America’s coasts are truly epic. From the cold, rocky shores of the Pacific Northwest to Florida’s everglades, there is no end to the wonders of wildlife and nature that await you. Whether it’s a quick weekend getaway or a month-long odyssey from New England to California, you will never run out of natural beauty when you’re traveling in America. Here are six must-see Coastal Destinations on America’s coasts.
- Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
Few other places in the world offer the chance to see as many awe-inspiring glaciers as America’s 49th state. The best way to see these mammoth chunks of glistening blue ice is by enjoying Alaska cruise ships through the park. If you travel in the summer, you might also spot whales and seals in the water as well as moose, mountain goats, and bears on the shores.
- Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area in Coastal Destinations
Exploring the sand dunes along the 40-mile stretch of Oregon Dunes National Recreation area will make you feel like you’re starring in your own movie. This unique natural area is a great place to go four-wheeling and play in the sand. The shimmering landscape is dotted by islands of trees and occasional wildlife, and you can hike through the area or enjoy the sights from one of the many beaches nearby.
- Historic Lighthouses, Maine
The Northeast is well-known for the beauty of its seasonal changes, including the stunning and colorful transformation of deciduous forests in the fall. You might not know that Maine is a top destination for touring historic lighthouses that line the coast. Whether you take a scenic drive or book a cruise, you can find amazing ports and seaside towns that offer history and whale-watching opportunities throughout the spring and summer.
- Santa Monica Pier, California
When you’re ready to take a break from hiking and whale-watching, you should check out one of the most iconic beachside towns in America, Santa Monica, California. The Santa Monica Pier is home to a year-round carnival and other fun amusements that can entertain the entire family. Nearby, you can take in beautiful views of the ocean from Palisades Park. An added bonus is that Santa Monica is part of the larger Los Angeles metro area, so you can add on a day to your trip to see Hollywood Boulevard and visit one of the many famous theme parks.
- Everglades National Park, Florida
You might associate Florida with spring break and retirement homes, but Everglades National Park tops the list of must-see destinations in this coastal state. The tropical wetland spans more than 2000 square miles and is a protected wildlife habitat. You can find all kinds of animal species, including alligators, panthers, manatees, and a wide variety of beautiful and rare birds. One of the best ways to get around is by boat, but you can also enjoy hiking and bicycling trails throughout the park.
- Padre Island National Seashore, Texas
You can discover pristine coastal landscapes at Padre Island National Seashore in the Gulf of Mexico. This protected area is home to sea turtles who visit the shores to lay their eggs once a year. If you plan your visit around the time that sea turtle hatchlings break free from their shells, you can arrange a guided viewing. Another great way to explore this massive stretch of seashore is to rent a boat or kayak and get in the water. The laguna stretches for miles and offers gorgeous ocean vistas.
America’s coasts are great places to visit at any time of the year, and you can find the right destination for each season. Cruises, guided tours, and camping are all wonderful ways to explore what nature has to offer from sea to shining sea. The more time you have, the better, but any of America’s beach towns will surely inspire you, even if just for one night. If you’re a lover of wildlife and adventure, these coastal destinations should make your bucket list.