Illustration of the sea with a city on the backside

The Best Beaches to Escape the Heat This Summer

The United States has some of the best beaches in the world, but not all coastlines are born equal. Many things define what makes the perfect beach. For our study, we’ve included warm weather, cheap ice cream, affordable restaurant drinks, and popularity. We have analyzed the United States and Puerto Rico’s top beaches to create a ranking of the best sandy spots to cool off this summer.

The 35 Best Beaches for the Summer

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1 Georgia Driftwood Beach Jekyll Island 82°F $1.00 $2.48 $5.00 4.8
2 South Carolina Coligny Beach Hilton Head 86°F $4.10 $1.86 $2.25 4.7
3 Puerto Rico Playa de Isla Verde San Juan 81°F $4.00 $1.83 $3.00 4.7
4 Florida Siesta Beach Siesta Key 81°F $3.82 $1.84 $4.28 4.8
5 Puerto Rico Balneario Seven Seas Fajardo 82°F $4.00 $1.25 $2.00 4.4
6 Florida Caladesi Island State Park Clearwater 86°F $4.60 $2.07 $4.28 4.8
7 South Carolina Kiawah Beachwalker Park Kiawah Island 84°F $4.25 $1.99 $4.00 4.7
8 Florida Henderson Beach State Park Destin 88°F $2.73 $3.00 $5.00 4.8
9 Florida Saint George Island State Park St. George Island 82°F $4.99 $1.97 $5.25 4.8
10 New Jersey Cape May Beach Cape May 73°F $2.52 $2.90 $6.00 4.7
11 Maryland Ocean City Beach Ocean City 75°F $4.99 $1.92 $5.00 4.7
12 North Carolina Wrightsville Beach Wilmington 84°F $5.00 $2.10 $4.00 4.6
13 Oregon Cannon Beach Cannon Beach 55°F $2.96 $2.54 $6.50 4.8
14 Florida Miami Beach Miami 84°F $4.40 $2.21 $6.00 4.7
15 Texas Stewart Beach Galveston 86°F $3.75 $2.25 $5.00 4.5
16 New York Coopers Beach The Hamptons 68°F $3.50 $2.00 $6.89 4.6
17 Illinois Oak Street Beach Chicago 69°F $3.99 $2.58 $7.00 4.8
18 Hawaii Poipu Beach Park Poipo, Kauai 79°F $4.10 $2.42 $7.00 4.7
19 North Carolina Lighthouse Beach Outer Banks 75°F $5.50 $2.22 $6.50 4.8
20 California Coronado Beach San Diego 72°F $3.65 $2.77 $8.00 4.8
21 New Jersey Asbury Park Beach Asbury Park 73°F $4.00 $2.38 $6.00 4.5
22 Massachusetts Coast Guard Beach Eastham 64°F $4.75 $2.29 $7.75 4.8
23 Washington Alki Beach Park Seattle 60°F $3.65 $2.56 $8.00 4.7
24 California Carmel Beach Carmel-by-the-Sea 57°F $4.50 $2.61 $8.00 4.8
25 Maine Ogunquit Beach Ogunquit 68°F $4.55 $2.08 $9.00 4.7
26 Hawaii Wailea Beach Wailea, Maui 77°F $3.95 $3.67 $6.00 4.7
27 Michigan Grand Haven City Beach Grand Haven 67°F $4.50 $2.46 $8.00 4.7
28 Massachusetts Lambert's Cove Beach Martha's Vineyard 64°F $4.25 $2.08 $4.00 4.1
29 New England Jetties Beach Nantucket 63°F $5.00 $2.60 $6.00 4.5
30 Hawaii Duke Paoa Kahanamoku Beach Park Oahu 79°F $5.35 $2.42 $8.00 4.6
31 California Zuma Beach Malibu 72°F $5.25 $2.79 $8.00 4.7
32 California Venice Beach Los Angeles 73°F $4.90 $2.79 $8.00 4.6
33 New York Rockaway Beach Queens, New York City 61°F $5.00 $2.75 $8.00 4.6
34 New York Coney Island Brooklyn, New York City 76°F $5.50 $2.75 $8.00 4.5
35 Florida Smathers Beach Key West 84°F $4.00 $3.77 $7.00 4.2
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Best Beaches in the U.S. to Escape the Heat 

As in previous years, it is expected to be another hot summer. It gets especially uncomfortable when cities experience 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. While AC is nice to have, we think it’s better to cool down at one of the country’s best beaches.

Our travel experts have examined 35 of the United States’ most popular beaches on several different price points, including ice cream and cool drinks. So, we can help beach lovers find the most affordable seaside spots to escape the heat this summer.

  1. Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island, Georgia

Driftwood Beach holds a distinct charm that sets it apart from traditional beach destinations. While the shore of Jekyll Island boasts soft white sands and inviting waters, the beach has become popular for a very unconventional reason—the abundance of driftwood. Driftwood Beach is an inspiring sight where entire trees are washed ashore, creating a picturesque backdrop. Already named one of the best beaches in the U.S., our results show that Driftwood Beach is also the most affordable to visit this summer. A regular serving of ice cream is only $1 on average and at restaurants nearby, refreshing drinks are only $2.48 for a soft drink and $5 for a beer.

  1. Coligny Beach, Hilton Head, South Carolina

Situated on Hilton Head Island, Coligny Beach is one of the most attractive coastal destinations. Coligny Beach Park serves as a gateway to Coligny Beach, providing an array of top-notch amenities for visitors. Beach rentals like sunbeds and umbrellas are available seasonally. There are showers available to rinse off the sand, and Wi-Fi is also widely available. Furthermore, the study reveals that while ice creams are rather pricey (at around $4.10 per portion), cold drinks at restaurants offer a better deal, with soft drinks being around $1.86 and a pint of beer being $2.25.

  1. Playa de Isla Verde, San Juan, Puerto Rico

The popular tropical Playa de Isla Verde in Puerto Rico ranks third on our list of the best beaches to beat the heat. Visitors benefit from low-price amenities like soft drinks for less than $2.00 and sunshine is guaranteed, with temperatures being 81°F on average. With its golden sands and crystal-clear waters, the Playa de Isla Verde captivates visitors with its natural beauty. Relax on the beach, take a dip in the ocean, or explore the shoreline at Playa de Isla Verde. The beach is also renowned for its vibrant atmosphere. Locals and tourists flock to Isla Verde beach for activities such as paddle boarding and beach volleyball.

  1. Siesta Beach, Siesta Key, Florida

Located in the southwest of Florida, the three square miles large island of Siesta Key in the Gulf of Mexico has one of the top beaches in the country—Siesta Beach. The public beach offers endless sand, outdoor sports courts, a playground, and several attractive picnic areas with a beach pavilion offering restrooms and catering. Soft drinks are less than $2 per serving and ice cream is around $3.82. Revamped in recent years, Siesta Beach is the perfect place for family vacations or couple getaways. Siesta Beach is top-reviewed by visitors on Google with a 4.8-star rating and the average summer temperature is 81°F.

  1. Balneario Seven Seas, Fajardo, Puerto Rico

Balneario Seven Seas is famous for its family-friendly environment. The calm waters and designated swimming areas make it safe for children to enjoy the beach. While the on-site facilities, such as restrooms, picnic areas, and playgrounds, cater to the needs of families. Our research also shows the beach, near the town of Fajardo, is one of Puerto Rico’s most affordable.

Balneario Seven Seas offers the cheapest beach drinks. Soft drinks cost around $1.25 and a beer of the local brand costs around $2. The beach offers excellent opportunities for snorkeling and other water activities, as the area is known for its colorful marine life. Balneario Seven Seas boasts shores with soft sands and crystal-clear turquoise waters and is a paradise for beach lovers. Visitors can expect an average temperature of around 82°F.

The Most Affordable Beaches on the Pacific Coast

The best beach to cool off this summer on the west coast of the U.S. is Cannon Beach in Oregon. The beach itself is a sight to behold with its wide expanse of sandy shores, framed by stunning coastal landscapes and dramatic sea stacks. Cannon Beach is also home to the famous Haystack Rock, an iconic landmark that stands majestically in the ocean. This monolithic rock formation serves as a captivating backdrop and provides a unique setting for enjoying ice cream, which is around $2.96.

Other top beaches include Coronado Beach in San Diego, Alki Beach Park in Seattle, and Carmel Beach in California.

Beaches with the Most Affordable Ice Cream

Whether it’s a sundae or a scoop of creamy Italian gelato, ice cream is a must on a hot day at the beach. You can find the most affordable ice cream at Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island in Georgia, where a regular serving of ice cream only costs around $1. At Cape May Beach in New Jersey, the regular serving of ice cream is around $2.52.

The average deal for ice cream at U.S. beaches is roughly $4.20. The beaches with the most expensive ice creams are Coney Island in New York City and Lighthouse Beach on the Outer Banks in North Carolina. A regular-size serving of ice cream is around $5.50 here.

The Most Temperate Beaches

For those who want to escape the heat of summer, some beaches in the U.S. offer more ideal conditions than others. Cannon Beach in the state of Oregon is the coolest beach in summer, followed by Carmel Beach in California. The average temperature is between 55 and 57°F. 

Other beach destinations that are less than 65°F during summer are: 

  • Lambert’s Cove Beach, Martha’s Vineyard
  • Coast Guard Beach, Eastham
  • Jetties Beach, Nantucket
  • Rockaway Beach, Queens
  • Alki Beach Park, Seattle