Favorites for Summer

Best Beach Runs: New York to Alabama

Running on the beach or alongside the ocean is one of the great summer pleasures. Great Runs has compiled a comprehensive guide to the best places to run in 25+ coastal destinations in the eastern North America. This is our list of the best beaches for running from New York to Alabama, either a runnable beach (wide, with firm sand), boardwalk, or good adjacent running road. This includes the New York boroughs, the Hamptons, Jersey Shore, Ocean City/Rehoboth Beach, Virginia Beach, the Outer Banks, Charleston/Kiawah Island, Hilton Head, Savannah, Golden Isles, and the Gulf Shores area of Alabama. Organized north-to-south. See also our Best Beaches in New England guide.

Jones Beach and Long Beach

Long Island, NY

Wonderful beach and boardwalk running. At Long Beach, a festive boardwalk runs for 2.2 miles along the beach. At Jones Beach, there are miles of running, including the Jones Boardwalk and two longer multi-use paths. Beach also runnable.

Jersey Shore Boardwalks

Jersey Shore, NJ

The Jersey Shore is famous for its boardwalks, and the longer ones are great for running. Great ocean views, people watching, and entertainment. Our favorites: Atlantic City, Wildwood, Avalon to Belmar, and Seaside. Might have to dodge the crowds in summer.

Southern Shores Options

Outer Banks, NC

One of the widest sections of the Outer Banks, with several good running options: pretty residential off Rt. 12 features the area's nicest homes; the 3-mile Dogwood Trail, passing along a golf course; bike path alongside Highway 12; and beautiful beach.

Wrightsville Beach

Wilmington, NC

A great beach for running, located just east of downtown Wilmington. The popular beach is ~4 miles long and and known for its surf. Quite wide, with firm, compact sand, though surf and tidally dependent.

Kiawah Island

Charleston, SC

This popular beach and golf resort is a barrier island 24 miles southwest of Charleston. It's a treat for running, with 10 miles of beach with packed sand, and 30 miles of bike trails. Private island but public can enter by foot.

Hilton Head Beaches

Hilton Head Island, SC

One of the best beaches for running in the southeastern U.S. 11+ miles of continuous, flat & wide beach, much of it with reliably hard, packed sand. Beach itself is all public but with specific access points and parking spots.

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