Guide to Choosing Your Home-Away-From-Home this Summer

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Finding your happy place at home is about living fully in the moment; surrounded by the people you love and enjoying what matters most. So, when it comes to deciding on the perfect home- away-from-home this summer, many will opt for sun, sand and simplicity when seeking the perfect waterfront getaway. But with so many great locations right here in the US, how do you pick the right one?

If you’re on the hunt for your next seaside getaway, there’s a great tool you can use to narrow your options: your personality! Whether you are a solitude-seeking workaholic, just hoping to unplug, or a frazzled family of five, check out our favorite selection of America’s best beaches and get started booking your trip today.

Outdoor Enthusiast

A rocky coast with pine trees and patches of snowMost people consider a seaside vacation to be the perfect time for a good book, a cold drink and a long rest in a shaded hammock. But adventurous visitors view the beach in a different light. Bring on the adrenaline and get your heart pumping! The U.S. has some of the best locations for outdoor recreation; from diving, surfing, paddling or hiking, there are a plethora of options out there just waiting for you to choose your own adventure.

Traverse City, Michigan

Dubbed “The Mitten State” for its unique shape, Michigan might not be the first place that comes to mind when planning a beach vacation. But don’t let its central location fool you! Its rugged natural beauty, proximity to The Great Lakes and unspoiled nature preserves offer some of the most stunning beaches in the central United States.

Traverse City is located on the shores of Lake Michigan’s Traverse Bay, and is well known for its annual Cherry Festival, exhilarating cycle and hiking trails and proximity to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park. From sailing, kite surfing and stand-up paddle boarding, Traverse City caters to all lovers of the outdoors.

Bandon, Oregon

Located on Oregon’s southern coast, Bandon embodies the best of the coastal Pacific Northwest. It’s cool-but-moderate weather offers year-round adventure for hikers, bikers and the occasional windsurfer. Take a day trip to explore the Coquille River Lighthouse, admire Oregon’s picturesque sea stacks, or hunt for agate crystals at the Tseriadun State Beach. Scale the coastal cliffs and embrace your inner Ornithologist, checking out many of the local and migratory birds that call the seaside their home.

Roque Bluffs, Maine

For the perfect mixture of adventure and wildlife, head to Roque Bluffs, Maine. Boasting a unique sand and pebble beach, Roque is very different from the cliffside seashore in the surrounding area. Stroll along the beautiful half-mile crescent of white sand as it curves along the back of Englishman Bay and take in the sights and sounds of this unique East Coast beach.

A combination of shallow pools and fresh seawater means visitors can choose between warm soaks in calm pools and bracing swims in the open ocean. A 6-mile trail network winds through ancient orchards and established woods and lucky visitors have been known to spot American Bald Eagles soaring over the park. Keep your eyes peeled!

Roaming Homebody

If your idea of a perfect vacation involves snuggling up at home with your family gathered all around, take the leap and move that cozy feeling to the sand. There’s no reason you can’t have the same experience of comfortable familiarity while taking in the great outdoors. Even though the thought of slogging your crew down to the beach can seem pretty daunting, there are plenty of beautiful, easy-access beaches that cater to groups with kids in-tow. From toddlers to teens, adults and grandparents, check out our top picks for the best family-friendly beachside escapes.

Miles of white beach with beautiful blue ocean

Tierra Verde, Florida

Known for its warm, clear water, powdery white sand and seashell dotted shore, Tierra Verde, Florida leads the way when it comes to fun for the whole family. Make a splash at North Beach Fort De Soto Park, where a wide, shallow lagoon makes the perfect kiddie pool for little explorers. When it’s time to cool off, head over to the Gulf Pier for sno-cones and a peek at the fort, a remnant of the Spanish-American War. Bring your bike or rent one beachside for an off-road adventure through the nature trails.

A solo tree growing on a rocky cliffZen Guru

For the yogi on the go, the desperate-to-unplug traveler, or the self-care junkie, a seaside escape is just the thing to bring you serenity. If you’re on the hunt for the perfect place to recharge, soothe your senses by booking your next trip at one of these relaxation-centered locales.

Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Head East and post up at a charming B&B on South Carolina’s famed Kiawah Island. With acres of unspoiled beauty and more than 10 miles of sand-swept beaches, this coastal retreat is the perfect mix of rustic charm and understated luxury. From the rolling dunes that dot the landscape to the wide range of local wildlife, you’d never guess that this paradise is only an hour away from the city of Charleston. Hop onto one of the convenient shuttles and explore the city’s four other famed beaches: Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms and Seabrook Island, all of which boast different sights and sounds to help the weary travel unwind.

Monterey, CA

Known for its calming ocean views, wide variety of outdoor activities and bounty of local and sustainable food offerings, Monterey is a hotspot for anyone hoping to reconnect with themselves. Hit the road and cruise south down the Pacific Highway to take in the sights and sounds of Big Sur. Stop at McWay Falls for an unforgettable peek at nature’s wonder before grabbing lunch at Nepenthe, a former artists’ colony turned cliffside restaurant perched 800 feet above the ocean.

Home to some of the finest wellness retreats in the country, Monterey is a wonderful place to soothe your mind, body and soul.

Portland, Maine

Trust us, you’re not seeing double. Different from its West Coast cousin, Portland Maine is home to scenic fishing ports, historic architecture and relaxing seaside beaches. When you just need to get away, this quiet East Coast town is the perfect place to relax and rebalance. While tourists flock to this beachside oasis during the summer, its collection of dining, shopping and cultural attractions — like the Monet Collection at the Portland Museum of Art — keeps the town busy even during winter months.

When it’s time to stroll along the waves, head to Willard Beach, a favorite among the locals. It offers gentle surf and unmatched views of the Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse. Center yourself with a little active meditation and comb the beach for sea glass, which can be found in abundance along the shores.

Urban Explorer

Visitors seeking the perfect balance of beach, adventure and nightlife are what we like to call our urban explorers. Social butterflies and extroverted relaxation-seekers will love the variety of sights and sounds that these three beaches offer. With beautiful shores and vibrant cultural experiences, you really can have it all.

A Spanish-style building with palm trees and a beautiful blue sky

Santa Barbara, CA

Few places embody the charm of southern California better than Santa Barbara; and its beaches are no exception! Start your trip with a morning walk down the boardwalk, slurp oysters at the Stearns Wharf pier or head down to the sand for a morning surf session. With a miles-long, palm-lined boardwalk, ample shopping district and vibrant nightlife, Santa Barbara offers a little something for everyone. Not to mention: it’s also home to the Urban Wine Trail. Full of art, culture and delicious eats, there’s no better place for beach enthusiasts looking for something more diverse from their vacation.

Clearwater, Florida

If aqua skies, crystal waters and acres of sand are what you crave, Florida is the place to go. Ranked as one of the top beaches in the nation, Clearwater Beach is the perfect place to relax and let your curiosity run wild. Home to one of the largest collections of Salvador Dali art in the US, as well as an annual hatching ground for sea turtles, Clearwater runs the gamut when it comes to nature and culture.

After a day spent on the sand, head over to Pier 60 and watch the sunset over the Gulf, grab dinner at one of the many award-winning restaurants and then hit the town for a taste of their glittering nightlife. There are endless options to lose yourself in the moment and let your inner adventurer out to play.

Orange Beach, AL

A hidden gem, Orange Beach, Alabama enjoys the same beautiful Gulf beaches as its neighboring states, but without the crowds. Get a taste of that Southern hospitality as you explore the lively music scene, year-round warm weather and white sand beaches. Known as a hub for water sports, visitors to Orange Beach can experience everything from diving and snorkeling to kayaking and stand-up paddle-boarding. Local captains offer charters for all kinds of fishing — inshore, offshore, saltwater, freshwater and more, plus sightseeing and dolphin-watching excursions for groups of all ages. While you’re there, check out the wide variety of local festivals, including the annual Hangout Music Fest, hosted right on the sand.

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So, whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, urban explorer, roaming homebody or zen guru, the best place to start your waterfront journey is always within. Identifying your travel personality before you hit the road then synching it with the perfect vacation spot will ensure that your trip is exactly what you are looking for…not matter where the road takes you.
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