10 Great Beaches to Visit This Season

posted: 07/06/16
by: Katie Morton
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    10 Great Beaches to Visit This Season

    For families across the country summertime conjures up images of waves, sand castles and lounging on a beautiful beach. Whether it’s a short commute to the nearest seaside or planning an extended vacation, visiting a beach in the summer is a national pastime. As you’re thinking about where best to take in the ocean views, here are our picks for the 10 best U.S. beaches to visit this summer.

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    Kiawah Island, South Carolina

    Kiawah is a coastal gem, perfect for families looking to unwind or couples looking to reconnect. The island boasts ten miles of untouched white sand and exudes a relaxed and luxurious vibe. Travelers looking for a little more excitement can drive into Charleston for lunch at an award-winning restaurant or simply a charming stroll.

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    Cape May, New Jersey

    Forget what you’ve seen on reality TV about the Jersey Shore, Cape May is a quaint, charming and adorable beach town. Cape May is known for its Victorian architecture and its clean, white beaches. Stay at a bed and breakfast, bike around town, and walk to dinner at one of the many fine dining establishments. If you have an interest in the supernatural, Cape May offers ghost tours for visitors who like to be spooked. Don’t worry, most ghosts are friendly!

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    Acadia National Park, Maine

    Maine’s craggy coastline is at it’s finest at Acadia National Park. The gorgeous pink sand on Sand Beach is the result of millions of crushed shells. While the water here is too cold to swim, you won’t miss it—you’ll be too busy taking in the stunning views. If hiking makes you happy, then Acadia offers that, too.

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    Outer Banks, North Carolina

    The Carolina’s Outer Banks are a family favorite for retreats. A vacation here is nothing but surf, sand, and fun family activities, such as flying kites and beach-themed mini golf. The more adventurous can hang-glide over Jockey’s Ridge sand dunes or four-wheel out to see wild ponies in Corolla.

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    Key West, Florida

    If you’ve never been to Key West, you need to add it to your bucket list. It’s not so much a beach as it is an experience. This gorgeous slice of Florida has beautiful blue waters for snorkeling and kayaking. If you’d rather keep yourself dry, then Duvall Street provides for world-class people-watching.

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    Carmel, California

    Carmel is the quintessential California beach—families, bonfires and pups are all encouraged. Carmel offers breathtaking views of Big Sur, so pack your selfie stick. Carmel’s downtown is super pet-friendly so if the idea of boarding Barkley Puppyface puts a damper on your vacation, know that well-behaved, leashed family members are welcomed at many local establishments.

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    Mendocino Coast, California

    This gorgeous coast is just three hours from the hustle-and-bustle of San Francisco. Head over to Van Damme State Park for a quiet place to explore and take in the scenario. Unfortunately, the water is a little too chilly for swimming, but you can surf or dive with a wetsuit on. For the more adventurous travelers, spend a day kayaking through the sea caves.

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    Kauai, Hawaii

    You might recognize Kauai from the movies—this lush coastal landscape has been in numerous films, most notably Jurassic Park. Kauai is a leafy-green, remote, relatively untouched tropical paradise. It’s the perfect place to pretend you’re a (luxurious) castaway.

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    Gulf Shores, Alabama

    The highlight of this Alabama beach is its gorgeous sand—it’s soft to walk on and sparkling white. The water temps are warm and the waves are gentle, so younger kids can feel safe wading in the water. Bathhouses and amenities allow for a comfortable, low-key day by the shore.

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    National Lakeshore, Michigan

    There’s no rule that says beaches need to be oceanside. Lake Michigan offers sand, shoreline fishing and lakeside campsites that rival the U.S.’s best oceanside beaches. If you want to explore, the Upper Peninsula’s Grand Sable Dunes and sandstone cliffs are sights to behold. No matter whether you chose a national park or a southern summer mecca for your travels, you can’t go wrong with a sand and sun vacation. Each one of these glorious beaches is worth the trek.