21 Underrated U.S. Beach Towns You Should Add to Your Bucket List

Whether you love the ocean or prefer to spend your beach days at the lake, there are plenty of beaches and beach towns to explore across America. While some have gotten incredibly popular, others remain underrated, especially the most affordable ones.

Read on to check out the most underrated beach towns that you should add to your bucket list.

1. Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island aerial photo

Anna Maria Island, Florida | Tinik/Getty Images

  • Location: Florida

The Huffington Post reports that Trip Advisor users named Anna Maria Island in Florida as one of the most underrated beach towns in America. This 7-mile-long island, located just across from St. Petersburg, retains its “Old Florida” feel. The island feels laidback and less developed than the surrounding area.

Next: Check out this New Jersey beach town for traditional beachfront activities. 

2. Asbury Park

Asbury Park, New Jersey, USA

Asbury Park, New Jersey | rjzeytoonian/Getty Images

  • Location: New Jersey

Travel Pulse recommends Asbury Park, New Jersey, as one of the most underrated beach towns in the United States. The publication reports that “There’s something for everyone to enjoy along the Asbury Park Boardwalk and the adjacent beach.” You can enjoy sunbathing, swimming, fishing, and surfing on the beach. Or, take in traditional beachfront attractions like live music and mini golf.

Next: Head to this Oregon beach town for historic sights — and cranberries. 

3. Bandon

Bandon beach Oregon

Bandon Beach, Oregon | MBRubin/Getty Images

  • Location: Oregon

Next on the list of underrated beaches comes Bandon, Oregon, a town where The Huffington Post notes much of the United States’ cranberries are produced. When you’re in town, you can enjoy the boardwalk or go fishing. You can also check out the town’s historic lighthouse, or sample the cranberries that are grown in the area.

Next: Check out this Mississippi beach town for beautiful white beaches. 

4. Bay St. Louis

St Louis Bay, Mississippi

St Louis Bay, Mississippi | Thinkstock/Getty Images

  • Location: Mississippi

If you’re making a trip to New Orleans, you may want to plan to stop into Bay St. Louis just an hour away. This beach town — one of the most underrated in the nation, according to Travel Pulse — offers what the publication characterizes as “glorious” white sand beaches. Plus, you’ll have plenty of options for dining in town.

Next: Head to this island in Rhode Island for a quiet weekend. 

5. Block Island

Block Island, Rhode Island

Block Island, Rhode Island | JackParrott/Getty Images

  • Location: Rhode Island

Block Island, Rhode Island, comes next on Travel Pulse’s list of the most underrated beach towns. This quiet island, just three miles by seven miles, has plenty to offer vacationers, whether you’re in town for a weekend or for an entire week. It has 17 miles of public beaches, the gorgeous sights of the Mohegan Bluffs, a national wildlife refuge, and a historic lighthouse.

Next: Check out this Oregon beach town for gorgeous scenery. 

6. Cannon Beach

people walking on Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach | NickJKelly/iStock/Getty Images

  • Location: Oregon

You’ve probably seen photos of Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, Oregon. But The Huffington Post reports that Cannon Beach remains underrated as a beach town. There’s plenty more than the famous landmark to see if you make the trip to this part of Oregon. You can enjoy a vibrant arts scene in town, as well as take in the pristine beach and the surrounding scenery.

Next: Choose this Massachusetts beach town for its New England atmosphere. 

7. Chatham

Chatham fish pier, Massachusetts

Chatham fish pier, Massachusetts | LifesMiracles/Getty Images

  • Location: Massachusetts

Travel Pulse names Chatham, Massachusetts, one of the most underrated beach towns in the United States. This town, located at the southeastern tip of the Cape Cod peninsula, gives you the quintessential New England atmosphere. It also offers you easy access to some of the most beautiful beaches on the Cape.

Next: Add this Virginia beach town to your bucket list for the wild ponies. 

8. Chincoteague

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia | pabradyphoto/Getty Images

  • Location: Virginia

Chincoteague is more than just a beach town. As Travel Pulse explains, this Virginia town serves as the gateway to the 14,000-acre Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, where you can see wild ponies, bald eagles, seabirds, and many other animals. Pair that with the gorgeous scenery and you can’t find a better place to escape to the beach.

Next: Travel to this South Carolina beach town when you’re in Charleston.

9. Isle of Palms

Isle of Palms, South Carolina

Isle of Palms, South Carolina | abalconis/Getty Images

  • Location: South Carolina

Next on the list of underrated beach towns? Isle of Palms, nominated by Travel Pulse. The publication reports that the Isle of Palms County Park is located between Sullivan’s Island and Dewees Island, just outside of the iconic and historic city of Charleston, South Carolina.

Next: Head to this North Carolina beach town for a famous historic site. 

10. Kill Devil Hills

Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina | hmarvinaverett/Getty Images

  • Location: North Carolina

The Outer Banks of North Carolina are famous. But Travel Pulse nominates Kill Devil Hills as one of the most underrated beach towns in the area. Visitors can see the Wright brothers’ iconic plane take-off spot, along with a memorial. You can also go fishing, explore an art gallery, play mini golf, or just relax on the beach.

Next: Don’t miss this Delaware beach town if you want to take in gorgeous scenery. 

11. Lewes

Delaware lighthouse

Delaware lighthouse | Eva Hambach/AFP/Getty Images

  • Location: Delaware

Despite its small size, Delaware has many beaches (and beach towns) worth a visit. Travel Pulse recommends Lewes as one of the most underrated beach towns in America. Located at Cape Henlopen, where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, this town offers gorgeous scenery, a vibrant historic district, and scenic trails.

Next: Head to Washington if you love beaches and kites. 

12. Long Beach

Long Beach, WA

Long Beach, Washington | Omegaforest/Getty Images

  • Location: Washington

You’ve probably heard of Long Beach, California. But how about making a trip to Long Beach, Washington, instead? Travel Pulse recommends this destination as one of the most underrated beach towns in the United States. It’s the perfect destination especially for kite lovers, since it’s home to the World Kite Museum and hosts the Washington State International Kite Festival every summer.

Next: Don’t miss this island the next time you travel to Florida. 

13. Okaloosa Island

Okaloosa Island, Florida

Okaloosa Island, Florida | DuyDo/Getty Images

  • Location: Florida

Travel Pulse reports that most people know Florida’s Emerald Coast for Destin. But you should also consider the region for Okaloosa Island, located between Destin and Ft. Walton Beach. As Travel Pulse promises, “the region offers pristine beaches, unparalleled water sports, world-class fishing and a plethora of family-friendly attractions.” What’s not to love?

Next: You don’t want to miss this Hawaii beach town. 

14. Paia

Paia, Hawaii

Paia, Hawaii | JDPhotoPDX/Getty Images

  • Location: Hawaii

You can see many famous beaches in Hawaii. But Travel Pulse recommends Paia as one of the most underrated beach towns in the state. The publication characterizes this destination as “one of Maui’s best-kept secrets.” The town is home to Hookipa Beach, which serves as the windsurfing capital of the world.

Next: Head to Florida to visit this historic beach town. 

15. Pass-a-Grille

Pass-a-Grille

Pass-a-Grille, Florida | shakzu/Getty Images

  • Location: Florida

If you want someplace historic to escape, then Travel Pulse recommends Pass-a-Grille, Florida. Located at the southern end of St. Pete Beach, this beach town not only has gorgeous beaches, but also boasts a historic district, a historic museum, fishing piers, fun shopping, and an outdoor art market.

Next: Choose this New Hampshire beach town for its scenery and seafood. 

16. Rye

Rye, New Hampshire, USA

Rye, New Hampshire | travelview/Getty Images

  • Location: New Hampshire

Travel Pulse also counts Rye, New Hampshire, as one of the most underrated beach towns in America. Just south of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on the Atlantic coast, Rye is located only an hour from Boston. In addition to the gorgeous coastline and scenery to take in, it offers some of the best seafood in New England. And it also offers easy access to the Water Country water park.

Next: This Florida island is renowned for its shelling. 

17. Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island, Florida

Sanibel Island, Florida | AgentAssist/iStock/Getty Images

  • Location: Florida

Next on The Huffington Post’s list of underrated beach towns? Sanibel Island off Fort Myers in the Gulf of Mexico. The publication notes that the northern half of this island is almost entirely protected by the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. You can enjoy the beach on the southern part of the island, famous for its gorgeous seashells.

Next: This Florida destination also offers a great beach town experience. 

18. Siesta Key

Siesta Key beach, Florida

Siesta Key, Florida | aiisha5/Getty Images

  • Location: Florida

Siesta Key also makes The Huffington Post’s list of the most underrated beach towns across America. The publication reports that this barrier island, just south of Sarasota, has an 8-mile-long beach. People love that beach for its quartz sand, “which is reportedly a dream to walk on,” according to the Post. You have your pick of restaurants and bars near the beach, too, which sounds perfect for a laidback getaway.

Next: Head to Michigan for this lakeside beach town. 

19. Traverse City

Traverse City, Michigan

Traverse City, Michigan | ehrlif/Getty Images

  • Location: Michigan

Travel Pulse recommends Traverse City, Michigan, as one of the most underrated beach towns in America. The city, located on Lake Michigan’s Traverse Bay, boasts gorgeous scenery, historic sights, and a fun arts scene. Travel Pulse also notes that the city hosts many summer events that you can check out if you’re in the area.

Next: Don’t miss this beach town when you visit Georgia. 

20. Tybee Island

Tybee Island, Georgia

Tybee Island, Georgia | AppalachianViews/Getty Images

  • Location: Georgia

Most people have heard of Savannah, Georgia. But have you ever made a visit to Tybee Island, a barrier island and beach town not far from the historic city? Travel Pulse recommends checking out this destination for its wide beaches and historic destinations, especially if you’re in the area to see Savannah just 30 minutes away.

Next: Head to Maine to kick back in this beach town. 

21. York Beach

Beach in York, Maine

Beach in York, Maine | OlegAlbinsky/Getty Images

  • Location: Maine

Travel Pulse puts York Beach, Maine, on its list of the most underrated beach towns. This destination offers three different beaches. The two most notable are Long Sands Beach, where you can enjoy two miles of white sand, and Short Sands Beach, which is within walking distance to restaurants, shops, and even an amusement park.

Read more: 16 Underrated U.S. National Parks to Add to Your Bucket List

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