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USA - The 25 Best Beach Towns in America

On a warm spring or summer day, if the liquid feeling of sunlight doesn’t instantly lift your mood in one of these charming beach towns, the historical character, quality shopping and grub—and many other pleasing attributes—certainly will.

Just in time for vaccine summer, which is going to be marked by both “Toe Dip Trips” and revenge travel galore, it’s officially time to start planning your next vacation to any one of these charming beach towns in America.

1. KEY WEST, FL

Key West is Florida’s southernmost point, and it’s surrounded by crystal blue waters. This means stunning, Caribbean-like beaches (see: Smathers Beach and Higgs Beach) juxtaposed against cute, brightly painted beach cottages with ornate latticework and plenty of cultural charm, too. In a town that appeals to all types of visitors—and has a strong LGBTQIA+ scene to boot—you might find yourself heading over to the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum for a slice of literary history, seeing a drag show, or taking a kayak tour of a mangrove all in one day.

If you’re looking for true relaxation in your accommodations, the Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort is a paradise all on its very own. It offers a full-service spa, as well as three on-site restaurants and is located directly on the beach. The hotel also has a world-renowned sand sculptor on staff who creates custom sculpture murals.

2. NEWPORT, RI

Newport is known for its Gilded Age mansions, and even if you can’t afford one of them yourself, it’s totally free to spend a day gawking at them during a drive down Bellevue Avenue or, better yet, by peering at them from a leisurely walk around the famed Cliff Walk, a public access walk which tightly hugs the shoreline.

Apart from hitting the beach at Easton’s, Bailey’s, or King’s Park, taking a sailboat out for the day—or even better, for a sunset cruise—is a popular summertime activity away from the sand. The same is true for shopping Thames St., which is host to clothing, decor, fine food and other specialty shops. Giving “estate sale” a proper meaning, the local emporium of antiques, Aardvark Antiques, is another not-to-be-missed draw for fine, vintage finds in this seaside town.

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