Summer is officially here and if you’re thinking of heading to a beach, it helps to know the best beaches in the US, according to beach-goers who have already been there.
Of course, everyone has their own idea of what makes a great beach. With that in mind, TripAdvisor has compiled a list of the best beaches in the US for 2021, taking both quality and quantity into consideration when it came to beach reviews.
TripAdvisor’s list took a look at the 25 best beaches in the US, and we’re listing the top 10 of those. Here they are:
10. Kailua Beach Park in Kailua, Hawaii
Kailua Beach Park is located on the easterly shoreline in Oahu, where the ocean waters are a turquoise blue color and the sand is soft and white. Kite surfers enjoy the area because of the wind and you’ll also find a natural rock sea wall called Flat Island, which stretches about 100 yards into the ocean. When you need some time out of the sun, you can head to the Kalapawai Market, which offers take-out lunches, coffee, wine and everything else you’d need for a day at one of the best beaches in the US.
9. Madeira Beach in Madeira Beach, Florida
Madeira Beach, in Madeira Beach, Florida, is on the Gulf of Mexico just west of St. Petersburg. At 2.5 miles long, it is a prime spot for fishing and for visiting John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk, which has more than 100 shops and eateries and a 1,100-foot boardwalk. It even hosts a John’s Pass Seafood Festival that attracts 30,000 visitors a year.
8. Wai’anapanapa State Park in Hana, Hawaii
With a remote, wild and volcanic coastline, Wai’anapanapa State Park in Maui offers lodging, camping, hiking, picnicking and shore fishing. The beach is covered in black sand and the park offers opportunities to view a seabird colony and natural stone arches. Other things to see include the hala forest, lava caves, a heiau (a religious temple), sea stacks and blowholes.
7. Ogunquit Beach in Ogunquit, Maine
Not all highly-rated beaches are in US states known for sunshine and warm weather. Ogunquit Beach in Maine is also on the list. It has 3.5 miles of sandy beaches and coastline, where you can enjoy deep-sea fishing, whale watching, sailing and more. If you’re there on a rainy day or just want to get out of the sun, you can visit the Ogunquit Museum of American Art or catch a show at the Ogunquit Playhouse.
6. Napili Beach in Lahaina, Hawaii
A less crowded, low-key resort beach, Napili Beach in Maui, Hawaii is more basic than some other resorts, and therefore also less expensive. Napili’s waters are also calmer than those at some other beaches in the area, so swimming is easier and safer for both children and adults. Sea turtles are often seen in the area and snorkeling is a common activity when the water is serene.
5. Cannon Beach in Cannon Beach, Oregon
Another non-tropical destination on the list, Cannon Beach is located along the northwest coast in Oregon. Named one of the world’s 100 most beautiful places by National Geographic in 2013, the beach features the Haystack Rock, an Oregon icon that has been featured in novels, television programs and movies including “The Goonies” and “Kindergarten Cop.” The rock rises 235 feet from the edge of the shoreline and at low tide, you can walk up to it and find colorful sea stars and other tide pool creatures.
4. Wailea Beach in Wailea, Hawaii
Wailea Beach in Wailea, Hawaii is a perfect Maui beach for snorkeling when the ocean is calm. It’s also a good spot for boogie boarding and body surfing because of typically small waves and a gentle slope. The beach, which fronts the Four Seasons Resort Maui, is consistently named one of the best beaches in the US by publications like Conde Nast Traveler, National Geographic and Southern Living.
3. Moonstone Beach in Cambria, California
Moonstone Beach in California has brown sandy coves separated by rocky bluffs. There are also large drift logs and rocks to rest on, plus a wooden boardwalk, which spans one mile. It’s a great place for exploring tide pools or engaging in watersports. Next to the beach, you’ll find numerous hotels and a few restaurants, which are open during the busy tourist seasons.
2. Ka’anapali Beach in Lahaina, Hawaii
Maui’s Ka’anapali Beach on the west shore of Maui is known for a daily cliff diving ceremony that happens at sunset on Puu Kekaa, one of the beach’s northernmost cliffs. For the ceremony, a cliff diver lights the torches along the cliff and then leaps off Black Rock in a reenactment of a legendary feat by King Kahekili. The beautiful, accessible beach also has three miles of white sand and crystal-clear water.
1. St. Pete Beach in St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Pete, located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, is nicknamed the Sunshine City and holds the record for most consecutive days of sunshine with 768 days of straight sun. It also boasts an average of 361 days of sunshine per year. The sandy white beach is perfect for walking on and for watching sunsets, but there are plenty of activities nearby, too. If you happen to need a break from all the sunshine, set aside an afternoon to explore the Salvador Dali Museum.
Did your favorite beach make the Top 10 list of best beaches in the US? If not, which beach do you think should have been added?
You can see TripAdvisor’s expanded Top 25 list here.