If you enjoy clarifying coastal walks or strolling with someone special hand in hand in a new locale, then read on, fellow traveler. If you’re in the US, the coastline views are both varied and distinctly memorable. To help you narrow down your choices, here are 30 beautiful coastal walks in the USA.
30 Beautiful Coastal Walks in the USA
1. The Overlook Trail, California
This hike is not only the most scenic in Big Sur but also one of the shortest. The Overlook Trail hike to McWay Falls is not even half a mile each way. You will walk through Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and along a short, elevated walkway high above the water. If you’re tired of hearing how the views at the end of challenging hikes are worth it, then this one’s for you. It’s short, unchallenging, and the view of the creamy sand, blue-gray water, and McWay Falls is wonderful.
2. The Southend Loop, Georgia
Salt-sprayed, mossy Cumberland Island, just off Georgia’s southern coast, is the state’s largest barrier island. It’s home to about 150 wild horses and this popular 4.5 mile-hiking trail. It’s great for overnight hikers and day-trippers alike. Here you’ll see the maritime forest, the marshland, the beach, and the Dungeness Historic District, home to what’s left of a mansion from the 1800s still owned by the well-known Carnegie family.
3. Clayhead Trail, Rhode Island
Clayhead Trail is a group of interconnecting paths in the northern section of Block Island in the Atlantic Ocean south of Rhode Island. They criss-cross a full 190 acres. This trail quickly offers hikers 2 options. They can head towards the right and reach the beach or head to the left to explore what remains of “The Maze”, a truly tangled mass of unmarked paths just perfect for getting lost for a bit.
4. Oil City Trail, Washington
You’ll discover this trail in Olympic National Park. It is nearly one mile each way along the south coast. It’s an easy, scenic hike and will take you through the forest, along the Hoh River to the beach. Here you will see sea stacks peeking out of the water while bald eagles fly overhead. Take the trail further south and visit popular Ruby Beach.
5. Sunken Forest Nature Trail, New York
This Fire Island National Seashore trail is on car-free Fire Island. It’s not far from New York City, but you need to take a ferry to get there. This 1.6-mile trail is a nature trail that runs mainly over an elevated boardwalk. Enjoy a rare ecosystem that includes the swamp, beaches, and the maritime holly forest.
6. Lost Coast Trail, California
This almost 25-mile trail begins in Mendocino County where the well-known Pacific Coast Highway merges into the 101 freeway. It runs from Mattole to beautiful Black Sands Beach, traveling through an untamed wilderness of salt-sprayed forests, wildflower meadows, and driftwood-dotted beaches. Get a backcountry permit and you can even camp on the route.
7. Mustang Island State Park, Texas
Here in this barrier island state park, you’ll find over five miles of coastline you can hike. It’s not an official trail but who cares? You can still walk along the stunning sandy spit and see the great, grass-topped dunes while watching for over 400 species of birds living there. You might even spot turtles and dolphins in the channel too.
8. Wildwoods Boardwalk, New Jersey
Stroll lazily along this 2.5-mile classic boardwalk and be a part of this exceptional example of Americana. In the late 1800s, it was only 150 yards in length and repositioned to be closer to the ocean as the Jersey shoreline shifted. Hit the beach then pleasantly promenade past a trio of piers complete with assorted arcades, colorful shops, interesting eateries, colorful shops, and a number of nigh iconic amusement park rides.
9. Rosemary Dunes, Alabama
If you were surprised by the alabaster sand of Orange Beach or the state’s Gulf Shores, you will be incredulous once you see the wildlife-rich, marshy Gulf State Park. This park includes portions of the Intracoastal Waterway and several lakes. This place is popular with birdwatchers and has a number of “easy-to-follow” trails. If you want great views of the Gulf of Mexico, Rosemary Dunes is your best bet. It’s 2.1 miles each way and there are paved paths through the dunes and marshlands.
10. Bob Jones Trail, California
This trail in Avila is three miles of paved path that leads along the Central Coast to Avila Beach. While the destination is distinctive, the journey itself is scenic as well. Your hike begins at the car park right off Ontario Road, past pretty, peach-tinted homes, down the tree-lined path along San Luis Obispo Creek ‘til you reach Avila Pier.
11. Bahia Honda State Park, Florida
Travel to Big Pine Key. Here in the striking state park, there is one easy trail that takes you through the park right outside of Key West on the Florida Keys’ southern tip. Climb to the top of the well-known Old Bahia Honda Bridge. From there you can see across Calusa Beach and beyond.
12. Heron Flats Trail, Texas
If you’re into birdwatching, head to Aransas and hike the 1.4-mile Heron Flats Trail in the favored Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. It is a popular portion of the Great Texas Birding Trail. Aransas is the official winter home of the whooping crane. This trail, rife with both migratory and resident birds, ends in famous San Antonio Bay.
13. Umpqua Dunes, Oregon
Winchester Bay’s wildly rolling Umpqua Dunes can be found running for 10 miles of the coastline in the serene Siuslaw National Forest. Hikers here can pick a part to thoroughly explore or hike the whole trail. Mind you, much of it is on sand which can make hiking harder. Visit the dunes’ northern end and see the Umpqua River Lighthouse too.
14. The Miami Beach Boardwalk, Florida
This boardwalk runs along the oceanfront for roughly four miles from South Beach’s 5th Street to Indian Beach Park at 46th Street. Highlights of this elevated walkway walk include Ocean Drive’s pastel-tinted Art Deco buildings, palm trees, pale sand, and 30+ boldly painted lifeguard huts along the beachfront.
15. Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, Alaska
This trail, named after a former governor, is motor-vehicle-free. You’ll see nothing but cyclists, pedestrians, and maybe the occasional moose. It’s a two-way, paved path that meanders over 11 miles of the coastline in Anchorage. You’ll see both skyscrapers and the Chugach Mountains, Earthquake Park, and see the fastest tides in the world at Knik Arm too.
16. Coastal Trail, Maine
Head for Quoddy Head State Park and hike this trail that stretches along the beautiful Bold Coast. It’s a four-mile round trip trail that starts and finishes at the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse. See bluffs, rocky coves, sea stacks, and more. Running so close to the edge can be challenging. Still, the craggy, steep sections offer some of the best views.
17. The Corpus Christi Nature & Hiking Trail, Texas
This trail allows you to explore Texas A&M University’s Corpus Christi campus, on Ward Island. It’s especially great for nature lovers. It covers an area of almost 7.5 miles and offers hikers noteworthy views of Oso Bay and Corpus Christi Bay as well. Cyclists, hikers, and joggers are all welcome here.
18. Ocean Path Trail, Maine
This 4.4-mile, there and back trail connects Otter Cliffs and Sand Beach and Otter Cliffs. You’ll enjoy the craggy coastline along Acadia National Park. On one side you see forested mountains. On the other, you have the ocean, complete with coves, rock pools, and granite rock formations. Be sure to spend some time at Boulder Beach too.
19. Beluga Slough Trail, Alaska
Alaska reportedly has the longest coastline in the US. It’s one of the most spectacular too. Visit Homer to take in this easy, 1.2-mile loop trail tracing the very edges of beautiful Beluga Slough. From Bishop’s Beach, you can get incredible views of both Beluga Lake and Kachemak Bay. Visit in spring and see migrating Sandhill cranes from California.
20. Service Road, Virginia
The dune grasses of the barrier island and national park known as Assateague Island, run into Maryland where two herds of wild ponies regularly graze. The longest and perhaps best hike is along the Service Road in Virginia. On this 7.5-mile hike, you’ll find the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, maritime forests, ponds, rugged dunes, salt marshes, and sugar-sand beaches as well.
21. Great Island Trail, Massachusetts
If you’d like to see part of the Cape Cod National Seashore up close, hike this somewhat strenuous 8+-mile trail that encompasses a four-mile loop trail. It starts and finishes at the corner of Chequessett Neck Road and Griffin Island. Highlights include dunes, forested bluffs, salt marshes, and super views of Cape Cod Bay and Wellfleet Harbor.
22. The Rehoboth Boardwalk, Delaware
People have been flocking to Rehoboth Beach before your rovin’ writer was born. It’s a nigh classic summer destination for a seaside stroll above the pale yellow sand past restaurants, bars, and more. Rehoboth has a real summer-fun atmosphere. Visit in the off-season and you might get this mile-long boardwalk all to yourself with plenty of benches for cuddling too.
23. Dungeness Spit Trail, Washington
This nearly six-mile coastal trail runs between the popular New Dungeness Lighthouse and the Dungeness Spit Wildlife Refuge. It wanders through a verdant forest, to the beach, then follows the flat sand spit as it curves ‘round Dungeness Bay. Shorebirds such as dippers, plovers, and harlequin ducks here make it a great place for birdwatchers.
24. Harding Icefield Trail, Alaska
While Kenai Fjords National Park may span only 1,047 square miles, it packs plenty of natural beauty. Hike this 8.2-mile round-trip trail that starts and stops in the park’s Exit Glacier area. It features forests of alder and cottonwood trees and pretty meadows. Enjoy looking down over the entire Harding Icefield and craggy coastline.
25. Mountains-to-Sea Trail, North Carolina
This well-known official state hiking trail runs from the Outer Banks to Clingman’s Dome in the Great Smokies. It is 1,175 miles in length. You can hike only specific segments, or traverse the entirety in an epic, athletic adventure. Highlights include the Wilmington coast, fishing villages, salt marshes, tidal creeks, and the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
26. Beach Trail, California
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve comes complete with pine-topped cliffs and beautiful beaches. It encompasses one of the most striking areas of La Jolla. There are different trails available. The popular Beach Trail, however, is a scenic walk down to the lovely beach and has a rocky, steep descent of under one mile each way.
27. Cape Perpetua, Oregon
This Siuslaw National Forest hike is an impressive 382-mile trail that includes the entire Oregon coastline. It also includes a few 2.6-mile round-trip hikes focusing on the prettiest sections of the awesome Oregon Coast Trail. You’ll see the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, and the dramatic Devil’s Churn Viewpoint which is an astonishing overlook.
28. Laguna-Coast Loop, California
Head north of San Francisco where the coast is quieter and wilder and explore popular Point Reyes National Seashore. Hike the favored five-mile Laguna-Coast Loop to see meadows, coastal scrub, various trees, and the gorgeous gold beach before you hit the bluffs where you can see across the salt marshes and mudflats of Tomales Bay.
29. Gordons Pond Trail, Delaware
Oddly, the stunning coastline of the Delmarva Peninsula, between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean is often ignored and underrated. Take this coastal trail in Delaware’s Cape Henlopen State Park and see for yourself. It is an out-and-back hike that covers almost 6.5 miles. Highlights include a pretty pond, marshes, a honey-hued beach, and old towers from the military base once there.
30. Kalalau Trail, Hawaii
Hawaii is home to over 1,000 miles of stunning shoreline. Nevertheless, the coastline of Kauai is extraordinary. This particular 11-mile trek along Napali Coast’s northern section is part of the state parks system and an official designated wilderness area. The only way to explore this coastal stretch from Kalalau Beach to Ke’e is via the verdant valleys and sea cliffs along this attractive coastal trail.