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Beat the Heat — America’s Hottest Beach Towns

July 11, 2014

Snorkeling in Maui, home to some of America’s buzziest beaches (Photo: Thinkstock)

It’s summer — and you’ve got beach getaways on the mind. How do we know? Well, over 54 million of you have been gabbing about it on social networks this past month, with a lot of the chatter revolving around sun, sand, and surf in certain choice cities. And we’ve been listening. 

By canvassing sites like Tumblr, Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, WordPress, and YouTube, and cross-referencing with travel sites like TripAdvisor, Adobe Digital Index (using Adobe Social) helped us pinpoint the top ten buzziest beaches in the United States.

See below to find out what you — and all your friends — have been talking about. And then get vacationing, already!


Harbour Town Lighthouse, Hilton Head, SC (Photo: Flickr/Robert Du Bois)

No. 10 — Hilton Head, South Carolina

Nestled along the South Carolina coast, this boot-shaped sea island is a paradise for both beach and golf lovers, as well as foodies and those that prefer to burn the calories off on the water after. Average daily temps hover in the high 80s. And there’s a famous lighthouse. Perfect.

STAY: Inn at Harbour Town – Sea Pines

Related: Nude Beach Etiquette: The Unwritten Rules for Stripping Down

Catamarans on the beach in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida (Photo: Thinkstock) 

No. 9 — Fort Lauderdale, Florida

A JetBlue hub makes this beach destination an easy trip for most of America. No wonder, with 7 miles of beaches, a Venice-like series of canals, and a walkable commercial strip that offers nightlife, restaurants, and shopping aplenty.

STAY: Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa

Related: Thursday Night: Fort Lauderdale

Jacksonville Beach (Photo: Thinkstock)

No. 8 — Jacksonville Beach, Florida

Florida’s “First Coast” offers vast stretches of perfect sand, new golf courses, fishing piers and boatloads of water activities including surfing. Even dolphins dig it, often spotted frolicking just outside the breaks.

STAY: Casa Marina Hotel & Restaurant

Maui’s black sand beach (Photo: Thinkstock)

No. 7 — Maui, Hawaii

Okay not a beach town per se, but paradise is everywhere you look on Hawaii’s “Valley Isle,” where beach lovers have their pick of primo resorts and tiny artist towns, white sands and volcanic black. Also bringing the buzz: sunrise and sunset at the crater of Haleakala, migrating humpback whales, snorkel trips to Lana’i, and the topsy-turvy-curvy waterfall-filled Road to Hana.

STAY: Andaz Maui at Wailea

Related: Let’s Take An Adrenaline-Fueled Island Hop Through Hawaii

A cool cover in Laguna Beach, California (Photo: Thinkstock)

No. 6 — Laguna Beach, CA

Halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles, Laguna is a year-round haven of Pacific Coast cool, perfect for anybody who digs sun, surf, style, arts, and eats — and seven miles of spectacular sunsets. No wonder all you brahs are buzzin’ bout it.

STAY: Pacific Edge Hotel

A marina in Clearwater, Florida (Photo: Thinkstock)

No. 5 — Clearwater, FL

This award-winning breakwater beach town is manna for Gulf Coast sunbirds of all budgets who want sugar-white sand and warm, clear waters (truth in naming!) — not to mention vibrant nightlife and restaurants, shopping and the whole Tampa and St. Pete region if you really want to splash out.

STAY: Frenchie’s Oasis Motel

Related: Special Report: America’s Cleanest Beaches

Huntington Beach and a surfer at sunset (Photo: Thinkstock) 

No. 4 — Huntington Beach, CA

With a nom-de-sol of “Surf City, U.S.A.” you can’t take a trip to this Orange County icon without embracing the SoCal cool. No wonder all y’all won’t stop buzzing about its classic pier, epic surf, bicycle paths and volleyball courts, legal beach bonfires, and endless summer vibe.

STAY: Shorebreak Hotel

Related: Best Affordable Beach Hotels for Summer

An aerial view of Myrtle Beach (Photo: Thinkstock)

No. 3 — Myrtle Beach, SC

Golf or beach? In Myrtle Beach the answer is a resounding: both! With over 100 championship level courses, make time for tee times when you’re north sunning on over 60 miles on sand or strolling along the classic boardwalk (with Ferris wheel). There’s a lot to buzz about here — stage shows and entertainment, adrenaline-fueled watersports, and enough restaurants to make you okay with saying goodbye to your bod — to make summer here a worthy extension of its epic Spring Break.

STAY: Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort & Spa at Grand Dunes

The neon lights of Ocean Drive in South Beach, Miami at sunset (Photo: Thinkstock)

No. 2 — Miami Beach, FL

There’s a simple reason why Miami is the second-most buzzed about beach in America: EVERYTHING. Whatever you want this steamy city has it — with style. A vibrant arts district in Wynwood, an iconic shoreline, Voodoo culture, some of the country’s best hotels, South Beach’s Art Deco architecture, cutting-edge restaurants and one-of-a-kind shopping, plus nightlife that doesn’t quit. “¡Bienvenidos a Amazing!”

STAY: Nash South Beach

Related: Miami Travel Guide

San Diego’s Pacific Beach (Photo: Thinkstock) 

No. 1 — San Diego, CA

The Goldilocks of beach getaways, everything in San Diego is just right, from the size of the city (perfect for a weekend) to the weather (one of America’s sunniest cities) to ample opportunities to set sail, surf some breaks, or merely sink into the sand (there’s 70 miles of coastline). Head inland to explore distinctly vibrant neighborhoods like Hillcrest (LGBT central), North Park (hipsters), the Gaslamp Quarter (night owls), and Coronado (military and Main Street). If the animals at the world-famous San Diego Zoo could talk, we’re sure they’d be amping up the buzz on social media, too.

STAY: W San Diego

Under the boardwalk in Myrtle Beach (Photo: Thinkstock) 

Justin Ocean is a contributing editor to Yahoo Travel and the New York Post. And no, he didn’t just make up that name for this article.

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