So summer’s here and in full-swing. Obviously it’s time to set yourself free and get beached. Salty skin, sand in your shoes, sun in your eyes, you know how it is. But we know what you’re thinking. Miami? LA? So cliché. Been there, done that high-energy-neon-light-city-never-sleeps thing. It’s high-time to get low-key. Here are some of the best little beach towns in the US. So pick one (or two, or three) and get packing!
1. Boca Grande, FL
If you’re craving a warm, sweet slice of Old Florida, this is the place to be. The Gulf Coast gem is complete with tree-lined streets with no traffic lights, wide quiet beaches, and a beautiful lighthouse looking over it all. The little Innlet, the summer sister property of the resort-style Gasparilla Inn (closed during the summer months) offers a relaxed waterside charm. And if you’re looking for some funky Floridian food, check out Temptation for local grouper, pompano, and soft-shell crabs.
2. Ogunquit, ME
The name translates to “beautiful place by the sea,” and that’s just what it is. Ogunquit is known to be the prettiest beach on the coast of Maine, boasting breathtaking views of the ocean and harbor area, as well as a coastal trail, called Marginal Way, for waterside hikes. For your fix of New England seafood, stop by Arrows for a dish designed by James Beard award-winning chefs Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier. (They’re also currently competing on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters. Better check it out!) How does crispy golden bass with braised artichokes sound?
3. Chatham, MA
Perched on the elbow of Cape Cod’s arm and tucked away off-the-beaten-bath, Chatham is one of the few commercial fishing towns left in the area. Downtown boutiques offer an assortment of eclectic shopping opportunities, while the coast keeps an old ocean-side charm. For your required fix of Cape Cod cuisine, head on over to the Chatham Pier Fish Market for the best lobster roll you’ve ever had.
4. Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA
We all love Fridays, and any place sharing a name with our favorite day of the week is going to be beautiful. The county seat of the San Juan Islands in Washington offers tall pines, cool, clear waters, and whale-watching. The downtown area is filled with tons of art galleries, and the waters are perfect for kayaks or canoes. For fresh local seafood, check out The Place Next to the San Juan Ferry Café (or just The Place) for short, and grab some roasted oysters.
5. Pacific Grove, CA
Nestled between the mainstream Monterey and Carmel, Pacific Grove is known for the butterflies and deer. Though there is no actually swimming beach, the rocky coastline offers watersports in the way of tide-pooling, kayaking, and riding the waves (serious surfers only). For a classy coastal stay, check in to the Seven Gables, a Victorian inn that offers daily wine and cheese tastings on the water. Enjoy sustainable seafood and organic vegetables at the very green restaurant Passionfish – scallops with caper-raisin-walnut relish anyone?