Best 15 Secret Beaches To Visit On Your Next Vacation In US 2024: Uncharted Coastal Treasures

best beaches

With summer right around the corner, it implies that several US citizens will be planning road trips or possibly even air travel to unwind with a well-deserved vacation.If your thoughts have been dwelling on the beach, there are several locations you can explore to enjoy the sun, surf, and sand without the hassle of large crowds.FamilyDestinationsGuide.com conducted a recent survey of 3,000 families to identify the lesser-known beaches they were eager to visit this summer.

Here Are the Top 15

Beach Location Average Annual Visitors Notable Features
Awahua Beach Molokai, Hawaii N/A Clear, turquoise waters, white sand
Shell Key Florida N/A Pristine white sand, turquoise waters, nesting spot for sea turtles
Lanikai Beach Oahu, Hawaii N/A Soft white sand, clear turquoise waters, two islands visible from the shore
Secret Beach (Kauapea Beach) Kauai, Hawaii N/A Long golden sand stretch, clear waters, towering cliffs
Sedge Island New Jersey N/A Accessible only by boat, hosts various wildlife species
Lovers Key State Park Florida 1 million (2019) Swimming, sunbathing, kayaking, popular location for romantic getaways and wedding ceremonies
Salt Creek Beach California N/A Popular spot for surfers
Wildcat Beach California N/A Part of the Phillip Burton Wilderness, stretching 2.9 miles
Dry Tortugas National Park Florida 79,200 (2019) Home to the magnificent Fort Jefferson, beautiful blue water, coral reefs, and marine life
Boneyard Beach Florida N/A Features 30-foot bluffs and is adorned with massive driftwood trees
Coon Creek Beach California N/A Serene escape from the crowded Californian beaches
Bandon State Natural Area Oregon N/A Provides secluded spots from Coquille Point to Face Rock
Bahia Honda State Park Florida 470,000 (2019) White sand and clear waters, snorkeling to spot colorful fish
Ocracoke Island North Carolina N/A Secluded bays, pristine sands, rolling dunes, and salt marshes
Second Beach Washington N/A Dramatic sea stacks, camping beneath towering spruce trees

1. Awahua Beach

awahua beach

The remote ‘Awahua Beach on the Hawaiian island of Molokai tops the list, known for its clear, turquoise waters and a mile-long stretch of soft, white sand, as per FamilyDestinationsGuide.com. Visitors can engage in a plethora of activities like swimming, snorkeling, or simply appreciating the scenic beauty from the beach.

2. Shell Key

Shell Key

Shell Key, a tranquil beach at Shell Key Preserve in Florida, offers pristine white sand and turquoise waters surrounded by lush greenery. With no constructions around, it offers an atmosphere of serenity and tranquility. Plus, it is a nesting spot for sea turtles, thereby holding importance as a conservation site.

3. Lanikai Beach

Lanikai Beach

On the east coast of Oahu, Hawaii, Lanikai Beach is recognized for its soft white sand, clear turquoise waters, and two islands, Na Mokulua or “Mokes,” visible from the shore. The website mentions that its serene waters make it perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking. Often considered one of Hawaii’s most picturesque beaches.

4. Secret Beach

The Secret Beach

Kauapea Beach, also known as Secret Beach due to its hidden location on Kauai’s north shore in Hawaii, is famous for its long golden sand stretch, clear waters, and towering cliffs, as per FamilyDestinationsGuide.com. However, reaching it involves a challenging hike down a dirt trail. Despite the strong currents and rough waves, visitors indulge in swimming, making it a hot spot for expert surfers and bodyboarders.

5. Sedge Island

New Jersey boasts a beach accessible only by boat. On arrival, you’re greeted with soft sand and calm waters, perfect for swimming and sunbathing. It’s a paradise for nature enthusiasts, hosting various wildlife species, including nesting birds and crabs.

6. Lovers Key State Park

Lover’s Key State Park

Lovers Key State Park in Florida, once a group of remote barrier islands only accessible by boat, was intended to be a luxury condo site but instead became a preserved site of beaches and mangrove forests. Visitors can indulge in swimming, sunbathing, or kayaking in the calm turquoise waters. It’s also a popular location for romantic getaways and wedding ceremonies.

7. Salt Creek Beach

Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point

California’s Salt Creek Beach is a favorite spot for surfers, offering one of the best left swells along the coast due to a small offshore reef, as reported by OCParks.com.

8. Wildcat Beach

Wildcat Beach

Wildcat Beach in California, within the Point Reyes National Seashore, is part of the Phillip Burton Wilderness, stretching 2.9 miles. The National Park Service suggests safe access is through the Wildcat Campground, which is a minimum of 5.5 miles from the closest trailhead. High tides often cover most of the beach, and the chilly ocean waters can drop to as low as 50 degrees. Activities include swimming, body surfing, sunbathing, and exploring tide pools.

9. Dry Tortugas National Park

About 70 miles west of Key West, Florida, is a 100-square-mile park mostly composed of open water and seven small islands. It can be reached only by boat or seaplane, and is home to the magnificent Fort Jefferson, beautiful blue water, coral reefs, and marine life.

10. Boneyard Beach

Boneyard Beach

Boneyard Beach, within Big Talbot Island State Park in Florida, is a hidden gem. The beach, naturally sculpted, features 30-foot bluffs and is adorned with massive driftwood trees, resembling an elephant graveyard, as stated by FloridaStateParks.com.

11. Coon Creek Beach

Coon Creek Beach

California offers a serene escape from the crowded Californian beaches. The best way to reach this secluded sandy cove is to hike south from Montaña de Oro State Park. Given time, you can proceed to Point Buchon for more spectacular views of Big Sur’s dramatic cliffs and the Pacific surf’s thunderous waves.

12. Bandon State Natural Area

Bandon State Natural Area in Oregon, a vast 879-acre state park, provides secluded spots from Coquille Point to Face Rock. Mighty sea stacks adorn the shoreline and, with the grass-covered dunes, create a picturesque scene. Ideal for long walks or horseback rides along the shore, keep an eye out for the resident seals enjoying the sun.

13. Bahia Honda State Park

Located in Bahia Honda Key on the Gulf of Mexico, may be in the Florida Keys, yet it’s not as renowned for its beaches. However, the white sand and clear waters can easily be mistaken for a Caribbean island. Snorkeling is not necessary to spot colorful fish, but it certainly enhances the experience.

14. Ocracoke Island

Ocracoke Beach

Ocracoke Island in North Carolina adds an adventurous twist to beachgoers who value the journey as much as the destination. You’d need to drive to Cedar Island, then take a ferry across Pamlico Sound to reach Ocracoke. Once there, a single road leads you to secluded bays, pristine sands, rolling dunes, and salt marshes.

15. Second Beach

Washington offers a unique experience on Washington’s Olympic Coast. Set up camp beneath towering spruce trees, marvel at the dramatic sea stacks, and enjoy a campfire at night. Access to the beach is through a hiking path starting just outside of La Plush coastal village.


What are some safety measures to consider when visiting these lesser-known beaches?

It’s crucial to ensure safety when visiting any beach, especially lesser-known or remote ones. First, always check local weather conditions before heading out. It’s also good to learn about potential ocean hazards such as rip currents or dangerous marine life.

Always keep a first-aid kit handy and consider carrying portable water purifiers for more remote areas. Some beaches might not have lifeguards or facilities, so always be cautious when swimming. If the beach is in a protected natural area, make sure to respect the wildlife and follow all park rules.

Do I need special equipment or preparation for some of these beaches?

Certain beaches may require specific preparation. For instance, beaches like Kauapea Beach in Hawaii and Wildcat Beach in California require a challenging hike, so proper hiking gear and water are a must. For beaches only accessible by boat, such as Sedge Island or Dry Tortugas National Park, you would need to arrange for boat transportation, or potentially a seaplane in the case of Dry Tortugas.

What are some nearby attractions to these beaches?

Many of these beaches are close to other natural and cultural attractions. For example, near Wildcat Beach in California, you can explore the rest of the Point Reyes National Seashore, including its lighthouse and extensive hiking trails. Near Awahua Beach, you can explore the rich culture and history of Molokai, including its ancient fishponds and the Kalaupapa National Historical Park.

Are there any unique local cultures or traditions tied to these beach locations?

Many of these beaches are located in areas with rich local cultures and traditions. Hawaiian beaches like Awahua Beach, Lanikai Beach, and Kauapea Beach are surrounded by a culture deeply connected to the sea and nature. Similarly, Florida’s beaches are infused with the unique cultures of the Sunshine State, including its diverse culinary traditions and its history as a fishing and maritime community.

Can I camp overnight at these beaches?

Policies on camping vary from beach to beach. For instance, at Wildcat Beach in California, camping is allowed but only at designated areas such as the Wildcat Campground. Always check the specific rules and regulations of the area you’re visiting. Remember, leaving no trace is fundamental to preserving these natural areas for future generations.

What types of wildlife might I encounter at these beaches?

Wildlife varies greatly depending on the beach. For example, Shell Key in Florida is a nesting site for sea turtles. In Oregon’s Bandon State Natural Area, you might spot seals. Sedge Island in New Jersey hosts various wildlife species, including nesting birds and crabs. It’s important to respect wildlife and keep a safe distance to not disturb them in their natural habitats.

Are there any special seasonal considerations for these beaches?

Yes, depending on the location, the best time to visit these beaches can vary. For instance, if you’re planning to visit Dry Tortugas National Park, bear in mind that the hurricane season in the Atlantic runs from June through November. Also, some beaches may have seasonal restrictions due to wildlife nesting periods or other environmental considerations. Always check for any such restrictions before planning your trip.

Final Words

In conclusion, the United States boasts a diverse range of lesser-known beaches that offer a perfect blend of tranquility, scenic beauty, and adventure. Whether you’re looking for the crystal-clear turquoise waters and white sands of Hawaii’s Awahua Beach or the dramatic landscapes of California’s Wildcat Beach, there’s a beach getaway for everyone.

Remember that visiting these more secluded spots often comes with an added responsibility. Respect the natural environment, adhere to safety measures, and be considerate of local customs and regulations. This way, these stunning locations can be preserved for future generations to enjoy.

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