Top 10 Beaches in America
Whether you’re going down the shore or riding the waves in Hawaii, the beach is always a popular destination. Visit the best beaches the US has to offer.
1: Manele Bay, HawaiiHulopo'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. 960 1280
2: Myrtle Beach, South CarolinaAs 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. 960 1280
3: Nantucket, MassachusettsA 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. 960 1280
4: Kauna'oa Bay, HawaiiPicture 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. 960 1280
5: Clearwater Beach, FloridaClearwater 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. 960 1280
6: Coronado, CaliforniaCoronado 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. 960 1280
7: Cape May, New JerseyAs 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. 960 1280
8: Martha's Vineyard, MassachusettsAs 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. 960 1280
9: East Hampton, New YorkStrolling 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. 960 1280
10: Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North CarolinaStretching 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. 960 1280
From the air, the Hana Highway looks like a zigzag line drawn by a three year old. It twists and turns for 52 miles and takes anywhere from two to four hours to traverse depending on how many cars you meet on the one-way bridges. In fact, there are 54 bridges and 600 curves to make sure you're paying attention. And please do, because in addition to the traffic, the flowing waterfalls, plunging pools, scenic rainforests and the town of Hana are well worth the drive. 960 1280
There are rewards in life that are all the sweeter because of the effort it took to get there. Hana is such a place. Separated from the rest of Maui, you'll feel as if you stumbled upon the land that time forgot. Spend a few nights in Hana and soon you'll have trouble remembering where you came from and wondering why you'd ever go back. 960 1280
Every evening on the northernmost cliffs of Maui's Kaanapali Beach, a cliff diver lights the torches then dives off Puu Kekaa, or Black Rock. This dramatic show is a reenactment of a feat performed by Maui's revered King Kahekili. Surrounded by restaurants, the ceremony also takes on a modern twist, signaling the end of the day and the start of your own private celebration. 960 1280
Maui has always been a magnet for those who love the sea, from Hawaiian voyagers to whaling ships and modern-day catamarans that glide upon the water. Complete your Maui vacation with a few hours offshore, tacking up and down the coastline with the West Maui Mountains in your view. Add a splash of champagne or a frosty mai tai and there's nothing else like it. 960 1280
It doesn't matter how old you are'when you walk 'through an ocean,' the little kid in you comes out to play. Fantasy mixes with reality as you come nose to nose with wide-eyed tuna and white-tip reef sharks. Yellow butterfly fishes flutter like leaves around coral, while slick stingrays glide by without a care in the world.
Molokini is a small, crescent moon-shaped atoll off the coast of Maui. It's in a State Marine Life and Bird Conservation District, which means fishing is prohibited, so it's teeming with life. Take a snorkel or scuba tour and you'll be treated to a kaleidoscope of over 250 colorful varieties of tropical fish. Tours are available out of Maalaea Harbor and Lahaina. Insider tip: Early morning is best because the water is clear.
Maui might be for lovers, but it's also for golfers. And if you love golf, that's even better still. There are 14 courses on Maui, with several ranked at or near the top of the 'world's best' list. The PGA TOUR's Hyundai's Tournament of Champions is held here each year, so you never know who you might see on the course.