Boasting a whopping 12,380 miles (19,924 kilometers) of coastline, it’s little wonder that the US is famed for being a top beach destination. From tropical paradises to rugged coves, state parks and superb surf spots, there’s a full spectrum when vacationing on the shores of this nation. With so many people traveling these days it can be hard to find a special place to relax. Here we’ve selected 10 of the country’s best hidden beaches; just try and keep them a secret!
1. Bahia Honda State Park, Florida
Despite the location in the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Keys aren’t as famous as for their beaches as you would think. Enter Bahia Honda State Park, on Bahia Honda Key. The sugary white sand and crystal-clear waters evoke images of an island in the Caribbean. You won’t need a snorkel to spot colorful fish, but if you have one then you’ll be in for an even bigger treat.
2. Bandon State Natural Area, Oregon
From Coquille Point to Face Rock, it’s easy to find a secluded spot at this 879-acre (356-hectare) west coast state park. Mighty sea stacks decorate the shoreline and, together with the grass-covered dunes, create a postcard-perfect scene. It’s a great spot for taking long walks and galloping along the seashore on horseback. Keep an eye out for the resident seals basking in the sunshine.
3. Cumberland Island, Georgia
You’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time while exploring this 18-mile (29-kilometer) sweep of golden sand. The remains of Spanish mission churches scatter the island and wild horses roam freely amid the grassy dunes. Access to the island is by water only and a passenger ferry departs from the city of St. Marys.
4. Coon Creek Beach, California
California has its fill of overcrowded beaches, and it seems impossible to find one that remains under the radar. That’s where Coon Creek Beach comes in. When the rental motorhomes and convertibles cruising Highway 1 become too much, this sandy cove provides a well-earned respite. The best way to get here is to hike south from Montaña de Oro State Park. With enough time, you could continue to Point Buchon for more views of Big Sur’s dramatic bluffs and thundering Pacific surf.
5. Folly Beach, South Carolina
About a 20-minute drive from Charleston is the beautiful and family-friendly Folly Beach. From admiring the views from the pier to surfing at Folly’s Washout and hiking in Folly Beach Country Park, there’s boundless things to do. The beach town also has a solid offering of bars, seafood shacks, inns and villas, too, so you won’t feel too isolated in this hidden gem.
6. Lanikai Beach, Kailua, Hawaii
It is possible to escape the crowds for a while when vacationing in and around Honolulu. We promise! When tourists head to the beaches of the North Shore, do as the locals do and hang out at Lanikai Beach. Lanikai translates to Heavenly Sea, and a dip in the bath-like water lives up to the name. The palm-fringed curve of pure white sand is the stuff of Hawaiian dreams, and you can enjoy a clear view of Mokula islands while not being bothered by hordes of tourists and resort staff.
7. Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
Here’s one for those beach dwellers who appreciate that the journey is sometimes as thrilling as the destination. First you’ll need to drive to Cedar Island and then take a ferry across the Pamlico Sound to the Ocracoke. Once here, a single road brings you within walking distance of secluded bays, unblemished stretches of sand, rolling, windswept dunes and salt marshes.
8. Rye on the Rocks, New Hampshire
Most surfers will agree that Bass Beach (aka Rye on the Rocks) is the best break on New Hampshire’s 16-mile (26-kilometer) long coastline. It’s a bit of a state secret but fortunately the locals are a welcoming crowd. So grab your board, paddle out and enjoy the thrill of riding beefy waves that crash onto exposed rocks. The adjacent Jenness State Beach is great for long walks and exploring tidal pools.
9. Second Beach, Washington
Few things in life are as soothing as waking up to the sound of the ocean and you can do just that on