Beach culture in the US isn’t limited to California. Beyond the Pacific to the west, the US has coasts spanning 30 states and stretching along the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Great Lakes. Today we’re focusing on the Southeastern States, where we’ve hand-picked 5 of the region’s best, including Miami’s flashy South Beach, to a shoreside graveyard in Georgia.
South Beach, Miami, Florida
One of South Beach’s iconic striped lifeguard towers
Miami’s South Beach (aka SoBe) is one of the most famous strips of sand in America – and for good reason. Its white sand, turquoise waves, and glamorous yet carefree ambiance live up to all postcards and movie appearances. Rollerbladers ride along the boardwalk past art deco architecture and neon signs, while beachgoers kick back on the beach alongside lifeguard towers painted lilac, yellow, or red with white stripes. Here you can surf, parasail, or jet ski, or just unwind while sampling some of South Beach’s famous cocktails. Behind the beach, the neighborhood’s rich Hispanic heritage is visible on every corner. Try classics like ropa vieja (shredded beef in a spicy tomato sauce served with tortillas) yuca (a root vegetable marinated in lime and olive oil at Havana 1957), or any of the other countless Cuban spots. Design Bookers will love staying at Hotel La Flora, with its art deco facade and mid-century decor.
Folly Beach, South Carolina
Take a stroll down Folly Beach’s historic wooden fishing pier
Folly Beach is on an island just south of Charleston and captures the timeless charm of South Carolina. Once it gets warm in April, the beach starts filling with families and surfers escaping the city. You’ll find locals fishing off the wooden pier, which stretches over 1,000 feet into the Atlantic and ends at a beautiful, diamond-shaped pavilion – the perfect spot to watch the sunset. You can also take a boat tour around the island to see dolphins and the Morris Island Lighthouse, which is slowly eroding into the ocean. For dinner, Bookers should head a little deeper into town toward Charleston to the Bowens Island Restaurant, which dates back to the mid-1940’s and serves some of the finest fresh oysters and shrimp in the area. Then go back to the seafront for live music and drinks at the patio bar at Loggerhead’s Beach Grill, or the Surf Bar, with its fun, beach-shack decor. For the night, book a suite overlooking the pier at Tides Folly Beach.
Driftwood Beach, Georgia
Walk among fallen, sun-bleached oak trees in Georgia
Driftwood Beach at the northern end of Georgia’s Jekyll Island is an eerily beautiful place. Constant erosion has formed a landscape of gnarled dead pine and water oak trees, bleached by the sun and scattered across the smooth sand. Thanks to this unique backdrop of natural sculptures, the sunsets here are a highlight for any Booker. Walk to the end of the beach, where it gets more tranquil and otherworldly the farther you go. The small tidal pools around each of the oaks are also worth exploring at low tide, because their clear waters are home to several species of crab, fish, and other sea creatures. Afterwards, stay at the 19th-century Jekyll Island Club Resort, just a 10-minute drive from the beach.
Siesta Key Beach, Florida
The sand on Siesta Key Beach is 99% quartz, which doesn’t absorb the sun’s heat and keeps the beach uniquely cool
Many Bookers consider Siesta Key one of the best beaches in Florida – if not the entire country. It sits on a small barrier island off the Sunshine State’s west coast, not too far from the city of Sarasota. The sand is as fine as powdered sugar because it’s 99% quartz, which doesn’t get too hot from the sun and contrasts beautifully against the mint-green waters. The beach is wide enough to guarantee plenty of space to spread out and kick back. Spend the day playing volleyball and splashing through the Gulf coast waves. In the evening, drive to downtown Sarasota to explore its great restaurant scene, featuring everything from pecan-crusted trout with crawfish butter and shrimp jambalaya at Owen’s Fish Camp, to authentic ceviche at Selva. Guests at Siesta Key Bungalows get direct access to Heron Lagoon and an outdoor swimming pool, only a 7-minute drive from the beach.
Sandbridge Beach, Virginia
Pastel condos and the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge sit right behind Sandbridge Beach
Sandbridge is a low-key, coastal retreat just south of the busier Virginia Beach. This beach is perfect for Nature Bookers, who can go kayaking to spot dolphins and sea turtles. There’s also the Back Bay Wildlife Refuge where you can explore the dunes, marshland, and maritime forests in search of native bird species, or take the tram tour for a more comfortable way of seeing the refuge. Biking is also a great way to get around the area, home to the nearby False Cape State Park and its great trails. There’s not much in terms of restaurants here, which is all the more reason for an laid-back picnic on the beach. To get back to modern amenities at night, stay at Virginia Beach’s Boardwalk Resort Hotel and Villas.
#BeABooker and book your trip today.