June 19, 2024 | Alex Summers

The Best Beach in Every State


50 States of Beaches

There may not be a coastline in every state, but there are certainly fantastic and stunning bodies of water in each state that will provide a refreshing and relaxing escape from the heat this summer.

From sandy shorelines to pebbled picnic areas, here’s some of the best beaches in every state.

Beaches In Every State Split

Alabama: Gulf Shores & Orange Beach

The Gulf Shores & Orange Beach are covered with soft, white sand that borders the clear blue-green water.

The area is known for watersports, especially scuba diving and snorkeling for the colorful fish and intriguing shipwrecks that done the area.

Orange Beach, Alabamafritzmb, Flickr

Alaska: Eagle Beach

Eagle Beach State Recreation Area has 16 primitive camping sites in the forested part of the park, several walk-in campsites and a group camping area available for reservations.

The beach itself offers plenty of fishing opportunities from the water’s edge and river bars. Visitors often see whales and sea lions, along with various birds and other wildlife.

Beach at Eagle Lake, Fort Custer Recreation AreaRmhermen, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Arizona: Lake Powell

Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area are popular places for boating, waterskiing, fishing, hiking, and camping.

This man-made reservoir was formed when the Glen Canyon Dam flooded the Glen Canyon. Today, you’ll find over 2,000 miles of shoreline along the 186-mile-long lake.

Lake Powell, Wahweap Bay, Arizonapatrickcam, Flickr

Arkansas: Caddo Bend

The Caddo Bend day-use area is located in the DeGray Lake Resort State Park and features a sandy beach with a designated swim area that is popular among families with small children.

Personal watercrafts and boats are not allowed, making it a peaceful and safe spot to spend the afternoon.

Arkansas RiverRoy Luck, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

California: Santa Monica

Santa Monica beach is one of Southern California's most famous hangouts. The sandy shore is over 3 miles long and features various hotels, restaurants, and shops.

You’ll also find theme park rides, bike trails, and an aquarium—along with many more nearby attractions.

The Santa Monica pier is a beach landmark.

Santa Monica Pier™ Pacheco, Flickr

Colorado: Blue Mesa Reservoir

While Colorado is landlocked, you can still find plenty of blue water and shorelines in Rocky Mountain lakes and reservoirs—such as Blue Mesa Reservoir, which is the largest body of water in the state.

The reservoir is popular for fishing, camping, windsurfing, hiking, waterskiing, horseback riding, and boating.

Lighthouse Point Park beachDave Dugdale, Flickr

Connecticut: Lighthouse Point Park

Lighthouse Park boasts a stunning beach and the New Haven Lighthouse. It’s open seasonally for swimming, boating, and various other recreational activities.

Nearing the Long Island Sound, visitors can check out the carousel, splash pads, and day-use pavilions.

Blue Mesa Reservoirm01229, Flickr

Delaware: Fenwick Island

Delaware’s Fenwick Island is full of adventure. Aside from the sandy beach, visitors can also enjoy paddleboarding, go-karting, mini-golfing, and so much more.

Float on the 400-foot-long lazy river or brave the twisting waterslides at the island’s popular waterpark.

Fenwick Island State Park, DelawareLee Cannon, Flickr

Florida: Panama City Beach

While Florida offers numerous amazing beaches, Panama City Beach is one to add to your summer bucket list.

Here, you can swim, snorkel, boat, jet ski, parasail, and more. Or, take a shuttle to the nearby Shell Island—and undeveloped wildlife area and quiet, sandy beach.

Panama City BeachBrent Moore, Flickr

Georgia: St. Simons Island

St. Simons Island boasts an amazing unspoiled beach complete with old-fashioned Southern charm.

The golden sandy beach provides ample opportunities for picnicking, swimming, floating, and even bike riding.

St Simon IslandErcan Ekinci, Shutterstock

Hawaii: Waikiki Beach

Hawaii's Waikiki Beach is one of the best-known beaches in the world. Once frequented by royalty, today the beach is a popular spot for surfing, and various other watersports.

The sand is soft, the sparkling blue water is crystal-clear, and the Diamond Head Crater offers a stunning one-of-a-kind backdrop.

Waikiki Beach, Honoluluatmtx, Flickr

Idaho: Lake Cascade State Park

Lake Cascade is a reservoir in Idaho’s Lake Cascade State Park. This stunning area offers as many camping options as it does recreational activities.

From hundreds of primitive campsites to full-service hook-ups and group sites, visitors can wake up with a few along 86 miles of shoreline.

McCall, Idahobillandkent, Flickr

Illinois: Illinois Beach State Park

Illinois Beach State Park is a 4,160-acre park and the only beach ridge shoreline left in the state. Its dunes, marshes and oak forests stretch 6 -1/2 miles along the sandy shore of Lake Michigan.

This unique destination boasts a wide variety of plant and animal life.

Illinois Beach State Park, ILMaciej Ciupa, Flickr

Indiana: Marquette Beach

Marquette Beach is a 241-acre park that offers amazing views of Chicago’s skyline, miles of sandy beaches, and dozens of recreational activities.

Its lagoons are great for fishing, kayaking or canoeing. Visitors can also enjoy hiking in the oak woodlands or climbing the massive dunes along Lake Michigan.

Marquette Park Beach Gary IndianaEclectic Nature, Shutterstock

Iowa: Gray's Lake Park

Gray's Lake Park is a 166-acre park that has a designated beach area where you can swim, canoe, fish and sail.

There’s also a playground, various walking and biking trails, a boat launch, and boat rentals.

Gray's LakeDave Reed, Shutterstock

Kansas: Lake Scott State Park

The beach at Lake Scott State Park is set against a stunning canyon backdrop and is popular for numerous water activities.

The spring-fed lake has been listed by National Geographic as one of the 50 must-see state parks in the US.

Lake Scott State ParkKansas Tourism, Flickr

Kentucky: Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park

Believe it or not, several of Kentucky’s state parks have beautiful lakes and beaches. Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park is home to one of the most appealing.

The beach boasts a sandy shoreline, stunning views, a playground, a mini-golf course, a horseshoe pit, and various sports courts.

You can also rent boats, canoes, and kayaks.

Pennyrile ForestKentucky Photo File, Flickr

Louisiana: Grand Isle State Park

Grand Isle State Park is popular for deep-sea fishing, camping, swimming, and more. The waters are warm and the beautiful lagoons are frequented by numerous bird species.

Visitors can pitch a tent directly on the sandy shoreline for an up-close and sandy stay.

At Grand Isle, LouisianaJudy M Darby, Shutterstock

Maine: Ogunquit Beach

Ogunquit means "Beautiful Place by the Sea" in the language of the Algonquin Native People. And this three-and-a-half-mile white sandy beach certainly deserves its name.

Visitors can often see whales while swimming, and enjoy deep-sea fishing, kayaking, sailing, and even golfing.

Ogunquit Beach¡Carlitos, Flickr

Maryland: Ocean City

Ocean City is more than just a beach. This family-friendly destination offers an exciting boardwalk with an old-school carousel, theme park rides, and various shops and restaurants.

Ocean City Marylandeutrophication&hypoxia, Flickr

Massachusetts: Menemsha Beach

Menemsha Beach is the perfect place to watch the sun set across the Vineyard Sound. The beach here is rocky, but the surf is typically calm and gentle.

Visitors can enjoy fishing, swimming, or walking along the rocks in this quiet and low-key destination.

Winter at Menemsha BeachMassachusetts Office Of Travel & Tourism, Flickr

Michigan: Cheboygan

Cheboygan State Park is home to the Cheboygan Point Lighthouse, as well as various marked trails leading to the shores of Lake Huron, where visitors can boat or fish.

The beach offers clear, shallow water and the park provides modern camping options, rustic lodges, and more.

Mullett Lake in CheboyganCbower729, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Minnesota: Lake Carlos State Park

Carved out by ancient glaciers, Lake Carlos State Park is home to a lake, bog, woodland ponds and marshes.

Lake Carlos offers clear, deep water that boasts fantastic swimming areas, and opportunities to spot beavers, loons, deer, ducks, herons, and grebes.

There are designated areas for picnicking and bonfires.

Lake Carlos State ParkJacob Boomsma, Shutterstock

Mississippi: Gulfport

While Coastal Mississippi is sometimes called The Secret Coast, its 26 miles of sandy shoreline draws thousands of visitors each year.

The gorgeous Gulfport Beach offers soft, white sand and not far from various restaurants, casinos and bars.

Gulfport, Mississippi, USADomenico Convertini, Flickr

Missouri: Creve Coeur Lake Park

Creve Coeur Lake Park is the largest park in the St. Louis County parks systems. Its lake was formed several thousand years ago from a meandering loop of the Missouri River.

Here, visitors can rent a canoe, kayak or paddleboard, or go for a bike ride, walk or hike on the 3.8-mile surrounding trail.

The beach is perfect for playing volleyball, or relaxing on the soft and sandy shoreline.

lake filled with sailboatsSam and Brian, Shutterstock

Montana: Black Sandy State Park

Black Sandy State Park is on the shores of picturesque Houser Lake, northeast of Helena, Montana.

The park offers a variety of campsites, along with a reservoir that is popular for swimming, fishing, and water-skiing.

Black Sand Beach, Waianapanapa State Parklifetravelandmore, Flickr

Nebraska: Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area

Lake McConaughy, also called Big Mac, offers beautiful clear water and more than 100 miles of white sandy shoreline.

It's Nebraska's biggest reservoir, at 30,000 surface acres, and it's said that its fish grow to trophy sizes.

Visitors can camp, swim, and enjoy various water activities.

Lake McConaughyBonita R. Cheshier, Shutterstock

Nevada: Sand Harbor

Sand Harbor offers various stunning beaches along the 2500-foot-long Main Beach, boasting turquoise waters and soft sandy shorelines.

Motorized watercrafts are not permitted, making this stunning destination even more serene.

image of Sand HarborTrevor Bexon, Flickr

New Hampshire: Hampton Beach

Hampton Beach has been rated consistently as one of the cleanest beaches in the U.S. The soft, white sand and shallow tide pools are perfect for young families.

Visitors often enjoy finding sea urchins on the rocks, and picnicking along the shore.

North Hampton State BeachLeslee_atFlickr, Flickr

New Jersey: Stone Harbor

Stone Harbor is a popular spot for families in the summer. This quaint retreat offers about 30-miles of beachfront that is popular for sunbathing, swimming, fishing, sailing and surfing.

Aside from the sand and the sun, you’ll find amusement piers, a boardwalk, historical and cultural sites, a county park and a zoo just a short distance away.

Stone HarborAlberto_VO5, Flickr

New Mexico: Elephant Butte Lake

New Mexico's largest lake is the reservoir in Elephant Butte Lake State Park—a 40,000-acre park that is open year-round for camping, swimming, boating, and various water sports.

The park boasts miles of sandy beaches and trails to explore.

Elephant Butte LakeBirdie Jaworski, Flickr

New York: Jones Beach State Park

This beach offers 6 miles of beautiful white sand along the Atlantic Ocean. A popular family destination, the beach boasts an ocean liner theme and includes 2,400 acres of maritime habitat on Long Island’s south shore.

Jones Beach, NY, USAStef Ko, Shutterstock

North Carolina: Carolina Beach

With scenic white sandy trails, Carolina Beach is one of the most charming beaches around with its vintage boardwalk and small-town feel.

Visitors can enjoy cold drinks from the colorful tiki bar on the pier, sunbathe on the soft shoreline, or book an offshore fishing charter.

beach at Surf CityLisa Nolan, Flickr

North Dakota: Lake Metigoshe State Park

This popular vacation spot offers a lake surrounded for stunning forests, and a gorgeous body of water known for a variety of water activities like canoeing, kayaking, and ice fishing in the winter.

Lake Metigoshe State Park 2Roderick Eime, Flickr

Ohio: East Harbor State Park

East Harbor State Park provides an array of activities, such as boating, hiking and fishing. The area is abundant with wildlife that sets it apart from other destinations of its kind.

East harbor lies on a peninsular that stretches over Lake Erie, offering various swimming beaches and picnic areas, as well as a campground.

Lake ErieKyle Lee, Shutterstock

Oklahoma: Lake Texoma

The 89,000-acre Lake Texoma is among the biggest reservoirs in the nation. The sandy white beach and string of islands in the middle of the lake give it an ocean-shore feel.

It’s a great place for fishing for striped bass.

Peaceful Evening On TexomaNicolas Henderson, Flickr

Oregon: Cannon Beach

The scenic Cannon Beach is famous for its 235-foot Haystack Rock, and the shoreline looks stunningly dramatic when coastal storms hit during the winter.

In 2013, National Geographic named this beach one of the 100 most beautiful spots in the world.

This spot is popular for surfing, and sand castle competitions, and it is extremely rich in marinelife.

Cannon BeachMissy, Flickr

Michigan: Presque Isle State Park

Set on a 3,200-acre sandy peninsula that stretches into Lake Erie, Presque Isle State Park is popular with people who enjoy kayaking, canoeing, swimming and hiking.

Visitors can also take a scenic boat tour of the lake, surf, fish and scuba dive in designated areas.

Lake Erie, Presque Isle State ParkKen Lund, Flickr

Rhode Island: South Shore Beach

South Shore Beach is open seasonally to the public and offers awesome waves for surfers, and an onsite boat launch.

Overnight or day camping is available, and the 75-acre beach preserve offers a pristine coastal pond, a dune system, and a beach.

Rhode Island beachliz west, Flickr

South Carolina: Kiawah Island

Kiawah Island is a 10,000-acre barrier island located about 21 miles south of Charlston. It’s known for its natural beauty, which includes tidal marshes, sandy beaches, maritime forests, and freshwater ponds.

The island is also known for its stunning wildlife, which includes rare sea turtles, as well as various watersports and activities.

Kiawah Island, South CarolinaClayton Hanson, Shutterstock

South Dakota: Sylvan Lake

Sylvan Lake is known for its role in the 2008 film, National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets, starring Nicolas Cage.

This beautiful destination is popular for swimming, canoeing and kayaking.

Sylvan Lake, Custer State ParkSharon Mollerus, Flickr

Tennessee: Percy Priest Lake

Percy Priest Lake boasts sandy shoreline and a warm climate. The reservoir offers a great swimming beach, several marinas, parks and a campground.

J. Percy Priest LakeU.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, Flickr

Texas: Port Aransas

Port Aransas offers a variety of stunning beaches—specifically Port Aransas Beach, IB Magee Beach Park, and San Jose Island.

Port Aransas is known as the “fishing capital of Texas,” but is also popular for swimming, surfing, and various other water sports.

Port Aransas BeachJonathan Cutrer, Flickr

Utah: Quail Creek State Park

Quail Creek State Park boasts some of the warmest waters in Utah. It’s pleasant winter climate attracts boaters year-round, and it is also known as an angler’s paradise thanks to its depth of 120-feet.

The 600-acre reservoir is also popular for various water sports.

image of the beachWillem van Valkenburg, Flickr

Vermont: Sand Bar State Park

Sand Bar State Park boasts stunning views of the Green and Adirondack mountains. The park is famous for its long, sandy beach and vast grassy lawns dotted with mature, shady trees.

Best of all, the sandy beach bottom stays shallow for a long way offshore, making it an excellent swim spot for young families.

Ricker Pond State ParkJasperdo, Flickr

Virginia: First Landing State Park

This state park boasts one-and-a-half-miles of sandy shoreline along Chesapeake Bay. It offers boating, swimming, nature and history programs, hiking, biking, and picnicking.

Aside from all that, you can camp in a cabin, yurt, or tent on campsites with electric hookups.

Beach access First Landing State ParkVirginia State Parks staff, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Washington: Alki Beach

Alki Beach offers a long strip of sand that is popular for jogging, volleyball, cycling, rollerblading, and quiet walks along the shoreline.

The water is on the cooler side, but swimming is still common. Visitors can see ferries, sailboats, steamships and other watercraft passing by regularly.

A view of Alki BeachBeach Creatives, Shutterstock

West Virginia: Summersville Lake

With 60 miles of shoreline, 2,800-acre Summersville Lake is the largest lake in West Virginia.

It’s an ideal destination for boating, kayaking, scuba diving, water skiing and swimming. Visitors also enjoy rock-climbing and white-water rafting.

Summersville LakeRandom Michelle, Flickr

Wisconsin: Meyers Beach

Meyers Beach is a stretch of sand on the south shore of beautiful Lake Superior, and it's a good place for swimming, beach combing or picnicking.

This beach also provides access to the famous mainland sea caves.

Apostle Islands Meyers Beachmelissamn, Shutterstock

Wyoming: Buffalo Bill Lake

Buffalo Bill Lake boasts an incredible view of the Absaroka Mountains that serve as a stunning backdrop for camping, fishing and swimming.

The entire area provides ample opportunities for hiking, fishing, swimming, and various water activities.

Buffalo Bill State ParkMahmoud Ghazal, Shutterstock


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