The best beaches on the East Coast

Photo of author

| Published:

Get ready to discover the best beaches on the East Coast, from powdery white sandy beaches to gorgeous lighthouses and attractions for kids. These beaches have everything you need for a fun-filled day. 

New Smyrna Beach, a stunning coastal destination, offers a pristine sandy shoreline with mesmerizing ocean views in the backdrop.
New Smyrna Beach. Photo Credit: Lara Clevenger.

The best beaches on the East Coast

Have you ever dreamed of waking up and watching the sun rise over the beach? Make it a reality at one of these beaches along the East Coast of the United States. 

You’ll hear the soothing sound of waves crashing along the shore. Set up your beach chair and enjoy your morning cup of coffee, or enjoy a stroll along the beach with cotton candy colored skies. Save a few of these for a beach road trip

New Smyrna Beach

New Smyrna Beach, or NSB, is known for its drivable beaches, friendly locals and numerous small businesses and restaurants. Whether you want a relaxing day on the beach, go on a deep sea fishing charter or bar hop down the famous Flagler Avenue, NSB has you covered.

Then, at night, dine at one of the upscale restaurants like The Spott, Third Wave or The Garlic. Finish the evening listening to live music at Beachside Tavern or hop on over to the Bounty Bar for a cocktail for speakeasy meets beach vibes.

If you’re looking for a more touristy vibe, venture up just about 30 minutes north to Daytona Beach, the world’s most famous beach. Planning a trip with kids? Check out kid friendly things to do in NSB.

A man is standing on a beach with clouds in the sky, enjoying the breathtaking view of New Smyrna Beach.
New Smyrna Beach. Photo Credit: Lara Clevenger.

Daytona Beach

Nestled along Florida’s picturesque Atlantic coastline, Daytona Beach beckons visitors with its sun-soaked shores, vibrant atmosphere and unique experiences that embody the essence of the Sunshine State. Known as the world’s most famous beach, Daytona has long been a magnet for beach lovers, racing enthusiasts and those seeking a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure.

It’s a little busier than New Smyrna Beach, which is just to its south, but there are more family-friendly activities to do, which may be worth the excess people. From a pier full of shopping and restaurants to a Ferris wheel and mini golf, there are plenty of thrills besides soaking up the sun and catching some waves. 

On a sunny day in Daytona, the beach is lined with cars and buildings, offering plenty of things to do.
Photo Credit: Yayimages.

Tybee Island

Tybee Island, Georgia, stands out as one of the premier beach towns along the East Coast. Just a short 30-minute drive from Savannah, this charming barrier island is renowned for its picturesque beaches. 

At the beach, it’s not uncommon to see loggerhead sea turtles, alligators and horseshoe crabs. The Tybee Island Marine Science Center is located just off the beach and provides an educational opportunity to learn more about the local marine life.

Want to see the beach from an aerial view? Visit the Tybee Island Lighthouse. Here, you can climb the 178 steps to the top of the Tybee Island Light Station and Museum. This iconic lighthouse, dating back to 1736, is the oldest operational one in Georgia and offers a glimpse into the island’s maritime past.

Aerial view of a beachfront area with residential houses surrounded by greenery, a sandy beach, and a calm ocean stretching into the horizon on a clear day.
Tybee Island. Photo Credit: Lara Clevenger.

Miami Beach

Are you looking for big city vibes? Look no further than Miami Beach. Miami Beach is an enchanting blend of sun-kissed shores and lively cultural allure, drawing global travelers to its natural splendor, historical allure and contemporary elegance. 

Located along Florida’s coastline, this iconic destination offers far more than stunning sunsets and clear waters. With a plethora of activities, Miami Beach ensures an unforgettable experience for all. 

Whether you’re captivated by history, immersed in nature or enticed by nightlife, Miami Beach caters to diverse interests. Its vibrant cultural mosaic and endless entertainment options promise something new and thrilling with every visit. 

No trip is complete without a visit to South Beach, famed for its pristine sands and turquoise seas — an idyllic setting for sunbathing, swimming and people-watching. Beyond the beach, the Art Deco Historic District invites discovery, showcasing meticulously preserved 1930s buildings that offer a vivid glimpse into the area’s glamorous past, perfect for leisurely strolls or guided tours.

“Miami’s beaches are my little slice of paradise. I love starting my day with a morning walk along South Beach, and I love the mix of people, the sound of the waves and the local beachside cafes for some amazing bites and drinks. Truly the best place for vacation.”

— Shruthi Baskaran-Makanju, Urban Farmie
Subscription Form

Save this article and we'll send it to your inbox. Plus we'll send you more great article links every week.

Wrapping up

Whether you’re looking for the luxury beach vibes of West Palm Beach or the small-town beach vibes of New Smyrna Beach, you’ll have fun exploring the best beaches along the East Coast. If you’re a jet setter, check out the best beaches in California and the best beaches in the U.S. You may discover a few hidden gems and want to start planning your next road trip. 

Lara is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Personal Trainer. She is also a photographer and recipe developer and has a dessert blog, Give a Girl a Spoon. Follow for travel guides, RV life and how to live like you’re on vacation permanently.

This article originally appeared on On a Permanent Vacation.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.