central beach coronado

Favorite Beach Destinations

Our Favorite Beach Destinations in the U.S. for Swimming

We count ourselves lucky to have so many incredible beaches available to us right here in the United States. There’s a huge selection of beaches to be found in awesomely unique destinations from coast to coast. Given the sheer size of the country, it probably comes as no surprise that the U.S. ranks amongst the top countries in the world in terms of total miles of coastline. When you take a closer look at some of the most beautiful beaches in the United States, as we did with a short list of some of our personal favorites, you realize just how unique and special these places really are.

Before we dive in, it’s worth reminding you that this truly is a short list of our favorite beach destinations. We could list dozens more, but you have water sports to enjoy, and you can always check back in because we’re always updating our Waterhead blog with fresh content and new and awesome lists and other fun tips and helpful resources.

Ok! Ready, set… Surf’s up!

Woman in Coronado Beach
Coronado Beach, San Diego

Coronado Beach, San Diego

Perhaps the most popular of all beach destinations in San Diego, Coronado Beach stands resplendent with its shimmering gold sand and sparkling blue water along the southern California coast. For the purpose of this blog, we’re focusing on Coronado Central Beach, but if San Diego is your point of destination, be sure to also explore around Coronado Shores Beach (South Beach), Silver Strand State Beach, and Dog Beach (North Beach) where our four-legged friends are more than welcome.

Coronado Central Beach is an idyllic landscape whose clear blue waters are accented by a mineral-enriched beach that gives the sand itself a shimmering effect. There’s over a mile-and-a-half of mostly wide and expansive shoreline where you can enjoy not only perfect conditions for swimming, but also other activities such as sunbathing, knee boarding and body surfing, to name just a few. You’ll find access to public restrooms and facilities as well as plenty of options for eating and shopping nearby. Parking can sometimes be a bear at this popular destination known as the “Silver Strand,” connecting Coronado to Imperial Beach, so be sure to take a taxi or Uber in on busy days, especially weekends during the peak summer months of July through September. If you’re looking for the perfect beach for swimming, relaxing and breathtaking vistas, you can’t do much better than Coronado Central Beach in sunny California, U.S.A.

Destin, Florida

Beach in Destin. Florida
Beach in Destin. Florida

Destin is the most popular tourist destination in an area of the Florida Panhandle that has become known as the “Emerald Coast.” This roughly 100-mile stretch of coastline boasts emerald green waters that draw visitors from all over the world every year. Destin is also known for its sugar-fine, soft sand and wide, expansive beaches. You’ll enjoy a slice of paradise in this beach lover’s haven where you have access to beautiful beaches where the swimming conditions are nothing short of ideal.

Destin buildings and coastline Florida
Destin buildings and coastline Florida

Although people of any age are sure to find something that suits them in Destin, this particular location on our list of favorites is our personal choice for perfect-fit family beaches, with access to tons of water sports and activities, facilities and amenities, shopping, cuisine and entertainment. If you’ve been considering Florida for your next beach adventure, keep the Emerald Coast and Destin top-of-mind as you carry on your search!

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Hilton Head, oh sweet Hilton Head, with your beautiful, wide, white sand beaches, tall palm trees, warm blue waters and even warmer southern hospitality… oh how we love you.

It’s no mistake that Hilton Head has been a preferred vacation destination for decades, not only for travelers within the United States, but also for travelers from around the world. Besides featuring ideal beaches for swimming and sunbathing, Hilton Head also offers access to virtually limitless activities, from deep sea fishing and sailing to snorkeling and parasailing, boogie boarding and kite surfing to tennis and golf. And there’s also no shortage of great dining, shopping, entertainment and culture.

Hilton Head South Carolina
Hilton Head South Carolina

Some of our favorite beaches, to name only a few, include Coligny Beach, Burkes Beach and Driessen Beach Park. Hilton Head is the kind of enchanted destination that you find showing back up on your itinerary year after year after you’ve visited the first time. It just gets in you like that.

Wailea Beach, Maui, Hawaii

We’re jumping all the way to Hawaii to Wailea Beach in lovely Maui. Why Wailea Beach in particular? Oh, I don’t know, just because it’s basically Heaven on earth, if we’re assuming Heaven also has fine, gold sandy beaches and crystal clear, green and blue waters that are perfectly tailored for swimming, floating, letting all of your cares just drift away. So yeah, that’s why Wailea Beach!

Wailea Beach, Maui, Hawaii
Wailea Beach, Maui, Hawaii

If you are visiting Maui, you just have to make a point of checking it out. Although the resort is very popular and consistently draws visitors, there are plenty of advantages to this as well. There’s plenty of access to beach chairs and umbrellas, as well as facilities, food, and of course, water sports. The unfettered views of the vast horizon are enchanting, and the water and beach are a veritable dreamscape you must see in person to truly believe. Wailea Beach in Maui is a place to make memories that last forever.

Outer Banks, North Carolina

The Outer Banks is a broad reference to the 200-mile stretch of coastline and barrier islands along North Carolina and the southeastern coast of Virginia. There are too many beaches and inviting towns to name, but they are so inviting, that we couldn’t leave this destination off of our list. Cape Hatteras National Seashore provides breathtaking vistas and access to wide stretches of beaches, as well as access to a number of campgrounds that welcome the general public. Whether you’re visiting Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, Southern Shores, or our newest favorite Outer Banks location, (which also happens to be the most newly incorporated town in the OB), Duck, you are sure to find amazing stretches of beach with lots of amazing things to do.
Head to Kitty Hawk or Kill Devil Hills first if you’re more interested in surfing than swimming, although there’s great swimming at both of these places as well.

Outer Banks, North Carolina
Outer Banks, North Carolina

One of our favorite aspects of visiting the Outer Banks is how many choices there are for places to stay, from hotels and beach cottages to townhouses and bed and breakfast inns. There’s so much to discover in the Outer Banks and even more to enjoy. The natural wonder of the landscape and sheer amount of beautiful coastline makes the Outer Banks a destination you can always explore from a fresh perspective.

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