East Coast beaches are a popular spot to escape the heat of the short summer in the Northeast and the blazing temperatures of the South. From Maine to Florida, the East Coast of the United States is packed with pleasant beach spots, piers, and the Atlantic surf. The New England states of Maine and Massachusetts offer some of the best beaches for those not wanting to travel farther south, while Virginia and the Carolinas provide the mid-Atlantic with great choices, and Florida offers some of the best beach vacations on the East Coast. No matter where on the East Coast you find yourself during the summer months, you’re sure to find an excellent spot for your beach vacation.
Maine is home to some of the most quaint and pleasant East Coast beaches. For instance, Ogunquit Beach is an ideal location for those looking for a relaxed beach trip. Located on the shores of the Atlantic in one of Maine's most popular coastal towns, Ogunquit is a mid-sized beach with secluded areas, boat rentals, souvenir shops, and family-run restaurants. If you’re looking to stay for a while, the Apsenquid is an excellent lodging choice overlooking the small harbor and the length of Ogunquit Beach. The scenic spot of York Beach is also a popular choice amongst New Englanders. This sandy beach is ideal for both swimming and surfing as the tide varies in the different spots along the beach. York Beach is known for its ritzy yet laid-back feel, sunny summer days and a variety of shops. Finally, Kennebunk is also known for its plethora of small beaches. Offering a more private feel, these beaches provide visitors with sweeping views of the Maine coastline and the Atlantic Ocean, and the numerous bed and breakfasts and quaint inns offer the perfect opportunity for relaxing beach vacations on the East Coast.
Massachusetts is home to Cape Cod, one of the most popular summer weekend getaways. If you are trying to beat the summer traffic, be sure to leave your home or hotel bright and early because it can take you hours to travel down Route 3 and finally cross either the Sagamore or Bourne Bridge. From Sandwich to Provincetown, tourists heading to the cape will find a plethora of beaches. The Cape Cod National Seashore, located in Sandwich, is one of the most popular East Coast beaches. The beach boasts long expanses of sand, rolling dunes, and a variety of wildlife, such as shorebirds. The Chatham Lighthouse Beach is also a great choice. Situated under the Chatham lighthouse, it is a perfect spot to enjoy swimming and observe the daily migration of boats and seals out of the harbor. If you feel like venturing off of the mainland, the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket offer some great beach vacations on the East Coast, though they carry a higher price tag than many other spots.
If you are heading farther south in search of some great East Coach beaches, look no further than Virginia, which boasts hundreds of miles of shoreline. Virginia is home to the summer hot spot of Virginia Beach, easily one of the most famous beaches on the East Coast. Virginia Beach boasts a boardwalk, numerous hotels, water sports, and various walking and hiking trails. Ocean View Beach is another great choice. Located in Norfolk along the beautiful Chesapeake Bay, the beach is a popular spot for beachgoers to rent kayaks, jet skis, and sailboats, and to visit the historical museums in the town.
The Outer Banks, off the coast of North Carolina, are a popular spot for beach vacations on the East Coast, and the many beaches here are great for exploring and boast bayous, forests, and marshlands galore. The best beaches of the Outer Banks can be found on Hatteras Island and Ocracoke Island, and the national seashore areas and local shops here are easily enjoyed in a long weekend from many parts of the Mid-Atlantic. In South Carolina, travelers will find Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head Island at the top of the beach list. Myrtle Beach is perfect for visitors of all ages, and with its variety of activities during the day and a vibrant nightlife, Myrtle Beach has something to offer at every hour during the day. Hilton Head Island could easily vie for the title of best East Coast beach for its consistence, as it’s an excellent choice for a relaxing destination that is open year-round and promises superb weather. The long expanse of beach offers plenty of sunning spots and there are numerous recreational areas on the island that offer golf, tennis, and family activities.
If you are looking for the largest abundance of popular East Coast beaches, look no further than the Sunshine State. The southeast region of Florida and the Florida Keys offer some of the best beaches on the East Coast. Fort Lauderdale is home to some fantastic beach options. The family-friendly Fort Lauderdale Beach offers large expanses of waterfront, dozens of shops, fishing, and scuba diving. Miami Beach, perhaps the most famous of all the Florida beaches, is one of the most vibrant beach areas on the East Coast; it’s perfect for people-watching, working on your tan, and enjoying the nightlife. Do keep in mind that some parts of the beaches are topless, so it’s not always the best places for families. If you prefer a more tropical beach getaway, head further south to the Florida Keys, America's tropical paradise. From Key Largo to Key West, the islands are dotted with spotless beaches, turquoise waters, and a fun and lively atmosphere. Family-friendly beaches are abundant here, and the warm weather also makes it a delightful spot for tropical beaches.