While they don’t have the dramatic cliffs or sunsets of west coast beaches, east coast beaches have a certain charm.

The water is warm, the wind is cool, the soft serve is melting. See below for our top picks for the best east coast beaches (trust us, we’re experts).

1. Cape Hatteras, North Carolina

Not only is there great camping at the base of this lovely lighthouse, but there’s also great restaurants nearby. [learnnc.org]

2. Key West

Key West is a classic beach destination because it is just about as tropical as you can get in the continental US. It’s got great history, as well as incredible views, resorts, and dining. [besttropicalbeachvacations.com]

3. Bar Harbor, Maine

Bar Harbor is a gem of the northeast, with a lovely town, breathtaking cliffs, coves, and dunes. [smartertravel.com]

4. Nantucket Island

Nantucket is an isolated, tight-knit community and that explodes in the summer, what with a booming film, wine, and dining scene. It’s not too bad in the winter, either! But it is chilly. [hdbeachwallpapers.blogspot.com]

5. Cumberland Island, Georgia

Cumberland Island is a mystical place, replete with ruins, bioluminescent bays, spanish moss, bizarre wildlife, wild horses, and treehouses. It’s a must. [kellydestinations.com]


6. Rockaway Beach, New York

The Rockaways are a great getaway from the city. Sure, they get crowded in the summer months, but the beach still has a small-town feel despite being a commute away from New York. [guestofaguest.com]

7. Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston has been amazingly preserved and maintained, so it’s beautiful, historic, palmetto-ed, and walkable, just as it has been for decades and decades. It’s a cosmopolitan, yet small and friendly, town, with world-class sailing, dining, and sight-seeing. [quoteko.com]