5 beaches to visit this year
June and July might have flown by, but there’s still plenty of time to get to the beach for more fun in the sun. There are lots of options to choose from when it comes to beautiful beaches in the southeast. Why not pack up the car (or hop on a quick flight) and pick one of these shores for another opportunity to make some sand castles?
Orange Beach/Gulf Shores, Alabama
Many may not think of Alabama as a first choice for beach fun, but it is a quick, easy drive from Atlanta and the beaches are some of the most family friendly around. Go kayaking among dolphins in the Bon Secour Bay. Jump aboard a sailing excursion at sunset. Binge on delicious seafood instead of Netflix. (Try the oysters from Fisher’s in Orange Beach!)
Just over the Florida border on the Gulf of Mexico is Sandestin, Florida. The pristine white beaches and welcoming ambiance makes this a place where just about anyone can relax. For a plethora of shopping, food, and entertainment options, take a shuttle to the Baytowne Wharf. The area starts to quiet down in August which makes it more affordable for a quick late summer/early fall getaway. Want to skip the 5-6 hour drive? Check out Southern Airways which offers affordable, direct private-like flights out of Atlanta’s Peachtree-Dekalb airport.
Where to stay: The posh seaside area, Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort and Spa, is outstanding for both families and couples. It is a mammoth beach-front resort in South Walton County where sunsets are worthy of a nightly celebration.
Palm Beach, FL
The 9 hour drive from Atlanta (or sub two hour flight) is worth it for the luxury that can be found in Palm Beach. With 47 miles of pristine Atlantic coastline, there are plenty of places to soak up the sunshine. Golf? Tennis? Spa treatments? There’s something for everyone in this upscale beach town that is a lot more family friendly and a lot less pretentious than most people think. Check out the Palm Beach Zoo, South Florida Science Center, and Lion Safari for some non-beach activities in the area.
Where to stay: There’s no shortage of luxe living in Palm Beach. Check out PGA National Resort & Spa for a country club-like atmosphere, tons of amenities, including outstanding golf and tennis facilities, at surprisingly affordable rates. Want to splurge? Head to The Breakers. This stately resort is known for its outstanding service, posh setting, and breathtaking accommodations.
St. Simons Island, GA
Georgia’s coast has a very different feel to it than the Florida options, especially around St. Simons Island, where the marshes and extreme tidal shifts add a new kind of adventure. The food is still to-die-for and it’s close enough for a weekend retreat! Climb the lighthouse for a grand view of the island. Be sure to make time for the Lighthouse trolley tour. (Try the ghost one at night…if you dare.)
Where to stay: Check out the King and Prince, a member of the Historic Hotels of America. It offers charm not found at other standard hotels. It is luxurious without pretense, and brimming with romance.
Charleston’s beaches are just part of the distinct character of this historic community. There is a slow pace here that lends itself to immediate stress reduction. Be sure to get a healthy dose of Lowcountry cooking, including the region’s famous dish: shrimp and grits. A trip to Charleston is never complete without a walk down Rainbow Row, though, so save some time for that, along with time simply spent relaxing on the shore.
Where to stay: Try Wild Dunes Resort at the Isle of Palms for a vacation as active as one wants it. Take tennis lessons from a pro. Jump on an eco-tour into the bay and get up close with blue crabs and egrets. Or maybe just meander along Boneyard Beach, where the trees washed up along the shore look like bones.