The East Coast of the United States has it all: big cities, quaint villages, and national landmarks. But during late spring, summer and early fall, the best thing to visit is one of its most popular features: the East Coast beaches. Even better, how about the most beautiful East Coast beaches!
There are plenty of prime pieces of sand to choose from when planning your next vacation along the East Coast. Now that it’s summer, they’re all options: the weather is good and the time is right to get away. Sometimes, having too many choices makes it hard to decide just what you should do.
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That’s why we’ve narrowed down the list to include only the five best beaches. That way, you can easily pick your destination, plan your getaway, pack your things and head toward the beach — just how your summer should be.
Most Beautiful East Coast Beaches
1. Sunset Beach, NC
Myrtle Beach gets all of the attention, but its neighbor Sunset Beach deserves a bit more credit. The beaches in Sunset are just as beautiful as those in Myrtle, but the short distance between the destinations means the former has a whole lot less foot traffic than its touristy neighbor.
The closeness of the two beaches will give you the best of both worlds, since you can hop in the car for less than an hour and check out Myrtle’s attractions, restaurants and shopping. Chances are, though, you’ll spend much more time on the quiet beaches in Sunset.
2. Nantucket, MA
As soon as you read the word “Nantucket,” visions of the quaint coastal village probably started dancing in your head. Everyone is familiar with this National Historic District, a 50-square-mile island with a rich history and timeless beauty.
The beauty of Nantucket is that it combines all of that old-school charm with some quite luxurious updates. For example, you can grab a swanky dinner before sailing through the island’s famous harbor, where whalers once came to dock. Of course, you could also grab a bowl of chowder and call it a day, too.
3. Rehoboth Beach, DE
Nantucket isn’t the only idyllic beach on the East Coast. But Rehoboth’s most classic feature is its boardwalk. The mile-long wooden pathway winds along Delaware’s coast and serves as home to everything you could hope to find on an old-school boardwalk: soft-serve ice cream, salt water taffy, and tons of beach shops still operate here.
Roughly 37 percent of Delaware’s visitors come for the beach, so you know it’s a pretty good selling point. Nearby cities like Dover will give you more of an urban feel and provide easy access to the beach, too, just in case the slow pace of beach-house life doesn’t suit you.
4. Cape May, NJ
Just a hop, skip and a jump from Rehoboth Beach, Cape May is the Jersey Shore’s quaintest, most memorable piece of coast. Its most famous feature is its Victorian neighborhood, where intricately painted homes stand in all their glory. Some of the Victorian homes have even been converted into restaurants, which means you can grab a bite and see the interiors of these spectacular builds.
Just as pristine as the homes are the beaches in Cape May. Don’t let the reputation of the Jersey Shore as a party hub fool you, either: Cape May has all-American charm that’s palpable and verifiable. In other words, it’s the perfect family destination for your next beach vacation.
5. Kiawah Island, SC
Like Nantucket, Kiawah Island is, well, an island. And its sandy borders meet with the Atlantic Ocean to create 10 miles of gorgeous beach that’s just secluded enough to keep away massive waves of tourists.
The island is also home to 10,000 acres of natural woodland, perfect for a hike if you grow tired of the picturesque coastline. You can also hop into the car and cruise onto Charleston, a truly Southern city with serious gastronomical merits and architectural character.
These are Only Five of Your Choices
The East Coast of the United States is vast, which means your choices the beaches are plentiful. So, if the top five are completely booked or too far away or otherwise out of reach, you can easily find another destination. Just whip out the map, point to the nearest patch of sand, and do your research: you never know, you might just discover the perfect beach for you without any help at all.
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6 Indispensable Items to Pack for an East Coast Beach Vacation
Get the Frommer’s Best East Coast Beach VacationsTravel Guide
Bring a good quality mirrorless camera for getting those beautiful East Coast beach landscape shots. I use the Sony Alpha a6000 .
Summers are hot on the East Coast, so make sure to bring Neutrogena Sunscreen, Broad Spectrum Spf 45
A great cross body travel bagCross body bags prevent theft and are much easier to access.
Don’t forget sunglasses for the beautiful beach days. A.J. Morgan Unisex Sunglasses are a great choice and very affordable!
Water shoesare a great item to pack for any beach vacation. They take up little room when packing and great if you end up at a beach that is rocky or with hot sand.
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