Going to the beach is the great default summer vacation. Doesn’t matter if you live in Oklahoma or South Florida, for some reason summer’s long days and warm weather invite a day or nine somewhere near the coast. On the right days, it’s a relaxing little break to paradise, where you forget everything and just enjoy the waves crashing on the shore. Go on the wrong days to some of America’s most popular beaches, and it’s an exercise in Zen breathing just to find a parking spot.
Of course, we live in a giant country with more than 95,000 miles of coastline. Which means somewhere there’s a great beach that the entire world isn’t trying to visit. Some are in spots like Florida and Hawaii, surprising hidden gems beach-going tourists haven’t discovered. Others are quick escapes closer to home than you thought. But all of them are beaches most people overlook when planning a vacation.