Vegan Foods

5 Vegan Beach Towns You Must Visit

Sometimes you need to escape city life and enjoy the beach breeze, glorious sunshine and plant-based food. From coast to coast, we’ve compiled a list of five hotter-than-ever beach towns to catch some rays while devouring some amazing vegan food. So grab your vegan SPF 50 sunscreen and cat-eye sunglasses, and let this guide be the starting point for your next beach adventure.

Vegetables on the edge

1 Santa Cruz, California

Located 90 minutes south of San Francisco, this college/hippie town is home to the headquarters of VegNews and, during the summer months, is a tourist hotspot. At the height of the season, this town’s top attractions include a boardwalk full of retro arcade games, nostalgic carnival rides, and groovy concerts on the beach. With the expansion of popular plant-based restaurants such as Sri Lankan restaurant Malabar, vegan deli Staff of Life, and West African-influenced all-vegan Veg on the Edge, Santa Cruz understands vegan cuisine. Plus, the weekly Farmer’s Market serves up plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables from the many farms in the area. Finally, don’t leave town without ordering from Dharma’s (a favorite among VegNews editors).

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Cookman Creamery

2 Asbury Park, New Jersey

An hour and a half from New York City, Asbury Park is a popular destination for beach lovers and beach friends. Start your adventure with a refreshing smoothie and nutritious lunch at Twisted Tree Cafe, where vegan options such as a Reuben tempeh and creamy coconut berry smoothie are available. Then, take a stroll on the tourist boardwalk before heading to Cookman Creamery for vegan ice cream flavors such as Blueberry Biscoff and Chocolate Banana. Filled with local musicians and artists, Asbury Park’s nightlife is an experience not to be missed. Before hitting the many bars (Wonder Bar is famously dog-friendly), grab a dinner at local pizzeria Crust & Crumble, which has plenty of vegan Italian options. When you think you’ve had enough, popular concert venue The Stone Pony, where rock legends Bruce Springsteen and The Doors performed, hosts outdoor concerts.

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Split Bakehouse

3 San Diego, California

San Diego is arguably the vegan hotspot in California. Start your trip with a tofu scramble and freshly squeezed juice at the Lotus Cafe and Juice Bar before walking the cliffside around the Bay Walk. Have lunch at the Veganic Thai Cafe, where a menu of faux duck curry and vegetable tempura awaits. If you’re looking for a fun, foodie-approved activity, take an all-vegan cooking class at Veg-Appeal, or if you prefer to sit in your car to eat, visit Evolution’s drive-thru and head for the beach to catch the sunset. After dinner, head to vegan cocktail bar and restaurant Kindred, where fun cocktails with names like Zombie Prescription and Kiss of Steel are the perfect way to end a vegan day. Even better? San Diego is also home to a number of vegan favorites such as Loving Hut, Veggie Grill, and Native Foods Café. Don’t miss the Grossmont Center food court’s all-vegan bakery, Split Bakehouse, comfort food staple Veg’n Out, and El Veganito for vegan Mexican cuisine.

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The Surfinist

4 Cocoa Beach, Florida

Any Florida Keys beach town is worth a visit, but the surfer’s paradise known as Cocoa Beach is a favorite among connoisseurs. It’s not hard to see why: the ocean views are stunning and the food is fresh and filling. Grab a cup of coffee at artsy local cafe The Surfinista, an eclectic art gallery meets surf shop and health-conscious restaurant (wraps, bagels and acai bowls are central to their menu). When you’ve finished your meal, take a trip to the Ron Jon Surf Shop and, when inspiration strikes, grab your surfboard and hit the water. Next, venture to organic and vegan restaurant The Green Room Café, where the soothing yellow and blue interior serves as the perfect backdrop for a tropical menu featuring açaí and endless combinations of bowls such as the Big Surf. Bowl (with pineapple, strawberries, and guava juice).

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Ululani Hawaiian Shave Ice

5 Lahaina, Maui

Maui’s quaint little town of Lahaina is surrounded by many golden-white sand beaches and offers wonderful whale-watching views. To fuel your body before channeling your inner Moana, head downtown for a plethora of dining options. The organic, local Choice Health Bar offers an extensive menu of vegan treats ranging from kale salad to Buddha bowls to raw pizzas topped with cashew goat cheese. If you’re going out with kids, head to Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice for over 40 flavors and combinations of shave ice, a Hawaiian treat like no other. For a date night, enjoy a wine tasting or a cold beer at Fleetwood’s on the Front Street rooftop terrace overlooking the sparkling Pacific Ocean. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because it belongs to drummer and co-founder of Fleetwood Mac, Mick Fleetwood.

For more vegan travel, read:
7 Best Hotels for Vegans in America
How to pack for your next vegan vacation
How to pack the perfect vegan beach bag

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