Mentally, we're already on the beach. Now that spring has come and gone, our minds have checked out of our respective urban landscapes, and have begun drifting onto bigger, better, warmer, and sandier things. That's right, it's summer and the ocean wants to be around your body, barbecued goodies want to be in your mouth, and beaches want to be your landscape. Can you hear them calling your name?
The best part is you don't really have to travel very far to answer this coastal call. There are great beaches right here, in the good old US of A. Below, you'll find a brilliant royalty-free photo sampling of some of our favorites from coast to coast. Hopefully they'll inspire a vacation in your future to achieve supreme chill status.
Each image is available for downloading. Enjoy.
1. FORT LAUDERDALE, FL
According to Fort Lauderdale's government website, there were approximately 5 million attendees at this beach in the last year, so it's fair to say that it's quite the destination. If you're looking for an excuse to get out there, maybe time your getaway with one of their big beach events. A Surf and Turf (1/2 mile run, 1/2 mile swim) event held annually, perhaps? Or maybe a boat race? More opportunities can be found here.
2. MALIBU, CA
Did you know that Martin Sheen was named honorary mayor of Malibu in 1989? The famous district is home to a variety of beaches including: Zuma, Topanga, Surfrider, County Line, Point Dume, and others.
3. CAPE COD, MA
Cape Cod is home to some of the most pristine and quintessential New England summer homes. On the Cape, you'll have access to a variety of beaches, plus all the cutest little town shops your heart could ever desire. Say hello to homemade fudge, ice cream, trinkets, and more. With over 25 beaches to choose from on Cape Cod, you may need to make a whole summer of it.
4. KEY WEST, FL
If you're trying to get some snorkeling action into your vacation but don't want to travel too far, Key West may be a perfect destination for you. The beaches that exist in Key West, in particular, are far more ideal for underwater exploration because of the large amount of coral. (It's home to the third largest coral reef in the world.)
5. MIAMI BEACH, FL
Besides the celebrity scene, art deco, and all of the bikini-clad women on rollerblades you're likely to find here, you'll also come across some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Interestingly enough, the entire island that is Miami Beach was man made. The area used to be a coconut grove plantation until it was transformed into the island beach destination that it is today.
6. SANTA MONICA, CA
Come for the shopping, stay for the beaches. Located along California's famous Pacific Coast Highway, the 3.5 mile long beach offer visitors any number of activities, including surfing, volleyball, swimming, and stand up paddle board. Visit the Santa Monica Pier (which is over 100 years old) and venture towards the International Chess Park, just south of the Pier's volleyball courts. If you happen to get the urge of run across the beach in slow motion, it may be because this beach served as the location for the now-classic TV series, Baywatch.
7. OUTER BANKS (OBX), NC
The North Carolina Outerbanks are ripe with history and sights along with its amazing beaches and weather. You'll find the state's shortest lighthouse there, which also happens to be the second oldest (still functioning) lighthouse in the US. You're also most likely to find and catch Atlantic Blue Marlin off this coast. If fishing isn't your thing, perhaps you'll spot one of the more than 400 different species of bird that dwell there.
8. SOUTH PADRE ISLANDS, TX
South Padre Islands are located in Texas and are appealing not only for their beautiful beaches, but for their ideal summer temperatures. You'll discover - along the 34 miles of beaches - that South Padre has something to offer the entire family in terms of entertainment or fun. If you're exploring solo, maybe try for a water activity like parasailing or jet skiing.
9. NAPLES, FL
Naples was voted Best Beach in the United States by the Travel Channel back in 2005, but it's hardly resting on that accolade. Don't miss its pristine and clean white sand, ten miles of beach, and all kinds of sights to see in or around the beach itself. The stunning photo above shows Naples' Fishing Pier, one of its most famous landmarks.
10. LAKE MICHIGAN
The sands on Michigan beaches are often referred to as "singing sands" which is a term that comes from the squeaking noise that the sand makes when walked on. This is due to the high content of quartz. The water can be anywhere from 55 to 80 degrees, even in the hotter months, and visitors will notice high sand dunes all over the "third coast" area. (Referred to as such, after the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.)
11. HONOLULU, HI
If you're visiting Honolulu, you're likely there for the beaches. Waikiki Beach might be a good place to start. In the 1800s, it was known as a retreat for Hawaiian royalty, where they would escape to enjoy surf activities. (The name Waikiki is defined as "spouting fresh water" in Hawaiian.) This gorgeous image has us saying, "Aloha" for sure.
To see the full royalty-free collection of beaches in the USA, check out our curated lightbox, below.
Header image of Provincetown, MA is from Bigstock contributor Rolf_52.