The United States is filled with amazing beaches, and this list has some of the best beaches in the USA. From the East Coast to the West Coast to Hawaii to Puerto Rico, these stunning beaches are sure to bring a little sunshine to your life.
While you are planning your summer escape, make sure to see if any of these beaches are on your USA bucket list!
Best Beaches in the USA: The Ultimate Guide
Waikiki Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
By far, the most famous beach in the USA is Waikiki Beach. Situated along Oahu’s south shore, Waikiki Beach boasts year-long sunshine, swaying palm trees, and calm waters. If you are planning a visit, don’t miss this Oahu bucket list.
The beaches in Oahu are some of the best in all of the United States.
Lanikai Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
While Waikiki Beach is the most famous beach in the United States, Lanikai Beach on Oahu definitely rivals it. The same golden sand and warm sun are paired with stunning turquoise waters and two small green islands in the distance.
Kaanapali Beach, Maui, Hawaii
Oahu isn’t the only Hawaiian Island with beautiful beaches. Maui also has amazing beaches, including Kaanapali Beach, which is known for its calm waters, golden sand, and adrenaline-pumping cliff jumping.
Waianapanapa State Park, Maui, Hawaii
Some of the best beaches in the USA don’t have the typical golden sand. Waianapanapa State Park is home to one of those beaches. Located towards the end of the road to Hana, Waianapanapa State Park contains a black sand beach known for its color, as well as its freshwater caves and rock arches.
Papakolea Beach, Big Island, Hawaii
Speaking of colorful beaches, Papakolea Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii had to make it onto this list, as it is the only green sand beach in the country (and one of only four in the world)! The green color comes from olivine crystals that are mixed in with the lava rock, so it’s very rare to find so many of these green crystals all in the same place.
Cocoa Beach, Florida
Located on the east coast of Florida and wildly popular for it’s white sand and relatively shallow waters. This is a great beach destination in Florida that offers tons of shopping, dining and activities at well. Some of the best places to stay are Airbnb’s in Cocoa Beach. There is something for everyone.
Kua Bay, Big Island, Hawaii
The Big Island of Hawaii is home to one of the most under-the-radar beaches in Hawaii. As a matter of fact, this hidden beach is one of the best beaches in the USA! Kua Bay is great for anything you’d like to do on the beach, including sun tanning, snorkeling, bodyboarding, swimming, and shelling.
Pohoiki Beach, Big Island, Hawaii
Pohoiki Beach is the newest beach in the United States. Created in October 2018 by the lava flow from the Kilauea volcano, Pohoiki Beach’s black sand glistens in a way unlike the sand at any other black sand beach.
Kalalau Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
Beaches on the Hawaiian Islands of Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island have all made it onto this list, and now it’s time for Kauai. To reach Kalalau Beach, visitors first have to hike the 11 miles of the dangerous Kalalau Trail along the Na Pali Coast. Then, there will be a peaceful beach with just a few people dotting this golden shoreline.
Zuma Beach, Malibu, California
The two-mile long stretch of Zuma Beach in Malibu, California is perfect for any beach activity that you have in mind, including swimming, suntanning, and surfing. And it is also a fantastic place to watch the sunrise and sunset.
Coronado Beach, San Diego, California
Coronado Beach in San Diego often finds its way onto lists of the best beaches in the USA, both due to its ideal beach conditions and its proximity to the famed Hotel del Coronado. Marilyn Monroe, Thomas Edison, and King Kalakaua of Hawaii all stayed at the Hotel del Coronado and likely visited Coronado Beach.
Coronado is also known for being one of the best dog beaches in San Diego.
Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Cape Cod is a famous vacation destination in the northeast, and Coast Guard Beach is one of the best beaches in the area. Visitors rage about the pristine white sand and the wildlife, including seals and seabirds, that come to visit the area.
Bowman’s Beach, Sanibel Island, Florida
When looking for the best beaches on Sanibel Island, look no further. If shell hunting is your hobby of choice, Bowman’s Beach in Sanibel Island, Florida is definitely one of the best beaches in the USA for you. Find everything from cone shells to Wentletrap shells to conch shells along the sandy shores.
Coligny Beach, Hilton Head, South Carolina
Hilton Head, South Carolina is a popular beach destination, and Coligny Beach is the best beach there. With pristine sand and an energy-filled boardwalk, there’s something for everyone.
Venice Beach, Venice, California
Venice Beach is truly a beach unlike any other. Between the exercise equipment, beach volleyball courts, and street entertainers, Venice Beach is filled with energy and excitement.
South Beach, Miami, Florida
South Beach in Miami has long established itself as one of the best beaches in the USA. Similar to Venice Beach, South Beach has a fun, trendy vibe to it, emphasized by the Art Deco architecture and the eclectic group of people drawn to the area.
Crystal Lake State Park, Barton, Vermont
When people think of the best beaches in the USA, they usually think of warmer areas of the country, including Hawaii, California, and Florida. But Crystal Lake State Park in Vermont deserves to be on this list as well. In the fall when the leaves change colors, this glacier lake and sandy shoreline stand out from any other beach on this list.
Harris Beach State Park, Brookings, Oregon
Harris Beach State Park is a wonderfully unique place. With towering rock formations, shallow tide pools, and walkable trails, there is so much to do at this Pacific Northwest beach.
Dry Tortugas Beaches, Key West, Florida
If many of the best beaches in the USA are found in warm places, why not head to the southernmost point in the continental USA: the Florida Keys. And no trip to the Florida Keys is complete without a dip in the light blue waters of the Dry Tortugas beaches.
You can easily see this beautiful beach on a day trip from Miami.
Kiawah Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Kiawah Beachwalker Park is a special slice of land, because it’s where a river and the ocean meet. This type of landscape is perfect for dolphins, so, if you keep an eye out, you may see some of these friendly creatures.
Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, California
The vast majority of the colored sand beaches in the USA are located in Hawaii – with the exception of Pfeiffer Beach. This California beach boasts pink-tinted sand, which can only be found in a handful of places around the world.
Gulf State Park, Orange Beach, Alabama
If you’re hoping to spend a full day on the beach, Gulf State Park is a great option. With two miles of sandy shores, nearly 30 miles of maintained trails, a boardwalk, campsites, and picnic areas, you’ll be able to stay entertained the entire day.
Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island, Georgia
Driftwood Beach truly does live up to its name. It’s filled with loose driftwood and gnarled trees ready to be turned into driftwood, making it quite a unique beach.
Clearwater Beach, Clearwater, Florida
As you drive through Florida, there’s a good chance you’ll see several billboards for Clearwater Beach, one of the best beaches in the world. With gleaming white sand and calm waters, there’s no question of why Clearwater Beach is a fantastic beach to visit.
Ditch Plains Beach, Montauk, New York
If water sports are up your alley, Ditch Plains Beach is perfect! The waters at this New York beach are perfect for wakeboarding, boogie boarding, and surfing.
Cannon Beach, Oregon
Cannon Beach is a wonderful beach to visit for a stunning sunset. As the sun dips below the horizon, watch the warm colors shine onto vast ocean and the otherworldly rock formations.
El Matador Beach, Malibu, California
If you’re a surfer, you’ve heard of El Matador Beach in Malibu. The prime surf conditions keep locals and visitors alike coming back again and again.
Shi Shi Beach, Clallam Bay, Washington
To reach Shi Shi Beach, you’ll have to do a bit of hiking through a forest, but it is definitely worth it. After your nature-filled adventure, you’ll reach a peaceful beach filled with crashing waves and sea stacks. If you’re lucky, you may even see a few starfish in an array of different colors.
Sand Harbor, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Most of the best beaches in the USA are beaches on the ocean. Sand Harbor in Nevada is an exception to that. Situated on the shores of Lake Tahoe, Sand Harbor’s cobalt blue waters framed by snowcapped mountains are truly a sight to see.
Old Orchard Beach, Maine
Maine, the northernmost state in the US, is often forgotten, despite the fact that it has so many gems. With both sandy shores and amusement park rides, Old Orchard Beach is definitely one of those gems.
Flamenco Beach, Culebra, Puerto Rico
This beach on a U.S. territory is often overlooked when discussing the best beaches in the USA, which is a shame. Visitors consistently refer to Flamenco Beach as a “must-see” beach filled with clear waters and glistening sand. Rated as one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico!
Pensacola Beach, Pensacola, Florida
Like many of the other Florida beaches on this list, Pensacola Beach has made a name for itself due to its striking white sand and beautiful blue waters. Pensacola is a great weekend getaway in Florida as well.
Emerald Isle, North Carolina
Emerald Isle is a lovely stretch of beach in North Carolina. While people flock to this beach to partake in all sorts of beach activities, one of the most popular is kite flying!
Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Buxton, North Carolina
This national seashore preserve in North Carolina is filled with hidden gems. With conch shells for shelling, sand dunes for climbing, and waves for surfing, there’s something for everyone at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
Baker Beach, San Francisco, California
While Southern California is known for its beaches, Northern California has a couple of amazing beaches of its own, including Baker Beach. Baker Beach boasts a golden sandy shoreline and views of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.
Baker beach is one of the many dog friendly beaches in San Francisco.
Grayton Beach State Park, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
Grayton Beach State Park is hidden along the panhandle of Florida, but it’s immaculate white sand and emerald waters have started to bring this US beach some well-deserved recognition.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Most popular for its three mile boardwalk along the beach and striking white sand. This is a must visit beach if you are in Virginia.
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