There can be no mistaking that the United States is home to some of the best beaches in the entire world. Whether you’re on the West Coast, or the East Coast, or the Gulf Coast – or maybe even somewhere in it all – there are some truly incredible places where you can dive into the water or sun yourself on the sand.
But, as with any other place in the world, all of the beaches in the United States are not created equally. There are some, for example, that may be popular, but that you might wish to avoid if you’re looking to avoid large crowds or other annoyances. Just the same, there are definitely some beaches that you may not have ever heard of that could be better than a more popular beach nearby.
Below, we’re going to take a look at 20 notable American beaches. We’ve separated these notable beaches into 10 that you might wish to check out, and 10 that you might wish to avoid. To be sure, these are all great beaches in their own right. However, that doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily want to visit each one for your perfect day in the sun…
1. AVOID: Pleasant Beach, New Jersey
If you want the “Jersey Shore” (the television show) experience, then by all means book at trip to Pleasant Beach.
2. CHECK OUT: Cape May, New Jersey
But, if you’re really looking to experience the ideal beach-going experience that New Jersey can offer, Cape May is far better.
3. AVOID: Waikiki, Hawaii
We’re not saying that Waikiki isn’t beautiful or fun; however, it is definitely always filled with tourists.
4. CHECK OUT: Haleiwa, Hawaii
To really have an ideal beach experience in Hawaii, make the trip over to Haleiwa in Oahu.
5. AVOID: Carson Beach, Massachusetts
Though conveniently located near the city of Boston, this beach is among the worst that New England has to offer.
6. CHECK OUT: Nauset Beach, Massachusetts
Be willing to brave the traffic out to the tip of Cape Cod, and you can check out this beach, which offers a far better New England beach experience.
7. AVOID: Key West, Florida
Okay, Key West is pretty cool. But, if you come this far, then why wouldn’t you be willing to go just a bit further?
8. CHECK OUT: Dry Tortugas, Florida
70 miles off the coast of Key West, you’ll find this small island, which may be home to the best beach in the United States.
9. AVOID: South Beach in Miami
South Beach is pretty much the raw and unfiltered beach-going experience when it comes to Miami. That means crowds.
10. CHECK OUT: Mid-Beach in Miami
If you don’t want to be competing for a parcel of sand, then head to Mid-Beach. You’ll get the same Miami experience without all the competition.
11. AVOID: Manhattan Beach, New York
Prized by New Yorkers for its convenience, Manhattan Beach is also a bit… Dirty? It’s less than ideal, at the very least.
12. CHECK OUT: The People’s Beach at Jacob Riis Park, New York
That’s what makes taking the extra travel time to visit this beach with its beautiful Art-Deco bathhouse totally worth it.
13. AVOID: Venice Beach, California
While it’s fun to check out the funky culture of Venice Beach, the area is somewhat the equivalent of Hollywood Boulevard by the sea.
14. CHECK OUT: Huntington Beach, California
To really get a nice beach experience while you’re in Los Angeles (or just Southern California) Huntington Beach is much better.
15. AVOID: Misquamicut State Beach, Rhode Island
While a fun time to visit, it’s useful to remember that Misquamicut State Beach is basically Rhode Island’s answer to New Jersey’s Pleasant Beach.
16. CHECK OUT: East Beach in Watch Hill
Which is why you might want to check out this beach, which is only a few short miles away. It sits in the shade of the famed Ocean House, and you just might spot Taylor Swift.
17. AVOID: Destin, Florida
The beaches in Destin are no doubt gorgeous, but you’ll also have to contend with many others to truly enjoy.
18. CHECK OUT: Seaside, Florida
Only a few miles away, you won’t have the same problem in Seaside, and you may recognize the locale, as it was made famous in “The Truman Show”.
19. AVOID: Santa Monica, California
Sure, it’s got the famous pier for you to check out, but Santa Monica is also a pain when it comes to parking, and it’s totally devoid of life.
20. CHECK OUT: Malibu, California
So, don’t park in Santa Monica! Instead continue up to the Pacific Coast Highway until you find a pull-off to a beach to looks right. You’ll be happy you did!