The 31 Best Beach Vacations

Whether you want to stroll for seashells, ride waves, or build sand castles, our list of amazing beaches will guide you to your new favorite coastal playground.

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Huntington Beach, California
Photographer Jean-Claude Winkler/Getty Images

Huntington Beach, California

Huntington fought a legal battle with Santa Cruz for the right to crown itself “Surf City, U.S.A.”—and won. It really does have a mellow surfer vibe; Dr. Beach calls it the “No. 1 family surf beach in the United States.”

Stay: The Shorebreak Hotel (877/744-1117 or overlooks the ocean and features surfer-chic design. Waterfront rooms start at $259. For charming rental cottages, visit

Eat: Join the locals for breakfast at the comfy Sugar Shack (714/536-0355 or Then join the tourists at Duke’s (714/374-6446 or You’ll pay for the ocean view, but it’s worth it.

Shop: Walk past the giant Huntington Surf & Sport (714/374-6266 or at the pier and down the block to the Billabong surf fashions at its sister store.

Local secret: Ocean vistas along the 1½-mile nature trail at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve (714/846-1114 or can soothe away your stress.

More Ways To Get Coastal Living



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100 Comfy Cottage Rooms 

Develop your coastal cottage’s style by following these simple tricks.

Lacy curtains, fresh florals, and plenty of monogrammed pillows are just a few of the feminine touches that give this room its calming and sweet mood. Pieces scored at thrift stores and flea markets were refreshed with paint, then artfully applied to achieve the shabby-chic distressed look.