National Parks with the Best Beaches

From Acadia to Virgin Islands National Park, these are the wild and beautiful beaches located within our national parks

When you think of national park getaways, what comes to mind?

Maybe your mind goes to epic hikes in Yosemite, paddling the coast of Acadia or camping out under the stars in Zion—but chances are you didn’t think of relaxing on a beach.

Most people don’t realize that many of our favorite national parks are home to pristine beaches. In fact, the 10 included on this list are just a small sampling of public lands with incredible waterfront property. We decided not to include the many picturesque national seashores and lakeshores in this list—and there are many throughout the country—we instead stuck to the national parks, which offer some unlikely gems and some classic beauties.

Whether it be oceanfront, lakefront or riverside, these parks offer up some of the best beaches in the country. From Acadia in Maine to Virgin Islands National Park in the Caribbean, these are the wild and breathtaking beaches located within our national parks.

Acadia National Park—Maine

This incredibly popular national park is best known for its dramatic rocky coastline, but there is, in fact, a stretch of sand in Acadia that gives way to the Atlantic Ocean. The aptly-named cove is called Sand Beach (pictured here) and it’s a popular spot in the summer despite chilly water temperatures. There are other spots to access water in the park, like Echo Lake Beach, which happens to offer warmer waters, but one of the best way to see the coastline is from the water—consider kayaking Acadia for some of the best views.

Virgin Islands National Park—U.S. Virgin Islands

Travelers looking for the tropical beach vibe will be blown away by the pristine beauty of Virgin Islands National Park. Set directly east of Puerto Rico, the park covers roughly 60 percent of the island of Saint John and almost all of Hassel Island. It’s world-renowned for its protected land, beaches and waters—the SCUBA diving and hiking is hard to beat. Visit the iconic Trunk Bay beach (pictured) and Honeymoon Beach to experience paradise first-hand.

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