Don't waste your summer at an overrated beach.
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.
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.
Skip Miami's party-driven South Beach and head north to Mid-Beach. You'll get the same Miami experience, but without the crowds.
South Beach can get extremely overcrowded.
As disappointing as it may be to hear, South Beach is terrible. There are hundreds of people lining the shore, which leaves little room for anyone to actually lay out and relax.
For a beach day that isn't littered with empty beer bottles, red Solo cups, and cigarette butts, head north to Mid-Beach, where the crowds are slimmer and the vibes are cooler. There are lovely parks to relax in, modern hotels that show off Miami's new modernism, and plenty of partying opportunities that are classier than anything South Beach has to offer.
Bondi is a go-to for tourists visiting Australia, but Coogee, which is just four miles south of Bondi, is better.
The beautiful walk from Bondi to Coogee should be on everyone's to-do list.
Bondi and its world famous beach is beautiful, but the businesses in the area have been jacking up their prices because of that. The beach is overrun with people who have all heard the same great things you have, and much of the water is reserved for surfers.
You'd be better off heading a few miles south to Coogee, where the beach is just as beautiful (if not more so), there are fewer people, and the price of food and housing is cheaper.
Venice is at the top of every California vacation's to-do list, but Huntington Beach is prettier, cleaner, and less touristy.
Venice's overrun boardwalk versus U.S.A.'s Surf City.
Venice Beach is like The Hollywood Walk of Fame: something everyone feels like they need to see on a trip to Los Angeles, but really don't. The cool, laidback Venice you picture in your head does not exist, as it has more vagrants and street performers than eclectic skateboarders and artists. Vendors are constantly trying to sell you something, the shops offer gaudy souvenirs at sky-high prices, and any restaurant right off the beach will be an overpriced tourist trap.
Huntington, while still a favorite for many visitors, offers up the cool Cali feel that Venice Beach has long lost. The town has real beach culture — it's full of volleyballers and surfers, and is home to several surf shops and seaside eateries. Like Venice, it has an oceanfront path for people to walk or bike along while taking in the scenery.