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Some of America's Prettiest Coastal Destinations

By: Cityseeker
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The USA's coast stretches along the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and Great Lakes, encompassing diverse landscapes and vibrant coastal towns. From vibrant fishing communities to quaint beachside retreats, these towns offer a blend of natural beauty, coastal activities, and a close-knit community spirit. Visitors can indulge in fresh seafood, scenic coastal views, and a relaxed coastal lifestyle that embodies the essence of the American coastline.


Nestled on the sweeping north coast of Maui, Paia is a sleepy beach town infused with a laid-back aura. With a gorgeous beach that is endowed with soft, white sand and the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean, this place is synonymous with a tropical, sun-soaked wonderland. This pristine beach is lined with a wealth of restaurants where seafood specials are popular on all the menus as freshly-caught fish is served here everyday. Similarly, the Paia Fish Market is a bustling destination brimming with diverse kinds of fishes, whereas the local shopping scene of the town is where merchants display their most unique artifacts and collectibles. In addition to food, shopping and fun, Paia's spiritual side can be best explored at the Paia Mantokuji Soto Zen Mission. While the picturesque Paia beach imbues unparalleled natural beauty, Paia's downtown, lined with colorful cabins, surf shops and boutiques, is a place which comes alive with a mosaic of arts, culture and a vibrant, touristy tenor.

Paia, Paia, HI, United States, 96779
Cannon Beach

One of Oregon's most popular coastal destinations, this charming town blends nature and art, delighting tourists and locals alike with its breezy environs. Sandy shores skirt Cannon Beach, with the townscape backed into the foothills of nearby mountains. A stroll along its quaint streets will yield many shops, galleries, and restaurants that draw visitors from far and wide. Festivals and parades held throughout the year are a testament to the town's cultural splendor. A defining feature of Cannon Beach is the striking Haystack Rock. Other attractions include the Ecola State Park and the Cannon Beach History Center and Museum.

Cannon Beach, Cannon Beach, OR, United States, 97110
Cape May

In the southernmost point of Cape May Peninsula stands the charming city of Cape May. This picturesque resort town is one of the oldest vacation destinations in the country and finds a place on the National Historic Landmark. Its beautiful shore is lined with several beaches, Victorian homes, and delicious dining options. This city is also a popular location for birdwatching enthusiasts. The Cape May Beach makes for a stunning family getaway in town and the Cape May Lighthouse is another landmark that also makes for a great photo-ops stop.

Cape May, Cape May, NJ, United States, 08204

Carmel-by-the-Sea, also known simply as Carmel, prides itself on having one of the most picturesque seashores in the country. Pristine white-sand beaches and blue waters soothe your senses, whereas a lovely town center charms you with its diverse offerings. Visitors can pamper themselves at the many spas in town or shop to their heart's content at some of its most beautiful stores and galleries. A must-visit is the Sunset Center, which is famous for its concerts and symphonies. Exquisite gourmet experiences at interesting dining spots across the city will also leave you impressed.

Carmel-by-the-Sea, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA, United States, 93921

The barrier island of Sanibel is home to Sanibel city known for its shelly beaches and wild-life refuges. From an ecological standpoint, this city plays an important role in the conservation of the abundance of flora and fauna found here, the largest wildlife refuge being the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Equally attractive are the large number of shells that wash up on the shores of the island. Some lucky tourists also get their hands on the rare Scaphella junonia, which is highly valued. Often acclaimed as a top tourist destination, the island welcomes all those looking for an adventurous escapade amidst the ocean.

Sanibel, Sanibel, FL, United States, 33957

Provincetown, one of the most scenic towns on Cape Cod, is a treasure trove of culture, art, and history. The Pilgrims made their first New World landing here, and the historic Mayflower Compact was written and signed just off the coast. Later, an artists' colony began to flourish, attracting the intellectual elite and resulting in the establishment of many artistic and literary institutions. Today, Provincetown thrives as a cultural center and vacation destination and offers much in the way of leisure and exploration. Be it museums, historic landmarks, or the sun-dappled beaches that elevate its touristic appeal, plenty of memorable experiences await visitors. Also popular with the LGBTQ+ community, and with something new brewing each season, Provincetown makes for an exhilarating visit.

Provincetown, Provincetown, MA, United States, 02657

Straddling the picturesque coast of Virginia, Chincoteague is a charming resort town. Home to the famed Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, this town is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Riddled with interesting historic spots, such as the Museum of Chincoteague Island, the town has something to offer for all. While the fabled Chincoteague Wild Ponies mark the wilderness, the untouched verdant landscape makes for the perfect backdrop. Here nature lovers can find refuge in the several parks, golf courses and camping grounds, and discerning tourists can join the many tours and cruises on offer. Experience a unique island getaway with your loved ones at Chincoteague.

Chincoteague, Chincoteague, VA, United States, 23336

Living up to its name, which translates into "beautiful place by the sea", Ogunquit offers much in the way of oceanside exploration and beachside idyll. While its shimmering sandy stretches have rendered it a favorite with beachgoers, the town is also replete with historical splendor, its cultural appeal accentuated by the presence of landmarks such as the Ogunquit Museum of American Art and the Ogunquit Heritage Museum. Strolling along the town's picturesque harbor or embarking on tours of its downtown area are ideal ways to spend the day acclimatizing yourself to Ogunquit's timeless charm. Traverse Marginal Way and discover all the quaint gems stippled along the path, or frolic on sun-dappled sands as you soak in the surrounding views. To replenish your energy, drop in at any one of the eateries comprising the town's culinary landscape or pick from an array of accommodation options to spend a leisurely weekend amid comfortable confines.

Ogunquit, Ogunquit, ME, United States, 03907
Port Townsend

On the northwestern corner of the Olympic Peninsula, Port Townsend offers delightful scenery and fascinating history. A season-long festival helmed by Centrum makes summer an especially popular time to visit, but the early-fall Wooden Boat Festival brings maritime enthusiasts in droves. Year-round parks include historic Fort Worden and lovely Chetzemoka Park. Architecture enthusiasts will enjoy touring the city's quaint streets lined with remarkable structures built in the Victorian style. History and culture abound at every corner, with attractions such as the Jefferson Museum of Art and History and the Commanding Officers Quarters Museum exemplifying the city's heritage. The downtown area offers fun-filled shopping and entertainment.

Port Townsend, Port Townsend, WA, United States, 98368
Port Aransas

Known as "Port A" to locals, residents of this small beach community declare that they are running on "island time," that is to say, a slower pace of life. Visiting this mostly touristy port, you will agree that life tends to slow down just a bit on the beach. Located just a few minutes outside downtown Corpus Christi, the three main activities to do here are birding, fishing, and lounging. There are various small hotels, motels, and inns throughout the city, along with a few modest and not-so-modest summer homes that are frequented by snowbirds from the north looking for a place to warm up.

Port Aransas, Port Aransas, TX, United States, 78373
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