On the Atlantic Coast
York County coast, Maine: U. S. 1 skirts a string of coastal towns, most notably Kennebunkport. All the classic elements are in place: clapboard houses, rocky shores, and lobster boats (not to mention ultrafresh lobster on local menus).
Cape Cod, Massachusetts: Not far from breathtaking beaches are lovely New England villages full of shops and galleries to fill your days.
Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts: Up-Island, country roads meander through woods and tranquil farmlands. Down-Island are the busy Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown, where ferry docks, shops, and centuries-old houses line the main streets.
Nantucket, Massachusetts: On this tiny island are fancy restaurants, sumptuous B&Bs, chic clothing boutiques, and antiques shops. But the former whaling capital's real riches are vistas filled with shingled cottages, rolling beaches, windswept moors, and rambling wild roses.
Atlantic City, New Jersey: Besides the casinos that line the famous boardwalk, there are glitzy shows, great concerts, and nonstop nightlife.
Cape Hatteras, North Carolina: The remote, uncrowded shores are perfect for watching wildlife or catching fish.
Hilton Head, South Carolina: High-end resorts and condo complexes feature country-club amenities along the wide beach.
Palm Beach, Florida: This community still bears the signs of its long history as a hideaway for the wealthy, in its exclusive shopping and stately mansions.
On the Gulf Coast
Naples, Florida: Along soft white beaches, Naples teems with shopping and fine arts - yet it's still just a short drive from the untouched natural wonders of the Everglades.
Mississippi Gulf Coast: Try your luck at the casinos at Biloxi and Gulfport, or get away from the noise on an excursion to the Gulf Islands National Seashore from nearby Ocean Springs.
South Padre Island, Texas: Gentle Gulf waters lap at peaceful, wide beaches where seabirds gather.
On the Pacific Coast
Monterey Peninsula, California: Stunningly beautiful windswept beaches, superb restaurants, boutiques, and galleries, and oceanview golf courses make this area the perfect Central Coast getaway.
Huntington Beach, California: Surfers are drawn to this quintessentially Californian town's waves, and landlubbers enjoy the lively pier.
Newport Beach, California: Upscale Newport has long sandy beaches, two long piers that jut into the ocean, and the Edwardian-era Balboa Pavilion, whose restaurant has a view of the yacht-filled harbor.
La Jolla, California: Palm trees tower over the beaches of this gracious town, whose sights to see include the La Jolla Caves and underwater preserve at La Jolla Cove.
Rosarito, Mexico: Not too far south of the border, you can go horseback riding on the beach during the day and later enjoy the lively nightlife in nearby Tijuana.
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