We Found the 10 Best Beaches in the Country, So Start Making Your Travel Plans Now

We Found the 10 Best Beaches in the Country, So Start Making Your Travel Plans Now

Fact: There’s nothing better than a day at the beach. Another fact: You don’t have to leave the country to find a ~wavy~ getaway worthy of your summer vacay. (*Everyone procrastinating their passport renewal breathes a sigh of relief.*) There are hundreds of beautiful beaches in the good ol’ US of A. Promise.

But, of course, some sandy spots are better than others. If you’ve ever sliced your feet on rocky shores or been to an ick-inducing boardwalk, you know what I’m talking about. Lucky for you, we did the work and found the top 10 beaches this country has to offer—those that not only have perfect waves and sand but also make great vacation destinations. And we even ranked them, because who doesn’t love a good ranked list?!

Read on to read our picks for the beach beaches in America, with selections from sea to shining sea.

#10. Pope Beach

Lake Tahoe, California

pope beach

Jessica Carpenter / EyeEm

It’s true that pine trees and beach days don’t typically go hand in hand, but Lake Tahoe is here to show off, as per usual. Pope Beach is protected national forest land, making it a quaint slice of clear-water heaven for swimmers, picnickers, and those of us who just want to lie back and read the latest celebrity memoir in peace.

#9. Coligny Beach

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

coligny beach


Voted best beach on HHI (by us, we voted), Coligny is five miles of near-pristine shoreline. The water is as calm as the relaxed vacationers, the boardwalk is bustling with bikers, and the proximity to oceanfront bars (where frozen daiquiris are a must) makes it an A+ escape for your next summer vacay.

#8. Cape May Beach

Cape May, New Jersey

cape may

Richard T. Nowitz

What’s a best beaches roundup without a nod to the Jersey Shore? You’ll find this idyllic outpost at the southernmost tip of New Jersey, home to dozens of Victorian-era inns and sweet motels chock-full of relaxed tourists à la The White Lotus (minus, you know, the murder). Pro tip: Zip around town in a golf cart for max joy.

#7. North Beach

Tybee Island, Georgia

north beach

A. Joseph Molnar

Drive 20 minutes east of Savannah and you’ll find yourself on a charming little barrier island beloved by Georgians, who, TBH, have their fair share of sandy options. Whether you’re a history buff or water worshipper, there’s something here for everyone—and don’t get us started on the shopping.

#6. Empire Beach

Empire, Michigan

empire beach

Pat & Chuck Blackley / Alamy Stock Photo

Aqua-blue water, panoramic views of the iconic Sleeping Bear Dunes, and life- changing sunsets come dusk? Yep, that’s this Pure Michigan beach for ya. The northern lakeshore is girls’ trip perfection for all of the above reasons plus the waterfront wine trails that dot the region. We’ll drink to that.

#5. Ditch Plains Beach

Montauk, New York

ditch plains


If you’re looking for a cute surfer, you’ll find a few on this stretch of Long Island’s East End. Rent a board and join the fun, or just enjoy the laid-back vibes and sweeping seaside sights, rosé in hand. We won’t blame you if you get a lobster roll just for an “In the Hamptons!” humblebrag on the ’gram.

#4. Coronado Beach

San Diego, California

coronado beach

Lucas Inacio / Alamy Stock Photo

When we say the beach sparkles at this sun-soaked peninsula, we mean it. The grains are mixed with the mineral mica, making for a gorgeous gleam. Go at low tide to pick your way through the tide pools, then hit a local hot spot (like Coronado Brewing Co.) for a cold beer and crispy fish tacos.

#3. Siasconset Beach

Nantucket, Massachusetts

siasconset beach

John Santoro

Pronounce it “Sconset” and you’ll blend right in with the locals in this tiny fishing village, which looks like it was snatched straight out of a Nancy Meyers rom-com. Stroll through the rose-covered cottages that line the Bluff Walk, and keep your eyes peeled for the seals that like to hang out by the shore.

#2. South Beach

Miami Beach, Florida

south beach


It’s almost always sunny in SoBe, so it’s no wonder the Magic City is home to one of the country’s best-known vacation spots. Between the neighborhood’s damn good dining (say yes to ceviche), swaying palm trees, and trendy hotels, you know you’re in for a treat once you cross the causeway.

#1. Hanalei Bay

Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i

hanalei bay

Glowing Earth Photography

Look left and it’ll be instantly clear why this stunning spot took our top prize. Situated on a crescent-shaped bay on Kaua‘i’s North Shore, its tranquility alone makes for paradise found. The surf is calm come summer, making it easy to catch a beginner’s break, or you can rent a SUP to explore the coast up close. At the end of the day, a piña colada shave ice along the famed Hanalei Pier equals OOO perfection.


Rachel is the acting Lifestyle Director at Cosmopolitan. She specializes in lifestyle, travel, weddings, and career content, and her writing has appeared in Marie Claire, REAL SIMPLE, The Knot, and more. Follow her on Instagram. 

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