Get your fix of sand and surf in style with our guide to the USA’s best beaches.
From the laidback feel of the Californian coast to the Art Deco charm of Miami and tropical bliss of Hawaii – the USA is home to some of the world’s best beaches. Locals and travelers the world over flock to American shores for surfing, sunning and ocean-fresh seafood with a view.
No matter the kind of vibe you are looking for, here is our guide to the USA’s best beaches.
Waikiki Beach, Hawaii: World-class oceanfront entertainment
A former playground for Hawaiian royalty, Waikiki Beach is much more accessible these days – and without a doubt one of the USA’s best beaches. On the south shore of Honolulu, Waikiki is Oahu’s main hotel and resort area, home to a vibrant main strip (Kalakaua Avenue) bursting with world-class shopping, dining and entertainment.
Take a surf lesson in Waikiki’s calm waters or stroll the sandy stretches with Diamond Head as your backdrop. Every resort is either directly on the beach or just a short stroll away, making the area a must-visit for beach-lovers.
Where to stay: Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort. Directly on the beach, with a stunning pool and relaxing spa, this is the spot for oceanfront R&R.
Miami Beach, Florida: Art Deco glamour
Art and culture collide on the oceanfront in Miami Beach, a vibrant neighborhood lined with glamorous Art Deco buildings. From trend-setting shops to fascinating museums and family-friendly activities, it’s not just about the beach here.
Divided into three distinct districts, Miami Beach is a multifaceted icon. South Beach is arguably the most famous, with its swaying palms and pastel seafront buildings. Mid Beach offers a great mix of cool Miami vibes and a more laidback feel, drawing visitors to its stylish restaurants and Faena arts district. If you’re looking for a super-relaxed vibe, visit North Beach, where the stretch of sand tends to be much quieter.
Where to stay: Palihouse Miami Beach. A boutique, Art Deco-style retreat, this is where boho flair meets modern glam. The bustling Miami Beach Boardwalk, with its vibrant bars and restaurants, is just minutes from the hotel.
Hollywood Beach, Florida: One of America’s best beach boardwalks
Between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood Beach is one of Florida’s most beautiful stretches (not to be confused with Hollywood, LA!). This is the stuff laidback beach vacation dreams are made of, with year-round activities and live music.
The Hollywood Beach Broadwalk (the width of a two-lane road, hence its name) is the heart of the neighborhood and was even named one of America’s Best Beach Boardwalks by Travel + Leisure magazine. Stroll, jog, cycle or rollerblade your way to the Hollywood Beach Theatre, children’s water playground at Charnow Park, or countless cafés and restaurants serving everything from fresh seafood to Jamaican and Mediterranean fare.
Where to stay: Costa Hollywood Beach Resort. Stay within easy reach of one of the USA’s best beaches. This condo-style retreat is nestled between Hollywood Beach Broadwalk and Hollywood Beach, surrounded by chic cafés, alfresco dining, ultra-cool bars and an unmissable entertainment scene.
Palm Beach, Florida: Upscale island retreat
Home to exquisite mansions and historic landmarks, everything about Palm Beach oozes class. A barrier island, connected by bridges to the mainland, creates an elegant degree of separation that places Palm Beach in a league of its own.
Stately palm trees proudly line Worth Avenue, an upscale shopping nirvana of luxury boutiques. The alfresco dining here is perfect for people watching – keep an eye out for billionaires cruising by in luxury cars. Palm Beach may be a playground for the rich and famous, but its picturesque golfing greens, sandy beachfront and eye-popping architecture can be enjoyed by all.
Where to stay: The Chesterfield Palm Beach. This heritage hotel (located just a five-minute walk from Worth Avenue) has been an iconic city landmark since it was established in 1926. Wander the surrounding palm-lined boulevards, passing elegant villas and boutique properties on your way to the white sandy shores of Palm Beach.
San Diego, California: Breezy surf style
Tuck a board under your arm, give your hair that saltwater-tousled look and you’ll fit right into San Diego. The epitome of laidback surf cool, America’s self-proclaimed ‘finest city’ is perfect for an easy-breezy beach stay.
San Diego’s 70-mile coastline is home to 31 beaches, offering everything from sunbathing to kayaking, cliff walks and, of course, world-class surfing. Coronado Beach is popular with volleyball players and experienced surfers, while La Jolla Shores is a great spot for families.
Where to stay: San Diego Mission Bay Resort. Made for relaxation, the resort is home to a private beach where you can enjoy badminton, volleyball, bonfires and more without leaving the grounds.
Laguna Beach, California: Laidback oceanfront lifestyle
Regarded as Southern California’s premier coastal destination, Laguna Beach is one of Orange County’s hidden gems. Seven miles of coves and beaches implore visitors to discover sea caves, tide pools and sandy stretches, all within the city limits.
An all-round people-pleaser, Laguna Beach is home to not one, but 30 individual beaches. There are dog-friendly stretches, renowned surf spots (Aliso and Brooks Street Beach are two of the best), plenty of safe swimming spots and shallow tide pools for paddling with little ones.
Where to stay: Pacific Edge Hotel. Perched on prime oceanfront real estate, this boutique, Art Deco hotel is perfectly positioned for days riding waves and minutes from a myriad of outdoor restaurants.