As an avid traveler and beach enthusiast, I have enjoyed visiting some of the best beach destinations in the world. From the Caribbean to Australia, Southeast Asia, and beyond. But to be honest, I haven’t seen much of the USA coastline and I’d love to change that one day! From the East Coast to the West Coast, and from the South to the North, the USA has a plethora of stunning beaches that I hope one day to explore, and for many of you these locales are just a hop, skip and a jump for you and offer a perfect escape from the daily grind. In this blog post, I will share my bucket list of beach getaways in the USA, including my most admired beaches, popular coastal cities, beach accommodations, and activities to do while at the beach. So, grab your sunscreen, and let's dive in together!
The Benefits of Visiting the Seaside
Whichever continent you are on, there is something magical about the seaside that instantly transports you to a state of serenity and relaxation. The sound of the waves crashing against the shore, the salty sea breeze, and the feel of the sand between your toes all contribute to the overall feeling of calmness and well-being. But, the benefits of visiting the seaside go beyond just relaxation. Us island girls have been saying this for a long time, but studies have actually shown that being near the ocean can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and boost mental health! In addition, the sea air is said to have a positive effect on respiratory health, while the sun provides a natural source of vitamin D. So, not only is a beach vacation a fun and relaxing experience, but it is also a healthy choice for your mind and body.
Popular Coastal Cities in the USA
The USA is home to some of the most iconic and vibrant coastal cities in the world. From the laid-back vibes of California to the historical charm of the East Coast, there seems to be a coastal city to suit every taste. One that I have visited many times is Miami, Florida. With its vibrant nightlife, art deco architecture, and white-sand beaches, Miami is a favorite among beachgoers and party animals alike. What I love about Miami is that there is INSPO everywhere!! From the Art Deco buildings and the endless boutiques with all sorts of glam resort wear, it’s a designer’s dream 🤩
While I’m far from a city girl, I have always wanted to visit San Diego. Why? Well, for one it doesn’t seem to get cold which is a win for me! And I have also heard that the beaches are stunning and there are endless outdoor activities. Other coastal cities I’d love to see include Charleston, Newport, and Seattle but only in the summer! I visited Seattle as a backpacker 30 years ago, when traveling all over the US. I loved exploring the waterfront and was fascinated to see big old lazy seals sunning themselves on the marinas right there in the middle of the city!
The Best Beaches on the East Coast
The East Coast of the USA is home to some of the most beautiful and historic beaches in the country. Dr. Google tells me that one of the most popular is Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. This family-friendly beach offers a wide range of activities, including water sports, amusement parks, and mini-golf courses. Another bucket-visit beach on the East Coast is Cape Cod, Massachusetts. I absolutely LOVE all the photos I have seen of Cape Cod, with its charming seaside towns, lighthouses, and seafood shacks. I have been lucky enough to work with some incredible sales representatives for the east coast of USA, so you can find West Indies Wear designs in many seaside locations dotted up the coast. Other top-rated beaches on the East Coast include Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, but I can’t choose! I want to see them all!
The Best Beaches on the West Coast
The West Coast of the USA is famous for its rugged coastline, dramatic cliffs, and stunning sunsets. Venice Beach, California is one of the most iconic beaches on the West Coast… And you know what? I have been there also as a young backpacker, I spent many hours people-watching… You could never get bored with so many different types of people out n about, enjoy all that Venice beach has to offer! With its eclectic mix of street performers, artists, and surfers, Venice Beach is a cultural hub that offers a super unique beach experience… Great for a visit, but far too busy for my style! I also rented a car and drove up the Californian coastline from LA to San Fran. WOW! What a spectacularly rugged coastline! Another must-visit beach on the West Coast is Cannon Beach, Oregon. This beach is known for its towering rock formations, picturesque lighthouse, and wide expanse of sand. As many of you know, my sister lived in Oregon for years and she told me once that there is a very good reason that they call it the “Coast” and not the “Beach”. While spectacularly scenic, the Oregon Coast is rainy and cold most of the time… Big puffy jackets at the beach?? No, thank you!
The Best Beaches in the South
The Southern region of the USA is known for its warm weather, southern hospitality, and delicious cuisine. The beaches in the South are no exception. My bucket list beach in the South is Gulf Shores, Alabama. Why on earth is Alabama top on my beach list, you might ask?! Alabama is known for being one of the leading producers of cotton in the United States! And you know how much this island girl loves her cotton… Fun fact: While Alabama is not the biggest producer, the state’s central location within the Cotton Belt gives it the nickname of “Cotton State”. Not to mention that this beach offers miles of pristine white sand, crystal-clear water, and plenty of outdoor activities that will be fun for the whole fam.
What to Pack for a Beach Vacation
When packing for a beach vacation, it's important to bring the right clothing to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Obviously you need your swimsuit, cover-ups, flip-flops and sunhat are essential for any beach vacation. It's also important to bring coastal clothing, such as shorts, tank tops, and sundresses, that are lightweight and breathable. And, don't forget to pack vacation clothing for dinners and outings, such as dresses, and shawls. Other essential items to pack for a beach vacation include sunscreen, sunglasses, a beach towel, and a beach bag to carry all your essentials! Here’s 4 top tips to keep in mind while you’re packing:
- Pure cotton sarongs: A simple rectangular piece of fabric that can be wrapped around the body as an instant beach cover-up, you can wear it in lots of different ways and if you choose pure cotton you will not overheat even on the hottest of summer days. This is the handiest beach accessory by far…. You will be amazed at how many different things you will use it for.
- Whatever you feel the happiest in: be stylish, be comfortable, be vibrant, and always be true to your inner island girl ☀️😍🌴🐟🌊
- Anything wrinkle-free: no one wants to iron on vacay!! Choose pieces from your island collection that you can roll up and pack, then shake out and wear!
- Don’t forget a cardi: cool ocean breezes, once the sun goes down, can make you chilly pretty quick! Don’t get caught out! A light cardi that matches your island style and fits in your beach day bag, is essential.
Leaving the best till last: Hawaii
I could not possibly write an entire blog about beachside USA without giving Hawaii it’s own section. On my first visit to Oahu, I stayed in downtown Waikiki and enjoyed the ocean view between the buildings from the 10th floor. I walked the entire length of Waikiki Beach many times and enjoyed watching the charter boats leave for their sunset sails right there on the beach. On my next visit to Hawaii, I stayed with friends who were living in Kailua. Just one block back from the most beautiful Lanikai Beach, we enjoyed beach walks and sundowners on the beach, great views across the Mokes (little islands offshore), and watching the outrigger canoe teams practicing at sunset. There are the cutest little shops and cafes nearby. I love Hawaii, and cannot wait to go back sometime soon!
While it’s a whole world away from my home in Australia, there are so many incredible seaside locations in the USA that are super close to many of you reading… I hope this blog has inspired you to pack your bags, and head to the beach for a sandy paradise experience that will thaw out your toes, infuse some vitamin D (and sea 😜), and refresh your soul! You deserve it, island girl!