What State Has the Best Beaches in the US?

The United States has thirty states with a coastline. Of that thirty, eight are on the Great Lakes and twenty-three on the sea. (We didn’t add wrong, New York is on both the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean.) So which state has the best beaches in the US?

The state with the best beaches in the US is a question of fierce debate, but there is a reason Hawaii, California, and Florida are popular answers. Yet, some of the more overlooked states have some stunning beaches to explore.

The US coastline is varied both in climate, terrain, and access. What makes a beach “the best” depends on if you are a sun worshipper, surfer, or a lover of wild horses. Some states have gorgeous, rugged coastlines and easy public access. So which state has the best beaches for you?

Alaska: State with the Best Beaches with Rugged Beauty

Alaska has beaches that are framed by jaw-dropping beauty. Their towering snow-covered mountains are stunning. So yes, the ocean in Alaska is cold. But those long summer days are tough to beat, and the coastline offers plenty of hiking and water sport, including kayaking. The wildlife is in abundance, from whales to giant birds of prey.

If you are a true outdoor lover, visiting the Alaskan coastline at least once in your life is a must.

3 Unforgettable Alaskan Beaches

Bishop’s Beach, Homer

This is a wonderful family beach near restaurants and a range of accommodation options. People love to wander the beach on low tide and look at the sea life in the tidal pools. Bird watchers adore it, and children love it when they spot an otter. In the backdrop are those gorgeous Alaskan mountains.

Black Sand Beach, Prince William Sound

Outdoor enthusiasts jump at the chance of experiencing a beach where you can see a glacier and hear its roar. The experience produces unforgettable awe. You can only reach this one-of-a-kind beach by boat. You either join a charter or, for the brave and fit, kayak in. You won’t regret it.

Eagle Beach, Juneau

The view from Eagle Beach is magnificent. It is also where a river meets the sea. Thus, if you time it right, you can visit during the salmon run. The fish attract other wildlife, including bald eagles and bears.

Florida: State with the Best Beaches for Sun Worshippers

If you want sun, you can’t beat the southeasternmost US state that is framed by the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Winter in Florida is nicer than most places’ summer, and their summers are warm and humid. As a result, Florida is a sun worshipper’s paradise.

3 Sunny Florida Beaches

Key West

Key West has more beaches than some people have shoes. This warm and relaxed area was home to Hemingway. The area is also great for swimming and snorkeling.

Miami Beach

With sun, celebrities, and nightlife, Miami Beach is for the sun lover eager to socialize. Whatever you choose to do here, the experience will be unforgettable.

St. Petersburg

“The Sunshine City” holds the Guinness World Record for the most consecutive days of sunshine. If you are a sun worshipper, that’s all you need to know. But should you want a break from suntan lotion, it is also home to the Salvador Dali Museum.

Hawaii: State with the Best Beaches for Surfers

Let’s be honest, Hawaii is gorgeous and has amazing beaches that offer so much: snorkeling, swimming, or just lying on the sand. But while many states have awesome waves, including California and New Jersey, Hawaii is a surfer’s dream.

3 Awesome Hawaiian Surf Spots

Kaanapali, Maui

Yes, die-hard surfers love it here. But what is also noteworthy is this area is suitable for beginners, too. Those that want to venture slightly further out can also take advantage of the fantastic cliff diving.

North Shore, Oahu

There is a reason competitions are held here. Surfers speak about this place like it is a holy site (hey, maybe it is, we’re not judging). However, for those that prefer to experience the coast on land, there is plenty of fantastic hiking in the area, too, and a whole lot more.

Waikiki, Honolulu

Host of the annual Duke’s OceanFest, the premier ocean sports festival, this area is perfect for surfers and other active beach enthusiasts. When you are done with being wet, stop by the Honolulu Zoo and see a Komodo dragon. There is also a fantastic reef exhibit at the Waikiki Aquarium.

North Carolina, Maryland & Virginia: States with the Best Beaches for Wild Horses

Yes, we cheated; this is three states. But their state lines are close together with two states both responsible for one island where horses roam. It’s complicated. But all you need to decide is which horses to visit first. 

3 Costal Places to See Wild Horses

Assateague Island

Assateague Island is split between Maryland and Virginia and has 37 miles of coastline. The over three hundred wild horses that live here are in separate herds. It is believed the horses end up on the island after a shipwreck. The horses on the Virginia side are known as the Chincoteague ponies.

There are two entrances to the island: from the north, eight miles from Ocean City, Maryland; the south, two miles from Chincoteague, Virginia.

Carova Beach

Carova Beach is the best place to see the Corolla wild horses. There are no paved roads, so a 4X4 is required if you want to drive around. Visitors must remember to stay 50 feet or more from the horses, and it is against the law to feed them.

Shackleford Banks

Shackleford Banks is the Cape Lookout National Seashore’s southern-most barrier island. It is home to around a hundred wild horses known as the Horses of Shackleford Banks. Visitors can visit via boat or make use of the passenger ferry. As in other areas, you are not allowed to go up to the horses or feed them.

Oregon: State with the Best Beaches for Public Access

Oregon’s beaches belong to Oregonians. It is illegal to block public access to the coastline, and private ownership of Oregon beaches is forbidden, including the dry areas. This is a fairly unique law in the United States, and it has helped preserve the rugged landscape and coastline. The pristine state of Oregon’s beaches might be why Hollywood enjoys using them for films.

3 Oregon Beaches in the Movies

Astoria

Astoria is on the south shore of the Columbia River, where it flows into the sea. It is home to the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. While many films have ties to this town, our favorite is the 1985 modern misfit classic, The Goonies.

Cannon Beach

This beach is famed for Haystack Rock. So yes, The Goonies did some filming here, too. But so did Point Break, Twilight, and 1941.

Face Rock, Bandon

Parts of the 2018 film, Damsel was shot in various areas of the Oregon coast, including Face Rock beach in Bandon. The rock is part of a local Native American legend that also involves the smaller rocks surrounding the woman’s face. Locals say that when waves crash over her during big storms, it looks as if she is crying. 

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