This list is tailored to folks who prefer a peaceful seaside escape from urban life, and includes destinations up and down both coasts that run the gamut from truly secluded to vibrant but mellow and family-friendly. (Think: No spring break shenanigans.) It’s also worth noting that most of these destinations are located in close proximity to a more bustling tourist hub, so vacationers can enjoy the best of both worlds if they so choose.
When deciding on locations to feature, we focused on lesser-known places that are preferred by locals but tend to attract fewer tourists. Factors we considered include how much space there is to spread out on the beach (i.e., is it calm and sparsely populated or are there so many beach towels you can hardly see the sand?), the natural beauty of the location, whether or not there are opportunities for outdoor activities beyond sunbathing and how the dining scene stacks up to more popular vacation spots. Read on and find the vibe that’s right for you.