10 great American beaches
Venice Beach, California (Photo: Getty Images)
Climb a steep mountain trail to discover a view so striking that you simply can’t stop snapping photos. Take a Jeep to a deserted beach. Fly kites high into the sea breeze. Salute the setting sun as it drops into the sea. Beautiful (and fun) beaches abound in the U.S., and here are some suggestions for finding some of the best.
Venice Beach, Los Angeles, California
For: Oceanfront fun L.A. style
Three-mile-long Venice Beach, its sand perfectly kept, its Pacific Ocean water bluer than blue backed by green hills, is the place to go for a pickup game of beach volleyball or tossing a Frisbee. Seeking something more active? Rent surfboards and tackle the 5-to-7-foot waves that roll in during winter. Stroll out to the end of the recently restored Venice Pier to get a great view of the pink and orange Pacific sunsets. Walk the funky Venice Beach Boardwalk, lined with street performers and vendors. Watch a daredevil walk barefoot across broken glass, get your fortunes told, and revel in the free spirit of the place. You will be in good company. Such Hollywood names as Anjelica Huston, Eric Clapton, and Julia Roberts have lived in Venice, and Arnold Schwarzenegger built his physique on the beach there.
Siesta Key, Sarasota, Florida (Photo: Courtesy of visitsarasota.org)
Siesta Key, Sarasota, Florida
For: Beautiful beach walks
In 2011, Dr. Beach rated Sarasota’s broad and beautiful Siesta Beach No. 1 in the United States, and with good reason. Couples find that this strand of white-as-powdered-sugar sand is perfect for walking, on a beach so wide that it never seems crowded. Go early in the morning, when the only competition is the occasional yoga class or Frisbee game. Afternoons are prime times for swimming, snorkeling to see coral and caves, and for sand-castle building. Folks gather on the beach again in evenings to watch the sun drop into the sea, leaving behind a glorious palette of pastel colors. Nearby Siesta Key Village is charmingly low key, with good restaurants. It is possible to camp at Turtle Beach, within walking distance of Siesta Beach. The 8-mile-long Siesta Key sits between the Gulf of Mexico, Sarasota Bay and the Intracoastal Waterway.
Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii (Photo: Getty Images)
Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii
For: Two miles of spectacular beauty