10 Best Beach Locations to Travel to if You Live on the West Coast

**This post was written before COVID-19. I've pushed back the scheduling of it for months. Be aware that different states have different travel requirements in place right now. 

Growing up in the Midwest, I didn't realize how good I had it. It was an easy flight to most Caribbean beaches. Living on the west coast for the past few decades, I've realized how much more difficult it is to get to the Caribbean to enjoy the beautiful pristine white sand beaches and turquoise water. That doesn't mean we have to trade-in our hopes of having a beach vacation. Live on the west coast? Read on for the perfect beach escape!

beach vacations

Best Beach Resorts for West Coast Residents

easy beach vacations from seattle, california and oregon

I'll be the first to admit that the beaches in the Pacific Northwest are some of the most beautiful, but they also are some of the coldest, even during the summer months. If you are looking for water to swim in, you won't find it here! You are going to have to travel a bit, but if you love a good beach vacation, you won't be disappointed with these recommendations. 

1. Cancun, Mexico

Seasonally from November to May, you will find that Seattle-based Alaska Airlines offers a non-stop flight to Cancun, Mexico. This will be as close as you get to be able to enjoy the Caribbean waters without killing a day with travel and multiple flights. Find Cancun resort deals here.

One of my favorite areas to stay in Cancun, Mexico is the lesser developed Playa Mujeres. It's still close to the airport but far quieter than the noisy hotel-zone bursting with spring break travelers.

2. Hawaii

We may not have the ability to easily get to the Caribbean from the west coast, but we can get to Hawaii on multiple non-stop flights daily. Each island has it's own unique flair, but my favorite Hawaiian islands are Maui and Kona. There are plenty of beautiful beach resorts you can enjoy on any of the Hawaiian Islands and lots of tropical vibes that will leave you feeling refreshed and relaxed.

Save up to 30% on your hotel in Hawaii!
Traveling with teens? Here are my top picks on Kona, Hawaii

hawaii beaches

Maui, Hawaii with kids on a budget!
kona hawaii beach bike ride

What's the #1 hotel in Hawaii? Read reviews & find hotel deals on TripAdvisor!

3. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Cabo has one of the most diverse beach locations. Located at the southernmost tip of the Baja peninsula, there are many beaches that are marked as unsafe and non-swimmable. There can be strong waves and huge under toes, so before you book if swimming in the water is important to you, please read the reviews and find a beach resort that has a safe beach. 

What's the #1 hotel in Mexico? Read reviews & find hotel deals on TripAdvisor!

cabo san lucas arch beaches

4. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

This Mexican beach resort city on the Pacific Ocean still maintains its small-town charm. There is plenty to do here too, from ziplining to water sports to swimming with dolphins. I've never felt unsafe traveling to Mexico with my family and have ventured around the most in Puerto Vallarta. Find a hotel in Puerto Vallarta here.

Mexico is the perfect place to try an all-inclusive resort. 

Here are 7 reasons why you should stay at an all-inclusive with your family.

10 Best Beach Locations to Travel to if You Live on the West Coast

5. Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a rugged rainforested Central American country with plenty of beaches and wildlife to explore. You'll find countless adventure activities and exotic wildlife making it seem worlds away. While it's not a direct flight from Seattle, my California friends on the west coast can get there fairly easily and often with a direct flight. 

6. Long Beach, California

Southern California offers plenty of warmer weather. Long Beach, CA actually has the highest daily temperature year-round at a balmy average of 65 degrees. The south-facing beaches will be warmer than other beaches in California in the winter, but you probably won't want to put on your bathing suit to sunbathe! It is a great choice for spring and fall with warmer temperatures. And of course, you'll always be greeted with warm temperatures in the summer.

san diego, california

7. San Diego, California

San Diego is about the furthest south you can fly before you head out of the United States. You'll find warm weather and beautiful beaches, but don't expect the water to warm up in the ocean. You are looking at 70 degrees at the warmest part of the summer. San Diego is America's classic beach town and you'll love the easy escape. Find San Diego deals here.

8. Galveston, Texas

Fly into Houston, Texas, and drive about 45 minutes and you'll find yourself in Galveston, an island city on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Summer temperatures can be hot, and fall often brings hurricanes, so keep that in mind, but you can enjoy a 32-mile stretch of beaches and an easy direct flight that will have you feeling like you are a world away without leaving the country.

south Carolina beaches

9. Charleston, South Carolina

Historic Charleston feels like it's suspended in time. You'll find Southern charm and hospitality as well as beautiful architecture and waterfront views. In the '90s, I grew up vacationing on Kiawah Island, about a half an hour drive from Charleston. Not all of the East Coast is a direct flight away for us west-coasters, but once again, Alaska Airlines saves the day with a daily direct flight so you can be soaking up that southern hospitality in no time.

10. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

This coastal city on the Atlantic Ocean is most famous for its beaches and boats. Ft. Lauderdale has often been called the Venice of America because of its vast canal system. You'll also find 23 miles of golden sand and warm sun year-round. Find Fort Lauderdale hotel deals here.

california beaches

You don't have to leave the United States! Here are 10 epic vacations you can take in the U.S.

With these 10 beach locations, easily accessible from the west coast, you'll be spending time soaking up the sun and splashing in the surf in no time! 

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