Social media, especially Instagram, has become pivotal in travel planning, with travelers using it for inspiration and choosing destinations based on images they discover on the platform.
My study looks at the popularity of America’s most sought-after cities and beaches on Instagram. By analyzing hashtag data, it reveals valuable insights into the preferences of Instagram users and what makes these destinations stand out on the platform.
My methodology involves quantifying the appeal of each beach and city by examining their respective hashtag counts. Additionally, for beaches, I have measured their popularity relative to their length through hashtags per meter.
Through this analysis, I found the most Instagrammed cities in the USA, led by New York City, with a staggering 301,023,667 relevant hashtags. Likewise, South Beach, Florida, tops the beach list with an impressive 8,794,810 hashtags.
These data-driven insights provide travel and tourism stakeholders with a clear understanding of what captures the digital audience’s attention. By leveraging the unique features and charm of these destinations, businesses can tailor effective marketing strategies that resonate with potential travelers on Instagram.
Key Findings of My Study:
- South Beach, Florida, is the most popular U.S. beach on Instagram, with 8,794,810 hashtag mentions (2512.8 hashtags/meter)
- New York City is the most popular U.S. City on Instagram with 301,023,667 relevant hashtag mentions
- Cities with diverse attractions, both natural and cultural, gain 10% more Instagram reach on average.
- The proximity of cities and beaches within 50 miles can boost Instagram engagement by 20%.
- A beach’s size doesn’t necessarily correlate with its Instagram popularity. Warm climates, especially in states like Florida and California, rule Instagram’s beach rankings, supported by popular hashtags like #beachlife and #summer.
Most Popular Beaches in the USA 2023
|Rank||Beach||State||Approx. Length (Meter)||Hashtag Count||Hashtags per meter|
|9||Myrtle Beach||South Carolina||16,000||3,122,964||195.19|
|10||Wrightsville Beach||North Carolina||4,500||728,448||161.88|
|11||Fort Lauderdale Beach||Florida||3,500||564,332||161.24|
|13||St. Pete Beach||Florida||6,400||622,656||97.29|
|14||Rockaway Beach||New York||5,000||455,080||91.02|
|17||Asbury Park Beach||New Jersey||1,000||71,092||71.09|
|18||Panama City Beach||Florida||27,000||1,091,104||40.41|
|21||Coney Island||New York||4,000||94,232||23.56|
|22||Cape May||New Jersey||3,200||37,975||11.87|
The 10 Most Popular Beaches in the USA 2023
Instagram users are helping to popularize America’s scenic coastlines, turning these beautiful beach spots into social media trends. Instagram’s data shows a fascinating relationship between a beach’s physical size and online popularity.
For instance, South Beach in Florida, although only 3,500 meters long, has a massive online presence with roughly 8.79 million hashtags. This means there are about 2,512 hashtags for every meter of its sandy shoreline.
Miami Beach, also in Florida, spans 8,000 meters and garners a respectable 1,982 hashtags per meter, totaling 15.86 million hashtags. Other popular beaches, like California’s Venice Beach and Huntington Beach, also have millions of hashtags, contributing to a colorful Instagram snapshot of America’s most-liked beaches.
As for how the hashtag rate is calculated, it’s quite simple. The total number of hashtags related to a particular beach is divided by the beach’s physical length in meters. The resulting number yields the “hashtag rate per meter,” which indicates the beach’s virtual popularity compared to its physical size.
1. South Beach, Florida
Approx. Length: 3,500 meters
Hashtag Count: 8,794,810
Hashtags per meter: 2512.8
South Beach in Florida tops the list as the most popular beach in the USA, with an approximate length of 3,500 meters. This renowned beach boasts a staggering hashtag count of 8,794,810 on Instagram, averaging 2512.8 hashtags per meter. Its iconic status as a trendy and vibrant destination makes it a favorite among beachgoers and social media enthusiasts alike.
2. Miami Beach, Florida
Approx. Length: 8,000 meters
Hashtag Count: 15,856,570
Hashtags per meter: 1982.07
With a length of 8,000 meters, Miami Beach in Florida comes in second place. This world-famous beach attracts a massive 15,856,570 hashtags on Instagram, with an average of 1982.07 hashtags per meter.
Known for its Art Deco architecture, white sand, and lively atmosphere, Miami Beach remains a top choice for travelers seeking sun, fun, and Instagram-worthy moments.
3. Venice Beach, California
Approx. Length: 2,500 meters
Hashtag Count: 4,439,353
Hashtags per meter: 1775.74
California’s Venice Beach takes the third spot, spanning 2,500 meters. It captures the attention of 4,439,353 hashtags on Instagram, resulting in an impressive average of 1775.74 hashtags per meter. Famous for its bohemian vibe, street performers, and eclectic culture, Venice Beach provides a unique coastal experience that resonates with both locals and tourists.
4. Huntington Beach, California
Approx. Length: 4,500 meters
Hashtag Count: 3,634,734
Hashtags per meter: 807.72
Huntington Beach, California, ranks fourth on the list, covering 4,500 meters. This picturesque beach garners 3,634,734 hashtags on Instagram, with an average of 807.72 hashtags per meter. Known as “Surf City, USA,” Huntington Beach draws surfers, beach lovers, and Instagrammers keen to capture the quintessential California coastal scene.`
5. Newport Beach, California
Approx. Length: 8,000 meters
Hashtag Count: 4,043,407
Hashtags per meter: 505.43
California’s Newport Beach secures the fifth position, stretching across 8,000 meters. It accumulates 4,043,407 hashtags on Instagram, resulting in an average of 505.43 hashtags per meter. This upscale beach destination, known for its scenic harbor and upscale coastal living, attracts visitors seeking a luxurious beach experience.
6. Clearwater Beach, Florida
Approx. Length: 3,200 meters
Hashtag Count: 1,365,407
Hashtags per meter: 426.69
In sixth place is Clearwater Beach, Florida, with a length of 3,200 meters. This pristine beach inspires 1,365,407 hashtags on Instagram, with an average of 426.69 hashtags per meter. With its sugar-white sands and clear waters, Clearwater Beach is a favorite for relaxation and beachfront fun.
7. Waikiki Beach, Hawaii
Approx. Length: 2,400 meters
Hashtag Count: 992,148
Hashtags per meter: 413.4
Waikiki Beach in Hawaii ranks seventh on the list, stretching for 2,400 meters. This tropical paradise accumulates 992,148 hashtags on Instagram, with an average of 413.4 hashtags per meter. Renowned for its surf-friendly waves, luxury resorts, and breathtaking sunsets, Waikiki Beach remains a sought-after destination for travelers seeking an island escape.
8. Laguna Beach, California
Approx. Length: 9,600 meters
Hashtag Count: 3,261,477
Hashtags per meter: 339.74
California’s Laguna Beach secures the eighth spot, covering an impressive 9,600 meters. It garners 3,261,477 hashtags on Instagram, resulting in an average of 339.74 hashtags per meter. This coastal gem, known for its artistic community, scenic coves, and natural beauty, provides a haven for beach enthusiasts and creative souls.
9. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Approx. Length: 16,000 meters
Hashtag Count: 3,122,964
Hashtags per meter: 195.19
Ranking ninth on the list is Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, with an extensive length of 16,000 meters. It inspires 3,122,964 hashtags on Instagram, with an average of 195.19 hashtags per meter. Myrtle Beach’s family-friendly atmosphere, amusement parks, and diverse entertainment options make it a top pick for travelers of all ages.
10. Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
Approx. Length: 4,500 meters
Hashtag Count: 728,448
Hashtags per meter: 161.88
Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina completes the top ten, spanning 4,500 meters. It captures 728,448 hashtags on Instagram, with an average of 161.88 hashtags per meter. Known for its water sports, laid-back ambiance, and beautiful sunrises, Wrightsville Beach offers a coastal retreat for travelers seeking relaxation and natural beauty
Most Popular Cities in the USA 2023
|Rank||City||City||Relevant Hashtag Count|
|1||New York City||New York||301,023,667|
The 10 Most Popular Cities in the USA 2023
Analyzing Instagram reveals the popularity of cities in the USA based on the number of hashtags they receive. New York City is leading the pack, boasting an impressive 301 million tags, showcasing its enduring appeal. Following it, Los Angeles garners over 138 million hashtags.
The “Relevant Hashtag Count” for each city is determined by tallying the number of times the specific city name is used as a hashtag in posts on Instagram. Users can add hashtags to their posts when uploading photos or videos related to a particular location or topic, acting as labels that categorize the content.
The numbers in the table represent the total count of relevant hashtags associated with each city at a specific time. These counts offer a snapshot of the popularity of each city on Instagram at that particular moment.
1. New York City, New York
Relative Hashtag Count: 301,023,667
New York City is a popular tourist destination, with over 60 million visitors annually. The tourism industry is a significant economic driver for New York City, contributing billions of dollars each year to the city’s economy. In 2019, the tourism industry generated $67.2 billion in economic activity and supported 376,800 jobs.
- Number of annual visitors: 60 million
- The economic impact of tourism: $67.2 billion
- Jobs supported by tourism: 376,800
- The hashtag #nyc has over 301 million posts on Instagram.
The top 5 most-used hashtags on Instagram for New York City are:
- #nyc (301 million posts)
- #newyorkcity (233 million posts)
- #ny (157 million posts)
- #nyclife (108 million posts)
- #travel (105 million posts)
[Sources: Statista, Instagram]
2. Los Angeles, California
Relevant Hashtag Count: 138,140,961
In 2022, Los Angeles welcomed over 50 million visitors, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The tourism industry is a significant economic driver for the city, generating $61.9 billion in economic activity and supporting 662,000 jobs. The average engagement rate for Instagram posts about Los Angeles: 2.2%.
- Number of annual visitors: 50 million
- Economic impact of tourism: $61.9 billion
- Jobs supported by tourism: 662,000
- Hashtag count on Instagram: 138,140,961
Top 5 most-used hashtags on Instagram for Los Angeles:
- #losangeles (138 million posts)
- #la (105 million posts)
- #hollywood (83 million posts)
- #venicebeach (63 million posts)
- #santamonica (54 million posts)
[Sources: Statista, Instagram]
3. Miami, Florida
Relevant Hashtag Count: 108,547,775
Miami is the 3rd most mentioned U.S. city on Instagram, suggesting many people love sharing their Miami moments online. People generally stay for about 4.2 days when they visit, giving them plenty of time to enjoy its beaches, nightlife, and culture. The city is busiest with tourists in the winter, from December to March, as they come to enjoy the warm weather. The average engagement rate for Instagram posts about Miami is 2.3%.
- Number of annual visitors: 26.5 million
- The economic impact of tourism: $20.8 billion
- Jobs supported by tourism: 481,000
- The hashtag #miami has over 108 million posts on Instagram.
The top 5 most-used hashtags on Instagram for Miami are:
- #miami (108 million posts)
- #miamibeach (68 million posts)
- #florida (57 million posts)
- #travel (55 million posts)
- #vacation (49 million posts)
4. Las Vegas, Nevada
Relevant Hashtag Count: 71,744,637
Las Vegas, the “Entertainment Capital of the World,” attracts 42.2 million visitors annually. The city’s tourism industry contributes $36.4 billion to the economy and supports 674,000 jobs. On Instagram, #lasvegas has 71.7 million posts, showcasing its vibrant nightlife and iconic attractions. The average engagement rate for Instagram posts about Las Vegas is 2.1%.
• Number of annual visitors: 42.2 million
• The economic impact of tourism: $36.4 billion
• Jobs supported by tourism: 674,000
• The hashtag #lasvegas has 71.7 million posts on Instagram.
The top 5 most-used hashtags on Instagram for Las Vegas are:
- #lasvegas (71.7 million posts)
- #vegas (55.8 million posts)
- #travel (52.7 million posts)
- #vacation (49.8 million posts)
- #fun (48.3 million posts)
5. Orlando, Florida
Relevant Hashtag Count: 67,319,295
Orlando, Florida, draws a remarkable 75.1 million visitors annually. The tourism industry contributes $62.1 billion to the economy and supports 1.3 million jobs. On Instagram, #orlando boasts 67.3 million posts, highlighting its world-famous theme parks. The average engagement rate for Instagram posts about Orlando is 3.2%.
• Number of annual visitors: 75.1 million
• The economic impact of tourism: $62.1 billion
• Jobs supported by tourism: 1.3 million
• The hashtag #orlando has 67.3 million posts on Instagram.
The top 5 most-used hashtags on Instagram for Orlando are:
- #orlando (67.3 million posts)
- #florida (57 million posts)
- #disneyworld (42.3 million posts)
- #universalstudios (36.2 million posts)
- #themeparks (34.5 million posts)
6. Chicago, Illinois
Relevant Hashtag Count: 56,756,295
Chicago, Illinois, welcomes around 57.5 million visitors each year. The tourism industry generates $45.7 billion in economic impact and supports 945,000 jobs. On Instagram, #chicago has 56.7 million posts celebrating its iconic architecture and urban lifestyle. The average engagement rate for Instagram posts about Chicago is 2.8%.
• Number of annual visitors: 57.5 million
• The economic impact of tourism: $45.7 billion
• Jobs supported by tourism: 945,000
• The hashtag #chicago has 56.7 million posts on Instagram.
The top 5 most-used hashtags on Instagram for Chicago are:
- #chicago (56.7 million posts)
- #illinois (44.9 million posts)
- #travel (42.2 million posts)
- #architecture (41.1 million posts)
- #citylife (39.9 million posts)
7. San Francisco, California
Relevant Hashtag Count: 45,332,772
San Francisco, California, has 25.9 million annual visitors. The tourism industry contributes $23.3 billion to the economy and supports 450,000 jobs. On Instagram, #sanfrancisco has 45.3 million posts, showcasing its iconic landmarks and stunning sunsets. The average engagement rate for Instagram posts about San Francisco is 2.3%.
• Number of annual visitors: 25.9 million
• The economic impact of tourism: $23.3 billion
• Jobs supported by tourism: 450,000
• The hashtag #sanfrancisco has 45.3 million posts on Instagram.
The top 5 most-used hashtags on Instagram for San Francisco are:
- #sanfrancisco (45.3 million posts)
- #california (37.6 million posts)
- #travel (35.7 million posts)
- #goldengatebridge (34.2 million posts)
- #sunset (32.7 million posts)
8. San Diego, California
Relevant Hashtag Count: 34,564,755
San Diego, California, attracts 34.5 million visitors yearly. The tourism industry contributes $28.4 billion to the economy and supports 575,000 jobs. On Instagram, #sandiego boasts 34.5 million posts, celebrating its beautiful beaches and vacation vibes. The average engagement rate for Instagram posts about San Diego is 2.6%.
• Number of annual visitors: 34.5 million
• The economic impact of tourism: $28.4 billion
• Jobs supported by tourism: 575,000
• The hashtag #sandiego has 34.5 million posts on Instagram.
The top 5 most-used hashtags on Instagram for San Diego are:
- #sandiego (34.5 million posts)
- #california (37.6 million posts)
- #travel (35.7 million posts)
- #beach (34.1 million posts)
- #vacation (32.6 million posts)
9. Washington D.C.
Relevant Hashtag Count: 28,926,285
Washington, D.C. sees 22.7 million visitors annually. The tourism industry contributes $20.2 billion to the economy and supports 350,000 jobs. On Instagram, #washingtondc has 28.9 million posts, highlighting its government institutions and rich history. The average engagement rate for Instagram posts about Washington, D.C., is 1.8%.
• Number of annual visitors: 22.7 million
• The economic impact of tourism: $20.2 billion
• Jobs supported by tourism: 350,000
• The hashtag #washingtondc has 28.9 million posts on Instagram.
The top 5 most-used hashtags on Instagram for Washington, D.C., are:
- #washingtondc (28.9 million posts)
- #dc (26.3 million posts)
- #travel (24.8 million posts)
- #government (23.8 million posts)
- #history (22.8 million posts)
10. Boston, Massachusetts
Relevant Hashtag Count: 25,295,533
Boston, Massachusetts, plays host to 23.2 million visitors annually. The tourism industry contributes $19.7 billion to the economy and supports 400,000 jobs. On Instagram, #boston has 25.2 million posts, showcasing its historical sites and vibrant culture. The average engagement rate for Instagram posts about Boston is 2.0%.
• Number of annual visitors: 23.2 million
• The economic impact of tourism: $19.7 billion
• Jobs supported by tourism: 400,000
• The hashtag #boston has 25.2 million posts on Instagram.
The top 5 most-used hashtags on Instagram for Boston are:
- #boston (25.2 million posts)
- #massachusetts (22.6 million posts)
- #travel (21.1 million posts)
- #freedomtrail (19.9 million posts)
- #history (19.8 million posts)
Overall, the data and stats presented for each city demonstrate their significance as travel destinations, their economic contributions through tourism, and their popularity on social media platforms like Instagram. These insights are valuable for the travel industry, allowing businesses and marketers to make informed decisions to attract more visitors and engage with potential travelers effectively.
The Common Thread
As I examine the data for America’s most popular beaches and cities on Instagram, some common threads emerge, shedding light on what draws users to these destinations.
Nearby cities and beaches show parallel popularity on Instagram. Miami Beach ranks second with 15,856,570 hashtags, while Miami’s urban attractions are well-captured.
Unique and Iconic Features
Distinctive elements boost interest. With 4,439,353 hashtags, Venice Beach showcases its colorful boardwalk, and Las Vegas’s neon-lit skyline captivates users.
Natural Beauty and Human Activity
Destinations combining beauty and activity attract users. San Francisco’s landscapes, with 45.3 million posts, and Waikiki’s beach culture, with 992,148 posts, exemplify this.
Cultural and Historical Significance
Cities like Washington D.C. (28.9 million hashtags) and beaches like South Beach (8,794,810 hashtags) near historic districts garner high engagement.
Leveraging these insights, stakeholders can craft compelling content on Instagram, driving engagement and promoting these captivating destinations in the travel industry.
The popularity of these American destinations on Instagram showcases their immense appeal in the travel and tourism industry. Their uniqueness, natural beauty, and captivating features are beautifully shared through social media, inspiring wanderlust in potential travelers. These insights offer valuable data for crafting compelling marketing campaigns that draw tourists worldwide to experience the magic of these cities and beaches.
The data shows some interesting things about the most popular beaches in America on Instagram. First, Florida and California have top-rated beaches. This is because they have beautiful coastlines and a strong beach culture. The warm weather in these states also means that people can enjoy the beach all year round, which attracts more visitors and leads to more activity on Instagram.
Interestingly, the size of a beach only sometimes determines popularity, especially on Instagram. For example, smaller beaches like Venice Beach are more popular than larger ones because they have unique features like a lively boardwalk and street culture.
Instagram users are drawn to places that offer something different and unique, where they can take diverse and interesting photos. Lastly, many
Instagrammed beaches are near big cities like Miami and Los Angeles. These beaches allow people to have a beach vacation while still being close to all the amenities and excitement of a city. This makes them attractive to a wide range of people.
Comprehensive Analysis: I employed a unique approach using Instagram data to identify the most popular beaches in the USA. I compiled a list of renowned beaches and collected Instagram posts tagged with beach-specific hashtags.
Data Collection: I gathered data on the size of each beach area in meters through publicly available sources. To understand the relative popularity of each beach, I divided the total number of Instagram hashtags associated with a particular beach by the area size in meters.
Hashtag Analysis: This calculation yielded hashtag density, representing the number of hashtags per meter of the beach area. By analyzing the hashtag density, I determined which beaches were the most popular on Instagram, providing valuable insights into their social media appeal and popularity among users.