Hitting the road for some of the best beaches
No, you didn’t hear it here first, but summer is in full swing and the beach is always a popular destination for a getaway. Eighty-one percent of Americans have been on a beach vacation at one point and they tend to look no further than domestic soil when deciding on where to go. And when it comes to dedication for sun seeking, 24 percent of Americans are willing to drive 5 to 8 eight hours to get their beach. Who knew?
This is all coming in hot from the 2017 Expedia Flip Flop Report, the worldwide rundown on beach trends. We found that on average, Americans are willing to drive longer than they’re willing to fly (drive 8.4 hours vs. fly 7.3 hours) for sun and sand.
In preparation for Fourth of July weekend, we compiled a list of 10 beaches you can road-trip to in 8 hours or less from some of the most populous cities in the U.S. Time to grab your crew, gas up the car, and hit the road— but whatever you do don’t blow your turn on the aux cord!
Trover photo by Megan Morgan
A slice of the Californian dream awaits at this idyllic stretch of sand, just a few miles from downtown San Diego. Coronado Beach epitomizes California’s famous mix of glamour, laid-back culture, and natural beauty. The area, known for its white sand beach that sparkles with jet-black mica, has been a popular vacation destination with Hollywood celebrities and families alike since it was established in the late 1880s. It’ll take you about 2.5 hours to get here from Los Angeles.
Southhampton and East Hampton
Trover photo by Andrew Barney Kavesh
Two to three hours outside of New York City, you’ll find Southampton Village Coopers Beach and East Hampton on the easternmost tip of Long Island, which has miles of beautiful coastline. Whether you’re looking for big surf, bold sunsets, or sprawling white-sand stretches, the Northeast has a beach for you.
Trover photo by Fred Kerner
Cannon Beach is a popular getaway for Oregonians and Pacific Northwest weekenders who road-trip to the coastal community for a break. As a well-established retreat for families and surfers alike, the sand-dusted streets are filled with Cape Cod-style cafés, driftwood sculptures, surf shops, salt water taffy confectionaries, and souvenir stores selling kites and crêpes. Cannon Beach is less than 4 hours away from Seattle and is considered one of the 21 best beaches in the world, according to National Geographic.
Trover photo by RVOutlawz
Myrtle Beach is the East Coast’s ultimate vacation hub and less than 4 hours away from Charlotte, North Carolina. With wildlife adventures, thrill rides, and sand castles, Myrtle Beach offers natural beauty, Southern history, and family-friendly attractions.
Trover photo by Debbie Hall
Solo travelers, couples, and families will love the wonderful array of sights and attractions at Nantucket Island. Just 4.5 hours from Boston, unspoiled beaches, picturesque lighthouses, and expensive restaurants and hotels make this Massachusetts island the perfect place to relax and unwind.
Sleeping Bear Point
Trover photo by Jennifer Probert
One of northern Michigan’s most popular destinations is also one of the 21 best beaches in the world, according to National Geographic. Sleeping Bear Point—part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on the northwest coast of the Lower Peninsula—is a prime destination for dune walkers and less than 6 hours from Chicago.
Trover photo by Chasing Sunsets
Clearwater is a scenic beach-town city located just west of Tampa, and is about 7 hours from Atlanta. This beach is renowned for its white sugary sand and beautiful blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The best-kept secret here is that during low tide you can walk to Caladesi Island from the north end of Clearwater Beach.
Trover photo by Tim Hass
If a remote beach less than 8 hours from Washington, D.C. is what you seek, Ocracoke Island is a perfect fit. Accessible by boat, Ocracoke’s 16 miles of naturally beautiful beaches are owned by the National Park Service as part of Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Three ferry routes transport cars, people, and their pets. Experience local flavor with no chain restaurants or shops, but locally owned and operated businesses are serving up daily fresh caught fish, clams, crabs, and shrimp.
Trover photo by Stavros Mitchelides
Siesta Beach is the No. 1 beach in America, according to Dr. Beach, and less than 8 hours from Atlanta. Situated on the 8-mile island of Siesta Key, Siesta Beach has white-sand beaches and sparkling blue waters ideal for swimming. The beach is hundreds of yards wide in the shape of a crescent due to anchoring of onshore rocks to the south. This beach is great for volleyball and other types of recreational fitness.
For more beach inspiration, don’t forget to check out our 2017 Flip Flop Report.
What beach is on your road trip list this summer?
This article was written by Alexis Tiacoh, a PR specialist at Expedia.
Expedia compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site, such compensation may include travel and other costs.