Most Awesome Beaches for Memorial Day Weekend from Most Awesome Beaches for Memorial Day Weekend

Most Awesome Beaches for Memorial Day Weekend

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Most Awesome Beaches for Memorial Day Weekend

“If there's a heaven for me, I'm sure it has a beach attached to it,” singer Jimmy Buffett commented after visiting one stretch of South Carolina coast last year.

Of course, the man who wrote “Margaritaville” has seen more than his share of gorgeous shores. A quick scroll through his Instagram feed shows just how often the seasoned musician manages to squeeze in a taste of heaven, whether on a surfboard, a seaplane, or the sand itself.

For all of you who really want to be nibblin’ on sponge cake and watchin’ the sun bake, our expert editors blazed through a ton of travel guides to highlight 15 of the most awesome beaches in the country. They’re worth seeing this summer — specifically on Memorial Day Weekend, the unofficial start of the season.

Grab your swimsuits, towels, and tunes, because a three-day weekend that’s spent at the beach sure to be a heavenly getaway.

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Annapolis, MD: Sandy Point State Park

Sandy Point State Park, located at the northwestern end of Chesapeake Bay, is a 786-acre state park that features sand and shore for sunbathing and swimming. The family-friendly park also offers opportunities to go fishing, hiking, and picnicking.

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Cape Cod, MA: Race Point Beach

With its soft sand, Race Point Beach is ideal for taking a nice, long walk along the coastline. Be sure to make the 45-minute trek to Race Point Light, a historic lighthouse, where you can book an overnight stay from May to early November.

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Chicago, IL: North Avenue Beach

North Avenue Beach, one of Chicago’s most popular beaches, provides sand and shores without requiring them to leave the city. The beach features an ocean liner-shaped beach house, with upper decks and portholes for taking in the views of Lake Michigan. After an afternoon of soaking in the sun, sip on a cold margarita at Castaways Bar and Grill.

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Clearwater, FL: Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach was named this year’s best U.S. beach (and seventh best in the world) by TripAdvisor — and it’s easy to why. The Florida beach is known for its white sands, warm water and mesmerizing sunsets. (There’s even a daily festival held for its sunsets!)

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East Hampton, NY: East Hampton Main Beach

As part of the popular getaway destination for the New York elite, this ocean beach is ideal for sunbathing on the fine white sand and surfing in the particularly strong waves. The area was heavily eroded by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, but it has since recovered and restored its former gorgeousness.

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Hilton Head Island, SC: Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island, located in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina, isn’t just known for its 12-mile-long sandy shores. The resort town also offers a variety of family-friendly activities, including kayaking, fishing, golfing, dolphin watching, and more.

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Kennebunkport, ME: Kennebunk Beach

Also known as Mother’s Beach, this long, wide sandy scene is studded with sand dollars and recently installed a new playground. During the summer months, dogs are allowed on the beach after 5 p.m., and they’re welcome to play in the sand and explore plenty of tide pools.

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Long Island, NY: Jones Beach State Park

For those who want to relax on a beach in the Big Apple, Jones Beach is ideal for avoiding the crowds out in Coney Island and Rockaway Beach. Since it is a state park, the 6.5-mile stretch of white sand isn’t stuffed with as much commercial development. After a day of swimming and sunbathing, stick around for a concert at the Northwell Health Theater, which welcomes Rascal Flatts, Kesha, Joan Jett, Kendrick Lamar, and more this summer.

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Manhattan Beach, CA: Manhattan Beach

A 20-mile drive southwest of downtown Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach is a popular destination for surf and sand. Roam the laid-back pier, where you can visit the Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab & Aquarium or check out the Volleyball Walk of Fame. Then, take a ride on The Strand bike path and admire the million-dollar beachside mansions along the way.

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Miami Beach, FL: South Beach

The southern tip of Miami Beach is not only a notorious partying hotspot, but it’s also a heaven for Art Deco lovers. Even more so, these iconic buildings house a bevy of boutiques, galleries and noted restaurants — plenty to do after soaking up the sun and swimming in the crystal-clear blue waters.

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North Carolina: Crystal Coast

Crystal Coast, an 85-mile coastline in North Carolina, offers endless opportunities to bask in the sand and sea. Fishing, scuba diving, kiteboarding and parasailing are among the many activities enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

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North Carolina: Outer Banks

This beachy region is an outdoor playground of endless activities. Go hang gliding at Jockey's Ridge, take a historical sail aboard the Elizabeth II, try fishing off of Jennette's Pier and horseback riding on Cape Hatteras, or tee up at the Outer Banks golf courses. Don’t forget to check out the selection of restaurants, shops and hotels in the local town.

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Oahu, HI: Waimea Bay Beach

Waimea Bay is the ultimate playground for pro surfers, who are often found riding the Oahu North Shore’s big waves. During the summer, local beachgoers are known to jump off a big rock that’s located left of the shore — just be careful when climbing the slippery cliff.

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San Diego, CA: La Jolla Shores Beach

Approximately one mile long, La Jolla Shores is a popular beach among locals, tourists and nearby University of California, San Diego students. From surfing to hosting a bonfire, the San Diego shoreline offers plenty to do, making it an ideal destination for a long weekend.

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Virginia Beach, VA: Virginia Beach

A seaside resort, Virginia Beach stretches 35 miles long along the coast — it’s no wonder it holds the Guinness World Record for the “longest pleasure beach.” The shoreline consists of three main beaches: Chesapeake Beach, Sandbridge Beach and, of course, Virginia Beach. Check out the Virginia Beach Boardwalk for shops, restaurants, art shows, and musical performances along the way.