12 Best Beaches to Relax in the United States

Published October 17th, 2022 by Allen Campbell

best beaches to relax in the United States

When many people think of the best beaches in America, Florida is generally the first state that comes to mind. And while Florida does have some beautiful beaches, it’s not the only state in the Union with sand and sun. Other than the standard beach vacation, there are various hidden gems you must dig to find. 

A lot of amenities and fresh air is what you should expect when looking for the best beaches to relax. Here are some of the best beaches in the United States that offer a little bit of everything.

Best Beaches to Relax in the United States: Summary

1. Waimea Bay Beach Park, Hawaii

Waimea Bay Beach Park, Hawaii-min

If you visit Waimea Bay Beach during the winter months, you will find waves just as tall (if not taller) than any in America. Located on the North Shore of Oahu, this beach is a surfer’s paradise and has been featured in many films and television shows. Jumanji film was one of many that used this beach as a filming location. 

The waves can get as high as 30 feet and are some of the most consistent in all of Hawaii. When the waves are high, only experienced surfers should attempt to ride them. However, those who are capable will find some of the best surfing in the world.

But if you are visiting this beach in the summer, you will find that the waves are much smaller and this is a great place for swimming, underwater exploring, and diving. The bay is beautiful and clear, with plenty of fish and other marine life, which is why this place is the #1 selection for the best beach to relax in the USA.

You can also find sea turtles sleeping on the rocks. Being underwater is an incredible experience—you will feel as though you are in a completely different world.

2. Fort Zachary Taylor Beach, Florida

Fort Zachary Taylor Beach, Florida-min

You will find this beach on the southernmost tip of Key West. The beach is located in a state park and is surrounded by coral reefs. This state park is known as Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. The 54 acres of the park is a stunning example of how nature and history can meld together. 

The clear water beach has some white sand that will leave you feeling like royalty on your own personal island! When you are ready to take a break from the sun, there are plenty of activities to do in the area. 

From giving yourself a history lesson at the on-site fort to exploring the natural coral reefs, there is something for everyone at this beach.

This area of Florida is a great beach to relax in the US. You can take the advantage of its calm waves for swimming, paddling, and sunbathing or simply take a leisurely stroll along the shore. I highly recommend you watch an amazing sunset at Fort Zachary Taylor beach. You can see the beautiful sunset from Mallory Square and take some amazing pictures.

3. Cape Kiwanda, Oregon

Cape Kiwanda, Oregon-min

Cape Kiwanda has some unique and stunning rock formations. It has been Oregon’s coastal hidden gem for many years and is slowly but surely gaining the popularity it deserves. If you have the chance, don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity. 

The locals love it for its serenity and beauty and often feel lucky to live so close to such a place. If you are a fitness enthusiast, you will love the challenge of climbing to the top of the sand dune. The magnificent view you get after all your journey is worth every second. 

Even if you are not the outdoorsy type, the sight of the ocean is sure to take your breath away. I strongly recommend that you see this beauty at least once in your lifetime. And if you are planning to visit in summer, don’t forget to keep an eye out for whales from the top. It is one of the most magical experiences you will ever have because of its white sand beaches, undulating sand dunes, and dramatic cliffs.

When you’re in need of a vacation, look no further than Cape Kiwanda. Whether you are looking for a challenging hike or simply a place to sit back and enjoy the view, Cape Kiwanda has something for everyone.

4. Flamenco Beach, Puerto Rico

Flamenco Beach, Puerto Rico-min

You will love the clear water and beautiful landscapes. The water is so clear that you can see the bottom even when you are swimming far from shore. Flamenco Beach is a well-known beach on Culebra Island for several reasons. 

You will never have to worry about finding a spot on the sand, as there is plenty of space on this long beach. Unlike other beaches, you will never see big waves crashing on the shore. And for this reason, it is perfect for various activities including swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling. 

Not only is the scenery at the beach breathtaking, but there’s also an array of food options! With countless food stands by the sand, you can indulge in whatever Puerto Rican dish strikes your fancy. 

Flamenco beach is one of the best places to relax in the United States, but if you are looking for something more active, there are also many outdoor activities to do in other parts of Culebra. If you’re looking for something historical to do, the old navy tank nearby has been turned into a tourist attraction.

5. Smathers Beach, Florida

Smathers Beach, Florida-min

Breathing in the fresh air and taking a dip in the cool water will definitely make you feel more alive. In addition, this beach is a perfect place to watch the sunset. As one of the popular public beaches in Key West, Smathers Beach has plenty of room for everyone. 

The shining white sand and pristine blue water make this beach the perfect place to relax. Without any issue, you can reach by car or bike from near places.

The best part about Smathers Beach is that anybody can enjoy it without having to spend a dime. So, if you’re ever in Key West and looking for a place to relax and enjoy the sun, this is definitely the spot for you. The quietness of the island will make you feel at ease and the water sports available will keep you entertained. 

If you love being on the water, kayaking is a must-try activity at Smathers Beach. You can also sit under a palm tree for having a little picnic with your friends or family. Sitting on sand will make your feet feel relaxed.

Note: You can find some teeth while walking on the sand but don’t worry they are just cow’s teeth. Back in the day, this beach was used as a processing site for cows.

6. Cumberland Island, Georgia

Cumberland Island, Georgia-min

You will be amazed by the beaches found on Cumberland Island. The sand is a beautiful white, the water clarity makes it look like diamonds, and the scenery takes your breath away. You can take a trip on your bike or just explore the island on foot, but don’t forget to click some amazing photos along the way. 

It is because Cumberland Island is home to some wild horses that may just pose for you. Also, you can find lovely lakes, forests, and dunes on this island..

If you plan for a night’s stay, I would suggest you watch some beautiful and mesmerizing sunsets and stargazing. I can guarantee you that Cumberland Island will not bore you. Moreover, you will not only get a break from your hectic routine but also explore and learn about the history and nature of this place.

7. Topsail Island, North Carolina

Topsail Island, North Carolina-min

Topsail Island has been a popular spot for beach vacations since the early 1900s. This scenic island off the coast of North Carolina is home to some of the most beautiful beaches on the East Coast. The Island goes a long way to live up to its name with crystal clear water, soft white sand, and lovely sea breezes. 

The natural beauty of this relaxing beach is spread out over 26 miles of coastline, which makes it the perfect place to enjoy different kinds of water activities. You will get surprised by its unspoiled and laid-back atmosphere.

Despite its long tradition as a beach vacation destination, Topsail Island has managed to keep its small-town feel. You can hunt for seashells and shark teeth to take home as souvenirs. In addition to the tour, you will also receive a history lesson on sea turtles and the importance of their protection. 

The caretakers at the rescue center will share their knowledge and stories about their work with these beautiful creatures. You may even get to see a released rehabilitated turtle back into the wild.

8. Coast Guard Beach, Massachusetts

Coast Guard Beach Massachusetts-min

Cape Cod is a popular destination that exists for one primary reason: its beaches are some of the best in the world. One of these beaches, Coast Guard Beach, is the ideal beach to visit during summertime. 

The water is cool and refreshing, the sand is soft and welcoming, and there are plenty of activities to keep you busy from sun up to sun down. You can perform many activities at Coast Guard Beach, but some of the most popular include swimming, surfing, boogie boarding, and playing beach games.

If you’re looking to cool off in the water, you can take a dip in the surf or go for a swim in the shallows. If you want to catch some waves, Coast Guard Beach is one of the best spots on Cape Cod for surfing. 

And if you’re looking for a little bit of excitement, you can try your hand at boogie boarding. No matter what you choose to do, from sunbathing to swimming to picnicking, you’re sure to have a great time at Coast Guard Beach.

9. Driftwood Beach, Georgia

Driftwood Beach, Georgia-min

First of all, let’s get one thing straight: appropriateness is key. And this beach, my friends, is appropriately named. Why, you ask? Because it is literally covered in driftwood. Now, some people might see a beach covered in wood and think “trash!” but those people are clearly missing the point. 

This beach makes a name for itself in uniqueness, and the driftwood is a big part of that. The perfect picture backdrop, these branches have been weathered and worn by the sea, and they make for a beautiful sight, not all relaxing beaches have to be white sands! This beach offers a unique, yet intriguing feel, which is why it is on our top list of best beaches to relax in the US.

In addition, if you visit this beach, I would recommend you stay till sunset. The orange color as it reflects off the water is simply gorgeous. You will never have seen a beach like this one, I guarantee it.

10. Virginia Beach, Virginia

Virginia Beach, Virginia-min

Perfect for your summer vacation, Virginia Beach gives a unique vibe that you won’t find in any other beach town. Virginia Beach is perfect for any type of vacation, whether you’re traveling with family and friends or looking for a romantic getaway. 

Eat at one of the many seafood places along the beach, enjoy the nightlife, or take a stroll down the boardwalk. You can also perform surfing with the right waves or take a paddleboard rental.

11. Huntington Beach, California

Huntington Beach, California-min

If you are an adventurous person who loves the waves and the sand, then Huntington Beach is the place for you! This beach has stunningly beautiful scenery, making it an excellent destination for surfing, sunbathing, and swimming. 

The waves here are some of the best in California, so it’s no wonder that Huntington Beach is getting more and more popular with surfers from all over the world. 

The number 1 ranked beach in California, this beach is also home to the International Surfing Museum where you can learn all about the sport of surfing, from its humble beginnings to its current popularity. There are also competitions held every year, such as The US Open Of Surf, which attract professional surfers from all over the globe. 

Regardless of your level, Huntington Beach is the ideal destination to ride some waves, enjoy the sand, and soak up some sun. If you are coming with your furry friend then you are in luck as Huntington Beach also has a dog-friendly beach known as Huntington Dog Beach.

12. Ocean City, New Jersey

Ocean City, New Jersey-min

With its popularity as a summer destination, it’s no surprise that Ocean City is one of the most well-known shore towns in New Jersey. This seaside town has been a popular spot for Americans and continues to be a top choice for families looking for sun and fun by the water. The economy of the town largely grows because of the many visitors that come.

Aside from relaxing, tourism plays a big role in Ocean City, New Jersey. The town’s economy is greatly supported by the revenue generated from visitors. Many businesses, such as hotels, restaurants, and shops rely on tourists. 

The town also has a boardwalk, that runs along the beach, which is a popular spot for people to walk or jog. You can also swim in the ocean here, as the water conditions are usually good and there are often waves.

Finding the Best Beaches to Relax in the US: Bottom Line

Now that you know a little bit more about some of the best beaches in the United States for relaxation, it’s time to start planning your trip! Whether you’re looking for a beach with plenty of amenities or one that’s a little more off the beaten path, I am sure you will find the perfect destination for your needs. 

For your ease, I have listed down some of the unique features of each beach so that you can decide according to your preference. With so many beautiful beaches in the country, it’s hard to choose just one, but I hope this list will help you narrow down your options and make planning your trip a little easier.

Beaches in the United States: FAQs

What is the most popular beach in Florida for spring break?

Daytona Beach is considered to be the most well-known and popular beach destination for spring breakers in Florida. With its wide stretches of sand, crystal-clear water, and abundance of activities, it’s no wonder that so many spring breakers flock to Daytona Beach each year. 

Whether you’re looking to lie on the beach and soak up some sun or you’re searching for a lively nightlife scene, Daytona Beach is just the place for you. So if you’re planning a trip to Florida for spring break, be sure to add Daytona Beach to your list of potential destinations.

Are tents and canopies allowed on Daytona Beach?

What is the cheapest month to go to Florida?

People flock to Florida for vacation because of its pleasant weather and myriad of things to do. However, the costs can add up during peak tourist season. If you’re looking to save some money on your trip to Florida, consider traveling during the shoulder season. 

The less footfall means that you’ll find better deals on hotels and flights, as well as fewer crowds at popular attractions. For example, January is known to be better in terms of pricing, as it falls outside of both the peak tourist season and hurricane season.

What is the most secluded beach at Hilton Head?

If you’ve ever been to Hilton Head, you know that it boasts some of the most gorgeous beaches on the planet. With miles of white sand and crystal-clear water, it’s no wonder that Hilton Head is such a popular vacation destination. 

However, not all of Hilton Head’s beaches are created equal. If you’re looking for a truly secluded spot to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the island, then you’ll want to head to Braddock Point Beach.

Are you allowed to setup a tent or canopy at Hilton Head beaches?

Allen Campbell with Master Canopies

Allen Campbell

Allen is a full time writer at Mastercanopies.com and enjoys traveling around the United States and exploring nature. He enjoys writing about canopies as he believes they are extremely crucial in having a successful camping trip whether it be a trip to the beach, mountains, or the open plains.

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