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Road Trip? Stop at One of These 5 Overlooked U.S. Beaches

International travel is opening back up, but for many families, a stateside vacation is still the choice this summer. If a road trip is in order, and the beach is your happy place, there are dozens of high-profile spots to choose from.

But for a less-crowded, more affordable and quite enjoyable experience, you may want to try one of these five beach meccas that tend to fly under the radar. 

  • Block Island, Rhode Island – An hour’s ferry ride from Newport, this nature preserve gives this island an isolated beauty where activities like biking, surfing and shopping are available, plus, there is a lighthouse to explore. The hardier should check out Mohegan Bluffs, though not the most accessible with 141 steps down, but beach lovers say it may be the most picturesque setting in New England.
  • Capitola, California – The Golden State has more than its share of iconic beaches, from Malibu to Laguna to Capistrano. But Captola, near Santa Cruz, remains a bit of a hidden secret. In addition to good surfing and an esplanade for shopping, there are art shows and summer night concerts to enjoy.
  • Long Beach, Washington – A two-hour drive from Portland, Ore. is this 28-mile strip of beaches where the air temp rarely rises above 70 degrees. If the water is too chilly for long swims, you can fly a kite, go clam-digging or ride a horse along the coast. 
  • Chincoteague Island, Virginia – The beach is not the best here, but the trade-off is seeing the 150 small, wild and adorable horses that inhabit it. Plus, you can visit the beach, go crabbing or clamming and keep an eye out for bald eagles.
  • Marathon, Florida – For a beach destination that feels like the Caribbean, try this one in the Florida Keys. It’s home to the fabulous Sombrero Beach, where you can see Loggerhead turtles nesting along the shoreline and dolphins diving off the coast. Explore Crane Point Hammock and Nature Trail, go deep-sea fishing and snorkel at Sombrero Reef National Marine Sanctuary.