What should be the definition of a cool beach town? A place where people go to relax, avoid crowds, surf gigantic waves, witness stunning sunsets, walk barefoot on mile-long beaches, or perhaps all of the above?
The best beach towns are also about waking up with a nice breeze, enjoying world-class seafood at just about any small restaurant, and feeding off positive energy because of the art and music festivals that are scheduled all throughout the year. These places are as much about the beach as they are about its residents, local vibe, culture and nightlife.
A great beach town can be its own island with secluded or crowded beaches, with overwater bungalows and luxurious lodgings; it can be a barrier island where youngsters are looking to save money while still having an amazing experience; or it can also be a surfing mecca, where people can also watch big-wave surfers in action during the wintertime.
An ocean or a sea is not mandatory. Traverse City and The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are a magnificent mix of water, sky and towering sand dunes on Lake Michigan.
A chic town along an amazing coastal highway that maintains its old-fashioned vibe also fits a potential description of a “cool beach town.”
Regardless of the definition that suits you, such places are located all over the U.S.