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The Top 100 Beaches in the United States

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Going to the beach is the quintessential American vacation; millions upon millions of Americans use up their vacation time on soft sand. But which beach is best? Maybe more importantly, what makes a beach better than any other beach?

If this were strictly a contest based on appearances, any number of Hawaiian beaches would be taking home our number one spot. But a beach, at least in terms of vacationing, has to be more than pretty to justify the cost. In the attempt to find the best beach, I came with a set of three criteria: Hotel Prices [HP], Scenic Beauty [SB], and Attractions/Nightlife [AN], and ranked beaches on those measurements on a 1-10 scale. I rated AN as the most important criteria, with HPs second, and SB last. Some boring math stuff later*, I came up with TR, or total ranking, and created the list you see below.

These are not my personal rankings, per se; I wanted to try and make as objective a list as possible using subjective stats. I disagree with some of the selections, but hey; statistics.

Here we go!

100. Ditch Plains

Ditch Plains1

HP: $271.2 (2.7)

SB: 7

AN: 4

TR: 4.5

Our first entry, this was the 100th best mostly because of the high hotel prices and the low attractions ranking. That’s not to say that there isn’t a lot of fun things to do; there is, like boat tours and Liar’s Saloon and a really good golf course. If you are interested in horses and the like, Deep Hollow Ranch is the place for you.

(Ditch Plains in Montauk/KYRIL BROMLEY)

99. Breakwater Beach

Breakwater Beach

HP: $155 (3.2)

SB: 5

AN: 2

TR: 4.5

The attractions are pretty light here; the lightest on this list, I believe. One fun thing, though, is the RetroCade Classic Video Arcade, which is a nice blast from the past and a fun place to spend a few hours. There is also Captain Hooks Bar, and The Music Man. The prices are okay, and the star ranking is okay.

(Panoramio/Vath Sok)

98. Baldwin Park

baldwin-beach-park

HP: $190.4 (3)

SB: 5

AN: 10

TR: 4.6

This is an average beach with an incredible attractions, but the hotel prices don’t jive with the star ranking. A fun thing to do is the Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire; another fun thing is the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. There is so much to do that I can’t list it all. This is a good place for attractions and the like.

(http://www.aloha-hawaii.com)

97. Fred Benson Town Beach

17milesofbeaches-2

HP: $180 (2.6)

SB: 6

AN: 3

TR: 4.6

This is a pretty, but unremarkable beach. The prices are a little high for the star ranking. I’d say more, but I’d just be filling space.

(Cindy Wilson)

96. Hamoa Beach

6

HP: $265.8 (3.3)

SB: 8

AN: 3

TR: 4.7

Not great attractions close by (but there are some further away), but the beach itself is top notch. The thing that drags this down is the high hotel prices and the relatively low star ranking. But that picture above makes it worth the cost to take a trip to this beach.

(Robratkowski.com/Rob Ratkowski)

95. Sea Camp

cumberland-island-national

HP: $71.8 (2.5)

SB: 6

AN: 4

TR: 5.1

This is an okay place that is elevated by the fact that the hotel prices are low. The attractions are not the best, and the beach is only a little bit above average. But the hotel prices are so low that it’s worth trying out. I’m probably being a little bit harsh, because it’s not like this place is a landfill. This is a solid beach made better by low prices.

(Tripadvisor.com/Jamie Patterson)

94. Morningstar (US Virgin Islands)

Marriott_Frenchmans_Reef_and_Morning_Star_Beach_Resorts_usn_1

HP: $426.4 (3.8)

SB: 8

AN: 6

TR: 5.4

This place looks dope, and would be much higher if you didn’t have to use little Timmy’s college fund to spend more than thirty minutes on shore. It has solid if unspectacular group of attractions and nightlife. The look of the place, though, is so incredible, with it’s vast and sloping cliff sides and hotel up on a hill, almost makes it worth spending the money.

(Travel.usnews.com)

93. Waveland Beach

1313

HP: $79 (2.2)

SB: 4

AN: 5

TR: 5.4

Better attractions and nightlife than the beach itself. A cool name, but the beach itself looks a little muddied. The hotel prices are low, as is the star ranking. A fun place to take the family, or go with friends, if you are looking for a cheap beach to relax on.

(Vacationrental.org)

92. Glass Beach, HI

2012-08-05-14-25-24-photo

HP: $416.2 (3.3)

SB: 8

AN: 7

TR: 5.5

An incredibly pretty beach that is dragged down by the anchor of it’s hotel prices. $416 is just too much, especially with a star ranking of 3.3. But it’s in Hawaii, and it has all of the attractions that go along with it, as well as the nightlife, so it’s worth going. But still; there are just as good, cheaper options.

(Kauaibeachscoop.com)

91. Pine Knolls Shore

view-from-balcony

HP: $148.2 (2.6)

SB:5

AN: 4

TR: 5.5

Nothing spectacular here. Below average attractions, average beach. Prices are high, and the rating is low. I’m being dismissive, but it’s the dictionary definition of a beach, and that is really all there is to say about Pine Knolls.

(Tripadvisor.com)

90. Coatue Beach

coatue-by-kite-1-980x651

HP: $330.4 (3.1)

SB: 7

AN: 6

TR: 5.2

This place looks so cool, and they know it. $330 for a hotel stay is quite steep, and it’s not like you’re sleeping on silk sheets. The attractions and nightlife are good, and Nantucket is a fun place, so this is a place to visit if you have the disposal income.

(Nantucketconservation.org)

89. Main Beach, East Hampton

Main Beach, East Hampton, the Hamptons, Long Island, New York State, United States of America, North America (Newscom TagID: rhphotos106932.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]

HP: $453 (3.5)

SB: 7

AN: 8

TR: 5.5

This is another place that is dragged down by the black hole of hotel prices. Like, if I’m paying $453 for a hotel room, I’m going to Hawaii and stepping into glass-clear water. This place is such a great attraction and nightlife spot, and the beach is super-pretty, which makes it a shame that it is this low.

(Relevancenewyork.com)

88. Manini’owali Beach

kua-bay-hawaii-beaches

HP: $380.2 (4.1)

SB: 9

AN: 5

TR: 5.6

A Hawaii beach that’s incredibly, mind-blowingly gorgeous? I’m shocked; I really am. The photo above doesn’t do it any sort of justice. The attractions aren’t great, though, which drags it down, and it is drug down more by the high hotel prices. The star ranking is good, though, which makes it pretty close to worthwhile to pay that much money.

(Explore-the-big-island.com)

87. Laguna Beach

south-laguna-beach_720

HP: $375.2 (3.5)

SB: 8

AN: 6

TR: 5.6

A theme is emerging: high hotel prices dragging down otherwise stellar rankings. I love the above photo, and that probably inflated my ranking a bit, but it’s just so great. My favorite kinds of beaches are the ones that have hills and cliffs and rocks stretching out into the water. The attractions, being as it is in California, are good.

(Bcre.com)

86. Malaquite

padre-island-national

HP: $117.2 (2.5)

SB: 6

AN: 4

TR: 5.7

This is just a meh beach. Everything is kind of hovering around the middle, and it’s a little uninspiring. It’s a good place to go if you are looking for a cheap, affordable experience. Final verdict: this is a pleasant, unremarkable place.

(Tripadvisor.com/bradtheman)

85. Ocracoke

Ocracoke-beach-North-Caro-001

HP: $105.67 (2.1)

SB: 6

AN: 6

TR: 5.7

Same as Malaquite, there isn’t anything that remarkable about this place. The star ranking is very low, and while the attractions are above average and so is the beach, there isn’t really much to distinguish it from Malaquite or other beaches of it’s type.

(theguardian.com/Alamy)

84. Twelve Mile

twelvemile-beach1

HP: $87.8 (2.1)

SB: 8

AN: 3

TR: 5.7

Back in the winner’s circle! I love this beach; low prices, high SB rating. The thing that drags it it down are the lack of solid attractions and nightlife, which are weighted heavier in my formula. I love these kinds of beaches, as you’ll see later on; the sort that feel wild and untamed and undeveloped are my favorite.

(Michigannaturephotos.photoshelter.com/Greg Kretovic)

83. Ulua Beach

filename-img-2742-jpg

HP: $370.2 (3.9)

SB: 7

AN: 6

TR: 5.7

A beautiful beach that does everything well. High hotel prices with a good star ranking. It speaks to the quality of the beaches ahead of it that this one is so low. If you go deeper into Hawaii, you’ll find better attractions, but I did ding them for not having enough good ones close by.

(Tripadvisor.com/808AlwaysSunny)

82. Crystal Cove

38709

HP: $270.4 (3.3)

SB: 8

AN: 6

TR: 5.8

My favorite thing about this beach is the cliff side in the photo above. How awesome is that? When you vacation in places like this, you feel a lot closer to nature. Everything just feels so much more natural. I’m starting to get really weird with these descriptions. High hotel prices drag this beach down.

(Everytrail.com)

81. North-End Beach

12698986745_b1598307e3_o

HP: $196.2 (3)

SB: 7

AN: 7

TR: 5.9

As much as I’ve talked about the ruggedness of other beaches, sometimes the open expanse really just does strike me, as it does here. Everything is good here; it’s a little pricey for the star ranking it possess, and that pulls it down to the 81st slot.

(Krystalkitsch.com)

80. Hunting Island State Park

original_open-uri20121018-30184-1t33r22

HP: $151.8 (2.8)

SB: 8

AN: 4

TR: 5.9

Short answer: Love the ruggedness, disappointed by the number of attractions and the like, hotel prices too high for star ranking. Moving on.

(Afar.com)

79. Outer Banks Beach

subhero_1_2a_islands

HP: $126.4 (2.7)

SB: 7

AN: 4

TR: 5.9

The look of this beach is so cool. Just a line of land cutting through open water, reaching out to the vanishing point and blurring away into the horizon. It also feels like a sort of roadside secret, though it obviously isn’t. It reminds of finding a little hole in the wall place while travelling somewhere else, and you feel like you’ve really discovered something magical. Not great star ranking.

(Outerbanks.org)

78. Hammonasset State Park

ar117214010029333

HP: $119.8 (2.6)

SB: 5

AN: 5

TR: 6

Everything is okay, and it kind of games my rankings by having everything just so, but that’s okay; I like things that beat the system. Rock on, Hammonasset State Park.

(Activerain.trulia.com)

77. Kalapiki Beach

lg_79-295

HP: $234.2 (3.3)

SB: 8

AN: 5

TR: 6

A beautiful Hawaiian beach. Not too much else to say, frankly. If you are looking for a really pretty place and not much else, this is the place for you. I say that derogatorily, but I’ll be praising other beaches with the same numbers. Just wait.

(Kalapakibeach.org)

76. Ke’e Beach

0033e

HP: $293.2 (3.5)

SB: 10

AN: 5

TR: 6.1

One of the prettiest beaches I’ve ever seen. It’s a little out of the way, too, which is why the attractions and nightlife ranking is so low. The hotel prices are little high, but the beauty of this place makes it worth spending nearly $300.

(Hawaiishrine.com)

75. Kiawah Beachwalker Park

filename-summer-vacation

HP: $185.6 (2.7)

SB: 6

AN: 6

TR: 6.1

Another one that sort of games my rankings. I do love that photo, though; it’s a deep beach, and the tide rolls up it for a long time. I love the flatness, too. Makes it seem like the whole place is shallow ocean, which elicits a wonderous feeling from an incredibly lame person like me.

(Tripadvisor.com/Rutha2s)

74. Honolua Bay

honolua-bay

HP: $371.4 (3.6)

SB: 8

AN: 7

TR: 6.2

This one should be higher, and I’m mad that it isn’t. Another rugged sort of beach, and I love that it is a bay. I have a thing for circular beaches, which makes no sense, but I’ve grown up on those flat, long stretches of Florida sand, and this is wonderful. Good attractions and nightlife, anchored by high hotel prices.

(Tripadvisor.com)

73. Long Point Beach, Martha’s Vineyard

LONGPOINT BEACH

HP: $170.4 (2.9)

SB: 6

AN: 6

TR: 6.2

It’s Martha’s Vineyard, and that’s a cool place, but that’s about it. Pretty standard stuff.

(Mvautorental.com)

72. Carlsbad

carlsbad-state-beach

HP: $197 (2.8)

SB: 7

AN: 6

I love the colors of this place. The oranges and greens and vibrant blues. It all stands out so nicely. It has a lot of really cool attractions around the place, and it’s a good place to go even if the hotel price is way too high for the star ranking that accompanies it.

(Dhguides.com/Bryce Bradford)

TR: 6.3

71. Galveston

GlimpseofGalveston1

HP: $114.8 (3.2)

SB: 5

AN: 5

TR: 6.3

I’m not a super big fan of Texas beaches. This one gamed my rankings too by doing just enough to vault ahead. It’s standard stuff for a beach.

(Hustletoparadise.com)

70. South Ocean

1400-ocean-city-md-beach.imgcache.rev1409688767448.web

HP: $107.2 (2.5)

SB: 6

AN: 5

TR: 6.3

One of my favorites; I think it does just enough with low prices to make it worth your while. The high rises in the back drop the rating a bit for me, though. That’s a stupid complaint, I know. I feel an affinity for this place for some reason, so it affected my ranking a bit, but I just love the look of the place.

(Travel.aarp.org/Chris Parypa)

69. Ormond Beach

ormondbeach090805011

HP: $348 (4)

SB: 7

AN: 7

TR: 6.4

Drug down by high hotel prices, even with such a high star ranking. There is a lot to do here, and it should be higher, but paying $348 is excessive even for a 4 star ranking. Definitely a place worth visiting and spending your time if you can afford it.

(Seniorhiker.wordpress.com/George)

68. Kailua

kailua-beach-park

HP: $180.6 (3.2)

SB: 8

AN: 5

TR: 6.4

Beautiful place with reasonable hotel prices and average attractions and nightlife. It’s worth going, though, because it’s in Hawaii and it’s relatively cheap. You can find the attractions if you go deeper into the island. Go for the lowish prices and the beautiful scenery.

(Tripadvisor.com/Javagirl08)

67. Sand Beach

7725_3968_Sand_Beach_Maine_md

HP: $149 (2.9)

SB: 8

AN: 5

TR: 6.4

A rugged beach. I love it. The price is a little high, though, and light on good attractions and nightlife. If the star ranking was below three I’d feel better about it. It’s a really picturesque place, and it really grabs the attention. I love the scenery of Maine, so this is a favorite for me.

(Acadianationalpark.com)

66. South Padre Island

gulf-beach

HP: $126.8 (2.6)

SB: 5

AN: 6

TR: 6.4

Another ranking gamer. It’s prettier than I’m giving it credit for. I love the color of the water and how it stretches out flat for so long. The greenery in the back really sets off. Low prices, too; worth going on that alone.

(Tripadvisor.com/Wmccor)

65. Santa Monica

sunset-at-santa-monica

HP: $381.6 (4)

SB: 6

AN: 8

TR: 6.4

Not as pretty as that picture makes it out to be. Great, great attractions and nightlife. Super duper high hotel prices, though the star ranking levels it out somewhat. It’s a great place, though, and I don’t want to come down so harsh on it. Worth visiting if you can find a better hotel deal.

(Tripadvisor.com/Tony_Sinclair)

64. Cape Arago

middle-cove

HP: $88.2 (2.2)

SB: 7

AN: 5

TR: 6.5

Rugged beach! Right up my alley, and stupid cheap. Lack of attractions drag this down; if I was ranking this just on my own, without the formula, it’d be much higher. Blame the science, not me, even if I did come up with the formula. That picture makes you feel like a real traveller.

(Americansouthwest.net)

63. Race Point

provincetown-race-point

HP: $164.2 (3)

SB: 6

AN: 6

TR: 6.5

I love the way this one looks. I’ve previously criticized beaches for being too flat and straight, but I don’t mind them as much if they are as wide open as this one. Drives me crazy to see hotels and the like cluttering up the space behind them. Anyway, everything good, nothing great.

(Tripadvisor.com/Clamc40)

62. Fort Myers

fort-myers-beach

HP: $191.4 (3.4)

SB: 6

AN: 6

TR: 6.5

A really solid beach town. Hotel prices a little high, but solid star ranking. Like the last entry, does everything well, but nothing particularly great. A boat tour of this place would probably be a really, really good time. Perhaps a deep sea diving expedition, too.

(Tripadvisor.com/Fort Myers Visitors Bureau)

61. Cape May

covesunset092911_2

HP: $161.4 (3.3)

SB: 6

AN: 6

TR: 6.5

I didn’t give this one enough credit. I go back and forth on how much I actually like this place. I don’t know if it is actually this picturesque, or if the picture is just expertly taken. My main complaints are with the price and it’s accompanying star ranking.

(Dacsplanet.com/Donna Eyer) 

60. Waianapanapa State Park

waianapanapa-state-park-ron-dahlquist--printscapes

HP: $252.6 (3.2)

SB: 9

AN: 6

TR: 6.5

Another dope Hawaiian beach. One of my favorite black sand beaches. It’s small, and it feels reclusive even though it’s really not, and that raises the ranking for me. It looks like the place the good guys in an action movie retire to after everything is all over. The water is such a gorgeous blue color.

(Pixels.com/Ron Dalhquist)

59. Kauna’oa Bay

hawaii2012waikoloa042

HP: $290.5 (4.5)

SB: 10

AN: 5

TR: 6.5

God. If the attractions were better, man. I weighted AN much higher than SB, because I think that most people would do that too if they were looking for a vacation spot, but it is a straight tragedy that this is so low. Even the star ranking is super high! This is almost perfect, but screwed by my dumb formula. All apologies, Kauna’oa Bay.

(Best-beaches.com)

58. Smathers Beach

key-west-beach

HP: $243.2 (3.1)

SB: 7

AN: 7

TR: 6.6

A pretty place that is very picturesque and would be so much fun to go on a nature tour of. Attractions and nightlife are good, too, which makes the high price a little more palatable. The star ranking being that low isn’t ideal, though, and that really drags it down for me.

(Golfuniverse.com)

57. Hanalei Beach

hanalei-beach

HP: $318.2 (3.6)

SB: 9

AN: 7

TR: 6.7

High hotel prices suck this one all the way to 57. Another bay beach, which are so cool to me, and also a ton of cool things to do. I bet a view from the top of one of the mountains of this place would be just incredible; what a reward after a long hike to the summit.

(Tripadvisor.com/SixPipes)

56. Polihua Beach

polihua_beach_lanai_hawaii

HP: $258.8 (3.3)

SB: 7

AN: 7

TR: 6.8

Not my favorite Hawaiian beach. Games the ranking a little bit. Doesn’t really do much for me, to be honest. Pretty, but not super pretty. Moving on.

(Thelifeofluxury.com)

55. Bowman’s Beach

22367_sanibel_island_bowman_s_beach

HP: $216.2 (2.7)

SB: 7

AN: 7

TR: 6.6

Cool name, horrid star/price ratio. Pretty beach as well, and fun attractions and the like all around this place. A fun place to be if you don’t mind shelling out a little extra. Really love the openness of the place; adds a lot to it for me.

(Sanibelmoorings.com)

54. Poipu Beach

poipu

HP: $321.6 (3.6)

SB: 9

AN: 7

TR: 6.7

A beautiful, beautiful Hawaiian beach that offers a ton of outdoor activities. The hotel prices are a little pricey, at $321, but has a solid star ranking, along with good attractions and nightlife. There is the Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail, and that gives a good sense of the culture of the area you are vacationing in.

(Aloha-hawaii.com)

53. Gulf Shores

DSCF0829_02

HP: $124.4 (2.5)

SB: 6

AN: 6

TR: 6.6

If you are a fan of fishing, this is a great place to go. The Gulf State Park Fishing Pier is a really great for that sort of thing; it’s all in the name, of course. The hotel prices aren’t too high, but the star rating is a little low, so it’s not ideal. If you aren’t satisfied by the beach and the water it holds, try Watersville USA, the very fun water park.

(Gulfshoresbeachcondo.com)

52. Siesta Beach

Best-Beach-Siesta-Key-White-San-of-Florida

HP: $160 (2.9)

SB: 7

AN: 6

TR: 6.7

Having a 2.9 rating with a $160 price tag isn’t ideal, but it is such a pretty place with many fun attractions, and it’s worth going. If you are interested in snorkeling and the like, go to Point of Rocks and try that out. There are also several excellent spas in the area. A good place to go and eat is Gilligan’s Island Bar and Grill.

(Tripadvisor.com)

51. Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Outer_Banks-Cape_Hatteras_National_Seashore-North_Carolina-3e9e5d8c0ed849999531500640a0dbf0_c

HP: $96.4 (2.2)

SB: 8

AN: 5

TR: 6.7

Horses are cool, right? Ride a horse along the beach and feel the wind in your hair. If you have the family with you, go to Studio 12 and have some fun making some art. The hotel prices are low, as is the star ranking, but it works well in conjunction. The beauty of this beach is really quite striking. If you are looking for some local color, go to the Blue Pelican Gallery.

(Minitime.com)

50. Destin

SBTAmenitiesDirectBeach

HP: $120.2 (2.9)

SB: 8

AN: 5

TR: 6.7

This is a really pretty beach. The attractions are a bit lacking, but the beach makes up for it. A good recommendation would be to take a scuba diving expedition or snorkeling and go for a swim. If you can, rent a boat from the Destin Harbor and tool around with your friends (or, I suppose, by yourself), and do a little exploring.

(Silverbeachtowersresort.com)

49. Coronado

beach

HP: $173.4 (3.9)

SB: 7

AN: 8

TR: 6.7

Take a sightseeing tour around Coronado, and take in the scenery. If you are interested in sitting and watching things for a set period of time, try the Lamb’s Play Theatre. There is also the Coronado Public Library, which would be at worst an interesting place to walk through (I like libraries). The hotel prices are bad, especially with the star ranking being that high.

(Ecoronado.com)

48. Polihale

kauai-polihale

HP: $258.8 (3.3)

SB: 8

AN: 7

TR: 6.8

This is a really, really beautiful place. Try the Waimea Canyon if you have a desire to take in more of the sights. The Kokee Natural History Museum promises an intellectually stimulating time. This is definitely a good area if you were that kid who always explored forests and stuff, or if you like beautiful scenery, I guess. High hotel prices, lowish star ranking.

(Aloha-hawaii.com)

47. Manele Bay

fourseasonsmanelebeach1

HP: $345.67 (3.8)

SB: 9

AN: 7

TR: 6.7

This is such a beautiful place, and you definitely pay for it. The hotel prices are high, as is the star ranking, but still; not cheap, man. One of the fun things to do around Manele Bay is to go to the Lanai Culture & Heritage Center and learn a little bit about the area. If you like golf (I do!) there are several golf courses in the area for you to lose your temper on.

(Beachesnearme.com)

46. El Granada Beach

beach-at-el-granada-carolyn-donnell

HP: $146.8 (3.4)

SB: 6

AN: 6

TR: 6.8

A solid, if unspectacular beach. Has good hotel prices and a good star ranking, and has the typical things that California has to offer in terms of nightlife. One of the interesting things is the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, which is very pretty. The Coastside Trail is a really wonderful way to see and take in more of the area.

(Fineartamerica.com/Carolyn Donnell)

45. Ala Moana Beach Park

Ala_Moana_Regional_Park-Honolulu-HI-6fc1effb14264fa0951c8daef70a0059

HP: $212.2 (3.2)

SB: 7

AN: 7

TR: 6.9

A wonderful, beautiful place that really pops in the picture above. The hotel prices are a little high, and the star ranking a bit low. Probably would be fun to take a bike tour around the place or go on the Honolulu segway history tour.

(Flickr/Alicia0928)

44. St. George Island

94fac0b5-81b1-4b21-9d53-a99ec486b015

HP: $121 (3.2)

SB: 6

AN: 6

TR: 6.9

Go to Bob Sikes Cut to watch the boats come in, and to see some beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Island Outfitters has some great stuff, like kayaks, that will bring you a lot of fun. The Sea Oats Art Gallery is a good place to go if you looking for something a little different. The hotel prices are reasonable, and the star ranking is solid.

(Wineandsass.com)

43. Tigertail Beach

tigertailbeachmarcoisland

HP: $259.2 (4)

SB: 7

AN: 7

TR: 6.9

Tigertail Beach has a striking appearance, and that alone drew me in. I love the way that there is a mini-lagoon/ocean trapped by the island; it looks very cool. Try a Sea Shell Boat Tour for a fun time taking in the sights. Try a dolphin tour. The Marco Island Farmer’s Market will have a lot more personality and local color than the usual, so if you are really looking for an experience, take a walk through there on Wednesdays.

(Marcovillarental.com/Clark Maxwell)

42. Papohaku Beach

ground1.590x317

HP: $155.2 (3)

SB: 7

AN: 6

TR: 7

One of the most interesting things to do here is the Molokai Lomi Therapeutic Massage and Healing Center; if that isn’t really your gig, try the Mauna Loa Museum & Cultural Park. This is one of my favorite beaches in Hawaii, because of the amount of foliage that surrounds the beach. The hotel prices are solid, and you can find cheaper if you dig for deals.

(Satftp.soest.hawaii.edu)

41. Head Of The Meadow

head_of_the_meadow2

HP: $139.8 (2.5)

SB: 8

AN: 6

TR: 7

Besides having a really cool name, Head of the Meadow promises some very beautiful scenery. There is also a lot of interesting places to visit, like the Atlantic Spice Company, or the Truro Vineyards. Art’s Dune Tours are a great way to take in the sites. The hotel prices are low, but the star ranking isn’t the best, but it all works out.

(Trekaroo.com)

40. Miramar Beach

south-walton-visitors

HP: $167.4 (3.4)

SB: 8

AN: 6

TR: 7

Miramar Beach has a variety of things to do, including massage therapy by Blaine and Company; definitely a good way to relax. Surfside Spa is wonderful, as is Emerald Coast Wine Cellars. The beach itself is incredibly picturesque, with beautiful white sand and gently rolling waves that stretch as far as the eye can see. The hotel prices and star ranking combine to make this a good deal.

(Tripadvisor.com)

39. Pacific Beach

Pacific-Beach

HP: $208.8 (3.5)

SB: 4

AN: 8

TR: 7

Pacific Beach is not the prettiest place in the world, but it is still a beach, and it can still be stunning. If you are looking for more nature, try the Pacific Beach State Park. If you are looking for nightlife, the 710 Beach Club is a wonderful place to go. If that doesn’t do it for you, try the PB Shore Club, or the Duck Dive. The hotel prices are a little high, but the star ranking is good.

(Agreenalternative.org)

38. Waipio Valley

DSC_0061-e1306367071797

HP: $232.4 (3.6)

SB: 8

AN: 7

TR: 7.1

Waipio Valley almost doesn’t look real. The cliff sides rise up besides up, and really make you feel small as you look around this gorgeous landscape. Try the Mauna-Kea Summit, and really take in the view. Go scuba diving and snorkeling in many spots around the area. There are also many ecotours, like Dolphin Discoveries, or Lavaland Hawaii Daily Tours.

(Clarkhawaii.com)

37. Lanikai Beach

Lanikai-beachfront-cottage-beach

HP: $189 (3.2)

SB: 7

AN: 7

TR: 7.1

Lanikai is pretty cheap for a Hawaiian vacation destination, and that adds a lot of value. One of my favorite parts of this beach are the earth mounds a little ways off from shore; it adds a really interesting feel to the scenery. It doesn’t feel like a standard beach. If you are looking to take in more sites, try the Olomana Three Peaks Trail.

(Kailua-beach-rentals.com)

36. Waikiki Beach

waikiki

HP: $253.4 (4.2)

SB: 7

AN: 7

TR: 7.1

The only reason Waikiki isn’t higher in beauty ranking is the obnoxious highrises. This beach is beautiful, as are all Hawaiian beaches, and also promises really fun things to do. Try the Nancy Emerson School of Surfing, and take in all of the beauty the non-highrise parts that Hawaii has to offer. The hotel prices are a little high, but good quality star ranking.

(Destination360.com)

35. Long Beach, Mississippi

6a01310f31259c970c0147e2b2ff94970b-800wi

HP:$100 (2.6)

SB: 7

AN: 6

TR: 7.1

Long Beach is home to The Friendship Oak, a giant tree that attracts a lot of tourists each year. Kelinci Spa and Boutique is a small spa that does a really great job. If you like to fish, go on a 9-Ball fishing charter and experience the really good times of a deep sea fishing expedition. Hotel prices are good, star ranking is acceptable with hotel prices. A fun place.

(Longbeach.coastal90.com)

34. Kalaloch Public Beach

Kalaloch-Beach-4

HP: $141.5 (2.6)

SB: 9

AN: 4

TR: 7.1

I love this beach. The only thing this place is lacking is attractions and nightlife; if those had been a little higher, it would’ve easily cracked the top ten. It has a really rustic feel to it. Where many beaches are of the wide open, cleared out variety, this is much more wild. It feels almost hidden. The hotel prices are solid, but the star ranking is a little on the low side.

(Seattletrekker.com)

33. Ogunquit

ogunquit-beach

HP: $87.6 (3.1)

SB: 6

AN: 6

TR: 7.1

Ogunquit is a fun place to be, and it is cheap cheap cheap with only an $87 hotel price average to go with the awesome star ranking. The beach is above-average, but nothing to write home about. If you are into the theater, try the Ogunquit Playhouse on for size. Take in the sights with a boat tour, or explore Perkins Cove, or learn about American art in the Ogunquit Museum of American Art.

(Tripadvisor.com/Russ P)

32. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

hanauma-bay

HP: $201 (3.4)

SB: 10

AN: 6

TR: 7.2

Diving is a popular thing amongst people with more courage than I, and Hanauma Bay promises a great diving adventure with Reef Pirates diving. If your preferred perspective is above the water, take in the Hanauma Bay trail, which explores the absolute beauty of this incredible place. The hotel prices are fair, and the star ranking is good; if the picture for this entry doesn’t convince you, though, nothing will.

(Tripadvisor.com/michaelandro)

31. Malibu Beach

Beach_Hms_7156

HP: $304.8 (3.2)

SB: 7

AN: 9

TR: 7.1

Malibu is very pricy, but it has very, very good attractions and nightlife. Hit up the Point Dume State Beach Preserve, or the Adamson House and Malibu Lagoon Museum. A great place to feel nostalgic about your youth/take your kid to a college visit is Pepperdine University, which has an awesome campus and an even better name. After that tour, you could take in one of the many wine tastings, to get the bad taste of exam flashbacks out of your head, or the fact that your east coast kid picked a west coast school. Just kidding. Go Waves!

(Inetours.com)

30. West Palm Beach, FL

singerislandaerial

HP: $233.6 (4.6)

SB: 5

AN: 7

TR: 7.2

West Palm Beach has the highest star ranking on this list, and that makes it’s relatively high price tag much more reasonable. West Palm is definitely a richer area to vacation. If you are looking for things to do besides lounge on the pretty typical beach, you could take in the McCarthy Wildlife Sanctuary, or the Norton Museum of Art. If you are intent on embarrassing your kids, you can take a segway tour of the city. The Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens are a fun, interesting time.

(Oceanhelicopters.com)

29. West Beach, California

Refugio

HP: $198.8 (3)

SB: 6

AN: 8

TR: 7.2

The Old Mission Santa Barbara is a really interesting and beautiful historical place that really engages all who go there. There is the typical wind-surfing and parasailing tours that allow to explore the surrounding ocean with naturally heightened adrenaline levels. The hotels prices are okay, and you get good quality.

(Topcaliforniabeaches.com)

28. Waimanalo Bay

waimanalo-bay-kevin-smith

HP: $212.2 (3.5)

SB: 8

AN: 7

TR: 7.2

Sea Life Park is a beautiful and fun place for people of all ages to go to, and along with Waimanalo Bay is one of the most beautiful places in the Hawaiian Islands. Olomana Golf Links is a challenging but engaging golf course. If you are really into plant life and haven’t gotten your fill from the surrounding Hawaiian flora, Frankie’s Nursery promises a good time.

(Fineartamerica.com/Kevin Smith)

27. Coligny Beach, Hilton Head

VFMLID=44893079

HP: $225 (3.3)

SB: 6

AN: 8

TR: 7.2

Hilton Head is one of my favorite vacation destinations, and Coligny Beach is a big part of that. There are so many things to do; you can go on nature trails and explore, or play an obscene amount of golf for reasonable prices, or you can chill on an underrated beach. Hit up The Jazz Corner or the Hilton Head Comedy and Magic Club for a unique, engaging experience.

(Ihg.com)

26. Barefoot Beach

beach-and-gulf

HP: $168.2 (3.7)

SB: 6

AN: 7

TR: 7.2

Barefoot Beach has a dog park nearby, which is really all that you need to know. If that isn’t your thing (?), then you could try one of the many nature tours. You could go to the Everglades Wonder Garden, or go canoeing or kayaking, or go see a dog race at the local greyhound track. If you are feeling brave, you could try parasailing and paragliding.

(Tripadvisor.com)

25. Kahanamoku Beach

HP: $212.2 (4)

SB: 7

AN: 7

TR: 7.2

An very unique thing to do at Kahanamoku Beach is to take a submarine tour and explore the ocean in a way that you cannot get at many places. If being underwater in a metal container isn’t your thing, you can do some parasailing and fly above the ocean with a large rainbow of cloth as your guide. The prices are high, but you get a 4 star ranking on average, so the amenities are really good.

24. Pensacola

Pensacola Beach

HP: $216.2 (3.1)

SB: 6

AN: 8

TR: 7.2

Pensacola is a little pricey, but has some of the best nightlife and attractions around. A great place for any type of person. Depending on your type of interests you could hit up Bamboo Willie’s for drinks and good times, or boat tours if you are looking to take in more of the sights. Pensacola is an above-average beach, but it is the extracurriculars that really bring people in.

(Ihomefinder.com)

23. St. Pete Beach

St.-Pete-beach

HP: $183.6 (3.7)

SB: 7

AN: 6

TR: 7.2

Bongo’s Bar and Grill promises a fun evening eating out, as well as good food. If exploration is your thing, there are a multitude of boat tours that could tickle your fancy. Kapfer Glass Studio is a wonderfully weird experience that you won’t get if you stick to the typical tourist destinations. If you are a fan of watching very large animals be very close to your very tiny boat, there are many whale watching tours to go on.

(Floridassl.com)

22. Clearwater Beach

The Coast Room Double-These guestrooms feature 2 Double Hilton Serenity Beds and have a limited view of surrounding neighborhood and Gulf of Mexico. All guestrooms include a balcony, full bath tub/shower and individually-controlled A/C, flat screen 32 inch TV with pay-per-view movies, high-speed wireless internet, am/fm alarm clock radio w/MP3 capability, complimentary in-room safes, makeup mirrors, a work desk, mini refrigerator, coffeemaker and in-room coffee, iron and ironing board, hair dryer, comfortable cotton bathrobes and daily housekeeping. Each guestroom features items from the Serenity bedding Collection.

HP: $178 (3.2)

SB: 7

AN: 7

TR: 7.2

Though I am afraid of heights, an air tour of Clearwater Beach sounds like a really fun time, especially if I had spent a few hours at Murielle or Aspirations Wineries. This is one of the prettier beaches in Florida, with stretching white sand beaches that really grab the eye. For something a bit slower than flying over an open expanse of ocean, you could try Bright House Network Fields, and take in a baseball game.

(Travelocity.com)

21. Ho’okipa Beach

Ho'okipa Beach Park - 640

HP: $156 (2.7)

SB: 8

AN: 7

TR: 7.3

If you are looking to enjoy the sites around Ho’okipa, you could partake in one of many different bike tours. There is a Maui Dharma Center, a place of buddhist worship that could be very interesting to visit and learn about. There is a Paia farmer’s market, and that promises to show a lot more local color and personality than the usual tourist attractions. An absolutely beautiful beach.

(Mauiluxuryvacationhome.com)

20. El Matador State Beach

el-matador-beach-sunset_1

HP: $198 (3.5)

SB: 8

AN: 7

TR: 7.3

A very picturesque beach, El Matador is home to many fun things, like the Getty Villa and Malibu Pier. If you are a wine aficionado, you can try one of the many wine tasting tours, or go to the Malibu Family Wines for a fun afternoon. The hotel prices are a little high, but you get good quality with a 3.5 star ranking. The area it is in has great nightlife.

(Discoverlosangeles.com)

19. St. Augustine

St.-Augustine-Beach-pier1

HP: $115.4 (2.6)

SB: 6

AN: 7

TR: 7.3

Though not much of a vacation activity, St. Augustine has a good place to play tennis at Treaty Park. You can get tennis lessons, which is something different to try than the usual vacation things. Surfing and windsurfing are very popular and very fun activities to do. The Gifted Cork is a great place to try out different wines and explore if that is something you enjoy. Limelight Theatre is a popular destination for a night out.

(Staugustinebeachpier.com)

18. Punalu’u Beach

view

HP: $149 (2.7)

SB: 8

AN: 7

TR: 7.4

The Ka’u Coffee Mill and the Punalu’u Bake Shop are two sort of quirky interesting places to visit while on vacation. The Wood Valley Temple is a great place to go and relax. The usual nightlife selections in Hawaii are here. One of the prettiest black sand beaches around.

(Lotsafunmaps.com)

17. North Shore, Oahu

TAH1256

HP: $266.4 (4.2)

SB: 9

AN: 7

TR: 7.4

One of my favorite beaches, North Shore is beautiful place. One of the more interesting things to do here is to take a visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center, and learn a bit about the place you are vacationing. You could also take a Discover Hawaii tour, and see the full extent of the island. If nightlife is more your speed, you could try the M Nightclub, or Addiction, another night club. The hotel prices are highish, but you get an average of 4.2 stars, and that’s worth the money in some cases.

(Worldofstock.com)

16. South Beach

South-Beach-Miami-Florida-Weather

HP: $307 (4)

SB: 6

AN: 9

TR: 7.4

South Beach is an slight above-average beach with incredible nightlife, like a few of our beaches coming up. Being as it is in Miami, it has some of the best nightlife around, along with stuff of all ages. If you are a fan of mingling and partying with a lot of people, then this is a great place to go. The hotels are a little steep, but with a 4 star ranking average, you are getting quite a bit of play with your money.

(Figstraitmine.org)

15. Delnor – Wiggins Pass State Park

wiggins-pass-state-park

HP: $171 (3.8)

SB: 7

AN: 7

TR: 7.5

Delnor-Wiggins is, like many on this list, great for the outdoors-y type of person. It is a beautiful place to explore, and the beach itself is beautiful. It almost feels like a lake, because of the forest-y nature of it’s surroundings, and that adds a different sort of feel. If you are looking to venture away from the park itself, you can try the Silverspot Cinema, or the SpaTerre Resort that has a golf course attached to it. A good place for exploration.

(Tripadvisor.com/Saildrmr2)

14. Hollywood Beach

007

HP: $108.8 (2.7)

SB: 7

AN: 7

TR: 7.5

Hollywood Beach is home to the Hollywood North Beach Park, a beautiful place that is a good relaxer. If you have your dog with you, you can even take him onto the Hollywood Dog Beach, if you have the proper pass. For nightlife, you can hit up the Whiskey Tango Bar & Grill, or PRL Euro Cafe. The hotel prices are reasonable, especially for California, and the star ranking is in line with what you’d expect with these kind of prices.

(Hollywoodbeach-resort.com)

13. Myrtle Beach

myrtle-beach-scene

HP: $79 (3)

SB: 5

AN: 7

TR: 7.5

Myrtle Beach got the highest grade for hotel prices, as it combines it’s $79 price with a three star ranking. It is both a family-friendly and adult-oriented place, depending on what you are looking for. While the beach itself is average, things like The Strip and the solid if unspectacular restaurants more than make up for it. A great place to go if you are looking for a cheap, relaxing vacation, with family or without family.

(Myrtlebeachhotels.com)

12. Kaanapali Beach

kaanapali-beach-shot

HP: $208 (3.6)

SB: 8

AN: 7

TR: 7.5

Another Hawaiian wonder, Kaanapali is a vacationers dream. The benefit of being on such a small piece of land means that though nightlife might not be right next to you, it is close enough to get to with ease. One of the more interesting things to do is to try the Kupahana Magic Show Dinner Theater; if you are looking for something more conventional, you could try Japengo Maui, a restaurant that relies on freshly-grown Hawaiian ingredients and pulls ingredients from the many surrounding Pacific Rim countries.

(Kaanapaliresort.com)

11. East Beach

East Beach and mountains. Santa Barbara, California, USA

HP: $225.2 (3.4)

SB: 8

AN: 8

TR: 7.6

East Beach, being a part of California, has no shortage of nightlife available, even if it isn’t as close by as some would like. The outdoor activities are full of exploration, and there are many mountain trails to hike. The hotel prices are a little pricy, but this is California, and the 3.4 star ranking possibly makes it worth your while. This is a very beautiful beach.

(Terragalleria.com/QT Luong)

10. Honaunau

Two-Step-Snorkeling-Honaunau-Bay-South-Kona-Big-Island-003

HP: $138.2 (3.1)

SB: 8

AN: 7

TR: 7.6

Pu’uhonua Honaunau National Historical Park is one of the most popular attractions in this area, along with Kipahoehoe Natural Area Reserve. Like the rest of Hawaii, Honaunau has a wonderful group of outdoor attractions that it combines with above-average nightlife, like Humpy’s Big Island Alehouse, and Kona Brewing Co. Good hotel prices and star rankings, making it an affordable beach vacation experience.

(Paulstravelpictures.com)

9. Panama City Beach

panama-city1

HP: $103 (2.3)

SB: 6

AN: 8

TR: 7.7

Panama City Beach is the beach I know best, and that I’ve been to the most. Family vacation or no, you could hit up Barnacle Bay or Aqua Park, or Dave & Busters or Funland Arcade. For something more adult, Club La Vela is a great place, as well as Coyote Ugly and Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. The hotel prices are great, but the star ranking is a bit low. There is something for everyone at one of the most popular beaches in Florida.

(Fourstarcs.com)

8. Van Damme Beach

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HP: $182.6 (3.4)

SB: 7

AN: 8

TR: 7.7

Like the beach that follows it, Van Damme gets unusually high marks for it’s wonderful outdoor attractions. They Pygmy forest is a really cool place, with adult pine and cyprus trees grow from anywhere to eight feet and six inches tall. While lacking a nightlife scene, the beauty of the beach and the ability to explore the outdoors raises the grade. The hotel prices are solid, too; a 3.4 star ranking for $182 is a solid deal for this area of the country.

(Shorediving.com)

7. Coast Guard Beach

coast-guard-beach-cape-cod-lizi-beard-ward

HP: $121 (2.4)

SB: 7

AN: 8

TR: 7.8

Another one of my personal favorites, Coast Guard Beach is a great place to be if you are in the mood for some outdoor fun. It gets high marks in my book for the abundant amount of exploration and tours that are available, though it lacks a good nightlife. The hotel prices are good, if unspectacular; prices are low, but the star rankings aren’t great. A fun outdoors-y place.

(Fineartamerica.com/Lizi Beard-Ward)

6. Venice Beach

venice-beach-at-santa-monica-california-top

HP: $311 (3.8)

SB: 6

AN: 10

TR: 7.8

Venice Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the United States, and for good reason. They have our highest grade for nightlife and attractions. If you are feeling the need for some intellectual stimulation, you could try the Hammer Museum, or the Museum of Jurassic Technology. The High Rooftop Lounge is a well-regarded place that has DJ’s day and night to go along with food and a beautiful view. Nikki’s is a good choice if you are looking for the comfort of a sports bar but want something a little extra to go along with it.

(Californiacoastpost.com)

5. Hanakapiai beach

travel-blog-magazine-1220_3

HP: $206.2 (3.8)

SB: 10

AN: 7

TR: 7.8

This is my personal favorite beach; it’s the one that caught my eye and drew me in just for it’s sheer beauty alone. But it’s a well-rounded experience. The hotel prices are not super-steep, and you get solid bang for your buck. Attractions-wise, it’s full of outdoor activities like Kalalau Lookout and Na Pali Coast State Park, and if you are looking for nightlife, you could do a lot worse than Rob’s Good Times Grill and Duke’s Kauai.

(Tahitiangoddess.wordpress.com)

4. Newport Beach

Newport-Beach

HP: $176.8 (3.6)

SB: 7

AN: 8

TR: 7.8

In Newport, you can find the Orange County Museum of Art, which houses both modern and contemporary pieces of art. Whale watching is also a popular activity, as is perusing Jetty View Park. The beach itself is a pretty stretch of shoreline. If you are looking for a unique nightlife experience, you could try Muldoon’s Irish Pub, which serves authentic Irish cuisine, or if you are looking for something more conventional, you could try Blackie’s By The Sea, a cash-only sports-type bar.

(Allgoodprovisions.com)

3. La Jolla

La-Jolla-Beach

HP: $217.8 (3.3)

SB: 9

AN: 8

TR: 7.8

La Jolla has one of the prettiest beaches on the mainland to go along with great nightlife and attractions. One fun venue is The Comedy Store, an offshoot of the legendary Los Angeles comedy club. Big and small names come through there to practice their craft. A unique place to grab dinner is the Herringbone, a restaurant housed in a renovated warehouse originally built in the 1930s. There are also wonderful bike and kayak tours and the lovely Scripps park, if you feel the outdoors pulling at you.

(Lajollamom.com)

 

2. Fort Lauderdale

fort-lauderdale-beach-kara-franker-900x609

HP: $135 (3)

SB: 6

AN: 8

TR: 8

Fort Lauderdale, our runner-up, is one of the more pleasant places in Florida. It has solid nightlife, with more upscale places like Blue Martini or more lively places like America’s Backyard or Capones. If you are looking for attractions, there is no better place than Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, a beautiful park that is a good place to relax. There are also several interesting museums, like the Historic Stranahan House Museum and the NSU Art Museum. The beach itself is pretty, but not spectacular.

(Askmissa/Kara Franker)

1. Miami Beach

north_to_south_view

HP: $141 (3)

SB: 5

AN: 10

TR: 8.6

Ah, Miami Beach. Our winner, finally. Miami Beach doesn’t have prettiest looks, but it does have the most comprehensive nightlife and attractions, and that puts it at the top of the list. Places like LIV and Mango’s Tropical Cafe allow for a broad and engaging experience, and there are no shortage of restaurants and other clubs to go to. If you are looking for the most complete vacation around, you could do a lot worse than Miami Beach.

(Ilovemiami.com/Alissa Christine)

*boring math explainer: I took five representative hotel prices and averaged them, and took their respective stars, and averaged them. I then divided the averaged hotel prices by the star average, and came up with a Dollar Per Star or DPS, statistic. I created a ranking of 1-10 for the DPS, starting with 29 (the lowest DPS) and 129 (the highest DPS), and used that ranking to determine the actual score for the hotel prices. I took that new score and multiplied it by .3 (the amount of weight I gave to HP), and came up the number that contributed to the TR. To complete the TR, I took the SB ranking and the AN ranking, and combined them by multiplying the SB by .2 (it’s weight) and the AN by .5, and then adding them together for the SBAN#. I added the SBAN# to the final HP score, and came up with the TR. I told you it was boring. 

Written by Hunter Bishop

Hunter Bishop is a graduate of Georgia State University and a writer with over five years of professional experience. He has written on a variety of subjects, including sports, politics, and entertainment media. When he isn’t writing, he’s usually making some sort of catastrophic mistake involving his personal life.