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Check out all 4 parts of our series on our favorite beaches: Part 1: Pacific Northwest, Part 2: California, Part 3: Northeast Coast, Part 4: Southeast Coast.
If you are dreaming of a trip to the beach, there are some unbeatable destinations to be found throughout the southeast part of the US. In this post, we are going to share a few of our favorite spots with you. But first, here are a few reasons to head to a Southeast coast beach.
Now that you know a few reasons Southeast coast beaches are worth a visit, let’s check out some locations worth adding to your bucket list.
The Outer Banks is a region of North Carolina that offers more than a hundred miles of shoreline to explore. It is an unusual destination, in that you can drive way out over the water to explore the various spits and islands comprising it—kind of like the Florida Keys.
At the Outer Banks, you will find the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, six beautiful lighthouses, and a lot of maritime and colonial history.
Despite the fact that The Outer Banks is a big draw to tourists visiting North Carolina, it retains an off-the-beaten-path feel. You should find it easy to avoid crowds and to find wide open, secluded spaces to explore. It very much feels like its own private world, removed from everyday life.
In terms of where to stay, Cape Hatteras National Seashore has three different campgrounds operated by the NPS. There are plenty of other locations where you can pitch a tent as well. There are also hotels and resorts for those looking for indoor options.
Speaking of the Florida Keys, if you are in that area, you will want to head over to Biscayne National Park. The majority of the park is water, rather than shoreline. It is a popular destination for boating, snorkelling, fishing, and lobstering.
If you are into water-based activities, Biscayne National Park will feel like heaven on earth. It is an incredibly diverse location in terms of its ecologies, which are home to a magnificent range of flora and fauna, including hundreds of fish and bird species and over fifty types of crustaceans. You might also spot a crocodile in the mangroves!
You can camp right at Biscayne National Park on Elliot Key or Boca Chita Key. There are restrooms on both islands, including showers on Elliot Key. Both areas have grills and picnic tables at the campsites. You do need to take a boat to reach either, however—you cannot drive to the campgrounds.
Just southeast of Corpus Christi, you will come across Padre Island National Seashore on Padre Island. You should not confuse Padre Island with South Padre Island. South Padre Island is a crowded spot popular among college students. By contrast, Padre Island National Seashore on Padre Island is a more secluded destination featuring protected tidal flats, dunes and prairies.
You’ll be visiting what NPS calls "the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world." Whether you want to go fishing, beachcombing, bird-watching or hiking, there is so much to see and do.
Perhaps the most exciting time to visit Padre Island National Seashore is during summer, That is when there are sometimes releases of Kemp’s ridley sea turtle hatchlings! Alas, there is no way to schedule hatchings, so you need to get lucky to be there for a release. The park’s FB page may help you time your visit to coincide.
You can camp year-round at Padre Island National Seashore on a first-come, first-served basis.
Along the Southeast coast, you can find numerous beautiful beaches. Explore island chains, snorkel and scuba dive around reefs in clear waters, and visit picturesque lighthouses and charming beach towns. The delights of destinations like Padre Island National Seashore, The Outer Banks and Biscayne National Park are endless.