Close out the summer at one of these historic Black beach getaways 

From Oak Bluffs to Sag Harbor, these U.S. beach towns are both relaxing and rich in Black history and legacy.

Hot summer days will soon turn into cold winter nights. With only a few weeks left in the season, a beach town getaway is the best way to say goodbye to the summer.

Pristine beaches and clear blue skies are two of the best remedies for everyday stressors. The sand between your toes, the subtle breeze cooling you down, and the soft sounds of waves hitting the shore offer a unique setting to decompress and rejuvenate before the rush of fall and the upcoming holiday season. 

Looking for a last-minute summer vacay? Here are 10 beach getaways rooted in Black history that will leave you feeling refreshed and enriched before the season ends.

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Oak Bluffs 

Oak Bluffs is a small residential, resort community located in Martha’s Vineyard. In 1912, Charles Shearer turned a cottage into an inn for Black travelers. This began the town’s transition into a safe haven for Black people. At the time, it was one of the only places that Black families could vacation and be themselves authentically.

Over the years, Martha’s Vineyard has held its prominence as a Black vacation destination in Massachusetts. If you are looking to vacation with family or friends, Oak Bluffs combines history with elegance for an unforgettable getaway.

Highland Beach

A chance encounter between a member of the Brashears family, who owned Black Walnut Creek, and Charles and Laura Douglass set the foundation for this Black vacation town. Highland Beach in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay area transitioned into a hotspot for many middle-class and upper-class Black families. It was incorporated in 1922, making it the first Black municipality in the state.

Highland Beach has a rich culture, with descendants of many original inhabitants still residing in their homes. The historic town is the perfect enriching and relaxing summer experience.

Sag Harbor

Often referred to as the “Black Hamptons,” Sag Harbor is a premier destination for Black people. The Long Island beach oasis began attracting middle-class Black families in the 1940s, when sisters Maude Terry and Amaza Lee Meredith partnered with David Gale to build a beachfront property catering to Black professionals.

Today, Sag Harbor remains the perfect summer getaway for Black families with beaches, museums, theaters and more. 

Bruce’s Beach

Located in Manhattan Beach in Los Angeles County, the historic area was a haven for Black beachgoers at the end of segregation. Its original owners, Charles and Willa Bruce, migrated to the West Coast in hopes of living the American Dream. They bought two lots of land and opened a seaside resort, creating a vacation destination for Black travelers. 

Despite a century-long struggle with the Los Angeles County legislature over ownership, the Bruce family ultimately prevailed, were compensated, and are publicly recognized as the founders of this beach enclave, which still stands as a beach getaway for Black families. 

Eatonville, Florida

Eatonville, Florida, proves that looks can be deceiving. Founded by formerly enslaved Black men and women, this city possesses incredible historical and cultural significance as the oldest incorporated Black town in the United States.

Best known as the hometown of literary giant Zora Neale Hurston, Eatonville attracts tourists who hope to visit the museum or library named in her honor and continues to be a cultural haven for Black travelers across the United States.

Atlantic Beach

Atlantic Beach is a community full of Black history in Horry County, South Carolina. In the early 1930s, George Tyson, a Black entrepreneur, purchased 47 acres of beachfront property with the risk of losing it all with one missed payment. To the surprise of many, Tyson made every payment and purchased even more land, creating over 90 acres of beachfront properties for Black people to build homes and businesses. 

Despite numerous challenges the site faced over the years, Black people have owned and governed the Atlantic Beach community for decades. This beach getaway town is full of rich history, ensuring an enriching and fulfilling experience. 

Amelia Island

With the goal of providing Black people refuge from the stress of segregation, in 1935, A.L. Lewis, a self-made millionaire and the president of the Afro-American Life Insurance Co., purchased 33 acres of land. This land became the beginning of American Beach, which eventually stretched over 200 acres on North Florida’s Amelia Island.

Black families and prominent figures from throughout the southeast flocked to the area, which became Florida’s first Black beach resort. As time passed, American Beach was hit hard by hurricanes and domain issues. However, residents have been working to restore the area to its prime in recent years. Full of history and passionate natives, this destination is a perfect summer getaway.

Daytona Beach

Black people were among the first to settle in Daytona Beach, Florida. The vibrant beach getaway destination is perfect for Black families looking for both a fun and cultural experience. In addition to water activities, such as swimming and fishing, Daytona Beach is also home to Jackie Robinson Ballpark, the Museum of Arts and Sciences, the home and gravesite of Mary McLeod Bethune and more. 

Chicken Bone Beach

Located on a stretch in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Chicken Bone Beach was the designated Black section of the beach in the early 1900s. By the 1940s, Black entertainers such as Sammy Davis Jr. and Louis Jordan would perform during the summer evenings. Even as it attracted a larger crowd, Chicken Bone Beach remained a family-oriented destination; its name references the chicken bones that would be left buried in the sand after families finished eating. 

Despite all of the changes in Atlantic City over the years, the legacy of Chicken Bone Beach lives on. The Chicken Bone Beach Historical Foundation hosts annual jazz concerts to promote heritage pride. 


Known as the “Black Eden,” Idlewild was one of the few resorts for Black people to vacation and buy property in Michigan during the early 1900s. Many prominent Black professionals and entertainers, including activist W.E.B. DuBois, entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker and heart surgeon Daniel Hale Williams. The town became a major entertainment hub, hosting performances from various Black musicians, including the Temptations and Aretha Franklin.

Although Idlewild has encountered various hardships over the years, it remains an essential destination for tourists looking for a summer escape.

Kayla Grant

Kayla Grant is a multimedia journalist with bylines in Business Insider, Shondaland, Oz Magazine, Prism, Rolling Out and more. She writes about culture, books and entertainment news. Follow her on Twitter: @TheKaylaGrant  

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