The Best Beaches in the U.S.A.

Written by  Jordan-Ashley Baker

Spending a significant amount of time traveling abroad will invariably leave you aching for a little taste of home from time to time. Some people long for one of Mom’s piping hot homemade dishes fresh from the oven, while others romanticize an arms-outstretched, running-at-full-speed reunion with loved ones. But as for me, when my plane touches down in the states after spending eight weeks in Europe, I’ll be desperate to grab my oversized sunglasses and dash to the beach.

Even as I sit typing this, looking out the window on a warm, sunny summer day in London, I find my thoughts wandering aimlessly back to a beach in America – sun-baked sand, my candy apple red bikini, fruity cocktail in hand and the music of the Beach Boys piping through the headphones of my mp3 player. I admit, daydreaming about my favourite beaches from home has become one of my slightly forbidden, indulgent pastimes – the beach becomes like that mysterious someone who unexpectedly catches your eye from across the room and beckons seductively for you to join them – you don’t know what power they have over you, but whatever it is, it’s impossible to resist.

My love affair with the beaches of the U.S. began at the tender age of three when my parents first took me to play in the chilly waves of Virginia Beach on the East Coast. And although my swimwear has changed considerably since then, my love for the beaches that pepper American coastlines has not. I love how different each beach is – there’s hiking and biking, surf and turf, relaxation, exhilaration and the list continues. And because of this extreme diversity, it was almost impossible to pick my ten favorites. 'What makes a beach in America great?' I had to ask myself 'Do people want privacy or company? Calm waters or pounding waves?' So to make my decision easier, I picked the perfect beach for whatever rush you’re hoping to experience when you finally set foot on those venerated shores.

If I’m in the mood for a party, then the sultry sway of South Beach in Miami will keep my hips swinging all night long. And when I’m aching for a romantic getaway with my one and only, then we’ll pack our bags and head off to Hawaii for a private rendezvous on the secluded shores of Poipu Beach. I’ve enjoyed many family vacations on the seashore of North Carolina’s Outer Banks at Ocracoke Island – there really is something for every member of the family, no matter what age. The appeal of Venice Beach lies in its famous boardwalk, home to rollerbladers, bodybuilders, carnival-style tents and sidewalk artists.

For those with expensive taste, lavish yourself at East Hampton’s Main Beach and party with the likes of P Diddy and Jerry Seinfeld in million-dollar colonial-style beach houses. If water sports are more your style, then the snorkeling at Hanauma Bay in Hawaii is world-class. The remote Catalina Island is a natural conservancy with luxury lodgings – perfect for relaxation. Bowl-shaped Papakolea Beach with its naturally green sand is the ultimate in a secluded beach getaway. Moshup Beach in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts snagged one of two wildcard spots on the list – the beaches are craggy and romantic and if the mood strikes you, there’s even a place for sunbathing in the nude. My last wildcard pick is Siesta Beach, Florida, which is everything I could hope for in a beach – perfect sand, sun, and a spellbinding nightlife – all rolled into one.

So for now, back to the daydreaming.

What makes these beaches dreamy...

Nightlife: South Beach – Miami, FL

Families: Ocracoke Island, Outer Banks, NC

People-watching: Venice Beach, Los Angeles, CA

Romance/Honeymoon: Poipu Beach, Kawai HI

Seclusion: Papakolea Beach, Water sports: Hanauma Bay, Oahu, HI

Relaxation: Catalina Island, CA

Luxury: Main Beach, East Hampton, NY

Wildcard: Siesta Beach, FL

Wildcard: Moshup Beach, Martha’s Vineyard, MA

More great American beaches

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