Summertime beach getaways are an American pastime. Each year, millions flock to the coasts in order to bask in the sun, feel the warm sand in between their toes, and take a dip in the cool greenish-blue waters of the Atlantic, Pacific or Gulf. Unfortunately, those who usually enjoy hotspots like Destin and Pensacola have been forced to alter their plans because of the Gulf oil spill. But luckily for them, there are numerous other seashores to visit that offer the same scenic beauty – the only difference is that the non-Gulf waters may be a bit cooler. Below are ten beaches not on the Gulf Coast that meet the standards of every expert beach bum.
- Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
The death place of legendary pirate Blackbeard contains more than three centuries of history and culture left behind by traders and sailors from all over the world. The village of Ocracoke – home to the 1823 Ocracoke Lighthouses and the century-old David Williams house – is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The breathtaking beach is protected by 20-foot high sand dunes, which cover miles of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
- Bahia Honda State Park, Florida
Widely considered home to Florida’s most beautiful beaches, Bahia Honda State Park possesses soft sand and crystal clear water. It’s a snorkeler’s paradise because of the deep waters near shore, and kayaking and fishing opportunities are aplenty. The island boasts the highest quantity of colorful subtropical flowers in the Keys, including bay cedar, tiger lily and sea lavender. Silver and thatch palms ensure the beaches are authentically tropical.
- Hamoa Beach, Hawaii
Towering sea cliffs surround this less populated section of Maui, where the currents are strong and the surf is dangerous. Swimmers are encouraged to test the waters in the summer and early fall when conditions are safest. Those who prefer to stay dry can enjoy a picnic on the shore while observing the lush greenery.
- Kailua Beach, Hawaii
Located in the small town of Kilua – 30 minutes from Honolulu and 20 minutes from Waikiki – Kailua Beach lacks the hoards of people who occupy the rest of the island. Beachgoers enjoy the best conditions for swimming and wind surfing on the island. In fact, windsurfing champion Robby Naish honed is craft on Kailua’s waves.
- Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, Hawaii
Hanauma Bay Nature preserve is a protected marine life conservation area that offers snorkelers the opportunity to observe an abundance of marine life and large reefs. The circular-shaped beach, which sits on a volcanic crater, features Technicolor-quality blue waters. Visitors can find the most picturesque views of the bay by following one of the hiking trails along the coastline.
- Kiawah Beachwalker Park, South Carolina
The refreshing water of the Atlantic Ocean and the clean tan sand make Beachwalker Park one of the best summer hotspots on the East Coast. It’s family friendly; it has lifeguards, restrooms and a snack bar, so long days on the beach are easier to enjoy. A boardwalk gives beachgoers a chance to observe vegetation and wildlife when they aren’t taking a dip.
- East Hampton Main Beach, New York
Long Islanders flock with umbrellas in tow to East Hampton Main Beach during the summertime, where they enjoy hotdogs and lobster rolls while taking in the pleasant sounds of the crashing Atlantic waves. Of course, the area is kept in tip-top shape; a who’s who of celebrities and important people live nearby.
- Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Florida
Known for the 185-year-old lighthouse that overlooks the Atlantic, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park has long been a favorite place for Floridians to spend their summer days. The clear blue water is home to a wide variety of fish, making the area a fisherman’s paradise. After a day out in the water – or catching fish – beachgoers can enjoy a meal in one of the picnic pavilions.
- Cumberland Island, Georgia
When people think of beautiful beach scenery, Georgia doesn’t often come to mind. But Cumberland Island – Georgia’s largest and southernmost barrier island – offers 17 miles of pristine undeveloped beaches that sit alongside thick seaside forests, making it uniquely Georgian. The island boasts one of the largest coastal wilderness areas on the East Coast.
- Coronado Beach, California
California is known for its beaches. Coronado Beach is the gem of Southern California; perfect for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of big city life. When visitors aren’t enjoying the Pacific waters, they can visit the nearby parks, stores, restaurants and historic Hotel del Coronado.