Sun, Sand, and Serenity: The Five Best Beaches in the United States
FIVE BEST BEACHES IN THE UNITED STATES
The United States boasts an incredibly diverse coastline, stretching from the rugged shores of Alaska to the tropical beaches of Hawaii. Whether you're looking for a beachside adventure or a relaxing getaway, here are the five best beaches in the United States that you can't miss.
1. Clearwater Beach, Florida: Clearwater Beach is a key barrier island located off the west coast of Florida and is part of the city of Clearwater. Its history is a tapestry of various influences, from the Tocobaga Native American tribes who once inhabited the region to Spanish explorers, such as Panfilo de Narvaez, who landed near the area in the early 16th century.
In the 1890s, Clearwater's population began to grow, driven by the extension of the railroad to the city. However, the beach itself remained relatively undeveloped until the completion of the Clearwater Beach Causeway in 1926, which linked it to the mainland. The popularity of the beach as a tourist destination soared after World War II, as more Americans began traveling for leisure, and the appeal of Florida's sunny beaches became widely recognized.
In the years since, Clearwater Beach has transformed from a quiet beach town into a major tourist hub, known for its beautiful white sand beaches and clear waters.
A few highlights for activities are Pier 60, a renowned spot for fishing and enjoying the sunset. This location also hosts a daily festival featuring musicians, kiosks, and other performers. Visit Clearwater Marine Aquarium - home to the dolphin star named Winter from Dolphin Tale. This museum focuses on rescue operations for marine life. Several companies offer boat tours, and of course, there are many dining attractions.
WHERE TO STAY
Sandpearl Resort. This beachfront luxury destination offers guests top-notch amenities, including lagoon-style pools, beach cabanas, and a serene spa. This property has Camp Ridley, which is a kids' club that provides activities for children.
Opal Sands Resort: This luxury resort offers a modern and stylish setting with all rooms having Gulf front views. The curved exterior ensures guests enjoy a panoramic view of the Gulf of Mexico. With a zero-entry pool, a full-service spa, and upscale dining options like Sea-Guini, which offers fresh seafood and Italian cuisine, it's a top choice for luxury travelers.
Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa: This high-end resort offers spacious suites with private balconies, a pool deck with 20 air-conditioned poolside cabanas, and the Sandava Spa for relaxation. Dining options include SHOR American Seafood Grill, which offers Gulf views and an array of seafood dishes.
2. Oahu, Hawaii - Lanikai Beach: Lanikai Beach, meaning "heavenly sea" in Hawaiian, is a small stretch of beach located in the town of Kailua on Oahu's windward (eastern) coast. Historically, the Kailua region was an ahupua'a, or a division of land stretching from the mountains to the sea, where resources were shared among the inhabitants. As with many areas in Hawaii, the coastal lands near Kailua were prized by Hawaiian royalty, or ali'i, for their beautiful beaches and rich fishing grounds.
Over time, as Hawaii became more Westernized and known to the broader world, places like Lanikai became popular retreats for the wealthy and famous. In the 20th century, the area around Kailua and Lanikai began to develop more substantially, with homes, resorts, and other infrastructure sprouting up.
WHERE TO STAY
The Halekulani Hotel: While not directly in Lanikai, this luxury hotel in Waikiki is one of Oahu's most iconic and prestigious resorts. A short drive from Lanikai, the Halekulani boasts oceanfront rooms, a world-class spa, and some of Honolulu's finest dining establishments, including La Mer and Orchids. The level of service, attention to detail, and the classic elegance of this hotel make it a favored choice for luxury travelers.
Lanikai Vacation Rentals: Various vacation homes and villas are available for rent in the Lanikai area. These rentals can range from quaint beachfront cottages to luxurious estates. Staying in a vacation rental here allows visitors to experience the beach's tranquility and beauty right at their doorstep. Websites like Airbnb, VRBO, and local Hawaiian vacation rental sites can provide listings.
B&Bs in Kailua: There are several bed and breakfasts and boutique accommodations in the Kailua area, offering a more intimate and local experience than larger resorts. Some of these B&Bs have garnered excellent reviews for their hospitality, local knowledge, and comfortable settings.
3. Florida - Siesta Key Beach: Siesta Key Beach is located on Siesta Key, a barrier island off the coast of Sarasota, Florida. The beach is renowned for its powdery white quartz sand, which remains cool to the touch even under the hot Florida sun. Due to its beauty and unique characteristics, Siesta Key Beach has been consistently ranked among the top beaches in the United States.
On Sunday evenings, catch one of the drum circles on the beach, visit Siesta Key Village, and hit the shops, cafes, and bars. You can charter a fishing boat, engage in water sports, or, depending upon the time of the year, you might catch a sculpting competition or seafood festival.
WHERE TO STAY:
The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota. Marrying beachfront luxury with urban elegance, this resort is perfect for those seeking a top-tier golf and spa experience. This was our second choice the Ritz in Amelia Island. We should have chosen Sarasota.
Tropical Breeze Resort: Just a short walk from the famous Siesta Key Beach, this resort offers a combination of suites, studios, and villas. With modern amenities and a cozy atmosphere, it's nestled within a tropical setting and provides guests with complimentary beach equipment, bikes, and pools. Its location near Siesta Key Village gives guests easy access to local restaurants and shops.
The Inn on Siesta Key: This boutique hotel combines old Florida charm with modern conveniences. With only six units, it offers an intimate experience and has garnered praise for its clean, well-appointed rooms and its hospitable staff. It's conveniently located near both the beach and the village.
4. South Carolina - Myrtle Beach: As the name suggests, the primary attraction is the beach itself. Enjoy sunbathing, swimming, beach volleyball, and other classic beach activities on the soft sands of Myrtle Beach. Visit the Boardwalk & Promenade and stroll along this 1.2-mile walkway featuring numerous shops, cafes, arcades, and bars. If you are brave, get a panoramic view of the city and the Atlantic Ocean on the Myrtle Beach Skywheel - a 187-foot tall Ferris wheel located on the boardwalk.
Broadway on the Beach is a popular entertainment complex with shopping, dining, attractions like Ripley's Aquarium, mini-golf, and WonderWorks, an interactive science museum. Schedule time for Family Kingdom Amusement Park - an oceanfront amusement park with traditional rides, including roller coasters, Ferris wheels, and go-karts. Or, ride some waves at Myrtle Waves Water Park: South Carolina's largest water park, it's a great place to cool down with various slides, pools, and a lazy river.
WHERE TO STAY:
Marina Inn at Grande Dunes. With its pristine views of the Intracoastal Waterway, guests can enjoy private beach access and gourmet dining.
North Beach Plantation: This luxury resort boasts a Caribbean-themed pool area with swim-up bar, private cabanas, a world-class spa, and upscale dining options.
The Ritz-Carlton, Myrtle Beach (if available): The Ritz-Carlton properties are synonymous with luxury, and if they have a location in Myrtle Beach during your time of booking, it would be a top choice.
5. Maine - Ogunquit Beach: Ogunquit, whose name means "beautiful place by the sea" in the indigenous Abenaki language, began as a small fishing village. It became a favored summer resort and artists ' colony over time, especially in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The picturesque landscapes, serene beaches, and charming town drew both artists and tourists alike.
The Ogunquit Playhouse, established in 1933, cemented the town's reputation as a cultural hotspot. Marginal Way is a scenic cliff walk stretching about a mile and a quarter from Ogunquit Beach to Perkins Cove, offering breathtaking ocean views. Go whale watching or do a fishing tour before you watch a performance at the Ogunquit Playhouse, known as America's Foremost Summer Theater. Stroll through Perkins Cove and go shopping, peruse the galleries' offerings, and dine at their restaurants. This is also where many boat tours launch from.
WHERE TO STAY:
Cliff House Maine: Located on cliffs overlooking the ocean, this luxury resort offers top-tier accommodations, a spa, and stunning sea views. It provides a modern yet quintessential New England experience.
The Beachmere Inn: Situated along the Marginal Way, this family-operated inn offers a range of accommodations from rooms to suites, all complemented by beautiful ocean views. Their environmentally-conscious approach is a bonus.
Gorges Grant Hotel: A popular choice in Ogunquit, this hotel provides comfortable accommodations, an indoor pool, and an on-site restaurant, making it convenient for travelers.
Conclusion: From the turquoise waters of Florida to the lush landscapes of Hawaii, these beach destinations promise the perfect blend of natural beauty and luxury. Teamed up with some of the finest resorts in the nation, you're guaranteed an unforgettable vacation experience. Ready for a slice of beachfront paradise? These destinations await!