The Top 15 Beaches to Visit on the East Coast



Slide 1 of 16: While California and Hawaii often take credit for their beaches, most of the country's best sand is along the Atlantic Ocean. From coastal islands like Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard to the sprawling swaths of sand in the South, here are the best beaches on the East Coast for a relatively safe and socially distanced outing.
Slide 2 of 16: Great Point, at the easternmost end of the island of Nantucket, is one of the most secluded beaches in the world. That's because you need a 4x4 and a beach permit to get there. Once you do, you'll find miles of beachfront, a historic lighthouse, and even piping plovers from time to time. Madaket Beach, on the opposite end of the island, is another good choice—especially for sunset-watching.Shop Now The Wauwinet Hotel Shop Now Jared Coffin HouseMore: The Best Places to Go in August 2020
Slide 3 of 16: Accessible by ferry, Block Island oozes New England charm. It's worth the effort to get to Mohegan Bluffs, which is at the base of a set of 141 wooden steps leading down to the sand. With clay cliffs and a view that reaches Montauk at the eastern tip of Long Island, this beach is especially unique.Shop Now Inn at Spring House
Slide 4 of 16: Named the best beach in the country in 2013, Main Beach in East Hampton is known for its wide stretch of sand plus a snack bar, bathrooms, and lockers. Keep in mind, though, that on-site parking is only available to village residents and as with many Hamptons-area beaches, daily parking passes have been suspended due to Covid-19.Shop Now The 1770 HouseShop Now The Mill House Inn

Slide 5 of 16: It should come as no surprise that this tony one percenters' enclave would have some of the most well-groomed beaches on the East Coast. From the water activity haven at John D. MacArthur State Park to dog-friendly Juno Beach, Palm Beach County has 47 miles of picturesque coastline to explore. Shop Now The BreakersShop Now The Brazilian Court HotelMore: Palm Beach, Florida Guide: Where to Stay, Eat, Shop, Drink, and Be Seen
Slide 6 of 16: Moshup Beach (also known as Aquinnah Beach) is at the coastal island's western end. The famous Gay Head Cliffs, a national (and endangered) landmark, provide a backdrop for this stunning setting, an isolated destination that requires a 10-minute walk from the parking lot.Shop Now The Richard Hotel
Slide 7 of 16: This Jersey Shore getaway's beaches have been declared the best in the state, and its collection of Victorian bed and breakfast destinations is a big draw for visitors from around the country. In fact, the charming town was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1976.Shop Now Congress Hall Shop Now The Virginia HotelMore: T&C Travel Guide: Winter In Cape May, New Jersey
Slide 8 of 16: Located off the coast of Georgia, this 5,700-acre barrier island is famous for its nesting sea turtles and hermit crabs. Glory Beach got its name because the producers of the 1989 movie Glory, featuring Matthew Broderick, Morgan Freeman, and Denzel Washington, built a long boardwalk to the beach that remains in place.Shop Now Jekyll Island Club ResortMore: The Best Weekend Getaways for Summer 2020
Slide 9 of 16: This town at the northernmost end of Cape Cod is beloved for its friendly atmosphere, charming town, and beautiful beaches—more than 30 miles of them.Shop Now Carpe Diem Guesthouse and SpaShop Now White Porch Inn More: Easy Labor Day Getaway Ideas for Last Minute Planners

Slide 10 of 16: With some of the best golfing in the world and beaches that stretch for 10 miles, this island, just 15 miles south of Charleston, has hosted notable names like Joe Biden, George Clooney, and George W. Bush. While the island is private, the five-star hotel The Sanctuary offers access to non-residents. Shop Now The Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island Golf ResortMORE: The Southern Charm Guide to Charleston
Slide 11 of 16: If you're brave enough to climb the 257 steps to the top, the view from the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse offers a spectacular sense of the surrounding area. The Outer Banks beach's abundance of seashells to collect is also a top draw, as is the unique topography shaped by wind, waves, and its location on one of North Carolina's barrier islands.Shop Now The Inn on Pamlico Sound
Slide 12 of 16: Virginia Beach's boardwalk is considered one of the best in America. It's 28 feet wide and stretches for three miles, with restaurants and a separate bike path. Shop Now Cavalier HotelShop Now The Founders Inn and Spa
Slide 13 of 16: About 15 miles west of East Hampton and closer to NYC, Southampton has more than seven miles of shoreline. Head to Cooper's Beach, considered one of the best beaches on the East End, and make sure to check out some of the extravagant mansions lining Meadow Lane on the way—at least what you can see over the hedges.Shop Now Topping Rose House
Slide 14 of 16: Connecticut's largest public beach is also one of its most popular. It includes two miles of sand along the relatively calm waters of the Long Island Sound, making it great for families. Shop Now The Copper Beech InnShop Now Christy's of Madison

Slide 15 of 16: Goose Rocks Beach offers nearly three miles of white sand along the scenic coast of Maine. The Goose Rocks barrier reef—visible at low tide—protects it from choppy seas, and looking for marine life in the tidal pools is a popular activity with children. Shop Now Nonantum Resort Shop Now Yachtsman Hotel & Marina Club
Slide 16 of 16: New Hampshire isn't generally known for its beaches but there is one notable slice of sand on its tiny 13-mile-long coastline. Hampton Beach has a boardwalk, family-friendly activities, and is considered one of the top three cleanest beaches in America.Shop Now The Victoria Inn

While California and Hawaii often take credit for their beaches, most of the country’s best sand is along the Atlantic Ocean. From coastal islands like Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard to the sprawling swaths of sand in the South, here are the best beaches on the East Coast for a relatively safe and socially distanced outing.

Nantucket, Massachusetts

Great Point, at the easternmost end of the island of Nantucket, is one of the most secluded beaches in the world. That’s because you need a 4×4 and a beach permit to get there. Once you do, you’ll find miles of beachfront, a historic lighthouse, and even piping plovers from time to time. Madaket Beach, on the opposite end of the island, is another good choice—especially for sunset-watching.

Shop Now The Wauwinet Hotel

Shop Now Jared Coffin House

More: The Best Places to Go in August 2020

Block Island, Rhode Island

Accessible by ferry, Block Island oozes New England charm. It’s worth the effort to get to Mohegan Bluffs, which is at the base of a set of 141 wooden steps leading down to the sand. With clay cliffs and a view that reaches Montauk at the eastern tip of Long Island, this beach is especially unique.

Shop Now Inn at Spring House

East Hampton, New York

Named the best beach in the country in 2013, Main Beach in East Hampton is known for its wide stretch of sand plus a snack bar, bathrooms, and lockers. Keep in mind, though, that on-site parking is only available to village residents and as with many Hamptons-area beaches, daily parking passes have been suspended due to Covid-19.

Shop Now The 1770 House

Shop Now The Mill House Inn

Palm Beach, Florida

It should come as no surprise that this tony one percenters’ enclave would have some of the most well-groomed beaches on the East Coast. From the water activity haven at John D. MacArthur State Park to dog-friendly Juno Beach, Palm Beach County has 47 miles of picturesque coastline to explore.

Shop Now The Breakers

Shop Now The Brazilian Court HotelMore: Palm Beach, Florida Guide: Where to Stay, Eat, Shop, Drink, and Be Seen

Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

Moshup Beach (also known as Aquinnah Beach) is at the coastal island’s western end. The famous Gay Head Cliffs, a national (and endangered) landmark, provide a backdrop for this stunning setting, an isolated destination that requires a 10-minute walk from the parking lot.

Shop Now The Richard Hotel

Cape May, New Jersey

This Jersey Shore getaway’s beaches have been declared the best in the state, and its collection of Victorian bed and breakfast destinations is a big draw for visitors from around the country. In fact, the charming town was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

Shop Now Congress Hall

Shop Now The Virginia Hotel

More: T&C Travel Guide: Winter In Cape May, New Jersey

Jekyll Island, Georgia

Located off the coast of Georgia, this 5,700-acre barrier island is famous for its nesting sea turtles and hermit crabs. Glory Beach got its name because the producers of the 1989 movie Glory, featuring Matthew Broderick, Morgan Freeman, and Denzel Washington, built a long boardwalk to the beach that remains in place.

Shop Now Jekyll Island Club Resort

More: The Best Weekend Getaways for Summer 2020

Provincetown, Massachusetts

This town at the northernmost end of Cape Cod is beloved for its friendly atmosphere, charming town, and beautiful beaches—more than 30 miles of them.

Shop Now Carpe Diem Guesthouse and Spa

Shop Now White Porch Inn
More: Easy Labor Day Getaway Ideas for Last Minute Planners

Kiawah Island, South Carolina

With some of the best golfing in the world and beaches that stretch for 10 miles, this island, just 15 miles south of Charleston, has hosted notable names like Joe Biden, George Clooney, and George W. Bush. While the island is private, the five-star hotel The Sanctuary offers access to non-residents.

Shop Now The Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island Golf Resort

MORE: The Southern Charm Guide to Charleston

Cape Hatteras, North Carolina

If you’re brave enough to climb the 257 steps to the top, the view from the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse offers a spectacular sense of the surrounding area. The Outer Banks beach’s abundance of seashells to collect is also a top draw, as is the unique topography shaped by wind, waves, and its location on one of North Carolina’s barrier islands.

Shop Now The Inn on Pamlico Sound

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Virginia Beach’s boardwalk is considered one of the best in America. It’s 28 feet wide and stretches for three miles, with restaurants and a separate bike path.

Shop Now Cavalier Hotel

Shop Now The Founders Inn and Spa

Southampton, New York

About 15 miles west of East Hampton and closer to NYC, Southampton has more than seven miles of shoreline. Head to Cooper’s Beach, considered one of the best beaches on the East End, and make sure to check out some of the extravagant mansions lining Meadow Lane on the way—at least what you can see over the hedges.

Shop Now Topping Rose House

Madison, Connecticut

Connecticut’s largest public beach is also one of its most popular. It includes two miles of sand along the relatively calm waters of the Long Island Sound, making it great for families.

Shop Now The Copper Beech Inn

Shop Now Christy’s of Madison

Kennebunkport, Maine

Goose Rocks Beach offers nearly three miles of white sand along the scenic coast of Maine. The Goose Rocks barrier reef—visible at low tide—protects it from choppy seas, and looking for marine life in the tidal pools is a popular activity with children.

Shop Now Nonantum Resort

Shop Now Yachtsman Hotel & Marina Club

Hampton Beach, New Hampshire

New Hampshire isn’t generally known for its beaches but there is one notable slice of sand on its tiny 13-mile-long coastline. Hampton Beach has a boardwalk, family-friendly activities, and is considered one of the top three cleanest beaches in America.

Shop Now The Victoria Inn

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