20 BEST Beaches in the USA You Should Visit in 2022

When you think of beautiful beaches you might think of hopping on a plane and flying half way around the world, but there are plenty of beautiful beaches in the USA that are much closer to home.

From east to west and north to south you can find plenty of places for an amazing beach escape. We are not speaking of Florida and Hawaii here. The best beaches in the US can be found in all corners of this beautiful country.

Whether you are looking for a romantic weekend getaway, or a family vacation with the kids here are 20 of the best beaches in the U.S., all just a drive or quick flight away.

The Best Beaches in the USA

1. Hanalei Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

Hanalei Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

What is the prettiest beach in the USA? Hanalei Beach in Kauai has won the title of best beach in the United States many times and it’s no wonder! This family-friendly, two-mile stretch of sand has it all. It has lovely scenery with views of Bali Hai and the warm water is perfect for swimming in the summer months.

Spending the day here is easily one of the best things to do in Kauai. If you like to surf, the surf conditions in the winter months may just be the best in the world. You can find this beach along Weke Road in North Kauai. 

2. Assateague Beach, Virginia and Maryland

Assateague Beach, Virginia and Maryland

Assateague Island National Seashore is a park area on Assateague Island that’s known for its wild ponies, virtually untouched nature areas and sweeping coastal scenery. It’s also known for its two miles of beautiful beaches.

This sandy stretch along the Atlantic Ocean is one of the best places in the region for swimming. The park is also home to several nature trails where you can see wildlife and explore salt marshes and forest areas. 

3. Coronado Beach, California

Coronado Beach, California - best beaches in the usa

One of the best beaches in the US is Coronado Beach in California. Soft, golden sand makes Coronado Beach a great place for swimming, walking and many other seaside activities. The beach’s boardwalk is a popular gathering place. Many beachgoers head to the boardwalk later in the day to hang out, take in the refreshing sea breeze and watch the sun go down.

Many shops and eateries are located close to the boardwalk. Free parking is located nearby and you can find this beach off Ocean Boulevard in Coronado.  

4. Pope Beach, Lake Tahoe

Pope Beach, Lake Tahoe

Most people don’t swim in Lake Tahoe because the water is just too cold! However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other things to see and do at this top beach in the United States.

Pope Beach is the longest beach along the lake and this sandy stretch is popular for picnicking, sunbathing and beachcombing. Boating is popular on the lake and there are kayaks available for rent. 

When hunger strikes, there are usually concessions or food trucks nearby and you can legally enjoy a beer with your picnic at this beach. The best part is this beach is less crowded than the other beaches at Lake Tahoe and you’re surrounded by stunning scenery with dunes, pine trees and mountains. You’ll find this beach on the south shore of the lake on State Highway 89. 

5. Clearwater Beach, Florida

Clearwater Beach, Florida

With calm, clear waters and soft, white sand, Clearwater Beach certainly lives up to its name. This laid-back seaside retreat on a barrier island has been named the best beach in the United States numerous times.

While most people come for the swimming, many also come for the chill beach town vibes and abundance of things to do including jet-skiing, snorkeling, parasailing and paddleboarding. 

The beachfront promenade buzzes with activity and there are cute little eateries and cafes nearby. Every evening, a mini-festival with buskers takes place at Pier 60 and this is also a great place to watch one of the beautiful sunsets the area is known for.   

6. Harris Beach State Park, Oregon

Harris Beach State Park, Oregon

The south coast of Oregon is home to some of the most secluded hidden gems in the state including beautiful, rugged beaches that are far less crowded than the ones to the north. Harris Beach is popular with families because it’s mostly sheltered from the wind and there are many fun things to do including swimming.

The long sandy beach is the main draw but there are also several beautiful hiking trails in the area including Sunset Point, Chetco Point and Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor. 

There are also unique rock formations to explore and the tide pools that appear at low tide provide an opportunity to observe various marine creatures. From the viewpoints around the park, you can often see whales, seals and seabirds. You’ll find this beach on US Highway 101 near Brookings. 

7. Cumberland Island, Georgia

Cumberland Island, Georgia

Sure, developed beaches with modern conveniences are great but to get a true seaside experience, one must occasionally venture to an untouched, undeveloped beach where nature and the tides shape the coast and Cumberland Island is one of those places.

Along this barrier island’s 17 miles of soft, sandy beach is clear, blue water perfect for a refreshing ocean dip.  There are no lifeguards on-site so beware that there are rip currents and the waves can get high! 

After a refreshing dip, go for a hike, do some fishing or check out the fascinating Dungeness Ruins. There’s a good chance you’ll spot wildlife, including deer, sea turtles and wild horses as you explore the area. To get to Cumberland Island, you need to take a 45-minute ferry from St. Mary’s. 

8. Nags Head, North Carolina

Nags Head, North Carolina

If you are wondering which states have the best beaches? We think the winner is North Carolina! Nags Head’s claim to fame is its natural sand dunes that are the biggest in the region. It’s also known for its stunning beaches that are suitable for swimming. This quintessential OBX beach town with its long, sandy coast in the central Outer Banks is a perfect seaside escape and one of the best beaches in all of North Carolina.

The beach itself is supervised by an Ocean Rescue team and dogs are allowed on the beach as long as they are on a leash. 

Responsible beer drinking is allowed too so that means you can relax in the sun with your favorite cold beverage. The town is home to excellent seafood restaurants, fishing piers, parks, surf shops, and many family-friendly attractions. You’ll find Nags Head on Bodie Island. 

9. Sombrero Beach, Florida 

 Sombrero Beach, Florida 

The Florida Keys are home to some great beaches but many of them tend to get very crowded. Sombrero Beach is not one of them. This beautiful beach is more of a hidden gem located on Marathon Key, which you’ll pass when driving between Key Largo and Key West.

It’s sandy, it’s accessible, it’s quiet and the water is shallow, clear and calm so swimming is safe for the whole family. 

Besides swimming, visitors come to Sombrero Beach for the paddleboarding and snorkeling. On-site facilities include picnic areas, volleyball courts and restrooms with showers. 

10. Lanikai Beach, Hawaii

Lanikai Beach, Hawaii

Situated in the town of Kailua on the island of Oahu, Lanikai Beach is another stunning beach that’s often voted as one of the best in the United States. Although it’s small, this half-mile stretch of soft, white sand bordered by palm trees and clear, calm water looks like a postcard. It really is just that beautiful! 

Did I mention that the water often reaches temperatures of 80 degrees? Those warm temperatures and a lack of rocks and coral make it an excellent location for swimming, but there’s so much more to do at this beach.

Hike along the Lanikai Beach Pillbox Trail or enjoy kayaking, paddleboarding or snorkeling. The beach is also known for being one of the best places around for watching sunrises and moonrises. 

11. Flamenco Beach, Puerto Rico

Flamenco Beach, Puerto Rico

There are beaches that rank among the best in the country and then there are beaches that rank among the best in the world. Flamenco Beach is one of those beaches and yes, it’s worth it to travel to the island of Culebra, which is off the coast of Puerto Rico, to see this beach.

Seclusion, clear, blue water and soft white sand make this beach a popular destination for travelers seeking sun and relaxation. 

The water is calm and shallow with hardly any waves so it’s safe for swimming and snorkeling. Something you may not be expecting to see in a tropical paradise is the US Navy Tank that was left behind after the navy’s occupancy of the area. Y

ou’ll also find many amenities including a camping area, restrooms with showers and food stalls selling local delicacies. Nearby, you’ll find the Culebra National Wildlife Refuge.   

12. Huntington Beach, California

 Huntington Beach, California

While it’s famously known as one of the top surfing beaches in the country, Huntington Beach also attracts people from all over who come to enjoy swimming and sunbathing on this 3.5-mile sandy stretch.

On-site, you’ll find many amenities including volleyball courts, concession stands, restrooms, surf rentals, bike rentals, bonfire pits and of course, the historic Huntington Beach Pier. So make sure to pack your beach bag for a fun day here!

Many events are hosted at the beach throughout the year including surfing and volleyball tournaments. This beach is located along the Pacific Coast Highway, which is one of the most beautiful road trips in the world.

13. Black Rocks, Michigan

 Black Rocks, Michigan

Black Rocks isn’t a sandy Michigan beach along the ocean but it’s a top swimming hole along Lake Superior in Presque Isle Park in Marquette. This place is popular for cliff jumping with visitors coming to jump off the rocks into the cool water.

The incredible cliffs are between 20 and 30 feet high so they look intimidating but after your first jump, you’ll keep going back for more! 

Other fun activities in the area include canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, biking and fishing. Hiking is available along the trails of the Noquemanon Trail Network making this area one of the best places to visit in Michigan!

14. Cooper’s Beach, New York

Cooper's Beach, New York

With contrasting views featuring natural landscapes and sprawling mansions, Cooper’s Beach in South Hampton is a quiet beach with white sand that’s among the top ten beaches in the country. The beach is one of the only public ones in the area and its guarded, calm waters make it a perfect escape for families. 

A concession stand and restrooms are on site and chairs and umbrellas are available to rent. Parking at the beach is $50 a day but you can skip the fee by parking at nearby Halsey Neck. 

15. Caladesi Island State Park, Florida

 Caladesi Island State Park, Florida

Situated on an undeveloped barrier island, Caladesi Island State Park is a beautiful, natural escape from the crowds. The beautiful, three-mile stretch of soft, white sand where you can swim in clear, warm waters is the best part of the park.

Unlike many other beaches around Florida, this one rarely gets crowded, especially during the week. 

Some of the other activities you can enjoy here include kayaking in the nearby mangrove forest, birdwatching, fishing and hiking along the nature trail that leads to Scharrer Homestead. The beach can only be reached by ferry from the dock at Honeymoon Island.  

16. Beachwalker Park, South Carolina

 Beachwalker Park, South Carolina

Beachwalker Park is a lovely public beach situated on the west end of Kiawah Island in South Carolina. Enjoy 11 miles of sandy, undeveloped beach that’s popular for swimming and sunbathing.

The scenery, which consists of a river and lots of trees, just adds to the lively ambiance of the area. The beach is supervised and has many convenient amenities including an accessible boardwalk, picnic areas, restrooms, a snack bar and beach chair rentals. 

17. Coast Guard Beach, Massachusetts 

Coast Guard Beach, Massachusetts 

Located in Eastham on Cape Cod, the Cape Cod National Seashore is home to stunning natural areas including Coast Guard Beach.

This beautiful sandy beach is excellent for swimming during the summer months and there are restrooms and a wheelchair-accessible ramp on-site. Nearby, there are many fascinating places to explore including Nauset March and Nauset Spit.  

As you explore the park, you have a good chance of spotting seals and many species of birds. Parking is quite a distance away but there’s a shuttle that takes visitors back and forth. 

18. La Jolla Cove, California

La Jolla Cove, California - best beaches in the usa

Although La Jolla Cove is popular for swimming, it’s best to do so at low tide because the water can get rough. Low tide is also the best time to check out the tide pools that form when the waters recede. The beautiful little sandy beach protected by high cliffs is also known for its snorkeling. 

The La Jolla Coast Walk Trail is situated above the beach and seals and sea lions are spotted on this walk. You’ll find this little gem in the Ellen Browning Scripps Park about 12 miles from San Diego. 

19. Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach, Hawaii

Wai'anapanapa Black Sand Beach, Hawaii

Not all beaches have golden-colored sand. Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach, as the name suggests, has black sand. This black sand was made by a lava flow hundreds of years ago. Swimming is not always possible at this small beach because the waters tend to get rough and there are strong rip currents. 

However, there are many other things to see and do in the area, including exploring two nearby sea caves, observing many species of seabirds and checking out the tide pools that appear during low tide.

You can find this secluded beach three miles from the town of Hana on the island of Maui, and it’s well worth it to add this to your itinerary when planning a trip to Hawaii.

20. Sand Beach, Maine

Sand Beach, Maine

Situated on Mount Desert Island in Acadia National Park, Sand Beach is a small, pretty stretch of sand surrounded by spectacular coastal and mountain scenery.

There are many things to do near this beach, but swimming might not be one of them because the water is very cold. Only the very brave dare to take a dip in these waters! 

That being said, it’s still a great place to take a relaxing stroll along the ocean or sunbathe on warm days. The Ocean Path is a hiking trail and along this trail, you’ll see many interesting natural wonders including the Thunder Hole where the waves crashing into a semi-underwater cave sound like thunder. 

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About Natasha

Natasha is the co-founder of The World Pursuit. She is an expert in travel, budgeting, and finding unique experiences. She loves to be outside, hiking in the mountains, playing in the snow on her snowboard, and biking. She has been traveling for over 10 years experiencing unique cultures, new food, and meeting fantastic people. She strives to make travel planning and traveling easier for all. Her advice about international travel, outdoor sports, and African safari has been featured on Lonely Planet, Business Insider, and Reader’s Digest.

Learn more about Natasha Alden on The World Pursuit About Us Page.