15 Quiet Beach Towns in America

Summer is so close you can taste it. (And it tastes like ice cream and sunscreen, FYI.) But if you’re anything like us, your sunbathing fantasies don’t include elbowing your way onto crowded shores. Here, 15 of the best quiet beach towns in the country, where you won’t run into a gazillion tourists. Plus, we've included private home rentals to stay while you're on vacay.

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1. Pacific Grove, California

Best alternative to Big Sur

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Big Sur’s craggy cliffs are breathtaking, but for an equally beautiful and less crowded California alternative, try this quiet spot tucked between Monterey and Carmel. Despite its size, Pacific Grove has more B&Bs than any other coastal town between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

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2. Lubec, Maine

Best alternative to Cape Cod

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Looking for classic New England charm without the scene? Located right near the Canadian border, this Maine beach town boasts 97 miles of shoreline, two lighthouses and a downtown peppered with Greek Revival-style buildings. Plus, it’s a hop, skip and a jump across the border to Campobello Island, the site of a former Roosevelt summer home that's now a national park.

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3. Seabrook Island, South Carolina

Best alternative to Kiawah Island

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There may not be any restaurants or shops on this quiet South Carolina getaway but what it lacks in amenities, it more than makes up for in secluded beauty. Locals enjoy biking or fishing on the golden sands of North Beach but our favorite past-time? Dolphin-spotting (yes, really). And we weren't kidding when we said this place is secluded—Southbrook Island is a gated community and visitors have to make an appointment by phone call to visit.

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4. Chincoteague Island, Virginia

Best alternative to Virginia Beach

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Is that a wild pony? Yep, and they’ve been on this island just off the Virginia coast for centuries. It’s all part of the 37-mile-long Assateague Island National Seashore—where you’ll also spot herons, woodpeckers and foxes while you sunbathe.

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5. Cape May, New Jersey

Best alternative to the Hamptons

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It may be Jersey, but this sure ain’t Snooki’s Jersey Shore. The charming Victorian-clad beach town of Cape May is like San Francisco meets Montauk. Bike along the promenade, go antiquing and pick up a sweet treat at The Original Fudge Kitchen.

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6. Cannon Beach, Oregon

Best alternative to San Juan

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If you like the relaxed Pacific Northwest vibe of Washington State’s San Juan Islands, you’ll definitely love Oregon’s way less traveled Cannon Beach. This place is chockablock with seafood joints, art galleries and even a distillery. Its real claim to fame, though, is Haystack Rock—you know, the one you remember fondly from Goonies.

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7. Gulf Shores, Alabama

Best alternative to Outer Banks

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Alabama’s Gulf Coast beaches are perhaps the state’s most underrated attraction. Think splendid sands, pastel houses and lots of fresh seafood. You might even catch the strange natural phenomenon known as “jubilees” (random nights when crabs and fish oddly flop upon the beach).

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8. Boca Grande, Florida

Best alternative to Key West

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Key West is tranquil when compared with Miami, but it’s a far cry from the sleepy beach town escape you’re really looking for. Boca Grande, on the other hand, is a true glimpse of idyllic old Florida. Think: tree-lined streets without traffic lights and long stretches of quiet Gulf of Mexico shores.

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9. Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Best alternative to Ocean City

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This old-school beach classic is Delaware’s answer to the mayhem of Ocean City, and boasts all your shore staples—saltwater taffy, soft-serve ice cream, a 50-year-old amusement park—without the sloppy co-eds and jam-packed boardwalk.

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10. Pentwater, Michigan

Best alternative for Traverse City

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Traverse City, Michigan, has become something of a foodie destination in recent years—drawing crowds for its award-winning restaurants and wineries. But if you’d rather skip the hustle and bustle in favor of, well, serenity, go for the tiny town of Pentwater. This strip along Lake Michigan boasts such pristine white sand beaches and dunes, you’d swear you were actually on the ocean.

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11. Cumberland Island, Georgia

Best alternative to South Padre Island

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Known for its gorgeous beaches and calm waters, South Padre has become a popular hub for people craving an island vacation but don’t want to leave the country, so it’s naturally going to be buzzing. Less known is this island off Georgia’s southeast coast. There, you can spend the day gazing at the wild horses, armadillos, deer and much more wildlife.

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12. Moloka’i, Hawaii

Best alternative for Honolulu

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Sure, a honeymoon to Honolulu and even Maui will be divine, but why not opt for some serenity as well by heading to Moloka’I instead. Though the island is only 38 miles long and 10 miles across its widest point, it has a population of 7,345 people, meaning you’ll have plenty more breathing room there compared to the aforementioned islands.

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13. Anna Maria, Florida

Best alternative for Miami

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Think of all the things we love about Miami—bustling city, unbelievable cuisine and a vibrant nightlife, among other things. Now dial that down several notches and take away the rowdy crowds and you have the paradise that is Anna Maria. This resort city boasts plenty of shops, galleries, eateries and bars so that your preference for quiet lodgings doesn’t compromise any of your favorite vacation activities.

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14. Carmel-by-the-sea, California

Best alternative for Santa Monica

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Nestled along California's central coast, this beach town is most beloved for its unbeatable chill vibes. Those who visit are immediately enamored by its picturesque scenery, historic sites, art galleries, restaurants and boutique shops.

Visit Carmel-by-the-Sea

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15. St. Michaels, Maryland

Best alternative for Nantucket

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Foodies will also have a grand time whetting their palettes in St. Michaels as this city is a known hub for delicious cuisine. This little beach town boasts everything from crab houses, in town and waterfront bars, a winery and brewery, as well as top-rated fine dining restaurants.

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