With over 95,000 miles of shoreline, the United States has a whole lot of coast in which to host some of the best beach towns in the world. Plus, each state, city and town in America has its own character and charm so it’s up to you to scour the land in order to find your favourite. To narrow it down, we’ve thoroughly researched the best beach towns in the USA to give you some ideas on where to start. From Victorian seaside resorts and wild horses to gallery-lined streets and long swathes of sand, USA’s beach towns offer something for everyone!
If you're looking for a wild, island beach on the Atlantic Coast, look no further than Chincoteague, Virginia. As you leave the mainland you'll be in for a few days of remote bliss, spending time relaxing on stretches of white sand and watching wild ponies roam free. Chincoteague is quaint, quiet and unspoilt, and you won't find sand dunes lined with beach bars and cafés here. Instead, pack up a picnic or grab a kayak and head out for a day of freedom and fun. When you're ready to get back to civilisation, enjoy the town's excellent seafood restaurants which serve up local crabs and clams with gusto!
The coastal town of Cape May, New Jersey, dates back to 1790s and is thought to be one of the oldest seaside resorts in the country. With grand Victorian houses, inviting restaurants, interesting museums and festivals and vast expanses of golden sand, Cape May is a picture-perfect beach town. The whole town oozes romantic charm with boutique B&Bs and horse-drawn carriages trotting down the streets. It is an ideal place for a couple's retreat, allowing you to unwind and hark back to simpler days of times gone by.
Perhaps one of the most famous beach towns in the country, the resort of Key West, Florida, is popular among nationals and tourists alike who flock here to soak up the sun, relax under palm trees, swim in the crystalline waters and socialise in the buzzing shoreline streets. The colourful buildings are home to lively bars and stunning seafood restaurants which offer the perfect end to a day in paradise. Not only is Key West spectacular as a destination, but the journey to get there along the keys, coves, bridges and beaches is incredible too!
As the name suggests, Long Beach in Washington offers a sprawling shoreline, stretching a whopping 28 miles from end-to-end! This rugged peninsula perfectly combines traditional beach town kitsch (think: bumper cars, cotton candy and carousels), with a burgeoning food and bar scene that appeals to those with a more discerning taste. The area surrounding the town is family-friendly but if you want to get away from it all, take supplies and head further off-the-beaten-track to find a secluded spot. If you happen to visit in August, look out for the annual Washington State International Kite Festival, a huge kite-flying fiesta that is fun for all the family.
Last but by no means least is California's own Carmel-by-the-Sea. This beach town is one for those who want to combine coast and culture thanks to its stunning shoreline as well as a whole host of galleries that line the streets of this quaint beach town. While the rugged waters are better suited to surfers than swimmers, the rocky outcrops and cypress-lined shores make for epic photography as do the gorgeous sunsets that travellers are blessed with every evening.