Destinations

The Top 15 Beaches on the East Coast

Here are America's best pieces of sand along the Atlantic Ocean.
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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 Art Deco playground of South Beach, here are the best beaches on the East Coast.

Nantucket, Massachusetts


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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.

BOOK NOW The Wauwinet Hotel

BOOK NOW Millie's Restaurant

MoreThe 12 Best Summer Vacation Ideas for Families

Block Island, Rhode Island


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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.

BOOK NOW Inn at Spring House

East Hampton, New York


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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. On-site parking is only available to village residents but there are free beach shuttles available.

BOOK NOW The 1770 House

BOOK NOW The Mill House Inn

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts


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

BOOK NOW The Richard Hotel

Cape May, New Jersey


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This Jersey Shore getaway's beaches have been declared the best in the state, and its collection of Victorian bed and breakfast destinations attract visitors from around the country. In fact, the entire city was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

BOOK NOW Congress Hall

BOOK NOW The Virginia Hotel

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

Jekyll Island, Georgia


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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.

BOOK NOW Jekyll Island Club Resort

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina


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South Carolina's Myrtle Beach is crowded for a reason. Its amenities are popular with families, especially the 200-foot tall SkyWheel.

BOOK NOW 6 Bedroom Oceanfront Beach House

BOOK NOW Myrtle Beach SkyWheel 

Provincetown, Massachusetts


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

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BOOK NOW Carpe Diem Guesthouse and Spa

BOOK NOW White Porch Inn

Kiawah Island, South Carolina


With some of the best golfing in the world and beaches that stretch for 10 miles, this island 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.

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BOOK NOW The Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island Golf Resort

More: The Southern Charm Guide to Charleston

Miami Beach, Florida


South Beach is unlike anywhere else in the country—or the world, for that matter. A-listers, models, and the rest of us love the sunny scene for its top restaurants and hot hotels along with the Instagram-worthy beaches.

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BOOK NOW 1 Hotel South Beach

BOOK NOW Fontainebleau Miami Beach

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. Seashells are also a top draw at this Outer Banks beach.

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BOOK 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 street entertainers, arcade games, and live music.

BOOK NOW Cavalier Hotel

BOOK NOW The Founders Inn and Spa

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Southampton, New York


About 15 miles west of the aforementioned East Hampton, Southampton has more than seven miles of shoreline. Cooper's Beach, which has a snack bar and offers umbrella and chair rentals, is considered one of the best beaches in the Hamptons. Make sure to check out some of the extravagant architecture on Meadow Lane on your way there—at least what you can see over the hedges.

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BOOK NOW Topping Rose House

BOOK NOW 4 Bedroom Beach 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 Long Island Sound waters, making it a great choice for families. The on-site Meigs Point Nature Center also offers daily nature walks.

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BOOK NOW The Copper Beech Inn

BOOK 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. Visit Bennett’s for sandwiches and Market Day for snacks, and you won’t miss the lack of a concession stand.

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BOOK NOW Nonantum Resort

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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