Wish you could laze on a beach under clear blue skies, soaking up some sunshine with crashing waves setting the soundtrack? It’s time to stop daydreaming and “seas” the day by finally planning that beach getaway.
We asked readers to tell us their favorite spring break destinations, and beach vacations were the clear winner. Simplemost readers prefer beach getaways over hiking, skiing, visiting cities, staycations and even cruises (which took second place in our poll).
Since we know you love beaches, here are the top 10 best beaches in the United States, according to TripAdvisor. To arrive at the results, TripAdvisor took both quality and quantity into consideration when it came to beach reviews.
10. Driftwood Beach in Jekyll Island, Georgia
Driftwood Beach’s dramatic landscape of fallen trees and scattered driftwood make it look otherworldly. Its “tree graveyard” is appealing to photographers looking to capture the unique beauty of nature. You’ll want to have your digital camera or at least your phone camera handy at all times on this beach (and check out our lists of the best digital cameras and best GoPro cameras while you’re at it).
9. Fort Lauderdale Beach, Florida
Fort Lauderdale Beach is all grown up now. Once a rowdy spring break mecca popularized in movies, the Florida beach has evolved into a tony destination, with luxurious hotels and beach clubs.
8. St. Augustine Beach in St. Augustine, Florida
St. Augustine, which is America’s oldest city, boasts 42 miles of white sand beaches. If you can peel yourself from your sunny patch of sand, there are Spanish forts and centuries-old buildings to explore, too.
7. Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area in Puako, Hawaii
Keep your eyes peeled. You just might spot some migrating whales from Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area, a sun-soaked white sand oasis that stretches for a half of a mile. Visitors can also rent snorkeling gear and boogie boards on the beach.
6. Siesta Beach in Siesta Key, Florida
Sunsets are so stunning at Siesta Key that they get a weekly Sunday night celebration, complete with a drum circle and belly dancers putting on performances. The family-friendly beach features shallow waters and a playground.
5. Pensacola Beach in Pensacola, Florida
If you like a splash of adventure with your beach vacation, Pensacola Beach can fill up your itinerary with scuba diving, sports fishing, jet skiing and parasailing. Or, simply enjoy the sugary white sand beaches. The Pensacola Pier is the perfect perch for spotting dolphins.
4. St. Pete Beach in St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Pete, located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, is nicknamed the Sunshine City and holds the title of most consecutive days of sunshine with 768 days of straight sun. Impressive, right? If you happen to need a break from all that light, though, set aside an afternoon to explore the Salvador Dali Museum.
3. Panama City Beach in Panama City Beach, Florida
Do you like long walks on the beach? Panama City Beach has 27 miles of white sand beaches for the perfect stroll. Round out your visit by taking a spin on the SkyWheel, which soars as high as an 18-story building and shows off panoramic views of this Florida beach town.
2: Ka’anapali Beach in Lahaina, Hawaii
Don’t miss the daily cliff diving ceremony that plays out on Maui’s Ka’anapali Beach. The time-honored tradition happens at sunset on Puu Kekaa, the beach’s northernmost cliffs.
1. Clearwater Beach in Clearwater, Florida
Crystal waters, soft white sand and family-friendly amenities help Clearwater Beach nab the top beach award for the second year in a row. After a day on the beach, enjoy nightly sunset celebrations at Pier 60, where street performers put on shows and local vendors sell crafts. TripAdvisor reviewers also rank neighboring St. Pete Beach highly, so you could easily enjoy two of the nation’s best beaches during a single vacation.
So, did your favorite beach make the Top 10 list? If not, which beach do you think should have made it?
You can see TripAdvisor’s expanded Top 25 list here.