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6 Best Beaches in the US

Joelle Mentis, Writer

We know you love some beach time over the summer. You don’t need to head to the Caribbean though; the US has beach retreats that represent. And while Florida is fine to fly south for the winter, places like Maine, which may not roll off the tip of your tongue when you say “beach,” have beautiful seaside retreats. These are the six best beaches in the US.

Kennebunkport, Maine

The Beach: Goose Rocks Beach

You may not think of Maine for a beach vacation, but there is something about an East Coast beach. Goose Rocks is particularly special and one of the best beaches in the US. This wide beach with powder soft white sand is shielded by an offshore barrier reef. Gentle waves and clean water make it a perfect spot for swimming and for bringing the kids.

The miles of open sand and the limited parking passes ensure that even in peak summer season, there is space for sand castles. The beach is clean, quiet and walking distance from restrooms and snacks, so you can spend the whole day. The only downside is the $25 parking fee, but unlike other beaches, at least you can buy a parking pass. If you’re staying in Maine, bring a bike instead to avoid the cost.

Stay: White Barn Inn

Fifteen minutes from the bustle of downtown Kennebunk, a small white inn nestles itself within a residential neighborhood. You might not even know it’s there if not for the sign. But looks can be deceiving. The small boutique hotel is a luxury romantic getaway with award-winning fine dining and impeccable service. Not your average beach shack, White Barn Inn is an elegant accommodation. The food is also an attraction in and of itself.

Martha’s Vineyard

The Beach: Aquinnah

The gorgeous landscape around the town of Aquinnah on Martha’s Vineyard is on protected indigenous Wampanoag land. The cliffs, which are made of red clay, sparkle in the sun and look striking against the coastal sunset. The beaches, on the south side, have crystal clear waters and fine, white sand. Also, a mix of mellow and rough surf along different edges of the coast makes for both more family-friendly and more adventure-oriented experiences. As such, Aquinnah is one of the best beaches in the US.

Stay: The Christopher

Usually when you come to the island, you’re in for a bed and breakfast with wicker chairs out front and a quilt on the bed. While the rustic and casual East Coast seaside vibe is charming, sometimes you want something more contemporary. The Christopher is a refreshingly modern hotel that understands the treasures of the island do not need to be duplicated through the decor. And that when you come in sunburnt from a day at the beach, a crisp, clean room is the perfect place to relax. In addition to the immaculate rooms, there is an impressive smorgasbord breakfast. It is the perfect start to any day on the Vineyard.

Georgia

The Beach: Sea Island

On the southeastern coast of Georgia, Sea Island is five miles of pure, private bliss, offering a beautiful Southern escape into the Atlantic. You can enjoy activities like swimming, boating and fishing, and you have exclusive access to the perfect spots on the beach. This means no packed public beaches and exorbitant parking fees. Also, cabanas, lounge chairs and beach volleyball courts are part of the Sea Island experience. All you need to bring is a swimsuit.

Stay: Sea Island Resort

The accommodations that come with these glorious Georgia beaches have an award-winning history as one of the best and most luxurious places to stay in the nation. On the Forbes Best Of list for over 13 years, Sea Island has hosted countless celebrities and politicians. The appeal of the resort comes from more than just its pristine beaches. When you stay here, you never have to leave. There are bars, restaurants and countless activities to enjoy all day long. The service is full of Southern hospitality, and the style is grand and genteel. Huge rooms with every amenity are the norm.

The Hamptons

The Beach: Coopers Beach

To be named one of the best beaches in the US, you’ve got to be pretty good. Coopers Beach in Southampton is renowned as the best beach in the Hamptons. It’s massive with white quartz sand and picturesque dunes.

Stay: Shou Sugi Ban House

Not that you need anything more relaxing when you’re already on the beach, but restoration and wellness are always welcome. Shou Sugi Ban House is the only true wellness program in the Hamptons. Designed to incorporate the principle of wabi-sabi and Japanese traditions, the retreat infuses integrative wellness into the stay. With just 13 rooms, guests are truly secluded in their own oases. Different programs incorporate nutrition and exercise, as well as gentle or advanced massage and bodywork. Skin care treatments transform you head to toe. Check out our review on Shou Sugi Ban House here.

Kailua Beach

Hawaii

The Beach: Kailua Beach

If you’re in Hawaii, chances are you’ll be able to find one of the best beaches in the US in pretty much any direction. Kailua, on Oahu, might take the cake, though, when it comes to the best of the best. The reef-protected golden bay is a perfect calm spot for swimming and community favorite windsurfing. But in addition to the idyllic waters and sand that you expect from Hawaii, Kailua has Kalapawai Market, a fresh food store with delectable lunch options and coffees, as well as boat rentals. Not only are the physical features of this beach amazing, but the whole vibe makes for picture-perfect days.

Stay: Turtle Bay

Oahu draws surfers and movie sets like the Hunger Games to its incomparably beautiful shores. The luxury resort Turtle Bay adds to the splendor of the location. Turtle Bay draws from the natural environment and builds luxury around it. Activities like horseback riding, surfing, picnicking and snorkeling take center stage. But the lush accommodations, many of which have recently been redone, are a dream to come home to. The resort also ticks the boxes when it comes to sustainability.

Malibu

The Beach: El Matador

The backdrop for many a photoshoot, El Matador is a sight to behold. There are lots of amazing beaches in Malibu, but if you’re only going to one, it should be this one. The incredible rock formations make discovery and adventure a necessary part of the experience. The view from the parking lot on the cliff above adds to the drama of the beach, which though large in scale, has tons of small corners and cave-like passageways for exploration.

Stay: Nobu Ryokan

This transformed beach motel is refined and incredibly well designed, highlighting the nearby ocean and gardens. Room service comes straight from Nobu, and guests have first dibs at reservations. But you might want to stay in, as all 16 unique rooms center around fireplaces, Japanese soaking tubs and breathtaking views. $2,000 a night is for a select crowd, but Nobu Ryokan certainly meets the standards of such hefty price tag.

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