Whether You Want to Hike or Relax, Here Are 50 States of Beautiful Beaches

When I go to the beach, it's to relax and get some sun. When some of my friends go to the beach, it's to grab a kayak and get out on the water. Everyone has their different agendas when they hit the beach, so it's a good thing the US has plenty of options for providing a whole host of activities. This selection of the best beaches in every state doesn't necessarily include all relaxing beaches or all beaches filled with adventure, but each one has something great about it that makes it worth visiting. Next time you hit the road for vacation, consider making a stop at one of these beautiful locations.

01
Alabama — Gulf State Park
Flickr user faungg's photos

Alabama — Gulf State Park

Alabama's Gulf State Park includes a long stretch of beautiful white sand on the Gulf of Mexico and provides your usual state park amenities like camping and swimming.

02
Alaska — Black Sand Beach
Flickr user Matt Zimmerman

Alaska — Black Sand Beach

If you're seeking a cold-water adventure, try kayaking along Alaska's Black Sand Beach.

03
Arizona — Lake Powell Beach
Flickr user Jean-Claude Schwarzen

Arizona — Lake Powell Beach

Lake Powell bisects Arizona and Utah along the Colorado River and is the second largest man-made reservoir.

04
Arkansas — Shores Lake
Flickr user mbecerra

Arkansas — Shores Lake

Shores Lake is nestled in the Ozark Mountains and is the perfect place to have a picnic.

05
California — Sand Dollar Beach
Flickr user Andrew K. Smith

California — Sand Dollar Beach

If you've seen Southern California's serene, white-sand beaches and want something different, go north to Big Sur and check out Sand Dollar Beach, where you can surf — or watch other people surf.

06
Colorado — Grand Lake
Flickr user ontask

Colorado — Grand Lake

Grand Lake is Colorado's largest natural body of water and is home to the tiny town of the same name.

07
Connecticut — Harvey's Beach
Flickr user graybeard

Connecticut — Harvey's Beach

This popular Connecticut beach in Old Saybrook is a great place for fishing and even offers free parking.

08
Delaware — Rehoboth Beach
Flickr user arianr

Delaware — Rehoboth Beach

There's plenty to do and see at this Atlantic Coast beach, including a bustling boardwalk and concert venue.

09
Florida — Sanibel Island
Flickr user jhetzel

Florida — Sanibel Island

The beaches of Sanibel on Florida's Gulf Coast are littered with shells from the waters, which make for fun trinkets to bring home.

10
Georgia — Tybee Island Beach
Flickr user ryan_mckee

Georgia — Tybee Island Beach

Tybee Island, 30 minutes from Savannah, has beautiful sandy beaches but is also a great place for kayaking or boating.

11
Hawaii — Oahu's North Shore
Flickr user elisfanclub

Hawaii — Oahu's North Shore

If you're looking to surf or watch surfers, this is the place. Oahu's North Shore is known for its excellent surfing waves and even hosts surfing competitions.

12
Idaho — Lake Coeur d'Alene Beaches
Flickr user travelingotter

Idaho — Lake Coeur d'Alene Beaches

Idaho's natural lake spans over 100 miles of beach, so there's plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the water.

13
Illinois — Lake Bluff Sunrise Beach
Flickr user elemenous

Illinois — Lake Bluff Sunrise Beach

Use of the lake is free to park district residents and lifeguards are on duty during swimming hours, which end at 7 p.m.

15
Iowa — Five Island Lake
Flickr user revdave

Iowa — Five Island Lake

On the north end of Emmetsburg, Five Island Lake is a great place for camping, boating, fishing, or just sitting on the sand.

16
Kansas — Shawnee Mission Park
Flickr user kansasphoto

Kansas — Shawnee Mission Park

While, yes, this is the most visited park in Kansas, the highlight of it is the 53-acre dog off-leash area, so you can be sure to bring your furry friends along.

17
Kentucky — Cravens Bay
Flickr user lblkytn

Kentucky — Cravens Bay

Cravens Bay, in the Land Between the Lakes Recreation Area, is a bit off the beaten path but will provide you a peaceful getaway if you're willing to make the trek.

18
Louisiana — Fontainebleau State Park
Flickr user heyu1021

Louisiana — Fontainebleau State Park

On the shore of Lake Pontchartrain, Fontainebleau State Park has campsites and playgrounds in addition to a sprawling beach.

19
Maine — Old Orchard Beach
Flickr user topazz

Maine — Old Orchard Beach

This beach on the southern part of Maine is highly trafficked by locals and tourists alike during the Summer season, so there's no shortage of souvenirs to be found and delicious seafood to be eaten.

20
Maryland — Sandy Point State Park
Flickr user mr_t_in_dc

Maryland — Sandy Point State Park

Annapolis's state park provides not just a beach but a large circuit of hiking trails to check out before taking a dip in the water.

21
Massachusetts — Good Harbor Beach
Flickr user pfly

Massachusetts — Good Harbor Beach

This tiny little beach in St. Ann has the perfect conditions for swimming.

22
Michigan — Grand Haven State Park
Flickr user debmomof3

Michigan — Grand Haven State Park

You can fish off the pier at this Lake Michigan beach.

23
Minnesota — Itasca State Park
Flickr user rlevans

Minnesota — Itasca State Park

Itasca is Minnesota's oldest state park and includes more than 100 lakes.

24
Mississippi — Gulfport Beach
Flickr user nataliemaynor

Mississippi — Gulfport Beach

Miles of sandy beaches make up the shores of Gulfport, MS, and the waters are the perfect place for swimming or finding shells.

25
Missouri — Lewis and Clark State Park
Flickr user sangre-la

Missouri — Lewis and Clark State Park

This park on the Lewis and Clark Lake is a lovely place to take the family fishing or for a picnic.

26
Montana — Flathead Lake State Park
Flickr user alwaysshooting

Montana — Flathead Lake State Park

Flathead Lake provides spectacular views of the Mission Mountains and is an excellent place for fishing.

27
Nebraska — Lake McConaughy Beach
Flickr user Mike

Nebraska — Lake McConaughy Beach

Nebraska's Lake McConaughy has plenty of activities for the family to enjoy, from outdoorsy things to arts and crafts, all led by local naturalists.

28
Nevada — Zephyr Cove Beach
Flickr user Brian Shamblen

Nevada — Zephyr Cove Beach

Zephyr Cove, on Lake Tahoe, is a great place for lake cruising and horseback riding.

29
New Hampshire — Hampton Beach
Flickr user galfred

New Hampshire — Hampton Beach

This small Atlantic coastal town is the perfect spot to rent a beach house to escape the hustle and bustle of your city life.

30
New Jersey — Cape May
Flickr user mbtrama

New Jersey — Cape May

Cape May is one of the most popular beaches on the Atlantic Coast, and this place is particularly known for the beautiful Victorian houses that line the water.

31
New Mexico — Santa Rosa Lake
Flickr user dsoltesz

New Mexico — Santa Rosa Lake

This lake in Santa Rosa Lake State Park is great for fishing, and the state park offers lots of space for hiking.

32
New York — Montauk
Flickr user roryfinneren

New York — Montauk

This beach town outside New York City has a little bit of everything, from water sports to shopping, and provides a fun weekend getaway for New Yorkers.

33
North Carolina — Wrightsville Beach
Flickr user bz3rk

North Carolina — Wrightsville Beach

Wrightsville Beach has plenty of coast, considering it's composed of two islands separated by two bodies of water.

34
North Dakota — Lake Metigoshe
Flickr user rodeime

North Dakota — Lake Metigoshe

Lake Metigoshe is nestled in the Turtle Mountains, just shy of the Canadian border, and is a popular vacation spot for families.

35
Ohio — Maumee Bay State Park Beach
Flickr user becker271

Ohio — Maumee Bay State Park Beach

Maumee Bay State Park, on Lake Erie, is a beautiful vacation for anyone looking for adventure or relaxation as there's a little bit of everything here.

36
Oklahoma — Keystone State Park
Flickr user usacetulsa

Oklahoma — Keystone State Park

This park, on Keystone Lake, offers hiking, biking, boating, and more.

37
Oregon — Cannon Beach
Flickr user Ian Sane

Oregon — Cannon Beach

Oregon's quaint beach town is known for Haystack Rock, a 235-foot rock jutting out of the water that is sometimes accessible during low tide.

38
Pennsylvania — Presque Isle State Park Beach
Flickr user kenlund

Pennsylvania — Presque Isle State Park Beach

Presque Isle State Park in Erie, PA, is popular among both locals and tourists alike and offers boating and relaxing beachfront.

39
Rhode Island — South Shore Beach
Flickr user pvsbond

Rhode Island — South Shore Beach

Little Compton's South Shore Beach is a quiet stretch of beach along the Atlantic that is not highly trafficked and is a bit of a secret.

40
South Carolina — Hilton Head Island
Flickr user leeco

South Carolina — Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head's well known for its beautiful beaches and golf courses, but this beach town has a little bit of something for everyone.

41
South Dakota — Custer State Park
Flickr user siefke

South Dakota — Custer State Park

In the Black Hills of South Dakota, you can find this state park that has a few small bodies of water to take a dip in to escape the warmth.

43
Texas — South Padre Island
Flickr user beautory

Texas — South Padre Island

If you're looking for a high-energy, fun beach vacation, South Padre Island is the place to be.

44
Utah — Pineview Reservoir Beach
Flickr user Intermountain Region USFS

Utah — Pineview Reservoir Beach

In Utah's Ogden Valley is the Pineview Reservoir, and these beaches are an excellent place for fishing and water sports.

45
Vermont — Lake Willoughby
Flickr user kwbridge

Vermont — Lake Willoughby

Lake Willoughby is known for its clear and chilly waters, which makes it a great place for a swim if you find yourself getting too warm on a Summer day.

46
Virginia — Cape Charles Beach
Flickr user m01229

Virginia — Cape Charles Beach

Cape Charles Beach has free beach access and the water here is very shallow, making it a perfect place to bring the family.

47
Washington — Eagle Cove Beach
Flickr user msladyflash

Washington — Eagle Cove Beach

If you're looking for some cliff-jumping fun, look no further than Washington's Eagle Cove.

48
West Virginia — Cacapon Resort State Park
Flickr user ken_mayer

West Virginia — Cacapon Resort State Park

Cacapon Resort State Park is open year round and has a lot of lake activities and cabins on site you can stay in.

49
Wisconsin — Kohler-Andrae State Park
Flickr user lazyyogi

Wisconsin — Kohler-Andrae State Park

Just south of Sheboygan, you can find Kohler-Andrae State Park, which has over two miles of beaches along Lake Michigan.

50
Wyoming — Colter Bay
Flickr user Don Graham

Wyoming — Colter Bay

With breathtaking views of the Grand Tetons, Colter Bay is any adventure-lover's perfect getaway, with not only beautiful beaches but trails for hiking and calm waters for boating.