Given the diversity of landscapes, scenery, and climate all across the USA, it's unsurprising that so many dazzling beaches abound - each serving up something unique to the next. Naturally, most globetrotters jet set off to exotic tropical islands for the ultimate beach vacation, such as those in the Asia Pacific region, on the sublime shores of Europe, and along the stunning Caribbean coastlines.

However, the United States truly packs a punch in terms of sun, sand, and sea, offering breathtaking beaches of both the relaxing and fun kind - ones easily on par with popular paradises all across the planet, particularly during the warmest season. From remote seaside spots with glistening oceans to livelier coasts with shopping, dining, and hosts of entertaining attractions, the following list of the top US beaches includes somewhere special for every kind of beach bum.

11 Cannon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach in Oregon is recognized for its luscious nearby forests and rugged beaches beaten into shape over the many millennia, as evidenced by the powerful waves that pummel sea stacks along the coast. In addition, this sandy spot is particularly famous for its nearby vibrant arts scene and galleries alongside a selection of high-end restaurants and luxury resorts. Whether visitors come to check out the artist community, sample upscale cuisine, or laze on the beach all day, nobody should leave without checking out the imposing 235-foot-tall Haystack Rock with its fascinating tide pools perfect for critter hunting.

Plus, once the beach exploration is all done and dusted, the nearby Ecola Park offers walking trails twisting and winding along the old rainforest, coupled with sensational vistas of the coast and Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. Don't forget to tuck into a picnic here or simply stop on top of the verdant cliffs that overlook the sea while looking out for grazing elk in the nearby meadow.

10 Provincetown, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Situated at the northern tip of the much-loved area of Cape Cod, Provincetown is a quirky artist colony whose creative community was birthed over a century ago. The place remains famous for its creative events and outlets, attracting many an art lover in the modern day to discover its flamboyant downtown, where stately mansions, interesting shops, old bookstores, and art galleries all appeal to those with an artistic flair.

The town also hosts a number of excellent fine dining restaurants, sumptuous seafood shacks, and taste bud tantalizing fudge shops, much to foodies' delight. Of course, the lovely beaches here are just as wonderful as the town, where sun, surf, swimming, people watching, and even whale watching can all be enjoyed. Generally, the most popular stretch of sand in these parts is Herring Cove Beach, while Race Point Beach is notably quieter - but there are several others, good contenders, as well.

Related: Affordable & Scenic: Where To Camp In Beautiful Cape Cod

9 Outer Banks, North Carolina

With rolling sand dunes, roaming wild horses, and historic lighthouses, the coastal cocktail of North Carolina's Outer Banks beaches is enticingly delectable. Beach-goers get to try any number of memorable activities, with everything from motorized water sports and surfing to deep sea fishing on the entertainment menu. That's not all; visitors can quite literally experience and recreate aviation history as they soar in the sky on tour flights in an open-cockpit biplane right over the same spot where Wright Brothers first flew their gravity-defying invention.

As for accommodation, beautiful beach homes beckon, cute inns call out, and gorgeous resorts offer sanctuary, so staying overnight or even for several days is so tempting to do. What's more, enchanting towns like Coralla and Duck open up even more family-friendly points of interest, including arrays of shops, eateries of many kinds, and highly spoken-of food joints serving some of the freshest seafood in the region. For folks who feel fish are friends, not food, the numerous and highly rated North Carolina aquariums will complete a beach day - hands down.

Related: Topsail Island: Home To The Best Snorkeling In North Carolina

8 Neah Bay & Shi Shi Beach, Olympic Peninsula, Washington

Folks craving the country's serene, secluded spots in the wilderness would definitely prefer the northern Olympic Peninsula in the state of Washington. With rustic inns and characterful beach resorts dotted about the area, Neah Bay and its surrounding parts is a beautiful item to add to the bucket list - one that's perfect for those seeking pure peace and quiet amidst stunning scenery. It's also a wonderful dot on the map for hiking, a trail of special note being the Cape Flattery Trail, which sends walkers to the most northwestern point on the United States' borders.

In short, this scenic three-quarters-of-a-mile trek showcases four observation decks, each where spectacular views of rocky formations can be soaked up in all their glory, as well as sightings of interesting seabirds, including adorable puffins. Explorers must keep an eye on the water, too, since the luckiest of the bunch might even be able to spot elusive marine species in the right season, such as orcas and gray whales that sometimes pass by.

Also, another excellent sandy length of shore to visit here is Shi Shi Beach - a sublime candidate often named among the planet's most beautiful beaches. It may demand a two-mile hike to get there, but it's absolutely worth it; the sensational sands peppered with battered logs, the impressive displays of violent waves crashing against offshore sea rocks, and bald eagles and other seabirds flying like kites up above is a collective sight that'll stick in visitors' minds long after they've gone home.

7 The Hamptons, New York

Now, New York has no shortage of incredible beaches, but some are far more celebrated than others. A particularly renowned slurry of NYC sand and sea finds itself located on Long Island’s southeast coast, where it's hard to believe the rows of pretty villages along its shores are only 90 minutes from the chaos and energy of New York City.

Known as the Hamptons, these sandy spots feel worlds apart from the bright lights of the Big Apple; with picturesque beaches decorated with undulating dunes, shabby windmills, tranquil bays prime for beachcombing, and tempting farm stands selling the freshest local produce, the famous Hamptons tick all the right boxes in terms of a US beach vacation. Visitors will also be happy to know that quaint antique shops and quirky museums exist here, too, as do plenty of places to taste legendary Long Island seafood and farm-to-table goodies and pretty vineyards providing wine-tasting experiences.

Related: Start Planning A Long Island Trip (With These Beaches In Mind)

6 Gulf Shores, Alabama

Thanks to its gleaming white sands and crystal clear blue waters that could easily rival the tropics, it's easy to mistake Alabama's Gulf Shores for an exotic island destination - and it offers just as many activities as its tropical counterparts in far-flung paradise beach holiday destinations. Here, beach-goers can try their hands at tons of awesome pastimes at the seaside, with water sports like sailing, boating, jet-skiing, and fishing all on the day's cards.

Other attractions promise even more fun in between enjoying the beaches, with a fine Gulf Shores staple being the adventure-packed slides of Waterville USA - a thrilling water park perfect for the whole family. On the other hand, Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is the ideal alternative should visitors prefer to stay dry after spending a few hours on the beach, as are the two sprawling golf courses and the diverse and delicious dining options offering tasty BBQ and seafood. Later, come after hours, the colorful nightlife ignites the dark when lively beach bars with live music and stages on the sand complete the day at the beach.

Related: Get To The Gulf: Alabama's Most Sun-Worthy Beaches

5 Tybee Island, Georgia

Tybee Island offers the closest vacation beaches to Atlanta, where a number of beautiful shores await, including the ever-popular North Beach and its sand and surf. Granted, the latter is well-known and a local favorite, attracting higher numbers of people - especially in the summer months. As such, Back River Beach is a more peaceful, lesser-visited alternative, offering a tranquil atmosphere for beach-goers preferring to escape the crowds.

At the lovely beaches on the island, visitors can enjoy numerous ways of exploring the waters - be it kayaking, jet-skiing, paddle boarding, and even wildlife and ecology tours, which offer an educational edge to a beach visit. Whatever visitors do, though, they must not skip out on a trip to see the old Tybee Island Lighthouse; for one, it's a treasure chest of information on the island's history, but what might be the most noteworthy of all are the glorious views afforded from the building.

When stomachs start to grumble, hungry beach bunnies need to look no further than Bubba Gumbo’s for fresh seafood; however, folks not particularly fond of the ocean's offerings can find something more to their liking in the town of Savannah, which is a short distance away and provides a more diverse range of food outlets cooking up other cuisines.

4 Key West, Florida

Being one of the United States' most exotic beach destinations, the best beaches in the Florida Keys never fail to capture the hearts of the world's choosiest beach connoisseurs. In particular, Key West exudes Caribbean vibes yet is right on Americans' doorstep. As a prime vacation spot, the warm turquoise waters, powder-white sandy beaches, swaying palms, and the myriad of in-water activities entice and excite tourists of all ages, with kayaking, snorkeling, and sailing being popular choices - particularly sunset cruises for catching the famous Florida sun as it dips below the horizon, which was officially branded the world's best sunset.

Outside of beach fun and relaxation, cultural attractions are also a fantastic way to spend part of the day, with the former home of Ernest Hemingway being a remarkable one to add to the to-do list - a charming home that now serves as a museum where younger generations of his pet cats now roam. As for other places to check out, the vicinity's art galleries, fresh seafood restaurants, beach-themed boutique stores, energetic nightlife venues, and entertaining bars are never a bad idea.

Related: Proven Reasons You Should Take A Spontaneous Trip To Florida This Summer

3 La Jolla & Mission Beach, San Diego, California

Favorable weather year-round keeps locals and tourists on the beaches in San Diego, which are superb for chilling with a book, paddling in the water, and lounging under the California sun. Still, it's not merely lazy beach afternoons that make this place so attractive; it's also the action. Famous worldwide for epic waves, surfing at La Jolla Beach forms part of the fun in San Diego, a bucket list spot ideal for thrill-seekers - especially those considering themselves seasoned wave-riders. Although, if catching the breaks sound a little too much, simply sunbathing at the equally famous Mission Beach is likely a more relaxing option.

Additionally, anyone in the area who happens to like animals will definitely be thankful to their past self for adding San Diego Zoo to their itinerary - an establishment with an awe-inspiring collection of species and celebrated globally as one of the best zoos for its work in the conservation field. On another note, lovers of fine brews will be in their element in this region of the Golden State; San Diego is one of the nation's top craft beer cities, with so many breweries to visit that it'll be hard to choose which one to check out - with favorites among beer aficionados being the San Diego Brewing Company, Ballast Point Brewery, and Mission Brewery, to name just a few. There are plenty more, though, so taking a look at the seemingly endless San Diego beer tours will help beer-lovin bellies narrow them down.

Related: 8 Best Beaches In Southern California, Ranked By Their Surf

2 Kaanapali Beach, Maui

The iconic paradise of Maui is undeniably one of the most breathtaking of Hawaii's beaches. Among them, one of the most adored shores are the sugar-soft sands of Kaanapali Beach, from which snorkeling, scuba diving, stand-up paddleboarding, and surfing can be enjoyed. Even adrenaline-inducing cliff jumping is a popular activity here, but one that's certainly not for the faint of heart or those fearful of heights.

Similar to many of the planet's best beaches, it's not just the sand and sea that makes for a spectacular shore; it's the encompassing area and its tourist-teasing prizes that really rank the place high in the opinions of locals and visitors. Lots of shopping and dining experiences are available nearby to suit most tastes, and while most probably won't be able to pull themselves away from the beach's magnetic allure, two championship golf courses and a unique attention-worthy whale museum add even more flavor to vacationers' time at the beach.

Related: These Beautiful Maui Beaches Will Leave You In Awe

1 Hanalei Bay, Kauai

Hanalei Bay is a postcard-perfect piece of the illustrious Kalalau Trail in the Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park - a hike widely considered one of the world's most challenging and dangerous on the planet; hence, as a trek, it's only suitable for steppers with stamina. Thankfully, though, the bay isn't just limited to hikers; many boat tour operators also offer this spot on explorations of Kauai Island by sea. Cementing its place as one of the most breathtaking places on the island, this three-mile bay features a half-moon shape of rich golden sands with a wondrous backdrop of emerald green mountains adorned by cascading waterfalls - the idyllic ingredients for a computer desktop background, but in real life, for all to witness.

This divine area of pristine nature is a great spot for jumping into the water to cool off, and it's also a good speck on the map for fishing. Last but not least, if beach-goers only do one thing here, it has to be tucking into a picnic on the pier, where uninterrupted panoramas of the whole bay and the ruggedly sculpted Nāpali Coast delivers an otherworldly exhibit of Mother Nature's finest work - just don't forget a camera for this one.