Surfers hold their boards while looking at the sunrise on the beach
Coastal U.S. Cities To Visit For A Beach Vacation
When the cold ocean water meets the warmer air and low pressure in the Bay Area, a vacuum pulls in the marine layer, creating those iconic foggy mornings.
San Francisco
The clouds usually burn off by the afternoon, when you can enjoy Baker Beach, with golden sand set against some of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands.
Ocean Beach has a rugged and instantly relaxing faraway-from-the-city vibe. Between the two is Land's End, with amazing secluded beaches if you're willing to hike.
Numerous shores are just a short drive away from Sarasota, Florida. Local favorite Siesta Key was named the No. 2 best beach in the U.S. by Tripadvisor in 2023.
Lido Beach is an easy 15-minute drive from the center of Sarasota and is a stunning stretch of sand with plenty of concession stands, bathrooms, and recreation areas.
Dead Tree Beach on Beer Can Island is known for the dead trees that wash ashore, giving it a unique and eerie feel. It's less crowded, but there aren't many amenities.
Although swimming in the Atlantic near Rhode Island is chilly, enjoy the luxurious beach clubs up against Gilded Age Mansions and strolls along the coast.
Gooseberry Beach looks like the Caribbean, with bright blue water and white sand. Its location in a quiet cove also provides tranquility for those looking for a calmer beach day.
Easton's or First Beach is also lovely and where the beautiful Cliff Walk, a scenic 3.5-mile walk along the sea, begins and takes you by historic mansions like The Breakers.
Just 20 minutes from Wilmington (or two hours from Raleigh) is this delightful beach town with a walkable town center near the famous North Carolina sandy shores.
Wrightsville Beach
Known for bright blue waters that aren't too cold and a fantastic dining scene, Wrightsville has no major crowds. Surfboards, kites, and paddleboards are also available to rent.
The best beaches in the city can primarily be found in Ballard and West Seattle. While most Washington beaches are rocky, Golden Gardens in Ballard offers golden sand.
Carkeek Beach is also in Ballard and is a great option for families with a large playfield, a salmon slide for the kids, many shaded picnic areas, and miles of hiking trails.
Across the sound is Alki Beach in West Seattle, just a 10- to 15-minute water taxi away from the city. You'll need to walk about a mile or take a shuttle to the beach.