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Best Beaches in the US

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The U.S. boasts an impressive 95,000 miles of shoreline, with 30 states offering coastal access. To simplify our exploration, we’ll focus on 21 states in the contiguous U.S. with Atlantic or Pacific coastlines, leaving out states with Great Lakes coastlines, as well as Alaska and Hawaii.

Here’s a curated list of some standout beaches across these states:


Fort Morgan provides a serene escape from the bustling Gulf Shores. It’s a haven for diverse marine life and offers a pet-friendly environment.

Photo Steven Van Elk


La Jolla Shores in San Diego is a vibrant spot, known for its clear waters, marine life, and lively beach activities.

Photo Gustavo Zambelli


 Ocean Beach Park in New London combines beach fun with boardwalk attractions, offering a unique blend of relaxation and entertainment.

Photo Clay Banks


Fenwick Island State Park is a peaceful barrier island, offering both ocean and bay beaches for varied water activities.


 Cape San Blas on the Gulf’s Forgotten Coast is reminiscent of old Florida, with its laid-back atmosphere and beach bonfires.


Cumberland Island National Seashore is a unique blend of history, wild horses, and untouched beaches.


 Grand Isle is a genuine Louisiana beach experience, known for its birdwatching and fishing opportunities.


Assateague Island is renowned for its wild ponies and offers some of the best beach camping in the region.

Photo Luisa Frassier


Sand Beach in Acadia National Park is a scenic gem, though its chilly waters might deter swimmers.


Martha’s Vineyard offers diverse beach landscapes, from serene dunes to surf-friendly shores.


West Ship Island is a part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore and is known for its pristine beaches and water activities.

    New Hampshire:

 Hampton Beach is the state’s most popular beach, boasting clean waters and a lively boardwalk.

    New Jersey:

 Cape May is a historic beach town with Victorian charm and a relaxed atmosphere.

New Jersey
Photo: E. Vitka

    New York:

Jacob Riis Beach is a bustling urban beach, offering a unique NYC beach experience.

    North Carolina:

Cape Lookout National Seashore is a wild and historic coast, home to feral ponies and untouched beaches.


 Ecola State Park is a picturesque coastal stretch with trails, cliffs, and sandy beaches.

    Rhode Island:

Narragansett Town Beach is a surfer’s paradise, offering concerts, food trucks, and other amenities.

    South Carolina:

Hilton Head Island is a cyclist’s dream, with its hard-packed sand and extensive bike paths.


Galveston Island combines beach fun with a rich cultural and historical experience.

Lake Travis, Texas, USA photo: Anvesh Uppunuthula


Virginia Beach offers both bustling and secluded beach areas, with diverse water activities and a scenic boardwalk.

Best Beaches in the US 14


Ruby Beach on the Olympic Coast is a rugged beauty, known for its sea stacks, tide pools, and vast Pacific views.

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