If everybody had an ocean across the USA, then everybody’d be surfin’ – so sang The Beach Boys. We might not all live a surfboard’s distance from the water, but many of us have incredible beaches awaiting us at the end of a car journey. From stunning golden sand bays to memorable wildlife-watching spots, the US is a beach-bum’s paradise. Here are 10 stunning seaside locations that’ll be sure to give you good vibrations. 

Indiana Dunes, near Chicago 

Boardwalk steps down a dune at Indiana Dunes National Park

To see Lake Michigan in a new light, look no further. Less than an hour’s drive out of the downtown hubbub of Chicago, Indiana Dunes is a peaceful oasis. And as the name suggests, it’s home to some pretty dramatic sand dunes. So much so, that competitors participate in an annual hiking challenge to traverse 1.5 miles of them.

Singing Beach, near Boston

picture of rock formations on a beach

It’s so-called because of the melodious sound the sand makes when you walk on it. Yet the scenery itself is enough to make anyone feel like breaking into song. With all those rocky formations and its unspoiled coastline, Singing Beach is one of Massachusetts’s finest beaches. For the adventurous among you, head straight to Eagle Head – it’s a popular rock-climbing spot.

Biloxi Beach, near New Orleans

picture of a dock is parked boats at sunrise

Stretching along the Mississippi Sound from New Orleans, Biloxi Beach offers fun for all the family. For the adrenalin junkies out there, there are jet-skis and kayaks to rent. Anyone looking for something a little more serene can immerse themselves in nature trails through wildlife sanctuaries. And when you’ve ticked those off, there are more islands to visit nearby — only reachable by boat.

Fire Island, near New York City

Fire Island National Seashore, Fire Island Lighthouse, Famous Place, Local Landmark, National Landmark

You’ll need to be patient — it’s a train, shuttle, and ferry ride away from mainland New York. But boy, is it worth the wait. One sight of the white sand dunes and lighthouse of Robert Moses State Park makes clear why. Soak in the laid-back atmosphere — as well as that sea salt — with some fantastic views. And if a day trip sounds like a tall order, never fear – you can camp!

Stinson Beach, near San Francisco

California, United States - Stinson Beach. Pride of Madeira (Echinum fastuosum) shrub.

It’s a stone’s throw — or rather a frisbee throw — away from San Francisco. And with surfing, fishing, and beach volleyball opportunities, it’s no wonder Stinson Beach is a local treasure. All that sea mist makes for a wonderfully mysterious atmosphere on this pristine gem. After all the fun in the sun, get some shade under giant redwoods in nearby Muir Woods!

Crandon Park beach, near Miami

Crandon Park beach in Key Biscayne in Miami. View of life guard's cabin with palm trees

A staple on lists of the nation’s top beaches, Crandon Park Beach is also a family favorite. And it’s no wonder this beauty — 20 minutes drive from downtown Miami — is so popular. Under all those palm trees (on two miles of beach, to be precise) lie quaint boardwalks and built-in barbecues. The more athletic among you can jump on a paddleboard or bike, in among feasting on those burgers!

Canaveral National Seashore, near Orlando

image of a man and two children walking down a boardwalk towards the beach

To launch your beach holiday to the next level, how about heading to one near the Kennedy Space Center? At Canaveral National Seashore, an hour from Orlando, a popular activity is viewing rocket launches. Yet aside from sky-gazing entertainment, the stunning beaches at ground level are enough to satisfy any visitor. Look at that sandy shorefront stretching into infinity — who needs to explore outer space?

Laguna Beach – one of the closest to Las Vegas

image of a girl walking with her dog on the beachfront surrounded by greenery

Okay, so Las Vegas is not the obvious departure point for a day out at the seaside. Yet at 276 miles from Sin City, Laguna Beach is within your reach in 5 hours. After a morning’s drive, you’ll have exchanged the desert heat for the cooling breezes of Crescent Bay. For seal-watching, and people-watching opportunities (it’s popular with artists), Laguna Beach is worth the effort.

Zuma Beach, Los Angeles

Young diver smiles while prepares for diving.

Surfing, swimming, diving — whatever your water sport, Zuma Beach is the place to be. It’s no surprise it’s one of the most popular in Los Angeles. Given it’s not unusual to spot dolphins and sea lions splashing around, it’s also an animal lover’s paradise. And after a long day in the sea, you can feed that appetite at a glitzy Malibu restaurant.

St. George Island, one of the closest beaches to Atlanta

A sailboat and a kayak on a sunny Florida Gulf coast beach

Beaches are magical places to be at any time of the day. Anyone who has enjoyed the magnificent sunsets from St George Island State Park can testify to that. A morning’s drive from Atlanta, its stargazing opportunities are worth the effort. And with the chance to canoe, fish, and hike to your heart’s content, it’s worth packing the trunk up.

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