Of course there are different opinions about the "best beaches" in the U.S. for example, the high-profile list of America's Best Beaches, released every year by "Dr. Beach", focuses on the "health" of beaches and looks at their "vital signs" and "anatomy".
The list below comes from TripAdvisor.com (2007), the popular site for visitors' comments about resorts, hotels, etc. The beaches selected have soft sand, calm water, and activities or amenities that suit families. Michele Parry, TripAdvisor's director of Communications says, "They're also beautiful, relaxing spots that every parent will enjoy."
TripAdvisor's picks for Ten Best Beaches in the U.S.
1. Nags Head Beach, The Outer Banks, NC
The Outer Banks area of North Carolina -- a 130-mile chain of barrier islands-- has pristine beaches, great fishing, and some interesting history and sightseeing. Nags Head has sandy beach, lifeguards, and watersports.
2. St. George Island State Park Beach, St. George Island, FL
This quiet island is on the Gulf Coast in Florida's "panhandle" area, with Gulf of Mexico on one side, Apalachicola Bay on the other. Nine miles of undeveloped beaches, dunes, slash pines, and live oak hammocks. The State Park has camping, hiking, fishing, swimming and sun-bathing (no lifeguards, though.)
3. Coronado Coronation: Glorietta Bay Beach, Coronado, CA
In San Diego County, Glorietta Beach has year-round warm weather, calm surf, picnic tables and a park. Classic hotel Del Coronado is nearby. (More about the Coronado Beach area.)
4. Bowman's Beach, Sanibel Island, FL
On the Gulf side of Florida, and a great place for shelling, with shallow waters, white sandy beaches, outdoor showers, BBQ barbeque grills. Sanibel Island has unspoiled and beaches (shallow-- great for tots), and is known as one of the world's top shelling spots.
5. Hilton Head Island Beach, Hilton Head, SC
Hilton Head is a popular small island -- 12 miles long and 5 miles wide-- 35 miles northeast of Savannah GA, 100 miles south of Charleston. The area is known for white-sand beaches, palm trees, live oaks, pines... This beach is good for young kids, and families can try kayaking and dolphin tours.
6. Indiana Dunes State Park Beach, Michigan City, Indiana
Three miles of soft sand from Gary, Indiana to Michigan City; picnic areas, and a pavilion on the beach with a snack bar. Beautiful sand dunes; desert plants, giant wood ferns, and white pines. A nature center has details about the dunes and year-round programming year-round.
7. Bathtub Beach, Stuart, FL
Surf can get big on Floridas east coast, but a reef offshore creates a lagoon-like effect of shallow, calm waters-- great for little kids. Golden sand, lifeguards, picnic tables. Stuart is at the southern end of the "Treasure Coast".
8. Stewart Beach, Galveston, TX
Galveston Island, inside the city of Galveston, has a number of beach options including this beach with kids playground, umbrella and chair rentals, and activities such as volleyball, sandcastle competitions, concerts and other family fun. Admission fee for cars.
9. Higbee Beach, Cape May, NJ
In southern New Jersey, with miles of soft, white sand, calm surf, dunes. Good spot for birding and whale-watching (seasonal). Note: this beach may be "clothing optional", and parking lots may be closed to reduce pressure on wildlife.
10. Mayo Beach, Cape Cod, MA
This Wellfleet Bay beach has calm water with shallow areas, and a playground across the street, and nearby pier for fishing boats. Read more about visiting Cape Cod.
(Tripadvisor list 2007.)