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Best US Beaches for 2024


Best US Beaches for 2024 – When you think of the beach, you might envision escaping to a far-flung destination, but there are countless beautiful beaches with scenic sea views and top-notch amenities in the United States.

There are prime shorelines in Hawaii, California and Florida as well as scores of options located in between.

To help you choose the sandy spot that’s ideal for your next vacation, U.S. News considered factors like clean sands, pleasant waters and high-quality attractions to bring you the best U.S. beaches. 


Best US Beaches for 2024 Maui

Maui is not nearly as large as the Big Island, nor is it as small as Lanai, as bustling as Oahu or as quiet as Kauai.

For many Hawaii vacationers, Maui is just right – offering a taste of just about everything the Aloha State has to offer, from impressive wildlife to intriguing history and culture.

While on a visit here, you can shimmy alongside professional hula dancers, golf along coastal fairways, sail down a zip line, snorkel alongside five different types of sea turtles or simply lounge along some of Hawaii’s most notable beaches.

One of the archipelago’s most popular tourism spots, Maui can be found sandwiched between the Big Island and the much tinier Molokai (which you can explore by signing up for one of the best Maui tours).

Maui is divided into five distinct regions: Many travelers base themselves along the coasts of South Maui (home to the famous Wailea Beach) or West Maui, where the sands of Kaanapali Beach and the music from the Old Lahaina Luau are located.

But the rest of the island should not be missed. Travel along the Road to Hana to experience East Maui’s scenic coastline, explore Haleakala – the world’s largest dormant volcano – in the Upcountry and discover the former tribal battlegrounds of Central Maui’s Iao Valley State Park.

And for a bird’s-eye view of it all, reserve a spot on one of Maui’s best helicopter tours.

Best US Beaches for 2024 MauiBest Months to Visit Maui

The best times to visit Maui are April through May and September through November.

The spring and fall shoulder seasons provide the pleasant weather Hawaii vacationers seek without the high rates and heavy crowds that accompany the summer and winter.

However, if you’re into surfing, you’ll want to travel in the winter for the best conditions – just book as early as possible to get a discounted rate.

Meanwhile, if you’re traveling with kids, you may want to splurge for a summer trip as that’s when the waters are calmest

Best Hotels in Maui

Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
Montage Kapalua Bay
Hotel Wailea

Best Things to Do in Maui

Haleakala National Park
Road to Hana
Ka’anapali Beach


Best US Beaches for 2024 Oahu

Oahu blends cosmopolitan luxury and breathtaking scenery more than any other Hawaiian island.

The state’s capital city, Honolulu, showcases the island’s urban appeal.

Nearby you’ll find a host of cultural and historic sites, from the ornate Iolani Palace to the austere USS Arizona Memorial at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial.

In the nearby Waikiki neighborhood, a skyline of high-rises and resorts contrasts with sprawling white sand beaches. For a taste of rural Hawaii, visit the North Shore.

Here, you’ll find the most brilliant blue waters and meandering hikes.

But those three spots aren’t Oahu’s only must-see locales. Its top-notch restaurants, vibrant cultural

Best Months to Visit Oahu

The best time to visit Oahu is from mid-April to early June or between September and mid-December.

During these shoulder seasons, attractions are less crowded, festivals are plentiful and airfare and room rates are at their lowest.

Average temperatures comfortably sit in the mid-60s to high 80s year-round, but rain showers are less prevalent from mid-June to August (Oahu’s summer season), so tourists flock to the island to take advantage of the sunnier weather.

Another popular (and pricey) time to visit is between late December and early April, when surfers head to the North Shore to catch waves or watch professionals compete in various surfing events. 

Best Hotels in Honolulu – Oahu

The Kahala Hotel & Resort
Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina

Best Things to Do in Honolulu – Oahu

Waikiki Beach
Pearl Harbor National Memorial
Diamond Head State Monument


Best US Beaches for 2024 Kaua’i

Brilliant sunsets, pristine beaches, aquamarine skies – Kaua’i has mastered seduction.

But the oldest island in the Hawaiian chain doesn’t have to resort to over-the-top luxury or tourist traps to entice; instead, it appeals to a no-muss, no-fuss type of traveler. 

Resorts are no taller than a coconut tree (literally).You prefer rural to resplendent?

Kaua’i’s your island – there are only two major highways, and some regions can only be explored on foot or via one of the best Kaua’i boat tours.

Some would say that you need little more than a good pair of hiking boots, an umbrella and an adventurous spirit to visit.

But we should warn you: You might also need a little cash. Kaua’i has put a premium on its natural beauty and prized hiking trails, and room rates during the winter can exceed $500 a night.

To get the most and save the most, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons. 

Best Months to Visit Kauai

The best times to visit Kaua’i are between August and October and from April to June, when the weather is pleasant and airfare and hotel rates drop.

The rainy season that occurs from November to March doesn’t deter visitors looking for a winter getaway, but a word to the wise: You’ll face the highest markup on rooms and flights if you visit at this time (it’s peak travel season in Kaua’i).

If you fancy whale watching, however, this is the time to go as the season generally lasts from January until spring.

If winter is too pricey for your liking, consider the spring and fall months as a compromise: Kaua’i sees a slight dip in prices during these shoulder seasons.

Vacationing in Kaua’i during the summer won’t yield the same high prices as winter, but they won’t be a whole lot lower either.

Best Hotels in Kaua’i

Hotel Hanalei Bay
Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa
Ko’a Kea Resort On Po’ipu Beach

Best Things to Do in Kaua’i

Napali Coast
Waimea Canyon and Koke’e State Park
Po’ipu Beach Park


Best US Beaches for 2024 Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach sits on a long, thin island off of Florida’s west coast within 25 miles of both St. Petersburg and Tampa.

Though a trip to the town from the mainland takes just a few minutes, you’ll feel worlds away from the big-city atmosphere you’re leaving behind.

This laid-back area is known for its beautiful coastline – U.S. News ranks Clearwater Beach as one of Florida’s best beaches – but you’ll also find a number of other attractions worth checking out.

When you’re not at the beach paddleboarding, riding Jet Skis or parasailing, among other water sports activities, take some time to enjoy Clearwater Beach’s historical theaters, parks, shopping districts and casual beachfront restaurants.

You’ll also want to visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to see the attraction’s famous dolphin resident.

If you love sports, no trip would be complete without

Best Time to Visit Clearwater Beach

During the autumn months, you’ll find low humidity, fewer tourists and many holiday events to experience. However, October and November technically fall within the Atlantic hurricane season, and although they’re not peak hurricane months, you should be aware of the possibility of a storm developing.

July, August and September’s frequent rainstorms and January, February and March’s high volume of snowbirds (retirees and part-time residents from the northern U.S.) make summer and winter two seasons to avoid.

If viewing wildlife is your main objective, consider visiting in April, May or June when migratory birds, stingrays and sea turtles are commonly spotted.

While the area is different every season, Clearwater Beach benefits from warm weather year-round.

Best Hotels in Clearwater Beach

Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach
Sandpearl Resort
Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa

Best Things to Do in Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach and Pier 60
Honeymoon Island State Park
Clearwater Marine Aquarium


Best US Beaches for 2024 Outer Banks

History drips from the Outer Banks:Here, aviators Orville and Wilbur Wright took their famous first flight (at Kill Devil Hills), the pirate Blackbeard fought his last battle (at Ocracoke) and the mysterious Lost Colony disappeared (exactly where is anyone’s guess, but it was last seen on Roanoke Island near Manteo).

Yet this chain of barrier islands located off the coast of North Carolina – affectionately dubbed OBX – isn’t just for history buffs. Fishing, windsurfing and wildlife watching attract adventurous types as well.

The Outer Banks’ roughly 3,000 shipwrecks, explorable by snorkeling or scuba diving, earned it a reputation as “the graveyard of the Atlantic.”

Families gravitate toward the beaches, the mini-golf courses and the North Carolina Aquarium at Roanoke Island.

Each neighborhood has its own charm: Old lighthouses, rugged dunes and secluded beaches in the south coupled with vacation rentals, water sports and kitschy beach shops in the north all form a unique seaside destination. 

OBX is ideal for those looking to skip overly developed touristy towns and head straight for the unspoiled beaches.

You won’t find big nightlife, but you will find an abundance of natural beauty.

Beaches are more populated during the summer months, but with so many destinations spread out along the barrier islands, you likely won’t experience unmanageable crowds at any time of year. 

Best Months to Visit North Carolina Outer Banks Beaches

The best time to visit the Outer Banks is between March and May or September and November, when lodging rates drop and crowds dissipate.

Most mainland North Carolina residents and out-of-towners arrive during the summer months, when humidity is high and average temperatures consistently hit the upper 80s.

In the winter, the weather dips into the 40s and 50s.

Just keep in mind that during the offseason, some attractions, restaurants and shops may close or operate under more limited hours. 

Best Hotels in Outer Banks

The Ocracoke Harbor Inn
Sanderling Resort
Beachwoods Resort

Best Things to Do in Outer Banks

Outer Banks Beaches
Jockey’s Ridge State Park
Cape Hatteras National Seashore


Best US Beaches for 2024 Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach is what California dreams are made of.

Visitors are treated to cascading, verdant hillsides, breathtaking coastal parks and secluded beaches throughout this scenic destination.

All of this plus its small town spirit and historic arts community are just some of the many aspects that make this southern California spot one for the books.

What’s more, it’s incredibly easy to get to. Located between San Diego and Los Angeles, Laguna Beach is situated right along Pacific Coast Highway, making it a perfect stop on your California road trip.

Laguna Beach is the kind of destination so beautiful you have to see it to believe it, and when you do, you’ll be in total awe of its splendor.

But there is certainly more to Laguna Beach than its good looks.

The town has a palpable penchant for the arts that can be found not only inside the many galleries that line PCH but also the streets; there are more than 100 public art pieces spread throughout town. 

There is also a deep appreciation for flora and fauna here. Whale watching is a revered past time, the headquarters for the rescue and rehabilitation for Orange County coast seal population is located here, and the town is home to plenty of wildflower-filled coastal parks, including one of the last preserved coastal canyons in southern California.

So while in Laguna Beach, take time to immerse yourself in the local culture, soak up the coast as much as you can and don’t forget to take plenty of pictures along the way.

Though, considering how unforgettable the scenery is, you probably won’t have trouble remembering Laguna Beach’s impressive beauty.  

Best Time to Visit Laguna Beach

The best time to visit Laguna Beach is from April to May or from September to October.

Both the spring and the fall bring far fewer visitors to the area than the summer months and travelers can still enjoy average daytime temps of 70 degrees or higher. 

Summer is Laguna’s peak travel season and also when the majority of its yearly festivals take place.

Winter will likely yield discounts galore but you won’t be able to swim at the beach (the water will be frigid) and at night the temperatures can dip down to the low 40s.

Best Hotels in Laguna Beach

Montage Laguna Beach
The Ranch at Laguna Beach
Surf & Sand Resort

Best Things to Do in Laguna Beach

Crystal Cove State Park
Heisler Park
Victoria Beach


Best US Beaches for 2024 Miami Beach

Miami Beach is where a mix of cultures, residents and travelers mingle.

A wide variety of people – including Instagram models, amateur architecture critics, distinguished seniors and sun-seeking families – enjoy the renowned shores of “the Beach,” as locals call it.

North Beach is where you’ll find the kid-friendliest beaches, the tranquil greenspace of North Shore Oceanside Park, and the most affordable restaurants and hotels.

Less than 10 miles away on the mainland are the galleries, museums and theaters of Greater Miami.And then there’s South Beach.

This popular southernmost neighborhood proves that Miami Beach is more like two cities – a family-friendly vacation when the sun is shining and a super-chic metropolis come nightfall.

If want to keep up with the Joneses, you’ll have to exercise your credit card at the high-end stores, indulge at the cutting-edge fusion restaurants, dance at the energetic nightclubs and relax poolside at the art deco-style hotels.

But the rich and famous aren’t the only ones who will enjoy their time here. More laid-back travelers can relax along the sands of Lummus Park, learn a little more about architecture on an art deco tour or even try their hand at fishing off of the South Pointe Pier.

Another must-do? Window-shopping and strolling along the Lincoln Road Mall.

And you can’t leave Miami Beach without bottomless brunch or chowing down on tasty small plates and enjoying cocktails at a rooftop bar.

Best US Beaches for 2024Best Months to Visit Miami Beach

The best time to visit Miami Beach is between March and May when the sun shines with temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s during the day.

Aside from the gorgeous weather, a spring visit allows you to sidestep the peak winter rates.

This part of Florida enjoys a subtropical climate, meaning it’s usually warm year-round and a bit rainy.

Pack an umbrella if you visit in summer or fall; at the very least, you can expect some afternoon showers that clear up quickly.

In the worst-case scenario, you could experience torrential downpours since Atlantic hurricane season runs from June to November.

If you’re trying to keep your bank account in check, hotel rates and flight fares tend to decrease in the summer as the temperature and precipitation increase.

Best Hotels in Miami Beach

Acqualina Resort & Residences
Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club, Surfside, Florida
Faena Hotel Miami Beach

Best Things to Do in Miami Beach

South Beach
Ocean Drive
Lincoln Road Mall


Best US Beaches for 2024 Cape May Jersey

Known as America’s original seaside resort, Cape May has been a premier summertime getaway for generations.

Part of the Jersey Cape’s stretch of beaches and boardwalks, this tiny town is located about 45 miles south of Atlantic City, New Jersey, 95 miles southeast of Philadelphia and roughly 160 miles south of New York City.

It is home to less than 3,500 residents but welcomes upward of 50,000 vacationers every year.

In addition to its pristine beaches, Cape May’s roughly 600 preserved Victorian buildings and collection of quaint bed-and-breakfasts transport visitors to a bygone era.

Its military presence also cannot go unnoticed; Cape May played a major role in defending the country during World War II, and about 30% of the population today is involved in the armed forces.

Whether you choose to spend your days bird-watching (Cape May offers some of the best birding spots in the world), visiting wineries or touring historical sites, you’re bound to quickly recognize the charm of this coastal escape.

Best Months to Visit Cape May

The best time to visit Cape May is from May to September when the air and water temperatures are warm enough for sunbathing and swimming.

While summer is when the Jersey Shore comes alive, this seaside destination still boasts plenty of activities throughout the year.

Visit around Christmastime to see twinkling lights draped across the city’s Victorian homes, or opt for an autumn trip to enjoy the Cape May Fall Festival in October.

Even spring draws some travelers – especially those looking to celebrate Easter.

No matter what time of year you choose to visit, the personality of this tiny coastal town is sure to shine through.

Best Hotels in Cape May

Congress Hall
The Virginia Hotel
The Southern Mansion

Best Things to Do in Cape May

Cape May City Beaches
Washington Street Mall
Jersey Shore Alpacas


Best US Beaches for 2024 St. Petersburg FL

Holding the Guinness World Record for the most consecutive days of sunshine, St. Petersburg is appropriately nicknamed “The Sunshine City.”

The city provides visitors with a unique blend of traditional beach getaway and urban flavor.

The white, sandy beaches offer views of spectacular sunsets and the 137 parks invite travelers to enjoy a host of activities, including hiking, camping and kayaking.

An ongoing creative renaissance also promises an extensive cultural experience, whether it’s through the world-class Dalí Museum or the Museum of Fine Arts.

And every year, more than 1,000 events are held in the city – everything from St. Anthony’s Triathlon to Florida’s largest Pride celebration.

With all that it has to offer, the sunshine-infused city is a popular destination for visitors all ages: families will love the relaxing outdoors and teeming wildlife, and the younger set will find plenty to do downtown, including the lively nightlife.

Best Months to Visit St. Petersburg FL

The best time to visit St. Petersburg is from March to May, when the weather is comfortably warm and a plethora of outdoor events make the city come alive.

You’ll find more affordable room rates from June to November, but the threat of hurricanes is imminent and the weather can often be scorching. The temperature cools down significantly for the winter months.

Best Hotels in St. Petersburg FL

The Vinoy Resort & Golf Club, Autograph Collection
Hilton St. Petersburg Carillon Park
Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront

Best Things to Do in St. Petersburg FL

Fort De Soto Park
St. Pete Beach
Dalí Museum


Best US Beaches for 2024 Hilton Head

To really get a feel for Hilton Head, you’re going to need to slow down and enjoy the vast mix of cultures, age groups and activities.

This 42-square-mile barrier island’s demographics have evolved exponentially through the years.

At one time, it had the reputation for catering to an older, wealthier clientele, but no longer must you rush to keep up with the Joneses.

And while enormous beach houses and gated communities still dot the shoreline, an explosion of full-time islanders from the Midwest and East Coast mainland have become permanent residents and young entrepreneurs.

Prior to the initial resort development that began in the 1960s, the island was largely populated by Gullah, or descendants of freed slaves, who settled here during and after the Civil War, many of whom still own businesses and restaurants locally.

However, your fellow vacationers will still likely be retirees (thanks to the world-class fairways) and young vacationing families (thanks to the clean, sugary beaches).

If you know anything about the island, you know that golfing, tennis and shopping are how it earned its upscale reputation.

But you could spend an entire vacation here without ever swinging a golf club or a tennis racket.

The island is full of natural wonders, including the Coastal Discovery Museum and the Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge, not to mention 12 miles of sandy beaches.

So, whether you came to get up close and personal with Lowcountry wildlife, perfect your backhand or simply relax on the sand, Hilton Head has something for you.

Best Months to Visit Hilton Head

The best time to visit Hilton Head is April and May as well as September and October.

Spring and fall shoulder seasons offer fewer crowds and lower lodging rates all the while maintaining temperatures that are still beach-friendly.

Summer is also a great time to visit the island, as the weather is perfect for swimming in the ocean.

If you want to save some money and don’t mind bringing a couple sweaters with you to the beach, winter isn’t a bad time to visit either, thanks to high temperatures in the mid-60s. 

Best Hotels in Hilton Head

Montage Palmetto Bluff
The Inn & Club at Harbour Town – The Sea Pines Resort
Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort

Best Things to Do in Hilton Head

Coligny Beach Park
Sea Pines Forest Preserve
Harbour Town


Best US Beaches for 2024 Nantucket

“There once was a man from Nantucket…” Go ahead, finish the rest of the limerick in your head, and then get that giggle out of your system.

Because despite being maligned with rhyming obscenities — many of which you can find printed on souvenirs around town — Nantucket is better known as a refined vacation destination.

And it’s becoming more posh by the year. Located about 30 miles south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, this tiny island relishes its isolation, beckoning to the upper-crust prepsters and Northeastern bluebloods looking for a summer escape.  

Nantucket welcomes other visitors as well, as long as they’re willing to splurge.

Room rates and dinner plates are quite pricey, but some of the most popular island activities can be experienced on the cheap.

After all, a proper Nantucket visit is about riding through the cobblestone streets on your rental bike or lazing about on the shore with a beach-time read.

So pack your swimsuit and leave your car at the ferry docks: It’s time to escape the mainland. 

Best US Beaches for 2024Best Months to Visit Nantucket

The best time to visit Nantucket is during the shoulder months of March, April, September and October.

You’ll find the island pleasantly free of tourist hordes, and prices are more manageable, too.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, hotels and seafood restaurants capitalize on the throngs of deep-pocketed tourists.

And from November to February, the temperatures are too cold for most — lows average between 25 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Winters aren’t a total bust: There are a handful of nice holiday festivals and the island’s seasonal establishments typically don’t shut down until after Christmas.

Best Hotels in Nantucket

The Wauwinet
White Elephant
The Nantucket Hotel & Resort

Best Things to Do in Nantucket

Surfside Beach
Brant Point Light
Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge

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