Are you dreaming of a beach vacation in the sunny Southwest? Look no further! The Southwest is home to some of the most breathtaking beaches in the country. Whether you're looking for a relaxing getaway or an adventurous beach experience, we've got you covered. From the most popular beaches to the hidden gems, here are the best beaches in the Southwest.

Most Popular Beaches in the Southwest

When it comes to popularity, these sandy shores are hard to beat. Here are some of the most beloved beaches in the Southwest:

  1. Santa Monica State Beach: With its iconic pier and vibrant atmosphere, Santa Monica State Beach is a must-visit for beach lovers.
  2. Coronado Beach: Located in San Diego, this beach is famous for its gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean and the historic Hotel del Coronado.
  3. Huntington Beach: Known as "Surf City, U.S.A," Huntington Beach is a haven for surfers and beach volleyball enthusiasts.
  4. Laguna Beach: This picturesque beach town offers stunning cliffs, scenic coves, and crystal-clear waters.
  5. Waikiki Beach: Although not technically in the Southwest, Waikiki Beach in Hawaii is a popular destination for those seeking sun, sand, and surf.

Exploring the Southwest's beaches offers a diverse range of experiences for beachgoers. Santa Monica State Beach, for example, not only provides a classic beach day experience but also features the historic Santa Monica Pier, complete with an amusement park, aquarium, and numerous dining options. The beach's proximity to downtown Los Angeles makes it a convenient choice for both locals and tourists looking to soak up the sun.

Coronado Beach in San Diego stands out not only for its natural beauty but also for its rich history. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the wide expanse of sandy shore, admiring the iconic red-roofed Hotel del Coronado, a National Historic Landmark that has hosted celebrities and dignitaries since the 1880s. The beach's gentle waves and postcard-worthy sunsets make it a favorite spot for romantic walks and family outings alike.

Beaches With the Clearest Water in the Southwest

If you prefer swimming in pristine turquoise waters, these beaches should be at the top of your list:

  • Clearwater Beach: Located in Florida, Clearwater Beach lives up to its name with its crystal-clear waters and sugary white sand.
  • Gulf Islands National Seashore: Stretching across Florida and Mississippi, this national seashore boasts some of the clearest waters in the region.
  • South Padre Island: Situated on the southern tip of Texas, South Padre Island offers clear waters perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking.
  • Playa del Carmen: While not technically in the United States, this popular Mexican beach destination is known for its translucent Caribbean Sea.
  • Bahia Honda State Park: Located in the Florida Keys, this hidden gem features crystal-clear waters ideal for snorkeling and swimming.

Clearwater Beach in Florida is not only famous for its clear waters but also for its lively atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy a variety of water sports such as parasailing, jet skiing, and paddleboarding. The beach is lined with vibrant restaurants and shops, making it a perfect destination for a fun-filled day in the sun.

Gulf Islands National Seashore is a haven for nature lovers. In addition to its pristine waters, the seashore is home to diverse ecosystems including marshes, forests, and barrier islands. Visitors can explore hiking trails, go birdwatching, or even spot dolphins playing in the clear blue waters.

Best Family Beaches in the Southwest

If you're planning a beach vacation with the whole family, these beaches have something for everyone:

  • Coronado Central Beach: With its gentle waves and wide sandy shores, Coronado Central Beach is perfect for sandcastle building and family picnics.
  • La Jolla Shores: This family-friendly beach offers calm waters, playgrounds, and nearby attractions like the Birch Aquarium.
  • South Padre Island Beach: Besides its clear waters, South Padre Island Beach offers family-friendly activities such as dolphin watching and sandcastle lessons.
  • Lovers Key State Park: Located near Fort Myers, this secluded stretch of beach is renowned for its calm waters and abundant wildlife.
  • Destin Beach: With soft sand and shallow waters, Destin Beach in Florida is a hit with families looking for a fun beach getaway.

Expanding on these fantastic family beach destinations, let's delve deeper into the unique features that make them stand out. Coronado Central Beach, located in San Diego, not only offers a picturesque backdrop of the iconic Hotel del Coronado but also provides ideal conditions for water sports such as surfing and paddleboarding. Families can enjoy a leisurely bike ride along the scenic boardwalk or indulge in delicious treats from the nearby cafes and ice cream shops.Moving on to La Jolla Shores, this beach is not just a sunbather's paradise but also a haven for marine enthusiasts. Snorkeling and kayaking in the gentle waters allow families to explore the vibrant underwater world teeming with colorful fish and playful sea lions. The presence of lifeguards ensures a safe environment for children to splash around in the shallows while parents relax on the soft sands, soaking up the California sunshine.

Prettiest Beaches in the Southwest

If you're in search of picture-perfect beaches, these stunning coastal spots won't disappoint:

  1. Monterey State Beach: Nestled along California's scenic coast, Monterey State Beach offers breathtaking views of rugged cliffs and azure waters.
  2. Wailea Beach: Located on the island of Maui, Wailea Beach is renowned for its golden sand, clear waters, and spectacular sunsets.
  3. Antelope Island State Park: Situated in Utah's Great Salt Lake, this unique beach spot showcases stunning landscapes and an otherworldly atmosphere.
  4. Zuma Beach: With its wide sandy shoreline and stunning ocean views, Zuma Beach in Malibu is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
  5. Grayton Beach State Park: This scenic beach in Florida's Panhandle boasts pristine white sand, emerald waters, and abundant wildlife.

Looking for more beach destinations in the Southwest to add to your travel bucket list? Consider exploring the hidden gem of La Jolla Cove in San Diego, California. This picturesque beach is famous for its crystal-clear waters, tide pools teeming with marine life, and the chance to spot playful seals and sea lions basking in the sun. The rugged cliffs surrounding the cove provide a stunning backdrop for a day of sunbathing and snorkeling.For a taste of paradise closer to home, venture to the enchanting Coronado Beach in San Diego. This iconic stretch of golden sand is perfect for leisurely strolls, beach volleyball matches, and watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean. With the historic Hotel del Coronado as a backdrop, Coronado Beach exudes old-world charm and timeless elegance, making it a must-visit destination for beach lovers of all ages.

When to Visit Beaches in the Southwest

Timing is everything when it comes to beach vacations. Here's a breakdown of the best times to visit the beaches in the Southwest:

  • Spring: Spring brings pleasant temperatures and fewer crowds, making it an ideal time to enjoy the beaches without the summer rush.
  • Summer: The Southwest's beaches come alive during the summer months, with endless opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.
  • Fall: Autumn offers milder temperatures and a peaceful atmosphere, making it a great time to visit for those seeking relaxation.
  • Winter: While not the traditional beach season, winter can still be a wonderful time to visit the Southwest's beaches, especially for enjoying stunning sunsets and beachside walks.

Exploring the Southwest's beaches during spring can also mean catching sight of various wildlife species that thrive in the region. From migrating birds to playful dolphins, the coastal areas become a hub of activity during this time, offering nature enthusiasts a chance to witness the beauty of these creatures in their natural habitat.

Summer in the Southwest not only brings warm weather perfect for beach activities but also presents opportunities for unique cultural experiences. Many beach towns host festivals and events during the summer months, showcasing local music, art, and cuisine. Visitors can immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere and get a taste of the region's rich heritage while enjoying the sun and sand.

Least Crowded Beaches in the Southwest

If you prefer a tranquil and uncrowded beach experience, these hidden gems are perfect for you:

  • Olympic Beach: Located in Washington state, Olympic Beach offers solitude, breathtaking nature, and stunning views of the Olympic Mountains.
  • Black's Beach: Situated in San Diego, Black's Beach is known for its secluded atmosphere and rugged beauty.
  • Dry Tortugas National Park: Accessible only by boat or seaplane, this remote park in Florida boasts unspoiled beaches and excellent snorkeling opportunities.
  • Moonlight Beach: Found in Encinitas, California, Moonlight Beach offers a peaceful escape from the bustling city with its relaxed vibes and gorgeous sunsets.
  • Pipestem Lake: Tucked away in North Dakota, Pipestem Lake is a hidden gem for nature lovers seeking a quiet and serene beach experience.


Whether you're craving a popular beach experience or seeking a hidden paradise, the Southwest has it all. From the bustling shores of Santa Monica to the serene beauty of Olympic Beach, there's a beach for every type of traveler. So pack your sunscreen, grab your swimsuit, and start planning your unforgettable beach adventure in the Southwest. And remember, when it comes to booking your next beach escape, don't forget to check out Getmyboat for all your water-related activities and rentals. Happy beach hopping!

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