Summer is beach season. From Miami to Los Angeles, people are flocking to America’s coastlines for some fun in the sun. Overall, 371 million people visited a beach in 2015, according to the United States Lifesaving Association, and for 14% of people surveyed by travel website Luxury for Less, a beach is a must when choosing a vacation destination. But at the country’s most popular beaches you’re likely to find yourself fighting with other travelers for a parking space and a spot on the sand. For a more peaceful experience, you’ll need to seek out one of America’s underrated beaches.
Head to South Padre Island, Santa Monica, or Waikiki and you’ll be enjoying the surf and sand with thousands of other tourists and locals. For some, the crowds are part of the fun, but if you’re looking for a more relaxing experience, you can find it — and you don’t have to head to a remote island in the South Pacific to do so. We’ve tracked down 10 great underrated beaches you need to visit this summer.
1. Sunset Beach, Huntington Beach, California
A trip to Southern California wouldn’t be complete without some time in the sand, but the beaches in L.A. and Orange County, including Venice Beach and Newport Beach, are among the most crowded in the U.S., according to Travel & Leisure. While your chances of finding a totally secluded spot in the Los Angeles area are slim, you’ll find thinner crowds at Sunset Beach, which is tucked between the more popular Bolsa Chica and Seal Beaches, according to the Orange County Register. The only downside? There’s no parking lot, and spots on the street can be tough to come by, according to Yelpers.