11 Best Beach Destinations in North America for 2021
Has the winter blues got you down? Looking for the best beaches in North America to run away to? I have been traveling for over 12 years now, and as much as I love snowboarding and spending a good week hitting the slopes, I prefer to spend most of my time avoiding winter and soaking up the sun year-round.
I have put together a list of my favorite beaches in North America. They are all short flights from within the USA, and an easy escape for a long weekend or an extended getaway.
So if you don’t have time to hop on a long flight and head over to Asia, why not enjoy some of the best beaches that North America has to offer?
1. Sayulita, Mexico
Just an hour drive from the popular airport of Puerta Vallarta sits the quiet little town of Sayulita. It is a small, but a vibing town popular with both the locals, tourists and a hopping spot for ex-pats. It is covered with colorful god’s eyes draping the town’s streets making for the perfect Instagram moment.
It is full of delicious street tacos with fresh-made tortillas, mouthwatering ceviche and of course refreshing margaritas or micheladas to wash them down with. The beach is pretty calm, although you will see longboarders out surfing and it does tend to get swell from time to time.
If you are looking for more advanced waves, there are great surf breaks nearby. It is the perfect spot to come enjoy good food, great drinks and soak up the warm sun. You can even get a relaxing massage on the beach to fully unwind.
There are plenty of things to do in Sayulita, so you will never be bored.
2. Caye Caulker, Belize
Welcome to the hippie island of Belize. Come enjoy the reggae beats and calm relaxing vibes. You won’t find any big resort hotels her or any roads for that matter which makes it a great place to escape pollution, noise and just unwind.
Getting around town is easy because it is very small. Everyone just rides bikes or golf carts. If you are looking for a good escape from city life, this is the place to do it. It is also a great spot if you want to swim with nurse sharks. Life moves at a different pace here and so will you. It’s the perfect spot to slow down and just relax.
3. Poipu, Kauai
Kauai is probably my favorite island in Hawaii, although it is hard to pick a favorite when they are all so spectacular. Kauai is a little less traveled to and has more of a laid-back atmosphere compared to its neighboring island of Oahu.
It is a great spot with plenty to do or not do. If you are into adventure and surf, you will find it here. Or if you would rather just sit back, relax and enjoy the resort life, you can also enjoy doing nothing at all.
The great thing about Hawaii is you don’t need a passport to visit, but you still feel like you are miles away from your life back in the States. Escape the bone-cold winter and go work on your tan by either sitting on the beach or surfing some amazing breaks.
4. Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Tamarindo, Costa Rica it has it all. I fell in love with this small beach town so much that I turned my 6-month vacation into a 6 year living abroad experience. It is such a great town and everyone there is so lovely. A great place to take the family since there are tons of fun activities to do, including surfing.
The perfect place to learn how to surf due to its warm waters, soft beach breaks, and beginner waves. However, don’t fear if you are a more advanced surfer, there is plenty of that as well. It is a great place for surfers of all levels.
The town is full of great restaurants, good nightlife as well and amazing sunset bars. You will never have a dull moment in Tamarindo. If you are looking for more to do here check out my post on the Top 10 Things To Do In Tamarindo.
5. Tulum, Mexico
Mexico’s new hot spot is home to amazing beaches, diving, caves and up and coming restaurants. Tulum has all the buzz and anyone who is looking to head to Mexico for a warm beach vacation has more than likely heard of Tulum. It has become Instagram famous and is buzzing all over the web.
Tulum is full of big 5-star resorts and is a great place to visit if you are wanting to escape reality, relax or explore all the fun things it has to offer. Its white-sand beaches and crystal clear waters are also very enticing.
You are sure to fall in love with Tulum, especially with all the amazing Tulum beach clubs.
6. Grace Bay, Turks And Caicos
Hands down, this is one of the prettiest beaches I have ever seen. Grace beach sand is white as snow, it has crystal clear blue water that matches the sky and some amazing seashells to admire. It is a great beach to lie out on and do nothing but read a book.
This is not an adventurous spot, so if lying on the beach is not your thing then this isn’t the spot for you. However, if you can just relax and enjoy its pure beauty, it is the perfect spot.
Turks and Caicos is a great spot to go, but it is also not the cheapest. If you are worried about the budget you might want to skip this spot. However, if you have the money to spend and just want to read and relax, it is perfect.
7. Bocas Del Toro, Panamá
Bocas del Toro is a unique spot. The whole town and resorts are built above water and the only way to get around is by boat taxi. There are no beaches on the main island where the resorts are, but it is easy to hop in a water taxi and have them take you to your own private beach for the day for next to nothing.
The main island is full of restaurants and bars to check out, including my favorite Aqua Bar. It is a fun and interesting bar, it has swings, slides, and even trampolines jumping into the water.
As the night goes on more and more people tend to jump into the water. Be sure to check out their ladies’ night if you are in town, it will be a night you will never forget.
8. Kihei, Maui
Maui is my second favorite island in Hawaii only due to the fact that you cannot find good surf on the island. However, its beauty makes up for the fact that there is no surf. The snorkeling is out of this world and it is very likely that you will see sea turtles when you are out in the water.
Hawaii is home to some of the best sunsets I have seen and there is something about the vibe there where you are just able to forget everything and just relax. Maui is magical and you will never want to leave.
9. Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
My second favorite spot in Costa Rica has to be Santa Teresa. It is a cool hippie beach town that is full of ex-pats. Great for surf and adventurous activities, it is impossible not to fall in love with Costa Rica and soak up all that Pura Vida lifestyle.
It is not as walkable as Tamarindo, but it is still easy to get around on a bike. It also has a ton of good restaurants to enjoy some sundowners with your good friends.
10. Key West, Florida
If you are not wanting to take a long flight or leave the USA, but still want to head to the warmest place possible, you will want to head to Key West. Although it is still in the USA, you will feel like you left the States. It was where Hemingway liked to call home. You are even able to visit his old house and see the seven toed cats that now roam this beach town.
Key West is a great spot to enjoy the laid back lifestyle while still having plenty of bars to explore while you are there. It is known for its great nightlife, but also has plenty of partying going on during the day. There is never a dull moment in Key West.
While you are in Key West, you will most definitely want to also check out Marco Island, just a quick boat ferry away. There are plenty of things to do in Marco Island, that you will never get bored. It is a place like no other in Florida.
11. Varadero, Cuba
Havanna is normally the first place that comes to mind when people think of Cuba, but it has so much more to offer. It is a beautiful country, filled with amazing beaches, waterfalls and so much nature to explore. Varadero was the prettiest beach I came across during my vacation there, and it is home to most of the larger resorts.
It is a beautiful beach with calm, turquoise water. Cuba is a great place to hang out on the beach and enjoy a coconut with some added rum. It is also a quick trip from most places in the USA. Although you won’t find coca-cola in Cuba, there are plenty of other good things to drink while you are there. If you want to read more about what to drink while you are in Cuba, check out my blog post on What to drink in Cuba.
Are you ready to book your next beach vacation? I always start with checking prices on Kiwi before booking flights to ensure I get the cheapest prices on flights.