Summer took its time getting here, but it seems to have finally arrived. And that means beach season is upon us. To celebrate the sunshine, 10Best asked our readers to vote for their favorite beaches. According to the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, our country has over 95,000 miles of shoreline, and while not all of it is sandy, that still leaves loads of beaches to choose from.
We gave our readers four weeks to vote for their favorite beaches in each of 12 U.S. states, and the results are in.
Click on each category below to see the full list of winners:
Best California Beach: Huntington City Beach
Huntington Beach is one of the world's top surfing spots — Photo courtesy of Visit California/Ryan Killackey
Surf City U.S.A. is known for awesome breaks near the famous Huntington Beach Pier as well as great swimming and boogie boarding away from those hanging ten. Flat sand for miles ensures plenty of space to sunbathe even in peak seasons. Amenities include fire rings, lifeguards, concessions selling almost anything you’d need for a beach day as well as a bike path, volleyball courts and restrooms.
Huntington Beach Makes Surfing History (Again)
Huntington Beach Makes Surfing History (Again)
Best Florida Beach: Pensacola Beach
Pensacola is one of the longest barrier islands in the world — Photo courtesy of iStock / lightphoto
The narrow strip of white, powder-soft sand known as Pensacola Beach is backed by a boardwalk filled with shops and restaurants. Beach goers enjoy clear, shallow waters and gentle waves, perfect for swimming, along with a relaxed old Florida feel.
Best Hawaii Beach: Poipu Beach Park
Poipu is the most popular beach on Kauai's South Shore — Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson
A series of three crescents on the south coast of Kauai make up Poipu Beach. It offers a little bit for everyone with a variety of water activities to enjoy when not watching palm trees sway from the comfort of your beach towel. Surf closer to the rocky outcroppings and find calmer waters mid-crescent. Shallow water and lifeguards near Poipu State Park make swimming a dream.
Best Massachusetts Beach: Crane Beach
This East Coast beach is an important nesting site for piping plovers — Photo courtesy of Trustees
Considered one of the best beaches on the East Coast, Crane Beach features miles of shoreline and clean waters perfect for swimming or playing in the sand. Five miles of trails wind through the beach dunes – an important nesting site for threatened piping plovers.
Best Michigan Beach: Pere Marquette Park
This beach is one of only three nationally certified Clean Beaches on the Great Lakes — Photo courtesy of AP Photo/The Muskegon Chronicle, Ken Stevens
Popular among families, Pere Marquette Park in Muskegon features a powdery sand beach, as well as a playground, fishing pier and picnic area. It's one of only three nationally certified Clean Beaches on the Great Lakes.
Best New Jersey Beach: Wildwood Beach
The Wildwood Beach boardwalk features over 100 rides and attractions — Photo courtesy of Greater Wildwoods Tourism Authority
Wildwood Beach is packed with activity both on and off the sand. Visitors will find three amusement parks within walking distance of the boardwalk with more than 100 rides and attractions.
Best New York Beach: Fire Island National Seashore
Beach goers find dozens of miles of quartz sand beach on Fire Island — Photo courtesy of Mike Busch
Visitors to Fire Island National Seashore have 32 miles of white quartz sand beaches to choose from. When not sunbathing or swimming, park goers will find numerous nature trails for hiking and wildlife viewing as well.
Best North Carolina Beach: Emerald Isle
Emerald Isle occupies a barrier island on North Carolina's Crystal Coast — Photo courtesy of iStock / StillFrameStoryteller
Situated on the western end of Bogue Banks, Emerald Isle features 12 miles of largely undeveloped shoreline offering stunning views of both the Atlantic Ocean and Bogue Inlet. While plenty of beach goers come simply to soak up the sun, the beach and Bogue Inlet Pier are popular for fishing as well.
Best Oregon Beach: Cannon Beach
Cannon Beach's Haystack Rock is one of the world's biggest monoliths — Photo courtesy of Travel Oregon
William Clark first visited Cannon Beach in 1806, but it’s a popular vacation destination now. Snap an Instagram in front of the iconic Haystack Rock, the world’s third largest monolith. It sits in an area designated a National Wildlife Refuge for local puffins, crabs and other wildlife. Four miles of beautiful sandy beach is available for swimming, picnicking, sunbathing and bird watching in this special part of the world.
Best South Carolina Beach: Cherry Grove Beach
Cherry Grove is one of several beach communities in North Myrtle Beach — Photo courtesy of Rain0975 / Flickr
Situated in North Myrtle Beach, Cherry Grove Beach is home to a 985-foot fishing pier with expansive sandy beach to either side, over 3 miles in total.
Best Texas Beach: Rockport Beach
The town of Rockport boasts a beautiful beach and easy access to some of the world's best birdwatching — Photo courtesy of iStock / jerryhopman
The Lone Star State's first designated Blue Wave Beach, Rockport Beach prides itself on its clean, crescent-shaped stretch of sand. Popular with families thanks to its calm and shallow water, Rockport Beach offers convenient amenities like numerous shaded picnic areas, grills, volleyball courts, playgrounds and a walking path.
Best Virginia Beach: Colonial Beach
This winning Virginia beach is the second largest in the state — Photo courtesy of Mary Carter
"The Playground of the Potomac," Colonial Beach, is a river town and a beach town, bounded by the Potomac River and Monroe Bay, and home to the second largest beach in Virginia. Only 65 miles from D.C., 35 nautical miles from the Chesapeake Bay, the town offers marinas, outdoor recreation and striking sunrises and sunsets.
10Best congratulates all these reader-favorite beaches!