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Delightful beach towns in the USA where you can relax in a relaxed atmosphere with stunning views of the coast

In the summertime, the urge to plunge into the cool moisture is irresistible. Therefore, initially it seems that any beach will do. But there is good reason to look for America's charming little beach towns, where the laid-back vibe and beautiful coastal views create an intoxicating combination. For beach lovers who prefer quirky cottages, quirky shops and historic marinas, says the publication Travel and Leisure.

Photo: Shutterstock

Block Island, Rhode Island

Block Island is an hour's ferry ride from Rhode Island. It combines a quaint downtown area, breathtaking coastal landscapes and rolling greenery crisscrossed by low stone walls reminiscent of a remote British island. The village-like old harbor contains Victorian guesthouses, quirky boutiques and the island's only grocery store. The specialty of this place is its simple pleasures: foggy mornings, beach walks, ice cream on the porch, bike rides and day trips to mighty cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Okrakok, North Carolina

Before it was finally settled in the 1700s, this tiny island was home to pirates, including one of the infamous Blackbeard. Today, the remoteness that once attracted pirates captivates tens of thousands of visitors every year. It can only be reached by boat or ferry. It is one of the most remote outer coasts of North Carolina, the Ocraccock. It offers large sandy beaches combined with wildlife. Around the harbor are stalls, surf shops, family-run BBQ restaurants and oyster bars, as well as old-fashioned hotels and camping cottages.

Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington

Take a ferry or seaplane to this charming island village just outside Seattle. These are beaches with a natural atmosphere, independent bookshops and restaurants. It even has a lavender farm with views of the Olympic Mountains. Walk along the rocky coastline - spot whales and other wildlife at Lime Kiln Point Park, home to a 1914 lighthouse, among other things.

On the subject: Danger while on holiday: 11 beaches where most sharks live

Edisto, South Carolina

Edisto Island is ideal for a basic beach holiday. The program includes an introduction to Botany Bay, the island's one of a kind nature reserve with amazing shells, as well as walking or cycling to live oaks and palmettes to the 2000-year-old American Indian mound, encountering turtles and alligators in the serpentarium and many farmers' markets.

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

Photo: Shutterstock

By the early 1900s, the charming Carmel-by-the-Sea was already a destination of choice for creative people. Even with decades of tourism and celebrity attention, Carmel-by-the-Sea has retained its small-town charm. The small center of this settlement, through which you can walk on foot, seems to be something like a fairy tale; its streets are paved with cobblestones and dotted with shops, galleries, wine restaurants, magical cottages of the 1920s, and secluded gardens and courtyards. For the wind-carved Carmel Cliffs and beautiful white sand coves, head to the City's Point Lobos Nature Reserve, Carmel River Beach and Garrapata Park.

Sanibel Island, Florida

Sanibel Island is located on the Gulf of Mexico in Florida, about 130 miles (209 km) north of Key West. This is a paradise for nature lovers. The enchanting, quirky island is a natural repository of seashells, and collecting samples at Bowman Beach is a favorite pastime for visitors. A huge chunk of the island is under protection, including a wildlife sanctuary perfect for birdwatching, kayaking, fishing and picnicking. In terms of trade, there are several local outlets in the summer where you can buy custard and seafood, as well as visit the local farmers' market.

Port Aransas, TX

Across the Gulf of Mexico from Sanibel lies Port Aransas, the self-proclaimed "fishing capital of Texas." Sports enthusiasts have 18 miles (29 km) of beach and ready-made charter excursions by sea. Besides fishing, there is swimming, kayaking, parasailing, golf, dolphin and bird watching. The wetlands and estuaries of Port Aransas are home to hundreds of bird species, including pelicans, ducks and the majestic pink spoonbill. The National Coast of Padre Island is another fascinating place to visit; the undeveloped barrier island offers 70 miles (112 km) of pristine beach, rolling sand dunes and lagoon waters.

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach is one of the most vibrant and recognizable places in the state. Its nine-mile beach offers facilities for swimming, walking, kayaking and bird watching. Take time to visit Hug Point (surrounded by cliffs and foggy old growth forests) at low tide when the ocean opens up caves. Regulations curb overdevelopment and online commerce while helping the city maintain a unique vibe.

Capitola, California

Escape crowded Santa Cruz and travel to this colorful village with a beautiful cove and delightful promenade. The city has a Mediterranean flair with brightly painted houses, a beautiful marina and village shops. Food and drink options range from local pubs and tacos to Shadowbrook's tiered restaurant, a wine restaurant built from local mahogany on a steep hillside overlooking Sockwell Creek.

Bald Head Island, North Carolina

The swampy coastlines of Carolina and Georgia are dotted with beautiful, peaceful beaches, and North Carolina's Bald Head Island is one of the most mesmerizing. The most northerly subtropical island of the East Coast is a largely protected marine forest with beaches, nature trails, several cafes and miles of picturesque pristine beaches. Cars are not allowed, so guests ride golf carts, bicycles and kayaks and walk on their own feet. Between beach walks, bike rides and porch board games, travelers can visit the state's oldest lighthouse and spot sea turtles at the Bald Head Island Conservancy.

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St. Augustine, Florida

Not every beach vacation matches the Old World vibe. In historic St. Augustine, culture and coastal nature go hand in hand. The city has quiet beaches, historic sites like Castillo de San Marcos and quaint European-style shopping streets like St. George and Aviles. Among other things, be sure to visit the Pirate and Treasure Museum, the local alligator zoo and the distillery, which is open daily for guided tours and tastings.

Ogunquit, Maine

Ogunquit is translated as "a beautiful place by the sea," and the city more than lives up to its name. For a taste of the classic coastal state of Maine, walk the cliff-top, which boasts incredible views and sounds of the Atlantic. Explore the pretty city on foot, with theaters, art galleries, antique shops, huts, wine bars and cafes.

Cape May, NJ

Located on the southernmost outskirts of New Jersey, Cape May is the perfect destination for beach lovers with a love of history and architecture. The city is filled to the brim with examples of the Victorian era - cottages, hotels, summer houses, and the atmosphere here is appropriate too. Walk the brick sidewalks or take a horse-drawn carriage tour to see the colorful architecture.

San Clemente, California

Photo: Shutterstock

Beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, sandy cliff beaches and coastal trails are all part of the attractive offer of this Orange County city. San Clemente's stunning coastline is a Mecca for swimmers, boaters, vacationers and hikers. The city itself has farmers' markets, breweries, eateries and a cozy atmosphere that contrasts nicely with some of the neighboring Southern California beach towns.

Newport, Rhode Island

This New England seaport rose to prominence when it became the summer destination of choice for the first American titans of the industry, the Astors, Morgan and Vanderbilts. Stroll past the legendary Gilded Age home and other historic mansions on Newport Cliff. Walk down Easton Beach, a family-friendly sandy beach called First Beach by the locals.

Solana Beach, California

Natural beauty is central to this laid-back town in San Diego County, where the best things to do are just sunbathe on beautiful beaches, explore rugged pedestrian areas with ocean and lagoon views, and sample homemade tamales and chocolate halva at the farmers' market.

Provincetown, Massachusetts

Located on Cape Cod, this town of less than 3000 inhabitants is transformed into a veritable colony of art with a population of 60 during the high season. Provincetown draws in with its bohemian vibe to the summer crowd with a winning mix of stunning natural landscapes, 000th century homes and cultural environments. Vacationers frolic on the beaches of Race Point and Herring Cove, ride bicycles through pine forests and dunes, and stroll through the city center.

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