Our pick of the USA’s best beaches

10 January 2019

The United States of America is incredibly vast with almost every landscape imaginable. On a journey through the States, you can easily discover snowy mountains, deserts and forests in a single trip. And then there are the beaches – take a look at our top picks of them in America.

Daytona Beach, Florida

Daytona’s expansive shoreline boasts almost 40km of golden sands close to plenty of opportunity for shopping, dining and entertainment. It’s the perfect beach for families with activities from water sports to cycling along the promenade, plus the world-famous speedway. Or you can simply soak up the warm Florida sunshine.

TC Top Tip: Daytona has some gorgeous beachfront parks if you fancy getting away from the sand, with pavilions for fishing, splash parks and picnic areas to take advantage of.

“We took the kids to the marine wildlife centre to see the sea turtles up close and learn about their livelihood. It was a great day out for us all, the kids loved it, and as well as meeting the hatchlings they became acquainted with the sea birds at the centre too.”

Olive, Travel Counsellor

Clearwater Beach, Florida

Named the USA’s number 1 beach by TripAdvisor in 2018, Clearwater Beach boasts inviting soft sands and surf to splash around in. The Gulf waters are warm and perfect for taking a dip in any time, and the long beaches are teeming with activities and water sports to keep even the most active occupied.

TC Top Tip: Do the Beach Walk, a $30-million redevelopment initiative that has transformed the look and feel of south Clearwater Beach. It’s a broad, winding promenade surrounded by resorts, beautiful white sand, entertainment and art, offering a unique environment where you can fully enjoy the Gulf of Mexico.

“With miles of beach, surf shops, boutiques and a range of accommodation, Clearwater Beach is an ideal location to take a break from a busy Orlando holiday. We took a dip in the Gulf of Mexico and enjoyed the beautiful sunshine, and our afternoon was to be a huge highlight for me with the Dolphin Speedboat Racer experience. We spent an hour in a high-speed boat that creates a large wake in its path, which invited dolphins to jump and body surf alongside. As well as getting very wet, we were all full of smiles during the hour and didn’t want it to end.”

Lisa, Travel Counsellor

Sanibel and Fort Myers, Florida

Sanibel and Fort Myers both offer wide-open beaches and an exclusive array of shells. The area is home to plenty of gorgeous beaches including Boca Grande Beach on Gasparilla Island and five additional beaches facing the Gulf of Mexico. Family-friendly resorts and Gulf-side seafood restaurants can be found on 10km of white, sandy coastline. Make sure you stop by Times Square, a unique shopping and dining area located at the Fort Myers Beach Pier.

TC Top Tip: There are hundreds of islands dotting the Gulf waters, so try an even more secluded experience than the sparsely populated beaches on Sanibel and Captiva by island-hopping in the shallow waters of the Pine Island Sound. Visit one of 20 marinas where you’ll find a variety of charter and sightseeing cruises hopping between islands including Cayo Costa (a state park), Cabbage Key and Boca Grande.

“Sanibel is famed for its seashells, and you can easily see why the second you step onto the beach. It was covered. People were there from all over the world primarily to collect sea shells, we did feel slightly embarrassed that we’d previously had no knowledge of this phenomenon. But several of those shells are now taking pride of place on the hallway table.”

Neil, Travel Counsellor

Miami Beach, Florida


Trendy and quirky, Miami Beach attracts the rich and famous with its miles of golden sand and glittering nightlife. Roller skate down the promenade, enjoy people watching on the beach and admire the historic Art Deco architecture in the area.

TC Top Tip: Rent some chairs at South Beach’s 12th Street Beach to do some people watching. Just look for the rainbow flags posted at the lifeguard stations.

"Miami is the perfect holiday destination for those in search of a cosmopolitan city with sun-drenched beaches, world-class shopping, vibrant art deco architecture and a bustling nightlife. It's is best known for South Beach, a trendy playground of beautifully restored Art Deco hotels, stylish restaurants and nightclubs along miles of pristine beach. We stayed at the Circa 39 Hotel Miami Beach, a beautiful Art Deco building with private pool, which was a short cab ride from South Beach or a beautiful 25-minute walk along the iconic beachfront."

Jon, Travel Counsellor

Santa Monica, California

Probably the most iconic beach in SoCal, Santa Monica offers glorious expanses of beach, biking trails and activities, with everything you could ever want right at your fingertips. The famous pier features everything from rides and amusements to bars and restaurants and on the water, you’ll be able to surf and paddleboard, with lessons and rentals available.

TC Top Tip: Right on the seafront, the Annenberg Community Beach House is open to all and offers spectacular views, a splash pad, a beach area, a courtyard, a view deck, a playground and more.

“Santa Monica has a wonderful stretch of beach which merges with the neighbouring resort of Venice beach. It has a pier and funfair and just back from the beach is 3rd Street promenade, a place for shopping and dining. Santa Monica has a chic yet hippy and funky with some real characters - it’s here that you will find the infamous Muscle Beach, with young and old working out at the outdoor gym.”

Sarah, Travel Counsellor

Malibu, California

Malibu, California

Malibu is a beach-lovers’ dream, with nearly 40 of them to choose from, from the iconic Surfrider Beach to the cave-like rocks and cliffs of El Matador State Beach. Make sure you stock up on supplies as some of the beaches are so private and secluded you may be the only ones there.

TC Top Tip: Visit Paradise Cove for a long beach walk past the Malibu mansions and find some secluded beaches to explore along the way.

“Malibu beach is just fabulous – it’s a quiet escape from everything; you can stop and walk along the Malibu Beach pier, enjoy some delicious food at the highly recommended Malibu Farm restaurant or even spend the night overlooking the beach in The Inn at Malibu Beach. The drive from Santa Monica to Malibu and Malibu to Santa Barbara is breath-taking too. The route is the most scenic road I have ever travelled on; every bend brings a new landscape.”

Lorraine, Travel Counsellor

To book your USA beach holiday, contact your Travel Counsellor today.

Share this:

Travel Counsellors help thousands of people create personal travel experiences they’ll never forget. Start your journey today.
Find your Travel Counsellor
Back To Top