10 Best Beaches To Visit in the USA
Do you love surfing? Kayaking? Lounging atop the sand and reading a book? There’s a reason beaches are so many people’s happy places. Whether you’re looking for adventure or serenity, crowds or solitude, luxury or ruggedness, there’s a beach for you.
No matter what coast you’re on, the USA is filled with some of the best beaches in the world. If you’re planning your next beach vacation—or even just a day trip to the sand—Autio has got your back. Here are the ten best beaches in the US of A.
West Coast, Best Coast
Our first thought when we think about West Coast beaches? California. There’s a reason California is informally nicknamed the beach state.
From San Diego's Coronado Beach to the Santa Monica boardwalk, California’s coast offers something to everyone. There’s more to West Coast beaches than California, though.
Laguna Beach, California
For our money, Laguna Beach is the gold standard when it comes to beaches worldwide.
Between Los Angeles and San Diego, Laguna Beach is one of the most quintessentially California beaches you will find. In addition to soft sand piled before beautifully blue water, Laguna Beach offers thriving tide pools, striking hiking trails, dramatic cliffs, and an energetic beach town. This beach is surely worth its own vacation.
Huntington Beach, California
Not far from Laguna Beach is another of Orange County’s stellar offerings. Huntington Beach is one of California’s largest beach towns and inarguably its surf capital. In fact, many locals refer to the city as Surf City.
The Huntington Beach Pier is where you will find some of the best waves in California. Even if you’re not a surfer, taking a stroll down the pier and watching the athletes in action makes for a perfect day on the beach.
Locals and visitors alike can enjoy a smattering of street stalls, fire pits, volleyball courts, and a windy bike path.
Pfeiffer Beach, California
While you can spend a lifetime exploring Southern California’s beaches, a quick trip north will lead you to the jaw-dropping beauty of California’s central coast. Located where the Santa Lucia Mountains shoot out from the Pacific Ocean, Big Sur is widely regarded as the country’s most scenic stretch of coastline.
Pfeiffer Beach offers some of the best of Big Sur’s beauty. Here you will find impossibly blue water, purple sand (yes, purple), and stunning geological formations, such as the renowned Keyhole Arch.
Long Beach, Washington
Don’t worry, Pacific Northwesterners; we didn’t forget about you. Not to be confused with California’s Long Beach, the aptly named Long Beach in Washington stretches over 28 miles. That’s a lot of beach.
While the frigid, often aggressive water doesn’t make for the best swimming, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the shore. Salmon fishing, oyster picking, and horseback riding are just a few ways to take in this striking area.
You can also camp near the spooky lighthouse at Cape Disappointment. Trust us—you won’t be disappointed.
Don’t Sleep on the East
While the West Coast gets a lot of beach cred, the East Coast deserves its due. In fact, the Atlantic Ocean's shoreline makes for one of the best road trip routes in the entire country.
Whether you’re from the East Coast, West Coast, or anywhere in between, the beaches of the east are worth a visit.
Clearwater Beach, Florida
Florida is known as the Sunshine State, and what’s a beach without sunshine? Clearwater Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the entire state, so expect crowds year-round. Don’t let that deter you, though, as its popularity is well earned.
Just a few of the activities you can embark on in Clearwater include speedboat fishing excursions, dolphin-spotting cruises, scuba diving, parasailing, and beach volleyball. Plus, the three miles of coast and warm waters make for some of the most relaxing vibes you can ask for.
Forget South Beach! Clearwater Beach has what you need.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Possibly the most popular beach on the entire East Coast, Myrtle Beach sits along South Carolina’s 60-mile grand strand. What makes this beach so popular? Silky sand, docile waves, and warm water make for some of the best lounging you could ever want.
Myrtle Beach also offers barrels of fun when the sun sets. With countless restaurants, bars, and clubs, you will find no shortage of high-energy fun no matter the time of day. Even better, Myrtle Beach has some of the best seafood in the state.
The Hamptons, New York
Are you looking for a more upscale atmosphere? Do you want something with more nightlife than Cape Cod but more luxury than the Outer Banks? Is going to the beach as much about the scene as it is the sand?
A favorite amongst the world’s rich and famous, the Hamptons offer everything you need and more.
Located at the tip of New York’s Long Island, the Hamptons offer a resort-like atmosphere that is sure to give you a taste of the high life. From elite golf courses to ritzy spas, you can transport yourself to a world of luxury.
Don’t forget about the renowned white-sand beaches—lined with beachside mansions, of course.
The Hamptons aren’t all about luxury, though. Hither Hills State Park offers some of the best coastal camping facilities in the state, so you can taste the best of both worlds.
Hop Over to the Islands
You didn’t think we forgot about Hawaii, did you? While the coasts have some world-class offerings, the 50th state simply cannot be beat.
You may have already checked out Oahu's Waikiki Beach and Kailua Beach, the dunes of Maui, or Honolulu's biggest resorts, but there's so much more Hawaii has in store.
Poipu Beach, Kauai
How would we describe Poipu Beach in three words? Blue, calm, and warm.
Poipu Beach is one of Hawaii’s best beaches for swimming because it offers the beauty and warmth of the tropical waters without the threat of being cast away to sea. In addition to docile tides, there are lifeguards on duty seven days a week.
One of the best ways to enjoy these crystal clear waters is to rent fins and a snorkel. Among Kauai’s array of marine fauna are the endangered monk seals––the rarest seal in the United States. There are also sections of the beach where you can surf.
Hapuna Beach, Hawaii
The longest beach in Hawaii is also widely regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches in the state. Of course, that doesn’t say much, as every beach in Hawaii is supremely beautiful. Or does it say a lot?
Either way, this beach is a favorite among visitors and locals alike due to its supple white sand, miles of coastline, and vibrant turquoise water.
This relaxing beach is perfect for unwinding and catching some rays. Before you get too red, lounge beneath a palm tree and sip on a mai tai. What’s more Hawaiian than that?
Polihua Beach, Lanai
Hawaii is one of the most tourist-dense states in the entire country. Therefore, it isn’t easy to escape the crowds. If you’re looking for something on the more remote end of the spectrum, though, Polihua Beach on Lanai is the beach for you.
With just 3,000 residents, Lanai is the smallest of Hawaii’s islands. In addition to nearly-vacant beaches, you can also immerse yourself in a far less commercialized experience.
Furthermore, the serenity of Polihua Beach makes it a favorite nesting place among sea turtles year-round. In the winter, you can also spot humpback whales.
Take a Dip With Autio
From sea to shining sea, America offers some of the best beaches in the entire world. You can spend an entire lifetime exploring what this country has to offer and still not scratch the surface. No matter what coast you’re on or where your journey takes you, Autio will be with you every step of the way.
Are you looking for something to listen to as you drive into the sunset? Download Autio and explore the stories of destinations across the entire country.
Our collection of bite-sized stories and local legendswill help you connect with the history of your destination, no matter where you roam.