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  • Writer's pictureHannah Shuman

The 12 Best Beaches in the United States (By Region)

Updated: Oct 3, 2021


Just in time for a perfect summer family vacation, let's explore one of the most beautiful countries in the world; The United States! That's right, our own backyard! "America the beautiful" is a slogan for a reason! We are blessed with bounties of gorgeous landscapes here at home. BUT we all know, I'm a beach gal! So pack your beach bag, we are setting out to find the absolute best beaches across the U.S.!

This post contains affiliate links which means that at no extra cost to you, we could earn a few percent commission if you book at any of the accommodations we recommend.

 

U.S. BEST BEACHES: THE SOUTH

We start our journey in my home region of the South. With Florida in this category, we have miles and miles of gorgeous white beaches! But throw in the southern charm of places like the Gulf shores and Carolina coast and we have the perfect combination! Think dining on delicious southern food and taking romantic walks on the beach at sunset. Snorkeling reefs or searching for shells in the sand. Welcome to the South, y'all!

 

FLORIDA PANHANDLE

Nestled on the white sandy shores of Florida’s panhandle, we start our journey with a few beautiful beach homes just steps from the beach. The Florida panhandle and gulf shores are a peaceful, serene beach location fit for families that want to escape it all.

The Gulf of Mexico brings warm, turquoise waters and plenty of fun water activities to our first beach destination. These beach homes are found along the 30A corridor which is found between Pensacola and Destin. Spend your days soaking up the sun on the white sandy beaches, exploring The Hub (a family friendly outdoor shopping and recreation area), or explore the many natural trails found throughout the Florida coastal wilderness. With 27 miles of bike trails, five state parks, and 15 coastal dune lakes, there is plenty to feed your appetite for adventure!


WHERE TO STAY

There are a variety of accommodations along this coast for all price points, but a beautiful beach house is an ideal way to take in any beach holiday! Each with gorgeous coastal design, these few options are just a small piece of what is available!



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MIAMI BEACH

Next, we are heading south to one of THE hottest places on the planet, Miami Beach!

A place I continuously give high praises because Miami is one of those vacation spots that gives you a beautiful blend of culture, art, food, and amazing beaches! South Beach usually gets all the attention but venture away from the tourist areas to find pristine white beaches, fun wall murals, and cute cafes full of flavors from Latin America.


WHERE TO STAY:

Miami has some killer lux resorts that sit right on Collins BUT every time I go to Miami as a visitor myself, I choose to stay in one of the ADORABLE boutique hotels dotting throughout the big guys. I just love the art deco vibes you can only find in Miami. There are SO many unique boutique hotels in Miami and today I am sharing a few of my favs!



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HILTON HEAD ISLAND

Our final stop in the South takes us to the East Coast island of Hilton Head in South Carolina. Full of southern charm, this quaint little coastal island is a perfect family-friendly destination ideal for long walks on the beach, kayaking through marshes, or casting a few off the dock.

WHERE TO STAY:

Today’s beach destination is for the resort lovers. Resorts are great for those that don’t care to leave the property during their stay. Many have all sorts of activities like water activity tours, golfing games, and fishing charters. With almost all the big names in the game lining the beach, here are a few of the best to choose from!

unique boutique hotels in Miami and today I am sharing a few of my favs!



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U.S. BEST BEACHES: NORTHEAST

Leaving the South behind, we are now jetting north towards the Eastern Seaboard. Home to delicious seafood, beautiful vineyards, and excellent nature watching, this historic coast comes with beautiful architecture and history going all the way back to the original colonies.


Bonfires on the beach, whale watching, boardwalk strolls, fine dining, seaside shopping and entertainment, welcome to the Northeast!

 

THE HAMPTONS

Our first stop along the Northeast coast takes us to New York! I know most people can only think of the iconic city skyline of NYC, but if you venture out of town to Long Island, you’ll find beautiful long stretches of coastline that buzz during the summer holiday months. Bonfires by the beach, designer shopping, fine dining, this is your beach if you prefer the finer things in life.


WHERE TO STAY:

We are going to visit some adorable B&B properties with our stop here. The 18th century architecture around town is show-stopping and makes all of these finds just that much more special!

unique boutique hotels in Miami and today I am sharing a few of my favs!



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ATLANTIC CITY

If our sleepy little beach towns are boring you, today’s destination is for you! We are swinging down to New Jersey and hitting the Atlantic City Boardwalk! This lively coastal city is filled with fun from Ferris wheels to casinos!

Take a walk on the boardwalk in this seaside gem of the East! Atlantic City is known for their annual Miss America Pageant and… gambling! This is Vegas for everyone that wants to also bar crawl along the beach during their summer vacay! Don’t miss getting a funnel cake along the boardwalk, taking your chances in the casinos, or taking in a show, then spend the whole next day hungover laid out on the beach.


WHERE TO STAY:

Many of the big names in Vegas also have roots here and resort/casino combos are found all along the coast. Luckily for you, this is one of the least expensive stops on our tour! Splurge on a room with a view of the never-ending blues of the Atlantic!

unique boutique hotels in Miami and today I am sharing a few of my favs!



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CAPE COD

Our final stop in the northeast brings us to the home of lobster rolls and scallops. Cape Cod is the peninsula of coastline off Massachusetts. Here you will find foggy little seaside villages, seafood shacks, beautiful beaches, and lighthouses galore!

You can spend all day finding all the lighthouses, bike around Martha’s vineyard, go fishing, explore the beaches, or just hang out around town.

WHERE TO STAY:

There are a range of B&Bs throughout the Cape Cod area. Today I am giving you options on both the mainland of the Cape, and the two islands off the coast (Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard). Just note you have to take a ferry or plane over to both of these islands! They are both super walkable and perfect for those that really want that feeling of getting away!

unique boutique hotels in Miami and today I am sharing a few of my favs!



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U.S. BEST BEACHES: NORTHWEST

Jumping right across the country, we are headed to the northwest. You’re probably really wondering what’s next by now! What beaches lie in the cold rainy northwest?

Not all amazing coastal trips have to be all sunshine and tan lines, guys! Instead, our journey through this part of our country is for those that love adventure and excitement. Think kayaking through mountain rivers, driving along coastal roads, winery tours, moose and bear sightings, and GORGEOUS scenery! Welcome to the Northwest!


 

BIG SUR

Starting our northwest adventure in one of the most picturesque settings in the U.S., the California coast is full of stunning scenery and incredible beaches.

This is perfect for a little road trip along the coast, driving a convertible, with your hair blowing in the wind and the music blasting! Big Sur is the coastline that stretches along the northern California coast. It is home to numerous state parks made for exploring and adventuring. I have to admit, since watching Big Little Lies on HBO I have been obsessed with wanting to visit here!

WHERE TO STAY:

There are a few incredibly special resorts dotting the coastline as you make your way north. We start with one of the FEW resorts actually inside the Big Sur State Park, then work our way through Carmel Valley and Monterey. Carmel is a quainter village with beach access and Monterey is a more family friendly coastal/pier town.

unique boutique hotels in Miami and today I am sharing a few of my favs!



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CANNON BEACH

We continue up the western coast to another postcard-worthy stretch of sand. Cannon Beach in Oregon is one of the most photographed beaches in America!

With huge monolithic pillars sprouting from the waves, you are sure to have plenty to see on a walk along the beach. Explore the numerous rockpools and search for cute sea creatures, hit up hiking trails, or explore the many state parks in the area.

WHERE TO STAY:

There are numerous adorable seaside cottages along the coast perfect for a family getaway! Let’s check out a few of the best!

unique boutique hotels in Miami and today I am sharing a few of my favs!



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ALASKA

Our final stop in the northwest takes us allll the way northwest to America’s last frontier. While these aren’t the usual white sandy beaches, Alaska’s coastline is a rugged landscape made to be explored!

We are going to a part of Alaska with a wealth of outdoor activities and a feeling of isolation without being totally off grid. Homer, Alaska is about 200 miles south of Anchorage. It is often referred to as the “end of the road” because it’s all the way at the end of the state highway. With views of Kachemak Bay, numerous gorgeous mountain tops, and plenty of unique wildlife this is true Alaskan living! Go whale watching, walk along the Homer Spit, go on glacier tours, and cozy up on the deck watching the wildlife swim by!

WHERE TO STAY:

There are a mix of boutique inns and lodges in these parts so today we are going to highlight those that have killer water views! Many of these properties have individual little cabins and spaces while the last is a cute little inn that rents out suites. All are surely guaranteed to be the most scenic stay EVER!

unique boutique hotels in Miami and today I am sharing a few of my favs!



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SOUTHWEST

For the finale of our trip, we head south along the coast to some of the most iconic beaches yet! This part of our country is definitely the driest so break out those cute cowboy boots as we explore our Southwest!

Our final stops are all unique in their own ways! The Southwest goes from desert to ocean to tropical paradise (hint hint at our last stop!) Imagine boating through desert lakes, driving along the coast blasting music, sipping a tropical drink in the sand, or getting lost in the many natural trails that litter this region!

 

LAKE HAVASU

Our first stop in the Southwest probably isn’t exactly what you were thinking when I said we were going beach hunting. That’s because today’s beach isn’t an ocean coastline. Instead, we are in the middle of the desert at Lake Havasu.

With over 400 miles of shoreline straddling the clear turquoise waters of Lake Havasu, you don't have to be on the coast to enjoy the beach life. Boating is the most popular activity here with plenty of rental companies available to take your party out on the water!

WHERE TO STAY:

Lake Havasu has some beautiful holiday homes nestled in the hills with some killer backyards and great views of the surrounding desert and mountains. This would be a great destination for a group of friends to finally get together!

unique boutique hotels in Miami and today I am sharing a few of my favs!



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MALIBU

We are now hopping over to the California coastline to Malibu. My Barbie vacationed here in her beach home every chance she got (lucky biotch!) and for good reason!

Malibu is famous for its romantic cliffside scenery and gorgeous beaches. Take a long stroll in the sand, have a beach bonfire, explore a winery, or enjoy lux shopping and dining in town with the celebs.


WHERE TO STAY:

Malibu has a collection of super chic boutique hotels we are going to check out with the addition of one absolutely gorgeous beach home literally right on the sand!

unique boutique hotels in Miami and today I am sharing a few of my favs!



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OAHU

Our final stop on our epic tour takes us to one of the most iconic beaches in the whole WORLD! Hawaii’s island of Oahu is home to famous Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. Thousands of people flock here each year for a taste of the aloha spirit.

Hawaii is FULL of adventure and places to explore. Hike up to mountain tops for killer views, try catching a wave, snorkel with all of the amazing wildlife, take a tour to whale watch or dolphin spot, and end your night with a famous luau.

WHERE TO STAY:

Hawaii has some of the most beautiful resorts in the world. We are starting in Honolulu directly on Waikiki Beach, but then giving some other options a little further from the main tourist area.



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With so many beautiful beaches around the country, it's hard to choose just one! I hope you have found some inspiration for your next summer getaway!









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