Don’t want to share sand? If you go to the right place, you won’t have to. While many travelers flock to the most populated beaches with amenities and activities galore, it’s not for everyone. If you’d rather hear the banter of birds than the chatter of people, you’ll find a ton of locations that offer seclusion, peace, and privacy in the sun and sand.
Carova Beach, North Carolina
There are no paved roads leading to the northernmost community of Carova in the Outer Banks of North Carolina—only a sandy lane. You won’t find hotels, grocery stores, restaurants, or shops in Carova, either. Visitors stay in a few rental homes that are only accessible by 4-wheel-drive vehicles. However unspoiled it is, many people know about this location and it is recommended you book very early if you want to catch a glimpse of the wild horses roaming the uncrowded beaches of Carova.
Caladesi Island State Park, Florida
Caladesi Island is frequently rated as one of the top beaches in the U.S. for its sugar-white sand and emerald green water. Despite this distinction, you’ll still find it relatively free of crowds as one of the few undeveloped islands left on the west coast of Florida. To visit, catch a ferry over from Honeymoon Island State Park to experience the secluded beauty of this island.
Cumberland Island, Georgia
Cumberland Island in Georgia is a protected National Seashore and one of the most isolated islands in the United States. The island is only accessible by ferry and visitors are limited. Once a private escape for the Carnegies, Cumberland Island now offers visitors pristine, white, undeveloped beaches, glimpses of wild horses, bike rides in the forest, and the opportunity to explore the ruins of old manors reclaimed by nature. On the island, you can camp, hike, and bike to your heart’s content. Visitors describe it as a truly magical place where it feels like you stepped back in time.
La Playuela (Also Known As Playa Sucia), Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico’s La Playuela is a nature preserve and has no hotels, restaurants, or other development. The crescent-shaped beach and turquoise waters make the hike well worth it. While it’s no secret, the vast unspoiled wilderness will allow you to find plenty of space all to yourself. If you avoid the weekends, you may find yourself the only one in this beautiful, secluded spot.
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
Florida’s Dry Tortuga National Park lies 70 miles west of Key West and is accessible only by boat or seaplane. The blue water and golden sand are met by the imposing structure of Fort Jefferson, a historic military base built in the 1800s. The isolation is a dream if you’re looking for the kind of solitude Henry David Thoreau wrote of.
Pfieffer Big Sur State Park, California
The jagged cliffs, interesting keyholes, purple-streaked sand, and curious wildlife make this secluded beach in California one worth visiting. The road to get there is narrow and visitors are limited, so if you do get a parking space, you’ll have a lot of room to yourself at the beach. Though it’s well-known, you’ll be able to avoid the crowds if you visit during the week.
Assateague Island National Seashore
Straddling the border of Maryland and Virginia, Assateague Island National Seashore boasts over 37 miles of pristine seashore. The wild nature of the preserve lends itself to spectacular bird-watching, with over 320 species frequenting the island. The island is also known for its herds of wild ponies, as well as crabbing, kayaking, and nature tours.
Wildcat Beach, California
Wildcat Beach is 5.5 miles from the nearest trailhead in the Point Reyes National Seashore. The only safe way to access the beach is from Wildcat Campground at the end of the trail. Despite the distance, you may see a number of people coming to see Alamere Falls, a waterfall that drops directly into the ocean a mile south of the beach. Other than that, the difficulty in accessing the beach means it will mostly belong to you for a few hours.
Playa La Plata, Vieques, Puerto Rico
Deep inside the Wildlife Refuge of Vieques, La Plata boasts some of the clearest, most vibrant turquoise water alongside bright, white sand. You’ll often find this paradisiacal strip of sand all to yourself since you need a 4X4 to get here. There aren’t any services, but the snorkeling is great.
Sandbridge Beach, Virginia
Sandbridge Beach, Virginia is just 15 miles south of Virginia Beach, yet moves at a completely different pace. Sandbridge touts itself as a “secluded beach hideaway of pristine sand dunes and dancing sea oats. It is a relaxing and peaceful community where you can truly slow down and unwind on your vacation.” You can rent any type of home here, from quiet beach cottages to mansions big enough for a wedding.
Hobbit Beach, Oregon
The short, family-friendly hike to get to Hobbit Beach is enchanting. One mile through the woods and tunnels made from thick bushes will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a Lord of the Rings movie. The beach at the end is pretty and devoid of crowds.
Canaveral National Seashore, Florida
You’ll have plenty of room to spread out on the 24 miles of protected, white sandy beaches in the Canaveral National Seashore of Florida. The beaches and dunes have been left untouched and serve as an important nature preserve for wildlife. The lack of development means fewer crowds, but it also means you’ll need to bring your own food and supplies. However, once the parking lots fill up, the park closes to new visitors.
Kauapea Beach, Kauai
Also known as Secret Beach, the trail to get here isn’t easily accessible–it’s not even marked. The dirt trail starts to the side of a private residence and is steep in some places. Yet, the mile-long hike rewards visitors with a beach brimming with soft, golden sand lined by majestic cliffs and palms. Though no longer a secret, the difficulty in getting here assures you’ll still find a piece of paradise for yourself.
Caja De Muertos Island, Puerto Rico
If you’re looking for a deserted island, you may find Isla Caja De Muertos fits the bill. It’s a nature reserve that has been left undeveloped, save for the ruins of an old lighthouse. You can take a ferry or book an excursion through a tour company to be one of the few to experience the blue waters and tropical serenity at Isla Caja De Muertos.
Lake Powell, Utah and Arizona
An inland favorite for secluded beaches is Lake Powell. The drive takes hours and you’ll need a boat with plenty of supplies to access the 2,000 miles of shoreline, but once you’ve done that, you will be able to find a stretch of soft, red sand all your own.
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