Editor's Note: Those who choose to travel are strongly encouraged to check local government restrictions, rules, and safety measures related to COVID-19 and take personal comfort levels and health conditions into consideration before departure.
Beach vacations are wonderful. You get to lay out on the sand, soak in some sunshine, and maybe read a book or take a nice, long swim in the ocean. For many people, spending a day at the beach is a favorite summer pastime.
If you're hoping to hit the beach and avoid the crowds this summer, you're in luck. There are some stretches of sand in the U.S. that are mostly untouched by humans and available for anyone to access. These secluded and sandy gems offer all the relaxation and fun that you can get on any other public beach without the crowds, so you can enjoy a calm day by the water.
Along the U.S. coastline, and even in the Great Lakes, you're sure to find a secluded beach somewhere that's just aching to be discovered. From the Outer Banks of North Carolina, to just beyond the redwood trees of California, and past the busy shorelines of Long Island, secluded beaches aren't so hard to find after all.
Before you pack your beach bag and set off on an adventure, be sure to check national, state, and local COVID-19 travel guidelines and make sure that your destination will be open when you arrive.
Second Beach, Washington
This secluded part of Washington may be "second," but we consider it number one because hikers can find an excellent place to camp along the coastline where they can see gorgeously green trees and calm waters. Getting there is a relatively short hike, but watch out for fallen trees and driftwood.
Dry Tortugas, Florida
Dry Tortugas National Park is actually one of the country's least-visited national parks. This beach is only accessible by boat or plane, but the difficult commute is worth the trouble. Gorgeously pristine, blue waters and white sands await you once you arrive at the island park, which is 70 miles off the shore of Key West, where the historic Fort Jefferson still stands.
Assateague Island, Maryland
Assateague Island is a secluded nature sanctuary, so it's home to many wild horses that are free to roam the land. Going to Wild Beach is a bit of a trek (you can only go by foot or by boat), but it's worth it if you love a quiet sunbathe. You might even catch a glimpse of a wild horse, too.
Pa’ako Cove, Hawaii
Pa'ako is also known as the "Secret Cove" on Maui. In order to get to it, you have to pass through a lava-rock wall located in a residential area, which can be a bit tricky. Once you do get there, it's well worth the effort. This area is also very popular for weddings, and it's pretty easy to see why.
South Manitou Island, Michigan
Lake Michigan is so expansive, you can't even see to the other side. So, standing on the coastline feels a lot like being on the ocean shore. On South Manitou Island, which is only accessible by ferry, you can get a sandy beach experience, plus lots of lighthouse photos, without other tourists getting in the way.
Carova Beach, North Carolina
You won't find many paved roads on this part of the Outer Banks, which makes this beach feel like you're truly on the edge of the world. However, you will have to drive on some sand dunes before you can relax and sunbathe all day, so be sure to bring your four wheel drive.
Orient Beach State Park, New York
Take a break from the crowds on those other Long Island and city beaches, and head to North Fork in Suffolk County instead. You can bike, kayak, or just have a family cookout without tons of intruders. The beach is pretty small, but it won't feel small when you think about being in close quarters with other people on Jones Beach.
Enderts Beach, California
The staggering trees of Redwood National Park tend to overwhelm this part of California, but if you're able to take the hike in order to get to the coastline, you'll find tons of sand and wildflower-covered bluffs. Lay out in the sand or swim in a tide pool to cool yourself off.
Roque Bluffs, Maine
Away from the busy, lobster-catching harbors to the south, you'll find one of the most secluded beaches in the U.S. But just because it's secluded doesn't mean it's not outfitted for visitors. The pebble beach along Englishman Bay has picnic tables, children's play areas, and plenty of grills for cookouts, too.
Cumberland Island, Georgia
Grab a ferry and enjoy 18 miles of pure, isolated bliss. You can sit on the sand dunes watching wild horses roaming or explore old Spanish mission ruins and 19th-century homes. Or, just relax by the surf. It's paradise for a beach goer who just wants to connect with nature.
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