The Best Beaches On The East Coast
Which is the greatest beach community on the East Coast of the U.S.A.? It all depends on your definition of the best East Coast beaches. Each of these six beach communities is a bit different.
Martha's Vineyard, MA
Art galleries abound on the Vineyard, some of which are dedicated to showing the works of local artists. With a yearly film festival, and its own chamber music society, the beach community attracts artists and musicians of all kinds.
- The island has many beaches, including the relatively calm, shallow, clear beaches of the island’s north and east sides and the more turbulent beaches on the island’s south side.
- Several ferries offer access to the Vineyard, including one that departs from Manhattan.
- If you visit West Tisbury in August, you can attend the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair.
- Living at Martha’s Vineyard is expensive; the average cost of living is 60% higher than the national average.
- The Vineyard’s population increases exponentially from June to Labor Day weekend. It can be crowded, especially around Independence Day.
- Some of the beaches are open to residents only.
- Aquinnah Cliffs
- Atlantic Fish and Chop House
- Cape Pogue Wildlife Refuge and Wasque Reservation
- Featherstone Center for the Arts
- Flying Horses Carousel
- Island Alpaca Company
- Lobsterville Beach
- Lookout Tavern
- Menemsa Public Beach
- Oak Bluff Campground
Located about 30 miles south of Cape Cod and reachable by ferry, the beach community of Nantucket Island is home to many art galleries and museums, including a museum dedicated to its whaling history. It hosts a yearly book festival, a comedy festival, a cranberry festival, and a wine and food festival.
- Nantucket has beautiful examples of surviving architecture from the 18th and 19th centuries.
- Temperatures stay moderate throughout the year due to its unique maritime climate.
- The beach community of Nantucket has one of the highest costs of living in the United States, higher than the Hamptons on Long Island.
- Nantucket, like Martha’s Vineyard, gets extremely crowded during the tourist season.
- Many Nantucket businesses are open only during the tourist season.
- Brant Point lighthouse
- Cisco Brewers
- Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge
- Jethro Coffin House and Gardens
- Jetties Beach
- Loines Observatory
- Maria Mitchell Association science museum
- Nantucket Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum
- Southside Beach
Ocracoke Island, NC
This community in the Outer Banks of North Carolina can be reached by passenger ferry or by a very short flight. Ocracoke Island hosts an annual fig festival and tourists can find many dishes made from figs.
- Unlike the Massachusetts beach communities, Ocracoke Island does not have a cost of living significantly higher than cost of living in other parts of North Carolina.
- Ocracoke Island was settled by Europeans in the 18th century, was the site of War of 1812 and Civil War actions, and has many places of historical interest.
- Many of the attractions in and around Ocracoke are inexpensive or free.
- The island is subject to flooding during storms and hurricanes.
- Because the island’s economy is based almost entirely on tourism, few businesses remain open in winter.
- There are no nearby golf courses.
- Cape Hatteras National Seashore
- Down Creek Gallery
- Ocracoke Alive
- Ocracoke Lighthouse
- Ocracoke Preservation Society Museum
- Springer's Point Nature Preserve
- Teach’s Hole Blackbeard Exhibit
Kiawah Island, SC
This island about 25 miles from Charleston was developed for tourism, particularly related to its noted golf courses, in the 1970s. It remains a quiet destination for those who love nature, with a wetlands environment rarely found in the United States.
- Golfers will no doubt be aware that Kiawah Island Golf Resort is one of the East Coast’s best golfing destinations.
- Beachwalker County Park has been ranked among the best beaches in the U.S.A.
- Kiawah Island is a good area for canoeing and kayaking.
- The island is within a reasonable distance of tourist destinations in Charleston, North Charleston, and Summerville.
- Some attractions related to the golf resorts are not accessible to guests who are not staying at the resort.
- The Outer Banks can sometimes fall into the path of hurricanes and tropical storms.
- Vacations to Kiawah Island tend to fall more into the “relaxing” category than the “exciting” category, which could be a pro or a con depending on how you look at it.
- Angel Oak
- Indigo Park
- Folly Beach
- Freshfields Village
- Isle of Palms
- Jestine’s Restaurant
- Southend Brewery
- White Point Garden
Virginia Beach, VA
This beach community located at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay boasts miles of beach front and serves as a resort city with many nearby towns also serving as a large oceanside resort. Guinness lists Virginia Beach as having the world’s longest pleasure beach. It hosts yearly surfing and beach soccer competitions.
- Virginia Beach enjoys cool, pleasant winters with little snowfall.
- Hurricanes and tropical storms rarely have an impact on Virginia Beach.
- The American Music Festival is held here in August and the Neptune Festival is held in September.
- The subtropical climate can be unpleasantly hot and humid in the summer.
- Virginia Beach is one of the largest cities in Virginia and can get crowded.
- Atlantic Fun Park
- Busch Gardens Williamsburg
- False Cape State Park
- Lynnhaven Mall
- Military Aviation Museum
- Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center
- Virginia Beach Amphitheater
- Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art
South Beach, FL
SoBe is a Miami neighborhood that includes the Indian Creek islands in the Atlantic Ocean. Known for its glamour, wealth, and prosperity, South Beach owes its current reputation, in part, to the Miami Vice TV series of the 1980s.
- South Beach has very mild winters and rarely gets snow.
- Those who enjoy nightlife can easily find clubs, bars, and entertainment.
- Arts and cultural events are numerous and diverse in the greater Miami area.
- South Beach has the most ethnically and culturally diverse population of any of the beach communities listed here, with perhaps more languages spoken than any other East Coast beach community.
- As part of southern Florida, South Beach is subject to hurricanes and tropical storms.
- The climate is a tropical one with very hot, humid summers.
- Small, isolated pockets of South Beach are known as high-crime areas, although the city overall is quite safe for pedestrians and tourists.
- Many of the attractions in South Beach are on the expensive side.
- Agua Spa
- Bass Museum of Art
- Jackie Gleason Theater
- Jungle Island Zoo
- Lincoln Road Mall
- Lummus Park
- Miami Children’s Museum
- South Point Park and Pier