Think that a day at the beach is only for those lucky enough to live on the Pacific or Atlantic coasts? Think again. There’s beach fun to be had in all 50 states, including the 27 we consider landlocked. Don’t forget sunscreen!
Lake Ponder, in Crowley’s Ridge State Park in northeast Arkansas, is a beautiful beach by a swimming lake offering boat, kayak, and pedal boat rentals.
Lake Coeur d’Alene will make you feel like you are on a fancy European riviera, with luxurious beach time and plenty of sunshine.
Illinois Beach State Park is 6.5 miles along the sandy shore of Lake Michigan just 90 minutes north of Chicago is the only remaining beach ridge shoreline left in the state. It’s a beautiful site, with dunes, sprawling marshes, and lots of beautiful vegetation.
Historic Lake Scott State Park is hidden in a wooded canyon of craggy cliffs. The park’s spring-fed lake has a pleasant swimming beach with a playground and concession stand offering food, fishing supplies, canoes and paddle boats. The 1,020-acre state park also has camping, hunting, nature trails and historic sites.
Barren River Lake State Resort Park is a beach surrounded by forested, rolling hills, like something out of a fairy tale. Nearby is Kentucky’s well-known cave area, giving endless opportunities for exploration during your beach getaway.
Grand Haven State Park Beach on Lake Michigan at Grand Haven is a big beautiful beach at a 48-acre state park. It even has a photo-ready red lighthouse and a cute boardwalk that leads into town, which is about a mile away. There’s also a running trail along the shoreline that will take you to Holland, another gorgeous lakeside city.
Located in St. Cloud, Minnesota, Quarry Park and Nature Preserve is a 600-plus acre county park and home to 20 abandoned granite quarries with hiking trails, bike paths, rock-climbing and swimming holes. Dive off of the rocky cliffs into the quarries, which are sometimes more than 100-feet deep. The best way to enjoy them is by “floaty.” Quarry number 11 includes a sandy beach along one side to make for easier wading.
The Lake of the Ozarks has more shoreline than California and it is top of mind right now because of the success of the Ozarks show on Netflix. But there are several lakes, rivers and hundreds of streams throughout Missouri, so literally the whole state has water running through it and there is no end to the water recreation.
Flathead Lake State Park on Flathead Lake’s Big Arm Bay, about an hour from Glacier National Park, offers a beautiful pebble beach with nearby camping available.
Lake McConaughy features more 100 miles of white sandy shoreline perfect for swimming, building sandcastles or just soaking up the sun. The beach is also a popular spot for camping, as campers can pitch their tent right on the water’s edge.
Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America and the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe has a private beach right on it, including access to a floating bar called Pier 111 Bar. The beach offers beautiful panoramic views of Tahoe’s snow-capped peaks in the High Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.
Lea Lake in Bottomless Lakes State Park is a beautiful sandy beach with an epic view making it ideal as a picnic location. It’s very close to UFO capital Roswell, which can lead to interesting story telling while on that picnic!
Lake Renwick, in North Dakota’s Icelandic State Park, has swimming beaches with a beautiful park and walking trail for a backdrop.
Kellys Island State Park near Sandusky is a small beach that’s only about 100 feet long, but it’s known for its gentle surf and is a great spot for a quick kayak ride or dip in the water on a warm day.
Arcadia Lake in Edmond offers hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking trails. There’s three beaches here, too: Spring Creek Park Beach, Central State Park Beach and Edmond Parks Beach, so it’ll provide hours of fun and exploration.
Stunning Presque Isle State Park, along Lake Erie has so much beach access, you will never get bored. There’s 11 beaches to check out in this area jutting peninsula just north of the city of Erie.
Ravine Lake in Huron is unique in that it’s a beach located right in town! There’s also picnic areas, fishing docks, and, of course, lots of sand.
J. Percy Priest Lake in Hermitage is just outside the exciting nightlife of Nashville. Its kid-friendly swimming beach offers a great way to relax after having too much fun at the honky tonks.
Lake Powell near Page, Arizona, is surrounded by several beaches. A few of the most popular options include Good Hope Bay, east of Bullfrog Marina at green buoy 119; Lone Rock Beach, west of Wahweap Marina; and Warm Creek Bay near green buoy 17. Visitors will also find plenty of much smaller, more private beaches along the banks of the lake.
Camp Plymouth State Park has swim, paddle, fishing or panning for gold options on 295 acres of state lands including a sand beach on the shores of Echo Lake in Plymouth.
Bee Run Beach in Braxton and Webster counties is a beautiful lakeside beach surrounded by lush forest.
Located right in Milwaukee, Bradford Beach is known for its retro beach house, white sand, beach volleyball, and tiki huts. Bradford is also known as a hub for freshwater surfing. Of course, that can only be done on the windiest, often coldest days when the “surf’s up.” An interesting historical point: What is known today as Milwaukee’s lakefront wasn’t there until the early 1900s. Bradford Beach and much of the lakefront were created to protect the cliffs above it from erosion.
The beach at Heart Lake in Yellowstone National Park is actually quite temperate. It’s a minimum 8-mile walk so don’t expect a lot of day-trippers there. Deeply beautiful, but not all that accessible, making it great for a secluded getaway.