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USATourist News Magazine by Elizabeth Blair
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USATourist News Magazine

June 2011 - U.S. Beach Towns

In this issue:

Welcome to the June issue of USATourist.com News Magazine. Summertime is here which means America's coastal towns are welcoming the crowds once again. This month we're touching on several beaches from the East to West coast and offering a few tips and activity suggestions for each location. In addition, there are some great deals to be found in the USATourist hotel reservations and don't forget we can help you find a rental car and flights. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy this sunny issue!

The Jersey Shore is more than a TV show

Jersey Shore may be a popular television show right now but it's also a hot-spot during summer months when tourists from near and far arrive. The Jersey Shore is only 60 miles south of Manhattan and 50 miles northeast of Philadelphia. If you're visiting New York City, you can skip the drive and opt for a forty-minute ferry ride from the Wall Street area on SeaStreak.

Atlantic City Beach

Casinos, sandy beaches and a boardwalk with lots of shops and entertainment can be found in Atlantic City.
© Mike Leco

Colorful boardwalks can be found along the coast including the popular gambling city of Atlantic City. Another option is the colorful Jenkinson's Amusement Park on the Pt. Pleasant Boardwalk. More than just a boardwalk with pretty views, Jenkinson's has an abundance of entertainment choices. You will find an amusement park, arcades, aquarium, mini-golf courses, batting cages, and the classic games of chance.

As for the beaches, Sandy Hook Beach is one of the most popular stretches. The seven-miles offer a typical beach environment but there are several more beaches. Further down the shore are Long Branch beaches, Asbury Park, Ocean Grove, Belmar, Spring Lake, Jenkinson's, Bay Head, Lavallette, Ortley Beach, Seaside Heights, Seaside Park, Island Beach State Park and Long Beach Island. When I lived out East Seaside Park was one of my favorite spots to spend the day.

NJ Tip: Know ahead of time, you must pay to visit Monmouth County and Ocean County beaches. You may purchase Beach Tags at the entrance to the beach or at designated areas. These fees provide trash pickup and other beach services such as lifeguards.

Once you've had your fill of beaches, there's plenty else to do on dry land. Visit Six Flags Great Adventure Theme Park, Wild Safari Drive-thru Animal Park and Hurricane Harbor Water Park. Watch a horse race at the historic Monmouth Park Racetrack or shop at the 40-acre maritime village and the resort town of Seaside Heights.

New Jersey's 11 lighthouses are classic shore landmarks and some are even available for visitors to tour. Some lighthouses even have annual festivals. You can find an entire list on the State of New Jersey site.

Hilton Head Island

On the same side of the country, but further south is the charming Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. I've heard this is the perfect beach escape. The island is only 12 miles by 5 miles wide, but there is a lot to do including 24 golf courses, 250 Hilton Head restaurants, 200 stores and outlets, and lodging for every type of budget and traveler. Hilton Head Rentals has 1-6 bedroom homes, villas, and condominiums that will fulfill all of your vacationing needs, many with free tennis and golf packages. Properties include locations in Sea Pines Plantation, Palmetto Dunes, Forest Beach, and Folly Field.

Way down South

Much of Florida is surrounded by water, with nearly one-thousand miles of coastline. But every beach in this sunny state has its own vibe. Palm Beach on the eastern side of the state has 47 miles coastline and is a great location for watching the sunrise. What can only be described as an upscale town, Palm Beach is very pretty and clean with plenty to do. Horse lovers will especially be in heaven with over 300 miles of trails. Over the winter months the many world-class equestrian facilities feature polo, steeplechase, and dressage.

Sixflags.com

Further south, Fort Lauderdale and Miami are the epitome of beach cities. Miami's South Beach is probably the most famous of all, but there are plenty of other great beaches to choose from and many are within walking distance of restaurants, bars and shopping. If you do visit these busy beaches it's best to look for a hotel that's in walking distance of the beaches or choose lodging that offers shuttle service. This way you can enjoy your experience instead of fighting traffic.

On the eastern side of Florida's peninsula, Sanibel & Captiva Islands don't have a single stoplight. What they do offer are 15 miles of unspoiled beaches, 50 types of fish, 230 types of birds and 22 miles of bike paths. The most intriguing fact is that these islands are a goldmine for seashell hunting. There are over 250 types of shells and they're found all over the islands. The best time for discovering these ocean treasures is during low-tide and after Gulf storms.

The panhandle's white beaches of Pensacola are some of the prettiest I've ever seen - and I think you will agree if you go. Of course, inland this Navy town has a lot to offer. I highly recommend the National Naval Aviation Museum which is one of the world's largest aviation museums and admission is free. If you travel to Pensacola, March through November, you will be pleasantly surprised to see the world-famous Blue Angels soar overhead as they practice their formations and maneuvers on most Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The team departs from the museum. You may confirm the shows on Naval Museum's website. Another chance to see these flying stars is the Pensacola Beach Air Show (this year it will be held July 8-9).

SoCal

On the other side of the country, Southern California has a multitude of choices. San Diego is always a favorite due to its spacious, pretty beaches. Award-winning Coronado Beach always comes out on top with its iconic Victorian landmark Hotel del Coronado. The hotel was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977 and while it's not cheap to stay there the area still has plenty of other hotel and inn options. Another good choice is to book a San Diego vacation rental. Visit HomeAway® for a San Diego beach rental with oceanfront views.

San Diego Beach

The Beach along Oceanfront Walk in San Diego's Mission Beach area is where you can get some morning solitude.
© Michelle Leco

You probably know Miami, Florida is a huge port for cruises, but you may not realize San Diego is the fastest growing cruise port on the West Coast. San Diego sees 180 cruise ships year-round at the B Street Pier Cruise Ship Terminal and 110 of those begin and end there. The ships visit the Mexican Riviera, Hawaii and the Panama Canal.

Los Angeles is also a popular beach destination. One of the more popular beaches is Venice Beach. This strip of sand is known for it's unique vibe with quarky shops, bikini-clad roller bladers and muscle beach, where buff men pump iron on the sand. Malibu is where many of Hollywood's stars call home. It's also a popular destination for catching some waves on your surfboard! Cabrillo Beach is where the locals like to go with their kids. Once the little ones have had enough of the sun and sand, you can take them to the nearby Cabrillo Marine Aquarium. Finally, Santa Monica is one of the most popular beaches. With 2 miles of sand there's room to stretch out on your beach towel. This is also where you will find the famous Santa Monica Pier, home of the Pacific Park amusement park, a historic carousel, an aquarium, shops and restaurants.

Thank you for reading USATourist.com! We hope you enjoyed this issue. Next month we'll be visiting some America's historical landmarks.

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Written by: Elizabeth L. Blair


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