Florida and California may be the most famous North American beach destinations, but visitors can find sand dunes, beautiful water, and several other fun activities almost everywhere on the continent. Beaches in the northern part of the continent are only open in summer.
TH Stone Memorial St Joseph Peninsula State Park - Florida, US: Voted America’s best beach in 2002, this Florida Panhandle beach offers some of the world’s whitest sand and most emerald-coloured waters, and is a home for herons and egrets. Dolphins are frequently sighted along the coastline.
Caladesi Island State Park - Florida, US: Considered one of North America’s top ranked beaches, this island 30 miles west of Tampa is accessible only by ferry from Honeymoon, but its white dunes, pristine tranquility, and historic pirate past are worth the trip.
Ocracoke Island - North Carolina, US: This Outer Banks island has remained relatively unchanged since Blackbeard, the first pirate to have anchored here, arrived in the 18th century. The nearby Shell Castle rock lighthouse is the oldest working lighthouse in North America, as well as North Carolina’s smallest lighthouse, visible for only 14 miles.
Coast Guard beach - Eastham, Massachusetts, US: Attached to eroding glacial cliffs, this is just one of several beaches along the Cape Cod National Seashore. It is considered one of America’s top 10 beaches, as well as Cape Cod’s most popular surfing destination.
Rehoboth beach - Delaware, US: Known as the nation’s summer capital, this mile-long boardwalk attracts tourists from four surrounding states. This is also a popular destination for gay and lesbian travelers because of gay-friendly Poodle beach and its several gay-owned businesses.
Rialto beach - Washington, US: This Olympic Peninsula beach features spectacular Pacific coast views and a surf-carved cobblestone tunnel known as the Hole-in-the-Wall.
Atlantic City - New Jersey, US: Atlantic City continues to be a popular tourist destination for its sandy beaches, the world’s first boardwalk, the world’s first ocean side amusement pier, and its legalized gambling.
Virginia beach - Virginia, US: This beach is home to the world’s longest pleasure beach, as well as several restaurants, resorts, and a three-mile long boardwalk with a bike path.
Santa Cruz - California, US: One of California’s most popular surfing destinations, Santa Cruz features not only several beautiful beaches, but also a surf museum and a beach boardwalk with one of America’s oldest wooden roller coasters.
Sandbanks Provincial Park - Ontario, Canada: The three Lake Ontario beaches of Sandbanks Provincial Park are considered among Ontario’s largest and most beautiful. These beaches also form two of the world’s largest freshwater baymouth sandbars and are home to a variety of plant and animal species.
Qualicum beach - British Columbia, Canada: Home of the famous ocean mile swim, this Vancouver Island beach is one of British Columbia’s most famous. Qualicum beach offers shallow, warm waters, and a promenade lined with picnic tables.
Sauble beach - Ontario, Canada: Visitors will feel transported to a 1950s California beach movie at this Lake Huron beach, which has remained relatively unchanged in 50 years. The warm, shallow ocean-like waters and spectacular sunsets of the world’s second-longest freshwater beach have made this a popular family destination.
Basin Head beach - Prince Edward Island, Canada: This beach on Prince Edward Island’s eastern tip is considered one of the province’s most beautiful, and is best known for its white sand, which squeaks when walked upon.
Grand Beach Provincial Park - Manitoba, Canada: Playboy magazine once voted this Lake Winnipeg beach among the top 10 in the world for its high grass-topped white sand dunes. Visitors may choose between the main West beach or the quieter East beach.
Bermuda: Bermuda’s beaches are best known for their beautiful pink sand, and most of them are found along the 1.5-mile long coast of South Shore Park. Church bay and Tobacco bay are the most popular snorkeling spots. Swimmers should watch out for Portuguese man-of-wars, and public beaches are closed at night.