8 North American Beach Destinations for the Perfect Summer Vacation

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Bucket List Worthy   Hot off the Press  

Photo credit: Jon Martin
Cannon Beach, Oregon – Photo credit: Jon Martin

Not all beach vacations need to involve five-star resorts, the Caribbean Sea and pool-side pina coladas. In fact, the United States and Canada are littered with gorgeous beaches on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts as well as some coasts you may not have even thought of yet. Even better, beach vacations to these destinations don’t require months of planning or years of saving, because they’re right here in your own back yard.

#1. Crystal Crescent Beach Provincial Park, Nova Scotia

White sand beaches and turquoise waters don’t only exist near the equator; they’re littered throughout Canada too. Crystal Crescent Beach Provincial Park — just 18 miles south of Halifax — is not only known for its gorgeous sand, but also its three crescent-shaped beaches that are linked together by boardwalks and hiking trails.

Photo credit: urbanmkr
Photo credit: urbanmkr

#2. Roque Bluffs, Maine

Seclusion and raw untouched beauty are the draws to Roque Bluffs State Park in Maine. And although a dip in the chilly north Atlantic Ocean may not feel quite as comfortable as the Caribbean, the state park’s nearby Simpson Pond offers warm, fresh water for swimming and taking in the breathtakingly rugged New England views.

Photo credit: J and V
Photo credit: J and V

#3. Kellys Beach, New Brunswick

As one of the warmest saltwater beaches in Canada, Kellys Beach — located within the Kouchibouguac National Park — is a haven for beachcombers and wildlife alike. With over 200 species of birds in the area, kilometers of white-sand beaches and plenty of seals to entertain the entire family, Kellys Beach is a perfect beach vacation destination.

Photo credit: Rick McCharles
Photo credit: Rick McCharles

 #4. Siesta Key Beach, Florida

It’s not hard to believe that Siesta Key Beach has been rated the No. 1 beach in the United States a number of times. Siesta Key’s ultra-fine quartz sand, gently lapping gulf waves, picturesque coastal views and prime snorkeling conditions make it one of the most ideal beaches in North America for a much-needed family vacation after an extremely long winter.

Photo credit: Drew Geraets
Photo credit: Drew Geraets

#5. Cannon Beach, Oregon

The rustic beauty of the Pacific Northwest is undeniable at Cannon Beach — a breathtaking ocean oasis just 80 miles west of Portland. Rock mounds protruding from the deep blue Pacific coupled with towering trees and soft, weathered sand make for a beach that can provide complete relaxation within moments of arrival.

Photo credit: Ethan Trewhitt
Photo credit: Ethan Trewhitt

 #6. Long Beach, British Columbia

At 10-kilometers in length, Long Beach is far more than the usual combination of sand and waves. Located on the west coast of Vancouver Island within the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, Long Beach is teeming with wildlife from it’s surrounding rainforest (which receives more rain than the Amazon every year) to it’s salty, marine-life-covered shores.

Photo credit: pat_ong
Photo credit: pat_ong

#7. Cape Hatteras, North Carolina

North Carolina’s Outer Banks are a “bucket list” kind of place. With hurricane-beaten houses slipping into the Atlantic Ocean and an undeveloped coastline that Mother Nature reshapes every year, a trip to Cape Hatteras reconnects all of its visitors to their natural surroundings. And with arguably the best surfing on the Atlantic coast on one side and a mellow salt marsh on the other, Cape Hatteras is a haven for outdoor adventure enthusiasts.

Photo credit: Zach Frailey
Photo credit: Zach Frailey

#8. Sandbanks Provincial Park, Ontario

Sandbanks Provincial Park is one of the best places to pitch a tent (or pull up your RV) and enjoy a summer vacation in the great outdoors. With nearly 550 campsites, three separate beaches, massive dunes and two of the largest freshwater sandbars in the world, there’s no better place to let your entire family unwind than the refreshing coastline of Lake Ontario.

Photo credit: Mama! Mia!
Photo credit: Mama! Mia!

About the Author: Courtney McCaffrey

Courtney McCaffrey is a travel writer and editor based in Wilmington, N.C. In addition to writing, she lives for travel - seeing new places, experiencing new cultures and surfing new waves.

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