The Getaway Lifestyle

Our 10 Favorite Beaches in the U.S. for a Weekend Getaway

Casey

September 13, 2022

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https://www.getaway.co/articles/10-best-beaches-in-the-us-for-a-weekend-getaway

When people hear the word “beach,” their minds immediately jump to Mexico, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific. While they’re all fine places for a getaway, the United States has its fair share of world-class beaches, each with its own personality and charm. We’ve picked out ten of the best, where you can simply take a quick plane ride and have yourself a relaxing weekend getaway. 

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Cape Cod has been a beach resort as far back as the 1800s. The water may be colder and the sand coarser at this New England beach, but the entire shoreline is dotted with quaint and charming beach towns. It’s a great place to celebrate the Fourth of July or Labor Day, with miles of bike trails trekking through its sandy dunes. 

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Feeling lucky? People have been flocking down the Atlantic Expressway to this iconic resort town since the 1920s. It features one of the largest boardwalks in the country, leading to an expansive beach with big waves. It’s full of all sorts of luxurious resorts, ranging from Hard Rock to Caesars Palace. Whether you’d like a luxurious weekend getaway or have kids along, there’s something to do here for everyone. 

Cape May, New Jersey

A quick drive south, and you’ve left the bustling nightlife of Atlantic City for the calm sands of Cape May. Just because it’s quiet doesn’t mean Cape May is any less appealing. The Cape features charming beach towns, some of the best birdwatching spots in the country, and countless wineries. All of its beaches are excellent spots for sunbathing and splashing in the waves, and it’s a little more friendly for families and people looking for a more relaxed weekend getaway. 

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Further down the United States’ East Coast is the Outer Banks, a series of barrier islands expanding almost 200 miles along the coast of North Carolina. Kitty Hawk on the Banks has the distinction of being the place of the Wright Brothers’ first airplane flight. You can take to the sky or sea here, with parasailing and boating being common activities here. If you prefer a more relaxed weekend getaway, there are multiple piers for you to fish or catch a sunset before dining at the numerous seafood restaurants around the Banks. 

Miami Beach, Florida

Miami Beach has been featured in countless movies, shows, and songs, and for good reason. This iconic, expansive beach has amazing weather all year round, beautiful sand, and surfable waves. Besides the beach, the city of Miami features world-class restaurants, one of the best nightlife scenes in the country, and a culture rich in Spanish, Native American, and Caribbean influences. 

Florida Keys, Florida

The Florida Keys are a smattering of islands to the south of Florida’s peninsula. Key West is the furthest south, and the southernmost point in the United States. It’s just a four hour drive from Miami, and it’s a scenic one. With its sugary beaches, turquoise water, and lively nightlife, you’d be forgiven for believing you’re in the Caribbean. Whether you’re looking to party with friends or simply have a relaxing beach getaway with the price of the Caribbean, you can find it in the Florida Keys. 

St. Petersburg, Florida

We promise this is the last Florida beach on this list, but it’s arguably the best of the three. Named “The Sunshine City,” St. Petersburg is on the west coast of Florida. It features thousands of acres of public parks, the Dali Museum of Art, and piers and docks stretching into the water. It has a young and hip vibe to it, but you can enjoy the nice year-round weather, excellent barbeque spots, craft beer pubs, and Caribbean-Esque beach no matter your age. 

Huntington Beach, California

Known as “Surf City USA,” Huntington Beach is the go-to spot with its coveted waves, perfect for beginner and advanced surfers. There’s more to just surfing here–there are plenty of dog beaches, volleyball nets, and bonfire pits along the shore.  Huntington Beach is just south of Los Angeles, so it trades the hustle and bustle of the city for a laid-back vibe that shows in its downtown area and nearby wildlife reserve. 

Honolulu Oahu, Hawaii

Hawaii is arguably the best state for a beach getaway in the United States, although because it’s not part of the mainland, it’ll be one of the more expensive options on this list. Its capital, Honolulu, is its largest city and features one of the nicest beaches in the world. Sprawling white sand beaches with cerulean Pacific water, world-class highrises and hotels with an incredible nightlife, and a city rich in Asian, European, and Native Hawaiian influences? No wonder it’s a popular honeymoon spot!

 

Maui, Hawaii

We’ve saved the best for last. Maui is quite possibly the best place in the world for a beach getaway. It’s a more secluded spot, further in the archipelago and away from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu.  The pristine beaches speak for themselves, but that’s not all. Expansive golf courses are minutes away, as are dormant volcanoes and exotic rainforests that you can tour. See a hula show or snorkel with sea turtles–you can’t go wrong, and you’ll have plenty of stories to share after a beach getaway in Maui. 

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