Florida’s beach towns are often saturated with travelers, especially in areas like Miami and Destin, but the southeastern U.S. has so much more coastline than people realize. These lesser-known beaches mean you can leave behind the crowds and the tacky t-shirt shops and enjoy the quiet.
Sullivan’s Island, SC
Charleston has three main beaches, but Sullivan’s is the local’s favorite. There aren’t any big chain hotels, but rather family homes and well-loved local restaurants. Bill Murray has a house here, as do members of the indie rock band Band of Horses. Set yourself up for the day around station 18, near Charleston Light, a slightly odd-looking, but iconic steel frame lighthouse. You’ll have views of the ships coming into the harbor and may spot horseshoe crabs and other wildlife. For a quick bite, you can’t go wrong with Poe’s Tavern, which is named after the famous writer who once lived here.
New Smyrna Beach, FL
Located an hour north of Orlando, New Smyrna Beach is a quiet spot to lay out. Join a paddleboarding tour with East Coast Paddle departing from J.B.’s Fish Camp. You’ll spot fish and manatees in the Indian River and see the bird sanctuary. The beaches are clean and great for families.
St. Simon’s Island, GA
Georgia’s Golden Isles have their distinctive charms, from the untamed landscape of Cumberland Island to the family-friendly atmosphere of Jekyll Island. St. Simon’s Island was once the stomping grounds of the rich and famous. The King and Prince Resort opened in 1935 and was the place to go for well-heeled celebs of the era. It was also a naval training and lookout facility during World War II. St. Simon’s is a tight-knit community, where you can ride a rented bike under the oaks, grab a bite at the local restaurants, or fish from the pier.