Have you ever wondered where the Best Beaches in the United States are?
The USA is a huge country and there are probably thousands of beaches. As you can imagine I have not had a chance to visit them all. I have been blessed to visit many beaches and I must say I never visit a beach I do not love. Based on my experiences thus far I have picked out what I think are the 10 best beaches in the United States. Here they are!
Table of Contents
10 Best Beaches in the United States
Hanauma Bay, Oahu
Hanauma Bay is a state park and does require a fee to get in! It is one of only two beaches I’ve included that charge a fee, but it’s such an incredible place it’s worth the fee.
This area was declared a protected marine life conservation area and underwater park in 1967. Here you will find not only a stunning beach but the best snorkeling in Oahu. Be careful to not touch or walk on the coral while visiting. Do not forget that they are CLOSED ON TUESDAYS!
There are lots of wonderful beaches all around Oahu like the beach in front of the Aulani Resort. Be sure to make time to visit several beaches.
For more on Oahu read our Oahu Travel Guide.
Poipu Beach, Kauai
Poipu Beach is on the south part of Kauai. It is somewhat protected making it a safer place for children to swim. One nice thing about this beach is that even if it is cold everywhere else on the island it is almost always warm here.
You will want to be sure and bring your goggles because the snorkeling is excellent. This is definitely one of the best beaches in the United States to visit with your family year-round!
Kauai has many fantastic beaches as well as incredible hiking. Be sure to make time for a hike or two.
To help you plan your trip read our Kauai, Hawaii Travel Guide.
Shell Island is a little island in Florida in the Gulf of Mexico that is basically part of Panama City Beach. To get out there, you will have to get a boat. You can rent a boat like we did or catch a shuttle from St. Andrews State Park for a fee. There are several places that rent boats, including the Tyndall AFB if you’re military.
If you have kids with you, take note that the water on the side that faces towards Panama City Beach, FL is quite calm. You can easily walk over to the other side that faces the open Gulf of Mexico, where the waves are much larger and there are typically more seashells.
For everything you need to know about visiting this area check out our Panama City Beach Travel Guide.
Mexico Beach, Florida
Mexico Beach is to the east of Panama City and west of Gulf County. This little beach is usually not crowded. It’s a drive to get out here, but once you get here the beach and parking are free. This is a fun spot to collect shells and boogieboard.
If you get hungry, I recommend eating at Toucan’s. Keep in mind that there is next to no lodging here.
To visit Mexico Beach for the day you will want to stay in nearby Panama City Beach where there is a lot more going on: shopping, restaurants, and family-friendly activities.
Update: I am heartbroken to update this. Toucans was completely destroyed during the hurricane as was most of Mexico Beach. They are really hurting down there. If you are able to send donations to one of the local organizations helping that area.
Santa Monica Beach
Located super close to LA is Santa Monica beach, one of the most fun beaches in California. The famous Santa Monica Pier is located here and is covered with rides and vendors. The beach is sprawling and has a gymnastics-like playground on parts of it.
Near the beach, you will find tons of restaurants and shops. Our favorite restaurant near here so far has been M Street Kitchen. Just south of Santa Monica beach is the famous Venice Beach. This has long been one of the best beaches in the United States for many families to visit year-round.
To save a bit of money on your Santa Monica visit read our post, Free things to do in Los Angeles.
Coronado Beach San Diego California
This beach is a great spot near San Diego to surf, paddleboard, boogie board, or just hang out. There are even tide pools during low tide at Coronado Central Beach.
With 60 miles of beaches, Myrtle Beach in North Carolina has a lot to offer. The beach, of course, is beautiful, but that’s just one of the perks of vacationing here. There are tons of shopping and restaurants. The activities available vary from water sports to kid-friendly shows to amusement & water parks and so much more.
Flamenco Beach in Puerto Rico is considered one of the best beaches in the world, so with Puerto Rico being part of the United States, I thought I should include it. It’s known for having shallow turquoise water, white sand, and good diving spots. The beach has bathroom facilities, showers, and bathrooms.
For more help planning a Puerto Rico trip read our post, Things to do in Puerto Rico.
Ecola State Park
Just north of Cannon Beach is Ecola State Park, one of Oregon’s most beautiful beaches. Here you can enjoy the beach or you can check out miles of hiking trails, and picnic areas. The views are substantial here, including great vantage points for bird and whale watchers. There is a $5 fee to enter this state park. I recommend staying at Surfsand Resort in Cannon Beach when you visit.
Jekyll Island, Georgia is home to four different beaches, including the romantic Driftwood Beach and family-friendly Great Dunes beach. Also on the island are historic homes, excellent restaurants, and even a water park.
Depending on when you visit the mosquitos can be horrible. We went in August and they were brutal. Take lots of bug repellant.
Did your favorite beach make the list?
Obviously, I haven’t made it to every beach in the United States and I basically only included some that I’ve been to. If I didn’t manage to include your favorite beach let me know. You can share your favorite/best beach in the comments below. Be sure to tell us why it’s the best!
I hope this list of the best beaches in the United States will inspire you to spend a bit more time on the road visiting the sand and sun this year!