Best Memorial Day Beach Destinations

Best Memorial Day Beach Destinations

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To celebrate the official start of summer in the United States, we've searched coast to coast for the top beach destinations to check out the Memorial Day weekend.

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    Before you partake in San Diego's boatload of holiday weekend activities, visit Del Mar, a spectacular beach just 30 minutes north of the city. Paddle board the day away, and then give your arms a rest by strolling along the white-sand beaches of California's coastline. Once you've basked in the sunlight long enough, U-turn back to the city for parties and restaurant specials in the Gaslamp Quarter, a bustling district in downtown San Diego.
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    Situated on Oahu's North Shore, Waimea Bay is home to some of the gnarliest waves in the whole Pacific. But by Memorial Day weekend, those swells chill out a bit, paving way for a serene summer spot for swimming and frolicking. Jump off cliffs as high as 18 feet if you've got the courage, or simply admire the turquoise seas and magnificent horizon. 
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    To channel the wildlife lover in you, visit Sanibel Island this Memorial Day, located just west of Fort Myers on Florida's Gulf Coast. The 12-mile island offers rustic beaches, unsullied by tourists and snowbirds. Collect shells and birdwatch along the coast before heading out to sea with a local snorkeling or scuba diving company.
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    Blend the relaxation of the beach with the thrill of the big city. Chicago's summer-long love affair with street festivals begins Memorial Day weekend. Just head to the popular beachfront that spans the vertical length of the city, kick back and relax.
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    This charming hideout, renowned for its wild horses, is a regular on the country's top beach lists and simply perfect for a long weekend escape from the nation's hurried capital. Check out the Pony Center, the beach trails, or take a day trip across the channel to explore Chincoteague's uninhabited sister island, Assateague. 
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    Join vacationing crowds of Philadelphians for fireworks and festivities this holiday weekend in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. Just two hours by car from the City of Brotherly Love, Stone Harbor is a quaint town situated between Atlantic City and Cape May. Wake up early to beat the crowds waiting in line for fluffy pancakes at Uncle Bill's Pancake House and after, stroll the strip of shops in the seaside village's downtown.
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    Sailboats, casinos and spectacular beaches await you on Mississippi's Gulf Coast this Memorial Day weekend. The recovering seaside region has made wonderful strides in the past few years, and is burgeoning with festivities the whole family will enjoy. 
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    The year-round beach destination pulls out all the stops every Memorial Day weekend for Fiesta Hermosa. Hundreds of vendors set up shop along Hermosa Avenue, Pier Avenue and Pier Plaza in downtown Hermosa for three days of great food, drinks and live music. Kids can switch between amusement park rides and sand castles until 6 p.m. nightly as parents peruse local shops and the ever-popular beer garden.
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    Renowned for its East Coast vibe, Hilton Head offers quintessential beach activities for couples and families alike. Spend your days biking the 100 miles of cycling trails throughout the Atlantic island -- breaking only to catch waves, soak up the sun and savor the area's fabulous restaurants. For cheap grub, head to the Sea Shack and roll up your sleeves for affordable shrimp, crab and blackened fresh fish.
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