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U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

Best Beaches in the USA

U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

We've narrowed down the field of the diverse and abundant beaches in the United States to help you choose the spot best suited for your next vacation. In addition to user votes and expert opinion, U.S. News considered which beaches boast smooth sand, pleasant waters and high-quality tourist attractions to bring you this list of the best beaches in the U.S. What's your favorite sandy spot in the country? Cast your vote below to play a role in determining next year's ranking. 

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Gold Badge #1 Maui

Gold Badge #1 in Best Beaches in the USA

Why go: Travelers flock to Maui for its diverse attractions and unforgettable geography, but its bountiful beaches are another major selling point. Be sure to check out the burgundy-hued sands of Kaihalulu, and if you want to try your hand at surfing, visit Ho'okipa Beach. Read More »

Hula Dancing
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Gold Badge #2 Hawaii - The Big Island

Gold Badge #2 in Best Beaches in the USA

Why go: Big Island is called "Big Island" for a reason: Its offerings are abundant, and so are its beaches. Here you'll find some geologic oddities – ever been to a beach with green sand? – and awe-inspiring natural wonders. Hapuna, Kaunaoa or Kua Bay offer serene sands for your island getaway. Read More »

Hawaii - The Big Island
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Gold Badge #3 Honolulu - Oahu

Gold Badge #3 in Best Beaches in the USA

Why go: Oahu is the most popular tourist destination in Hawaii and its sprawling, white-sand beaches are to thank. Scattered throughout the island's coastline, you'll find several highly praised shorelines, including the resort-heavy Waikiki Beach, where the safe swimming conditions cater to families. Read More »

Surf's Up
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#4 Outer Banks

#4 in Best Beaches in the USA

Why go: OBX's largely undeveloped landscape means you'll have plenty of unobstructed photo ops. Peaceful waves, usually calm enough for swimmers of all levels, will put an extra dose of relaxation in your vacation. Just be sure to check swimming conditions before entering the water. Read More »

Outer Bank beaches
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#5 Destin

#5 in Best Beaches in the USA

Why go: The sand at this waterfront locale isn't your ordinary ground glass. Instead, the beaches of Destin are made up of pure Appalachian quartz, making the shores bright white. For some of the best views, visit Henderson Beach State Park just east of Destin's airport. Read More »

Boating
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#6 Miami Beach

#6 in Best Beaches in the USA

Why go: Miami Beach caters to both the party-hungry and the relaxation-seeking beachgoer. You can spend your days soaking up the rays at Lummus Park in South Beach or lounge on the quieter sands of Haulover Beach Park (but beware, this stretch of shoreline is clothing optional). Come nightfall, you can revel in seaside entertainment. Read More »

Ocean Drive
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#7 Hilton Head

#7 in Best Beaches in the USA

Why go: With its pristine beaches, this South Carolina retreat attracts East Coasters looking for golden sands with a hint of luxury. Coligny Beach touts a shopping area and plenty of dining options, but you'll find fewer crowds and better swimming conditions at the calmer Alder Lane. Read More »

Aerial Harbour Town
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#8 South Padre Island

#8 in Best Beaches in the USA

Why go: Beachfront hotels and affordable nightlife make South Padre Island a go-to spot for college students on spring break. But for the rest of the year, SPI's sparkling ocean water and wide beaches beckon calmer crowds. Kiteboarding and windsurfing are two of the most popular ways for visitors to get out on the water. Read More »

South Padre Island Morning
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#9 Cape Cod

#9 in Best Beaches in the USA

Why go: Sure, Cape Cod's breezy seaside has drawn influential politicos and celebrities for decades, but don't think that the Cape is all about glitz and glamour. Revel in the relaxed atmosphere of the Rail Trail or the National Seashore. Or visit Nauset, Marconi or Herring Cove Beach for an extra dose of R&R. Read More »

Waves Crashing Along Cape Cod
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#10 Fort Lauderdale

#10 in Best Beaches in the USA

Why go: Some travelers consider Fort Lauderdale a laid-back alternative to Miami Beach. Stretching across 23 miles, Fort Lauderdale Beach boasts plenty of relaxing real estate to go around. Should you crave a more rowdy night scene, South Beach is just a quick drive down Route 1A. Read More »

Fort Lauderdale
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Vote to Add these Destinations to the Rankings

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Key West

Busker

Key West

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Virginia Beach

King Neptune

Virginia Beach

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Martha's Vineyard

Sunset on Martha's Vineyard

Martha's Vineyard

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St. Petersburg, FL

Sunshine City

St. Petersburg, FL

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