The Ultimate Guide to the Best East Coast Beaches for Families

Planning a family beach vacation can be a daunting task. With so many gorgeous East Coast beaches to choose from, it can be hard to decide where to go. However, with this helpful guide of the best East Coast beaches for families, you’ll soon have your dream beach vacation all planned out. We will provide you with information about the beaches and what makes them great for families. From the whitest sand and clearest water to a broad range of activities, you’ll come away from your beach vacation with a ton of wonderful memories to last a lifetime.

12 Best East Coast Beaches for Families:

1. Old Orchard Beach, Maine

Best East Coast Beaches for Families

Seven miles of sand run along the coast at Old Orchard Beach in Maine. The area boasts New England’s only beachfront amusement park, where rides offer options for very mild riders and those who want to run out of breath. The beach also has a long boardwalk, which offers many dining and shopping options. Minor league baseball adds to your experience during the summer months.


2. Cape May, New Jersey

Best East Coast Beaches for Families

Victorian charm resonates in this seaside town that claims to be the oldest seaside resort in the United States. There are plenty of beach options, from the manicured landscape along the Jersey Shore to the wilder spots at Cape May Point State Park. Horse-drawn carriages, trolleys, boat tours, the Cape May Bird Observatory and the Cape May-Lewes Ferry are just a few of the highlights. Historic Cold Spring Village allows visitors to step back in time with an ice cream parlor that will change your future.

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3. Nantucket, Massachusetts

Best East Coast Beaches for Families

A historic seaside showcase, Nantucket offers families a destination full of charm and charisma. More than 80 miles of beach shoreline presents several specific options. The larger Jetties Beach is also known for its on-site restaurant, The Sand Bar. A whaling museum offers interactive experiences for visitors. Lighthouse fans will have the opportunity to see three different examples.


4. Westerly, Rhode Island

Best East Coast Beaches for Families

A vacation in the Southern Rhode Island town of Westerly will delight beach lovers with its nearly endless coastline and multiple beaches. The white sandy beaches make for postcard-perfect photographs. Old-time attractions like the Flying Horse Carousel or the Atlantic Beach Park transport your vacation back to simpler times. The Water Wizz park offers more than 300 meters of splashing fun. Movies can be seen on the beach during the summer, and the Watch Hill Lighthouse Museum gives you the opportunity to see how lighthouse keepers worked.


5. Ocean City, Maryland

Best East Coast Beaches for Families

One of the most beloved beach vacation destinations in the country is Ocean City, Maryland. The shoreline boasts ten miles of free public beaches that are guarded by lifeguards every day during the summer. Family events line the beach and many of them offer free activities. There is a boardwalk along the beach for over three miles with some of the most incredible food you will find anywhere. The crab cakes and saltwater taffy alone make the destination worth the trip. Mechanical rides are available at Trimper’s Rides and Jolly Roger on the pier.


6. Virginia Beach, Virginia

Best East Coast Beaches for Families

Families can savor the beauty where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean at Virginia Beach. The beaches are ideal for boating, surfing, water sports of almost any kind and sand so perfect it will make your sand castle look professionally made. Street performers stroll the boardwalk during the summer, while leisurely strolls can be taken on foot or by bicycle. Atlantic Fun Park offers rides with incredible views, while Ocean Breeze Waterpark offers water slides galore. The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center allows you to observe sea turtles, sharks, seals and a host of other sea creatures. History buffs will enjoy exploring First Landing Sate Park, where English settlers landed in 1607 and Blackbeard is said to have hidden.


7. Outer Banks, North Carolina

Best East Coast Beaches for Families

The Outer Banks is a connected community of quaint and unique beach towns. Your explorations can cover more than 200 miles of the most perfect sandy beaches. The area is known for its friendliness and the atmosphere it creates. The beaches are often uncrowded and the restaurants offer food you will remember and talk about for months to come. The Outer Banks truly offers many options for people of all ages.


READ MORE: 10 Best West Coast of Florida Vacation Spots

8. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Best East Coast Beaches for Families

Myrtle Beach in South Carolina is a favorite destination because it offers several entertainment options that cannot be matched anywhere else. The coastline consists of more than 60 miles of white sand. Regulation and miniature golf courses dot the landscape. Families can enjoy cruises in search of dolphins or shopping for bargains. The area is also known for several incredible festivals.


9. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Best East Coast Beaches for Families

Twelve miles of beaches line the coast of Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. Several of the beaches tend to be uncrowded, while some offer non-stop adventure and entertainment. Thousands of bike trails border the landscape, taking you in and out of the live oak areas. Boating, helicopter rides, kayaking, horseback riding and incredible golf courses highlight your stay. Hilton Head offers a lighthouse to explore and neighborhoods that feel like home.


10. St. Simons Island, Georgia

Best East Coast Beaches for Families

South of Savannah, St. Simon’s Island is a hidden gem for families who want a place to escape, explore the outdoors and enjoy amazing food. The beaches are a bit more rugged but offer several opportunities to play, look for seashells and spy on dolphins. Lifeguards are present throughout the summer. Dedicated bike paths line the grounds, with century-old oak trees protecting your travels. Food ranges from street tacos to tasty Georgia barbecue to fresh seafood.


11. Amelia Island, Florida

Best East Coast Beaches for Families

If you’re looking for a quiet and peaceful beach vacation spot, you need look no further than Amelia Island. Beautiful beaches, wildlife preserves and crystal clear waters make this a favorite vacation spot. The island features cultures from Spain, France, Britain and America. Golf courses, sandy beaches, a boardwalk, public sports and sand dunes will make this a vacation you will remember and cherish.


12. Port St. Lucie, Florida

Port St. Lucie is located in the heart of Florida’s Treasure Coast, about an hour north of Palm Beach. Its Botanical Gardens are home to orchids, bamboo and other native plants, as well as butterflies and hummingbirds. The boardwalk winds through areas of restaurants and stores. The Aquatic Reserve has manatees, river otters, egrets and alligators. Although the city is landlocked, Port St. Lucie offers easy access to miles of Florida’s most incredible beaches. Check out the beaches of Hutchinson Island and you’ll be a believer.