sunrise at New smyrna beach.

Discover the Best Beaches on the East Coast

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From New York to Florida, get ready to discover the best beaches on the East Coast. Fun for the whole family awaits!

the beach at NSB.
New Smyrna Beach, Florida

The Best Beaches on the East Coast

Have you ever dreamed of waking up and watching the sun rise over the beach? Make it a reality at one of these beaches along the east coast of the United States.

You’ll hear the soothing sound of waves crashing along the shore. Set up your beach chair and enjoy your morning cup of coffee, or enjoy a stroll along the beach with cotton candy colored skies.

New Smyrna Beach

New Smyrna Beach is known for their drivable beaches, friendly locals, and the numerous small businesses and restaurants. Whether you want a relaxing day on the beach, go on a deep sea fishing charter, or bar hop down the famous Flagler Avenue, NSB has you covered.

Then at night, dine at one of the upscale restaurants like The Spott, Third Wave or The Garlic, and then finish the evening listening to live music at Beachside Tavern or hop on over to the Bounty Bar for a cocktail for speakeasy meets beach vibes.

If you’re looking for a more touristy vibe, venture up just about 30 minutes north to Daytona Beach, the worlds most famous beach!

sunrise at New smyrna beach.
Sunrise at New Smyrna Beach. Photo Credit: Lara Clevenger.

Point Pleasant

Point Pleasant is a small beach town in New Jersey that’s known as the ultimate Jersey Shore destination. It’s known for its relaxed lifestyle. The town is a popular destination among many New Yorkers coming here for a quiet getaway. But residents of New Jersey also come here in search of a more relaxed lifestyle. 

girl with a surf board at the beach.
Point Pleasant. Photo Credit: The Discovery Nut.

The town has plenty of hotels and restaurants catering to visitors. It’s also dog friendly, so you can enjoy it with your pooch. Walk along the Jenkinson’s Boardwalk, the main attraction of Point Pleasant to explore local dining options and have fun at one of the arcades. 

Local shops serve ice cream, pizza, hot chocolate fudge and many other delicious treats that can brighten up your beach day. If you have a sweet tooth, a stop at Sundaes Ice Cream Palace is a must. Some of the most popular bars in the area include Martell’s Tiki Bar and Last Wave Brewery.

You can also grab a board at one of the local surf shops and hit the wave. Point Pleasant is one of the most popular surfing destinations along the coast of New Jersey with consistent waves and good swell.

Or get on the South Beach arcade where you can enjoy slot machines, skew ball and tons of other games. 

The Vintage Automobile Museum of New Jersey is another popular stop in Point Pleasant located on Bay Avenue. Here you can find cool vintage cars and learn about auto history.

The Discovery Nut

Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach, located along the beautiful coast of South Carolina, is a popular destination known for its pristine beaches and many attractions. What sets Myrtle Beach apart is its family-friendly atmosphere and abundant activities on and off the Beach.

Top view of a beach with palm treees
Myrtle Beach Photo Credit: Guide Your Travel Blog.

The Beach is clean and well-maintained, with soft, sandy shores perfect for lounging in the sun or taking a refreshing dip in the ocean. One unique feature of Myrtle Beach is that you can drive on certain parts, making it easy to access and convenient for families with young children or those with mobility issues.

Before or after a day at the Beach, visitors can explore the many attractions in the area. From shopping and dining at Broadway at the Beach to taking a thrilling ride on the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel, there’s no shortage of things to see and do. Nature lovers will also enjoy visiting Myrtle Beach State Park, where they can hike through scenic trails and explore the park’s natural beauty.

Top view of beach with grass
Myrtle Beach. Photo Credit: Guide Your Travel Blog.

When it comes to dining, Myrtle Beach has a wide range of restaurants to choose from. You’ll find it all here whether you’re craving fresh seafood, Southern barbecue, or international cuisine. One popular spot is The Sea Captain’s House, known for its delicious seafood dishes and stunning ocean views. Whether looking for a relaxing beach getaway or a fun-filled family vacation, Myrtle Beach has something for everyone.

Victoria from Guide Your Travel

Hilton Head

Hilton Head Island, known as the #1 island in the U.S. is perfect for families and has one of the best beaches on the east coast. Aside from the beach itself, there are many family friendly activities on Hilton Head Island for visitors to enjoy.

Harbour Town Lighthouse in Hilton Head
Harbour Town Lighthouse in Hilton Head. Photo Credit: A Mom Well Traveled.

One of the best communities is Sea Pines Resort which spreads across 500 acres. Families who opt to stay in Sea Pines at one of the many vacation home rentals can enjoy all the amenities including access to tennis courts, golf, fitness center, beach club and more.

In addition, families can explore Harbour Town which features the Harbour Town Lighthouse and Museum, shopping, dinning, a playground, and more. During peak seasons there are also additional activities and concerts.

While on Hilton Head Island, families can enjoy a dolphin cruise, fishing, or other wildlife activities. Whether you visit Hilton Head Island for its sandy white beaches or plan to enjoy nature and wildlife, families are sure to have a spectacular visit.

Key Largo

The Florida Keys are a unique destination for travelers looking for a beach getaway on the east coast and Key Largo is no exception. 

Sea turtle
Photo Credit: Uprooted Traveler.

Most of the beaches in Key Largo are located in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, which is actually the United States’ first underwater park. Sprawling 70 nautical square miles, this park protects a significant portion of the Florida Keys Reef tract, which is the third largest living coral reef on the planet, and offers the very best snorkeling and scuba diving in Key Largo

For example, Far Beach offers soft, white sand along a shallow lagoon, perfect for families looking for a calm place to swim. Alternatively, Cannon Beach offers a white, slightly rocky shoreline, with unique activities, like kayaking through the nearby mangroves or even snorkeling offshore to a sunken Spanish ship, which is an excellent place to see fish, crabs, and other small marine life. For the best chance of seeing larger animals underwater, like sea turtles or even sharks, the park offers snorkeling tours, where you’ll be taken out deeper into the reef on a boat.After your day at the beach, there’s plenty of quirky places with old Florida vibes that dot the Overseas Highway. For example, head to the Caribbean Club, a bar that was established in the 1940s and was used as a filming location in the Humphrey Bogart film, Key Largo. They have a patio, overlooking the ocean, where you can sip cocktails with your toes in the sand, while keeping an eye out for dolphins and watching one of the best sunsets along the east coast.

The Hamptons

The Hamptons is located on the east end of Long Island in New York and is well worth the visit if you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Beach waves
Hamptons Beach Long Island, NY. Photo Credit: Find Love and Travel.

The Hamptons has gained a huge reputation for being a popular seaside resort with many New York locals and tourists flocking to the Hamptons to enjoy Spring Break or a Summer vacation.

Here, you will find many amazing beaches, including Coopers Beach in Southampton and Gibson Beach in Amagansett. 

Cooper’s Beach is my favorite as it stretches for 5,000 feet along the Atlantic Ocean and has gorgeous white sand. 

At the beach, you can rent chairs and umbrellas to soak up the sun or head to the ocean to try your hand at surfing. You could seriously spend your entire day here!

There are also nearby areas for hiking, including a walk to the Montauk Lighthouse. This is another incredible spot with a cliff and rocky beach.

There is a $50 parking fee for Cooper’s Beach, and unfortunately, dogs are not allowed.

If this is a strictly adults-only trip, then you can head to Wolffer Estate where you will discover a vineyard. Here, you can try a selection of wines and enjoy the scenic views.

For something more family-friendly, you could enjoy nice nature trails and even take a bicycle tour of the top attractions.

After you have worked up an appetite, you can head to the Lobster Roll, a famous restaurant serving fresh seafood. This is one of my favorite places to eat and is very popular among the locals. 


Chincoteague is located on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and stands out as one of the finest beach towns on the East Coast. Its charm lies in the perfect blend of natural beauty, rich history, and unique experiences it offers to visitors.

two horse
Chincoteague Ponies. Photo Credit: The Directionally Challenged Traveler.

There are so many things to do in Chincoteague, but its pristine and peaceful beaches are a major draw. The soft, powdery sand and gentle waves create an idyllic setting for sunbathing and swimming.

Nature enthusiasts flock to Chincoteague for its untouched landscapes, including the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, home to diverse wildlife like migratory birds and the local celebrity – the Assateague wild ponies. These ponies have been on the island for over 200 years. Each July, there is a pony swim fundraiser to help take care of them. You can see them in the wild on the beach or in the Assateague State Park.

Chincoteague’s maritime heritage adds depth to its appeal. The town’s history is intertwined with fishing and boat building, evident in its quaint waterfront area dotted with seafood restaurants and charming shops. Visitors can take boat tours to explore the surrounding waters, go fishing, kayaking or paddle boarding. You can also get a breathtaking view from the Assateague Lighthouse. Don’t forget to catch a sunrise at the beach or a sunset on the west side!  

Chincoteague is a hidden gem that doesn’t have the super large crowds of other beach destinations. It’s more relaxed and affordable too!

Chincoteague, Virginia, stands out as one of the best beach towns on the East Coast due to its natural beauty, rich history, unique experiences, and welcoming atmosphere. 

Ocean City

Ocean City, Maryland, has a charm that’s hard to ignore, especially when it comes to its legendary boardwalk. Since 1902, the 3-mile stretch has been the heart of the town, drawing in families and adults alike. While the boardwalk is the heart, the bars, restaurants, and boutique shops stretch all 150 streets. 

Beach with many people
Ocean City. Photo Credit: Caribbean Uncovered.

If you’re considering a trip to OC, you’ve likely heard of Seacrets. It’s an Ocean City bucket list stop that brings in people from all over. 18 bars, live music all day and all night, and the chance to dine right in the water.

Bringing your dog along? Ocean City only welcomes leashed dogs in the off-season, but Assateague National Seashore Park is your go-to all year round. It’s a short drive from central OC and the perfect spot for a day trip. 

My friends and I have made it our tradition to rent a boat each year, making mandatory stops at Seacrets and BLU Crabhouse for some Maryland blue crab (a staple you can’t miss out on). If you wake up after a long day of sunshine or partying, head to Ãœber Bagels for your new favorite breakfast sandwich. 

beach waves
Ocean City. Photo Credit: Caribbean Uncovered.

My favorite part of Ocean City, however, is getting to stop at all of the sandbars for some cold drinks and beach games. It’s no Caribbean beach, but being so close to my hometown makes it worth it! Ocean City is a family and friend favorite for East Coasters near and far. 

Indian Rocks Beach

Though Indian Rocks Beach is not as populated as nearby Clearwater Beach or the St. Pete Beaches, making it one of the best beach towns on the East Coast, it is a beautiful relaxed beach with plenty of things to do.

A boy walking into an entrance bridge
Entrance to Indian Rocks Beach. Photo Credit: Make More Adventures.

Find a public entrance to Indian Rocks Beach and walk over a small boardwalk to the sand. Unlike the beaches nearby, IRB, as it is known to the locals, is not as wide so you don’t have to walk far from the parking lot to the ocean.

The area is only a few blocks wide so you are never far from the ocean on Indian Rocks Beach. Multiple seafood restaurants are in the area including Guppy’s, Keegan’s, and the Original Crabby Bills. For breakfast, try Cafe de Paris Bakery, and for a quick lunch or some ice cream, head to Kooky Coconut.

Girl with a pink Boogie Board
Photo Credit: Make More Adventures.

Indian Rocks Beach even has a water park where you can stay overnight. The Holiday Inn Harbourside has apartment-style rooms connected to Splash Harbor Waterpark, just a few blocks from the beach.

Of course, relaxing on the beach is fun, but there are plenty of other things to do on IRB. When you need a break from the beach, Indian Rocks Nature Preserve has a boardwalk where you can spot local wildlife.

Boy with a green bucket
Photo Credit: Make More Adventures.

For those interested in local history, the Indian Rocks Historical Museum has an audio tour that takes you to 14 stops across 2 miles.

If you would rather spend all your time on the beach, you can rent boats, charter a boat, rent a kayak or SUP, or go fishing on Indian Rocks Beach.

Sunset view
Indian Rocks Beach at Sunset. Photo Credit: Make More Adventures.

As IRB is on the Gulf Coast, the water tends to be calm and warm. The surrounding area is family-friendly and there are plenty of things to do on Indian Rocks Beach with kids.

Tybee Island

One of the best beach towns on the East Coast is Tybee Island, Georgia. Conveniently located 30 minutes from Savannah, this small barrier island is known for its stunning beaches. 

Black and white Lighthouse
Tybee Island in Georgia. Photo Credit: Southern Trippers.

In particular, South Beach is exceptionally popular since you can swim, go sunbathing, and visit the local pier. As you stroll through the sand, look out for cool fossils and shark teeth that = wash up onshore. 

But, if you want to escape the crowds, visit North Beach instead. It’s a lot quieter and  a great place to learn about loggerhead sea turtles, alligators, and horseshoe crabs since this sandy oasis is home to the Tybee Island Marine Science Center, 

Next, head to Back River Beach and enjoy one of the best-kept secrets on the island. It’s a wonderful spot that is hidden away at the end of Highway 80. It’s the perfect place to spot dolphins and enjoy amazing sunsets that light up the sky.  

Afterward, explore the historic gun batteries at Fort Screven and climb 178 steps to the top of Tybee Island Light Station and Museum. This beautiful lighthouse dates back to 1736 and is the oldest working lighthouse in the state. 

But, no visit to Tybee Island is complete without grabbing an ice cream from Sugar Shack and kayaking out on the ocean with Sea Kayak Georgia. It’s the perfect way to spend a day on one of the best islands in Georgia.

West Palm Beach

Along Florida’s Atlantic coast, the West Palm Beach region beckons with sun, sand, and family-friendly activities. Exploring wildlife exhibits at the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society or seeking thrills at the Rapids Water Park with its water slides and wave pool, there’s no shortage of excitement for visitors of all ages.

It’s the region’s pristine beaches that steal the spotlight. Renowned for their golden sands reminiscent of the Baltic Sea shores, particularly those of Sopot, Poland, considered one of the best cities in Poland, West Palm beaches offer a quintessential seaside experience. From kite surfing to paddle boarding and surfing, the coastal waters are fantastic for water sports enthusiasts. Moreover, the piers extending into the ocean add to the beauty of the coast. Lake Worth Beach stands out with its expansive fishing pier, complete with a restaurant on the pier that draws in both locals and tourists alike.

Lake Worth Beach.
Lake Worth Beach. Photo Credit: Travels in Poland.

Lake Worth Beach is great for anyone, but especially for adventurers and those seeking water activities.  The beach is long and accommodating and has plenty of restaurants along the beach that visitors can pop into.

For accommodations, those seeking luxury and convenience will find solace at The Breakers Palm Beach. This iconic resort offers direct access to the beach. You can spend leisurely days lounging by the poolside patio before venturing out to explore the West Palm’s restaurant scene. Seeking out fresh seafood and the region’s dining options are extensive.

Wrapping up

Whether you’re looking for luxury beach vibes of West Palm Beach or the small town beach vibes of New Smyrna Beach, you’ll have fun exploring the best beaches along the east coast. If you’re a jet setter, check out the best beaches in California and the best beaches in the US. You may discover a few hidden gems and want to start planning your next road trip.

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