Best ‘City Beach’ Runs in North America

Running on the beach one of life’s true pleasures. Millions head to the beach for a vacation, but any city that features a major beach is something special. We’ve put together this list of the best beach runs in North America cities. The criteria are that: the beach has to be in or near the city; one can run on the beach, not just by it; that the beach itself is ‘runnable’ (times of firm, packed sand); and that it be at least one mile in length. Nearly all of these beaches are on the ocean, except Chicago’s Lakefront Path. The list is in alphabetical order by city. If we had to pick a ‘top five’ in North America:

  1. Miami Beach
  2. The Strand, Los Angeles
  3. Waikiki Beach, Honolulu
  4. La Jolla Shores to Torrey Pines, San Diego
  5. St. Pete Beach, Tampa-St. Petersburg


Honolulu, HI

One of the iconic runs in Hawaii. This route tours the 2 mile long beach, Honolulu’s beachfront neighborhood, with views to the water, crashing surf, and the Diamond Head Volcano.

Chicago Lakefront Path

Chicago: Downtown & Central

This 18-mile trail is one of the most spectacular urban runs in the country. Gorgeous views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline, urban beaches, marinas, and beautiful parks, passing by some of the city’s famous cultural institutions.

Miami Beach

Miami, FL

One of the great urban beaches. The wide sand beach stretches for nearly ten miles from south to north with a running path along most of the way. South Beach is where the action is .

Fort Myers Beach

Naples/Fort Myers, FL

Seven miles of beach running heaven on Estero Island. Cross the bridge, find a parking place, and enjoy running this wide, flat beach. Can be combined with 5 miles of trails at Lovers Key State Park at the southern end.

Ocean Beach

San Francisco, CA

On the west side of the Golden Gate Bridge is the Sunset/Ocean Beach area. It is very different in look, feel, and even climate than the Marina/Golden Gate area.