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 (not in a vacation resort, such as Daytona Beach); 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 for a few runs along major lakes (Chicago, Burlington). 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

Boston Waterfront

Boston, MA

As a result of the Big Dig project and development of the Seaport district, it's possible to run about 16 miles from Charlestown to Quincy, about 80% of it really pleasant along the water.
Explore

Island Line Rail Trail

Burlington, VT

The signature running spot for Burlington. It borders the waterfront in the city of Burlington and strings together several shoreline parks in a linear path to offer spectacular views of Lake Champlain and New York’s Adirondack Mountains.
Explore

Waikiki

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.
Explore

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.
Explore

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 .
Explore

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.
Explore

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.
Explore

San Juan Running Overview

Puerto Rico

Highlights of San Juan running include two beaches, a tour of lovely Old San Juan, historic Paseo del Morro out to the Fort, and a linear path around Isla Verde. See our separate guide for all the best runs in San Juan.
Explore

Seacliff State Beach & More

Santa Cruz, CA

Classic California beach running in this spot 8 miles south of Santa Cruz. There are ~2 miles of beachside path, some 12 miles of continuous beach with great firm sand, and 150 stairs opposite the pier if you want to get the heart rate up.
Explore