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18 Secluded Beaches for Peaceful Summer Days

Are you ready to hit some of America's most popular beaches this summer? You know the ones—where lots of people meet to enjoy music, barbecue, picnic, and play in the water and on the sandy shore. Well, this list of quiet beaches is not for you.

This list is for people whose idea of a perfect day at the beach includes getting as far away as possible from those kinds of people. This list is for those of us who want some peace and tranquility at the shore, places where you can have an unobstructed view of the ocean from your beach chair while you let the sound of the surf soothe away the stress.

Luckily you can find places like this on one of our coasts if you know where to look.

Pacific Coast Beaches

McPhillips Beach - Oregon

Pacific Ocean view at Cape Kiwanda Oregon Coast at sunset USA

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This is one of the few beaches in the area that allows driving on the beach in some sections, which can defeat the purpose of visiting if you're looking for a secluded beach to vacation on.

However, rumor (and by rumor I mean research) has it that if you drive to milestone 35 and park before the actual beach, you can more readily access the areas that don't allow driving and have a bit more parking.

Bonus for the hiking enthusiasts— this beach is right next to Cape Kiwanda State Recreation Area, which hosts a gentle hiking trail perfect for stretching your legs after a day of relaxing on the shore.

Tunnel Beach - Oregon

Tunnel Beach requires you to take a bit of an adventure before thoroughly enjoying it. A relatively easy hiking trail leads you through a literal tunnel carved into a bluff to the beach on the other side.

The beach itself is full of agate rocks, making it not the best for swimming — nearby Oceanside Beach is far superior for this activity— but it's excellent for wave watching, rock hunting, basking in solitude, and filling your cup with peace before you return to the noise and bustle of regular life.

Pirate's Cove Beach - California

Pacific coast view in Malibu. Point Dume State Beach with Giant Coreopsis (Giant sea dahlia) flowers.

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No, not that Pirate's Cove... no, not that one either. Malibu has its own Pirates Cove Beach, sharing a name with a couple of other beautiful and famous beaches, and it's absolutely gorgeous. This white sand beach is near Point Dume State Park, home to Big Dume Beach. While it's grown in popularity lately, "Pirate's Cove Beach" is still one of the more off-the-beaten-path beaches on in the area, so you'll want to download an offline map before you head over.

Accessing this beach requires some finesse as you climb over a rock and follow a worn-in hiking trail to the beach. Be aware that this specific beach is not dog friendly, nor is it very accessible to those with mobility issues. Check the weather, water, and tide conditions before you make the voyage, as the high tide can make the area impassible and contribute to dangerous rip currents in the area.

Pinnacle Gulch Trail and Beach - California

Arriving at Pinnacle Gulch brings you to a half-mile hiking trail that leads directly to a quarter-mile stretch of picturesque sandy beach.

The beach has a small parking area and is popular with nature lovers and quiet beach seekers alike, and for those avid outdoorists for whom the half-mile to the beach is not quite enough adventure, walking south along the coast to the Shorttail Gulch Coastal Access Trail Loop provides almost two miles of natural scenery leading back to the parking area.

Be sure to check local advisories and weather updates before you go.

1,000 Steps Beach - California

Don't let the name scare you off— accessing this beach doesn't really take 1,000 steps. It's a set of stairs that's step count is closer to 235, give or take. While it's not 1,000 steps, this hike can be a bummer of a voyage to make after a long day of sunbathing, but we think the views (and the secret getaway vibes so close to LA) totally make up for it. If you wanna take this adventure to the next level, take a left at the bottom of the stairs and keep walking until you find some rocks.

Climbing these rocks (during low tide only and while staying on the lookout for any crabs or other marine life living in them) will lead you to some stunning tide pools to swim in and enjoy. These rocks are sharp, so you're probably better off making this journey with shoes on. When preparing for this particular voyage, remember that what goes down must come back up— pack out your coolers, trash and belongings, and I cannot stress this enough — please check the tides before you go.

Gulf Coast Beaches

Gulf Shores Beach - Alabama

Orange Beach Alabama At Sunset

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As a lifelong southerner and beach lover, it baffles me that more people don't know about Gulf Shores. This beach does get busy for a few weeks around spring break. Still, otherwise, these white sand beaches are a really serene and delightful experience. The gorgeous blue waters are incredibly inviting, and the beach town of Gulf Shores serves as a gulf-caught seafood hub.

Gulf Shores has public beach access and a State Park with plenty of available camping and beach access options. Truly a southern gem.

Ocean Springs Beach - Mississippi

Five miles east of Biloxi over the Biloxi Bay Bridge, you'll find Ocean Springs Beach, nestled in the cute Mississippi beach town of Ocean Springs. This beach is often overlooked in favor of nearby Biloxi Beach. Even some Mississippi locals are surprised to find that this town has a beach. While the beach has white sands galore, the real show stopper here is the view at sunset. Bring a chair and a picnic and prepare to be wowed.

Blue Mountain Beach - Florida

Blue Mountain Beach is a secluded beach in the small town of Santa Rosa Beach located between Tallahassee and Pensacola near Destin. This picturesque locale has miles of soft white sands and azure blue waters on Florida's Emerald Coast.

There is also a plethora of biking and hiking trails at nearby Point Washington State Forest for anyone itching to do some more exploring. Blue Mountain Beach supplies the white sands and clear water of Key West without the crowds.

You may, however, have to share the beach with surfers, many of whom claim this beach is one of the preferred spots in the gulf for catching a wave. Should you find yourself looking to pick up a new skill between beach reads, several surf schools nearby offer lessons regularly.

Cape San Blas Beach - Florida

Beach, Cape San Blas, Florida. Dune fence and Gulf

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RELATED: Hit these Beaches for Great Seafood this Summer

Cape San Blas Beach is a dog-friendly stretch of sand on the tip of the "TH Stone Memorial" Peninsula in the Florida panhandle. Located southeast of the very popular "Panama City" Beach, "Cape San Blas" is home to the white sands and clear waters that the eastern portion of the Gulf of Mexico is known for. Suppose your dream vacation is a Caribbean getaway, but your budget says road trip. In that case, I definitely recommend putting "Cape San Blas" on your list.

Atlantic Coast Beaches

Cumberland Island National Seashore - Georgia

Cumberland Island National Seashore is a beach maintained and operated by the National Parks Service. The island is located in southeast Georgia and is Georgia's largest barrier island. You reach Cumberland Island via ferry along the St. Mary's river.

Suppose for some reason you find yourself tired of sitting on the beach. In that case, other attractions on the island include the First African Baptist Church and the Dungeness Ruins. There are also miles of hiking trails and dreamy maritime forestry on the island should you feel the need to wander off and pretend you're suddenly the last person on Earth.

Emerald Isle Beach - North Carolina

Beach and Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier at Emerald Isle, North Carolina.

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A quiet small town and beach on the southernmost outer banks of North Carolina, Emerald Isle is only accessible via a bridge. While my research couldn't determine whether or not boondocking (RV camping outside of established sites) is allowed on the beach here, you can drive on the beach with the proper permits (available on the town website.) This makes it the perfect stop for nomads and vanlifers looking for a charming place to pull up their rig for a day of oceanside relaxation.

The town of Emerald Isle has a flag system indicating rip currents and other weather conditions, so check the town website for beach condition warnings before swimming.

Crescent Beach - South Carolina

Crescent Beach has all the beauty of Myrtle Beach without the crowds. The neighborhood of Crescent Beach and the city of North Myrtle Beach make intentional efforts to retain the area's community feel by limiting development and rental properties, which gives the entire crescent beach area a small town "locals only" feeling despite being within driving distance to its famous neighbor, Myrtle Beach.

Sandbridge Beach - Virginia Beach, Virginia

Sandbridge beach in Virginia Beach, Virginia in late summer.

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A gift shop enthusiast's worst nightmare, Sandbridge Beach is the definition of isolated. Located in a cute, sleepy little beach town in Virginia, there are no shops, restaurants, or tourist amenities for miles. While some folks hate it, others absolutely adore it.

September through May are among the recommended times to visit to have the place to yourself. Still, a trip to Sandbridge Beach feels like you're in on a really well-kept secret, even in peak seasons. Its proximity to nearby Black Bay Wildlife Refuge gives it an extra air of serenity. It makes it a top-notch place for birdwatchers and nature lovers, in general, to take in the world around them.

North Atlantic & East Coast Beaches

Kirk Park Beach - New York

Colloquially referred to as the "working man's" beach of Long Island's posh "The Hamptons." It feels quiet and exclusive, due in no small part to its location. The nearby free parking is for beach visitors who are not guests at any nearby accommodations is limited, holding crowds down.

This beach has a very long sea shelf. It lacks a significant drop-off in the water, which, combined with its seclusion and quiet energy, invites families and folks who like the water but maybe aren't huge fans of swimming in open water.

North Hampton State Beach - New Hampshire

Morning sunshine along North Beach

Sdepanfilis, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This is not the New York Hamptons of the last entry but a beach at Hampton Beach State Park and Natural Area in New Hampshire.

If you're somehow reading this list and don't want a quiet beach experience, South Hampton Beach is where you want to be. North Hampton Beach, however, is the perfect place for a slow read, sunbathing session, and some quality time spent offline.

Stone's Beach - Massachusetts

Stone's Beach is a more quiet beach option on the southern end of Nantucket Island. There are sand dunes and great surf, though surfers and swimmers should be aware that there are no lifeguards on duty, and the undertow off of these shores can be a bit rough. Parking can be challenging, though allegedly part of the charm (aka, part of what keeps it so quiet).

While you can technically ferry your van or camper to Nantucket Island, I'm not sure if I would recommend this particular quiet beach for folks in more oversized vehicles (sorry, y'all). Still, I'm always happy to be proven wrong.

Vaill and Black Rock Beach - Rhode Island

Ocean waves break on a sandy beach beneath the tall cliffs of Block Island, RI.

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Block Island is home to many beaches, some so quiet they're only available to residents via permit. Vaill Beach is not one of them. If you don't mind your secluded beaches with a bit of a hike and a rocky shoreline, this beach might just be yours. Vaill beach is the definition of isolated, and accessing it requires finding and following a steep, rocky, and erosion-prone hiking trail down to the beach.

Should your nerves be steeled enough to make the voyage, you are rewarded with options when you reach the water; you can turn left at the shores for Vaill beach or hit a right and (tide willing) scramble over some rocks to Black Rock Beach and enjoy. Check the tides before heading out, and be aware that Black Rock Beach is indeed a de facto clothing-optional beach— yunno, just in case you're (not) into that sort of thing.

Assateague Island - Maryland

Assateague Island National Seashore is a secluded beach devoted to protecting wild horses in Virginia and Maryland. With over 37 miles of white sands and unfettered access to the Atlantic Ocean, Assateague Island National Seashore is rumored to be home to one of the best and most beautiful beaches on the East Coast. Should you venture out their way, schedule a kayak tour or sightseeing cruise around the island for when you feel like giving your beach chair a break.

Honorable Island Mention

South Manitou Island - Michigan

South Manitou Lighthouse

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This is not a beach on an ocean or a sea but an island in the middle of the nation's third-largest lake. Lake Michigan is so large it appears to go on indefinitely, and South Manitou Island is the perfect place to max out on that feeling. South Manitou Island boasts miles of shoreline perfect for swimming and water sports like paddleboarding, kayaking, and surfing. It's also perfect for just sitting around and contemplating the vastness of the universe. There are campgrounds on either side of the island (North and South) and lots of backpacking sites and hiking trails for your inner hiking enthusiast.

Beach getaways are one of my favorite ways to refresh, and lord knows I love some peace and quiet. If you're anything like me, here's hoping that at least one of these places ticks all the boxes of an ideal beach vacation for you. Happy traveling, and don't forget to check the tides, pack out what you pack in, stay on trails, and always be respectful of the land and wildlife.

Jupiter (they/them) is a twenty-something wanderer who has traveled the United States full-time in a Class C RV since 2019. They are accompanied by their two dogs and spend their time hiking, writing, reading, seeking out the best food on the road, and finding new Black & LGBTQ+ friendly places to explore. Instagram: @doesthiscountasvanlife

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