With summer in full swing, it would be wrong not to soak up the sun. Summer is simply made for being outdoors, and while there are many places to spend your leisure time, only one spot takes precedence this season: the beach. With so much beach and so little time, we’re on a mission to visit the top 10 beaches in the United States. So, grab a towel, a few friends, and get ready for some R&R. Here’s our list of the top 10 beaches in the United States (don’t forget the sunscreen!).
Outer Banks, North Carolina
Taking up a large stretch of the North Carolina coast, the Outer Banks is a haven for beach fanatics. Between the five historic lighthouses, beautiful waters, and natural landscape, the Outer Banks is a perfect spot to escape to for some peace and quiet. However, while that may be enticing enough on it’s own, the best part of the Outer Banks is the ecology. Because of the preservation of the shoreline, the Outer Banks is home to incredible marine life and wildlife. Wild horses have been known to dot many shorelines, making for an unforgettable sight.
Spring Lake, New Jersey
New Jersey takes a lot of pride in it’s coastline, or should we say “shore”. If you haven’t met a New Jersey native, take our word for it when we say that the NJ shore is a big deal. While there are hundreds of beaches in New Jersey all with their own charming vibe, Spring Lake always manages to be a favorite amongst them. Between the historical victorian homes that line the streets to the incredibly soft yellow sand, Spring Lake is a calmer beach town when compared to it’s New Jersey counterparts. Take a stroll down the quiet non-commercial boardwalk and take in the sun on the trash-free beach. At night, hop over to the neighboring towns and enjoy their blissfully cliche boardwalks with carnival games, and of course, a giant ice cream cone.
Miami Beach, Miami
If you have a lot of energy, Miami is the spot for you. The city is electric, and we aren’t just talking about the electric teal colored water that provides the city’s colorful backdrop. From the incredible nightlife to the bucket-list worthy cuban food with the best spice, it’s hard not to feel Miami’s intense, fun energy. Even talking to a Miami local will give you a buzz equal to a shot of espresso. Keeping up with Miami can be as exhausting as it is riveting, and that’s where the beach comes in. The beach is the one single place in Miami (rooftop pools not included) where it is possible to take a deep breath and relax. Escape the high-energy of the city and feel the restorative properties of the beach. When you’re done, get back to living Miami-style.
Kohler-Andrae State Park, Wisconsin
Landlocked? No problem. Technically, Kohler-Andrae State Park isn’t a beach by typical standards, but the shores of Lake Michigan are equally as beautiful as any other coast facing the Atlantic or Pacific. This is why we think this “coastline” deserves a spot on our top 10 beaches list. Because Kohler-Andrae is a state park, you can trust that the location is as breathtaking as it is spotless. With walking paths, playgrounds and amenities for camping, Kohler-Andre is setup to make your visit effortless and fun. Take a cooling dip in the clear water and then continue on a hiking path for a wonderful summer day.
Venice Beach, California
Known for it’s Ocean Front Walk, a long, paved walkway that stretches along the beach, Venice Beach is a unique spot where anyone can find something to do. Watch the impressive workouts of local fitness fanatics at a “muscle beach” location, or cheer-on daredevils as they zoom by on rollerblades, bikes and skateboards with jaw-dropping tricks. Pick up a snack or shop in one of the hundred storefronts along the walkway, and then hit up the pier for rides and games. Lastly, take-in a beach volleyball game and then end your day of sightseeing (all from the walk to the beach) with a cat nap on your towel as the calming waves crash a few feet away.
It’s time to grab your boat shoes and channel the Kennedy family— we’re going to New England. Summer in Nantucket can be defined in three words: timeless, all-American, and picturesque. The beaches on Nantucket are great, but if we were to take them out of the equation, we would still encourage you to visit the seaside summer town. Between rows of blue hydrangeas and tiny beach cottages with gray wooden shingles, tarnished by the sea air, and the impressive boats in the marinas, this sailing town is so unbelievably quaint that it takes awhile to believe that it’s a real place. Be sure to grab fresh lobster roll and eat it in the best possible way: on the beach with rocky Massachusetts sand between your toes. Summering on Nantucket’s beaches has been a New England favorite for over 150 years, and it’s a tradition that we hope never stops.
Clearwater Beach, Florida
No, you didn’t just fly to the Caribbean or Fiji. Clearwater Beach is right in Florida. The snow-white sand creates a dynamic contrast with the smooth-as-glass turquoise waters, making Clearwater Beach as beautiful as it is popular. It should come as no surprise that this beach regularly places first in many ‘best beaches’ lists, but we have to put it in ours too! Despite the popularity of Clearwater on “best of” lists, it is still relatively quiet, meaning that the beach, despite its popularity, is seldom ever packed. Best of all, you can get the look and feel of being in the tropics without a passport.
Lake Powell, Utah
This is probably the most unique spot on our top 10 beaches list and is another landlocked spot. Lake Powell is a reservoir of the Colorado river and rides the borders of Arizona and Utah. Surrounded by national parks and natural landmarks, Lake Powell allows you to see many sights in one visit. The scenery of Lake Powell is quite breathtaking. Blue waters are walled-in by tall orange rock formations guaranteed to make you feel like you are exploring another planet. This otherworldly experience makes Lake Powell a must-do for the most avid of beach goers and outdoor explorers alike.
Padre Island National Seashore, Texas
Facing the Gulf of Mexico, Padre Island National Seashore is known for its beautiful, preserved beaches. While many Texans flock to Padre Island’s seashore for the beach, many also visit to see the Kemp’s ridley sea turtles. The endangered species has had some help from Padre Island after it implemented conservation efforts to have the turtles nest on its coastline. Every summer, baby turtles are released into the sea and it makes for a great sight.
Sand Dollar Beach, California
Hidden between Big Sur’s cliffs, Sand Dollar Beach is easy to miss when you are too busy focusing on the insane views along California’s scenic Cabrillo Highway (CA-1 for Cali natives). Sand Dollar Beach is strictly a no-nonsense beach. Because it is quite hidden, it’s usually empty. This makes it feel as though the current visitors are the only people to have ever been there. Surrounded by rocky cliffs, Sand Dollar’s sandy stretch of long rolling waves is a peaceful, secluded, and quiet. It is California’s best secret!
We are ready to dip our feet into sugar white sand and to cool off with a dip in the water. With so many beaches in the United States, it’s hard to pick just a couple of favorites. That being said, we are confident that this list of our top 10 beaches highlights some pretty great places to visit this summer. If we left your favorite off the list, comment below! We’d love to add more trips this summer before it ends!
Photos courtesy of: oceanhomemag.com, funnewjersey.com, ‘2 Paddling 5’ YouTube.com, travelandleisure.com, uniqueway.com, tourtexas.com, californiabeaches.com