You Should Check Out These Historically Black Beaches Soon
By DeAnna Taylor
Black history shouldn’t just be celebrated only in February, but all year long instead. As the weather begins to heat up, and people start making plans to hit a beach or two, be sure to check out some historically black beaches and resort areas while you’re making those plans.
Check out this list:
Atlantic Beach in South Carolina
This stretch of beach sits between Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach. It is currently the only remaining black-owned beach in the country and is appropriately nicknamed the “Black Pearl.” In addition to being black-owned, there are several black-owned restaurants, hotels, clubs, and gift shops in the area as well.
Oak Bluffs in Martha’s Vineyard
For over a century, Oak Bluffs in Martha’s Vineyard has been a favorite destination for prominent black tourists. People like Maya Angelou and President Barack Obama have spent time in the tourist area that is deeply rooted in Black history and culture. The area became popular among Black travelers after Charles Shearer, the son of a slave, turned his cottage into the first inn where blacks could stay. If you visit, be sure to take a tour down the African American heritage trail where you will get a chance to view historic homes of people in our history.
American Beach in Jacksonville, Florida
American Beach is Florida’s first black beach and was opened in 1935. It was founded by Florida’s first black millionaire Abraham Lincoln Lewis and his Afro-American life insurance company. As the popularity around the beach began to grow, it was given the nickname “The Negro Ocean Playground.” The area was hit hard by a hurricane in 1964 and many tourists starting seeking other beaches. However, the area is still alive and well. Many historians are working diligently to preserve the heritage and history of the area. If you visit, you can check out The American Beach Museum to learn more.
Highland Beach in Maryland
This area is said to be one of the oldest black resort towns in the country. It was founded in 1893 by Frederick Douglass’s son, Charles and his wife. This beach town is about 35 miles from Washington, D.C. It became the popular area for prominent black Americans to set up beach homes in the summer. Today, there are still dozens of homes still owned and occupied by descendants of the original residents of Highland Beach. The Frederick Douglass Museum and Cultural Center ‘Twin Oaks’ is a local attraction at this distinctive resort destination.
Sag Harbor in Long Island, New York
This is the “black area” of the popular Hamptons. After WWII and during the era of segregation, many working-class Black families were able to purchase and develop land in the area. Luckily, the area has been able to keep its black roots and not succumb to gentrification. If you visit, you will still be able to see a flourishing community of black people with many being doctors, lawyers, and other professions.
Gullah-Geechee Islands in South Carolina
Gullah Geechee culture is one of the longest preserved African-American cultures in the U.S. The culture came from descendants of Central and West Africa that were enslaved and taken to several isolated islands that stretch from North Carolina down to St. Johns, Florida. The Gullah Heritage Trail Tour on Hilton Head Island will drive you through compounds and stop at several historic sites. This includes ‘Mitcheville,’ the first freedman village in the United States. The Gullah Geechee Visitor Center in Beaufort is also a quick drive away.
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel blogger, author, and writer. While Charlotte, NC (her hometown) is her base, she's always somewhere on a plane. Catch her on IG: @brokeandabroadlife.