Road trip: 25 best beach cities in America

Ocean City is included for its Ferris wheel, ice cream, nightlife at Seacrets and "shamelessly tacky boardwalk nostalgia." Thrillist says say the food that has to be eaten while in Ocean City is Thrasher's french fries. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Ocean City is included for its Ferris wheel, ice cream, nightlife at Seacrets and “shamelessly tacky boardwalk nostalgia.” Thrillist says the food that has to be eaten while in Ocean City is Thrasher’s french fries. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher) (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
With its clean beaches, Rehoboth Beach is noted for its iconic boardwalk, historic hotels and boutiques without sales tax. Thrillist's "must eat/drink" destination in Rehoboth is Chesapeake & Maine, a sister restaurant to the Dogfish Head brewery. And don't leave town with getting saltwater taffy at Dolles (pronounced Dolly's, of course). (Linda Lombardi via AP)
With its clean beaches, Rehoboth Beach is noted for its iconic boardwalk, historic hotels and boutiques without sales tax. Thrillist’s “must eat/drink” destination in Rehoboth is Chesapeake & Maine, a sister restaurant to the Dogfish Head brewery. And don’t leave town with getting saltwater taffy at Dolles (pronounced Dolly’s, of course). (Linda Lombardi via AP) (AP/Linda Lombardi)
In the alphabetized list, Nags Head is praised for its spectacular ocean views, tall sand dunes, iconic lighthouses and proximity to Kill Devil Hills, where the Wright brothers made their historic first flight. The “must eat/drink” selection is Outer Banks Brewing Station, America’s only wind-powered brewery. And, it’s legal to drive on the beach. By lns1122Flickr: Ocean views on Dare Trail, CC BY 2.0,
This June 26, 2015 photo shows visitors taking a horse carriage tour of Cape May, N.J. The city's hundreds of Victorian homes constitute what the National Historic Landmarks program calls “one of the largest collections of 19th century frame buildings” in the United States. Their gables, towers, domes, arched windows and inviting front porches, often trimmed in bright colors, create charming and whimsical streetscapes.  (AP Photo/Beth J. Harpaz)
Cape May, New Jersey, is the only national historic landmark on the list, filled with more than 600 colorful Victorian-era houses. Thrillist says you need to get a hot dog from Hot Dog Tommy’s and stay at a bed and breakfast. (AP/Beth J. Harpaz) (AP/Beth J. Harpaz)
Thrillist says the three beaches of Beaufort, North Carolina — Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach and the Cape Lookout National Seashore — are relatively uncrowded and peaceful; you can dive onto some unsurfaced shipwrecks at Crystal Cost, too. And when you’re done with the water, you can look at artifacts from the Queen Anne’s Revenge – the ship Blackbeard was riding when he discovered Beaufort by running aground in 1718, at the North Carolina Maritime Museum. (Public Domain)
ASBURY PARK, NJ - MAY 28: A person rides a bike down a new section of boardwalk before President Barack Obama spoke on May 28, 2013 in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Seven months after Superstorm Sandy devastated the region, President Obama declared that the Jersey Shore is back in an appearance with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Asbury Park, New Jersey, is one of the most underrated party towns in the U.S., Thrillist says, and has “grown into a town full of upscale restaurants and trendy bars, and has strangely become known for its concentration of art and design shops. Though a decade ago the town was pretty dilapidated and a sad relic of a bygone era, a trip here now is one of the cooler jaunts you can take down the Jersey Shore.” And of course, you can always catch a band at Bruce Springsteen’s old stompling grounds, The Stone Pony. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Spencer Platt)
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Ocean City is included for its Ferris wheel, ice cream, nightlife at Seacrets and "shamelessly tacky boardwalk nostalgia." Thrillist says say the food that has to be eaten while in Ocean City is Thrasher's french fries. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
With its clean beaches, Rehoboth Beach is noted for its iconic boardwalk, historic hotels and boutiques without sales tax. Thrillist's "must eat/drink" destination in Rehoboth is Chesapeake & Maine, a sister restaurant to the Dogfish Head brewery. And don't leave town with getting saltwater taffy at Dolles (pronounced Dolly's, of course). (Linda Lombardi via AP)
This June 26, 2015 photo shows visitors taking a horse carriage tour of Cape May, N.J. The city's hundreds of Victorian homes constitute what the National Historic Landmarks program calls “one of the largest collections of 19th century frame buildings” in the United States. Their gables, towers, domes, arched windows and inviting front porches, often trimmed in bright colors, create charming and whimsical streetscapes.  (AP Photo/Beth J. Harpaz)
ASBURY PARK, NJ - MAY 28: A person rides a bike down a new section of boardwalk before President Barack Obama spoke on May 28, 2013 in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Seven months after Superstorm Sandy devastated the region, President Obama declared that the Jersey Shore is back in an appearance with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — Many in the D.C. area will head to the seashore sometime soon — and won’t have to travel far to get to some of the country’s best resorts.

The 25 best beach cities in America, as compiled by the food, drink and travel website Thrillist, includes Ocean City, Maryland; Rehoboth Beach, Delaware; and Nags Head, on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

In the alphabetized list, Nags Head is praised for its spectacular ocean views, tall sand dunes, iconic lighthouses and proximity to Kill Devil Hills, where the Wright brothers made their historic first flight. The “must eat/drink” selection is Outer Banks Brewing Station, America’s only wind-powered brewery. And, it’s legal to drive on the beach.

Ocean City is included for its Ferris wheel, ice cream, nightlife at Seacrets and “shamelessly tacky boardwalk nostalgia.” Thrillist says say the food that has to be eaten while in Ocean City is Thrasher’s french fries.

With its clean beaches, Rehoboth Beach is noted for its iconic boardwalk, historic hotels and boutiques without sales tax. Thrillist’s “must eat/drink” destination in Rehoboth is Chesapeake & Maine, a sister restaurant to the Dogfish Head brewery. And don’t leave town without getting saltwater taffy at Dolles (pronounced Dolly’s, of course).

A bit further north, Cape May and Asbury Park, in New Jersey, make the top 25; slightly south of the Outer Banks is Beaufort, North Carolina.

Thrillist’s complete list of the 25 best beach cities in America:

  • Anna Maria Island, Florida
  • Asbury Park, New Jersey
  • Beaufort, North Carolina
  • Blue Hill, Maine
  • Cannon Beach, Oregon
  • Cape May, New Jersey
  • Clearwater, Florida
  • Falmouth, Massachusetts
  • Fernandina Beach, Florida
  • Grand Haven, Michigan
  • Gulf Shores, Alabama
  • Haleiwa, Hawaii
  • Laguna Beach, California
  • Morro Bay, California
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • Nags Head, North Carolina
  • Narragansett, Rhode Island
  • Newport, Oregon
  • Ocean City, Maryland
  • Ocean Springs, Mississippi
  • Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
  • Santa Cruz, California
  • Sequim, Washington
  • Traverse City, Michigan
  • Yakutat, Alaska

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