10 Best Secret Beaches in the US

The North Shore is world-famous for its big waves and Waikiki gets the press and the people.  But if you’re a beach lover looking for a little sun, surf and tourist-light relaxation, then keep reading!  Regardless of your personal preferences, the USA has a serene, sun-drenched seaside sanctuary to suit your tastes.  Here then, without further adieu, are the 10 best secret beaches in the US.

1. Lanikai Beach, Hawaii


Lanikai Beach can be found in the community of Lanikai, in Kailua.  Many think the name means “heavenly sea” but that is not true.  It is a name created back in the 1920ʻs by Charles Frazier, a developer, who then owned beachfront property in the area that Native Hawaiians call Kaʻōhao.

This neighborhood beach gets a lot less traffic.  In fact, before you go to bask on the beautiful palm tree-bordered white sand, know there is no public parking, no restrooms, and no lifeguards.  Nevertheless, it’s a great spot for a more intimate dip in the ocean.  

2. The Bahia Honda State Park, Florida

Although they are famous, the Florida Keys are not generally promoted for their beaches (beyond that one stretch of state park).  You will find the Bahia Honda State Park on the way to Key West.  Be sure to stop before you hit Big Pine Key.

Here you’ll find an awesome beach complete with coral reefs, balmy breezes, and decidedly stunning sunsets.  The water is bathwater temperature and perfect for both snorkeling and wading.  You might be in the USA, but it will feel like being in the Caribbean.

3. Bahia Súcia, Puerto Rico

It’s been said before but is worth repeating: “Go play at ‘Dirty Bay’.”  Bahia Sucia, also known as Dirty Bay, is on the southwest coast of Puerto Rico along Highway 301.  The name “Dirty Bay” merely refers to the fact that here the seaweed will wash up during a storm.  For the most part, you will find little more than beautiful blue skies, beige sloping sands, and azure water here.  Sure, technically this is part of the US.  Still, this place definitely has what veteran visitors call “a classic Caribbean feel.”

4. Indian Beach, Oregon

If you visit the area on any given summer weekend, you will no doubt see lines of vehicles parked along popular Cannon Beach.  Keep right on going.  Drive north into lovely Ecola State Park. You can hike two miles from the park’s parking lot or continue driving.  

Take in the scenery as you follow the road that winds through the Sitka spruce forest.  Just around the corner, you will find Indian Beach.  It’s a surprisingly secluded crescent beach.  Take a stroll, check out the tide pools, and look for driftwood,  

5. Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

Seasoned travelers can confirm that  Ocracoke is a little island just off the coast of the state of North Carolina.  Mind you, they also report that nothing about the place is easy.  Still, people like it that way.  Once you reach the Atlantic Ocean you still have to ride the ferry across Pamlico Sound all the way to one of the southernmost of the humble Outer Banks islands. 

The best time to visit is any time but winter.  Foodies favor the fresh fish, figs, fig cakes, and annual fig festival.

6. Bound Brook Island, Massachusetts

If you’re heading for Cape Cod you really must experience Bound Brook Island.  Take a sandy little back road in Wellfleet to a quiet corner of the Cape Cod National Seashore.  Make your way to the historic Atwood-Higgins House.  

Less than a mile from there is a little parking lot.  From there it’s another several hundred yards before you reach your destination.  You’ll be rewarded with a cozy beach complete with towering sand dunes and exceptional views of the Atlantic Ocean.  Kick back and enjoy yourself.


7. Montaña de Oro State Park, California

This state park is located two miles south of Los Osos and six miles southwest of popular Morro Bay.  In English, the Spanish name Montaña de Oro means “Mountain of Gold.”  It was inspired by the park’s prevalent golden wildflowers. 

The park’s highlights include secluded coves and sweeping bluff views along seven miles of the most incredible coastline in San Luis Obispo’s often overlooked state park.  More recently, they have added a new trail from the park’s southern boundary to the intimate Coon Creek Beach.

8. St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, Florida

Stunning St. Joseph Peninsula State Park stretches across Cape San Blas’ six-mile tip.  You need not give up beautiful scenery to experience a quiet, secluded beach.  Here you will discover one of the country’s prettiest shorelines.  

The sugar-white sand dunes are nearly empty compared to the beaches in Destin and Panama City.  There are a lot of things to do here along this comparatively remote stretch of the glistening Gulf of Mexico coast.  They even have a boat ramp and marina that can host up to 18 boats at once.

9. Lumahai Beach, Hawaii

You might think that it is impossible to find a span of sand away from the crowds anywhere in Hawaii.  Lovely Lumahai Beach is located in the wet and wild North Shore on Kauai.  It’s off a little bend in the road up from famous Hanalei Bay. 

Take the trail down through all the trees. It ends at a little crescent of fine sand and a huge rock outcropping.  Film fans will find this place familiar.  This is where the “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair” scene from the classic motion picture South Pacific was shot.

10. Windansea Beach, California

The city of San Diego is home to 70 miles of great beaches.  Many travel writers consider Windansea Beach one of the country’s best beaches.  Veteran visitors confirm it is a superb “scenic strand” complete with sandstone rocks and plenty of private places to lay out.  It’s got a great location too.  It’s far enough away from the touristy Sea World-spawned hubbub of Mission Bay but only a quick trip from downtown.

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