United States Beaches

The United States has over 12,000 miles of coastline. When you include all of the islands and lakes, the total jumps to almost 95,000 miles. Find and enjoy a beach near you.

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Rare Sandy Beach along Big Sur Coast, California - Encircle Photos

1 Rare Sandy Beach along Big Sur Coast, California

This is one of the few sandy beaches you’ll see during your drive along the Big Sur coast but unfortunately it is restricted by a fence. Yet even if this pristine sand and tide pool were accessible, swimming is not advised because the water is cold, the waves are unpredictable, and the strong currents can be dangerous.

CA-1, Monterey, CA 93940
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Skyline from Coronado Island of San Diego, California - Encircle Photos

2 Skyline from Coronado Island of San Diego, California

Across from San Diego, California, is Coronado Island. It technically is a peninsula. The locals, who pay a high price for their homes, call it The Strand. Visitors call its beaches beautiful. At Coronado Ferry Landing is an impressive view of the San Diego Bay and the downtown skyline.

1201 1st St, Coronado, CA 92118
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Sandy Beach at Low Tide in Grover Beach, California - Encircle Photos

3 Sandy Beach at Low Tide in Grover Beach, California

Grover Beach is a small town of 13,000 people on Highway 1 along the Pacific Ocean. Their sandy beach is the perfect place for a solitary stroll during low tide. Savor the beauty of the rolling waves and swirling clouds.

1 W Grand Ave, Grover Beach, CA 93433
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La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, California - Encircle Photos

4 La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, California

One of the finest beaches within San Diego is La Jolla Cove. Although it is small, the water is clear with up to thirty feet of visibility. This Pacific Coast shoreline is a favorite among snorkelers. At the top of the sandstone cliff is the grassy, tree-lined Scripps Park.

1160 Coast Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037
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Woman Surfer Riding a Wave in San Clemente, California - Encircle Photos

5 Woman Surfer Riding a Wave in San Clemente, California

The waves along San Clemente’s beaches are so popular among surfers that the city has become a hub for surfing publications and equipment manufactures. As you would expect, several famous surfers were raised riding these swells on the Pacific Ocean.

225 Avenida Califia, San Clemente, CA 92672
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Women Strolling Beach in San Simeon State Park, California - Encircle Photos

6 Women Strolling Beach in San Simeon State Park, California

The only thing better than strolling along a California beach on a warm, sunny day is doing it with your best friend. Together you can enjoy the rolling surf, bird watching, a glimpse of a passing whale and each other’s company at San Simeon State Park.

9245 Balboa Ave, San Simeon, CA 93452
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Santa Cruz Beach in Santa Cruz, California - Encircle Photos

7 Santa Cruz Beach in Santa Cruz, California

The main beach in Santa Cruz is everything you could hope for in a sunny California coastline. There are nets for volleyball, a walking path, an amusement park, a long wharf with restaurants and shops, plenty of sand, and the waves rolling in from Monterey Bay. You can also join this seagull for a stroll.

Westbrook St & Beach St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
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Santa Monica Pier and Beach in Santa Monica, California - Encircle Photos

8 Santa Monica Pier and Beach in Santa Monica, California

The Santa Monica Pier is actually two piers joined together. The longer Municipal Pier in the background was built in 1909. The shorter one in the foreground was called the Newcomb Pier when it opened seven years later. It is now the platform for a two-acre amusement center called Pacific Park. Beneath them is a sandy beach along the Pacific Ocean coastline.

200 Santa Monica Pier A, Santa Monica, CA 90401
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College Students Party at Beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida - Encircle Photos

9 College Students Party at Beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Lauderdale’s reputation as the mecca for college students during spring break started in the mid-1930s. The area really became popular when the book and then the movie “Where the Boys Are” hit the market in 1958 and 1960 respectively. By the 1980s, about 350,000 students swarmed the beach during their winter vacation. That number dropped by 90% after tough laws were enacted in 1989. But the numbers slowly rose again until now Fort Lauderdale Beach is as crowded as ever.

17 S Atlantic Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
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Woman Wading at South Beach in Key West, Florida - Encircle Photos

10 Woman Wading at South Beach in Key West, Florida

Key West’s South Beach will never be mistaken for the famous one in Miami Beach. This cube of sand measures only 200 feet and practically disappears at high tide. But it is popular among tourists and locals, just as it was for playwright Tennessee Williams when he visited his Key West home between 1949 and 1983. It is located at the end of Duvall Street next to the South Beach Pier.

1405 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040
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Young Woman Striking Pose at South Beach in Miami Beach, Florida - Encircle Photos

11 Young Woman Striking Pose at South Beach in Miami Beach, Florida

The Florida coastline has long been a magnet for college students during spring break. That is especially true at South Beach. By day, crowds of young people sunbathe, frolic in the Atlantic and pose for pictures they can immediately post on social media. At night, they fill the clubs and bars along Ocean Drive. Presumably they return to school in need of rest.

1130 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139
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Blue Sun Umbrellas along Gulf in North Redington Beach in Florida - Encircle Photos

12 Blue Sun Umbrellas along Gulf in North Redington Beach in Florida

I think wearing a bathing suit and suntan lotion is a requirement in North Redington Beach, Florida. Most of the properties along the white sands of Boca Ciega Bay are homes and condos. 70% of the 1,500 population is over 45. And the few hotels have umbrellas over their comfortable lounge chairs so it’s easy to read your Kindle while listening to the waves.

17120 Gulf Blvd, North Redington Beach, FL 33708
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Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier at Sunset in Florida - Encircle Photos

13 Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier at Sunset in Florida

Pensacola Beach, Florida, is on the long and narrow Santa Rosa Island facing the Gulf of Mexico. The pure, white sand is so fine that it drifts across the single road like a snow storm. Perhaps this makes winter vacationers less homesick. On Casino Beach along Fort Pickens Road you will find a beautiful fishing pier. The platform is almost 1,500 feet long. It was built in 1998 with concrete pilings to replace the old wooden one that was destroyed by a hurricane. This is a delightful place to fish, go for a walk, enjoy the marine life or, best of all, grab a bench and watch the sunset. Spectacular!

41 Fort Pickens Rd, Gulf Breeze, FL 32561
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Footprint on the Beach on Sanibel Island, Florida - Encircle Photos

14 Footprint on the Beach on Sanibel Island, Florida

Walking a beach, putting a toe in the water, smelling the salt air and hearing the sounds of waves and gulls are part of a great vacation. But, alas, it’s a fleeting thrill as described by the anonymous quote, “Our memories of the ocean will linger on long after our footprints in the sand are gone.” My footprint on Sanibel Island, Florida, is long gone. However, when I get old and senile I will still have plenty of digital photos to jog my memory.

1451 Middle Gulf Dr, Sanibel, FL 33957
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Woman Strolling along Nokomis Beach on Casey Key in Sarasota, Florida - Encircle Photos

15 Woman Strolling along Nokomis Beach on Casey Key in Sarasota, Florida

This woman’s idea of the perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon is to slip off her shoes and wade through the warm, gentle waters of the Gulf of Mexico. She looks like she is savoring every moment of her private paradise. And hopefully she stayed at Nokomis Beach for a few hours more because it also offers glorious sunsets.

115 S Casey Key Rd, Nokomis, FL 34275
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Two Step Beach Next to Pu’uhonua Park near Hōnaunau in Island of Hawaii, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

16 Two Step Beach Next to Pu’uhonua Park near Hōnaunau in Island of Hawaii, Hawaii

As inviting as the Pacific Ocean shoreline is at the Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historic Park, there is no swimming allowed. However, a very short distance away is Two Step Beach. It is always rated highly by snorkelers who enjoy seeing colorful coral and fish and there is always a good chance you’ll spot some green sea turtles and spinner dolphins swimming in Hōnaunau Bay.

84 Honaunau Beach Rd, Captain Cook, HI 96704
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Kamakahonu Beach in Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

17 Kamakahonu Beach in Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii

As cruise ship passengers disembark onto the Big Island at the Kailua Pier, their first view is often Kamakahonu Beach. This means Eye of the Turtle. Its calm waters have earned it the nickname Children’s Beach. Besides being beautiful, it is also historical. This is where King Kamehameha died in 1819. Nine years earlier, Kamehameha the Great became the first monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii. On the other side of this finger of land is Kailua Bay.

Kailua Pier, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
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Single Palm Tree on Kona Coast, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

18 Single Palm Tree on Kona Coast, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii

Few images conjure up the dream of total relaxation like a tall palm tree along the coast of aquamarine water on a bright, sunny afternoon. Best of all, there is no one else here. Savor your fantasy in total isolation. The only sounds are the surf, the swaying leaves and an occasional seabird. So, turn off your cell phone and tune out the world. Just relax!

84 Honaunau Beach Rd, Captain Cook, HI 96704
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Sunrise at Po’ipū Beach at Po’ipū on Kaua’i, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

19 Sunrise at Po’ipū Beach at Po’ipū on Kaua’i, Hawaii

There are two reasons to wake up early and walk on Po’ipū Beach along the southern coast of Kaua’i. One, the sunrises are spectacular. Two, if you are lucky, you will see humpback whales breaching offshore. But if you want to sleep late during your vacation, don’t worry because the sunsets are also very good at Po’ipū Beach Park. No wonder Dr. Beach ranked this the Best Beach in America in 2001.

Hoowili Rd & Hoone Rd, Koloa, HI 96756
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Hanalei Beach along Kūhiō Highway near Princeville on Kaua’i, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

20 Hanalei Beach along Kūhiō Highway near Princeville on Kaua’i, Hawaii

From Princeville to the end of the Kūhiō Highway at the northern edge of Kaua’i are over a dozen beaches to pick from when deciding how you want to relax along the Pacific Ocean. A few offer amenities, restrooms and lifeguards while others offer only pretty scenery and an occasional palm tree for shade. This one is Hanalei Beach. In 2009, it was proclaimed to be America’s Best Beach by Dr. Beach.

55785A Kuhio Hwy, Hanalei, HI 96714
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Surfer Riding a Wave near Kapalua on Maui, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

21 Surfer Riding a Wave near Kapalua on Maui, Hawaii

Maui has over 30 beaches so if you are looking for a place to go surfing you are bound to find a spot that matches your experience level. But wave conditions not only vary significantly by the beach location on the island, but the surf also changes by the season, day and even hourly based on the prevailing winds. Three popular bays among surfers are Maalaea, Hookipa and Honolua Bay.

6501 Honoapiilani Hwy, Lahaina, HI 96761
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Elevated View of Hanauma Bay on O’ahu in Hawaii - Encircle Photos

22 Elevated View of Hanauma Bay on O’ahu in Hawaii

This elevated view of Hanauma Bay shows an ancient volcanic crater at the base of a sea cliff. It is filled with crystal-clear water flowing over a bed of coral called a fringing reef. The name is derived from two Hawaiian words: hana means bay and uma translates to curved. This gorgeous seascape greets you at the park’s visitor center. The entrance fee is very reasonable.

101 Hanauma Bay Rd, Honolulu, HI 96825
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Parents and Child at Beach with Palm Tree Silhouette in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

23 Parents and Child at Beach with Palm Tree Silhouette in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

Waikīkī Beach is arguably one of Hawaii’s most famous beaches. But it also draws lots of tourists. Families who want reef-protected water, pristine sand and fewer people favor Duke Kahanamoku Beach and Lagoon in front of the Hilton Hawaiian Village. This is an ideal place to let your child safely swim and play in the shallow warm water.

Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon Boardwalk, Honolulu, HI 96815
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Family Walking on Prince Kūhiō Beach at Waikīkī in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

24 Family Walking on Prince Kūhiō Beach at Waikīkī in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

Families with children like this strolling couple often favor the Prince Kūhiō Beach section of Waikīkī. There are two, forty foot breakwaters that eliminate the waves and create a calm swimming area. That is why Prince Kūhiō Beach has earned the nickname The Ponds.

2605 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
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Swimming at Halona Beach Cove on Windward Coast of O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

25 Swimming at Halona Beach Cove on Windward Coast of O’ahu, Hawaii

Swimming in the warm, calm water at Halona Beach Cove can be a heavenly way to spend a sunny afternoon along the windward coast of O’ahu. This tiny inlet will feel like your secret hideaway just as it was during the love scene between Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in the 1953 movie “From Here to Eternity.” That is why it is nicknamed Eternity Beach.

8483 Highway 72, Honolulu, HI 96825
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Makapu’u Point Lookout on Windward Coast of O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

26 Makapu’u Point Lookout on Windward Coast of O’ahu, Hawaii

The easternmost shore of O’ahu is Makapu’u Point. Below the 647 foot cliff is a 1,000 foot beach and a lush coastline that fingers into the Pacific Ocean. This spectacular view is seen from an overlook off of the Kalaniana’ole Highway at the Makapu’u Point State Wayside Park. If you are ambitious, you can also follow the 1.75 mile walking trail to a lighthouse.

Makapuu Lighthouse Rd & 72 Waimanalo, HI 96795
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East End Beach on Eastern Promenade in Portland, Maine - Encircle Photos

27 East End Beach on Eastern Promenade in Portland, Maine

Portland is almost surrounded by water. Yet the East End Beach is the only stretch of sand. This is the perfect place to spend a summer day with your family. The waters of Casco Bay are typically calm and ideal for swimming. Kayak and paddleboard rentals are nearby. So are restrooms. Bring a meal to eat on a picnic table. Let the kids burn off energy at the playground. Offseason is equally ideal. Then you can cherish this picturesque scenery in solitude.

East End Beach, Eastern Promenade Trail, Portland, ME 04101
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Sunset on Clearwater Lake in Annandale, Minnesota - Encircle Photos

28 Sunset on Clearwater Lake in Annandale, Minnesota

My mom always disliked lakes so I grew up disliking them too. Then, a new girlfriend declared if I wanted to see her during the summer, I had to go to her parent’s cabin on Clearwater Lake in Annandale, Minnesota. I’ve been married to that girl for 35 years and have loved her and this lake ever since. This splendid sunset over a covered pontoon promises a wonderful tomorrow.

9194 MN-24 Annandale, MN 55302
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Barefoot in Pacific Ocean next to Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, Oregon - Encircle Photos

29 Barefoot in Pacific Ocean next to Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, Oregon

On Oregon’s Pacific coast is the fascinating Haystack Rock. The giant monolith rises 235 feet from the sands of Cannon Beach. It is accessible from shore during low tide. At high tide, however, be careful: many people have been stranded by fast rising water and had to be rescued. Next to it are two smaller yet impressive rock towers called the Needles. This sandy beach and shallow, warm water are perfect for a barefoot stroll with your best friend.

1766 S Hemlock St, Tolovana Park, OR 97145
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Elliott Bay at Sunset with Cruise Boat and Sailboat in Seattle Harbor, Washington - Encircle Photos

30 Elliott Bay at Sunset with Cruise Boat and Sailboat in Seattle Harbor, Washington

The Duwamish Indians first lived around Elliot Bay at the end of the last glaciers about 10,000 years ago. George Vancouver, who was an English explorer of the Pacific Northwest and lent his name to the city in British Columbia, Canada, conducted the first exploration of what is now Seattle, Washington, in 1792. It would be another 60 years before the area was settled. Since then, Seattle has grown to encircle the bay. Consider taking a wonderful cruise or boat tour especially towards dusk to enjoy a magnificent sunset.

801 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98104
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