10 Best Beaches in the U.S.

Written by Jan Meeuwesen
Updated on
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The United States is a nation with some of the most varied and interesting landscapes in the world—from the frozen tundra of Alaska and the dense swamps of Florida, to the mountainous regions of Montana and the deserts of Nevada. It also boasts some of the best beaches on the planet, both along its vast coastline and on the shore of its great lakes. Here, we’ve compiled 10 of the best beaches that you’ll find in the States!

1. Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica, CaliforniaSource: senai aksoy / shutterstock
Santa Monica, California

Not far from downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica is one of the most famous beaches in the whole of Southern California and it is not difficult to see why. Santa Monica beach spans more than 3.5 miles of coastline and is a tourist favourite because of its impeccable water, soft sands, and proximity to many popular tourist attractions. Due to its length, the beach has been separated into North and South by a pier located halfway down the shoreline.

2. Miami Beach, Florida

South Beach, Miami Beach. FloridaSource: Miami2you / shutterstock
South Beach, Miami Beach. Florida

Miami Beach has a bit of something for absolutely everybody. Families and party goers alike will feel at home on the warm sands of South Beach. For those that want to take a break from the relaxing embrace of the sea and sand, there’s plenty to do around Miami’s beaches. Why not take a tour of the famous Miami Art Deco architecture, or take in the sights and sounds of Miami’s insane nightlife? A popular tourist activity is taking the water taxi over to Biscayne Bay, putting you in almost the right place to watch a Miami Heat game!

3. Waikiki Beach, Hawaii

Waikiki Beach, HawaiiSource: 7maru / shutterstock
Waikiki Beach, Hawaii

Waikiki Beach, on the southern shore of Honolulu, is a favourite for both tourists and Hawaiians. You’ll struggle to find a hotel around Waikiki that isn’t a stone’s throw away from a stretch of the beach; and that’s good news. After all, Waikiki is quite probably the home to modern surfing—and what better place to catch a wave than Waikiki Beach, with its calm, pristine waters and “Diamond Head” as your backdrop?

4. Hilton Head, South Carolina

Hilton Head, South CarolinaSource: Denise Kappa / shutterstock
Hilton Head, South Carolina

Hilton Head is a small island just off the South Carolina coastline, connected to the mainland via bridge, and it has become a real hot spot for tourists. Maybe it is because of the islands 24 golf courses, or perhaps some 350 tennis courts. However, we think the real attraction that is pulling in the visitors are Hilton Head’s 12 miles of beautiful beaches. Sunshine, soft sands, and warm waters make for an epic day for all of the family—and many of Hilton Head’s beaches are wheelchair accessible, too!

5. US Virgin Islands

Trunk Bay, US Virgin IslandsSource: SCStock / shutterstock
Trunk Bay, US Virgin Islands

The US Virgin Islands have some of the most incredibly peaceful and beautiful beaches in the entire world. No wonder they draw vacationing celebrities to them in droves! From the US National Park Service protected Trunk Bay, to the snow-white sands of Guana Island, there’s a good variety of things to see and do in the US Virgin Islands; and it just so happens that whiling the days away on the beach makes for the perfect Virgin Islands vacation. Awesome weather, untouched sands, and aquamarine waters will leave you wishing you never had to leave!

6. Outer Banks, North Carolina

Outer Banks, North CarolinaSource: Jason Schronce / shutterstock
Outer Banks, North Carolina

The Outer Banks are a set of barrier islands just off the coast of North Carolina and they have become a very popular spot for tourists—thanks, in no small part, to their “unpopulated, unspoiled, and always open” beaches; and there’s mile upon mile to choose from! The relaxed atmosphere makes the Outer Banks beaches perfect for sunbathing and reading, while the more adventurous vacationer will absolutely love the amount of water sports on offer. In fact, the Outer Banks beaches are considered some of the best on the East Coast for surfing!

7. Bradford Beach, Milwaukee

Bradford Beach, MilwaukeeSource: James Meyer / shutterstock
Bradford Beach, Milwaukee

While many of the beaches on this list are on the coast, Bradford Beach is an exception. Set on the coast of a beautiful lake, this beach is the place to be when the weather is good in Milwaukee! Tourists and locals alike can enjoy the soft breeze, softer sands, and the ridiculous amount of beach sports played on a daily basis—Bradford Beach has one of the busiest Volleyball, Soccer, and Frisbee participations of all of the beaches in the States; and with lifeguards on duty 11am until 5pm weekdays and 10am to 5pm weekends, Bradford Beach is perfect for kids, too!

8. North Beach, Racine, Wisconsin

North Beach, Racine, WisconsinSource: Tony Savino / shutterstock
North Beach, Racine, Wisconsin

Another inland beach that has been getting a lot of attention lately is North Beach, in Racine. Again, lifeguards are on hand from June through September, making this pristine freshwater beach the perfect spot for young families. At 50 acres, there’s plenty of water, sand, and sunshine for absolutely everybody—and thanks to a momentous effort from locals, North Beach has been certified Blue Wave Clean!

9. Clearwater, Florida

Clearwater Beach, FloridaSource: Gabriele Maltinti / shutterstock
Clearwater Beach, Florida

Clearwater repeatedly ranks among the top beaches in the entire world and after one look at the locale, it is easy to see why. With some of the purest, whitest sands you’ll ever see spanning out into aquamarine gulf waters, many visitors return again and again thanks to the “love at first sight” attraction of Clearwater. Caladesi Island, just off the northernmost point of the beach, has been recognized as America’s best beach numerous times. Meanwhile, there’s plenty to do in Clearwater itself and if you love the water, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium is not to be missed!

10. Provincetown, Massachusetts

Provincetown, MassachusettsSource: lunamarina / shutterstock
Provincetown, Massachusetts

The whole Cape Cod area is classed and treated as a National Park. That’s the first clue into how well looked after the beaches in this area are; the second is the number of visitors it gets per annum! Whether you’re swimming in the calm waters of Herring Cove Beach, or you’re Jet Skiing off of Town Beach, there’s something for everybody in the Provincetown area.

10 Best Beaches in the U.S.:

  • Santa Monica, California
  • Miami Beach, Florida
  • Waikiki Beach, Hawaii
  • Hilton Head, South Carolina
  • US Virgin Islands
  • Outer Banks, North Carolina
  • Bradford Beach, Milwaukee
  • North Beach, Racine, Wisconsin
  • Clearwater, Florida
  • Provincetown, Massachusetts