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It’s never too early to start planning for next summer. If you’re an East Coaster looking for a quick getaway, did you know some of the most beautiful beaches can be found right on your doorstep? From New England down to Florida, the coast is lined with perfect spots for your next beach vacation; here are a few:
1. Cape Cod, Massachusetts
New England’s most iconic beach, Cape Cod, is a perfect family vacation. The Cape Cod region sits on the hook of southern Massachusetts, offering up dozens of top towns and beaches begging to be visited. Check out Cape Cod National Seashore on the tip of the peninsula. In the park, you can travel Henry David Thoreau’s famous route through the beach and enjoy the tranquil white sands and blue seas for over 40 miles of coastline. On the tip of the peninsula, after the park, you’ll find the charming town of Provincetown, Massachusetts. Provincetown is the site of the Mayflower’s arrival in 1620, which brought the pilgrims to the USA. Aside from rich history, the town is best-known for lovely beaches and artsy, open-minded vibes. ‘P-town’, as it’s known locally, is also a popular getaway in the LGBT community.
2. Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Kiawah Island, just south of Charleston, South Carolina, has a little something for everyone, making it one of the most popular East Coast beaches. The beach and island are regularly considered a top golf spot in the U.S, so grab your clubs and head out to the unique and unforgettable Ocean Course. The private island has a main hotel, The Sanctuary on Kiawah Island, letting non-residents enjoy the 10-mile stretch of pristine Atlantic coast and all the activities around town. For the best beaches, head to Beachwalker County Park, for clear blue seas as far as the eye can see. If you need a break from the sun and sand, check out the guided bike tours around the island, where you can explore sand dunes, forests, and salt marshes, all while learning about the island. If you want to make the journey to Kiawah Island an adventure in itself, check out these 6 great east coast road trips.
3. Virginia Beach, Virginia
Virginia Beach, the largest city in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is also the state’s favorite beachside stop, and one of the most popular beaches on the East Coast. The boardwalk alone, spanning three miles of the beach, was rated one of the best in the country, full of food, games, and fun. The beach’s waves combine the Chesapeake Bay with the Atlantic Ocean, and the soft sand is perfect for days in the sun or enjoying water sports. There’s also a booming entertainment scene, filled with galleries, theaters, and museums, as well as tons of great restaurants and vacation rentals in Virginia Beach.
4. Cape Hatteras, Outer Banks, North Carolina
North Carolina’s Outer Banks is a true gem on the east coast, and the beaches are bound to be on more than one top 10 list. With so many great beaches to choose from, it can be hard to pick a standout spot, but that’s exactly what Cape Hatteras is. The quiet and peaceful beach is a great vacation destination, with warm waves and quiet seaside spots. The beach is ideal for little ones, or adults, to go hunting for the best seashells. The beach is 70 miles long and is always in pristine condition. While in Cape Hatteras, don’t forget to check out some of the other things to do in town, including the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. The lighthouse opened in 1803 and has a total of 257 steps to the top — the spectacular views are well worth the climb.
5. Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
Martha’s Vineyard is a favorite summer spot for many elite faces, including the Obamas. As such a high-class area, there’s gotta be something drawing everyone to the Massachusetts island’s shores. The towns around Martha’s Vineyard are often crowded, especially in the summer months, but are always lively, and filled with events, like live music, and summer fun activities. While there’s so much to do and see in town, you can’t forget the amazing beaches. Check out Moshup Beach, on the western end of the island. The beach is known for the colorful Gay Head Cliffs, the quiet, isolated vibes, and the 10-minute hike to get to the beach.
6. Tybee Island, Georgia
Tybee Island sits right outside of Savannah, Georgia, making it a popular getaway for city folk and out of state visitors alike. The island’s beaches feature the iconic 19th-century Tybee Pier, and the 18th-century Tybee Island Light Station Museum, both staples of the community for centuries. The Tybee National Wildlife Refuge is another popular attraction in town for getting a glimpse of unique migratory bird species. Aside from the calm, peaceful clear beaches, visit the island’s other hot attractions, including the annual Pirate Fest, every October. The island is also home to tons of water sports, including kayaking and canoeing.
7. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
A classic beach vacation destination is waiting for you in South Carolina. Myrtle Beach, located in the northern part of the state, just past the border with North Carolina, is always packed, and for good reason, seeing as it’s one of the 7 best beaches in South Carolina. The beach and town feature are packed with things to do, from the clear blue sea to the boardwalk with a 200-foot Skywheel, to the dozens of unique museums and shops. Myrtle Beach is the largest resort town in the state and offers some of the finest places to stay for your days on the sand. The city is also home to over 90 golf courses if you fancy perfecting your swing.
8. South Beach, Florida
No list of East Coast beaches is complete without a Florida beach or two. South Beach, outside the city of Miami, is equal parts fun, relaxing beach vacation, and wild and crazy party vacation. The city is always abuzz, day and night, with beachgoers, surfers, sunbathers, and fiestas. Check out the top restaurants frequented by the rich and famous, the Art Deco-style architecture spilling out on every street, or the neon lights shining from Ocean Drive. For the beaches, head to Haulover Beach Park, full of surf vibes and clothing-optional hideaways. South Pointe Park and Pier is another popular spot in town for the 17 acres of parkland, trails, and perfect picnic spots in front of the Atlantic Ocean. If South Beach is a little too loud for you, check out the other 7 best beaches in Florida.
9. Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Delaware’s Rehoboth Beach is the colorful, exciting, and always busy stop on the East Coast. The mid-Atlantic region is home to many family-friendly, low-cost beaches, and Rehoboth Beach is definitely one. Visit the boardwalk lined with restaurants, hotels, fun shops, and local history. The boardwalk stretches for about one mile and was recently rated one of the top ten boardwalks in the USA. The beach itself at Rehoboth Beach has calm waves and glorious sunshine, making it a great spot to go out in a kayak, canoe, or paddle board, or simply lay in the sun and relax.