The 8 Best American Summer Break Destinations In 2021
With a pandemic still changing the way we summer, it’s no wonder people are becoming more creative in scheduling travel itineraries that keep it close to home. For those looking for travel ideas, we’ve come up with the eight best American summer break destinations for 2021 (and one bonus option for passport holders).
Summer 2021 will have its challenges. That’s certain. COVID-19 precautions aren’t always easy nor fun. Nevertheless, with a vaccine making the rounds and tourism boards pushing to open various cities and states, flying domestically isn’t totally out of the picture, especially for the fully vaccinated.
Others will go old school, loading up the truck and hitting the road. If they’re really old school, the music will be sourced from CDs or cassettes. Bluetooth gets the job done, too.
Nobody knows for certain what the future holds in terms of the pandemic and travel regulations. As of publication, these locations might work. Travelers, backpackers, and cross-country trekkers alike should consult their destinations COVID-19 protocols before departing.
There are plenty of places to visit in the good old US of A. Our review recommends both some common-sense locales and a few hidden gems along the way.
1. Traverse City, Michigan
Break out the boating gear because sailing is on the menu in Traverse City, Michigan (as is fine wine and a little stargazing). This small-town experience offers the best of both worlds when it comes to reconnecting with nature and supporting the local shops.
Wine tasting in the summer is a refreshing activity no matter where it occurs, but it just tastes better in Traverse City, especially at Chateau Chantal. The COVID-19 policies are regularly updated on the company website, and reservations for wine flights are open.
Chateau Chantal doubles as a Bed and Breakfast, so you can certainly make a weekend of it. Men who want to dress up for the occasion can stop by Captain’s Quarters to find a sharp blazer, dress shirt, polo, or sweater. Planes, trains, and automobiles all make this an accessible mid-West spot for a USA-based summer trip, especially for those currently stationed in Chicago or on the East Coast.
2. Austin, Texas
In Texas, everything is bigger – including the rush to get visitors back on the street. Not everybody is ready to travel in Texas, but for those who are, consider making a pitstop in Austin.
Part foodie’s paradise, part buzzing music scene, Austin’s making noise. Entrepreneurs have made it a fan-favorite when it comes to a startup location, and that’s pumping funds back into the local economy. Energy, money, and pizazz, they really have it all.
For the traveler who revels in experiences, this city is a match. El Alma Cafe, for example, offers the finest in Mexican-inspired craft cocktails. The cityscape view makes an ideal backdrop for your latest selfie.
And, of course, whatever you get, don’t be afraid to order it “Top Shelf.” Tex-Mex is as authentic as gets on the Texan side of the border, so order a margarita, sit back, and enjoy.
3. Malibu, California
Hollywood’s glitz and glam are still largely on standby in Los Angeles, but about an hour and a half away, surrounded by parkland, Malibu offers a scaled-down option for travelers hoping to catch a celebrity sighting or two.
Malibu’s famous Zuma Beach keeps things out in the sun and fresh air. A day à la plage is convenient and fun. When the sun goes down, keep an eye open for a good food stand. The water’s a little brisk in the early evening, so bring a sweater if you’re to wade!
Our favorite eatery is the Sunset Restaurant. It’s currently open for in-room dining, curbside pick-up, and no contact delivery. What’s good? Try the lobster roll with the fries. Maybe a martini! Bon appétit!
4. Chicago, Illinois
A lot of people are antsy to get back into the hustle and bustle of city life. Those who know the feeling are looking forward to their next city jaunt complete with cafes, skyscrapers, and manicured gardens.
Avoiding pandemic risks in a big city are tough, but Chicago communicates changes well, and most citizens abide without issue, even in the suburbs which are worth a visit in their own right. Train-connected towns like Long Grove and Geneva never go out of style.
No trip to Chicago is complete without a few mandatory stops. First, the Art Institue, which is currently open by appointment, houses art and artifacts from around the world. Take a picture out front with the iconic Lions of Michigan Avenue.
Order an Italian beef or famous deep dish pizza and enjoy it from the comfort of your own bed. Delivery options are plentiful in this bright and airy urban environment. Mexican food is also highly recommended if in Rogers Park, Little Village, or Pilsen.
In the summer, Chicago earns its reputation as “the third coast” thanks to its picturesque beach fronts on both the north and south sides. Art, sun, and city style are all in one in the Windy City.
5. Roswell, New Mexico
Self-identified sci-fi fans, geeks, nerds, weirdos, and late-night History Channel watchers have one thing in common – they probably spent at least part of the pandemic wondering if aliens from outer space have ever made contact with Earthlings.
The International UFO Museum and Research Center may have all the answers they need. If not, the gift shop’s odds and ends at least offer some funky souvenirs, like your own Nevada UFO License.
If you want to do it big in Roswell, you can stay overnight in a dormant missile silo that has been transformed into office spaces and a two-bed, one-bath, private apartment ($315 USD/night). The room booking includes a tour of the facilities. Now that’s all access!
See more about - The 10 Best Travel Apps in 2021
6. The Grand Canyon, Arizona
The American Classic: The Grand Canyon. How could we leave it off the list? Grand Canyon National Park is a popular spot in Arizona, and it’s been a famous road trip destination for ages. Retro is in right now, especially during the pandemic when leisure activities like cookouts, cakewalks, and hiking are starting to make sense again.
The oldest rocks in the park are 1.7 billion years old, and the top layer is approximately 240 million years old. This might help give the contemplative jetsetter a fresh perspective on life!
The best (coolest) way to get to the Grand Canyon is via Las Vegas where daredevils can book a helicopter tour. If flying isn’t your style, private rides are for hire. Some companies offer Hummer tours. We recommend Maverick Helicopter. They’ll have the right package for you and your crew.
7. Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville, North Carolina makes the cut at number seven. If you’ve been shaking your head at the city, beach, lake, and desert optoins, maybe it’s because you’ve been holding out for the river in the mountains. That’s Asheville, NC.
Larger than Traverse City with a population of over 90,000, you won’t feel exactly like you’re in the middle of nowhere, but serenity is within reach thanks to the scenic French Broad River. Many visitors rent cabins, rich with hot tubs and trail access, but there are plenty of high rollers who stick to golf outings and posh dinners at the Local Biltmore Estate.
The city is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Many have made it an annual trip, citing the art scene and the ever-appealing architectural stops.
8. Burlington, Vermont
These days, people like their wardrobe style to be authentic. If you’re already thinking about 2021 winter fashion forecasts, then Burlington, Vermont is where you can buy your flannel goods and stay warm while looking good.
Burlington offers some bang for its buck, too. Tripadvisor users recommend a picnic on Lake Champlain, which might make for a chill weekend with the fellas or an afternoon retreat with someone special. A solo traveler will feel right at home in the Church Street Marketplace, an open-air shopping center that offers food, fun, and entertainment in the form of shopping, bars, and restaurants.
Bonus: Riviera Nayarit, Mexico
An April 9, 2021, CNN Report explains the current protocol in regards to traveling to Mexico. The borders are open but entrants will be required to answer a health questionnaire.
CNN explains that returning to the US is a bit trickier: “The land border between Mexico and the United States is closed for nonessential travel through at least April 21. However, air travel is allowed.”
To return to the USA, a negative COVID-19 test result must be provided, and it must have been taken within 72 hours, the report adds. This is subject to change based on CDC recommendations.
Luckily, some hotels and airports are facilitating tests, for a fee, to make them easier. Puerto Vallarta, in Jalisco, Mexico, maintains an up-to-date listing of protocols, testing locations, and official communications. Although the travel restrictions have kept most Americans within the nation’s borders, Mexico’s practically open-door policy has attracted a few snowbirds over the past year.
If Mexico’s on your travel bucket list, consider kickin’ it poolside in the lesser-known, but still glamorous, Riviera Nayarit. This seaside destination just north of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico rivals Tulum in style and Acapulco in fun.
Travelers from LA, NYC, and the other big cities have been flocking down to resorts in Punta de Mita like the hotel W Punta de Mita. There, they revel in the sultry Pacific heat while drinking bubbles poolside. Their recent Sunset Concert Series has also been popular, with artists like Vanessa Zamora, Ruzzi, and Tessa Ia performing. The destination is sexy, secure, and within reach with a valid passport and negative COVID-19 Status.
See more about - The 10 Best Travel Destinations in 2021
As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
The 10 Best Portable Speakers in 2021
For those on the go, regular speakers simply aren’t going to make the grade. They often don’t have the durability required for travel and the speakers may not be powerful enough to cope with an open environment.
If you love music and the outdoors, then you need a speaker that is able to cope with your lifestyle. That means an ability to protect itself from water, dust, and drops. It also needs sound that can cut through the open air.
Thankfully, you don’t need to look very far to find speakers to match those criteria. We’ve done the hard work to find 10 speakers that we think are perfect for anyone who loves the outdoors.
Read on to find the perfect portable speaker for you. Let’s go!
1. Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore
For the perfect combination of durability and sound quality, we picked this Bang & Olufsen speaker as the best overall choice. It has an excellent array of qualities and will never let you down.
The design of the speaker makes it look very tough and that’s exactly what you get. Its body is made from anodized aluminum and it can take a lot of punishment. This includes the speaker being both dust and waterproof.
While we adore the durability of this speaker, the feature we are most impressed by is the runtime. It can play for an incredible 27 hours before it needs to be charged. That’s usually enough time for most outdoor adventures.
There are many other aspects to love about this speaker such as the 360-degree sound, its solid Bluetooth connection, and the stylish earthy colors. While this speaker is great for any outdoor adventure, it’s brilliant in dusty or sandy environments where most other speakers suffer. It’s the perfect outdoor speaker, which is why it took our top pick.
2. Vifa Oslo Bluetooth Speaker
While the Bang & Olufsen speaker is perfect for those in more extreme environments, the Vifa Oslo is ideal for those who will be traveling in a bit more comfort. It’s a stunningly stylish speaker that comes in a choice of five vibrant colors.
It has two connection options of either Bluetooth or Aux, which are both very easy to use. The speaker itself is quite bulky, which is ideal for those looking for a larger speaker but not for those who need something compact.
The most impressive aspect of this Bluetooth speaker is the sound quality. The balanced woofers give you a premium level of sound at all ranges. It works well in any setting to give you exceptional performance.
There is also no doubting the level of durability and craftsmanship you get here. It’s extremely well made and has a soft feel. It looks great, sounds great, and is fantastic for premium sound quality on the go.
3. Anker Soundcore Flare Wireless Speaker
With the Anker brand, one thing you can always expect is excellent value for money. This speaker is able to produce premium sound while coming in at a lower price point, making it our best value product.
It has all the durability that you need for an outdoor speaker. It comes with an IP67 rating which not only means it can be briefly submerged in water but that it also has great dust protection.
For a small speaker, it also packs a punch. The bass especially stands out but the overall clarity is very impressive and it can deliver 360-degree sound. It’s able to run for 12 hours and is easy to charge back up.
A customizable light show is also available, which can be dialed back if you need to save power. That customization also extends to the EQ, which can be controlled via an app. It looks very good in either black or blue and is exceptional for a budget speaker.
4. Sonos Roam
A brilliant option for your outdoor adventure is to get a speaker that also has smart functionality for voice control. That’s exactly what you get with this Sonos Roam speaker which is packed full of exciting features.
It can be connected to a wide range of devices through either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, which are both very easy to use. You can also control the speaker from their App, which adds to the usability.
As with most Sonos speakers, it looks stylish and will complement any room or outdoor space. It lasts for 10 hours, which is a little less than some rivals but is still a decent runtime.
You’ll find the music to have plenty of clarity with precision sound, even in an outdoor setting. Part of the reason for that is due to its ability to automatically adjust to its surroundings. We loved it and with the IP67 rating, it can easily cope with anything the outdoors throws at it.
5. Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3
If a company decided to call their speaker the MEGABOOM then it has a lot to live up to. You’d expect the volume to be great, even in outdoor settings. Thankfully, this outdoor speaker delivers on those promises.
The long cylindrical shape is very easy to carry and is able to deliver 360-degree sounds. This makes it ideal for the likes of a campsite where you can put it in the middle of your group and all enjoy the music.
You don’t have to worry about breaking it either. With its IP67 rating, the speaker can take a lot of punishment. That rating means it can be submerged in water and is highly resistant to dust ingress.
There are other features we love here such as the fabric covering, wireless charging, and drop resistance. It’s the ideal solution if you want a tough speaker that can deliver booming sound.
See more about - The 8 Best Smart Speakers On The Market
6. JBL Charge 5
JBL is another brand name that you can trust. For these outdoor speakers to make this list, they needed to be very tough without compromising on sound quality. The JBL Charge 5 is a great example of that.
It’s able to produce a sound that is rich and clear. This is true even in challenging outdoor environments. If another member of your group has a JBL speaker with “Party Boost,” then you can connect it up for stereo sound.
It has 20 hours of run time, which is one of the highest available. If you use it for a few hours a day, then it has the potential to last for quite a long trip.
It’s another that has an IP67 rating but a standout feature is the built-in power bank that can charge your devices. It can be a lifesaver if your phone dies when you’re outdoors.
7. Sony Extra Bass Speaker
Sony is another company that has made an exceptional outdoor speaker. This stylish model comes in either blue, black, or taupe and will look great wherever you put it.
You’ll also be delighted with the sound quality. It’s both deep and punchy which can help to cut through any noisy outdoor environment. It also has a bass boost feature which can really boom.
The runtime is exceptional at 24 hours so you’ll be able to get plenty of enjoyment from it between recharges. It also has a lightshow feature that will sync up to the music that is playing.
The IP67 rating means it’s great for outdoor life but the fabric covering still adds style and a premium feel. The speaker is beautifully balanced and you’ll be impressed by the vocal clarity.
8. Urbanista Brisbane Wireless Speaker
When it comes to an outdoor speaker, style isn’t really that important. That being said, most people still want their devices to look great. It’s an area where this Urbanista speaker shines with its sleek rectangular design.
Looks aside, this speaker also performs brilliantly in both outdoor and indoor settings. It’s able to produce plenty of driver power which gives it a loud and deep bass. The vocal clarity is also excellent.
It’s highly compatible with many devices and you can also connect it with other speakers for surround stereophonic sound. It has a 10 hours runtime but only takes around three hours for a full recharge.
It isn’t quite as tough as other speakers we’ve looked at here as it has an IPX5 rating, making it splash resistant. That will still be more than enough protection for most uses.
9. Bose Portable Smart Speaker
If you want to have the ultimate in simple portability then you can easily get that here with this Bose portable speaker. It has a wide handle that makes it very easy to carry, along with it being lightweight.
It’s available in either black or white and both of them look great with the cylindrical design. There are many connection options here with Aux cable, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth all available.
It has an IPX4 rating which gives it decent splash resistance and a 12 hour runtime. You may also love the smart functionality, making it simple and easy to be controlled via voice.
10. Tribit StormBox Micro Bluetooth Speaker
For those wanting something a little more compact, this could be what you’re looking for. It’s only small but it can still pack a mighty punch in terms of volume and sound quality. The IP67 rating means it can cope with all tough environments and can easily manage rain, dust, and drops.
It will easily fit in any backpack and with the weight of just 0.64 lbs, you’ll hardly feel it. The eight hours of runtime isn’t the longest but you’d expect it to be a little lower with the smaller size.
The versatile speaker can be taken anywhere and your friends will be shocked at how much power can be delivered from this little thing. The bass can thump and it can cope with windy outdoor settings.
See more about - The 10 Best Waterproof Speakers In 2021
Outdoor Speaker FAQs
Indoor speakers don’t usually need to worry about water, dust, and being dropped. An outdoor speaker is made to be much tougher and can cope with all these issues. An outdoor speaker also needs to be loud enough to cope with large open spaces.
Outdoor speakers need to have a high level of water and dust resistance, have enough power, and a long runtime between charges. After these key features, you can look at the connectivity, usability, and size. It’s important that you can easily carry it with you, so portability is also important.
We’ve looked at many great brands here such as JBL, Sony, and Bose. You can trust them all to give you a quality product. We’ve also looked at some lesser-known brands which often provide better value for money. It’s always a good idea to look beyond the brand and just get a speaker that perfectly matches your needs.
As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
The 10 Best Fashion Combat Boots for Men
The first pair of combat boots I purchased were a pair of black canvas Dr. Martens. Not to age myself but it was the 90s and I was in high school and they were essential in boosting my fashion confidence. I lived in Kentucky at the time and I stuck out like a sore thumb and I did not care.
Those boots made me feel invincible. And the best part? I still have them and I still wear them. Read the list below to find your next (or first!) pair of combat boots that you will be sure to have for years, nay, decades to come!
1. Dr. Martens 1460 Smooth Leather Lace Up Boots
This is the original Dr. Marten boot. Named the 1460 because they were born on January 4, 1960 (01.04.60) this 8-eye work boot is iconic and a must-have for every closet. Each pair stays true to the original design with a Trans colored sole and the classic black and yellow AirWair heel loop.
The Goodyear-welted lines are heat-sealed at 700 degrees celsius and reinforced with the brand’s signature yellow welt stitch. New colors are introduced every season but smooth black never goes out of style. The leather can be polished to shine or scuffed-up depending on your preference and style.
2. Thom Browne Tricolor-Stripe Brogue Combat Boot
Two words: Thom Browne.
Three more words: Add to cart.
These Thom Browne black books are a mix of a traditional brogue shoe and a combat boot. These sexy-ass boots are crafted in Italy from pebbled leather and have perforated wingtip accents, chunky rubber soles, a tricolor pull tab, tricolor toebox stripes, and a cutout heel groove that twists around the edge. I cannot stress enough the cool factor associated with these. Trust me. They are in my cart.
3. Clarks Batcombe Hi2 Boot
Lined with sheepskin, these dark olive suede lace-up ankle boots were crafted with your comfort in mind. Made with Clarks Cushion Plus™ technology, the unique dual-density foam technology reduces strain on the ball of the foot and supports your natural movement, keeping your feet comfortable all day long. The durable yet lightweight cleated rubber sole ups the ante with an unbeatable grip making for a versatile boot that works for all aspects of life.
4. Thursday Boot Co. Captain Rugged
If you know, you know… and if you own a pair of boots from the Thursday Boot Co. you know that they’re a company that makes handcrafted and hand-stitched boots designed to complement your look from business casual to everyday wear.
These boots are made from genuine leather with a fully lined supple leather interior, studded rubber outsoles, and cork-bed midsoles that form to your feet for added comfort in order to give a clean, rugged, yet sophisticated look.
5. Moncler Black Vancouver Boot
These buffed black leather ankle boots are built for cold weather and then some. They feature a round toe, tonal lace-up closure, tonal hardware, and black leather lining. These boots also have a Vibram® black rubber outsole, a padded nylon tongue with a logo patch, a pull loop, and a tricolor rubber midsole. Moncler sells luxury and this boot is no exception.
See more about - The 10 Best Dress Boots For Men In 2021
6. Timberland 6 Inch Premium Boots
Timberland boots. Need I say more? Oh… I do? This is awkward… Ok, then, for the few of you who do not recognize the original Timberland waterproof “yellow” boots from a mile away, let me give you some more information.
This classic boot was born in 1973 and features PrimaLoft® ECO insulation and waterproof leather sourced from a sustainable tannery. With premium leather uppers, rustproof hardware, seam-sealed waterproof construction, and exclusive anti-fatigue technology that provides all-day comfort and support, these boots have proven they will be in style for years to come. And did I mention that they’re waterproof?
7. Diesel Lace-Up Combat Boots
These Diesel black, goat skin blend lace-up combat boots feature contrasting panels, a logo patch at the tongue, logo to the back, a pull tab at the rear, a round toe, a chunky low heel, and a ridged rubber sole. At the time of publishing, if you use this link, they are also 40% off!
8. Wolverine 1000 Mile Axel Boot
Handcrafted in America since 1914, the 1000 Mile boot still maintains the same attention to detail with the finest materials and craftsmanship as it did over a century ago. The uppers are made from premium leather from Chicago and flat waxed laces from South Carolina. The sole is made from Goodyear™ welt construction that’s durable, flexible, and allows the boot to be resoled for years of wear.
9. Alexander McQueen Military Boot
Hands down, no contest, Alexander McQueen is my most favorite and can do no wrong. But that’s just my humble opinion. You can decide for yourself. Inspired by the military (as most combat boots are) these boots are crafted from genuine calf leather and they secure to your foot with an eight-hole lacing system. The edgy aesthetic is completed with a chunky lugged sole and printed branding pull tabs.
10. Red Wing Shoes Heritage Iron Ranger
No list of boots is complete without a pair of Red Wing Heritage boots. The Iron Ranger was originally built for iron miners in the 1930s. The six inch boot’s signature is a distinctive leather toe cap. These boots are built with a Goodyear welt, Puritan triple-stitch construction, and brass speed hooks that provide precision lacing and a visual hit of hardware.
The Iron Ranger is anchored with a Vibram® 430 Mini-lug outsole. As you wear the footwear, the full-grain leather upper, insole, and cork midsole will mold to your feet, creating an increasingly personalized fit over time.
See more about - The 9 Best Chelsea Boots For Men In 2021
Combat Boots FAQs
Historically, combat boots were a tactical boot style designed for the military to wear during literal combat. In the 70s they became a symbol of the anti-establishment, most popular amongst British punk rockers.
Combat boots really gained traction in the 90s with the emergence of the grunge scene. Today, combat boots don’t have the same anti-establishment appeal as they did in decades past but they still ooze cool. There are a variety of modern styles, including traditional lace-ups in black and brown, as well as more bold colors like green and blue.
Combat boots became mainstream in the 90s when grunge was both a music genre and a fashion trend. Band members and fans of groups like Nirvana, Garbage, Hole, and Alice In Chains started rocking the utilitarian tactical boot style and by the turn of the century, combat-style boots became a part of mainstream fashion.
Combat boots look great styled with skinny jeans, flares, straight leg, cuffed jeans – basically, they look good with pants. If your pants are too long, tuck them in or roll them up. Or pair your boots with shorts. A longer short looks better but with confidence, you can pull off almost any look.
The 12 Best Beaches To Visit in the U.S.
There’s really no such thing as a bad beach, right? Sand, sun, and glistening, refreshing water to play or cool off in – what’s not to love? Thinking about what makes a beach exceptional, though, is a whole different story. It’s a very subjective thing, as the best beach might mean calm water and powdery white sand to some, while to others it may mean excellent surf and plenty of opportunities for adventure.
Whatever your personal definition of the best beach is, America has lots (and lots) of them to choose from. With two very different coasts and three major bodies of water, the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and the Gulf of Mexico, there’s a beach for everyone here.
Do you prefer iconic, broad, sandy, palm tree-dotted beaches, hidden ones requiring a hike to access, or maybe even beaches where wild horses live? Whatever your beach style, you’ll find the perfect one for you on this list of the best beaches in the U.S.
1. Secret Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
For most people, Hawaii immediately comes to mind when they think of the best beaches in the U.S. Kauai’s Secret Beach, which is officially named Kauapea Beach and often referred to as simply “Secrets,” is the epitome of a pristine Hawaiian beach. It’s exceptionally large in terms of both length and width and features golden sand, shimmering turquoise water, and lush green rainforests.
To get to Secret Beach, you’ll need to find the unmarked, steep trail between Kilauea Point and Kalihiwai Bay. You can actually see the beach from the Kilauea lighthouse, so if you get stuck searching, try visiting there first. Secrets is large enough that it’s always easy to find a secluded spot for yourself to layout and relax.
Note that the far eastern end of the beach has a reputation for being a go-to spot for nude sunbathers. There’s also a waterfall toward the east end of the beach and at the west end, there are a few lagoons that form natural calm swimming holes. The strong ocean current here makes it difficult to swim at Secret Beach most of the time, so stick to these lagoons for swimming and enjoy simply relaxing on one of the best beaches in the U.S.
2. Miramar Beach, Santa Barbara, California
Technically five miles from Santa Barbara proper in Montecito, Miramar Beach is somewhat of a hidden gem. This beach is very quiet and calm, with gentle, clear waters and sugar-fine soft sand, making it ideal for everything from surfing and swimming to sunbathing and walking the shoreline.
Miramar Beach’s calm waters are attributed to the fact that it’s situated in a south-facing cove. It’s pretty well-sheltered, which also allows for leisurely exploring the crystal-clear water. At low tide, several tide pools are also revealed. Thanks to its location just outside Santa Barbara, Miramar Beach is rarely crowded, yet it’s less than an hour from Los Angeles. Talk about the best of both worlds!
3. Crescent Beach, Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Fun fact: Maine has more coastline than the entire state of California. It’s true! So it comes as no surprise that some of the best beaches in the U.S. are in Maine. Located about eight miles from Portland in southwestern Maine, Crescent Beach is a classic, postcard-perfect New England beach.
The beach itself, as you may have guessed, is a one-mile crescent-shaped swath of soft sand. It’s surrounded by saltwater coves, sand dunes, woods, and granite rock ledges. Swimming and sunbathing are popular activities at Crescent Beach, of course, but there are also plenty of opportunities for fishing and paddling, plus several hiking trails.
4. Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, Alabama
Orange Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Gulf Shores, and for good reason. The superfine, sugar-white sand is so soft that it’s said to squeak under your feet and the calm waters are an almost unbelievable turquoise blue.
Adjacent to Perdido Key in the Florida panhandle (which is another spectacular beach), Orange Beach spans eight miles. It’s also fairly wide, so even on the most crowded days, it’s not difficult to find a patch of sand to make your own and stretch out comfortably. There’s a waterfront park, plenty of opportunities to fish either from the pier or aboard a boat with a guided outfitter, and even a shipwreck, The Lulu, to explore on a scuba diving expedition.
5. Moonstone Beach, Cambria, California
Part of Hearts San Simeon State Park and situated just off the world-famous Highway 1 (aka the Pacific Coast Highway) in central California, Moonstone Beach is one of the best beaches in the U.S. The coastline here is punctuated by rocky cliffs and several coves with plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the beach. Spend some time combing the beach for several varieties of beautiful sea glass and impossibly smooth stones, including jade, jasper, agate, and of course, chalcedony – also known as moonstone.
Up above the beach, a boardwalk spans exactly one mile between the Santa Rosa Creek and Leffingwell Landing day-use areas, both with plenty of parking. A lookout near the boardwalk is perfect for spotting gray whales, dolphins, sea lions, and otters.
6. Siesta Beach, Siesta Key, Florida
Since 2015, TripAdvisor has named Siesta Beach America’s #1 beach a whopping three times on its annual Traveler’s Choice Awards. The soft, fluffy white sand is cloud-like, with hardly a shell or other debris in sight. And thanks to its composition of nearly all quartz-crystal, the sand doesn’t get hot on even the sunniest days – an impressive feat on the Gulf of Mexico in Florida summers.
The largest of Siesta Key’s beaches, Siesta Beach has shaded playgrounds, volleyball courts, picnic areas, and plenty of free parking. Dolphins are frequently seen playing in the turquoise waters just off the shore, and the sea here is calm, shallow, and clear, making it one of the best U.S. beaches for families.
See more about - 10 Dreamy American Treehouse Rentals You Need To Experience
7. Jack’s Bay Beach, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Often overlooked, the U.S. Virgin Islands are a group of three main islands nestled into the Caribbean. Each of the islands – St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix – is stunning and, interestingly, very different from one another.
One of the best beaches in the U.S., Jack’s Bay Beach, happens to be on St. Croix and it’s well off the beaten path, which means you’ll likely have it all to yourself. Located near the far eastern end of the island, Jack’s Bay Beach is directly below Point Udall.
Fun fact: Point Udall is the easternmost point in the United States and sees America’s very first sunrise every morning. You’ll need to hike downhill from Point Udall to get to Jack’s Bay Beach and while it’s not a long hike, it is steep. The reward is well worth it, though, as there’s rarely more than just a few people at the beach.
8. Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Outer Banks, North Carolina
North Carolina has dozens of fantastic beaches to choose from, but one of the best is Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Technically a narrow, 72 mile long strip of several barrier islands between Nags Head and Ocracoke Island, Cape Hatteras National Seashore has a little something for everyone.
Enjoy broad sandy beaches dotted with seashells and framed by towering sand dunes, lots of water and beach activities, and a couple of lighthouses. In fact, the tallest lighthouse in the United States is here, 196 foot tall Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
Standing just 40 feet shorter, the Bodie Island Lighthouse is also nearby. Both date back to the 1870s and visitors can (and should!) climb both. Allow a full day for visiting the beach and lighthouse, and keep your eyes open for sea turtles sunbathing on the beach.
9. Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, California
No list of the best beaches in the U.S. is complete without a mention of Big Sur. Arguably one of the most iconic stretches of coastline anywhere in the world, the Big Sur area is defined by dramatic rugged sea cliffs, crashing waves, and pristine beaches. Because of the rugged cliffs, Big Sur beaches aren’t necessarily the most accessible and visiting many of them requires a bit of effort.
That’s actually not the case with Pfeiffer Beach – it doesn’t require a hike or even an admission fee, but it is somewhat hard to find, thanks to the unmarked road connecting it to Highway 1. Once you do manage to find it, you’ll be treated to large unique rock formations (including Keyhole Arch, a natural rock arch) just offshore, tide pools at the north end of the beach during low tide, unbelievable sunsets, and sand that’s unmistakably purple, thanks to manganese garnet in the cliffs above.
10. Assateague Beach, Assateague Island, Maryland & Virginia
In the heart of the east coast, Assateague Island is truly unlike any other. The barrier island sits in both Maryland and Virginia and features a rugged landscape dotted with wind-swept sand dunes, grasslands, and warm, shallow bays. Oh, and it’s also home to hundreds of wild, free-roaming horses. Legend holds that they’re descendants of a handful of domesticated horses that survived a shipwreck sometime in the 17th century.
The horses are, of course, one of the main reasons that Assateague Beach is one of the best beaches in the U.S. However, it’s far from the only reason. Each side of the island is unique, with 12 miles of quiet sandy beaches on the Maryland side and the interior bayside being more recreation-oriented.
Here, there are numerous opportunities for kayaking, clamming, and crabbing, plus the waters are warmer and calmer – perfect for swimming. If you want to go for a horseback ride, head to the Virginia district.
11. Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island, Georgia
Situated on one of Georgia’s four Golden Isles, Driftwood Beach is widely considered one of the best and romantic beaches in the country. Due to years and years of erosion on the northern end of the island, hundreds of weathered, warped, and bleached trees dot the beach.
It may sound a little odd if you’ve never seen it in person, but it’s strikingly beautiful and truly memorable. In fact, Driftwood Beach is one of Georgia’s most photographed landmarks!
Aside from being picturesque, Driftwood Beach has tons to do. Georgia’s coastline is notorious for its excellent fishing, there’s a great network of bicycle trails, and you can even camp on the beach here. Another must-do activity at Driftwood Beach is visiting the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, an interactive experience for every member of the family!
12. Wai’anapanapa State Park, Hana, Hawaii
Wai’anapanapa State Park, along the famous Road to Hana, is the epitome of a Hawaiian beach. Its black sand was created by basalt lava flow several centuries ago, and it’s framed by lush green rainforest and indigo blue ocean.
The dramatic scenery is postcard-perfect and absolutely pristine. Being a stop along the Road to Hana, Wai’anapanapa State Park takes a bit of effort to reach. Those willing to put in the work are rewarded with a big payoff, as the beach is rarely crowded – something increasingly hard to find anywhere in Hawaii.
In addition to the beach itself, Wai’anapanapa State Park features large black boulders, sea caves, a natural sea arch, a blowhole, several small swimming holes, and a blowhole. Visitors can cliff dive, explore the sea caves, or hike to explore the boulders and inlets.
See more about - 8 Must Experience Bucket List Trips