This beach list simply reflects my own experiences and sentimentality. Not saying you should or should not go to any of these beaches, but if it's on the list, I really had a great time there. So maybe this will put a beach on your radar that wouldn't have otherwise been there. I've been to many, many beaches in my life, you might say that I have been "beach blessed." And not every beach I have been to is making this list. For instance, I have been to several beaches on Maui, Hawaii but - at least when I was there -they were either too rocky or too cold. So while I LOVED Maui, I didn't necessarily love it for its beaches, so it didn't make the list. Myrtle Beach also, for instance, didn't make my list. Just too touristy for my taste. Now, mind you, personally I LIKE some touristy amenities....it has to be "just right."
HILTON HEAD ISLAND - SEA PINES - I do love this beach...smooth sand, Atlantic ocean waves lapping...Plenty of touristy amenities on the island, but you don't get that vibe when you are on the beach itself.
SIESTA KEY BEACH, FLORIDA - Clear water, you can see the sting rays and fish slither and swim by your feet. There's just enough touristy stuff to keep it fun and, best of all, an Amish community is just a few miles away in Pinecraft!
SURF CITY, NEW JERSEY - I had a meeting in NYC in the morning and an evening meeting outside Philly and a lot of time to kill in between so I headed for the Jersey Shore and ended up here for a couple of hours on the beach. It really was a nice beach, but I think this makes the list because my expectations were so low and then it ended up being such a nice visit. I loved it there during my 2 or 3 hour stay.
OLD ORCHARD BEACH, MAINE: Man, this is a nice beach and it has a decidedly French feel because a lot of Quebecers come down here during the summer. You can hear French on the boardwalk frequently.
OXNARD, CALIFORNIA: When I'd visit my brother when he lived in southern California in the early 90s I'd have plenty of free time to kill during the day, so I'd often just drive up the Pacific Coast Highway, past Malibu and up to Oxford. I discovered a tiny beach by a military installation that was quiet and I'd just lay out a blanket and read. Sentimental favorite.
MOUNDS BEACH STATE PARK - BROOKVILLE, INDIANA - If you live in Ohio and you love a beach you have to be creative and while hardly qualifies as the ocean, it's a pretty darn nice beach. It's been a long time since I've been here, but it's sandy, quiet, has amenities like bathrooms, concessions, and lifeguards. Definitely, a good option if you are in the landlocked Midwest.
INDIANA DUNES STATE PARK: It's quite a climb up the giant sand dune known as Mt. Baldy, but on the other side you'll be rewarded with a wonderful Lake Michigan beach. I've stopped here many times on my way to and from Chicago.