Best beaches in the United States

Enjoy some sun at the best beaches in the USA, which are ideal for surfing, snorkeling, and other activities.

Siesta Key

We owe it to ourselves to go outside (safely) now that spring is in the air and experience the sun on our skin, the sand between our toes, and the cooling splash of ocean water. If the idea of doing some serious swimming, surfing, snorkeling, or even just taking some much-needed downtime while listening to waves crashing on the sandy shore appeals to you, then you will undoubtedly need our guide to the best beaches in the United States. 

Since we like to keep our lists up to date, some of the beaches you expect to find may not be included in this important countdown. What is the best beach in the United States right now? This indispensable index covers the entire nation, including East Coast treasures, West Coast favorites, stunning Hawaii coasts, and even a crucial Chicago respite. 

Best beaches in the United States

Santa Monica Beach | Santa Monica, CA

Picture from Unsplash

1. Santa Monica Beach, Santa Monica, California

What’s not to adore about Santa Monica, California, with its endless, expansive beaches stretching to the horizon in either direction, the iconic magnificence of the Santa Monica Pier, and the sheer volume of restaurants within a three-block radius? The views are breathtaking, especially as the sun sets to the west, directly over the Pacific Ocean, in addition to the soft sand. In fact, the yellows, reds, pinks, and blues of every sunset are the stuff of dreams on a good day, which is actually almost every day in Santa Monica. Stop deluding yourself and admit that this is the best beach in the US.

Cocoa Beach | Cocoa Beach, FL

Image: Courtesy of Visit the USA

2. Cocoa Beach in Cocoa, Florida

Despite being 3,000 miles away and on the other side of the country, Cocoa Beach is a close second to Santa Monica if you enjoy both history and the sun. The Mercury and Gemini astronauts used to hang out here in between training sessions and mission preparations. Additionally, you have a fantastic view of a large launch from nearby Cape Canaveral from here, so that’s a major plus! You can lie on the sand and watch our modest G-type main-sequence star slowly inch its way over the horizon to start a brand new day in this region of the country, which is the location of a genuinely unique chapter in US history. Melbourne is also worthwhile visiting, and there are some fantastic restaurants and hangout spots nearby.

Hanalei Bay | Kauai, HI

Image from Shutterstock

3. Kauai, Hawaii’s Hanalei Bay

Kauai, one of Hawaii’s less-traveled islands, has beautiful beaches. The largest bay on Kauai, Hanalei Bay is situated on the north shore of the island and offers more than two miles of fine, white sand, a tranquil bay, and a mountainous backdrop. Families will have plenty of space to spread out on the rarely crowded beach, and in the summer, the bay makes an excellent mooring spot for sailboats, stand-up paddleboards, and swimming.

Find the top activities in Kauai.

Mavericks | Half Moon Bay, CA

Featured Image: California Beaches

4. Mavericks from Half Moon Bay, California

You don’t need to be an expert big wave surfer—and let’s face it, not many of us are—to enjoy watching these incredible surfers perform risky stunts. Mavericks weren’t supposed to exist, and Half Moon Bay was previously only recognized for its yearly pumpkin festival before being discovered as a big wave surfing location that rivaled Waimea in Hawaii. The rest of history, however, began when Jeff Clark revealed to the world what this unassuming beach, about 20 miles from San Francisco, actually was.

Rockaway Beach | New York, NY

Visualization: Virginia Rollison

Rockaway Beach, New York, New York 5.

Rockaway Beach in Queens, New York, is another sand-covered, Atlantic-facing attraction worth visiting. It is situated on the Rockaway Peninsula. Additionally, this location has a rich history, making a leisurely stroll an essential part of any visit. There are many bars and restaurants to choose from, and there are also many options for nightlife. The restaurant and bar scene has adopted this strategy to draw in a younger, hipper clientele, with busy tiki bars and inexpensive Mexican eateries

Siesta Beach | Siesta Key, FL

Image from Shutterstock

6. Siesta Key, Florida’s Siesta Beach

Siesta Key is a relaxing destination, as suggested by its name. Make sure to dig your feet into the fine quartz-crystal white sand while reading your favorite book because the expansive beachfront rarely feels crowded and it stays cool to the touch. No glasses allowed. Pack your cooler with your alcoholic beverages. Kayaks and paddleboards are available for rent if you feel the need to get some exercise.


Coronado Beach | San Diego, CA

Image from Shutterstock

7. Coronado Beach, San Diego, California

This famous white-sand beach, which is anchored by the opulent Hotel del Coronado, is a SoCal treasure that literally sparkles (it is flecked with the mica mineral, which resembles gold). The breakwater’s gentle waves invite play, and a vast sandy area—which never feels crowded—invites kite flying and the construction of sand castles. A stay at “The Del” gives you access to retro, candy-striped loungers and posh cabanettes on the sand, which are the beach that Marilyn Monroe immortalized in Some Like it Hot. Sometimes you can see Navy SEALs practicing at the north end.


Moshup Beach | Martha’s Vineyard, MA

Image from Shutterstock

8. Moshup Beach, Massachusetts’s Martha’s Vineyard

In the summer, Martha’s Vineyard is packed with vacationers, but most of them stay on the northern part of the island. Locals and island veterans travel down south, or “up island,” to Moshup Beach in the town of Aquinnah. The white sand beach at what was formerly known as Gay Head (before its Native American name Aquinnah was formally reinstated) is a haven from the horde and is situated below the sandy cliffs.

Seaside Beach | Seaside, OR

Image from Shutterstock

9. Seaside Beach, Seaside, Oregon

The most well-known beach in Oregon may be Cannon Beach, which is home to the iconic Haystack Rock, but we prefer this seaside community known for its sweet waves and literal sweets like local saltwater taffy. (Some of The Goonies was also filmed here.) There is a lot to do here, including shopping, dining, and strolling along the oceanfront promenade while taking in the Pacific. Popular outdoor activities include surfing, hiking, biking, kayaking, and kite flying. 

El Matador State Beach | Malibu, CA

Image from Shutterstock

10. Malibu, California’s El Matador State Beach

El Matador is a lovely beach in an area of Los Angeles that offers some superior, sandy coastline, with Zuma and Point Dume just a few miles south along the Pacific Coast Highway. It may not fit your typical idea of an afternoon on the beach because it is small and dominated by rocky outcrops, but it is still a beautiful beach. Don’t bring too much gear because the western Malibu spot can only be reached via a steep gravel path, and shoes are definitely necessary. You’ll need to pay attention to the tides because the beach isn’t very wide. It also has blufftop parking, and impressive and sizable rock formations, and blufftop parking. You should be rewarded for your early arrival or late departure with a spectacular sunrise or sunset.

We hope you enjoyed this virtual tour, and be sure to let us know in the comments which place you’re most excited to visit. Follow our latest post at and subscribe to our YouTube Channel.