Where are the best beaches in the US?

The question seems pretty straight forward. But why are you asking? Are you planning a trip? Are you bored? Checking to see how well travelled you are? Looking for new beach spots? All of those questions are pretty good reasons to be checking for the best beaches in the US!

Depending upon why you are asking… will determine the answer. Of course there are countless top 10 lists, unfortunately, this is not one of them.

Looking for thoughts on the most popular beaches in the US?

In my opinion as a world class beach bum, I would lean towards places that won’t be found on most peoples bucket lists. That is because I don’t think the best beaches in the US is the same as the most popular spots on the beach. I am thinking more along the lines of some tucked away jewel of coastline with warm water. Yes, that is going to exclude California entirely. I live in San Diego and it is absolutely amazing. The weather is perfect more often than not and the beaches are spectacular and a lot of fun.

Sunset from the Beach Bar in Cruz Bay

BUT… the water, even in SoCal, is frigid. Last summer it got up to 70 or 75 for a couple days. So, notwithstanding those days, when it was basically heaven, its a bit too cold to play in the water in this part of the world. If you are a surfer, my point of view here is probably absurd (since you are in a wetsuit).

The best beaches in the US have to have warm water. That leaves Hawaii, Florida, Georgia, Alabama and maybe the Carolinas.

Fine places all.

Should other criteria be used other than warm water? Dog friendly means the world to some very cool people I have the pleasure of knowing. To me, its not so important. Cold beers in the sun? Again, not my style these days. Are you a sunset or a sunrise type of person? Are you looking for chic fashionable boutique restaurants or a cheap burger joint?

Food and drink for the beach…

Would you be happiest bringing a picnic with you to the beach? The beach town I grew up in on the east coast prohibits food and drink. Yeah, that’s not a joke. In case that doesn’t make you shake your head, you also need to pay to get on the beach in a few of these towns. Right beach badges are required. They don’t cost terribly much, but just the idea seems offensive to my sensibilities.

The best beaches in the US is incredibly subjective. Given that I am looking for warmth, both in the water and on the sand my thoughts are as follows in no particular order.

Delray Beach, FLA – Nice little spot about an hour north of Miami. Quiet and conservative.

Destin, FLA – Unexpectedly fun and incredibly scenic.

Coquina Beach, NC – Awesome beach spot in the Outer Banks

Cannon Beach, Oregon – The Goonies were filmed here.

Ocean Park, Puerto Rico – Cool spot in the city.

Asbury Park, NJ – It pains me to say, but its booming!

There are countless other places that are worth spending a day at. However,  most of them are pretty popular. Its not like those 3 beach spots are unknown, but they are a little different.

If you are looking for a great little place to hole up for a couple days, you should probably fly to the coast,  hop in a car and drive.

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About Author

This project, Beach Spot, has been a lingering thought for nearly 20 years. It started on a crazy offshore Venezuelan island, Isla Margarita, during the first dot com craze. The idea evolved while life continually got in the way. A decade was spent on a Mediterranean island as well as a number of years chasing the sun in the USVI.

Back living stateside in San Diego, this project will hopefully be an enjoyable look at a number of beach towns.

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