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These Are The Top 5 Beaches In The U.S. According To Lonely Planet

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The U.S. is home to some truly stunning beaches that, unfortunately, get overlooked due to the firm grip that international destinations like Cancun or Punta Cana have on American travelers.

Luckily, the common misconception that a worthwhile beach vacation means boarding an international flight is quickly being debunked, as many of the industry’s most trusted voices are singing praises to the golden U.S. coastline.

aerial view of Cannon Beach

The latest of these is Lonely Planet, an established publisher whose most recent book focuses on the world’s most incredible beaches.

The ranking, complete with many world-class attractions like Myrtos, Bottom Bay, and Anse Source D'Argent, also featured five gorgeous U.S. Beaches.

Oneloa Beach, Hawaii

When you think of beachy U.S. destinations, your mind probably immediately goes to Hawaii.

pathaway at Oneloa Bay, Maui, Hawaii

That’s why it comes as no surprise that the 50th state is represented not once but twice on today’s list.

The first place to make it to Lonely Planet’s ranking is Oneloa Beach (otherwise known as Big Beach) – an over one-mile stretch of golden sand that stands as the physical embodiment of Hawaii’s vibrant, colorful spirit.

woman on Oneloa Bay beach, Maui, Hawaii

Here, you’ll be surrounded by lush green trees, the crystal-clear waters of the Pacific, as well as the breathtaking views of the volcanic crater of Haleakalā, which – good news – is dormant, so you won’t have anything to worry about. 

Since the water here is so incredibly inviting, Oneloa has quickly turned into a favorite spot among swimmers, snorkelers, and other water sports enthusiasts, so adventurous souls will feel right at home here.

Pfeiffer Beach, California

If you want to stick to the continental U.S. for your next beach vacation, you can’t go wrong with Pfeiffer, a criminally underrated Californian gem best known for its other-worldly purple sand and rock formations.

pferiffer beach

The surreal landscape is created thanks to the manganese garnet deposits in the cliffs surrounding the beach that turn the sand a distinctive violet hue, though as much as you can rationalize the views that lie here in Pfeiffer, you’re still bound to feel a bit breathless.

Most of the pictures you’ll find when researching the beach will probably be of the iconic Keyhole Rock, a natural arch formation where most people go during sunrise or sunset to experience the light beaming right through the opening  – talk about a picture-perfect setting!

Hanalei Bay, Hawaii

The second Hawaiian entry on today’s list is Hanalei Bay, a crescent-shaped piece of paradise whose views of mountainous taro fields will make your jaw drop.

Hanalei Bay Beach in Hawaii surrounded by lush green mountains

Among surfers and paddleboarders, the bay is mostly known for its gentle waves, perfect for practicing just about any water sport under the sun.

Don’t get me wrong – those looking to just lounge around and relax will have plenty to do, too.

After a long day soaking in the warm Hawaiian sun, you can always take in the picturesque views of the quaint town of Hanalei, filled with charming shops and mom-and-pop restaurants that feel like they’ve come right out of a fairytale.

Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland And Virginia

Assateague Island National Seashore, which spans both Maryland and Virginia, is hands-down one of the country’s greatest oceanside wonders. 

wild horses at assateague island maryland

What sets this awe-inspiring beach apart from other places of its kind is the fact that here, you can witness herds of wild horses roaming freely along the shorelines – and let me tell you, the sight of these gorgeous creatures against the backdrop of sand dunes and the Atlantic is unlike anything even the most seasoned travelers have seen before.

Horse-watching is far from the only thing to do in the area, though.

Assateague Island National Seashore

Here, visitors can explore the sandy beaches, go hiking or bird-watching, or even just sit back on a comfy chair and take in the gorgeous sunrise from a safe, coastal haven.

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Famous for the towering Haystack Rock that dominates the shoreline, Cannon Beach is probably the only place that can properly conclude a round-up of such gorgeous destinations.

cannon beach

The seemingly endless expanse of sandy beaches and the juxtaposing dramatic backdrop have made this Oregonian gem a favorite among photographers, couples looking to take the most stunning engagement pictures, as well as just your average sightseers in search of the most picturesque views across the country.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Sunday 28th of January 2024

Just be careful at Big Beach. The shore break is dangerous even if you know what you are doing.