Raise your hand if you'd rather be at the beach. It's pretty impossible not be dreaming of sunshine, paddleball, summer beach reads, the sand between your toes, the sound of crashing waves, and a salty sea breeze now that it's June. So if you're itching to get out of the office but don't have time to renew your passport or enough PTO left for a grand overseas vacation, don't fret... It's definitely not too late to plan a quick summer getaway by the water. In fact, some of the most beautiful beaches in the entire world happen to be in our own backyard. So without further ado, prepare your pinning finger and scroll through the most beautiful beaches in the U.S.
From gorgeous lookout points to sunny seaside lounging spots—and even some freshwater beaches for our landlocked friends—there's a bit of everything. Whether you're craving New England charm, Southern hospitality, California ease, or tropical bliss, this American beach town guide will have you packing in no time. So without further ado, get to know the most beautiful beaches in the U.S., from sea to shining sea. Plus, take note of where to stay and what to do while you're there, and don't forget your sun hats.
The Destination: Maui, Hawaii
Local Flavor: If you want to take the tropical route, we suggest visiting Punalu'u Beach on Hawaii's Big Island. This way, you'll have the best of both worlds since you'll get a taste of the tropics and all it has to offer (think balmy climate, lush greenery, pretty views, and swim-friendly warm waters) while also enjoying the unique beauty of a black-sand beach.
Where to Stay: Hotel Wailea
Similar Vibes: Big Sur's black sand beach in California
Laguna Beach, California
The Beach Destination: Laguna Beach, California
Local Flavor: For a quintessential California experience, head to Laguna Beach in Southern California. It's one of the few places in the Golden State that really does live up to the reputation of feeling like summer year-round. Aside from the beach, there are plenty of local art galleries, delicious Mexican food, and laid-back California vibes to soak up.
Where to Stay: The Inn at Laguna Beach or The Ranch
Similar Vibes: Monterey or Caramel by the Sea in Northern California and La Jolla in San Diego
The Hamptons, New York
The Destination: The Hamptons, New York
Local Flavor: East Coast tradition—think lobster boils and hole-in-the-wall specialty shops—meets hip, up-and-coming scenes, all against the backdrop of the Long Island Sound. Depending on where you go, the vibe will vary.
Where to Stay: 1170 House in East Hampton, Gurney's in Montauk, or Latch Pop Up Inn in Southampton
Similar Vibes: Greenwich and Westport, Connecticut
Lake Tahoe, California
The Destination: Lake Tahoe, California
Local Flavor: We get it: Some people are drawn to mountain towns and freshwater lakes rather than the wide-open ocean. Here's a gorgeous Northern California option with crystal-clear water, crisp mountain air, and endless outdoor adventures to pursue when you're not exploring the shores of the lake.
Where to Stay: The Ritz for something elegant, or any local rental house for something more private and lodge-like
Similar Vibes: Lake Erie, Ohio, and Crater Lake, Oregon
Sullivan's Island, South Carolina
The Destination: Sullivan's Island, South Carolina
Local Flavor: Spanish moss, weeping willows, and Southern hospitality make Sullivan's Island one of the most darling beaches in the world.
Where to Stay: The Drewberry, Zero George, or 86 Cannon in Charleston
Similar Beaches: Orange Beach, Alabama, or Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, right outside Savannah
The Destination: Honolulu, Hawaii
Local Flavor: Located on the south shore of the island of Oahu, Hawaii's largest city also happens to be paradise. The many palm trees, Waikiki Beach, and nearby Diamond Head crater set this beachy city apart from the rest. There are endless opportunities for outdoor adventures and historical excursions.
Where to Stay: The Royal Hawaiian
Similar Vibes: Stay in Oahu, but ditch the city of Honolulu for a slower pace at Lanikai beach.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
The Cape Cod Beaches: Monument and Ballston
Local Flavor: If you're dreaming of New England charm, look no further than Cape Cod. It's similar to Nantucket but less of a trek to get there since you'll be staying continental.
Where to Stay: Little Inn on Pleasant Bay
Similar Vibes: Martha's Vineyard and Point Reyes in California
Santa Barbara, California
The Destination: Santa Barbara, California
Local Flavor: Right along the California 1 highway and in the middle of Southern California wine country, Santa Baraba hits the sweetest of spots on the map. While you're not surfing, be sure to check out all the beautiful historic missions and explore the charming town of Montecito.
Where to Stay: Belmond El Encanto
Similar Vibes: San Diego and Santa Cruz, California
Harbor Springs, Michigan
The Destination: Harbor Springs, Michigan
Local Flavor: This tiny resort community is beyond picturesque. Right on Little Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan, it's quaint yet lively, charming yet casual—everything you could want from a lakeside town.
Where to Stay: The Inn at Bay Harbor or a local rental home
Similar Vibes: Door County, Wisconsin
Miami Beach, Florida
The Beach Destination: Miami Beach, Florida
Local Flavor: Tropical locale meets urban adventure in Miami's South Beach area. From world-class shopping to beachside lounging, colorful art deco architecture, authentic Cuban cuisine, and bustling art scene, there's no shortage of excitement and beauty in this Sunshine State locale.
Where to Stay: The Faeana or Freehand
Similar Beaches: Siesta Beach in the Keys
The Destination: Nantucket, Massachusetts
Local Flavor: Nantucket is the ideal vacation town for travelers seeking a picture-perfect experience on a New England island. You'll find streets neatly lined with shingled widow's walks, hydrangea bushes, open Jeeps, and the occasional lighthouse. You'll want to keep your cameras nearby everywhere you go.
Where to Stay: The White Elephant Inn
Similar Vibes: Newport, Rhode Island and Kennebunkport, Maine
And now, the books to keep you at the edge of your beach chair all summer long.