Beach vacations are supposed to be relaxing. But in the U.S., it seems that beach vacations are synonymous with crowds, traffic and high prices. We always imagine our beach vacations are going to turn out the way they look in the brochures (the kids will make sand castles while we read a book and listen to the waves lap on the beach); but really, we end up trying to squeeze a couple of beach chairs between two groups of beer-chugging frat boys. Below are five beaches in the United States that still offer peace, quiet and breathtaking views of nature – not beer cans.
Dry Tortugas, Florida
Key West certainly elicits thoughts of crowded beaches and partying, but Dry Tortugas – 67 miles west of the Keys – is an oasis away from it all. The tiny islands that make up this ideal relaxation destination are part of the Dry Tortugas National Park, so only a certain number of visitors can enjoy them at a time. Typical beach-goers don’t often put in the effort to get to the Tortugas, which are only accessible by boat or plane.
Carova Beach, Outer Banks
Just about everywhere in the Outer Banks offers a peaceful, uncrowded beach, but Carova is for those who are hoping to not see a soul. The Outer Banks are somewhat difficult to access, but that’s what makes the area so serene. Carova is known for massive dunes and pristine beaches where sometimes the only footprints in the sand are those of wild horses.
Pfeiffer Beach, California
This is one the locals may get mad at me for spilling. Located in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Pfeiffer Beach offers views that will make you wonder if you’re still on the mainland. Watch the breakers crash against the giant boulders surrounding the beach while you float comfortably in the small, protected bay.
Kaihalulu Beach, Maui, Hawaii
You’ve probably heard that Hawaii has gotten crowded, and that’s true about places like the North Shore of Oahu and Waikiki. Kaihalulu offers the reward of serenity for adventurous travelers who truly want to earn their spot in the sand. It’s known for rough surf and a semi-terrifying path down to the red sand beach, but the view you see when you get there will make it all worthwhile.
West Ship Island
West Ship Island is roughly 11 miles off the coast of southeast Gulfport, Mississippi. The 75-minute ferry ride to the Gulf Islands National Seashore turns many beach-goers away, leaving more space on the sand for you and your family. Gulf shores vacation rentals are affordable in this area and can serve as the perfect place for everyone to relax after a long day on the beach.
There’s no reason to put an end to your annual beach vacation just because your favorite destination has become overcrowded. Branch out and try some of these new, more secluded, U.S. beaches, and you’re bound to leave feeling relaxed (and a little salty).