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It is nearing Memorial Day (last Monday in May) here in the United States, which marks the unofficial start of summer and beach season. I am interested in hearing about your favorite beaches and why.
Here are some of my favorite beaches. Not a top 10 list or best beaches, just a random collection. This list is limited to beaches in the continental US, as Australia, Europe, Hawaii, and the Caribbean deserve their own future lists.
- Haulover Beach, Miami, Florida. Even though I grew up in South Florida, I did not go to the beach much. Haulover is the beach we went to most, usually when my cousins visited from Tennessee. It now has a dedicated section for clothing optional bathers (tip or warning, depending on your preference).
- Duck, Outer Banks, North Carolina. My family has vacationed in oceanfront homes in Duck for a dozen years. Duck beach is several miles long and frequented with families (but not overcrowded). It is ideal for skimboarding, my kid’s favorite beach activity.
- Carmel Beach, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Also known as Carmel Beach City Park, Carmel Beach is most often reached by driving through Ocean Avenue through the very quaint village of Carmel-by-the-Sea (a former mayor was Clint Eastwood). This beach is popular with dog owners, walkers, and scenery lovers. Gorgeous houses line Scenic Road above the beach, with striking views of Pebble Beach. When I lived in Monterey, Carmel Beach was the turn around spot for my epic, beautiful Sunday bicycle rides. During that time, a friend of a friend (from the Northeast US) brought his mother’s ashes for final rest at her most beautiful place on Earth.
- Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, California. Continuing south from Carmel on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH, Route 1, or Cabrillo Highway), this is a stop you have to make but you will have to work for it. The entrance is hard to find, the drive is not smooth (but not crazy rough), and you may have to walk a bit–but you will be rewarded with perhaps the nicest beach you have ever seen. 25 to 30 miles south of Carmel, after the state park signs, look for a hairpin right turn. The street is called Sycamore Canyon Road (if you have a good GPS) but there is no street sign. Once there, you should recognize this beach from movies. I liked to visit this beach to see whales just offshore. There are nearby places called Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, which are nice but not this beach. Note that 101 is sometimes closed due to mudslides.
- Venice Beach, Los Angeles, California. Speaking of movies, you surely have seen Venice Beach featured in film and TV. Venice Beach is a treat for all of your senses. The sidewalk scene is gloriously chaotic with street performers, Muscle Beach, roller skating Hare Krishnas, hippie culture, fortune tellers, and more. It is a fantastic people-watching spot. Oh yeah, and there is a wonderful miles long and very wide beach. The boardwalk bike trail is over 20 miles (The Strand) running from Torrance Beach in the south through Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach (wave to Johnny Jet if he is home!), Marina Del Rey, Venice Beach, and ending in Santa Monica.
Whew! I sure want to go to the beach now. It was so hard to limit this post to only these beaches, as there are so many memorable and favorite beach spots.
What is your favorite beach in the mainland United States?