Inbound tourists heading to the United States would not typically have beaches top of their itinerary. That is unless they are heading to Hawaii, and not surprisingly most people would say the best United State beaches are found here. In this post we will look at some of the mainland surf and sand locations as well as the popular ones on Hawaii. Here’s our favorite great beach destinations in the United States.
Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is on the island of Honolulu. This beautiful beach sits cradled in the arms of two extinct volcanoes which shelter it from prevailing winds. This means the sea is calm, which makes it perfect for visiting. There is live coral, beautiful tropical fish and turtles with snorkeling and diving a must. As it is a preserve the location is natural and unspoilt but it is on a local bus route so does get busy by lunchtime.
Still in Hawaii, Lanikai Beach in Oahu is an old time favorite. It is situated on the coast in an area of private housing without the high rise condos that dominate the more popular beaches. It has beautiful clear water and white sand with two islets, the Mokuluas just off shore, perfect for a leisurely kayak trip.
Florida in the south east corner of the United States near the Gulf of Mexico, is the beach state on the mainland – the traditional destination for flocks of wintering Northerners. It is famous for the remarkable white quartz sand beaches and limpid aqua water. Siesta Key Public Beach near Sarasota is one of the more popular with endless white sand stretching to the horizon. It is popular and numbers swell in the summer but it is able to absorb them with barbecues, cafes and picnic spots in abundance. The beach is punctuated by cute wooden life saving huts in bright blue and yellow.
Another Florida beach worth exploring is Gulf Islands National Seashore Pensacola Beach. This glorious white sand beach stretches for 150 miles so it is possible to get away from summer crowds and find a secluded spot to picnic. There are networks of walkways and bike trails with a camping ground and the remains of an old Civil War fort.
If you favor the remote, less easily accessed beach go to Carova Beach on the Outer Banks off the mainland of North Carolina. This is a superb beach with great wide stretches of sand, dunes and grasses. It is less populated by summer visitors as access is via rough country roads and off road vehicles are recommended. There are still herds of wild horses which roam the dunes, down along the ocean. Surfing, birdwatching and camping are some of the activities available. There are no shopping or food outlets but locals do rent out houses for those wanting to stay a while.
Maine is about as far from Hawaii as you could get in so many ways but its rocky coastline does have some rather special beaches. Ogunquit Beach in York County on the Gulf of Maine is a favorite with locals and visitors. It’s Indian name means Beautiful Place by the Sea which is an accurate description of the area. It has an endless white sand beach and the warm Tongunquit River runs into the sea here making it a popular summer swimming beach. Historic cottages of the old township run along the foreshore making it a pleasant place to explore. A very brisk stroll in winter is also recommended.
What other beach should be added to the “Great Beach Destinations in the United States’ list?