- 1 Ditch Plains Beach, New York
- 2 Baker Beach, San Francisco
- 3 Waipio Valley Beach, Big Island Hawaii
- 4 Mid-Beach, Miami
- 5 Sand Harbor, Nevada
- 6 Cannon Beach, Oregon
- 7 Red Sand Beach, Maui
- 8 Goose Rocks Beach, Maine
- 9 Oak Street Beach, Chicago
- 10 Singing Beach, Massachusetts
- 11 Kiawah Beachwalker Park, South Carolina
The 11 Best Beaches in the U.S. from Coast to Coast
We love spring—we really do—but if we're being honest, we're already counting down the days to summer...and some serious PTO at a sandy, sunny retreat. Here, our favorite beaches in the U.S. from coast to coast.
Ditch Plains Beach, New York
This laid-back Montauk spot is a welcome respite from its glitzy and sceney sister, East Hampton. Come for the first-rate surf, and stay for the fresh oysters, cliffside views and charming Montauk Point Lighthouse. The area is also home to one of our favorite beach eats, the Ditch Witch Food Truck. Try the Jamaican patties before joining the preppy partiers at one of the Surf Lodge’s three open-air bars.
Baker Beach, San Francisco
If you’ve ever been to San Francisco, you know how hard it is to escape the ever-present fog. In fact, the weather is such a big deal in the city that locals have given it the name Karl (who has one kick-ass Insta feed, we might add). When Karl takes a day off, you best take advantage with a day at Baker Beach, one of the top beaches in the U.S. which has jaw-dropping views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the mansions in the Seacliff district. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of dolphins in the surf. Come evening, watch the sun go down with a cocktail in hand at Hotel Zelos’s rooftop bar, Dirty Habit.
Waipio Valley Beach, Big Island Hawaii
To see the beautiful Waipio Valley Beach, you’ll need to break a sweat. Beachgoers have to hike over narrow and hilly paths to get here—but hey, think of that beach bod you’ll get! And at the end of the trek, you’ll be rewarded with a mile-long beach leaning surrounded by lush rainforest and 2,000-foot cliffs. Walk south on the black volcanic sand to the Kaluahine and Waiulili waterfalls to take in more of Hawaii’s gorgeous landscape. When you retreat back to Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, rest your weary muscles with a bamboo massage at the serene spa.
Ditch the Ocean Drive craziness for Miami’s more refined Mid-Beach, between Bal Harbour and South Beach. Score a plush cabana at one of the high-end hotels (1 Hotel South Beach is a favorite) and leave the hard partying to the SoBe tourists—but don’t worry, the waves are just as nice in this northern neighborhood. The area also attracts a creative crowd thanks to the Faena district, which is always hosting art events at its 50,000-square-foot complex designed by Rem Koolhaas.
Sand Harbor, Nevada
We know, we know, Lake Tahoe isn’t on the coast, but we just couldn’t skip over Sand Harbor. On the Nevada side of the lake, it has some of the most jaw-dropping vistas of Tahoe’s clear waters and the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains in the distance. Plus, the 2,500-foot beach is a haven for scuba divers, swimmers, jet skiers and sunbathers alike. End the evening by the fire pits or in the rooftop hot tub at the funky Basecamp South Lake Tahoe.
Cannon Beach, Oregon
While the Pacific Coast Highway is loaded with treasures, not many leave SoCal to make it up north to Oregon. But trust us when we say Cannon Beach is worth the extra miles. Drop your bags at the cozy oceanfront Stephanie Inn, before claiming a picnic spot and watching the Pacific crash onto Haystack Rock, a 235-foot tall monolithic rock that juts out of the water. You may even recognized it as the set of the 1985 classic, The Goonies. And if you’re up for an adventure, head to the nearby Hug Pointe to take a dip in the waterfalls and tide pools before ending your day at nearby Stephanie Inn.
Red Sand Beach, Maui
Red Sand Beach will give your ‘gram some serious pizzazz. Like the name implies, this hidden cove is a gorgeous red from its rust-colored cinder cliffs. Don’t expect crowds at this beach as it also takes some skillful hikers to climb down and walk along the rocks to claim your sunbathing spot. After a day by the sea, bliss out in the saltwater pool or in a yoga class at the luxe Lumeria Maui retreat.
Goose Rocks Beach, Maine
A short drive from the charming town of Kennebunkport, Goose Rocks has courted the New England elite for generations and is still today one of the most family-friendly getaways and best beaches in America. Within its five miles of tanning real estate, there is more than an abundance of activities, whether you want to comb the beach for seashells and sand dollars or set sail on the calm water. But no matter what you do, don’t miss Maine’s famous lobster rolls and a night at the historic Captain Fairfield Inn.
Oak Street Beach, Chicago
The Windy City may not scream beach destination, but come summer, Oak Street Beach floods with Chicagoans looking for a waterside escape. With downtown’s skyline at your back and the Lake Michigan shoreline in front of you, it’s the perfect mix of city-meets-sand. Set in the Gold Coast neighborhood, this beach has access to a running and biking path, panoramic views of the skyscrapers, and Chicago’s Michigan Avenue for some of the city’s best restaurants and bars—including those at your hotel, the hip W Chicago Lakeshore. Oak Street is also known to host some competitive volleyball matches, so bring your A-game.
RELATED: The Weekender’s Guide to Chicago
Singing Beach, Massachusetts
Although Singing Beach is located in Manchester-by-the-Sea, don’t expect it to be as dark and gloomy as seen in the Oscar-winning flick. This seaside town is the definition of quaint, with a sleepy harbor, shingled houses and a charming main street. An hour outside Boston, it’s perfect for a day trip—so bring a beach read, take a long walk (Singing Beach gets its name from the way the sand squeaks under your feet) and then return to the city for a bowl of epic clam chowder at the Westin Copley Place.
Kiawah Beachwalker Park, South Carolina
While you could easily spend a weekend in Charleston just eating and shopping, why take a trip to the East Coast without a day at the beach? Enter Kiawah Island’s Beachwalker Park, just an hour south. With 11 miles of sugar-soft sand bordered by the Bohinket River and the Atlantic Ocean, there’s plenty of secluded corners to call your own. And when the day winds down, the Grand Bohemian Hotel’s massive outdoor terrace will be waiting.
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