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Top 10 U.S. Beach Destinations

Choosing the best beach destinations is totally subjective. Preferences for beaches can vary widely. However, after considering factors like natural beauty, water quality and amenities, here's our list of the Top 10 Beach Destinations in the U.S. Note, most of the places on this list are destinations with multiple beaches v. beach-specific.

Reading the list makes me daydream of booking a ticket (or road tripping) to the coast, and sinking my toes into the sand after a refreshing dip in the water.

    1. Maui, Hawaii: Known for its stunning beaches, Maui offers a mix of popular spots like Kaanapali Beach and more secluded shores. The island's diverse landscape provides opportunities for snorkeling, surfing, and simply relaxing in a tropical paradise.

    2. Miami Beach, Florida: Famous for its vibrant culture, art deco architecture, and lively nightlife, Miami Beach is a hotspot for groups seeking both a city atmosphere and a beach experience.

    3. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: Popular for family vacations, Myrtle Beach offers miles of sandy beaches along with amusement parks, water parks, and numerous golf courses.

    4. Malibu, California: Known for its celebrity homes and beautiful coastline, Malibu beaches like Zuma Beach and El Matador Beach are perfect for sunbathing, surfing, and spotting dolphins.

    5. Outer Banks, North Carolina: This string of barrier islands is known for its natural beauty, historic sites like the Wright Brothers Memorial, and unique activities like wild horse watching.

    6. Cape Cod, Massachusetts: Famous for its quaint villages, lighthouses, and beautiful beaches, Cape Cod offers a charming New England beach experience with excellent seafood dining options.

    7. Clearwater Beach, Florida: Known for its powdery white sands and clear, shallow waters, Clearwater Beach is ideal for families and offers a range of water sports.

    8. Laguna Beach, California: This scenic beach town is known for its artistic community, picturesque coves, and tide pools, making it a great spot for both relaxation and exploration.

    9. Key West, Florida: The southernmost point of the U.S., Key West is known for its laid-back atmosphere, historic sites, and beautiful sunsets, along with great opportunities for snorkeling and diving.

    10. Waikiki, Hawaii: Located on the island of Oahu, Waikiki is famous for its iconic crescent beach backed by high-rises and retail establishments, offering a lively urban beach experience with excellent surfing conditions.

Each of these beach destinations offers a unique experience, whether you're looking for relaxation, adventure, or nightlife. Daydream away...

Article updated November 2023.