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The Best Beaches You Can Drive To In The Continental US, According To TripAdvisor

The Best Beaches You Can Drive To In The Continental US, According To TripAdvisor
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15. Cherry Grove Beach

Location: North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Nearest major city: 2 hours and 30 minutes from Charleston, South Carolina

Coronavirus lockdowns brought life and business to a screeching halt in South Carolina’s famous beach town, Myrtle Beach, Brandon Withrow previously reported for Business Insider. The city — including Cherry Grove Beach — has since reopened with protective measures, including mandatory face mask policies, in place.

14. Driftwood Beach

Location: Jekyll Island, Georgia

Nearest major city: 1 hour and 15 minutes from Jacksonville, Florida

Travel + Leisure recently named Jekyll Island one of the top 15 islands in the continental US — and Insider Picks’ Jennifer Ceaser chose the ultra-exclusive Jekyll Island Club, where the Carnegies and Vanderbilts wintered during the Gilded Age, as one of the best US island hotels that don’t require a passport.

13. Ruby Beach

Location: Olympic National Park, Washington

Nearest major city: 2 hours and 15 minutes from Seattle

Olympic National Park is the ninth most visited national park in the US, receiving 3.2 million visitors last year, according to 2019 National Park Service data. The park closed beaches and coastal areas in mid-April, following road and facility closures in March. It began a phased reopening on May 5, and now most areas, including Ruby Beach, have reopened.

12. Myrtle Beach

Location: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Nearest major city: 2 hours from Charleston, South Carolina

Following coronavirus closures, the resort destination of Myrtle Beach began reopening restaurants in May, Business Insider’s Hillary Hoffower previously reported. In June, hotels started to open again along the 60-mile beach, and in July, Airbnb reported that Myrtle Beach was one of its top 10 trending destinations.

11. Ogunquit Beach

Location: Ogunquit, Maine

Nearest major city: 1 hour and 20 minutes from Boston, Massachusetts; 40 minutes from Portland, Maine

Ogunquit Beach consists of 3.5 miles of sandy shoreline lined by dunes in southern Maine. Most out-of-state visitors to Maine are required to show a negative COVID-19 test or quarantine for two weeks; however, residents of Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey are currently exempt from this requirement. 

10. Santa Rosa Beach

Location: Walton County, in northwestern Florida

Nearest major city: 2 hours and 15 minutes from Tallahassee, Florida

Santa Rosa Beach made headlines in May when an attorney dressed as the Grim Reaper to protest Florida’s reopening of beaches. Part of Florida’s 26-mile Emerald Coast, the beach is known for its luxury homes, country clubs, and upscale dining. It is currently open to locals and out-of-state visitors with social distancing measures in place, though visitors to Florida from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut are currently required to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival.

9. St. Augustine Beach

Location: St. Johns County, in northeastern Florida

Nearest major city: 1 hour from Jacksonville, Florida

Insider Picks’ Jennifer Ceaser recently listed St. Augustine as one of seven destinations in the US that feel like Europe. “You can feel St. Augustine’s 450-year-old Spanish heritage as you stroll through the narrow stone and brick-paved streets of the historic downtown district,” she wrote. St. Augustine Beach is five miles from the historic district on Anastasia Island.

8. Litchfield Beach

Location: Pawleys Island, South Carolina

Nearest major city: 1 hour and 30 minutes from Charleston, South Carolina

In 2018, Atlanta magazine dubbed Pawleys Island “one of the south’s best-kept secrets.” Thirty minutes south of famous Myrtle Beach, Litchfield Beach is a quieter beachgoing alternative with several gated communities, golf courses, and gourmet markets.



7. Panama City Beach

Location: Bay County, on the Gulf in northwestern Florida

Nearest major city: 2 hours from Tallahassee, Florida

Photos of springbreakers partying and ignoring social distancing guidelines on Panama City Beach in mid-March prompted the beach to close in late March. The beach has reopened to visitors with social distancing guidelines in place and was one of the top 10 trending destinations on Airbnb in July.

6. Hollywood Beach

Location: Broward County, in southeastern Florida

Nearest major city: 40 minutes from Miami, Florida

Hollywood Beach is best known for its 2.5-mile boardwalk and luxury accommodations, including the world’s first guitar-shaped hotel and The Diplomat Beach Resort, named one the best hotels in the US by Insider Picks’ Jen Karetnick.

5. Cannon Beach

Location: Olympic State Park, Washington

Nearest major city: 2 hours and 15 minutes from Seattle, Washington

Along with Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park’s Cannon Beach is one of its most Instagrammable destinations. Case in point: The entire park has 402,000 tags on Instagram; Cannon Beach alone has over 440,000. Many posts of Cannon Beach feature Haystack Rock, a large rock formation that protrudes from the shallows.

4. Clearwater Beach

Location: Pinellas County, on the Gulf on the west central coast of Florida

Nearest major city: 40 minutes from Tampa, Florida

Similar to Panama City Beach, Clearwater Beach drew its fair share of springbreakers in March, inciting criticism and prompting the beach to close. The beach, known for its white sand, clear waters, and palm-lined promenade, is currently open with social distancing guidelines in place.

3. Pensacola Beach

Location: Escambia County, the westernmost county in Florida

Nearest major city: 1 hour from Mobile, Alabama

Pensacola, home to a Naval Air Station and the Naval Aviation Museum, is both beautiful and historic. While the Naval Aviation Museum is currently closed, visitors might catch a glimpse of the Blue Angels in flight while soaking up rays on Santa Rosa Island’s Pensacola Beach.

2. St. Pete Beach

Location: Pinellas County, on the Gulf on the west central coast of Florida

Nearest major city: 40 minutes from Tampa, Florida

The resort community of St. Pete Beach is home to a number of historic and iconic hotels, including The Don CeSar hotel. Dating back to 1928, the luxury hotel is also known as the Pink Palace due to its very pink exterior and was frequented by the likes of Scott Fitzgerald in its heyday. 

1. Siesta Beach

Location: Siesta Key, a barrier island off the southwest coast of Florida in Sarasota County

Nearest major city: 1 hour from Tampa

Visit Florida describes the 8-mile-long Siesta Beach, TripAdvisor’s best beach in the US for 2020, as “quaint yet quirky” and “a playground for active sports enthusiasts.” The barrier island is the location of MTV’s reality show “Siesta Key,” which follows the lives and relationships of locals.



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