America's Best "Top-Secret" Beaches

Queens PondQueens PondQueens PondPfeiffer BeachPfeiffer BeachPfeiffer BeachRuby BeachPackard Park BeachCaladesi BeachBig Bay BeachCow Yard LandingCow Yard LandingHigh Bar HarborHigh Bar HarborOrient BeachOrient Beach
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The mountains are to your back, the ocean is in front, and in between is sand made for napping. In other words, you're at "Queens Pond"—just another average, amazing Kauai beach.
Another perspective of Queens Pond.
There's plenty of room to spread your blanket on the sand at Queens Pond.
— Courtesy missingutrecht/Flickr
Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, California is known for its gorgeous rock formations. In some places, the sand is a light shade of purple.
— H. Mark Weidman Photography / Alamy
It can get windy at Pfeiffer Beach, but that's a small price to pay for paradise.
— Courtesy Brett L./Flickr
Another perspective over Pfeiffer Beach.
— Ron Niebrugge/Alamy
  Perhaps the most enchanting time of day to experience Ruby Beach is at sunset, when an orange glow bathes the land.
— Barry Hamilton
South Haven is home to several celebrated (and crowded) spots on Lake Michigan, including Packard Park Beach, shown here.
Caladesi Island State Park in Florida is home to armadillos, gopher tortoises, and hundreds of species of birds nesting among the sunflower-flecked dunes.
— Jian Huang
We won't recommend swimming at Big Bay Beach in Wisconsin—even on a hot day Lake Superior is cold enough to freeze your @#*&%! off. But the sandstone cliffs and pristine woods enveloping this 1.5-mile pocket of beach make for a lovely hideaway.
— Courtesy sallycinnaminn/Flickr
Chatham is on the elbow of Cape Cod, which means that just about every beach view is drop-dead gorgeous—if you can see around all the people. Cow Yard is one rare spot where you'll be able to ditch those crowds.
— Amy Lundeen
Cow Yard Landing is also one of the better places on the Cape to launch a kayak, if that's the kind of thing that floats your boat.
— Amy Lundeen
Tucked behind the Barnegat Lighthouse, you'd never know that High Bar Harbor, a lollipop-shaped stretch of sand, is on Long Beach Island, one of the most popular Jersey shores.
— Stephanie Adams
High Bar Harbor is the perfect place to take a stroll, but watch the water—when the tide comes in, you'll likely be stranded.
— Stephanie Adams
At the tip of Long Island's North Fork, Orient Beach in New York is well-known to locals but few others.
— Scott Levine
After just a stroll down Orient's pebbly beach, you'll be alone with views of the Long Beach Bar Lighthouse, Shelter Island, and awesome sunsets.
— New York State Parks, Long Island Region

We've happily done our homework to bring you 9 perfect beach spots that are off the beaten path. Each one is gorgeous, and you'll have the sand (mostly) to yourself.

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