1: Manele Bay, Hawaii
Hulopo’e Beach on the island of Lana’i, long considered one of the world’s most perfect stretches of sand, lies at the base of the Four Seasons Lana’i at Manele Bay. The resort overlooks the bay, a designated marine preserve filled with colorful fish and the occasional spinner dolphin. In fact, snorkeling and diving spots here are considered some of the finest in Hawaii, making a swim in the 70-degree water all the more tempting.
As the largest resort along South Carolina’s 60-mile Grand Strand, Myrtle Beach is the East Coast’s ultimate vacation hub. The town teems with summertime action: beaches dotting the Strand, amusement and water parks, restaurants and live entertainment. Myrtle Beach’s actual beach is an extensive stretch of silky white sand, with opportunities for fishing, swimming, sunbathing, sailing and surfing.
A trip to Nantucket is like visiting a faraway fairytale land — one set against a bright blue backdrop of ocean and bay in a community of simple, weathered white cottages surrounded by wild roses. This former whaling community has quaint neighborhoods and a beach for everyone, including Surfside Beach and Children’s Beach, both of which feature calm waters and no shortage of sandcastles.
Picture Hawaii and you’re probably conjuring images of Kauna’oa Bay without even realizing it. Located on the Kohala Coast of the Aloha-state’s Big Island, Kauna’oa Bay is quintessential, picture-postcard Hawaii. With its abundant white sand, palm trees and clear, calm blue water, the crescent-shaped beach is a natural draw for sun worshipers, water sport enthusiasts and families in search of safe, sandy fun.
5: Clearwater Beach, Florida
Clearwater Beach has lured countless families and couples to its broad, sandy shores and beachfront hotels. Spread along a narrow, 3-mile stretch of the Pinellas Peninsula on the Gulf Coast, Clearwater Beach straddles the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the west, and tranquil Tampa Bay to the east. Visitors enjoy sunbathing on white sandy beaches, diving into a game of beach volleyball, renting fishing boats, taking a dolphin-watching cruise, parasailing or heading to a mainland museum or aquarium.
6: Coronado, California
Coronado Central Beach, stretches 1.5 miles behind the great houses along Ocean Boulevard in front of the glamorous Hotel Del Coronado. Swimmers, bodysurfers, boogie boarders, sand sculptors, tide poolers and, from December through February, whale watchers all take to the sand and sea. North Beach attracts surfers in the morning, and at the extreme north is Dog Beach, where leashless canines can frolic in the surf.
7: Cape May, New Jersey
As the farthest point south on the Shore, Cape May is the crown jewel of the region with gorgeous beaches and a quaint town center filled with gingerbread Victorians and colorful bed and breakfasts. Bring your binoculars to the beach to spy the playful dolphins jumping in the wake.
8: Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
As summer commences, crowds swarm Martha’s Vineyard in droves, but respite can be found in the Vineyard’s far eastern reaches — up-island, as it’s known locally — at Moshup Beach. Tucked beneath the infamous Gay Head Cliffs, Moshup Beach is an unspoiled paradise of soft, white sand framed by red, brown and tan striated cliffs looming from above.
9: East Hampton, New York
Strolling along the broad stretches of white sand, listening to roaring waves and passing the glorious mansions of Lily Pond, it’s easy to see why East Hampton is a beloved New York destination any time of year. The picturesque town is a favorite with A-listers, and at the end of Main Street ,past sprawling yards and fences surrounding huge homes, is Main Beach, where perfect white beaches and incredibly tasty lobster rolls await.
10: Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina
Stretching for 72 miles along the Atlantic coast on the Outer Banks, the Cape Hatteras National Seashore is a skinny strip of barrier islands from Nags Head to Ocracoke Island. The beach’s hallmark high, sandy dunes front frothy surf perfect for swimming, beachcombing and body-surfing. Visitors can climb up 248 steps to the top of the nation’s tallest lighthouse — towering at an impressive 196 feet — for a spectacular view of the seashore.