When one talks about the third-largest country in the world (Area wise), it is obviously understood that it would be blessed with numerous beaches. Add to it that its official figure for its enormous coastline is 95,471 miles or 1,53,646 kilometers! As you know, we are talking about the United States of America. Lapped by three ‘major’ water bodies—Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean & Gulf of Mexico—these beaches in USA will keep beachgoers busy for the rest of their lives! Some beach destinations like Hawaii globally renowned, while others like ‘Assateague Island’ (in Maryland) are hidden gems! Having gone through multiple lists of the best beaches in the US, & considering criteria like diversity of location, different activities & varying terrains, we have for you the ultimate compilation of American beaches!
The Best 8 Beaches In USA That Will Knock Your Socks Off!
With the US owning an imposing portion of North American territory, “Uncle Sam” (Nickname of the USA) holds a mind-boggling number of beaches. Hence, it is only obvious that tourists are spoiled for choice… & realistically speaking, confused as to which ones to visit. This is where our list comes in! Simply pick up a beach in the state you are planning on visiting, or plan a trip around multiple of them, & you are guaranteed to have a blast!
1. St. Andrews State Park, Florida
For the unaware, the prominent state of Florida (It being the third-most populous is just one of the reasons for this prominence!) is the southeasternmost of all US states. With ‘Tallahassee’ as its capital, it is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean & the Gulf of Mexico, two of the three major bodies of water that we mentioned above. The St. Andrews State Park here takes its name from ‘St. Andrew Bay’ (While that is the correct name, it is also called ‘St. Andrews Bay’.), located in ‘Bay County’. Next to the Gulf of Mexico on one end & St. Andrew Bay on the other, the state park attracts swimmers, surfers & snorkelers.
Location: To add to the above information, the park falls in the waterfront town of ‘Panama City Beach’.
Facilities: Restrooms, beach wheelchairs, kiddie pool section, fishing piers, campsite
Famous For: The countless facilities, making it one among the best beaches in the US!
Things To Do: If you are traveling with kids, they could play in the kiddie pool section & you could follow it up with camping!
2. Ruby Beach, Washington
When one of the beaches in USA is rated a rare five stars, you know it is a must visit! Not to be confused with American capital ‘Washington, D.C.’, the ‘State of Washington’ (That’s the official name!) is located in the left corner of the US mainland. With ‘Olympia’ as its capital, it is bordered by the mighty Pacific Ocean. The only American state to be named after a President—George Washington—it is home to the picturesque Ruby Beach, which itself is in the ‘Olympic National Park’. Popular for its sheer beauty, it has to be on the bucket list of every beachgoer who has not witnessed the Pacific!
Location: As aforementioned, this beach, counted in the best vacation spots in the US, is in the Olympic National Park.
Facilities: Parking & vault toilets (There are no restaurants here, so pack your own refreshments.)
Famous For: Its must-see rugged coastline!
Things To Do: Visit the ‘Olympic Peninsula’ that the Ruby Beach is a part of, complete with neighboring rainforests!
3. Coronado Beach, California
Talking of ‘Pacific States’ like Washington, let us move to the next—California! The most populous of all states, with ‘Sacramento’ as its capital, it is a paradise for ‘water babies’, favored by mountain lakes, lively rivers, & the massive Pacific Ocean, of course! In the coastal city of San Diego lies the scenic Coronado Beach, with a very romantic vibe! The ‘Coronado’ resort city provides the beach, amongst the best beaches in USA, a background of a red & white hotel and top-class mansions. Recommended for swimmers!
Location: Coronado is located in the ‘San Diego County’. It is by the ‘San Diego Bay’, near the Mexico-US border.
Facilities: Parking (Free!) & restrooms (Not always clean though, so we suggest a visit to the loo before you leave your hotel room.)
Famous For: The sparkling golden sands, thanks to the mineral, ‘mica’!
Things To Do: Arrive very early at this free beach, grab a parking spot & watch the sunrise with your beloved!
4. Siesta Beach, Florida
Yet another of the beaches in USA from “The Sunshine State” (Nickname for Florida) that makes it to our list! Synonymous with ‘Siesta Key’, a ‘barrier island’ (In lay man’s language, barrier islands are narrow strips of sand, running parallel to the mainland coast, but separated by from it by a lagoon or a marsh.) at the southwestern edge of Florida, the beach stands out from others because it is almost completely quartz, a mineral, that has come from the sediment of Appalachian Mountains. The result is that the sand remains cool even on the hottest of summer days!
Location: To further expand the above details, the Siesta Key is sandwiched between ‘Roberts Bay’ & the Gulf of Mexico.
Facilities: Parking (Free!), toilets, showers, changing rooms; beach chairs, umbrellas, condos & villas on rent
Famous For: The prehistoric sands—it is literally millions of years old!
Things To Do: If you like snorkeling, enjoy it at the ‘Point of Rocks’ here, or swim in the crystal-clear sea!
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5. Asilomar State Beach, California
Since we have listed two destinations of natural beauty in Florida, let us add another beach from “The Golden State” (Nickname for California) as well! This would ensure that you have two of the best vacation spots in the US from the state, & can club them together for a memorable beach holiday. Rated a flawless five stars, the rocky Asilomar State Beach is a state park too! (The full name is ‘Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds State Park’.) Falling in the city of nineteenth-century cottages, ‘Pacific Grove’, this tranquil place is suited to surfing & kayaking.
Location: The Asilomar State Beach is in Pacific Grove of the Monterey County. (To understand the US better, we strongly recommend this blog post on places to visit in US!)
Facilities: Parking (Difficult to get a parking spot on weekends, so visit on a weekday.), walking trails, bikes on rent
Famous For: Its dune habitats, breaching humpback & California gray whales, playful sea otters—all in all, a wildlife enthusiast’s paradise!
Things To Do: Take your four-legged furry friend (It’s a dog-friendly beach!) for a run, or have a leisurely stroll on the footpaths!
6. Caladesi Island State Park, Florida
By now, you probably know that many of the best beaches in USA are in Florida! Another of the beachy state’s 175 state parks, this one is located on the ‘Caladesi Island’, a quiet wonderland in the Gulf of Mexico. The place is accessible via water—you could take a pedestrian ferry if you are on a budget, or a private boat if are feeling more generous. (We don’t recommend a walk.) The sun-kissed escape is a part of the ‘Pinellas County’ & offers pristine, white-sand beaches & clear waters. Great for kayaking & canoeing!
Location: To reach Caladesi Island, you will need to take a ferry/boat from Honeymoon Island. (Trivia: Caladesi & Honeymoon islands were originally the same barrier island, which broke into two in 1921.) It is in ‘Dunedin’, a city known for its yearly Scottish celebrations.
Facilities: Parking, snack shop, showers; paddleboards, kayaks, beach chairs & umbrellas on rent; gift shop
Famous For: Being an almost untouched island!
Things To Do: Book from one of the hotels in US in the area, reach the island & feel the quartz sand at the edge of the water—so soft!
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7. Gulf State Park, Alabama
Geographically, the state of Alabama is in the ‘Deep South’ region of the United States, which, apart from it consists of Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi & South Carolina. With ‘Montgomery’ as its capital, “The Yellowhammer State” (Nickname for Alabama) is bound by the Gulf of Mexico to the south, even though this coastline is short. (Since most of its southern boundary neighbors Florida) Containing 3 kilometers of this shore’s powdery sands is the Gulf State Park. Situated in the resort city of ‘Gulf Shores’ in ‘Baldwin County’, it is ranked in the top beaches in the US! You can have fun fishing or camping here.
Location: To be precise, the state park lies in the south of Baldwin County. It is Alabama’s largest county.
Facilities: Parking (Free!), cabins, nature center, restaurant, casino
Famous For: It is one of US’ best camping spots!
Things To Do: Admire the bounty of nature, lying down in the white sand, watching yellow-beaked seagulls & collecting seashells with kids!
8. Driftwood Beach, Georgia
Sharing its borders with the aforementioned states of Alabama & Florida on the west & south respectively is Georgia. Another of the Deep South’s states, it is adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean in the south-east. Off this Atlantic coast, “The Peach State” (Nickname for Georgia) administers a group of barrier islands, called the ‘Golden Isles’. Consisting of four islands to be precise, the state boasts of one of the best beaches in USA, named Driftwood Beach’. It is located on ‘Jekyll Island’. The unforgettable beach is strewn with plenty of driftwood, giving the attraction its name. The ocean air will refresh you like nothing ever has!
Location: Recognized by many as among the most beautiful beaches in the US, the Driftwood Beach of Jekyll Island falls in the ‘Glynn County’.
Facilities: Parking (Free!), restaurants, snack store, showers (at the Great Dunes Park); fishing equipment & bikes on rent
Famous For: Being a postcard-perfect beach! (Don’t forget bringing your camera!)
Things To Do: Take plenty of snaps of the idyllic beach to cherish its scenery for a lifetime!
Suggested Read: The Best Beaches In France Every Beachgoer Must Explore
Spanning from Washington, at the top-left corner of the mainland, to Florida, which is at the opposing bottom-right end of the huge country, including California & Alabama from West & East Coasts, this is the internet’s most geographically detailed guide of the top beaches in the US! While “The Melting Pot” (Another nickname for USA!) is lined with an endless number of beaches, the ones above surely top our list. Since we have taken care of all the research work, all that is left to do is decide which of these beaches do you want to strike off your bucket list, book flight tickets to the USA, get an accommodation that suits your budget & head out for your dose of sun, surf & sand! Also, if you have already been to the USA, do share the name of your favorite beach in the comments section below.
As always, the answer to this question will depend on your interests—whether you want to simply relax & unwind, or whether you are an adventurist, looking for beautiful beaches in USA where you can do an activity like snorkeling or surfing. Having said that, the beaches of Maui, an island in globally-renowned Hawaii, suit several tastes!
Siesta Beach of Florida, covered in this blog post, is often considered to be the no. 1 of all American beaches! A public beach, it is famous for its white sands that remain cool throughout the year.
We understand that the state of Connecticut, in the New England region (The region comprises of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maine & Vermont.) is pretty popular, especially for its casinos. Luckily, its southern borders touch the ‘Long Island Sound’, an ‘estuary’ (Think of it as a partially enclosed water body.), giving you the opportunity to explore some lovely beaches. Those that feature in the top beaches in USA are:
- Walnut Beach
- Hammonasset Beach State Park
- Eastern Point Beach
Going by our above list of recommended beaches in USA, the state of Florida is the undisputed winner!
Numerous beaches in USA have crystal-clear waters. The following of them are a must-visit, in our opinion:
- Siesta Beach, Florida
- Caladesi Island State Park, Florida
- Grayton Beach State Park, Florida
Several of US’ beaches are very well-maintained & as good as unexplored. Given below are our recommendations:
- Dauphin Island Public Beach, Alabama
- Long Beach City, New York
- Newport Beach, California
Even though usually associated with the Caribbean, many of the beautiful beaches in USA offer turquoise waters too. Interestingly, several factors go into determining the color of water, such as sediments, nutrients, coral reefs & sunlight. Regardless, of the blue-watered beaches in the United States, ‘Hanauma Bay State Park’ & ‘Manini'owali Beach’ in Hawaii top our list!
Listed below are our top picks for the warmest American beaches.
- Ala Moana Beach Park, Hawaii
- Kapiolani Park, Hawaii
- Kailua Beach Par, Hawaii
- Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Florida
- Siesta Beach, Florida