Best beach vacations in the U.S and abroad

Best beach vacations in the U.S and abroad

We take beach vacations for all sorts of reasons. For some, the beach is the ideal destination to walk hand-in-hand with your special someone, far from familiar faces and routines. For others, the beach is the perfect playground for a large family gathering, with everyone from great-grandma all the way down to the newest baby in the pack. And if you’re young—or young at heart—what better venue than the beach a vacation your gang will never forget? Whether you want to stay close to home or venture overseas, we have a perfect spot for your next beach vacation.

Top romantic beach vacations

Whether you’re taking your first trip as a couple or notching another anniversary in your belt, the beach is a natural backdrop for the story of your romance. Start your day with a cup of coffee on the beachfront porch of your rental cottage, or spend it lying in a hammock strung up in the garden of your ocean villa. As the sun sets and stars start to twinkle above the waves, open a bottle of wine and settle into your condo’s private hot tub. Check out our suggestions for a romantic beachfront vacation here and abroad.

Home: A romantic vacation in Oregon

Splendid in its rugged isolation, the dramatic coastline of Oregon offers what the more famed beaches of California and Florida sometimes don’t—mood and privacy. A haven for nature enthusiasts, this gorgeous northwestern state offers endless options for outdoor activities, whether you’re into hiking, kayaking, boating, or mountain climbing. Marvel at the golden sands of the Oregon Dunes or enjoy the adorable antics of the residents of Sea Lion Caves. Take your engagement picture in front of the 235-foot Haystack Rock jutting off Cannon Beach, or simply pick a lushly forested coastal drive to explore before heading home to your beachfront cottage.

Living room with huge windows overlooking the beach and Haystack Rock.

Away: Let romance bloom in Virgin Gorda

The notion of being alone together on an island is romantic in itself; the hard part might be to pick one. Virgin Gorda, part of the British Virgin Islands chain, is a lovely option. You can wander hand-in-hand through the Baths, a labyrinth of boulders on the beach, filled with pools and dramatic grottos. Swim at one of the many white-sand beaches, hike up to the summit of Gorda Peak National park for sweeping views, or tour the old Spanish ruins at Little Fort National Park. From mansions perched on cliffs to fully serviced villa rentals, you’ll find a variety of accommodations that offer private pools and beach access.

Best family beach vacations

When you’re planning for travel with a large group, it can be challenging to find a spot that offers something for everybody—from toddlers to great-grandparents and everyone in between. You want enough options (and space) for everyone to spread out, but enough opportunities for the kind of togetherness that make family vacations so memorable. We’ve rounded up the perfect domestic and international beach vacation destinations for you, so read on to learn about exciting possibilities for your next oceanfront rental.

Home: The Grand Strand

With 60 miles of beaches and charming seaside towns, the Grand Strand of South Carolina offers a multitude of options with easy access to airports and highways. You can choose from bustling destinations like Myrtle Beach where you can walk the promenade and see street performers at night, and small towns like the nearly 300-year-old Georgetown. You’ll find a range of cuisine here to satiate the pickiest eater, or maybe you’ll catch your own dinner while on a fishing charter. With tours, golf courses, shopping centers, wildlife refuges, and just about every water sport imaginable, there’s entertainment for all ages here. Accommodation options are just as broad, from large condos in amenity-rich buildings to villas in gated communities and beachfront mansions.

Away: The Greek isles

It’s a once-in-a-lifetime kind of trip, so why not enjoy the Greek islands with all your loved ones? From tweens to millennials to your great-uncles and -aunts, there’s a Greek island where you can find the perfect vacation home. Crete and Corfu are particularly kid-friendly. In Crete, kids can check out the Minoan Palace of Knossos, explore farms, and swim at the beach, while in Corfu, the whole family can enjoy strolling through the old town and watching open-air movies. Quirky attractions like a donkey farm and more mainstream ones like Aqualand Water Park are great options for when everyone needs a break from the beach.

Living room interior with a picture window overlooking the sea.

Great beach party destinations

Young—or just young at heart? If a lively beachfront getaway is what you’re after, you can set your eyes on one of these destinations. Famed for their vibrant nightlife and packed with attractions for the daylight hours, staying in one of these fun beach locations can make for the kind of luxurious vacation where you party hard by night and relax just as earnestly during the day.

Home: Walk on the wild side in Miami

When you pack for your beach vacation in Miami, remember to throw your fanciest clothes into your suitcase. You’ll need them when you visit South Beach—the place to see and be seen—whether you’re settled in a beach cabana or are strolling down Ocean Boulevard. By evening, the sidewalks are almost as entertaining as the clubs and restaurants they front, with music spilling out through the open doors. Condos here include luxe modern high-rises with amenities such as concierge service and access to yacht charters. Or you can opt to spread out in an iconic Art Deco low-rise building, and really feel like a local.

Away: Fun in the sand and beyond in Ibiza

The beauty of Spain’s Balearic Islands draws millions to their turquoise shores, but Ibiza stands head and shoulders above the rest for those who don’t like to go home until sunrise, too. With nightclubs that draw world-famous DJs, Ibiza might be the ideal spot for a fantastic vacation with your friends. But there’s plenty to explore here by the light of day as well—fascinating shipwrecks to snorkel above, verdant countryside, and whitewashed houses with terracotta roofs spilling down the narrow streets of small towns. Pick a condo or villa that has a balcony or terrace overlooking the sea, and you’ll have the party pad where everyone wants to kick off another legendary night.