Check out the top 10 beaches in the United States, according to Trip Advisor users. Starting from the top and working left to right, read a bit about each top-rated beach below or click the top photo to read about each destination in the gallery.
Some of the most beautiful beaches in the world are not equipped for large crowds. How would they stay unexploited if everyone visited? Lanikai Beach is one of those beaches. It doesn’t have public parking or public restrooms, but the view on the 0.5 mile beach is worth the isolation from the outside world. Lanikai is located within Kailua, a neighborhood on the coast of Oʻahu.
Hanalei Beach might look familiar to fans of “The Descendents” starring George Clooney. Scenes from the movie were filmed there and in surrounding Hanalei. The beach is consistently rated as one of the world’s top beaches by travelers and expert guides, like Frommers, for its golden sand, aquamarine waters and volcanic cliffs. The 2 mile sandy getaway is on the North Shore of Kauai.
Hanauma Bay sits along the southeast coast of Oʻahu about 10 miles east of Waikiki. Hanauma is known for its remarkable snorkeling, providing the chance to see turtles or Humuhumunukunukuapuaa, the Hawaiian state fish. Whether you are snorkeling or sunbathing, arrive as early in the day as possible. The popular park gets crowded daily and once the parking lot is full, visitors will be turned away.
Hunting Island State Park
Hunting Island, in South Carolina, has a laid-back feel for lovers of beaches, camping and wildlife. Check out the island’s lighthouse for striking views of the marshland, beach and Atlantic Ocean. Visit the nature center for an exploration of local birds and fish. Hiking enthusiasts will be delighted at the trail options. For something extra special, visit in December, January or February, when equestrian beach access is available.
Beautiful sunsets in Maui motivate residents and visitors to stop what they are doing and walk to the closest beach to enjoy the sky’s dramatic display of colors. Plan your visit around the sunset if you are visiting Ka’anapali Beach in the afternoon or evening. If visiting during the day, head to the gorgeous cerulean waters of Ka’anapali Beach early. The stunning snorkeling at Black Rock at Ka’anapali is also best enjoyed early in the day to avoid strong winds. Ka’anapali Beach is on Maui.
Manini’owali Beach or Kua Bay, on the Big Island, is known for its fine, white sand and incomparable clear, aquamarine water. Be mindful of the beach’s lava rocks, which are more pronounced during the winter months. Sunbathing and body-boarding are popular at this waterfront, but if you are looking for shade you will need to pack a beach umbrella. Dolphins and whales have been spotted from the Manini’owali bay, but taking a day cruise will give you a better chance to see the cetaceans.
Saint Pete Beach
Like Manini’owali, Saint Pete has sandy white beaches, in Pinellas County, Florida. Saint Pete Beach is known for the refreshing, flat waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The beach and the surrounding community has a lax vibe. If looking for a bit more glamour, you’ll find it at the noticeable pink hotel that greets visitors, the architecturally grand Don CeSar. If not staying at the historic hot spot, plan an afternoon visit for a tropical drink or lunch by the pool. If up for exploring, visit the surrounding beaches.
Wai’anapanapa State Park
Take the Hana Highway east and at the end you’ll find the beautiful 122-acre Waiʻanapanapa State Park. Wai’anapanapa, in the town of Hana on Maui, is perfect for beach lovers looking for a more natural, wild experience. The low-cliffed volcanic coastline has a plethora of activity options, including sunbathing, picnicking, shore fishing, hardy hiking and camping. The anchialine pools offer visitors a hiatus from urban life. In the, park, you’ll also discover a hala forest, a natural stone arch and a black sand beach.
Siesta Key Public Beach
Siesta Key calls Sarasota, Florida home and is known for its incredibly clean, hard packed white sand beach. The warm waters are light green at the shore and fade into a deep blue. Sarasota is boastful of its beautiful beach and employs lifeguards year round while planning various events for families, seniors and guests. Noticeable features are the relatively cool sand and almost always calm waters. You can check the daily conditions on this local live cam.
While not as well known, Wailea offers five beaches spread across land three times the size of Waikiki. The 1,500 acres of land provide unique ocean views from crescent-shaped shores. Wailea is known for its luxury resorts and golf courses and the public beaches offer privacy and serenity for visitors sunbathing and swimming. Vacationers devoted to fine dining, shopping and art will love the rich choices just steps from the sand. Wailea is also home to Whale Week in February.
What do you think of Trip Advisor’s top beaches in the United States? How many have you been to? Which beach should have made the list? Where is your favorite beach?