Ultimate Guide to Beaches in the United States

There is really no denying that the United States of America has plenty of beautiful and stunning beaches that locals and tourists can visit. What’s neat about the best beaches that the US has to offer is that some of them are close to each other, so you may be able to visit more than one beach during your vacation. 

If you are currently planning on going to one of the best beaches in the country, we are right here to help you make your decisions faster and easier when it comes to picking a US beach to visit. Through this guide, you will learn more about some of the great beaches in the country, as well as where to have fun, dine, and stay in those locations. So, without further ado, here is the ultimate guide to beaches in the United States.

What to Bring in US Beaches

Of course, before you travel to the beach you are going to, you would need to pack several essential items that you will need to protect your body against harmful elements and to make you more organized and prepared for your vacation. Here is a list of items that you will need for your beach trip.

  • Passport and US Visa (if you are a foreigner)
  • Government IDs for identification
  • First Aid Kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Beach Umbrella
  • Beach Towels and Blankets
  • Waterproof Case for Smartphones
  • Essential Toiletries (Soap, Shampoo, Bath Towel, etc.)
  • Extra Sets of Clothes

You can also bring almost all of these items with you if you are going to other beaches in different countries. To know more about essential items for the beach, read The Essential Beach Packing List guide that we wrote on the website.

The Best Beaches in the US

The United States has more than 100 beaches surrounding it, so it would be quite challenging for most tourists to find the most suitable one for them and their friends or family. If you are one of those tourists, don’t worry, as we have already told you that we are here to give you some details about the great beaches in the US so that you will also have an easier time picking a beach. So, let’s get started with the list of the best beaches in the US.

Maui

If you ask Americans that like to travel what they think the best beach in the country is, almost all of them will tell you that the best is Maui. The island of Maui is part of Hawaii, a state in the US that is far away from all the other states in the country. Because of its distance, Hawaii doesn’t look like most other states in the US, as it features tropical forests and crystal clear beaches instead of bustling roads and tall skyscrapers. For those planning on going to Hawaii, Maui is the perfect place to stay since it already has everything that Hawaii is known for, like beautiful beaches, hula dance performances, great food, and more.

Where to Stay in Maui

Because Maui is such a popular place for many tourists, you would sometimes find the island overcrowded during the summer. So, to avoid too many people visiting the island, it would be best to go there during the spring and fall seasons. But remember to book a room early so that you won’t have trouble finding a place to stay on the island. Here are three nice hotels you can stay in at Maui.

  • Montage Kapalua Bay
  • Hotel Wailea
  • Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea

Most of the hotels you will see prominently on the island can be expensive, but there are cheap room rentals you can buy in Maui that will allow you to save more money if you are on a rather tight budget. If you want to discover the activities you can do in Maui, you might want to sign up for a tour that features a lot of activities like snorkeling, spotting whales near the ocean, or exploring the Haleakala National Park. You can learn more about the best Hawaii beaches through the Top Beaches of Hawaii guide.

Kauai

Kauai beach

The second highly-rated island in Hawaii is Kauai, which is considered the oldest island in the state. In contrast to Maui, Kauai doesn’t have many luxurious hotels and resorts within it, as the locals only wanted the tourists to focus on the natural sights, like the stunning beaches and the lush forest surrounding the island. In addition, there are also not a lot of roads on the islands, so you would need to walk on foot most of the time, which will make you appreciate the peacefulness and beauty of the area. If you would like to visit and stay in Kauai, you will need to have a pair of hiking boots so that you will be more comfortable while walking rocky terrain.

Where to Stay in Kauai

Many of the places to stay in Kauai are not tall but wide. So, there are no buildings that can serve as a distraction from the amazing sunrise and sunset that you will see on the island, thus making you more appreciative of the “natural” appearance of Kauai. But, there are still some luxurious hotels that you can buy accommodations for within the island, so you wouldn’t have to worry about not staying in a fancy room if you have a high budget. Below are three of the most pleasant hotels in Kauai.

  • Koloa Landing Resort
  • Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa
  • Ko’a Kea Hotel & Resort

A crucial thing that you need to know about Kauai is that it constantly rains in the area during the rainy season (December to March). So, bring an umbrella and other essential rain gear if ever you are going to visit the island during the said season. Because it regularly rains on the island, some hiking tours may get delayed or canceled, so always check the weather for each day you are on the island so that you won’t miss out on the tours when it’s sunny.

Miami Beach

Miami Beach in Florida

Miami Beach is arguably the most popular beach in the US if you exclude the beaches in Hawaii, and because of its popularity, you should expect that it is overcrowded on most days, especially during the summer. Almost all high school and college students living in Florida and even other states go to Miami Beach during their spring break, which occurs around March. If you are going to Miami Beach with your friends or family, you may want to schedule your visit in other months besides March to avoid the crowd.

There are essentially two sections of Miami Beach that you need to know about. The first section is the North Miami Beach that features resorts that are great for kids and also hotels that are cheap and perfect for vacationers on a budget. The second section is South Beach, the one that is considered the most popular and most crowded out of the two. In South Beach, you will frequently find parties and bars near the area, so this section of Miami Beach is perfect if you like to party and have fun drinking with friends. If you want to discover other beach resorts in the US, read our Top Beach Resorts in America article.

Where to Stay in Miami Beach

Staying in Miami Beach during the weekends can be pricey, so we recommend that you go there during weekdays, where hotel rates are much cheaper compared to the rates on Saturdays and Sundays. Here are three of the best hotels you can stay in at Miami Beach.

  • The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort
  • Acqualina Resort & Residences on the Beach
  • The Setai (Miami Beach)

Besides swimming on the beach, there are plenty more activities that you can do in Miami Beach, like exploring the Lincoln Road Mall, as well as walking and enjoying the view on Ocean Drive. Be sure to book tours and activities in Miami Beach early so that you will know Where to Stay in Miami on a Budget.

Sanibel Island

fishing at Sanibel Island

If you can’t afford a plane ticket to Hawaii, the closest location where you can see beautiful beaches and forests is Sanibel Island, an island located to the west of Florida. Bowman’s Beach is arguably the most popular swimming spot that you can go to in Sanibel Island, but there are also other attractions that are better or equal to the beauty that Bowman’s Beach presents. Some of these tourist spots and attractions include Captiva Island, a smaller island near Sanibel, and Periwinkle Way, which features plenty of shops and restaurants.

Where to Stay in Sanibel Island

The months of March and April are probably the best times for you to go to Sanibel Island in order to appreciate the area’s beaches more. The summer season in Sanibel Island is not that busy compared to other Top Beaches of Florida, so going there during the said season is great if you want to have a quiet and tranquil beach to swim and relax in. These are the three hotels that are great to stay in at Sanibel Island.

  • South Seas Island Resort
  • Casa Ybel
  • Sanibel Siesta on the Beach

Cape May

Cape May boat

Cape May is known by many locals as “America’s Original Seaside Resort” because of its timeless appeal that makes it the best vacation spot in the US for more than 100 years. Located in New Jersey, Cape May is one of the Top East Coast Beaches and also one of the few peaceful parts in the otherwise busy US state. So, you will most likely find more locals visiting the area rather than foreigners because of how important it is for many people living in New Jersey.

Despite the rather busy, crowded, and often polluted areas surrounding the beach, Cape May miraculously kept its pristine beaches, which is mainly attributed to the landowners and caretakers that regularly maintain the beauty of the area.

Where to Stay in Cape May

New Jersey is a relatively cold state to live in, so having warm summers in the area is rather rare compared to other locations that are mentioned on this list. However, from May to September, you will have a chance to enjoy warm temperatures that are perfect for swimming and sunbathing. During those said months, the phenomenon called by locals as “Jersey Shore” occurs, where the mostly quiet beach will look like Miami Beach that is full of crowds and parties. To get a place to stay in Cape May, look at the list below of the best hotels and resorts in the area.

  • The Queen Victoria
  • The Southern Mansion
  • The Harrison

If you find the rates in these hotels to be pricey, you can opt to rent vacation homes near Cape May, which will save you more money since they are cheaper than hotel rooms. In addition, vacation homes are also larger than rooms in hotels, so renting them is suitable if you have a lot of friends or family members with you on vacation.

Cape Cod

Cape Cod lighthouse

For those that want a quiet and serene place to stay during their summer trip, the one beach we will recommend for them is Cape Cod, which is the “oasis” in the bustling city of New England in the state of Massachusetts. In addition to swimming, Cape Cod also offers a lot of activities for tourists, including sand dunes, kayaking, fishing, and biking. There are not a lot of visitors to Cape Cod during the summer, so this may be your best option if you can only go out with your loved ones during the warm season.

Where to Stay in Cape Cod

Although Cape Cod is the best summer vacation spot for those that don’t want overcrowded beaches, the hotel and accommodation rates in the area can be quite high during the said season. If you are really willing to shell out plenty of money for a vacation, you won’t have any problems paying for accommodations near the beach. However, if you want to stick to a tight budget, you may want to visit Cape Cod during the spring or fall seasons, but be wary that the temperatures during those periods can be low, so prepare some jackets and long sleeve shirts before visiting Cape Cod. Here are just three of the best places to stay on Cape Cod.

  • The Mansion at Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club
  • Wequassett Resort and Golf Club
  • Chatham Bars Inn

Santa Monica

Santa Monica pier

Regarded as the most popular beach in California, Santa Monica State Beach is filled with plenty of activities that you can do and enjoy. Santa Monica, a neighbor of the crowded city of Los Angeles, is mostly known for being one of the only few quiet cities in California, but because of its growing popularity, Santa Monica is now a relatively busy area that is frequently visited by both Californians and tourists. Besides the Santa Monica State Beach, other places that you can visit within Santa Monica are the Marvin Braude Beach Trail that is perfect for biking, the Third Street Promenade that you can go to for some shopping, and the Santa Monica Pier that kids will surely love because of the rides and other attractions.

Where to Stay in Santa Monica

Santa Monica has many visitors or tourists during the summer, so it may not be the best place to visit if you don’t want to encounter and see a lot of people while you are on vacation. But Santa Monica is peaceful from September to November, although the waters can be chilly. Below are three great hotels you can stay in Santa Monica if you wish to stay there for days.

  • Casa del Mar
  • Santa Monica Proper Hotel
  • Shutters on the Beach

The food in Santa Monica is arguably the tastiest in California, so do find time to explore around the city and find great spots for some delicious dishes and delicacies. Most of the best foods you can eat in Santa Monica are served through stalls and not restaurants, and these stalls usually specialize in Mexican and Jamaican cuisines.

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach in California

Laguna Beach is another popular beach in California that locals and tourists often frequent whenever they want an easier and faster way to enjoy the beach because of how convenient it is to travel or drive to the location. While its beach is the most well-known attraction in the city and also one of the Top Beaches of California, Laguna Beach boasts other spots that tourists will surely love. Three of these tourist spots include Heisler Park, Crystal Cove State Park, and the Laguna Art Museum.

Where to Stay in Laguna Beach

Because of how close Laguna Beach is to Los Angeles, there is a high chance that the city will be overcrowded with tourists during the summer season. So, the best and less crowded months to go to Laguna Beach are from September to October, particularly in the fall season. Here are the three best places to stay at Laguna Beach

  • The Ranch at Laguna Beach
  • Surf & Sand Resort
  • Montage (Laguna Beach)

The winter is also a great time to visit Laguna Beach, but the downside to visiting during the winter is that beaches are either closed or too chilly to swim in. If you just want to take a look at the art galleries and other attractions in Laguna Beach besides its beaches, then you should go there in November, December, or January.

Destin

a beach in Destin

Also known as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” Destin has become one of the most popular places to visit not only in Florida but in the entire United States. Before it became a famous tourist area, Destin was once a quiet fishing town where fishers would frequently have lucky days that allowed them to catch more fish than normal, hence the reason why it is called the luckiest fishing village in the world. In addition to fishing, Destin is also known for its beautiful beaches that have white sands and crystal clear waters. The beauty of the sand in Destin’s beaches is mainly attributed to the shiny and mesmerizing Appalachian quartz that mixes in with the beaches’ sands.

Where to Stay in Destin

Destin is home to great hotels and resorts, with some of them even considered as the best in Florida. However, the hotel rates in the location can be pricey during the summer, so you would need to know when the rates in Destin are lower so that you can save more money. The month with the lowest rates is May, which is the perfect month for swimming without many people at the beach. To have an easy time finding a place to stay, you can check out the three hotels we listed below.

  • Henderson Park Inn
  • The Henderson – A Salamander Beach & Spa Resort
  • Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort

Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach in California

While Los Angeles is the most visited city in California, many people forget that there are other cool places in the state that are worth checking out, and one of these is Huntington Beach, which is one of the cities in California that features amazing beaches that are suitable for surfing and other water-related activities. Because it is the perfect beach for surfing, many locals and tourists call Huntington Beach “Surf City USA.” For more surf-friendly beaches, you can read our Best Surfing Destinations in the World article.

Where to Stay in Huntington Beach

Because the city can be jam-packed during the summer, you may have some trouble getting advanced accommodations around the city. So, it would be best to avoid going there in the summer season and only visit in the months where there are not a lot of crowds on the beaches. According to tourists that have frequently visited Huntington Beach, the best months to go to the city are between September and November, wherein the waters of the beaches are still a little bit warm. To find hotels to stay in easier, here are the three best hotels in Huntington Beach.

  • Pasea Hotel & Spa
  • The Waterfront Beach Resort
  • Kimpton Shorebreak Resort

During the months that we have said earlier, you will also be able to experience several festivals around the city, which includes The Great Pacific Airshow. Be sure to book your accommodations early since there will still be many tourists during those months.

Conclusion

You will never run out of top beaches to visit in the United States, so if you are living in the country, there is really no need to go to other countries just to enjoy the sun while sunbathing or swimming at the beach. To know more about some great beaches in the country, check out our The Coolest Beaches in the US article.

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