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Top Ten Beaches in the USA

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No less famous than the majesty of purple mountains or the amber waves of grain are the beautiful beaches of America. With over 12,000 miles of coastline, that's quite a few stretches of sand and surf to choose from. Here to help you narrow it down are my Top Ten:

1. Hanalei Bay, Hawaii

Framed by lush green hills which drip with the smell of tropical flora and run right up to the brilliant blue water, Hanalei Bay is almost two miles long and the glassy waters make for easy sailing, swimming, and snorkeling.

2. Hilton Head, South Carolina

This gorgeous beach not only has crashing waves and that salty marine scent, but also a wide array of activities to keep you busy lest you become bored of sunning and swimming. Golf courses and tennis courts abound, and there are heaps of trails to explore for the intrepid beachgoer.

3. Cannon Beach, Oregon

While the waters of the Pacific Northwest are a bit too chilly for frolicking, the incredible scenery of this boulder-strewn coast makes it a top spot for beach lovers. Next to a quaint and charming seaside village, Cannon Beach is a peaceful weekend retreat for families, friends or lovers.

4. Bonzai Pipeline, Hawaii

On the famed surf mecca of the North Shore of Oahu, this epic slice of sea boasts awe-inspiring waves and the ogle-inspiring surfers who ride them. Churning, boiling waves up to thirty feet tall pound the shore at the same time vacationers pound the Pina Coladas.

5. Palm Beach, Florida

This exclusive beach is the crown jewel in a 47-mile stretch of beaches along the beautiful strip that has been called home by many a Kennedy and Rockefeller. As impressive as the oceanfront mansions are, the climate and easy breeze of the sea is even more so- and those don't cost a dime.

6. Coronado Beach, California

Just a hop away from San Diego, this tree-lined piece of heaven is a peaceful retreat, surrounded by bungalows and Victorian homes. A friendly population calls Coronado Beach home, and you will meet boogie boarders, sand sculptors, and tide-poolers who have all fallen for the beach's charms.

7. East Hampton, New York

All New Yorkers dream of a second home in the Hamptons, and it's easy to see why. Broad reaches of soft white sand and the sound of crashing waves are the backdrop for ridiculous mansions, and even though P Diddy and Martha Stewart are regulars, they have not tarnished the deep serenity of the breath-taking beach one bit.

8. Hermosa Beach, California

White sands and a very active pier scene await you at Hermosa Beach and its brothers, Manhattan and Redondo. Pack a picnic and escape LA's smog and traffic on the mile and a half-long sandy stretch, and enjoy a number of summer fun activities from beach volleyball to arcade games and paddleball. You can almost hear the Beach Boys in the background.

9. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Amusement parks, restaurants, and an infinite number of party options await you on the East Coast's largest ocean activities hub. Besides swimming in warm Atlantic waters you can book water rides or visit nearby museums, nature preserves, and shopping malls.

10. South Beach, Florida

Miami sizzles day and night and no place is hotter than on the American Riviera, South Beach. The sun and sand are almost secondary to the scene, with crazy street parties and Art Deco edifices, but ultimately the ocean wins, with thousands flocking to the water daily.


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