If there’s one thing that we’re all eager for this summer, it’s a vacation! The past year has been rough on all of us, but an overdue getaway is just around the corner. Grab your sunglasses, your favorite swimsuit, and head to the coast. Here are 5 coastal destinations to visit this summer.
Nags Head, North Carolina
Head to the eastern coast for this lesser-known coastal destination in the US! Stretching for 11 miles of beach and sound, Nags Head is a surfer’s paradise. But it’s great beaches and waves aren’t its only draw. It’s also known for its incredible, towering sand dunes in Jockey's Ridge State Park. If you thought you had to the deserts out west to see sand dunes, you’ll be quite surprised! Visit the park for kite-flying, vivid sunsets, and revelling in the allure of this amazing sand dunes.
Stay in a colorful beach house, walk along its lively promenade, step your toes upon its soft sand, and enjoy many outdoor activities too. Hiking, parasailing, surfing, kayaking, and go-kart racing are some of the most popular outdoor attractions in Nags Head.
Cannon Beach, Oregon
The quaint town of Cannon Beach is a gem along Oregon’s coastline. It’s home to one of the region’s most recognizable icons Haystack Rock, which rises proudly and sharply from the Pacific Ocean. Plus, this famous rock is filled with puffins from April through August. Puffins can be quite rare to see, so it’s an absolute treat!
There’s a lot more to Cannon Beach than just Haystack Rock though. The area boasts dog-friendly beaches, fantastic restaurants, craft beer breweries, and even a selection of impressive galleries. Cannon Beach is bursting with life! It’s one of the best coastal destinations to visit in the US this summer.
Find unique cabin rentals, small hotels, and soak up the charm of this highly walkable piece of Oregon and the West Coast.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Some of the best beaches in the US can be found in Cape Cod. Jaw dropping sunsets along white sandy beaches is just the beginning. A bit of luxury, a lot of natural beauty, and plenty of attractions also make Cape Cod one of the best coastal destinations to visit this summer.
Cape Cod is steeping in rich American history, fresh seafood, picturesque lighthouses, nearby vineyards, and beautiful terrain. Spend the day out on a boat touring around nearby islands or rent a bike and hop on Shining Sea Bikeway from Falmouth to Woods Hole for incredible views. It’s also a fantastic area to see seals, birds, whales, and more sea life. You’ll quickly see why Cape Cod is such an admired summer destination in the US – and globally for that matter.
How could we not mention Malibu? Arguably one of the best coastal towns near Los Angeles, Malibu is a haven for laidback surf vibes, tasty restaurants, incredible scenery, and hiking trails. It’s family friendly and full of life – especially during the summer months.
Relax and enjoy lunch or dinner at The Park at Cross Creek, soak up nature at Malibu State Creek Park, and shop locally at one of its many markets.
Here’s our guide for what to wear in Malibu. Definitely do not forget a pair of stylish sunglasses. Ours are made from recycled skateboard wood!
Big Sur, California
One of the world’s most magnificent stretches of coastline, Big Sur is a bucket list worthy coastal destination in the US. It’s especially beautiful in summertime with many amazing hotels and accommodation options boasting miraculous views of the Pacific Coast.
Located along the popular Highway 1 route, Big Sur is always a stopping point. Plus, Big Sur isn’t really a town, it’s a 90-mile stretch of California’s coast and it’s got a lot to offer. Local restaurants serving up locally sourced ingredients, scenic hiking trails with jaw-dropping views, and soft warm sand and plenty of beaches to kick it in the sun. Big Sur is one of the best coastal destinations to visit in the US this summer. Visit and understand why.
Looking for more summer travel destinations in the US? Check out 5 of the best national parks!
Christa Adams is a writer, photographer, and sustainable traveler based in Barcelona. She's been traveling solo since 2014 has a passion for the outdoors, coffee culture, and exploring quaint European towns. Follow her adventures at www.thespiritedexplorer.com.