Is there anything better in the world than relaxing on a beach? The smell of the salty air, the sound of the waves crashing up on the shore, and the endless view of water as far as the eye can see... Sounds like perfection, huh?
90% of the vacations that I have taken in my life have been to a beach destination, and the majority of these were in the Southeastern US. I live in a small town in Georgia, which isn't near any beach unfortunately, and the nearest beach is about six hours away. Six hours may seem like a long time, but I will go any distance for some fun in the sun. I'm a (self titled) expert on beaches and here are my top 3 picks for the best beaches in the Southeast:
1) Panama City Beach, Florida
I have been here more times than I can count, but it never gets old. Panama City is probably the closest beach to my house (still a looong 6 hours) and it is a yearly tradition for us to visit. While there are many attractions for families, PCB is a huge party spot for college kids during Spring Break and even into the Summer. I remember being 15 years old and driving down the main strip with my parents. Cars were bumper to bumper and beads were being thrown to topless girls all over the place. It was definitely an experience I'll never forget. Haha!
One of my favorite things about PCB, aside from the AWESOME shows at Gulf World Marine Park and the delicious food at Pineapple Willy's, is the fact that there is an electric beach wheelchair here that you can rent. I have only seen manual beach wheelchairs in other places, but with this one from Beach Powered Mobility you don't have to rely on someone else to push you through the thick sand all day. It can easily be maneuvered with a joystick. To read about my experience in the Beach Cruiser, click here.
2) Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Last Summer I went to Myrtle Beach for the first time and was shocked that I had never been there before. I fell in love with this beach spot so much that it almost was my number one pick over PCB actually. Myrtle Beach is very clean and more family friendly than any other beach I've ever been to.
My absolute favorite thing in Myrtle Beach was Broadway at the Beach. And no, it isn't a Broadway show. It is a huge area that has awesome attractions, shops, nightlife, and restaurants such as Margaritaville, Señor Frogs, and Hard Rock Cafe. You can easily spend a whole day at Broadway at the Beach and will probably want to come back a second day as well.
Another one of my favorite things in Myrtle Beach was the SkyWheel. It is a gigantic ferris wheel that is composed of many capsules that you can ride in. Each capsule can hold about six people and it is fully wheelchair accessible to ride in as well. The SkyWheel offers some of the best views in Myrtle Beach.
3) Cocoa Beach, Florida
I've never been to Cocoa Beach for longer than about two days, but it's always a fun time. The waves can be pretty massive here, making it a favorite spot for surfers. I always enjoy eating some seafood on the pier and watching the surfers ride the waves. There is also a two story Ron Jon Surf Shop here that I love shopping at. They have every kind of shirt and souvenir that you could possibly want.
What makes Cocoa Beach a great destination is the fact that it is the closest beach to Orlando. So if you are at Disney World and need a break from the long lines, head on over to Cocoa for a day or two. It's less than an hour away so you could just make it a short day trip as well. Another popular attraction near Cocoa Beach is the Kennedy Space Center, where you can watch a real rocket launch if you are lucky enough to visit on the right day.