15 Best Weekend Beach Getaways in the US

From the beautiful California coast to the sunny Florida Keys, these are the best weekend beach getaways in the U.S.

People watch the sunset on the beach Key West Florida
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We could all use a beach vacation every now and again, but taking a weeklong trip to a faraway coastal destination isn't always possible.

Enter: weekend beach getaways. When you're in need of some sand and surf, but short on time, a rejuvenating weekend trip is the perfect way to get your fix before heading back to work on Monday (or Tuesday, if you can squeeze in a three-day weekend). From the rocky shores of the Pacific Northwest to the boardwalks of the Jersey Shore and the relaxing beach resorts of the Florida Keys, there's a perfect beach getaway for every type of traveler.

We've rounded up 15 of the best weekend beach getaways from major cities around the U.S., so you can start planning your next escape.

Olympic National Park, Washington

Olympic National Park, Washington at Ruby Beach with piles of deadwood.
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Get out in nature and enjoy the stunning rocky beaches of Olympic National Park in Washington. A perfect weekend trip from Seattle or Portland, Olympic National Park is an ideal destination for those looking to explore the great outdoors during their beach weekend getaway. Ruby Beach is known for its incredible rock formations, piles of driftwood, and active tide pools. Kalaloch Beach and Rialto Beach (known for the Hole in the Wall tide pools) are other popular beaches in the park. There are several campsites, cabins, and lodges available for your stay so you never have to leave the area. If you do want a break from the beach, the park's nearby Hoh Rain Forest is a great place to hike — its lush, green foliage will be a stark contrast to the rocky shores just a few miles away.

The Hamptons, New York

A summery day out at a beach in the Hamptons.
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If you're a New Yorker looking for a beach weekend getaway, the Hamptons is a natural choice. East Hampton, Southampton, and Montauk are among the most popular destinations, and they're all worth visiting, thanks to their beautiful hotels, great shopping, delicious food, and of course, pristine beaches. Gurney's Montauk is a luxury hotel offering 158 rooms, suites, and beachfront cottages with ocean views and a private beach. The Baker House 1650 in East Hampton is a charming choice, as is Baron's Cove in Sag Harbor.

Monterey County, California

People are walking on the beach of Carmel and enjoying the panorama while unleashing a dog
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Covering some of the most picturesque spots on the California coast, Monterey County is perfect for a beach getaway from San Francisco. Opt to stay in a charming waterfront town like Carmel or Monterey to enjoy great local dining and sandy beaches. Try the L'Auberge Carmel, a historic Relais & Châteaux property just blocks from the beach. This area is heaven for golfers, too, with several stunning courses located on the water.

Laguna Beach, California

A gorgeous January day nearing sunset at the Main Beach Park, Laguna Beach, California.
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Although there are several great beaches in Los Angeles, sometimes you just want to get away. An hour's drive from downtown L.A., Laguna Beach feels like a vacation from the city without having to go too far. Relax on the beach, see marine creatures in the tide pools, or enjoy water sports like kayaking, paddleboarding, surfing, or skimboarding, which actually started in Laguna. Book a stay at the five-star Montage Laguna Beach or The Ranch at Laguna Beach for a luxurious weekend away.

Saugatuck, Michigan

Sunset on Lake Michigan at Saugatuck Michigan
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About a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Chicago and less than three hours from Detroit, Saugatuck, Michigan, is an ideal destination for a Midwestern beach getaway. On this slice of Lake Michigan shoreline, you can lounge on the beach and soak up the sun or go for a refreshing swim (no need to worry about sharks here).

This area is known as "the art coast of Michigan," so be sure to check out the local galleries or the Saugatuck Center for the Arts for a dose of culture during your beach vacation. Plus, with outdoor activities like kayaking, horseback riding, sailing, and hiking, there's really something for everyone here. Try The Hotel Saugatuck, a charming boutique property in the Historic District, for your stay.

Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland and Virginia

The Milky Way rises over the Assateague Island, VA beach very early on a summer evening. Dark skies on the National Seashore allow for great star gazing opportunities.
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Escape Baltimore for a weekend and enjoy the fresh air and natural beauty of Assateague Island National Seashore, located just a three-hour drive from the city. This 37 mile-long island is best known for the wild horses that roam its sandy shores, so get your camera ready for unique wildlife photography opportunities (while maintaining a safe distance from the animals, of course). Hiking, swimming, surfing, birding, and kayaking are among the many other activities visitors can enjoy in this park. Oceanfront campsites also make Assateague Island one of the most scenic places to camp in the U.S., so bring a tent and your camping supplies to fully immerse yourself in the great outdoors for a weekend.

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Scenic view of sea against sky during sunset in Ocracoke, North Carolina
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The string of barrier islands that make up the Outer Banks in North Carolina are perfect when you need a heavy dose of sand and surf in a peaceful, quaint setting. Duck, North Carolina, is located just under five hours from Washington, D.C. by car, making it a great destination for a long weekend away from the nation's capital.

The Outer Banks are also home to some of the best beaches in North Carolina — Nags Head, Cape Lookout National Seashore, and Ocracoke are just a handful of the destinations worth visiting in this scenic region. The area is a prime camp spot and this is one of the best ways to experience the beach, but there are also rental options as well as hotels like the Hilton Garden Inn Outer Banks.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Cape Cod Sea Scape
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Located an hour and a half to two hours from Boston by car (depending on where on the Cape you're going), Cape Cod is the quintessential Massachusetts beach weekend getaway. There are a number of quaint towns to choose from, including Hyannis, Provincetown, and Chatham. Of course, when it comes to lounging on the sand, you can't beat the Cape Cod National Seashore, which offers six swimming beaches. The Coast Guard Beach is a family-friendly option, while mile-long Nauset Light Beach offers great surfing. For luxury accommodations, head to the Chatham Bars Inn right on the beach.

Florida Keys, Florida

People watch the sunset on the beach Key West Florida
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The three-and-a-half-hour drive from Miami to Key West is one of the most scenic journeys any traveler could ever take. With stunning views of the islands and ocean, plus plenty of places to stop for a slice of Key lime pie, this is truly the ultimate beach road trip, and it can be done in a weekend if you live in or around Miami.

Once you arrive in Key West, home to some of the prettiest beaches in Florida, you can enjoy the shore, visit the southernmost point in the continental United States, or check out the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory. Get a room at The Gates Hotel Key West for a bright, airy escape with a rum bar. Finish the day with a seafood dinner and sunset cruise, and you've got a perfect weekend.

Tybee Island, Georgia

The fishing pier and Atlantic Ocean at Tybee Island in the purple light of the setting sun
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Tybee Island is the closest beach destination to Atlanta, so it's the perfect weekend escape when you want a break from the city traffic. There are plenty of beautiful Georgia beaches to choose from, but Tybee is great because it has something for everyone. North Beach is a popular spot to enjoy the sand and surf, but Back River Beach is the place to go if you want to avoid the crowds. Plus, downtown Savannah is just a short drive away from Tybee Island, so you'll have tons of great restaurants, museums, shops, and bars within reach, as well as historic lodging options like the Mansion on Forsyth Park.

Galveston, Texas

Galveston Island is a barrier island on the Texas Gulf Coast in the United States, about 50 miles southeast of Houston.
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Just an hour from Houston, this Gulf Coast destination is the place to go when you need a nearby beach vacation. Galveston has attractions the whole family will love, like Schlitterbahn Waterpark, Pleasure Pier, the Galveston Naval Museum, and more. There are several beaches to choose from, too, like the popular East Beach or the Galveston Island State Park. At the end of the day, you can enjoy the gulf-front views from your room at the Grand Galvez or take a ghost tour to learn about the area's history.

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Boardwalk view of Ocean and dunes in Hilton Head, South Carolina,
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There are dozens of great South Carolina beaches to visit for a weekend getaway, but one of the best destinations in the Palmetto State is Hilton Head Island. Hilton Head is consistently ranked among the best islands in the United States, and once you visit its white-sand beaches, you'll see why. Approximately two hours from Charleston and less than four hours from Charlotte, North Carolina, Hilton Head is perfect for families. You'll be able to see the beach itself from your window at the Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort, plus you'll have access to the links of one of the area's famous courses. With more than 33 championship golf courses, this is the ultimate place to go for a golf vacation.

Jersey Shore, New Jersey

The Late Afternoon Sun along the beach in Stone Harbor, NJ.
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From beautiful Cape May in the south to bustling Atlantic City and Ocean City, there are plenty of New Jersey beaches that are perfect for a weekend trip from New York City or Philadelphia. If you're looking for a quiet, family-friendly spot, consider Point Pleasant or Asbury Park, which have fun boardwalks and nice beaches. No matter where you go, it's sure to be a welcome reprieve from hectic city life. The James Bradley is a stylish, recent addition to the area and perfect for a weekend stay.

Amelia Island, Florida

Sunset Sky-Clouds as background, with beach sand and board walk on Amelia Island in Florida
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Located near the Georgia border just north of Jacksonville, Amelia Island is a picturesque barrier island on Florida's Atlantic Coast perfect for an affordable beach vacation. It's home to golf courses and a charming downtown area, and with 13 miles of coastline, there's plenty of space to spread out on the beach. The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island is the place to stay for oceanfront luxury accommodations.

Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Kiawah Island, South Carolina view through the pink seagrass and boardwalk to the ocean.
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A peaceful South Carolina sea island located under an hour from Charleston, Kiawah is the place to go for a blissful weekend away. World-class golf, soft beaches, friendly hospitality, and five-star stays at The Sanctuary, a beachfront luxury hotel, make this island a great place to unwind for the weekend.

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