Anyone can go to a beach, but what about a seashore — and what makes them so special? A seashore is a coastal area officially recognized by the U.S. to be recreationally significant and preserved. They’re technically considered national parks with stunning coastal views and with only 10 in the entire country, they’re worth planning a visit. Check out a few highlighted below, each with their own unique attributes that make them extraordinary.
1. Canaveral National Seashore
Florida is known for its stretches of sparkling beaches, but the Canaveral National Seashore in Daytona Beach is in a league of its own. Framed by towering dunes and lagoon habitats, this barrier island makes for that idyllic day at the beach that vacations are made of. It’s considered the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline in the Sunshine State and is home to ancient Timucua Native American mounds, as well as thousands of species of plants and animals.
Planning a day of soaking up the sun and surf should include plenty of sunscreen, water, snacks, and even bug repellant. Also, be sure to check the weather beforehand — during the summer, Florida is known for its flash thunderstorms in the afternoon, however they typically pass quickly. A little rain won’t damper your day, but avoid a trip to the beach if lightning appears in the forecast.
Besides enjoying the water, you can enjoy hikes like the Castle Windy Trail on Apollo Beach or go kayaking or paddleboarding along Mosquito Lagoon. With its close proximity to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, you can plan your visit for an extra special treat — a rocket launch! During the summer, you can view them from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and in winter from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where to Stay: Club Wyndham Ocean Walk
2. Fire Island National Seashore
When you think of New York City, typically sand and sun aren’t among the first thoughts that come to mind. If you’re making a trip to the Big Apple, step away from the glittering lights of the concrete jungle to experience Fire Island National Seashore on Long Island, New York.
The best way to get there is through Long Island so consider taking the train from Long Island Railroad to the ferries. Once you arrive, you’ll be met with 26 miles of pristine beach — perfect for sunning and swimming, along with fringes of maritime forests to explore.
For a unique adventure, make your way to Sunken Forest in Sailor’s Haven — a rare forest of holly that’s one of only six forest types in the world. Another significant spot to visit is the Fire Island Light House. This magnificent landmark was built in 1858 and served as a trusted guide for transatlantic ships approaching the New York Harbor. It stands at 168 feet tall, making it the tallest light house on Long Island. It’s a fascinating historical landmark with its 182 steps to the top, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views. On a clear day, you can even see the sprawling New York City skyline.
Where to Stay: Club Wyndham Midtown 45
3. Point Reyes National Seashore
Dramatic bluffs, crashing waves, and a rugged shoreline make up the hidden gem of Point Reyes National Seashore in Point Reyes Station, California. It has an allure that feels like you’re walking along the edge of the Earth. In fact, during the summer, it’s known for a thick fog that blankets the coastline. Further adding to the unique atmosphere are its trees, some of which have a Dr. Seuss-like appearance from growing sideways due to heavy winds that have passed through the area.
This is less a beach to come and relax, and more to explore and adventure — however, if you’re looking for a relaxing, long walk, head to Sculpted Beach. It’s quiet and perfect for a picnic. It even has tide pools where you can spot special organisms when it’s low tide.
If you came to hike, you won’t be disappointed with Chimney Rock Trail, which is less than 2 miles round trip and winds you through rugged coastal trails. Marvel at the waves crashing along the massive Chimney Rock and just enjoy the scenery. If you’re truly looking to be transported to what feels like another world, plan a visit to Alamere Falls. Although it’s a 13-mile round-trip hike, you’ll be stunned at the 40-foot waterfall cascading directly into the ocean.
Where to Stay: Club Wyndham Canterbury, The Donatello, Inn at the Opera, The Suites at Fisherman's Wharf