18 Beautiful US Beach Towns for a Summer Getaway

Vibrant colors of Clearwater beach, Florida (Photo via sreenath_k / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Holly Johnson
by Holly Johnson
Last updated: 6:00 AM ET, Thu May 6, 2021

Beautiful Beach Towns

Summer is right around the corner and that can mean only one thing: It is time to hit the beach! Whether you prefer the quiet charm of a New England beach town or the hustle and bustle of a well-known beach resort, we've got you covered. Here are 18 of the best beach towns in the United State to visit during your summer vacation.

Orange Beach, Alabama

When you think of great beach states, Alabama may not be the first that comes to mind. However, Alabama's Gulf Coast is home to 32 miles of the most pristine sugary white sand beaches you will find anywhere on the planet. Large groups can still find dozens of beach houses to rent in Orange Beach, or you can check out one of the many condo buildings if that is more your style.

Biloxi, Mississippi

Are you looking for a summer beach getaway that also offers some Vegas-style excitement? Biloxi, Mississippi fits the bill. Home to some of the most beautiful beaches on the Gulf Coast, Biloxi's eight casino resorts also offer some of the best entertainment, dining, and golf available in the South. As one of the oldest settlements in the United States, history buffs will also love visiting the area's museums and historical sites.

Destin, Florida

Located in the Florida Panhandle, Destin is one of the best beach towns in the United States. Known for its clear emerald waters, beachgoers will love the long stretches of sugary white sand beaches found throughout the area. Dozens of boat charters and tours leave from Destin's Harbor Boardwalk, which is also a fun place to take the family for great food and a good time.

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach, Oregon is more than just another Pacific Northwest beach town; it is one of the most picturesque spots in the entire United States. Popularized in films like 'The Goonies' and 'Point Break', the area's sandy beaches and iconic Haystack Rock are far from the only things it has to offer. A vibrant culinary and arts scene make this the perfect spot for a beachfront getaway.

South Padre Island, Texas

Beautiful beaches and calm waters make South Padre Island, Texas a great spot to spend your summer getaway. Located on the largest barrier island in the world, nature lovers will enjoy birdwatching or visiting the Dolphin Research & Sealife Nature Center. The Spring Break crowds will be long gone but activities like parasailing and fishing can be enjoyed the whole year long.

Edisto Beach, South Carolina

If you are looking for a quiet summer getaway, look no further than Edisto Beach, South Carolina. This sleepy beach town is the perfect place to enjoy the silence and escape the rat race. Beach houses line the shore, providing great sunrise views over the Atlantic Ocean. Visit a local winery or go sightseeing in nearby Charleston to spice up your trip.

Clearwater, Florida

Clearwater, Florida combines the benefits of Florida's beautiful Gulf Coast beaches with the amenities of a major metropolitan area. Tampa and St. Petersburg are just minutes away, while Clearwater itself is full of great shopping, dining, and entertainment. In addition to Clearwater Beach, beach lovers should check out nearby Sand Key. Animal lovers can visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, a non-profit organization that rehabilitates sick and injured marine animals and was made famous in the movie 'Dolphin Tale'.

South Haven, Michigan

You don't have to drive to the coast to find great beaches. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, South Haven, Michigan's beautiful sandy beaches and stunning lake views offer a great getaway the whole family will love. The area boasts award-winning wineries, delicious restaurants, and a live music scene you are sure to enjoy. Be sure to tickle your taste buds at the National Blueberry Festival held in mid-August. Yum!

Ocean City, Maryland

Ocean City, Maryland is home to 10 miles of sandy beach that is perfect for some summer family fun. After building sandcastles or paddling your kayak, take a stroll down the famous boardwalk to enjoy the atmosphere and some good eats. Even better, bring the whole family to ride the country's oldest continuously operating carousel at Trimpers.

Surf City, North Carolina

Are you in need of a peaceful beach getaway? Surf City, North Carolina welcomes visitors to beach life the "way it used to be." Known for its clean and lightly trafficked beaches, beachgoers can enjoy the serene beauty of the Atlantic Ocean without the crowds of more popular destinations. On the other side of the island, the Intercoastal Waterway offers calm waters that are perfect for kayaking, water skiing, and more.

Tybee Island, Georgia

Located just minutes from historic Savannah, Tybee Island is the perfect beach town for your family summer getaway. In addition to the beautiful beaches and vibrant arts community, the area is teeming with history. While you're there, check out the Fort Pulaski National Monument and kayak around the Cockspur Island Lighthouse - the smallest lighthouse in Georgia.

Cape May, New Jersey

Visit the oldest seaside resort in the United States with a trip to Cape May, New Jersey. Known for its large number of Victorian houses, the entire city has been designated as a National Historic District. Stay in a beachside bed and breakfast while you enjoy the area's pristine beaches, delicious dining, and a host of cultural events that are hard to find in other beach towns.

Pensacola, Florida

With warm waters and beautiful white sand beaches, Pensacola is one of the Florida Panhandle's premier destinations. Known as the "Festival City of the South," Pensacola celebrates its bicentennial in 2021 with a host of summer events and activities. New direct flight options from across the country, including daily flights from New York City from June through September, make it easier than ever to get to Pensacola.

Bar Harbor, Maine

Take a cruise on a yacht, hike through rugged Acadia National Park, and enjoy some of the world's best seafood in Bar Harbor, Maine. This quaint town caters to couples and families alike. Book a room at a bed & breakfast, support local artists by wandering through their shops, and relax in the unique small-town New England charm you won't find anywhere else.

Long Beach, Washington

If you like flying kites, you will love Long Beach, Washington. Located about two hours from Portland, Oregon, this beachside town is home to the World Kite Museum and the Washington State International Kite Festival which is held in August. Of course, the beaches are also incredible. Enjoy the views from the boardwalk or grab your surfboard and catch a wave!

Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts

Manchester-by-the-Sea is a charming New England town that provides a perfect getaway for beachgoers and history lovers alike. Located on Cape Ann, the town is known for its summer homes and beautiful ocean views. Listen to the sand sing on Singing Beach, take a sailing charter along the coast, and head to the Trask House Museum to enjoy some fine art and antiques.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

With over 60 miles of incredible coastline known as the Grand Strand, Myrtle Beach is easily one of the top beach towns for a summer vacation. Enjoy a "private" beach experience by staying in one of the dozens of beachfront houses. In the evening, stroll the boardwalk, grab some great bites, and take a ride on the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel - one of the nation's tallest Ferris wheels.

Ocean Shores, Washington

It is hard not to love the long Pacific beaches of Ocean Shores, Washington. Families will enjoy the plethora of activities here - including kite flying, bike riding, arcades, and more. Nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts also will love the bird watching, fishing, and navigable lakes for which the area is known.

18 Beautiful Beach Towns for a Summer Getaway

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Helping leisure selling travel agents successfully manage their at-home business.

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Laurence Pinckney

CEO of Zenbiz Travel, LLC

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