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5 U.S. Beaches to Visit This Summer (and 5 You Should Avoid)

Are you are planning your vacation and looking for a beach to take your family to for some relaxing fun in the sun? Here are five that are worth the trip.

1. Sanibel Island, FL

Image: Travel + Leisure

Sanibel Island is part of a large plateau that extends into the western Gulf of Mexico just off of Fort Myers. Here you will find crystal blue waters and sands ripe with conches and shells that wash ashore when the tide rolls in. A perfect beach for watching wildlife and kayaking.

2. Kapalua Bay Beach, Maui, HI

Image: Kiplinger

While very popular among tourists to Maui, Kapalua Bay Beach isn’t a crowded beach. So, you will get to enjoy it, undisturbed. Go snorkeling in its calm waters, study tropical fish and sea turtles, or just relax on its white sandy beaches.

3. Key West, FL

Image: Gates Hotel, Key West

Another very popular spot and one that is very significant to fans of author Ernest Hemingway. Visit all of the islands’ beaches, but Smathers Beach comes highly recommended. Smathers offers free parking, plenty of vendors selling food and beverages. There’s water sport rentals and a host of other activities to fill your days. Also, try Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville while there.

4. La Jolla Beach, CA

Image: Flickr

Come lounge on the Pacific Ocean’s cluster of beaches known as La Jolla, each with its own set of attractions and features. Windandsea beach is perfect for surfing. Children’s Pool is perfect for families and beginning swimmers.

5. Cape Hatteras, National Seashore, NC

Image: Real Sports

Cape Hatteras is 70 miles of tranquility along the Atlantic shore. Go watch dolphins play, handglide at Jockey Ridge (the tallest natural sand dune in America), or just let the beach’s sweet dose of southern charm relax all your cares away until the real world beckons once more.

Five Beaches to Avoid

If your goal is to relax and experience something new and off the beaten path, these are the beaches you should avoid for one or more of the following reasons: not family-friendly, overcrowding, good for locals who want to get to a beach for a few hours but not for vacationers, lost its local charm.

1. South Beach, FL

2. Waikiki Beach, HI

3. Atlantic City Beach, NJ

4. Venice Beach, CA (Try Huntington instead)

5. Gulf Shores, AL (Try Pensacola)

Have you visited any of these beaches? Do you have any advice on planning a trip to one or more? Is there a favorite not on this list? Tell us in the comments below. You can also contact us for more information! Feel free to shoot us an email to You can also find us on TwitterFacebook, InstagramLinkedIn, or even connect with us directly on our website!

About the Author: Aisha K. Staggers is a writer, lecturer, political analyst and literary agent. She appears weekly for “Staggers’ State of Things” on the Dr. Vibe Show. Her work has been published by Paper Magazine, AfroPunk, The Spool, GREY Journal, MTV News, HuffPost, Blavity, Atlanta Blackstar, For Harriet, New York Review of Books and a host of other first-run publications and syndicated outlets. Find her on Twitter @AishaStaggers. For more of her work, check out her page here!

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