Travel and Leisure — July 10, 2014 at 5:00 am

America’s Top Small Town Beaches

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Huntington, Miami and Hilton Head—every beach body has heard of these large and in-charge shorelines. However, small town America offers quaint yet prominent beaches waiting to be explored. Although small in nature, these beaches offer large opportunities for fun, seclusion and fine dining. Whether you’re searching for a good bottle of wine or soft sand to sunbathe on, these little beach towns are the top picks across the states.

Mackinac Island, Michigan
This family-friendly destination often feels something you find along the Pacific Ocean. The beautiful Lake Huron waters showcase a blue color often seen along the Pacific. Besides beach bumming around, visitors experience old-fashioned living with horse and carriage rides, kite flying and butterfly displays. Warm Mid-West summers find coolness best with swimming, but be careful of the rocky shoreline.

Ashok Rodrigues / iStock / thinkstock.com

Ashok Rodrigues / iStock / thinkstock.com

Avila Beach, California
Located in Central coastal California, this beach sees more sun than surrounding foggy shorelines. Locals find therapy with swimming or walking along the boardwalk. Avila is most known for its spa and mineral hot spring culture. Expect to find prominent spas, yoga classes and massage parlors.

kevinruss / iStock / thinkstock.com

kevinruss / iStock / thinkstock.com

Gearhart, Oregon
Located north of Canon Beach, Gearhart’s old-fashioned town features the best of modern day living. Vino shops, stargazing parties, gift stores and clam digging sands attract northwest hipsters from urban jungles to small town. Expect big city flavors at the local bakeries and cafes, serving up sustainable seafood and organic delights.

Chincoteague Island, Virginia
This island is popular thanks to being the popular location of children’s books. This island is best known for its abundant wildlife. Wild ponies run free while 320 species of birds fly high in the sky. Wildlife tours are available, but this island is special for those who enjoy seclusion while connecting with nature.

sbonk / iStock / thinkstock.com

sbonk / iStock / thinkstock.com

Duck, North Carolina
Any town named “Duck” is sure to be a stereotypical cute town. This region is located 70-miles north of Kitty Hawk. What makes this beach unique is that there are no public beaches; therefore, travelers must rent or stay in a seaside cottage, B&B or resort, creating an atmosphere all for yourself, family and furry fellows.

dKi-photography / iStock / thinkstock.com

dKi-photography / iStock / thinkstock.com

St. Pete Beach, Florida
This barrier island is free from raving nightclubs and tantalizing strip clubs, which are common amidst Florida’s party beaches. The small community showcases cute old-fashioned novelties such as transporting locals via the Suncoast Beach Trolley. Head downtown to either grab lunch at a café or meander through the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum, a perfect small town activity.

Sunset Beach, Hawaii
Located on Oahu’s north shore, this beach is popular with surfers. Spend the day surfing, or watching surfers, grab a mango smoothie in the afternoon and watch the sunset at night. Away from the main drag Oahu’s busy Honolulu, Sunset Beach boasts the perfect small-town Hawaii flavor and atmosphere.

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