While walking a deserted beach in winter can be interesting, the time to fully enjoy everything the beach has to offer is summer! Travel is a big part of summer plans for many people, particularly families. And beaches are a great summer choice! Sometimes, just being on the sand in sight of the horizon can be enthralling. Other times, you want to have a few activity options to shake things up a bit. Here are six very different beaches found all over the U.S., each of which delivers its own unique seaside experience.
Florida is a peninsula stretching into the Caribbean, making it a perfectly natural location for great beaches. Since a large portion of the state is coastal, you have your pick of where you want to go and what you want to do.
At Sanibel Island, you can find a multitude of shells and sand dollars washed in by the waves. Santa Rosa Beach calls for activewear with hiking, biking, and bird-watching opportunities at the nearby Topsail Hill Preserve State Park in addition to beautiful white-sand shores. Amelia Island offers water sports like kayaking and paddleboarding, historic downtown buildings and a nearby fort, and horseback riding on the beach. There is so much to choose from you can't go wrong!
There are lots of things to do as you work your way north and come upon Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. Keep your beach coverup handy: you might want to take a quick trip to view the games at Pelican's Ballpark, check out the fish at Ripley's Aquarium, or explore the beach trails, pier, and nature center at Myrtle Beach State Park—that is, if you can bear to leave the 60 or so miles of beautiful sandy beach behind for that long!
When looking for beach options, Massachusetts doesn't seem like it should be high on the list. But in Barnstable in Cape Cod, there are beaches for any seaside preference. Craigville Beach has the views, Hathaway's Pond has the barbecues, and it doesn't stop there. Plus, if you're traveling from one of the larger states, you will realize you can get most anywhere in Massachusetts comparatively quickly. To cross the whole state takes less than two and a half hours, which opens up many activity possibilities without going "too far" from your original beach vacation.
Hawaii is technically the west coast, and who wouldn't want to visit the tropical beaches in the islands of Aloha? It's tough to choose between them, but any island will give you a unique and beautiful experience. Wailea in Maui is stunning, with the world's largest dormant volcano available for an adventure not far away. Waikiki Beach on Oahu is famous for a reason with enormous waves on the North Shore for the surfers in your family (remember those rash guards as well as calmer locations for those members who just want to relax and soak up the island sun (remember that sunscreen). While Hawaii may be a bit expensive, it is available year-round, so if a summer vacation doesn't work out this time, a winter beach trip is still on the table.
For a dramatic contrast, Edmonds in Washington is America's answer to the romantic, sometimes stormy seascapes of Ireland and Scotland. The wetter weather makes everything so green in these places, and the misty clouds make everything so mysterious that it's hard to resist imagining the magic happening just out of sight. And then when the sun rays break through to make the water shimmer, the magic ends up finding you! Rocky shores with sand bars that come and go with the tides and museums and parks not far off make this is a great coastal experience. You should be safe from dramatic weather, but bring along a light rain jacket in case of a surprise summer shower.
While there are many beaches in California, Southern California corners the market on unique beach experiences. Sunset Cliffs are just as their name suggests: red-orange precipices made of towering sandstone overlook great surf spots—both for the experienced and the beginners. The shores below also boast beautiful tidepools you and the family can explore when the current pulls back with crabs, anemones, starfish, and more! San Diego Bay is excellent for sailing, jet-skiing, rowing, and other water sports, and nearby Coronado has historic houses and a beautiful downtown area, all within a few steps of a lovely view of the horizon.
These just give you a taste of the range of different beach experiences available to you in this country. Decide which ones you want to discover this year, and then get ready for a rich and vivid summer season.