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Let’s be honest – there’s nothing better than relaxing on the beach. The warm sun giving your skin a nice glow, the feeling of sand between your toes, and the beach lapping. If only it was actually like that. Instead, there’s a ton of people – so much so that it can feel overcrowded. Plus, a lot of people toss their trash onto the beach, making it incredibly filthy. If you’re lucky, the beach won’t be full of seaweed, but this can happen in the prettiest of beaches. Going to the beach can be great, but it can also suck.
Granted, it doesn’t have to be like that. Dr. Stephen Leatherman, also known as America"s Dr. Beach, understands the struggle. That’s why he created the ten best beaches across the country so you can get the beach vacation of your dreams. Whether you want something on the west or east coast, Dr. Beach has found the best beaches America has to offer – and they really are amazing.
Without further ado, here are the 10 best beaches the United States has to offer. Don’t forget to bring your umbrella and beach towel, because you’re sure to spend a lot of time in these luxurious spots.
East Beach is the beach in Santa Barbara. All of the major hotels are located across from it. This is your typical California beach: plenty of space for biking and rollerblading, multiple children's playgrounds, and a long expansive sandy coastline. East Beach's claim to fame is its world-class volleyball courts.
This Florida beach is located in a state park on an island just across the water from the city of Naples. Not only can you work on your tan, visitors can also launch boats, canoes, and kayaks from this area into Turkey Bay. There's even a hard bottom reef nearby that offers snorkeling.
(image via Ebyabe, CC)
Beachwalker Park is a county-owned beachfront in the otherwise gated golf community of Kiawah Island. The cool Atlantic waters are a nice contrast to the island's boardwalks that wind their way through oak and pine trees, among other vegetation.
(image via ironypoisoning, CC)
Coast Guard Beach is one of Cape Cod's gems. If the tides are right, visitors can walk out onto the spit that juts into Nauset Bay where seals like to congregate. Coast Guard Beach is a prime swimming location in the summer so parking will be hard to come by and extremely limited, but shuttles run from Little Creek.
(image via masstravel, CC)
From the beach, you can see Cape Florida Light, one of the oldest structures in the Miami area. Located on Florida's Atlantic side, Bill Baggs Cape has over a mile of beachfront, as well as many other outdoor activities throughout the 400 acres of the state park. Fun fact: the harbor in this area is actually named No Name Harbor.
If you're searching for a local experience without typical commercialization, head to North Carolina's Outer Banks. Along these barrier islands is Cape Hatteras, the point in the U.S. closest to the Atlantic island of Bermuda. Similar to Bill Baggs, Cape Hatteras features its own lighthouse, this one the tallest in the country at 198 feet.
This Maui beach is a true tropical paradise. The crescent shape of the beach arches into a jungle of heavy vegetation and trees that gives the dark sand some natural shade. The actual beach is small, however, so arrive early or you'll be out of a parking spot.
Like many of Florida's other amazing beaches on this list, the sandy shores of Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park are undeveloped and free from commercialization. It may take some extra planning (and time out of your schedule) to visit the barrier island, but the beautiful uncrowded beaches are worth the effort.
With a name like Barefoot Beach, how could you not visit? Not only are the beaches popular in Barefoot Beach Preserve County Park, the area is also great for fisherman. The preserve is known for its sea turtles, and park rangers offer tours to view turtle nests.
This is the beach that puts all others to shame...and nobody knows about it! Even when others are crowded and full of tourists, Waimanalo is somehow still sparse and relaxing. The water is always crystal clear, and the sand is feathery soft. Take advantage of the slow pace by learning how to bodysurf or just relax and take in the sun's warming rays.