Estuarine beaches are those beaches located in sheltered estuaries where wave energies are low and beach dimensions are small in comparison to the more familiar ocean beaches. Estuarine beaches may be either natural or artificially produced. They typically offer a wide range of recreational opportunities. This paper examines estuarine beaches in more detail by focusing on beach sites in the Federal Republic of Germany and in New Jersey in the United States. Sites were selected because they represent a broad spectrum of beach sizes, shapes and recreational values. Physical characteristics, including natural features and human adjustments, were identified in order to suggest ways of enhancing recreational oppportunities. Considerable variety in the physical characteristics of estuarine beaches was noted. Sites in Germany particularly illustrate how recreational benefits can be achieved when a large amount of municipal resources is invested. The continued operation of estuarine beaches in the United States implies that such beaches are economically feasible. In addition, their small sizes lend themselves to easy alterations. Estuarine beach sites have a high potential for ample use and low-cost management in urban areas. This potential is at risk, however, when water quality deteriorates.