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The best beaches to visit in the U.S. that aren’t in Hawaii

Photo by Yelp Elite Mayu H. | Treasure Island Beach – Laguna Beach, CA

Hawaii may be home to some of some of the most stunning beaches on Earth, but you don’t have to go all the way to the islands for an incredible beach vacation. There are hundreds of world-class beaches across the continental U.S. where you can explore miles of trails through coastal cliffs, view wildlife like sea lions and wild horses, or relax on a secluded stretch of sand. In advance of National Beach Day (August 30) – we’ve collected lists of some of the top beaches across the country to help you plan your next seaside escape. 

Whether you’re looking for a beach that’s full of fun adventures or a quiet place to watch the sunset, these are the best beaches in America that aren’t in Hawaii.

California Coast

#1: Point Lobos State Natural Reserve – Carmel, CA

Photo by Kim T

“It’s breathtaking and has amazing views of the sea lions. I went during birthing season, so it was magical to see. Bring binoculars so you can get a glimpse of them. You can also hike down and get a closer look at the smaller part of the beaches. The water is crazy blue and quite a majestic place to be.” – Yelp Elite Han F

#2: Elephant Seal Vista Point – San Simeon, CA

Photo by Yelp Elite Dalia F

“There are so many amazing places to visit along the Central Coast – whether Big Sur, Hearst Castle, the pier at Pismo Beach, the rock at Morro Bay – that you’ll definitely miss out if you don’t stop by all of them in your lifetime. Add this vista point to that list. It’s a prime gathering ground for hundreds – if not thousands – of elephant seals. So much so that the cacophony might be humorous to some, mind-boggling to most, and awe-inspiring to others. Simply a quintessential, must-see California scene.” – Yelp Elite Vincent L

#3: Torrey Pines State Reserve – La Jolla, CA

Photo by Yelp Elite Ed T

“Oceanside cliffs, beach access, sandy trails to run on… this place is amazing! Whatever your skill level, you can go for as long or as short as you like. There is paid parking with a lot up next to the beach or street parking along the road coming in. There is a path with stairs for beach access – just be cautious of the tides. If it is high tide you may not be able to get through without getting wet.” – Yelper Jessie N

Other top rated beaches nearby: La Jolla Cove, Windansea Beach, Black’s Beach

#4: Coronado Central Beach – Coronado, CA

Photo by Yelp Elite Cheryl G

“Let’s face it; the San Diego area has some insanely gorgeous beaches. I mean, that’s what they’re essentially known for, right? The beach and the sun! But Coronado Central Beach…. Lawdy, lawd, laaaaawd! This beach is in a league of its’ own. First of all. It’s Coronado, not San Diego. And, don’t ‘chu get it twisted. When it comes to island life, the beaches are just different. It’s just something that you have to experience for yourself. Coronado Central Beach is just a short drive over the bridge from San Diego, but it feels like you’re worlds away. Let’s talk about it; that super soft white sand. Those gorgeous shallow waves. Those amazing city views on either side of you. This is what you’ll be able to enjoy whilst spending a lovely day on this beach.” – Yelp Elite Shayla B

Another top rated beach nearby: Coronado Dog Beach

#5: West Cliff Drive – Santa Cruz, CA

Photo by Veronica C

“This place is what California dreams are made of. A beautiful three mile stretch of coastal views from the wharf to Natural Bridge State Park. Walking or biking is the way to go as you are adjacent to the cliffs by the beach. It’s mostly open and carefree, so watch your toddlers. Along the route, the amusement park is near the wharf, the surfing museum is in a lighthouse, and there’s Natural Bridges Park. There are many benches to relax on and enjoy the waves and the surfers.” – Yelp Elite John H

#6: Sutro Baths – San Francisco, CA

Photo by Yelp Elite Adam S

#7: Sonoma Coast State Beach – Bodega Bay, CA

Photo by Amir M

#8: Point Dume State Beach – Malibu, CA

Photo by Nelli O

#9: Huntington Dog Beach – Huntington Beach, CA

Photo by Tracy C

#10: Treasure Island Beach – Laguna Beach, CA

Photo by Mary J
#11: Mori Point – Pacifica, CA
#12: Alamere Falls – Point Reyes National Seashore – Bolinas, CA
#13: Point Loma Tide Pools – San Diego, CA
#14: Bean Hollow State Beach – Pescadero, CA
#15: Little Corona Del Mar Beach – Corona Del Mar, CA
#16: Golden Gate National Recreation Area – Stinson Beach, CA
#17: San Clemente Beach Trail – San Clemente, CA
#18: Pfeiffer Beach – Big Sur, CA
#19: Fletcher Cove Park – Solana Beach, CA
#20: Moonlight State Beach – Encinitas, CA

Gulf Coast

#1: Navarre Beach – Navarre, FL

Photo by Dana L

“This beach inspires tranquility… this beach takes you away from the day-to-day grind that allows you to look out upon the water and realize how vast this world truly is. This beach is very different from the beaches you will find… say Daytona Beach or Miami Beach. It is definitely a more laid-back environment. Navarre Beach likes to bill itself as ‘Florida’s Most Relaxing Place’ and walking the shoreline, it’s easy to believe that their claim is pretty accurate. I would definitely recommend a visit here. Beautiful white sand and crystal clear water make for a hard combination to beat. Come see for yourself.” – Yelp Elite John M

#2: Indian Rocks Beach – Indian Rocks Beach, FL

Photo by Yelp Elite Angela J

“Indian Rocks Beach offers nearly 3 miles of beautiful, easily accessible beaches. Indian Rocks is one of my favorite beaches to relax at because it offers a whopping 27 beach access points with plenty of free parking! Every beach access point has free parking, a shower, a bike rack, a wood bridge through mangroves, and a sign that says “Please leave nothing but your footprints.” The laid back vibe of Indian Rocks Beach is what makes it a hidden gem. It’s not so overpopulated that it’s overly difficult to find parking, but it’s also not so remote that you can’t walk across the street to a restaurant and grab a bite to eat.” – Yelp Elite Brian M

#3: Pass-A-Grille Beach – Pass-A-Grille Beach, FL

Photo by Yelp Elite Marie B

“One of the most perfect beaches in the country and it has the ratings to prove it. Beautiful powdery sand beach in a quaint historic small town. Lots of boutique hotels and Airbnbs that you can stay at and so many cute local businesses that really cater to this community and its visitors. Because it is farther out from the coast, you can get some decent waves here to learn how to surf. You definitely get that close-knit feel of community when you come here and there is that air of respect and kinship when you are at this beach.” – Yelp Elite Keith T

#4: Henderson Beach State Park – Destin, FL

Photo by Yelp Elite Amy P

#5: Siesta Key Beach – Sarasota, FL

Photo by Bryan M

#6: Pensacola Beach – Pensacola, FL

Photo by Robert D

#7: T H Stone Memorial St Joseph Peninsula State Park – Port St Joe, FL

Photo by Yelp Elite Brady R

#8: Naples Municipal Beach & Fishing Pier – Naples, FL

Photo by Yelp Elite Jenny M

#9: Barefoot Beach Preserve County Park – Bonita Springs, FL

Photo by Yelp Elite Stephanie G

#10: Padre Island National Seashore – Corpus Christi, TX

Photo by Ignacio S
#11: Coquina Beach – Bradenton Beach, FL
#12: Gulf Shores Beach – Gulf Shores, AL
#13: Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park – Key Biscayne, FL
#14: Manasota Key Beach – Englewood, FL
#15: Clearwater Beach – Clearwater Beach, FL

Atlantic Coast

#1: Driftwood Beach – Jekyll Island, GA

Photo by Martine K

“This beach is beautiful. The driftwood is unique and enormous. There was a lot more of it than I had imagined. My walks consistently took towards some of the bigger trees where I would just stare in amazement of natures beauty. The storms and waves consistently transform the way the beach looks so each time I come back it has a new look. ” – Yelp Elite Keith F

#2: South Pointe Park – Miami Beach, FL

Photo by Yelp Elite Sky T

“This place is an absolute gem. They have everything from waterfront walkways, a nature trail, open grassy space for picnics or playing ball, a nice hill and amphitheater, a kid’s playground, beach access, the pier, AND a little cafe! I had been during the day before and loved it, but going back for the sunset was MAGICAL. There are some lighted water features, people with their dogs walking and enjoying life, and the sunset over the jetty waters. Features-wise, there are bathrooms, water fountains, trash bins, and plenty of stone benches, palm trees where people hang their hammocks, and some fun-looking benches by the kid’s water fountain. Take a picnic, some blankets, an instrument, book or ball, and just enjoy life!” – Yelp Elite Yireh R.

#3: Juno Beach Park – North Palm Beach, FL

Photo by Yelp LJ R

“Great beach! Free parking, which is so rare in South Florida. Beach and amenities were clean and well-kept. Lifeguards were friendly and helpful. Took the new puppy here for his first beach experience… good times. Lots of other friendly dogs and beach goers, lots of great seashells, and today, some great waves to the delight of the surfers and stand-up paddleboarders. If you take your dog, you have to go to the one set of stairs to the North of the pier to be in the dog-friendly area. Looking forward to our next trip to Juno Beach!” – Mike M

#4: Assateague Island National Seashore – Berlin, MD

Photo by Yelp Elite Sari Marissa G

#5: Blowing Rocks Preserve – Hobe Sound, FL

Photo by Yelp Elite Nina M

#6: Gulfstream Park – Boynton Beach, FL

Photo by Yelp Elite Hilary R

#7: Cumberland Island National Seashore – St Marys, GA

Photo by Logan M

#8: Little Talbot Island State Park – Jacksonville, FL

Photo by Yelp Elite Crystal O

#9: Neptune Beach – Neptune Beach, FL

Photo by Yelp Elite Rebecca N

#10: Saint Augustine Beach – Saint Augustine, FL

Photo by Yelp Elite Kaitlyn S
#11: Haulover Park – Miami, FL
#12: Deerfield Beach – Deerfield Beach, FL
#13: Fort Lauderdale Beach – Fort Lauderdale, FL
#14: Fort Fisher State Recreation Area – Kure Beach, NC
#15: Sandbridge Little Island Park – Virginia Beach, VA

Pacific Northwest

#1: Discovery Park – Seattle, WA

Discovery Park

“This park is just awesome. It is large with different areas to explore. I’ve hiked in the woods surrounded by mossy trees, and that alone was cool. However, I recently hiked to the beach for the first time, and that had a totally different feel. The beach is huge with great views of the Sound.” – Yelp Elite Gina B

#2: Cannon Beach – Cannon Beach, OR

Photo by Taressa H

#3: Ruby Beach – Forks, WA

Photo by Yelp Elite Seth A

#4: Double Bluff Beach – Freeland, WA

Photo by Nikki B

#5: Boulevard Park – Bellingham, WA

Photo by Yelp Elite Mona M
#6: Lincoln Park – Seattle, WA
#7: Meadowdale Beach Park – Edmonds, WA
#8: Second Beach – La Push, WA
#9: Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area – Cloverdale, OR
#10: Owen Beach – Tacoma, WA


#1: Race Point Beach – Provincetown, MA

Photo by Yelp Elite Kara M

“Such a beautiful beach on the end of Cape Cod. We love going here as there’s a nice size parking lot and restrooms. There’s an admission to enter, but it’s worth it. Plus, let’s help our US Park Service preserve our beautiful lands and beaches. The beaches here are clean and the dunes are amazing. But it’s cold water, so be prepared. It does get pretty busy in the summer too, so expect a crowd. We always spot sea lions in the water right off the beach. Then in the far distance, you can usually see a whale or two come to the surface.” – Yelp Elite Michael M

#2: Castle Island Beach – Boston, MA

Photo by Yelp Elite Eric D

#3: Willard Beach – South Portland, ME

Photo by Noel K

#4: Mackworth Island Trail – Falmouth, ME

Photo by Yelp Elite Todd R

#5: Good Harbor Beach – Gloucester, MA

Photo by Christopher S
#6: Bluff Point State Park – Groton, CT
#7: Island Beach State Park – Seaside Park, NJ
#8: Second Beach / Sachuest Beach – Middletown, RI
#9: Nauset Light Beach – Eastham, MA
#10: Long Beach Island – Surf City, NJ


#1: Kathy Osterman Beach – Chicago, IL

Photo by Chris C

“Best beach ever. Clean water and sand with lots of space to stretch out. The southern end is the “fun” end, while the northern end is more chill and kid friendly. To be frank, the southern end is super gay and provides some of the best people watching in Chicago, periodt.” – Yelp Elite Emily R

#2: Ludington State Park – Ludington, MI

Photo by Betsey K

#3: Secret Cove – Incline Village, NV

Photo by Yelp Elite Sheena C

#4: Millennium Park – Walker, MI

Photo by Tiffany W

#5: Silver Beach County Park – Saint Joseph, MI

Photo by Kamme O
#6: Fallen Leaf Lake – South Lake Tahoe, CA
#7: Atwater Park – Shorewood, WI
#8: Lake Temescal – Oakland, CA
#9: Oak Street Beach – Chicago, IL
#10: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Miner’s Castle/Beach – Munising, MI

Methodology: We identified businesses in the beaches category on Yelp, then ranked those spots using a number of factors, including the total volume and ratings of reviews. This list looked at beaches in the United States, excluding Hawaii.