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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Swimming
Perdido Key State Park, Pensacola, Florida

Perdido Key (850/492-1595 or floridastateparks.org/perdidokey) has “some of the finest, whitest sand in the world and emerald-green water,” says Dr. Beach. Aside from picnic tables and outdoor showers, that’s all you get here. But it’s plenty.

Stay: Rental condos and beach houses rule in Perdido. Try gulfcoastrentals.com and meyerre.com.

Eat: Locals love the royal red shrimp, gumbo, and weekend bluegrass at the ramshackle Original Point Restaurant (850/492-3577 or point-restaurant.com). The proudly ungenteel Flora-Bama Lounge (850/492-0611 or florabama.com), which straddles the Florida-Alabama line, serves good oysters.

Shop: Tallulah’s Treasures (251/981-6003) in nearby Orange Beach, Alabama, stocks local and regional arts and crafts—what the owner calls “girlfriend gifts.”

Local secret: Still-warm weather and water make the uncrowded months of September and October the best time to visit.

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