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The 19 Best Beaches on the East Coast in 2024

The 19 Best Beaches on the East Coast in 2024

With thousands of miles of coastline along the East Coast, there are numerous beautiful beaches to choose from. Some popular options include Tybee Island South Beach in Georgia, Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, and Miami Beach in Florida, each offering unique experiences for beachgoers. The best beach ultimately depends on your preferences, but Miami Beach is often a top choice for its diverse offerings.

If you think East Coast beaches are any less stellar than their counterparts on the West Coast, you’ll soon discover that’s not true. The East Coast is amazingly diverse, and no matter what kind of shoreline you’re looking for, you’ll find it here. 

Picking your next vacation spot from a list of the best beaches on the East Coast will ensure you discover the perfect spot to indulge in all your favorite shoreline activities.

That might be chilling under an umbrella, racing around on jet skis, hanging ten on a surfboard, or being close to all the action with plenty of bars, restaurants, and attractions right on the beach. 

19 Best Beaches on the East Coast in 2024

Here’s our take on the best East Coast beaches to visit. Only the 19 top destinations made the cut, and we’ll tell you what you can look forward to at each! 

1. Tybee Island North Beach – Georgia

A lonely wooden dock above the calm low-tide on an early morning at South Beach in Tybee Island, Georgia, one of the best beaches on the East Coast

John Wijsman/Shutterstock

North Beach is Tybee Island’s perfectly balanced beach — it’s less crowded than its South Beach, but offers more amenities and parking than Mid or Back River beaches. It’s one of our favorite beaches on the East Coast! 

North Beach is lively during the day with families building sandcastles and swimming while beachcombers scour the shore for unique shells. It’s home to the Tybee Island Lighthouse (Georgia’s tallest and oldest), so take a tour, see amazing views over the Atlantic, and visit the museum to learn about its history. 

You’ll find calmer waters, less-crowded shoreline, plenty of showers to clean up after your sandy adventures, and ample parking for the beach. It’s got all the makings of a laid-back beach trip! 

Live music and tantalizing Caribbean-style seafood and pub grub aromas float from the beachfront North Beach Bar and Grill, luring you in for a listen and a delicious lunch or dinner. 

The nearby Jaycee Park is perfect to load up the kids for a little playtime with plenty of shade trees around. For a rainy day, check out Fort Screven and Battery Garland, an old fort and gun battery with museums just a 3-minute walk from the beach. 

Read Next: The Best & Worst Times to Visit Tybee Island

2. Myrtle Beach – South Carolina

Sunset over the Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, a piece on the best beaches on the East Coast, seen with its dock, gigantic ferris wheel, and row of hotels at its coast

Kevin Ruck/Shutterstock

Myrtle Beach is always one of the top East Coast beaches due to its expansive sandy shoreline (it’s part of the 60-mile Grand Strand of South Carolina), family-friendly amusements, bustling beachfront restaurants and bars, and endless things to do. 

Myrtle Beach is where you go if you’re looking for a more active beach vacation — one that doesn’t leave you sitting on a desolate shore for hours at a time. There’s a lot going on, from the seaside Family Kingdom Amusement Park to the 1.2-mile Boardwalk and Promenade lined with shops, food, and attractions. 

After getting your fill of swimming, sand, and sun on the shore, head to the oceanfront Promenade for Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Museum, fish at the Second Avenue Pier, grab cheesy fries, pizza, and burgers, ride the massive SkyWheel, or hit a surf shop to get your gear. 

Kids won’t complain about your trip to Myrtle Beach with so many family-friendly activities around, including water parks, mini golf courses (and a number of 18-hole golf courses for you, dad), arcades, wax museums, an aquarium, theaters, shopping malls, and more. 

Book a dolphin cruise at sunset, rent jet skis to zip across the Atlantic, go parasailing or kayaking, and spend plenty of time soaking up the saltwater and sun while you lounge and play on Myrtle Beach’s huge shoreline. 

Read Next: The Best Time to Visit Myrtle Beach & Best Parts of Myrtle Beach to Stay

3. Miami Beach – Florida

Arerial view on the vast shore of Miami Beach in Florida, considered as one of the best beaches on the East Coast, enjoyed by many visitors and series of big hotels along the beach


Miami Beach is known around the world as one of the hottest spots to party with its gorgeous, turquoise waters bordering powdery white sand. But it’s just as popular as a laid-back beach destination with 35 beachfront miles to enjoy and explore. 

We love that Miami Beach is so diverse, offering swanky clubs and restaurants as well as greasy dives and beachfront bars, glitzy shores and secluded zones, and ample museums and galleries alongside family-friendly attractions and water parks. 

North Beach is home to the Miami Beach Bandshell, where concerts take place year-round, a range of eclectic and ethnic sidewalk cafes, pristine white sand, and concessions right on the beach for summer days when you don’t want to leave the shore. 

Check out Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park beaches for a more natural Miami Beach experience. There’s a lighthouse (go up to the top for great views) and keeper’s cottage, the Lighthouse Cafe serving breakfast through dinner and drinks, as well as a fishing pier. 

Our favorite spot on Miami Beach is at the furthest point of South Beach. You’ll pass hundreds of umbrellas and beach chairs on your way to this nicely-secluded spot that backs up to the green South Pointe Park, where the high-rises suddenly disappear and the shores are delightfully uncrowded.

Take time to visit the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in the Coconut Grove neighborhood, and sample tasty Miami restaurants and drinks during your visit. 

Read Next: Is Miami Safe to Visit in 2024? & What a Trip to Miami Costs

4. Asbury Park Beach – New Jersey

Aerial view on the crowded Asbury Park Beach in New Jersey on a holiday weekend, one of the best beaches on the East Coast

Sky Cinema/Shutterstock

Asbury Park Beach boasts its own mile-long stretch of sandy beach fronted by a happening boardwalk. It’s a buzzing family destination with plenty of eateries, unique attractions (fortune telling, anyone?), and ample outing opportunities for all ages. 

On the beach, you’ll be able to set up shop with a rented umbrella and chair, overlooking the waves of the Atlantic with the fun-filled boardwalk behind you. The Asbury Park Boardwalk is a mix of eclectic eateries, attractions, and entertainment for the whole family.

There are colorful murals along the boardwalk, Asbury Splash Park for hours of sopping-wet fun, lifeguard-protected beachfront, and tons of summertime festivals (like Oyster Fest and Jazz Festival). 

Play 18 holes at Asbury Eighteen mini golf, visit Madame Marie’s fortune telling booth on the beach (she told Bruce Springsteen he’d be famous and is mentioned in 4th of July), fill up on Italian ice and seafood, and play classic games at the Silver Ball Museum Arcade. 

Head into town to visit art galleries, local and brand-name stores, night clubs and bars, a wide range of restaurants and eateries, and tons of popular live music venues that play the recognizable Jersey Shore sound (rock influenced by R&B). 

Asbury Park Beach is just 90 minutes from NYC and Philadelphia, making it the perfect weekend trip to shake things up if you’re visiting either of these East Coast destinations. Hang out late on the first Saturday of each month, when restaurants and shops stay open late with specials and deals. 

Surfing is awesome at the area between Deal Lake Drive and Eighth Avenue jetties (swimming is prohibited with the big swells and currents here). Take lessons or go to surf camp at Summertime Surf!

5. Virginia Beach – Virginia

Adults and young ones enjoying a summer day at the Virginia Beach in Virginia, named as one of the best beaches on the East Coast, with resorts and hotels in background

Barbara Sauder/Shutterstock

Virginia Beach is an awesome beach and cultural destination on the East Coast, offering trendy eateries, a thriving local art and culinary scene, nautical and military museums, and a rising brewery scene that offers tempting craft varieties.

Everything’s on the menu in Virginia Beach. Stroll the boardwalk, take guided dolphin kayak tours, try go-karting, visit pick-your-own produce farms, head to state parks with less-crowded beaches, or check out the Virginia Aquarium.

The 3-mile beachfront boardwalk is packed with restaurants and bars serving seafood, burgers, gourmet fare, and drinks, like the local favorites Chix and Catch31. Listen to live music from nearby King Neptune Park while you dine on the deck overlooking the ocean.

Playgrounds, museums, and a 12-foot King Neptune statue and live music stage at King Neptune’s Park (31st Street) are all possibilities when you’re walking the boardwalk.

Our Associate Editor, Debra, has a favorite spot to relax on the water here: Secluded Sandbridge Beach with its own fishing pier. It’s close to Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge with incredible birdwatching, hiking, kayaking, shelling, and fishing. Try Pungo Pizza & Ice Cream and Margie & Ray’s Crabhouse while you’re here! 

Head to the Vibe District to see some beautiful beach houses and artwork, murals, and galleries. You’ll find some cool spots to grab a bite here, too. Visit the original Cape Henry lighthouse (you can go inside the 360-degree Lantern Room) at the Fort Story military base. 

Sample craft beers at local breweries, like O’Connor Brewing, Pleasure House Brewing, Back Bay, or Smartmouth. Looking for outdoor activities and secluded shores? Head to First Landing State Park‘s 64th Street entrance and hit the Narrows beach and hiking trail. 

6. Cape Cod National Seaside – Massachusetts

A group of friends relaxing on a golden sunset by the shore of Cape Cod National Seaside in Massachusetts, one of the best beaches on the East Coast

Jacob Boomsma/Shutterstock

Cape Cod National Seashore is one of the best beaches on the East Coast if you’re looking for a tucked-away, quiet slice of the New England beach life. It stretches over 43,600 acres north to south, all the way from Cape Cod’s outer tip to Chatham. 

Adventure here is what you make it, so you can spend lazy days strolling the shore and tidal pools or get busy with water sports, hiking, and activities. 

You’ll encounter wildlife, endless stretches of shell-studded sand with dunes behind you, and scenic seascapes with lighthouses, seagrass, and great spots for swimming, fishing, and surfing. There are 6 swimming beaches with lifeguards on duty here: 

  • Coast Guard Beach (Eastham)
  • Nauset Light Beach (Eastham)
  • Head of the Meadow Beach (Truro)
  • Marconi Beach (Wellfleet)
  • Race Point Beach (Provincetown)
  • Herring Cove Beach (Provincetown)

Coast Guard Beach and Herring Cove Beach are the most popular (and usually have more beachgoers). You’ll enjoy fishing at any of these beaches, surfing big Atlantic swells at Marconi Beach with its massive cliffs, and hiking trails like White Cedar Swamp Trail near Marconi Beach with lupine meadows in bright purple at Eastham’s Fort Hill. 

While there are none of the usual “tourist traps” like amusement parks or beachfront dining and bars, you’ll be able to pack picnic lunches (or fuel up before you go), then dine at seafood shacks and fine restaurants overlooking the water just beyond the national seashore. 

Rent bikes, kayaks, paddle boards, or surfboards within the park, and be sure to hit the two visitors centers (Salt Pond and The Province Lands) for shops, guides, exhibits, and maps/brochures to start your hiking, biking, or beach adventures. 

Read Next: The Best Time to Visit Cape Cod in 2024 & Is Cape Cod Safe to Visit?

7. Coney Island Beach – New York

Tourists having a good time at the beach and lively amusement park at Coney Island Beach in New York, one of the best beaches on the East Coast

Keep Smiling Photography/Shutterstock

While New York City often brings to mind images of towering skyscrapers and crowded streets, heading to Coney Island Beach & Boardwalk in Brooklyn is a chance to escape the hectic environment of the city in exchange for sunshine, sand, and seasonal fun at the amusement park. 

On the beach, you’ll be able to sunbathe, swim, surf, build sandcastles (there’s even an annual Sand Sculpting Contest every August), and play at Coney Island. 

The beach itself has an open-air gym, playground, and basketball and volleyball courts. During the summer, look for Friday Night Fireworks popping off in the skies above you! Rockaway Beach is a little more laid-back and less crowded, less than 30 minutes away. 

Coney Island’s boardwalk is an absolute treasure trove for kids and adults alike. You’ll find thrilling rides, games, concessions, restaurants, bars, and arcades along the beachfront path that doubles as an amusement park. 

Rides here appeal to adults and kids, with thrilling options like the Coney Island Cyclone coaster, mini-golf, go karts, parachute jumps, Ferris wheels, and haunted houses to entertain you off the shore.

Eateries range from cajun seafood at Crab Du Jour and Nathan’s Hotdogs to Famiglia Pizza and upscale Gargiulo’s Restaurant. Try Coney Island Brewery, Freak Bar, or Ruby’s Bar and Grill for drinks and snacks.

Satisfy your sweet tooth at Coney’s Cones, Lunatics Ice Cream, or Deno’s Sweet Shoppe before heading back to the beach for some summertime fun.

8. Ocean City – New Jersey

Children and adults biking along the famous wide board at Ocean City in New Jersey, a piece on the best beaches on the East Coast, with fun amusement park on one side and busy beach on the other

Vlad G/Shutterstock

New Jersey’s Ocean City is one of the best spots for a family beach vacation on the East Coast, offering almost 8 miles of beaches fringed with amusement parks, attractions, and restaurants that will appeal to young and old.

Ocean City’s beaches are really nice (cleaner than Atlantic City) and you can always find a spot to put your towel, chairs, and umbrella.  The beach at 12th Street is one of our favorites for small crowds, while the 34th Street Beach has cool sand dunes and views of big, beachfront homes. 

Gillian’s Wonderland Pier marks one end of the 2.5-mile wooden boardwalk and has been in operation since the 1920s. It’s the perfect place to ride coasters, slides, and Ferris wheels (with plenty of smaller rides for littles).

Grab a slice at 6th Street Pizza & Grill, then continue down the boardwalk to discover more fun. You’ll see OC Waterpark, Playland’s Castaway Cove (10th Street) with more coasters and mini-golf, Jilly’s Arcade with tons of games.

If you’re here between May and October, you’ll have to come by for the twice-weekly band nights when the Philadelphia Mummers Band plays up and down the boardwalk from 7-9PM.

Jewelry, antiques, sweets and candy shops, clothing, and unique boutiques are scattered across the boardwalk if you’re up for a little shopping while you stroll. Events and festivals are always taking place, even in the winter! 

9. Cisco Beach – Massachusetts

Beautiful sunrise over the calm Cisco Beach on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts, one of the best beaches on the East Coast, with sands walked on by many visitors

Catherine Owen/Shutterstock

Nantucket, Massachusetts has several idyllic beaches, but we’re partial to the wide, spacious Cisco Beach on the island’s southern shore. It always has something going on with ample breweries, restaurants, festivals, and attractions to entertain you on your trip. 

On busy summer days, you’ll find food trucks and concession stands set up along the shore to grab refreshing drinks, fresh seafood, and pub grub-style bites to fuel you up for your beach day. 

You’re not in town when you visit this beach, so there’s a more natural and scenic surrounding to enjoy. The surf pounds the beach. People flock to the life-guarded Cisco Beach to swim, fish, and surf (similar to what you’ll find at Surfside and Nobadeer beaches).

The powerful surf makes this beach less popular with families since swimming can be difficult or dangerous. If you do venture out into the water, be respectful of surfers and stay safe (Remember to swim out of a current, not away from it). 

Fishing is best in the early morning and dusk, and anglers report pulling impressive Striped Bass from these waters. Stay for the brilliant Cisco Beach sunset, start fishing at dusk, and build a small campfire to grill up your fresh catch and enjoy the perfect day at the beach. 

Shellfishing is a lot of fun on the shores of Cisco Beach (if you have the right permit, of course): Scallops, quahog, soft-shell, and razor clams, and oysters are all abundant and make for a delicious, traditional Nantucket meal.

Rent a bike and ride the paved bike path all the way from Nantucket’s heart to Cisco Beach. Be sure to check out Cisco Brewers (5 minutes away from the beach) for craft beer, cocktails, wine, and live music with food trucks like 167 Raw, Nantucket Poke, and Nantucket Lobster Trap. 

10. Fire Island – New York

A large weathered driftwood log and a lighthouse on the beach at Fire Island in New York, one of the best beaches on the East Coast

Colin D. Young/Shutterstock

The off-the-beaten-path destination of Fire Island is just off the southern coast of Long Island, NY. It boasts some really incredible beaches, impressive waterfront mansions, and two historically gay communities that draw lots of day trippers and weekend visitors, especially during Pride Month. 

There are 18 communities on the island, including the most popular, Ocean Beach and Kismet, and two that have long been considered LGBTQ-friendly (Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines). It’s hard to find affordable (or available) homes to rent here, so it’s best for a day trip from NYC. 

You’ll take ferries from Long Island to reach the heart of Fire Island and can travel between the communities via water taxi during your trip. Ocean Beach offers the most in terms of restaurants, shops, bars that draw lots of 20-somethings, and plenty of spacious beaches. 

Kismet (opposite end of the island) is the second most-popular community on Fire Island, offering a more laid-back beach scene, a couple of bars and restaurants, and a very friendly vibe. 

While in Ocean Beach, eat, drink, and dance at Flynn’s, the local hub for great food and live music. Secluded Sailor’s Haven Beach is close to the magical Sunken Forest — just hike through the forest up to the beach. 

If you check out Kismet, you’ll find a slightly older crowd than Ocean Beach (more family-friendly) and have to try the Kismet Inn and Surf’s Out for dinner and drinks. 

There’s a nude beach between Kismet and Jone’s Beach, so if you want to avoid it or seek it out, keep this in mind. You can visit Roberts Moses State Park for great views and quiet beaches, plus the Fire Island Lighthouse! 

11. Hampton Beach – New Hampshire

Clear wide coast at Hampton Beach in New Hampshire, titled as one of the best beaches on the East Coast, with a highway a little far offshore

Wangkun Jia/Shutterstock

Hampton Beach is located on a small peninsula in New Hampshire, making it easily walkable as a whole and accessible on foot from the cute, coastal cottages people rent to vacation here. The bustling boardwalk and 1.5 miles of sandy shoreline are great, but many come for the hopping bar and nightlife scene. 

Our favorite part of Hampton Beach for enjoying the shoreline and ocean is at Hampton Beach State Park. It’s the cleanest and least-crowded section of the beach and you can access it from the boardwalk. 

The boardwalk runs along the shore, studded with nostalgic ice cream and candy shops, souvenir stores, arcades, pizza and seafood restaurants, and waterfront bars that always have live music on weekend nights. 

The ocean-facing side of the boardwalk tends to be more crowded, and it’s the place to go if you want to browse art galleries, get a tattoo, pick up mementos from Hampton Beach, or grab something yummy to eat. It’s where you can enter Hampton Beach State Park, too. 

Continue along the boardwalk and you’ll come across fun carnival-style games, the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom (where you can catch comedy shows and concerts). Check out Explore the Ocean World Oceanarium for the interactive touch tanks and educational tours. 

Local hotspots like the Purple Urchin are as well-known for their food as they are for their live music and bar scenes. Check out Wally’s, L Street Tavern, and The Sand Bar Rooftop Lounge if you’re up for a night of bar-hopping in Hampton Beach! 

12. Brighton Beach – New York

The golden hour over Brighton Beach in New York where people are enjoying the shore and the cityscape in background, one of the best beaches on the East Coast


Brighton Beach bookends Coney Island’s eastern end in Brooklyn, NY and offers a fairly laid-back stretch of sand and ocean to enjoy on sunny, summer days. Surfing, swimming, sandcastles, and the nearby Coney Island are all reasons it’s one of the best beaches on the East Coast. 

Travel Brighton Beach Avenue, which runs alongside Coney Island’s beach and boardwalk for tons of entertainment, games, rides, and restaurants to try when you’re feeling a bit peckish after a swim.

You’ll be close to the Brighton Beach subway station if you decide to head into the city, so it’s a great spot to take a day trip or two if you’re visiting New York City during the summer months (when the beach is open for swimming). 

The beach is located in a neighborhood called “Little Odessa,” where a large concentration of Russian and Ukrainian immigrants have led to a number of cool Eastern European bakeries, restaurants, and shops carrying imported goods. 

Hit the bike and skate paths to see more of the area along the coast, visit concession stands and nearby waterfront restaurants to satisfy cravings and your sweet tooth, or grab a surfboard and catch some of the big Atlantic waves on the beach if you can brave the cooler waters. 

13. Old Orchard Beach – Maine

Sunset over the tranquil Old Orchard Beach in Maine, one of the best beaches on the East Coast, with its iconic structures on a boardwalk and a small amusement park offshore

Mircea Costina/Shutterstock

One of the best beach destinations on the East Coast for nostalgic vibes, great surf, and good food is Old Orchard Beach in Maine. Featuring lots of family-friendly activities and attractions, 7 miles of clean beaches with nice views, and plenty of shops and eateries around, you’ll be so glad you came. 

With miles upon miles of sandy stretches waiting for you to set up camp and enjoy a sunny day on the shore, you’ll love the openness and roominess of spending time on Old Orchard Beach and strolling its old-fashioned boardwalk with shops and restaurants. 

You can head just outside of town for whale-watching tours, but watching the horizon right from Old Orchard Beach, you might be able to spot humpback, minke, and pilot whales along with dolphins and seals swimming in the distance.

If you’re looking for fun stuff to do off the shoreline, check out the indoor go-karting places, mini-golf courses, Palace Playland amusement park, or bike trails like Eastern Trail that runs from South Portland to Kennebunk. 

Parasailing, fishing, and surfing are all fun waterfront activities to try if you’re up for something more exciting. Maine lighthouses always deliver on panoramic ocean views, so check out the nearby Portland Headlight and Nubble Lighthouse (30-45 minutes away). 

Fielder’s Choice is the local ice cream and Italian food place that you can’t skip out on — try sandwiches, pastas, and ice cream that’s so good, you’ll probably have to stand in line for a bit to taste it. 

Read Next: Best Time to Visit Maine in 2024

14. Carolina Beach – North Carolina

Many visitors enjoying the wavy summer day at Carolina Beach in North Carolina, one of the best beaches on the East Coast

StacieStauffSmith Photos/Shutterstock

Located on the southern coast of North Carolina, Carolina Beach is a laid-back, family-friendly beach destination on the East Coast that’s popular with anglers, nature lovers, and anyone who wants to enjoy water sports with a gentler Atlantic surf. 

It’s relatively sheltered with large sandbars that create calmer waters, making it the ideal spot to take kayaks out on the water or do some windsurfing. Swimming is nice when the water’s warm without as many dangerous currents and powerful waves.

Rental services will bring you umbrellas and beach chairs on rugged 4X4 vehicles so you can enjoy a peaceful, shaded day at the beach. 

Stroll along the boardwalk to check out a number of local shops and eateries, hop on thrilling and kid-friendly rides at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk Amusement Park, and listen to live music on summer afternoons and nights. 

Carolina Beach State Park is where you’ll find some of the most secluded stretches of sand with lots of trails through the Pocosin wetlands around that are well-worth exploring. The Flytrap Trail is loaded with Venus flytraps and Sweet Pitcherplants from May to June. 

The Carolina Beach Pier is home to both the Tiki Bar and High Tide Lounge, where you can grab something tasty and fried or today’s fresh catch with stunning views over the water. 

Must-visit spots where locals congregate include Britt’s Donuts (right by the beach), Squigley’s Ice Cream (they make their own waffle cones), and Fork N Cork (featured in Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives).

15. Westport Compo Beach – Connecticut

Compo Beach in Westport, CT is a park that includes a wide section of sandy beach that’s always less crowded than its fee-free counterparts and offers some of the best natural scenery on the Long Island Sound. 

The scenery is so idyllic, it’s a popular local spot for photographers to capture beautiful sunsets, secluded beach scenes, and wildlife that makes regular appearances in the park.

This beach park has it all: A boardwalk, covered picnic pavilion, concession stand, volleyball courts, skate park, playground, restroom facilities, and lockers to stash your stuff while you swim, play, and enjoy the gorgeous surroundings with seagrass and endless views over the Sound. 

Ned Dimes Marina is right next to Compo Beach and it’s fun to watch the boats get out on the water, enjoying the warm days. It’s important to note that the seclusion and exclusivity of the beach is due to its daily fee ($45/weekday, $70/weekend or holiday). 

What you won’t find in the park, however, are the waterfront restaurants and bars you might be used to when visiting the beach. There’s the concession stand, but that’s only good for snacks and drinks.

Still, there are excellent options a mile or so away, like La Plage for seafood and drinks or Black Duck Cafe, where you can pull up on boat, bike, or car to dine on the awesome stuffed burger, seafood, or have a drink at the bar.

This handicap-accessible beach has lots of special accommodations for wheelchairs and walkers, including Mobi-Mats, floating wheelchairs, and accessible picnic areas.

16. Folly Beach – South Carolina

Empty yellow beach chair under umbrellas beside the famous tall boardwalk at Folly Beach in South Carolina, one of the best beaches on the East Coast


South Carolina’s Folly Beach is an offshore island that faces both Folly River and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a favorite East Coast beach for families and isn’t as crowded or hectic as many of the most popular beach spots can be.

The beaches on this small 12-mile island are clean and offer facilities that make your visit really convenient, while the boardwalk has tons of restaurants, shops, and fun attractions to check out.

Folly Beach Pier juts out over 1,000 feet into the Atlantic with a huge diamond platform at the end, making it an awesome spot to rent rods, fish, and catch the night’s dinner. Have a meal at Pier 101 Restaurant & Bar, which is made even better if you come by at sunset.

Visit Folly Beach Park while you’re on the island. It sits at the furthest western point and you’ll find rentals (umbrellas, chairs, boogie boards), showers, restrooms, picnic areas, and a snack bar that operates all summer long.

Skimmer Flats sits at the edge of the park. It’s a rookery for Eastern Brown Pelicans and you’ll enjoy watching these magnificent birds swoop and dive for their seafood catches with wide-open, cavernous beaks.

There are a few playgrounds around Folly River Park near the center of the long, skinny island. Center Street has all the best shops on the island, while Eerie Street is home to local restaurants serving everything from fresh seafood to burgers and fries. 

While you’re here, check out the Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve, where you can see the lighthouse, birdwatch, surf, or just enjoy the scenic and uncrowded beach. 

17. Long Beach – New York

Stick fences at the fine shore of Long Beach in New York, one of the best beaches on the East Coast, with grass and houses offshore

Joao Paulo V Tinoco/Shutterstock

It’s not SoCal, but the East Coast’s own Long Beach sits in Long Island, NY with 3 miles of sand dunes along the shores, big swells for surfing, and friendly, laid-back vibes that make people return to this hidden gem beach destination year after year. 

It’s one of the best beaches on the East Coast because of its cleanliness and range of things to do. It boasts a nice boardwalk that’s lined with eateries and shops, plenty of beachfront restaurants and bars, and mobile beach carts that bring delicious snacks and drinks right to you.

Surfing is a popular sport on Long Beach, but you’ll need to take a peek at the surf schedule to see where the local Chief is allowing surfing during your visit. Bodyboarding, swimming, and sunbathing are absolutely perfect here! 

Stroll the boardwalk to try places like Beach Burger and Marvel Ice Cream, stop by Hurley Surf Center for all the gear you need, and grab sandwiches and milkshakes at Surfside Subs, Shakes & Shuckers. 

There are some unique food options along the boardwalk offered in carts, like a Yogurt and Waffle Bar. Beachside service carts can hook you up with chairs and umbrellas for a comfortable, shaded day on the shore. 

Note that the beaches close at 6PM when the lifeguards go home. You’ll find tons of ways to keep the fun going downtown at nearby restaurants, shopping centers, and nightlife hotspots that stay open late! 

18. Revere Beach – Massachusetts

People taking picture of the sand sculptures at Revere Beach in Massachusetts, famed as one of the best beaches on the East Coast, during the International Sand Sculpting Festival

Ritu Manoj Jethani/Shutterstock

Known as “America’s Oldest Public Beach,” Revere Beach in Massachusetts definitely deserves its rank as one of the best beaches on the East Coast. It’s now a National Historic Landmark and definitely worth a visit.

It’s not a fussy or upscale spot — just a great beach close to Boston with plenty of room to plunk down on the sand and enjoy a warm day by the water!

It’s easy to get here from Boston (it’s just 4 miles north), and you’re so close, you’ll be able to watch planes coming and going from Logan International Airport. There’s no better beach in the area for taking long strolls along the shore (it’s 3 miles long).

Once an amusement park on the water, this little town with its great stretch of sand is now a hub for seafood and New England restaurants, local shops and boutiques, and outdoor recreation.

Whether you want to play beach volleyball, go swimming, attend a kite or sand sculpting festival, or spend a few days sampling local favorites like Kelly’s Roast Beef or the Marina at the Wharf for great Italian food, you’ll find it all in Revere Beach. 

Take advantage of free parking on Revere Boulevard, take the subway from Boston, or get a hotel in the town and walk over to the welcoming shores to enjoy Revere Beach to the fullest. 

19. Rehoboth Beach – Delaware

Tire tracks on the fenced Rehoboth Beach in Delaware on a late afternoon, one of the best beaches on the East Coast

Bruce Goerlitz Photo/Shutterstock

Now famed as President Biden’s summer home, Rehoboth Beach, DE has been drawing crowds to its wide, soft-sand shores for many years as one of the cleanest and most enjoyable beaches in the state — and on the East Coast overall.

The beachfront boardwalk offers tons of entertainment options and eateries to check out. Musts include Thrasher’s French fries, doused in malt vinegar and salt, and a stop at Funland for the kids.

Rehoboth Beach Ice Cream just off the boardwalk offers classic flavors and some really wild ones that might pique your interest (try Booger, a green caramel swirl cake batter flavor).

On the shore, you’ll enjoy the sight and sound of waves crashing — and crash they do! The beach slopes quickly into deep water, so keep an eye on kids in your party who might want to take a dip.

You can visit the Rehoboth Beach Museum to learn about the town’s long-spanning history or catch a free show during the summer months at the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand.

Stroll Rehoboth Avenue, the main street, to find breweries, beach shops, seafood restaurants, and galleries. If you’re up for a drive, head to Cape Henlopen State Park to hike some rugged trails and find more beaches, playgrounds, museums, and WWII towers you can explore.

Frequently Asked Questions

Visitors on a crowded Miami beach on a hot day for a piece on the best beaches on the East Coast

Khairil Azhar Junos/Shutterstock

Thinking about hitting some of the best beaches on the East Coast sooner than later? Study up by looking at the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

What is the prettiest beach on the East Coast?

The prettiest beach on the East Coast is Miami Beach if you’re after endless ocean views, pristine white sand, and brilliant turquoise waters that are warm and inviting. The area includes dozens of beaches, from North Beach to South Beach with varying crowd sizes and views of Biscayne Bay.

For natural beauty, it’s hard to beat the totally-unspoiled Cape Cod National Seashore, with Cisco Beach in Nantucket a close second with its waving seagrass, dunes, and surfer-quality waves that crash on the sand with immense power.

Where is the bluest water on the East Coast?

The bluest water on the East Coast is generally found further north, around Cape Cod. Cape Cod National Seashore has some of the Atlantic’s bluest water, owing to the special oxygen and microbiota concentrations in the water at these cooler temperatures.

If clear water is what you’re looking for, Carolina Beach and the nearby Wilmington boast some of the clearest water on the East Coast -- so transparent, you can see jellyfish undulating in the water in front of you!

What is the prettiest beach in the US?

Hawaii boasts some of the prettiest beaches in the U.S. as a whole, especially on Oahu, Kauai, and Maui. In the contiguous U.S., Southern California’s beaches and spots further north, like Pfeiffer Beach, take the titles of some of the United State’s prettiest beaches.

It goes without saying that Florida’s beaches are beautiful (especially Miami Beach, Clearwater’s Honeymoon Island State Park, and Siesta Key), but New England beaches are uniquely attractive with their rocky, cliff coastlines and charming seaside villages.

What are the least touristy beach towns on the East Coast?

The least touristy beach towns on the East Coast include lesser-known spots like Old Orchard Beach in Maine, North Carolina’s Carolina Beach, Cape Cod National Seashore, and outer Nantucket beaches like Cisco or Miacomet Beach, and Fire Island, New York.

If you want to get away from big crowds and the typical tourist traps, consider heading to beach towns on the East Coast during the cooler off-season to enjoy the beauty of the area without worrying about higher prices or longer waits at local restaurants.

What is the nicest city on the East Coast?

Your own view of what makes a city nice will certainly affect the answer, but many consider Charleston, SC and Boston, MA to be some of the nicest cities on the East Coast. Each offers its own coastal flavor and flair.

Charleston is warm, southern, and filled with seafood restaurants, bars, and historic fountain squares along with cobblestone streets and mansions-turned-museums.

Boston is bustling, trendy but balanced with important American history, and filled with museums, New England chowder and seafood eateries, markets, shops, and unique ethnic districts.

So What’s the Best Beach on the East Coast?

A smiling couple riding a bicycle at one of the best beaches on the East Coast


From Maine to Florida, the best beaches on the East Coast span amazing and hidden gem shores that reach far north and south on the diverse and beautiful Atlantic Ocean side. 

You’ll find huge swells for killer surfing, gentle waves that are great for beach trips with family, and buzzing spots that attract millions annually to smaller coves and hideaways that feel secluded and totally unspoiled. 

Whether you’re planning on making a trip up or down the East Coast to find the best beaches or just want to hone in on the most enjoyable beach for your upcoming vacation, you’ll experience the beautiful scenery and wide, sandy shores of the Atlantic when you keep our list of the 19 best beaches in mind.