Best beach towns on the East Coast

September 9, 2023
6 mins read
Best beach towns on the East Coast

Summer vacation is mostly over across the U.S., with kids already headed back to school. So now is the perfect time to start planning next year’s beach vacation.

Travelers were busy this summer. On Memorial Day weekend, largely considered the unofficial start of summer, the Transportation Security Administration screened 9.8 million people, surpassing pre-pandemic levels. Trips abroad spiked in popularity as people made up for time lost during pandemic-era travel restrictions.

However, as inflation made travel more expensive, budget-conscious travelers cut costs by driving to their destinations and staying stateside. During the July 4th holiday, AAA projected 43.2 million people would travel by car, a new record.

Beach destinations are popular this year, according to a survey from vacation-rental platform Vacasa, and outdoor recreation remains a top priority. Not only are beaches a great place to unwind and create family bonding moments, but they also boost people’s mental health.

So what makes a good beach town? Access to a beach, of course, but also plenty of indoor and outdoor activities to keep kids entertained, warm weather, and a long beach season (the average number of days beaches are open for swimming).

Stacker determined rankings by several factors, giving the most weight to the number of beaches within a quarter mile of a city or town and the total shoreline of those beaches. Weather patterns and the duration of each beach’s swim season affect town scores. The ranking also takes into account the prevalence of beach-related businesses, unemployment rates, and median home prices.

The EPA lists more than 350 beaches on the East Coast, totaling more than 450 miles of beach shoreline.

Best beach towns on the East Coast
MarkVanDykePhotography // Shutterstock

#50. Hatteras, North Carolina

– Number of beaches: 2
– Beach length: 7.1 miles
– Average swim season length: 214 days
– Average county summer temperature: 78.9 degrees
– Median home price: $483,300

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Creative Family // Shutterstock

#49. North Wildwood, New Jersey

– Number of beaches: 13
– Beach length: 5.72 miles
– Average swim season length: 99 days
– Average county summer temperature: 75.1 degrees
– Median home price: $386,700

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Kyle J Little // Shutterstock

#48. Rodanthe, North Carolina

– Number of beaches: 2
– Beach length: 6.11 miles
– Average swim season length: 214 days
– Average county summer temperature: 78.9 degrees
– Median home price: $325,900

Best beach towns on the East Coast
StacieStauffSmith Photos // Shutterstock

#47. Litchfield Beach, South Carolina

– Number of beaches: 3
– Beach length: 10.72 miles
– Average swim season length: 153 days
– Average county summer temperature: 79.6 degrees
– Median home price: $296,000

Best beach towns on the East Coast
AM Custom Aerials // Shutterstock

#46. Holden Beach, North Carolina

– Number of beaches: 10
– Beach length: 10.13 miles
– Average swim season length: 214 days
– Average county summer temperature: 79.3 degrees
– Median home price: $446,300

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Michael A. Robert // Shutterstock

#45. Brigantine, New Jersey

– Number of beaches: 21
– Beach length: 7.27 miles
– Average swim season length: 102 days
– Average county summer temperature: 75.3 degrees
– Median home price: $376,600

Best beach towns on the East Coast
EQRoy // Shutterstock

#44. Wildwood Crest, New Jersey

– Number of beaches: 16
– Beach length: 3.95 miles
– Average swim season length: 99 days
– Average county summer temperature: 75.1 degrees
– Median home price: $391,900

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Red Lemon // Shutterstock

#43. Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

– Number of beaches: 11
– Beach length: 6.16 miles
– Average swim season length: 214 days
– Average county summer temperature: 79.8 degrees
– Median home price: $826,600

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Ruth McNeill Photography // Shutterstock

#42. Kure Beach, North Carolina

– Number of beaches: 6
– Beach length: 8.31 miles
– Average swim season length: 214 days
– Average county summer temperature: 79.8 degrees
– Median home price: $454,500

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Canva

#41. Southern Shores, North Carolina

– Number of beaches: 2
– Beach length: 5.81 miles
– Average swim season length: 214 days
– Average county summer temperature: 78.9 degrees
– Median home price: $514,600

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Kyle J Little // Shutterstock

#40. Frisco, North Carolina

– Number of beaches: 2
– Beach length: 7.53 miles
– Average swim season length: 214 days
– Average county summer temperature: 78.9 degrees
– Median home price: $301,900

Best beach towns on the East Coast
James Kirkikis // Shutterstock

#39. Wildwood, New Jersey

– Number of beaches: 14
– Beach length: 3.7 miles
– Average swim season length: 99 days
– Average county summer temperature: 75.1 degrees
– Median home price: $264,300

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Canva

#38. Ocean City, Maryland

– Number of beaches: 7
– Beach length: 10.2 miles
– Average swim season length: 102 days
– Average county summer temperature: 77.3 degrees
– Median home price: $325,900

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Canva

#37. St. Simons, Georgia

– Number of beaches: 6
– Beach length: 6.62 miles
– Average swim season length: 213 days
– Average county summer temperature: 81.8 degrees
– Median home price: $380,500

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#36. Tybee Island, Georgia

– Number of beaches: 6
– Beach length: 8.56 miles
– Average swim season length: 208 days
– Average county summer temperature: 81.6 degrees
– Median home price: $589,600

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Kyle J Little // Shutterstock

#35. Morehead City, North Carolina

– Number of beaches: 10
– Beach length: 3.01 miles
– Average swim season length: 214 days
– Average county summer temperature: 78.9 degrees
– Median home price: $308,900

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Nourinet // Shutterstock

#34. Atlantic Beach, North Carolina

– Number of beaches: 7
– Beach length: 8.73 miles
– Average swim season length: 214 days
– Average county summer temperature: 78.9 degrees
– Median home price: $461,500

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Justgofamily // Shutterstock

#33. New Smyrna Beach, Florida

– Number of beaches: 3
– Beach length: 21.05 miles
– Average swim season length: 243 days
– Average county summer temperature: 82.6 degrees
– Median home price: $299,900

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Michael R Brown // Shutterstock

#32. Pine Knoll Shores, North Carolina

– Number of beaches: 6
– Beach length: 8.06 miles
– Average swim season length: 214 days
– Average county summer temperature: 78.9 degrees
– Median home price: $465,600

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Leonard Zhukovsky // Shutterstock

#31. Riviera Beach, Florida

– Number of beaches: 5
– Beach length: 3.82 miles
– Average swim season length: 122 days
– Average county summer temperature: 83.1 degrees
– Median home price: $240,300

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Lacey Lin Photography // Shutterstock

#30. Deerfield Beach, Florida

– Number of beaches: 3
– Beach length: 4.74 miles
– Average swim season length: 243 days
– Average county summer temperature: 83.5 degrees
– Median home price: $245,500

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Felix Mizioznikov // Shutterstock

#29. St. Augustine Beach, Florida

– Number of beaches: 2
– Beach length: 15.29 miles
– Average swim season length: 244 days
– Average county summer temperature: 82.7 degrees
– Median home price: $464,100

Best beach towns on the East Coast
FotosForTheFuture // Shutterstock

#28. Long Branch, New Jersey

– Number of beaches: 19
– Beach length: 5.65 miles
– Average swim season length: 105 days
– Average county summer temperature: 76.6 degrees
– Median home price: $380,100

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Canva

#27. St. Augustine, Florida

– Number of beaches: 3
– Beach length: 17.87 miles
– Average swim season length: 244 days
– Average county summer temperature: 82.7 degrees
– Median home price: $314,000

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Stephen B. Goodwin // Shutterstock

#26. Buxton, North Carolina

– Number of beaches: 2
– Beach length: 9.4 miles
– Average swim season length: 214 days
– Average county summer temperature: 78.9 degrees
– Median home price: $333,500

Best beach towns on the East Coast
David Souza // Shutterstock

#25. Pompano Beach, Florida

– Number of beaches: 3
– Beach length: 5.31 miles
– Average swim season length: 243 days
– Average county summer temperature: 83.5 degrees
– Median home price: $259,900

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Kip Robinson // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

– Number of beaches: 3
– Beach length: 7.29 miles
– Average swim season length: 214 days
– Average county summer temperature: 78.9 degrees
– Median home price: $373,200

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Cvandyke // Shutterstock

#23. Salvo, North Carolina

– Number of beaches: 3
– Beach length: 8.09 miles
– Average swim season length: 214 days
– Average county summer temperature: 78.9 degrees
– Median home price: $325,900

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#22. Jupiter Island, Florida

– Number of beaches: 3
– Beach length: 7.75 miles
– Average swim season length: 243 days
– Average county summer temperature: 83.5 degrees
– Median home price: $2,000,001

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Felix Mizioznikov // Shutterstock

#21. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

– Number of beaches: 4
– Beach length: 12.64 miles
– Average swim season length: 153 days
– Average county summer temperature: 79.3 degrees
– Median home price: $298,900

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Canva

#20. Hallandale Beach, Florida

– Number of beaches: 3
– Beach length: 2.81 miles
– Average swim season length: 364 days
– Average county summer temperature: 83.5 degrees
– Median home price: $248,700

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Fernando Cruz // Shutterstock

#19. Carolina Beach, North Carolina

– Number of beaches: 5
– Beach length: 5.13 miles
– Average swim season length: 214 days
– Average county summer temperature: 79.8 degrees
– Median home price: $409,400

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Kyle J Little // Shutterstock

#18. Norfolk, Virginia

– Number of beaches: 10
– Beach length: 7.37 miles
– Average swim season length: 136 days
– Average county summer temperature: 78.6 degrees
– Median home price: $227,100

Best beach towns on the East Coast
ESB Professional // Shutterstock

#17. Jacksonville, Florida

– Number of beaches: 4
– Beach length: 10.89 miles
– Average swim season length: 244 days
– Average county summer temperature: 82.3 degrees
– Median home price: $215,700

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Melissa M Janssens // Shutterstock

#16. Ormond-By-The-Sea, Florida

– Number of beaches: 2
– Beach length: 13.22 miles
– Average swim season length: 364 days
– Average county summer temperature: 82.6 degrees
– Median home price: $261,400

Best beach towns on the East Coast
MICHAEL HUBEL // Shutterstock

#15. North Topsail Beach, North Carolina

– Number of beaches: 10
– Beach length: 13.38 miles
– Average swim season length: 214 days
– Average county summer temperature: 78.7 degrees
– Median home price: $384,700

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Kyle J Little // Shutterstock

#14. Avon, North Carolina

– Number of beaches: 2
– Beach length: 8.53 miles
– Average swim season length: 214 days
– Average county summer temperature: 78.9 degrees
– Median home price: $263,600

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Francisco Blanco // Shutterstock

#13. Miami Beach, Florida

– Number of beaches: 5
– Beach length: 9.46 miles
– Average swim season length: 364 days
– Average county summer temperature: 83.6 degrees
– Median home price: $449,200

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Canva

#12. Atlantic City, New Jersey

– Number of beaches: 43
– Beach length: 4.3 miles
– Average swim season length: 107 days
– Average county summer temperature: 75.3 degrees
– Median home price: $136,900

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Dawn Damico // Shutterstock

#11. Beaufort, North Carolina

– Number of beaches: 7
– Beach length: 2.75 miles
– Average swim season length: 214 days
– Average county summer temperature: 78.9 degrees
– Median home price: $234,300

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Wirestock Creators // Shutterstock

#10. Virginia Beach, Virginia

– Number of beaches: 24
– Beach length: 33.49 miles
– Average swim season length: 144 days
– Average county summer temperature: 77.9 degrees
– Median home price: $294,100

Best beach towns on the East Coast
JSvideos // Shutterstock

#9. Jekyll Island, Georgia

– Number of beaches: 8
– Beach length: 9.66 miles
– Average swim season length: 213 days
– Average county summer temperature: 81.8 degrees
– Median home price: $430,900

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Chansak Joe // Shutterstock

#8. Ocracoke, North Carolina

– Number of beaches: 4
– Beach length: 16.02 miles
– Average swim season length: 214 days
– Average county summer temperature: 78.7 degrees
– Median home price: $371,400

Best beach towns on the East Coast
digidreamgrafix // Shutterstock

#7. Nags Head, North Carolina

– Number of beaches: 9
– Beach length: 13.93 miles
– Average swim season length: 214 days
– Average county summer temperature: 78.9 degrees
– Median home price: $336,900

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Jillian Cain Photography // Shutterstock

#6. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

– Number of beaches: 7
– Beach length: 7.75 miles
– Average swim season length: 260 days
– Average county summer temperature: 83.5 degrees
– Median home price: $380,300

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Jill Lang // Shutterstock

#5. Oak Island, North Carolina

– Number of beaches: 14
– Beach length: 10.87 miles
– Average swim season length: 214 days
– Average county summer temperature: 79.3 degrees
– Median home price: $283,500

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Tony Quinn // Shutterstock

#4. Emerald Isle, North Carolina

– Number of beaches: 10
– Beach length: 17.69 miles
– Average swim season length: 214 days
– Average county summer temperature: 78.9 degrees
– Median home price: $441,900

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Kristi Blokhin // Shutterstock

#3. Hollywood, Florida

– Number of beaches: 8
– Beach length: 8.17 miles
– Average swim season length: 258 days
– Average county summer temperature: 83.5 degrees
– Median home price: $306,500

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Sherry V Smith // Shutterstock

#2. Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

– Number of beaches: 8
– Beach length: 7.76 miles
– Average swim season length: 214 days
– Average county summer temperature: 78.9 degrees
– Median home price: $271,200

Best beach towns on the East Coast
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#1. Daytona Beach, Florida

– Number of beaches: 6
– Beach length: 15.75 miles
– Average swim season length: 364 days
– Average county summer temperature: 82.6 degrees
– Median home price: $194,200

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