Located on the Jersey Shore, this beach’s proximity to attractions like the boardwalk and the beachfront amusement park make it a great addition to our list. There are more than 100 rides and three beachfront waterparks to satisfy your childish side. And at night, Wildwoods is home to a variety of clubs and bars such as Irish sports bar Cattle 'n Clover. Outdoor activities like fishing and volleyball are made easy with available rentals and courts right on the beach.
There's live music on the pier almost every night of the week, and a visit will make your beach vacation worthwhile. One of many beach areas in Los Angeles County, Redondo Beach boasts an impressive nightlife and restaurant repertoire. Though there aren’t any picnic areas beachside, a stroll on the pier is sure to give you a host of dining options. Check out Old Tony’s Bar, a contender on The Daily Meal’s list of Best Beach Bars.
Fire Island is like the Hamptons’ relaxed, more fun younger sister. For young people that want to get out of the city but aren’t trying to rub elbows with the rich and famous, Fire Island is the place to be. Ocean Beach is one of the public beaches on the island, and is walking distance from some of the island’s most fun spots such as Bocce Beach and Matthew’s Seafood. Though you can’t eat on the beach (part of the reason it's so clean!), the superior restaurant and bar scene is available to provide sustenance for your daylong festivities.
Don’t write off this largely unsung Florida spot. Venice, Fla., is much less popular than Fort Lauderdale or Miami, which means less tourists to cramp your holiday plans. A short walk from the main nightlife street of Tamiami Trail, Venice Municipal Beach also has free parking, public volleyball courts, and a picnic area to add to your beach experience.
This beach is a popular spring break destination for college students in March, but that doesn’t mean it should be forgotten during the rest of the year. Edwin K. Atkin Park is a public beach that is close to a number of activities for all ages, from Schlitterbahn Waterpark to a host of bars and restaurants. Amenities like a beachfront picnic pavilion will suit all of your barbecue needs. Just 10 minutes from popular spots like the Wanna-Wanna Beach Bar & Grill, this beach is a great place for your summer celebrations.
Named one of America’s Best Little Beach Towns by Travel and Leisure in 2013, Rehoboth is a classic beach town that isn’t marred by tourists that you might find in other parts of America. Rehoboth Beach has a bandstand, which hosts more than 50 free live musical acts over the course of the summer. There is also pavilion seating nearby to host larger gatherings. Veteran nightlife spots like the Rusty Rudder are low-key options that still promise a great time.
Recently named the Most Fun Small Town in America in Rand McNally’s annual Best of the Road contest, Delray Beach is an obvious addition to our list. The emerging nightlife on East Atlantic Avenue combined with the casual appeal of a beach town make this spot a haven for those looking to escape the usual party spots. There are 2 miles of public beach access that are easily accessible from East Atlantic Avenue, so you’re never too far from restaurants and bars. With a picnic area and covered pavilion, Atlantic Dunes Park is great for a more relaxed beach experience.
Madeline Island is yet another unlikely place for your summer holiday plans. As the island is only 3 miles wide, bars and restaurants in the area are never too far away. The famed Tom’s Burned Down Café, which was featured on The Daily Meal’s list of Best Beach Bars, promises a no-frills, casual, beach atmosphere without sacrificing a seriously good time. Picnic and camping sites that overlook the lake are plentiful on this beach, which was named one of America’s "Top Secret Beaches" by Budget Travel Magazine in 2011.
Oak Island, N.C., didn’t just become runner-up because of its stellar views and clean sand. With 65 public beach access points, it was a clear choice for the number two spot. Oak Island allows eating and drinking on the beach, and is home to eight different parks to suit everyone’s preference, whether you're looking for fishing, barbecuing, or recreational sports.
Like Oak Island, Topsail Beach also boasts a high number of public access points. Topsail Beach also allows eating and drinking oceanside, but gained the number one spot because of its proximity to classic beach bars like Gilligan’s, a neighborhood tavern by day and dance club by night. Serenity Point is surrounded by a park that allows for a more casual beach and barbecue experience that can still be followed up with an activity-packed evening.