Dock on Daufuskie Island in Beaufort, South Carolina surrounded by marsh and deep blue waters from the intercoastal waterway.

Where To Go In July

BY Aliya Farrukh Shaikh | June 2, 2024

July is the hottest month of the year but also one of the coolest when it comes to sartorial uninhibitedness and communal pursuits. Which is to say, we like to wear a little and party a lot. Fourth of July festivities are in full swing with fireworks sales sky-rocketing, social calendars filling up with outdoor party invites and the smell of barbecued meat wafting in the summer air. You might think Independence Day is all July is known for but it has much more revelry to add to its name. You can celebrate Ice Cream Month or Hot Dog Month for four weeks straight (!!!) or indulge your demure artist by commemorating World Watercolor Month. You can devote a full day to singing along to country music — yes July 4 is also National Country Music Day — or you can, as Zadie Smith would put it, find your beach. Every one of July’s marquee activities, even watercoloring, is better on a beach. Here is a list of the best beach towns to visit this July: 

Alabama Gulf Shores

Photo courtesy of John Tuggle | CC BY 2.0

Anyone from the Gulf South knows that green waters do not spoil a beach. Take a break from the heat, head to Orange Beach, plunge into its inviting green and swim in the Gulf of Mexico. You can also hike the Pine Beach Trail along the coast — populated by slash pines and gorgeous lakes like Little Lagoon and Gator Lake — before seating yourself at the legendary Pink Pony for a satisfying burger. You can also scarf down some fresh seafood, satiating the hunger beckoned by all that cardio at Fisher’s Upstairs or Doc’s Seafood Shack. If you want to drive, head up to Cullman for Rock the South and dance to the tunes of some of the nation’s biggest country stars, including Eric Church, Hardy and Jelly Roll.

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Photo courtesy of Portland Seminary | CC BY-SA 2.0

The town is diminutive and has a charm perfect for all those who love to snap multiple photographs while on holiday. You can choose to stay at the beautiful oceanfront cottage-style Argonauta Inn or take in the colonial vibes at The Stephanie Inn where you can take mixology classes or guided meditative exercises. If you want to witness a venerable sea stack formed by lava from 16 million years ago, Cannon Beach is the place to be. The infamous Haystack Rock — one of the largest on the Pacific coast — is 235 feet long and is surrounded by beautiful tide pools, where you can find colorful sea stars. If marine life doesn’t appeal to you much, you can always bird watch and witness tufted puffins and western gulls fly over the sunny skies and make the monolith their home for the summer. You can head over to Tillamook Creamery and indulge in their iconic ice cream or have fresh-baked bread at Sea Level Bakery + Coffee. You can also just sit in your car, drive east and enjoy some city vibes in Portland, though we think you should at least let the water graze your toes. 

Daufuskie Island

Dock on Daufuskie Island in Beaufort, South Carolina surrounded by marsh and deep blue waters from the intercoastal waterway. Photo via Shutterstock.

Accessible only by boat, Daufuskie Island is a retreat for the escapists. Home to multiple public beaches — and unencumbered by crowds — the island promises all the fun that comes with a beach town and more. Though the island is only five miles long and 2.5 miles wide, it has an impressive local art scene (check out Iron Fish Art Gallery), encompasses acres of woodlands and offers a satisfying, Southern-style seafood spread available at rustic eateries like Geneva’s Joint and Daufuskie Island Crab Co. Since the island is unusually small, you needn’t restrict yourself: hop along neighboring islands such as Hilton Head and Kiawah or mainland cities such as Savannah, Ga. or Charleston, S.C. 

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Photo courtesy of the United States Navy Band

The Mid-Atlantic provides a quieter getaway than the touristy frenzy that takes over most cities around this time of the year. In Rehoboth Beach, you can stroll the boardwalk and take in the ocean breeze while indulging in a bucket of Thrasher’s French Fries, Dolle’s sweet saltwater taffy or the classic frozen custard from Kohr Brothers. You can also take yourself back to the 1940s and play vintage games and take antiquated carnival rides for as little as 75 cents. The region has scenic trails if you prefer to bike and beautiful waterways if you want to kayak. And if you miss conventional urbanity, you can always pack your bags and head west to Baltimore or Washington, D.C. 

San Diego

Photo courtesy of Aaron Vowels | CC BY 2.0

The most underrated of the SoCal metropolises, San Diego has a vast zoo with 17 museums around it, a beautiful city park, exquisite fish tacos and sandy beaches that are a thalassosphile’s dream. Mission Beach and  Pacific Beach are the perfect places to scuba-dive or surf or just enjoy a beer while chilling at one of the multiple dive bars nearby. You can stay at The Pearl Hotel, one of our Greatest Hotels Ever, and transport yourself to the 1950s with its sleek architecture and wooden-boxed AM-FM radios.