13 Beaches You Need in Your Life: No Passport Required
Sun on your hair, sand in your toes, breeze at your back — a little beach time can do wonders. While adding stamps to our passports always gets bonus points for adventure, there are plenty of strips of sand you don’t need a passport to visit. Here are 13 of our favorites:
1. La Jolla Shores, San Diego, Calif.
The shores may only be a mile long but is full of activity sun up to sun down. The morning brings the surfers, daytime means swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and intro scuba lessons, and at dusk mother nature puts on quite a show. We have San Diego hotels to fit every budget, including one on a private island.
2. Paradise Cove in Malibu, Calif.
In the tony town sits this private beach (with an entry fee) widely considered one of Los Angeles County’s best by locals. Oceanside revelers can rent private cabanas, beach beds and lounge chairs or dine at a café right on the sand. Take on Tinseltown with these hotel deals and plan a day trip to paradise.
3. Pfeiffer Beach, Calif.
Located along California’s Central Coast, this beach is known for its purple sand and striking rock formations. The beach is about a mile south of the entrance to Pfeiffer-Big Sur State Park, which also offers hiking, camping, sand dunes and fishing. “Be sure to check out the famous ‘keyhole’ in the rock formations at sunset,” says deal expert Melissa Stroud.
4. Cannon Beach/Ecola State Park, Oregon
Not quite as famous as Highway 1, Oregon’s Highway 101 connects secluded surfing spots, dramatic cliffs and quaint towns along 400 miles of coastline. There’s a beach and accompanying town to fit just about every need, but it’s hard to beat picturesque Cannon Beach. “With the massive monolith of Haystack Rock rising up from the low-tide line and the secluded beaches of Ecola State Park just north of town, Cannon Beach offers all the best of the Oregon coast” (Frommer’s).
5. Flamenco Beach, Culebra Island, Puerto Rico
This beach was once a pirate hideout, but now it’s a top destination for snorkelers and those with discerning tastes in beaches. And for those who can’t bear to leave the aquamarine water at the end of the day, it’s also the only spot on the island where camping is allowed. Check out the special Puerto Rico section of our site.
6. Trunk Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
An entry fee will be the last thing on your mind when you step foot on this striking beach known for its postcard-worthy views of the brightest blues and soft white-yellow sand. The island has gone to great lengths over the years to preserve and maintain the beach as well as the coral reefs, which has made it a favorite spot of locals as well as visitors.
7. Lanikai Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
Hawaii and beautiful beaches are almost synonymous, but Lanikai Beach is a less “touristy” picture-perfect option. It’s only accessible through a few paths and doesn’t have lifeguards or bathrooms. Travelzoo Tip: This stretch is a great place to watch the moonrise over the Mokuluas. Say aloha to Hawaii with these hotel deals, flights or vacation packages.
8. Siesta Key Beach, Fla.
By day, the crystal sands on this 8-mile-long island are popular with families and couples, and draw volleyball tournaments and sand sculptors. After sunset, beach-goers retire to a relaxed scene at Siesta Key Village. Don’t miss Siesta Beach — named a 2015 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice for Best Beach. Hotels start at just $99 per night on Florida’s West Coast Beaches.
9. Ogunquit, Maine
Hard to pronounce, even harder to forget. Not only did Ogunquit make TripAdvisors Best Beaches in the U.S. 2015 list, but it was also just just ranked No. 2 on Travel + Leisure’s list of America’s favorite towns.
10. Oak Street Beach, Chicago
This city dwellers’ beach, a space that’s over 100 years old, is consistently ranked among the best in the Midwest. Off the Streeterville neighborhood, the sandy stretch is a favorite of beach volleyball players, runners zipping by on the lakefront path, sunbathers and families from across the area. Its close proximity to downtown and its impressive skyline means it’s also easy to get to. Three bus lines run to the beach and the Red Line El train has a nearby stop as well. Stay and play in the Second City with these deals.
11. Oval Beach, Saugatuck, Mich.
The smooth sands of this Midwest beach are also the backdrop of a town with a blossoming art scene, wineries, antique shops and breweries. Saugatuck is a three-hour drive west of Detroit and about two hours from downtown Chicago.
12. South Beach, Miami Beach, Fla.
“Get the Caribbean blue waters without leaving the country,” say our Miami deal experts. The New York Times agrees, naming Miami Beach on of the best places to go in 2015. This oceanfront oasis is more than just that, it’s also a perennial nightlife capital for those looking to extend the revelry into the wee hours. The strip along the water is also dotted with lively restaurants and hotels — a top-notch spot for people-watching. To sweeten the deal? We have deals at dozens of hotels, restaurants, spas and activity companies across the area.
13. The Outer Banks, N.C.
This expansive stretch of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina is dotted with idyllic beach towns and villages like Manteo, Rodanthe and Corolla. “There are so many little places to explore, gorgeous light houses, camping on the beach, sand dunes for days and there are wild horses, which are awesome to see,” says deal expert Olivia Salmonese.