City, Maryland

The thing I love about Ocean City is that there’s a totally different vibe depending on which end of the beach you’re at. The north end is serene, while the south end tends to be pretty lively, and each has its own charms.

Of course, you can spend time tanning yourself on the beach but there are also plenty of activities like kayaking, boating, and even horseback riding to get involved with.

The long boardwalk has that quintessential American beach town feel too with an amusement park, ferris wheel, and a carousel.

If you’d like a more cultural experience then check out Ocean City’s Center for the Arts where you can see exhibits and pay a visit to the Performing Arts Center to take in a show.

16. Clearwater Beach, Florida

Clearwater Beach, Florida

On Florida’s stunning gulf coast you’ll find Clearwater Beach which was named “No. 1 Beach in the South” by USA Today.

Its gulf shores have the whitest sand you can imagine and its transluscent waters make it the perfect spot for snorkeling.

One of the best things to do here is to take a dolphin cruise, which regularly sets out from the beach to find dolphins, sea turtles, and other aquatic life. I’d recommend taking a private pontoon tour rather than waiting for one of the other boats, which can get very busy.

Alternatively, if you’re traveling solo or don’t have enough people for a private pontoon, you can book ahead this dolphin encounter group tour.

You should also visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise is a great option if you’re vacationing with kids in tow.

17. Jekyll Island, Georgia

Jekyll Island, Georgia

Jekyll Island is one of the famous Golden Isles of Georgia. However, it’s not as well-known as its more popular neighbor St. Simons Island. This makes it easy to find your own slice of undisturbed tranquility away from the crowds.

The island has strict conservation regulations that mean large parts of it are untouched and nature blossoms as it always has done.

The beaches are quiet and there is plenty to explore inland such as the Historic District which includes lovingly restored cottage homes and plenty of restaurants.

The Georgia Sea Turtle Center, Faith Chapel, and Horton House are all well worth a visit too. Plus, make sure you get a photo in front of Plantation Oak – a tree that’s thought to be around 350 to 400 years old.

My top pick of the hotels on the island is the Beachview Club Hotel.

Discovering the Best Beaches in the USA

There you have it, the top 17 beaches in the U.S. for a lovely seaside vacation.

Unwind in an isolated location like Bald Head Island, where the only thing you have to worry about is how long your beach walk will be. Or opt for Waikiki Beach, with bustling nightlife and abundant sporting activities.  

Whichever option you choose, you’re sure to have a dreamy beach vacation at any of these wonderful destinations.

Planning another seaside vacation? Check out my guide to beaches in the Caribbean for an unforgettable trip. 

Essential Info: Logistical Tips and Tricks to Book your Trip

Regarding cheap airfare, I highly recommend using Skyscanner and Expedia. These are two of the sites I use the most due to their exhaustive search on several websites and airlines around the world. They usually bring the cheapest fares.

Additionally, I recommend getting the WayAway Plus membership to save money on cheaper fares and earn cashback (sent straight to your PayPal) on your bookings.

For hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and other types of accommodation, I highly recommend They are my go-to booking site because they usually have the cheapest fares.

If you’re a registered user (“Genius”), you can take advantage of their “Genius discount” to save even more money. I almost always book my accommodation with Booking, and I’ve saved thousands of dollars with their Genius discount.

And of course, as one of the largest travel booking sites in the world, Expedia is another excellent accommodation booking site with a free reward program and discounted member prices.

If you’re looking to save money by staying at a hostel, HostelWorld has the largest inventory of hostels with shared dorms and private rooms. On the other hand, Vrbo offers a wide variety of rooms and apartments at affordable prices.

Travel insurance with comprehensive coverage will protect you against unexpected events like theft, cancellations, injury, and illness.

I use HeyMondo to insure my trips and recommend them. Their affordable plans offer a 24/7 assistance platform for claims, medical coverage for every traveler, adventure sports and covid-19 coverage, and more. And better yet, GloboTreks readers get 5% off their plan! Get a quote.

Alternatively, if you’re a nomad and travel often or long-term, then SafetyWing could help you save a lot of money on long-term travel insurance.

If you’re looking for the best day tours and cheapest ticket entrances to local attractions, I recommend checking Viator, as they have the largest selection of attractions, passes, and activities all around the world.

 offers the easiest and most accessible way to book overland transportation with local operators, be it by bus, train, ferry, plane, mini-van, or even private transfers.

If renting a car, then I highly recommend DiscoverCars to get the largest car selection at the best price.

Lastly, check out my resources page for some of the best products and companies to use for your trip. If you like saving money (like I do!), then this page will help.

11 Best Beach Vacations in the US: Seaside Towns & More
Adventure Awaits


Plus, receive a short e-book with 15 Beginner Tips and Tricks to Save Money on Flights!​

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *