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The beach bum’s checklist for a holiday in the USA

Planning a beach holiday to the States? With nearly 20 000 kilometres of coastline, there’s certainly a lot to choose from. So, where do you begin when planning the perfect North-American beach vacation? Read on to find out.

Choose a destination according to your prerequisites

Identify what it is that you want out of this vacation. A quiet seaside resort-experience? Water sports? Fun in the sun?

If it’s big crowds and parties you’re after Miami is the place to be, with a nightlife to match. California is a mecca for surfers with its world-class waves, while Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Massachusetts are home to charming, quiet beach towns. Book your flights here:

Speaking of which: the seasons

It’s pretty safe to assume that you’ll want to plan your visit during the warmer months. Summer in North America (on paper) begins on the 20th of June, and ends on the 21st of September.

Also remember that the water on America’s West Coast (California) is, as a rule of thumb, much colder than the water on the East Coast (Texas, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina). It is worth mentioning that California’s southern coast is warmer around summer time (June to August).


As per usual, this depends entirely on your budget. If you can’t afford hotels (very expensive during peak season) or don’t feel like staying in a backpackers (very crowded and rowdy during festive season), check out accommodation here:

Some handy tips

Now that most of the practicalities have been covered, consider these hints to make the most of your beach vacation in the States.

Especially for surfing and swimming, monitoring the tide is key. Luckily, there is an app for iPhone and Android to give you coverage of both the current and upcoming tide, as well as the sunset:

For a lowdown on the waves, MS Surf Forecast (for iPhone and Android) is a must:

Safety first, everyone

Getting into a tight spot on the beach is no-one’s idea of a good time. Avoid going into the water when no lifeguards, or at least other people, are present, don’t swim out too deep; you know the basics.

It’s also a good idea to get a few emergency contact numbers, and register for an American mobile SIM so that you aren’t stuck in an emergency.

Now that you’ve got the basics covered, grab your beach kit, make some reservations and buy the plane ticket. Oh, and don’t forget the sunscreen! beach bum checklist:

  • Sunscreen, sunscreen and sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • After-sun lotion
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Flip flops
  • Sunglasses
  • Sarong
  • Beach towel
  • Beach mat
  • Beach umbrella
  • Sun hat
  • Cooler bag
  • Beach bag
  • Camera
  • Power pack charger
  • Waterproof cover for mobile phone
  • American SIM arranged in advance
  • Emergency contact details
  • Water bottle/ hydration pack
  • Insect repellent