Beach Walks: Top Ten

Colorful glass pebbles blanket this beach in Fort Bragg, California | Nature’s Charm

Walking on the beach can be romantic or exhilarating. There are so many fantastic American beaches to walk on it’s difficult to choose just ten. My criteria were pretty simple: the beach had to be on an ocean, not a lake, the beach had to be near stores or a town square and, most assuredly, ice cream; and the longer the better. Here with my choices for the top ten beach walks in America.

10. Hampton Beach, NH. Entered by the Neil R. Underwood, Jr. Memorial Bridge, which was dedicated in 1949, visitors can enjoy Hampton Beach and its famed seawall. After strolling the beach, walkers can cross Ocean Boulevard and pass by the many shops that line the street, Winter time is not be the best time to cross the boulevard because many shops close after summer tourists leave. On the beach side of Ocean Boulevard there is a bandstand featuring nightly concerts. A big draw is Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom.

Looking north you can see Boar’s Head which stands as a gateway to North Beach, which

is as long as or longer than Hampton Beach. Don’t expect shops there, just stately homes.

9. Ogunquit Beach, Maine, “Beautiful Place by the Sea” is the town of Ogunquit’s motto, which is an apt description of this charming seaside village. Ogunquit, which means “coastal lagoon”, was settled in 1641 and went on to become famous for the Ogunquit dory.

Ogunquit Beach on a Sunny Afternoon, Ogunquit, Maine. Ogunquit was named by the Abenaki tribe, because the word means a beautiful place by the sea. | Jay Yuan

No trip to Ogunquit is complete without stopping at Perkins Cove. Because of the ease in getting to Ogunquit and Perkins Cove from all over New England, they have become a year-round attraction. Whether you’re looking for a lobster roll with fries, a spicy Bloody Mary, or just to rest your eyes on a quaint fishing village, this area of Maine is a great place to use as a get-away.

8. Craigville Beach, Cape Cod, MA. Cape Cod beaches are different from other beaches in New England. Maybe it’s because the Cape’s peninsula is positioned where it is. Certainly, the water is warmer than more northerly beaches. Located on Vineyard Sound, Craigville is truly a public beach, charging only a daily fee to use rather than a residents only sticker. A lifeguard, showers restrooms are available; food is nearby.

7. Deerfield Beach, FL. Deerfield Beach, on the Atlantic side of Florida, offers an ocean rescue summer surf camp every summer. Kids aged 7 – 13 can sign up for surf instruction, ocean awareness, snorkeling, and beach games. The beach has a fishing pier and is just across from shops.

6. Hanalei Bay, Kaua’i. HI. Two miles long, this semi-crescent beach has a backdrop of mist, waterfalls, and majestic mountains. After walking the beach, you may want to snorkel, scuba dive, surf, or paddle.

After enjoying that beautiful beach, it will be time to enjoy the rest of the island by traveling to the island’s north shore to explore Hanalei town and its museums and historic places.

5. South Padre Island, TX. At 34 miles in length, South Padre Island is certainly the longest beach in our listing. It is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico and Laguna Madre Bay. Kids will enjoy Schlitterbahn Beach Water Park with its water rides and slides. In South Padre Island, you can visit with sea turtles, bungee jump, have a cocktail, walk a nature trail, and much more.

4. Kailua Beach, Oahu, HI. This beautiful beach is best known for its fine sand; the park has a concession stand, showers, telephones, lifeguards, and picnic areas. A steakhouse is located across the street. There are body surfing, snorkeling, and kayaking.

Very popular on weekends, the free but limited parking fills up early. Sting rays can be a problem, but lifeguards mark the beach with signs when they appear.

With a half mile of soft white sand, turquoise water and light breezes, Kailua Beach Park located on the Windward Coast is a local favorite. | E.J.Johnson Photography

3. Huntington Beach, CA. Like Gaul, Huntington Beach is divided into three parts. The central part, maintained by the city, is called Huntington City Beach. Bolsa Chica State Beach, occupies the northern part, while Huntington State Beach covers the southern part. The beach is located in southern California’s Orange County

2. Glass Beach, Fort Bragg, CA. Glass Beach is the most uni8que beach on this list, if not the entire United States. It definitely is made of glass. Located about 175 miles north of San Francisco, the beach is to be found in Mendocino county.

During the 20th century, local resident would dump their trash, including glass, over the cliffs onto the beach. In 1967, the practice was stopped, but over the years since then, action of waves pounding the shore has transformed the glass into smooth, colored pieces that now cover the beach. It goes without saying that heavy-soled shoes should be worn when walking this beach.

1. Bandon Beach, Bandon, OR. To be honest, it is unfair to choose a best beach walk in this part of the world since the Oregon coast is one of the world’s most beautiful. The coast is dotted with an enviable number of state parks with access to sand dunes and gorgeous beaches. Located at the mouth of the Coquille River, the town of Bandon is known as a strong producer of cranberries. The making of wood products, fishing, tourism, and agriculture round out Bandon’s economy.

Bandon Beach, Oregon | Stas Moroz

Ms. Sheridan is the author of Joshua Island, a contemporary novel set in Maine.

Source: Jean L Sheridan

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