We have the perfect sunny cure for your winter-weather gloominess. TripAdvisor, our parent site, just released its 2015 Travelers' Choice Awards for Best Beaches. The list, based on feedback from readers like you over a 12-month period, rounds up the absolute best beaches in the U.S., from hidden snorkeling spots in Hawaii to family-friendly favorites in Florida.
Ah, democracy. Who knew you could be so sunny?
Siesta Beach, Florida
This Gulf Coast beach is a forever favorite for its unbelievably white sand and crystal-clear water. (You'd think you were in the Caribbean.)
What to Do: Siesta Beach is as calm as its name implies, perfect for reading, relaxing, walking, or catching a sunset.
Where to Stay: The Capri at Siesta (rates from $149 per night).
St. Pete Beach, Florida
St. Pete Beach, also on Florida's warm and sunny Gulf side, is known for its soft white sand and seashelling opportunities.
What to Do: Aside from the beach, a buzzing restaurant scene and plenty of boutiques are big draws in this popular haunt.
Where to Stay: Gulf Tides Inn (rates from $89 per night for efficiency apartments or $109 per night for full apartments).
Ka'anapali Beach, Maui, Hawaii
This beach is on Maui's stunning western coast. It offers natural beauty for miles, so it never feels too crowded.
What to Do: Swimming and snorkeling around Black Rock are two must-dos, and during the right season whale watching is a popular pastime.
Where to Stay: Aston Mahana at Ka'anapali (rates from $295 per night).
Wai'anapanapa State Park, Maui, Hawaii
Another Maui pick, Wai'anapanapa State Park's ancient black-sand beaches and lava formations are unbelievably unique.
What to Do: Explore the old coastal trail, hidden caves, and tide pools, or just sink your toes into the deep black sand.
Where to Stay: Aina Nalu (rates from $212 per night).
Pensacola Beach, Florida
Another Gulf-side winner in Florida, Pensacola Beach is known for its fun pier and family-friendly amenities.
What to Do: People flock to Pensacola year-round for its fishing—and then to nearby restaurants for delicious Gulf seafood.
Where to Stay: Margaritaville Beach Hotel (rates from $229 per night).
La Jolla Cove, California
Coves, caves, craggy rocks: This rugged and picturesque coastline in La Jolla offers plenty of Instagrammable sites.
What to Do: See an array of marine animals, including seals lounging on rocks and playing in the protected waters.
Where to Stay: Hotel La Jolla, a Kimpton Hotel (rates from $209 per night).
Kailua Beach Park, Oahu, Hawaii
A long, gently curving stretch of golden sand, Kailua (literally "two currents") has some of the prettiest blue water in the Hawaiian islands.
What to Do: One word: windsurfing. The perfect coastal gusts make windsurfing and kite flying a breeze (forgive us).
Where to Stay: There are no hotels in Kailua, but vacation rentals like this one (from $125 per night) are available.
Clearwater Beach, Florida
Situated on a barrier island in South Florida, Clearwater Beach has nearly three miles of spacious white sand for visitors to enjoy.
What to Do: Clearwater is an active beach town best suited for shopping, dining, fishing, or taking a charter cruise.
Where to Stay: Coconut Cove Resort (rates from $299 per night).
St. Augustine Beach, Florida
In the historical city of St. Augustine (the nation's oldest), find this striking beach known for its clean, soft sand.
What to Do: Bring Sir Barksalot! St. Augustine Beach is exceptionally dog-friendly, and it's the perfect place for a long walk or a Frisbee toss.
Where to Stay: Ascend Collection Castillo Real (rates from $129 per night).
Panama City Beach, Florida
Rounding out the list is one more Florida pick: Panama City Beach, with some 20 miles of world-class coastline. (It's often considered among the world's best.)
What to Do: Swimming, parasailing, and snorkeling are all popular activities; shuttle service can take you to nearby Shell Island for further adventures.
Where to Stay: Legacy by the Sea (rates from $89 per night).
--By Dara Continenza
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