Best Beaches

Best Beaches In America

From the Atlantic to the Pacific, there’s no doubt that America is home to some of the best beaches in the world. Of course, you can expect to find the best beach vacation destinations in the warm weather paradises of Hawaii, California, and Florida but there are gorgeous seaside destinations all along the country’s coastline. Some may even argue that they rival the best beaches in the Caribbean or Bermuda. Whether you’re searching for the best family beaches or the most romantic white sand beach spots, the United States offers a wonderful selection of beaches for oceanfront fun and adventure travel

Pensacola Beach, Florida

Located on Santa Rosa Island off the Florida panhandle, the white sand beach of Pensacola attracts visitors with the promise of clear blue water and vibrant sunsets. It’s so incredible that USA Today even ranked it as the best beach in Florida in 2018. The calm waters are perfect for both snorkeling and swimming.

Clearwater Beach, Florida

There are many active adventures to be found at Clearwater Beach along Florida’s Gulf Coast. From parasailing and paddle boarding to more leisurely activities, like sunbathing and dolphin watching, this three-mile-long white sand beach has all the makings for an adventure trip. Plus, there are lifeguards on duty and free entertainment nightly on Pier 60.

Ka’anapali Beach, Maui, Hawaii

Considering that Ka’anapali Beach was once used by Maui royalty, it should come as no surprise that it’s thought to be one of the best beaches in the United States. The three-mile white sand beach on the northwest part of the island features a daily sunset cliff-diving ceremony that is a must-see for any adventure trip. For the best beach vacation experience, be sure to try surfing, snorkeling or paddle boarding.

Coronado Beach, California

Everyone from locals to tourists and even canine companions love San Diego’s Coronado Beach, which includes an off-leash dog beach at the northern end. The iconic Hotel Del Coronado makes a picture worthy backdrop for this 1.5 mile long stretch of sparkly mica-rich sand that is considered one of the best beaches in the country.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

When it comes to adventure vacations, South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach has it all. This resort town includes amusement parks, outlet malls, golf courses, and a minor league baseball team. You’ll also find active adventures, such as surfing, sailing, and swimming in the warm waters during the summer.

Cape Hatteras, North Carolina

This North Carolina beach stretches for 72 miles in the Outer Banks and enjoys a year-round mild climate due to the Gulf Stream. Be sure to add the lighthouse to your adventure trip bucket list – at 196 feet, it’s the nation’s tallest.

While Southern California is often thought to be the location of the state’s best beaches, don’t count out Carmel-by-the-Sea. Located just south of San Francisco, this is considered to be one of the best family beaches in the country. From viewing sea otters to relaxing around a bonfire, there’s something for everyone at Carmel Beach.

St. Augustine Beach, Florida

Not only is St. Augustine the site of the oldest European settlement in America, but it’s also home to some of the best beaches. You’ll find white sand beaches, a splash park on the St. Johns County Ocean Pier for the kids and plenty of opportunities for active adventures.

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Tide pools and Haystack Rock, which juts 235 feet out of the ocean and is home to tufted puffins during the summer, make this Oregon beach one of the best beach vacation destinations. While the water is chillier here than other locations on this list, a wetsuit can help you comfortably enjoy the waves, even in the summer.

Hapuna Beach, Big Island of Hawaii

You’ll find Hapuna Beach on Hawaii’s Big Island, along with lush tropical landscape and calm water during the summer that is perfect for bodysurfing, snorkeling and scuba diving. Watching the sunset is a popular activity on this westward-facing beach too.

Orange Beach, Alabama

Although Alabama only has 60 miles of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico, Orange Beach takes full advantage of the white sand beach for sunbathing as well as active adventures, such as parasailing and paddle boarding. You’ll also find the largest artificial fishing reef in the country.

Ogunquit Beach, Maine

Maine may not be the first place you’d think of when it comes to the best beaches in America but this 3.5 mile stretch of sand actually translates to “beautiful place by the sea.” Due to its northern location, it’s best to visit during the summer months to take full advantage of its beauty.

There’s no doubt many other coastal hot spots that could be added to this list of best beaches in America but if you’re searching for the best beach vacation in the country, these 12 adventure trip beach destinations should set you on the right path to finding the oceanfront active adventures that you seek.

Need help deciding what to pack on your adventure trip? Take a peek at Active Traveler’s list of handy travel accessories.

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Top Travel Accessories

travel essentials

Anyone can travel but not everyone is as prepared for the journey as they could be.

A few simple travel accessories can make or break a vacation.

From making your flight or road trip more comfortable to enhancing your experience at the destination, you can increase your travel satisfaction by choosing the right carry on luggage, USB charger, and other travel accessories.

Getting There

While the saying, “it’s the journey, not the destination,” may be a great motto for life, it’s not necessarily true when it comes to travel. Getting from point A to point B is often more of a nuisance than an experience in which to look forward. Make the travel portion of your vacation more enjoyable by being prepared with these must-have travel accessories. Trust us, you’ll arrive at your destination in a much better mood!

    • Noise Canceling Headphones – There are few things more irritating than being stuck in an airplane seat for hours on end with a wailing baby in the next row or a snoring seatmate next to you. Thankfully, these auditory annoyances can be easily blocked with a pair of noise-canceling headphones.
      Our Top Pick: Bose QuiteComfort 35 II, available here
    • Compression Socks – Lower the odds of developing blood clots by wearing a pair of compression socks while up in the air. Compression socks improve circulation, which is often hindered by long periods of sitting in one position, such as on a long flight.
      Our Top Pick: Sockwell, available here
    • Portable USB Charger – When traveling, never leave home without a portable USB charger. Not only will this handy battery pack charge your dying cell phone but it can also be used to give other electronics a boost mid-air or on the road.
      Our Top Pick: AUKEY Power Bank 20,000mAh, available here
    • Carry On Luggage – Be sure to check with your airline regarding their carry on luggage size requirements to avoid being charged with checked baggage fees at the gate. Then measure and double check your carry on luggage dimensions before you head to the airport.
      Our Top Pick: Calpak Carry On, available here
    • Toiletry Travel Bottles – Not all toiletry travel bottles are created equally. Look for leak-proof refillable shampoo, conditioner and lotion bottles under 100mL or 3.4 oz each to avoid having to clean up a gooey mess upon arrival at your destination.
      Our Top Pick: Dot&Dot 3oz Travel Bottles, available here
    • Luggage Tags – The number of similar-looking bags on an airport baggage claim carousel is surprisingly high. Make sure that you always collect the correct bag by attaching easily distinguishable luggage tags to your suitcase. You can also tie a colorful ribbon to the handle to make it easier to spot.
      Our Top Pick: Eccolo World Traveler Luggage Tags, Set of 3, available here
  • Neck Pillow – Anyone who has ever attempted to sleep on an airplane knows that a good neck pillow can be the difference between a restless red eye and the ability to catch at least a few zzz’s.
    Our Top Pick: Travelrest Therapeutic Memory Foam Travel & Neck Pillow, available here

While You Are There

Of course, the whole point of traveling is getting to experience a new place and there are things that you can pack to make your stay more comfortable once you arrive at your destination. Here are some travel accessories to consider to make your vacation more enjoyable whether you’re relaxing at the hotel or out exploring the local culture.

  • Travel Adapter – If you’re traveling outside of the United States, be sure to pack the appropriate travel adapter to make sure that you can access the electrical outlets at your destination. There are various travel adapters needed throughout the world so do your research ahead of time and come prepared. If you plan to do a lot of traveling to different countries, look for a universal travel adapter that can be useful in multiple locations.
    Our Top Pick Domestic: Accell 3-Outlet Travel Surge Protector, available here
    Our Top Pick European
    OREI European Plug Adapter Schuko Type E/F, available here
  • Multi USB Charger – Hotel rooms rarely have enough electrical outlets to keep up with the charging needs of a modern traveler. Come prepared with a multi USB charger that only requires one outlet but provides multiple USB ports for all your electronic needs.
    Our Top PickAnker 40W 4-Port USB Wall Charger with Foldable Plug, available here
  • Toiletries – While hotels may supply mini bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and other toiletries, rarely are these top-notch products. Bring your own collection of travel-sized toiletries to make sure that you have what you need. John Paul Mitchell Systems, for instance, offers many of their hair care products in convenient travel-sized packaging.
    Our Top Pick: Awapuhi Wild Ginger Travel In Style Set, available here
  • White Noise Machine – Sleeping away from the comfort of your own home is often a challenge, particularly if it’s not exactly a quiet setting. Drown out the background noise of your environment with a portable white noise machine to create a peaceful setting that will allow you to get the much-needed rest you need to give you the energy to continue on your travels.
    Our Top Pick: Marpac Rohm Portable White Noise Sound Machine. Available here
  • Water Purifier Bottle – Not all countries have safe drinking water and it gets expensive (not to mention damaging to the environment) to continually purchase water bottles. Bring a water purifier bottle to turn tap water into clean, drinkable water wherever you may go.
    Our Top Pick: OKO H2O Level-2 Advanced Filtration Water Bottle, available here
  • Backpack – The right travel backpack can make it easier for you to get out and about in a new location. Look for one that has convenient pouches for safely storing your important travel documents as well as anything else you may need on your adventure.
    Our Top Pick: Deuter Transit 40 Carry-On Travel Backpack available here

When packing your bag for your next trip, keep these handy travel accessories in mind to avoid any unnecessary hassles. After all, a vacation is meant to be fun, not stressful. So, grab your USB charger, attach your luggage tags to your carry-on luggage or backpack and enjoy your adventure!

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Top US Surf Spots

man surfing in a wave

The sun-soaked beaches of Hawaii, California, and Florida are home to many of the best places to surf in the United States. 

Before you start planning the best surf trip ever, take a look at this list to find your perfect match.

Hawaii Surfing Hot Spots

Hawaii and surfing are a match made in tropical heaven. Between the warm water and abundant coastline, Hawaii has beckoned surfers to its shores to catch a wave for decades. Of course, not all surfing locations are created equally, and different spots offer different experiences but there’s no doubt that the islands are some of the best places to surf in the world, not to mention hike, swim and simply relax. There’s a Hawaiian activity for everyone!

Here are a few of the beaches that you may want to consider when choosing your Hawaii surfing vacation:

Haleiwa (All Levels)

Whether you’re just beginning to learn how to surf or you’ve been surfing for years, this spot-on Oahu’s North Shore offers something for everyone. Stick close to shore to catch some gentle waves that make for great practice for newcomers or head out further to try your skills against a raging riptide.

Hanalei Bay (All Levels)

This spot-on Kauai gives surfers of all experience levels the opportunity to ride the waves. For more advanced surfing, check out Queens and Kings Reefs in the outer reef. Beginners can try to find their balance in the calmer water near the pier.

Waimea Bay (Expert Level)

Oahu’s North Shore is home to the infamous Waimea Bay. With waves regularly cresting at more than 20 feet high during the winter months, thanks to impressive swells from the north and west, this surf destination is not for beginners. Between a strong current and shallow reef, there’s not a lot of room for error so tread carefully and be sure to have lots of experience under your belt before you attempt to ride these waves. For nearby surfing locations, be sure to check out Chun’s Reef, Laniakea, Log Cabins, Ehukai, Pipeline, Sunset Beach and Velzeland.

Jaws (Expert Level)

Located on the island of Maui, Jaws promises massive waves that should only be attempted by experienced surfers. If you have the expertise and guts to tackle this behemoth, you’ll undoubtedly earn bragging rights but, and we repeat, don’t try this unless you know what you are doing. You’ll likely be safer to watch the spectacular waves, which can reach up to a rumored 120 feet, from the shore.

Best Locations for California Surfing

Thanks to the iconic music of the Beach Boys, you likely know that surfing has been an important part of California beach culture for years. There are numerous locations to catch a wave up and down the California coast, from San Diego to San Francisco, and don’t miss all the other outdoor activities that this diverse state has to offer.

Here are just a few of the best places to surf in the Golden State:

Huntington Beach (All Levels)

Known as Surf City, USA, this Orange County beach is home to the US Open of Surfing, making it a natural selection for any surfer. If the waves are good enough for the world’s best surfers to compete in, they’re good enough for you.

Maverick’s (Expert Level)

Conquering the iconic Maverick’s in the San Francisco area’s Half Moon Bay is likely on the bucket list for experienced surfers but it’s not to be messed with for beginners. Between a dangerous rip tide, rocky ocean floor and the potential for sharks to be nearby, these waves are not for everyone.

Trestles Beach (All Levels)

Thanks to consistent wave conditions, this San Clemente beach has played host to many pro surfing events over the years and is a great spot for anyone looking to explore the California surf.

The Wedge (Expert Level)

This artificially created surfing hot spot, which is caused by waves breaking against the man-made jetty, is another spot that is purely for experienced surfers. The waves are intense but can make for a great ride if you know what you’re doing.

Surfrider (All Levels)

Malibu is home to more than just the beach homes of the rich and famous. It’s also where you can find the spectacular Surfrider beach with the perfect mix of waves for all surf skill levels.

The Best Surfing in Florida

While California and Hawaii may be the first states to come to mind when you think about surfing, Florida has perfect weather and miles of coastline to practice your surf skills. Plan your visit to the Sunshine State, tour the Everglades and check out a beach to try out your surfing technique.

Cocoa Beach (All Levels)

The home to one of the top surfers in the world, Kelly Slater, Cocoa Beach is a great spot for learning to surf. It did work out well for Kelly, after all. The waves here are gentle enough that you have room to make errors and improve your surfing technique without fear of serious injury.

New Smyrna Beach (All Levels)

With a consistent surf, this 13-mile inlet is a great spot for surfing in Florida. Just be aware that the beach is called The Shark Bite Capital of the World for a reason, but it doesn’t deter surfers from tackling these waves.

Don’t forget to check out our travel videos here.

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Middaugh crossing finishing line teams up with Josiah Middaugh & Middaugh Coaching has been founded as an information source using short-form video to communicate active lifestyle travel, destinations, healthy living and more.

Josiah Middaugh, World Champion endurance competitor, founded Middaugh Coaching to assist and motivate people to get fit, stay fit and enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle.

It is only natural that these two groups have come together to share information, tips and motivation for people to work on their fitness even as they travel. Founder, Tom Kiely, said, “I have known Josiah for many years as we built the XTERRA World Tour and am honored to call him friend. More than any other world class athlete I have met, Josiah has a passion to share his knowledge and experience with any and all people who may ask. It was only natural for him to start Middaugh Coaching as a great platform to share his knowledge. We are proud to have Josiah on our team and to feature his videos, articles and knowledge on a regular basis.”

Middaugh states, “Health and fitness have been my life-long pursuit both as a professional athlete and as a coach and trainer. Elite racing has taken me to six continents and has allowed me to see the world through a unique lens. is a natural fit for my training business and gives me a platform to shares tips and advice for those looking to stay fit while traveling.”

Research by shows that the outdoor recreation and health/fitness sector continues phenomenal growth and more people are attracted to the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle every day. For those who travel, whether for business of leisure, staying fit while on the road makes the travels even that much more enjoyable.

About is a division of Honolulu-based Television, Events and Marketing Inc. It features short-form travel videos and direct links to resorts, destinations, and activities around the world.

About Middaugh Coaching

Personalized, scientifically based, results-driven programs for endurance athletes at every level. Contact Middaugh Coaching here.

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