With the summer sun scorching states across the U.S, you might be thinking how refreshing a trip to the ocean would be right now. For me, there’s nothing more cathartic than being able to put my toes in the sand and look out on warm crystal blue waters. And if you’re like me, the good news for us is that you don’t have to go far to experience some of the world’s best beaches. In fact, most are just a road trip away. So what are you waiting for? Grab the floaties, the cooler, a towel and some sunscreen, and hit the road for a fabulous summer beach getaway.
Here is the Travel Smart Blog’s 2011 Top 10 U.S. Beaches list. From the trendy to the virtually uninhabited, this year’s picks may be easy to get to but their beauty will make you feel like you escaped to exotic lands.
Factors considered in creating this list included size or stretch of sand, quality of sand, area use (activities), previous accolades, and of course, personal experiences.
Just off the coast of Sarasota, FL you will find paradise. Heralded by many travel publications and experts as the softest, whitest beach anywhere, Siesta Key is located on Florida’s southwest Gulf coast. I’ve always considered it one of Florida’s secret treasures but it is quickly becoming a beachgoer’s go-to spot. That being said, it still seems to maintain a sleepy beach feel in an immaculate setting, which is partly because smoking is not allowed on this pristine beach.
2. Poipu Beach, HI
On the south shore of Kauai Island, Hawaii you can experience Poipu Beach. It’s definitely one of the most popular beaches on the shore and is also considered one of the safest in Hawaii. You can do it all here, from snorkeling to swimming and surfing or playing in a natural ocean wading pool.
3. Malibu Beaches, CA
Located along the northwestern coast of Los Angeles, CA, there are six beaches that stretch “27 miles of scenic beauty”. The relaxed and rugged feel of Malibu is a welcome respite from the pace and glitz of nearby L.A. And each of its beaches offers something different: from sandy shores to rocky cliffs to world-class surfing.
4. Saint Joseph Island, TX
Saint Joseph Island is an uninhabited barrier island off the coast of Port Aransas, TX. It’s also car-free which ensures peaceful solitude, and the farther you get from the ferry dock on this 21-mile-long isle, the better the beach. The pristine beaches are open to the public and make for excellent swimming, surfing, beachcombing and shelling.
Lush subtropical vegetation, a Mediterranean climate, and warm, mild surf describes this beach. Stay at the Hotel del Coronado, a local landmark, which was built more than a hundred years ago. And if you are a sunset lover – then don’t miss the chance to digest this Coronado delicacy.
6. Anna Maria Island, FL
Anna Maria Island is the barrier between the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay. It is so picturesque that is also known as the “wedding capital of Florida,” and yet somehow it maintains that Old Florida feel. With its crystal white beaches and an average year-round temperature of 74.8 degrees, you’ll find a lot to do on Anna Maria Island, or just do nothing at all and relax on the white sand beaches all day.
Visitors can canoe and kayak through the tidal inlets or bird watch as the beach is home to thousands of birds. You can also walk along the compact sand of the 10-mile barrier island for a truly serene way to relax.
8. Lanikai Beach, Oahu, HI
Tucked in a residential neighborhood, Lanikai Beach is a hidden gem on the popular island of Oahu. It is one of Hawaii’s most picturesque beaches with fine white sand and excellent swimming year-round thanks to an offshore reef that keeps the water calm. During the high tourist season and on the weekends it can get crowded with visitors and locals alike.
9. South Beach, Miami Beach, FL
South Beach is more than a beach. After all, it has its own culture! By day and by night, the South Beach section of Miami Beach is a major entertainment destination with hundreds of nightclubs, restaurants, boutiques and hotels. And the beach is truly as beautiful as the people who lay on its sand with Caribbean blue waters, stunning art deco architecture surrounding it and miles of fun in the year-round sun.
10. Perdido Key, FL
Spanish for “lost island”, you could get lost in the beauty of Perdido Key. The island features several world-renowned state parks with abundant wild life and emerald green waters. The wide white sand beaches and the rolling dunes covered with sea oats make this a pristine oasis along the rapidly developing Florida panhandle. You can easily drive to Perdido Key but stay in hotels or vacation rentals on nearby Pensacola, FL beaches.
What other beaches would you add to the list? Have you been to any of the ones mentioned above?