When summer rolls into town, everyone else wants to roll out.
The best place for this is usually the beach. Thanks to the refreshing water and nice ocean breeze, it’s one of the easiest ways to stay cool throughout the year’s hottest months. But not all beach towns were created equal.
Many beach towns that were once the “it place” to go have become overrun with tourists, while others have simply been overrated from the start.
Here are 11 beach towns to avoid — and where to go instead.
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Instead of visiting the touristy Waikiki, Hawaii, head across Oahu to Haleiwa.
While beautiful, Waikiki was basically designed with tourists in mind, and is a strip of luxury hotels, expensive stores, and chain restaurants flanked by an overcrowded beach.
Haleiwa, however, features the laidback vibe Hawaii is famous for. Located on the North Shore, just 45 minutes from Honolulu, Haleiwa boasts shaved ice stands (like the famous Matsumoto Shave Ice), surf shops, and casual eateries, and attracts surfers, wave watchers, and anyone looking to get away from the big city. Luckily, with a limited hotel scene, the area hasn’t been consumed by tourists just yet, and was named the best small Hawaiian town by Hawai’i Magazine.
Rather than visit the overpriced Cabo San Lucas, head to Tulum.
Cabo San Lucas was popular long before the teenagers on “Laguna Beach” gushed about it, so its best days are long over. By now, it’s extremely commercialized, with nary any Mexican culture left to take in. Even worse, it’s now a popular destination for spring breakers.
However, across the country you’ll find Tulum, where there’s still plenty of history left to enjoy — like 1,000-year-old Mayan ruins and ancient cenotes. Beach Road South is the where visitors really fall in love, as it’s lined with hip yoga studios and cool bars, like the jungle-enclosed bar Gitano, as well as tons of vegan-friendly restaurants.
Before booking a getaway to Destin, Florida, consider the nearby Seaside.
If you want a picturesque seaside vacation that’s both relaxing and fun, head a few miles further than Destin, which is a favorite among Midwesterners.
Check out Seaside, which was made famous by Jim Carrey’s “The Truman Show,” and is just as cute in real life as it is in the movie. The hotels and rentals are nicer, the beaches are less crowded, and the restaurants and shops there are generally a bit more upscale than those in Destin. Plus, there are far fewer tacky attractions.