Hiking by the beach is one of the most beautiful and fun ways to explore your natural environment. Discover some of the most scenic coastal hikes across the US.
Whether taking a cooling dip in the ocean or enjoying the calming sounds of the waves, spending time at the beach is a great way to reconnect with nature. Although often overlooked, the US has many coastal areas that can be hiked just the same as forest or natural park trails.
Here is our list of 11 of the best locations in the US for hiking by the beach, with some extra info on how to get there and what flora and fauna you might see along the way. Happy trails!
1. Yankee Paradise Trail
Located on Georgia’s Cumberland Island, the Yankee Paradise is a six-mile trail perfect for backpacking, camping, and hiking. A relatively quick hike, this point-to-point trail is estimated to take around two hours to complete and features many scenic views of the Georgia seashore and forest areas. This trail also sports the Yankee Paradise Campground and a range of vibrant wildlife, from armadillos and horses to hatching sea turtles.
2. Hiking By the Beach: Cutler Coast Trail
Located two hours north of Acadia National Park, hiking the Cutler Coast trail is an unmissable opportunity to experience the beauty of coastal Maine. Featuring lush forest areas and rocky terrain, hiking this trail means reconnection with all kinds of wildlife, including humpback whales, porpoises, and seals visible from the shoreline. Cutler Coast is around nine miles long and estimated to take two days when backpacking overnight, with multiple campsites found dotted along the coastline. This free-to-hike trail is usually hiked as a loop, with the trailhead found half a kilometer from the shoreline.
3. Ka’ena Point
Found at the westernmost tip of the island of O’ahu, the Ka’ena Point hiking trail allows you to experience the exceptional beauty of Hawaii away from the crowds. A three-mile trail, Ka’ena Point is a relatively short coastal hike estimated to take only two hours to complete. Beginning at either the end of Yokohama Bay or Mokuleia Beach, this hike is known to be fairly difficult due to the rough terrain of the Oahu coastline. Dogs are also not permitted at Ka’ena Point. Unique features of this trail include tidal pools, the Ka’ena Point Bird Sanctuary, and the occasional whale.
4. Provincetown Dunes
Found at the tip of Massachusetts’s Cape Cod, hiking the Provincetown Dunes Trail is a great way to go hiking by the beach and experience the vivid natural environment of Provincetown. Featuring sandy shorelines and miles of untouched beach, this coastal hike is around three miles long and takes several hours to complete. To begin, it is recommended that you start this there-and-back hike just off Route 6 at Snail Road.
5. Hiking By the Beach on the Laguna Trail
With picturesque views, this California coastal trail takes you through Point Reyes with several beaches and bay areas along the way. A six-mile roundtrip, this coastal loop hike begins at Laguna Trailhead and is estimated to take around three hours to complete. With several campgrounds along the way, the Laguna Trail is free to hike and features beautiful views of the Laguna Beach area, as well as dolphins, elk, and a variety of bird species.
Interested in more hikes like the Laguna Trail? Check out some of the best hikes in Southern California.
6. Oregon Coast Trail
A hiking trail made of ten separate smaller trails totaling over 300 miles, the Oregon Coast Trail is a hiking experience of true variety. Described as the most scenic coastline in the US, hiking by the beach on this coast trail features the most beautiful parts of Oregon, from sandy dunes to rugged coastlines and quaint coastal towns. If you want to hike this trail, what you see depends on which of the trail’s ten sections you pick in particular – Section One begins at the Columbia River and ends at Oswald West State Park, while Section Ten will take you to where the forest meets the coastline from Pistol River to the Californian Border.
7. Hike By The Beach in Florida: Dune Ridge Trail
Located in Northeast Florida, hiking the Dune Ridge Trail is a uniquely scenic way to experience the sunshine state. A three-mile hike, Dune Ridge Trail lets you explore the ancient forestlands and coastal dunes of Little Talbot Island. This free-to-hike loop trail begins at the Dune Ride parking site and is home to a range of wildlife, including gopher tortoises, osprey, and the occasional dolphin.
8. Superior Hiking Trail
Following the rocky outcrop overlooking Lake Superior, the Superior Hiking Trail is about as rugged as it gets. Like the Oregon Trail, this hike is made up of multiple different sections that added together equal almost 300 miles. Popular hikes on this trail include the five-mile trek from Lake County Road 301 to Castle Danger, and Otter Lake Road to the 270-Degree Lookout, a scenic spot with views of the lake and coastline.
9. Bartlett Cove Trail: Hiking By the Beach in Alaska
A four-mile hike, the Bartlett Cove Trail is a great way to see the beauty of the Alaskan wilds in their natural habitat. This loop hike is estimated to take just over four hours to complete, beginning near the Glacier Bay Lodge and ending at the scenic Bartlett River Estuary. Along the way are plenty of opportunities to spot some of Glacier Bay’s most striking wildlife, with the spawning salmon of Bartlett Lake attracting bears, otters, and seals alike.
10. Ozette Loop
Located in the picturesque Washington National Park, the Ozette Loop Trail is home to natural tide pools and beautiful views of the Washington coastline. This loop trail’s nine-mile distance is likable either as a five-hour day hike or a 2-night backpacking trip, with bookable campsites available throughout the park. To hike this trail you must also have a Park Entrance pass.
11. Hike By the Beach on the Kalalau Trai
Found on the Kaui island of Hawaii, the Kalalau Trail is one of the most popular coastal hikes in the state. Just over ten miles long, this trail takes you from Ke’e Beach through the rugged shoreland and scenic green valleys of the Na Pali Coast before ending at Kalalau Beach. Camping is permitted during this hike, although this must be done with an official state camping license. Although beautiful, this hike is also known as one of the most hazardous coastal hikes in the US due to its remote nature and dangerous waters.
- The 10 Best Oregon State Parks for Camping: Coastal, Near Portland, South and East
- Urban Hiking: The 10 Most Walkable Cities in the US in 2023
- 10 Best East Coast National Parks, Ranked
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