Summer is right around the corner and who doesn’t love a relaxing day at the beach? From the salty air to the cool ocean breeze. What’s not to love? Okay, yeah I know the sand. Trust me I am not a fan of the sand. It took me a long time to get used to it once again.
The East Coast of the US is full of large and small beach towns. You will find major cities right along the coast too. However, does that make it one of the better beach towns? Probably not.
Does a beach town need to be packed for it to be a great one? Or does it just need to have sand and waves? Is a boardwalk required? Below you will find the top beach towns on the East Coast.
Cape May, NJ
Time after Time, Cape May is recognized as one of America’s best beach towns. After one visit you will understand why. The entire city is a National Historic Landmark too. Located throughout the town you will find many Victorian buildings.
If the conditions are right you might even catch a glimpse of the “Ghost tracks”. It’s a section of old railroad tracks covered by sand. Sunset beach is a great location to watch the sunset over the water. Not many locations in the Northeast where you can do that.
Known for the Chincoteague Ponies, Chincoteague Island is a wonderful place to bring the family. This small beach town has everything you would expect from a beach town. Many shops, restaurants, ice cream parlors, and of course, mini golf courses.
In recent years it has become a popular location to watch launches from nearby Wallops Island. It is the perfect location to watch a rocket launch if you don’t want to or can’t travel down to our next beach town..
Titusville is located along Florida’s east coast and is right across from Kennedy Space Center. Making this a great coastal beach town for space nerds. This town is so much more than sandy beaches and cool ocean waves.
If you are lucky or perhaps unlucky enough to visit during a launch you will be in for a special treat. Even better if it’s a night launch. Plus Titusville is also 35 miles from Orlando and makes for the perfect day trip away from Universal or Disney.
Bar Harbor, ME
Bar Harbor borders Acadia National Park which is an excellent destination to visit year round. Of course, you won’t want to go in the water unless it is summertime.
Ocean City, NJ
If you are looking for a great Jersey Beach which is perfect for the family. Look no further than Ocean City. This is the perfect family beach town to visit with it’s amazing two and a half mile boardwalk. Filled with rides, shops, and food.
Another great draw to this seaside town….. It is a dry town. That means you won’t have to worry about drunk adults or teenagers walking around. Since Ocean City was founded they have not allowed the sale of alcoholic beverages. You can’t say that about any other Jersey beach town with a boardwalk.
Jekyll Island, GA
Jekyll Island in Georgia has it all. You can go boating, fishing, hiking, bird watching, horseback riding and more. Of course, you can also enjoy a relaxing day walking the miles of beach.
You will find plenty of places to stay too. Many hotel chains have properties right on the beach for you to enjoy a beautiful Atlantic sunrise.
Outer Banks, NC
The Outer Banks covers many beach towns. It’s hard to pick just one when they all could make a list like this. This string of barrier islands covers 200 miles and covers some famous towns like Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Emerald Isle, and many more.
Visit Jockey’s Ridge State Park to see the largest sand dune on the East Coast. Or head up to Kill Devil Hills and see why this area was the perfect location for the Wright Brothers first flight. Don’t forget about visiting the numerous lighthouses that dot the coastline.
Pawleys Island, SC
This Lowcountry beach town is one of the oldest in the US. If you see the Gray Man, pack up your things and go. This ghost is said to appear to warn of hurricanes.
Key West, FL
You don’t go to Key West for the beaches. It is more of a road trip destination than anything else. Traveling down the overseas highway is an experience all on its own.
There are plenty of things to do once you get down here. From sightseeing to eating some key lime pie. Key West is like visiting a tropical island without leaving the United States.
You won’t find a better beach town to visit in New England than Newport, Rhode Island. Enjoy a peaceful three and a half mile cliff walk that takes you along the coast. All the while getting that gentle sea breeze hitting your face as you walk by Gilded Age mansions and inspiring cliffs.
Atlantic City, NJ
Atlantic City is making a bit of a come back. This casino resort town has a lot going for it. From it’s many casinos to its historic boardwalk. AC is the place to go anytime of year.
It doesn’t just have to be summer to enjoy AC either. The casinos offer more than just table games and slots too. Enjoy world class food, hip nightclubs, and relaxing spas. It is the Vegas of the east coast.
Virginia Beach, VA
Looking for a beach town that has more to offer than just sand and a boardwalk? Virginia Beach has you covered. Not only will you find the beach and boardwalk to your liking. You will find plenty of museums to visit.
Plus Virginia Beach is the perfect place to go dolphin watching. You can take a boat tour or even see them while standing on the beach. Make sure to visit the King Neptune statue for an interesting photo op. It’s amazing at sunrise too.
You are not driving to this location. You can only arrive here by air or sea but once you get here you will be amazed. Check out the lighthouses, museums, and beaches.
While you are not too far from the mainland. You are far enough away to feel like you truly escaped.
The East Coast of the US has hundreds of beach towns to choose from. While there are more well known locations like Miami, Myrtle Beach, or even Seaside Heights. We don’t consider them to be the top beach towns for many different reasons.
These 13 beach towns are some of the best you will visit on the east coast. Did we include your favorite? Did we overlook one? Let us know in the comments below.
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