How to Pick the Right East Coast Beach

We often receive emails at Eastern Beaches from prospective beach goers with the question “what beach do you recommend?” The quick answer is “It depends”. Not to be wise but it depends upon a number of factors such as what are the ages of the group going? How far or long are you willing to travel? Do you like secluded beaches, semi-secluded, more crowded beaches? What beach and water activities do you like such as surfing, windsurfing, jet skiing, body surfing? Do you like warm water or is a bit cooler needed to cool off during the hot summer day? What entertainment do you want Boardwalk, Night clubs, variety of restaurants? What is your budget? How far do you want to drive? Is Air travel an option?



The East Coast Beaches of the USA provide a wide variety of beaches from the Florida beaches both east and west coast up through Maine beaches with its white sandy beaches and nearby harbors and ports. I will briefly review some factors to consider when you are trying to select your beach.


What is your budget?

This probably isn’t the most exciting factor of selecting a beach but it is very important to identify your budget or at least an approximate budget up front. You should consider a rough estimate for hotel or vacation rental. Travel cost to and from the vacation spot such Gas, Tolls, Airfare, Car Rental, etc.

The cost of meals including Breakfast, Lunch,and Dinner. Entertainment costs such as Amusements, Water sports, Beach Gear rentals, etc., should be added up for the travel to and from your vacation spot plus for every day you are there. You will notice the cost adds up very quickly. Selecting a vacation that is within your budget will help preclude you paying for your beach vacation long after it ends.

What time of year do you want to go?

Although Memorial Day in the USA marks the unofficial start of summer, beaches in the southern part of the country warm up much sooner. Spring Break in Florida is a good example. Even closer to summer months you should consider what the water temperatures might be.

If you are not a big swimmer this may not be a large issue but for the majority is. You should consider what temperature water you like. For many, warm pool like temperatures in the upper 70’s (F) or low 80’s (F) are ideal however many beaches in the mid-Atlantic don’t get that high at all or if it is even close it would be in the August timeframe.

Typically the mid-Atlantic Beaches have water temperatures in the 60’s (F) through the month of June depending upon wind direction and how fast the solar heating of the water occurs. The most popular time for beaches in New England is in July and August.

An option to consider is certain Beach Hotels have pools. Beach Hotels close to the Ocean can provide the best combination of pool and ocean view.

How long do you stay?

This depends upon the factors of the vacationers. One to two weeks at the beach is nice however due to work schedules, travel time, and budget this will need to be adjusted. For some a number of smaller weekend trips to different beaches works better and spreads out the summer fun.

Do you like more populous beaches? Or Secluded?

In going to the beach you’ll need to identify what your expectations are. If your goal is the de-stress and unwind with quiet relaxation a more secluded beach may be desired.

If you have children the quiet may not last long if they are bored so you may need to look at something with Amusements, Arcades, Boardwalks and other activities to mix it up. If you like a lot of nightlife some of the more populous areas may be what is needed to end up a great beach day.

Age Groups

What are the age groups of the group going? Families with children may opt for a more secluded or semi-secluded beach vacation area. Vacationing in a beach area with many nightclubs and bars usually isn’t the right environment for children. Selecting a Vacation Rental or Hotel in a surrounding beach town or development can give you the best mix.

A consideration for less than expert swimmers, children (especially small children) are the surf conditions. On the East Coast winds, storms, tropical depressions, hurricanes, and Nor-easters can create rough surf during the beach going season. If Florida is your destination the west coast and Florida panhandle typically have calmer waters and the depth of the water deepens gradually as opposed to the East Coast. As in any beach select one that has lifeguards to protect in case of emergency.

If you are in your late teens and 20’s vacation areas densely populated with bars and nightlife will surely suit the entertainment minded. A few examples are Belmar, NJ; Seaside Heights, NJ; Ocean city, MD; Myrtle Beach, SC; Daytona Beach, Fl; Fort Lauderdale, Fl; and South Beach Miami, FL.

What beach activities to you like?

If you like beach water and related activities you should include these in your search. If you surf and the beach you pick doesn’t have a good break you will be disappointed. If you like Jet Skiing or Wind Surfing and there are no places to launch or ride that will be a problem. You should pick a location with a bay or sound. If you like fishing choosing a beach with surf fishing or piers should be considered. Or how close is an inlet so you can perhaps go out in the Atlantic Ocean with a fishing charter.

How far to you want to travel?

If your ideal beach is several hundred miles away you’ll need to consider that your vacation time will be reduced by the time it takes to travel to and from the beach. If it is peak beach season be assured there will be many fellow beach goers in traffic along with you. Taking some time to research the travel times and routes with less congestion will result in more Beach time for you and your family.

This topic can easily span into many more pages to go into detail. hopefully this article has stimulated some thought for planning your next beach vacation.

When planning your vacation please remember to include Eastern-Beaches.com as part of your beach search tools.

See you at the Beach!