At their worst, popular beaches are synonymous with expensive parking lots and crowded shorelines. But there are still stellar beach vacation spots that aren’t as crowded as you might think. So, if you have your heart set on the ocean but want to avoid the crowds, head to one of these eight surprisingly uncrowded beach vacation spots.
Ponce, Puerto Rico
Ponce is the second-largest city in Puerto Rico but often gets overlooked by tourists. The city has three beaches, including one, Caja de Muertos, that is located on an uninhabited island just off the coast and is known for wildlife sightings, including turtles.
Check Prices for Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort in Ponce, Puerto Rico
Leeward Coast Beaches (Westside), Oahu
Most tourists stay in Waikiki when they visit Oahu, but the rest of the island has plenty of uncrowded beaches just waiting to be discovered. On the island’s west coast, check out Depot Beach Bank, Makaha Beach Park, or Keawaula Beach, as well as man-made lagoons in the resort area (Ko Olina Resort and Marina).
Check Prices for Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Kapolei, HI
The beach city of Carlsbad sits about an hour and a half south of Los Angeles and 30 minutes north of San Diego. Carlsbad’s stretch of sandy Pacific shoreline is divided into five beach areas: North Carlsbad Beaches, Carlsbad State Beach, South State Beach, South Ponto Beach, and Terramar Beach. Insider Tip: Terramar and South Ponto are locals’ favorites.
Check Prices for The Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, CA
San Jose del Cabo, Mexico
Located closer to the Los Cabos airport than its sibling city Cabo San Lucas, the small city of San Jose del Cabo is sometimes known as “the other Cabo.” While it is a resort destination, San Jose del Cabo is much less crowded than Cabo San Lucas and has more secluded beachside resorts like the Viceroy Los Cabos. The small downtown is home to galleries, shops, and local restaurants, giving this beach vacation spot a laid-back feel.
Check Prices for Viceroy Los Cabos in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico
This island and popular beach vacation spot actually sees less than one million visitors per year, with around 700,000 annual visitors enjoying Bermuda’s beaches. Even its most popular beach, Horseshoe Bay Beach, has uncrowded areas nearby, like Port Royal Cove. Other less crowded beach options in Bermuda include Stonehole Bay Beach and Daniels Head Beach Park.
Check Prices for Royal Palms Hotel in Hamilton, Bermuda
Corolla, North Carolina
North Carolina’s Outer Banks are notoriously busy over the summer, but instead of hitting the ultra-crowded central-area beaches, head a little bit north to Corolla. Here, you’ll still will find plenty of shops and dining options, just without the crowds.
Check Prices for Corolla Light Resort in Corolla, NC
South Walton, Florida
South Walton County caps the end of Florida’s Panhandle. The area has 16 different communities and 50 beach access locations, so if you find one area too crowded, you can easily go discover a different one. Check out Dune Allen for its miles of beaches plus three rare coastal dune lakes.
Check Prices for The Pearl Hotel in Florida Panhandle, FL
Greater Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale is a famously popular beach vacation spot, but did you know that there are some less-crowded beaches just outside downtown? Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park, Hillsboro Beach, Lauderdale By the Sea Beach, and Deerfield Beach are all uncrowded but ideal beach vacation spots in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area.
Check Prices for Tides Inn in Lauderdale by the Sea, FL
What to Wear at the Beach
Swimsuit for Women to Wear on the Beach
Men’s Swimsuit with Cooler Outfit for the Beach
Women’s Swimsuit to Wear in Hawaii
Men’s Striped Swimsuit for the Caribbean
Women’s Semi-Casual Outfit for a Sunset Dinner
Men’s Evening Outfit for a Cruise
Women’s Cute and Casual Outfit from Nordstrom
More from SmarterTravel:
- 10 Gorgeous Beaches You’ve Probably Never Heard Of
- The 10 Best Caribbean Beaches for a Relaxing Escape
- The 10 Best Beach Destinations in the World
We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.