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Enjoy the Best East Coast Beaches

The wild Atlantic coastline of North America has some of the best beaches in the world. There are miles of sand, fascinating coastal inlets, and calm waters to swim in. You'll find superb cuisine too and a host of water sports to enjoy. The best East Coast beaches are among the top places for vacations in the USA, and for good reason. There's something to suit most needs, from peaceful sandy shores to a surfer's paradise.

Which one will you choose for your next vacation?

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01Ocean City, New Jersey

Sand castles with the lights of the Boardwalk in the background. steinphoto / Getty Images

There are eight miles of coastline at Ocean City Beach, constantly patrolled by lifeguards. You'll find lots of entertainment in this busy and popular resort, from good food restaurants to karaoke and the famous boardwalk. This New Jersey vacation spot has facilities right on the beach and is one of the best places to swim in the ocean.

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02Folly Beach, South Carolina

Morris Island Lighthouse From Folly Island Beach Bob Krist / Getty Images

Folly beach is just a short drive from Charleston but feels like a different world. The beach is popular with surfers and sunbathers and those looking for wide-open spaces to relax. Center Beach and Folly Pier are where the action is but to escape into a more peaceful place, head to Folly beach Country Park.

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03Main Beach, New York

The deck of the public pavilion at Main Beach in East Hampton, Long Island. the beach is nearly deserted in the late afternoon Kirkikis / Getty Images

Main Beach is not just a superb piece of coastline but a popular place to spot celebrities on the sand. This beach on East Hampton is a well-known vacation spot and is owned by the Long Island village. It is renowned for its clean beach with soft sands and clear water, making it the perfect escape from the city.

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04Canaveral National Seashore, Titusville, Florida

Morning at Canaveral National Seashore in Florida. dosecreative / Getty Images

Canaveral National Seashore is more than a fantastic beach. Its proximity to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and the home to over 300 bird species and 1035 varieties of plants make it a great place to spend a vacation. There's a good range of motels and campsites in the area too. The beach is ideal for sunbathing and swimming, and there's also one section that is clothes optional.

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05Cape May, New Jersey

Victorian Homes and hotels line Beach Ave. in Cape May with lifesaving rescue boat on the beach. Richard T. Nowitz / Getty Images

Cape May is home to the USA's oldest seaside resort and is just 48 miles from Washington DC. It has a beautiful beach for relaxing, but visitors can also go whale watching and visit nearby water parks in Wildwood. The area is popular with all kinds of watersports, from surfing to skimboarding as well as chilling out on the shoreline. Cape May is family-friendly and has lifeguards on its beaches.

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06Hampton Beach, Hampton, New Hampshire

View of Hampton Beach, New Hampshire with surf breaking up on shoreline. Wallieguy / Getty Images

Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Hampton Beach has been popular with visitors since the 1840s. It's popular for watersports and swimming as well as sunbathing. Visitors also come to the casinos and restaurants in the area, and there are a lot of motels and campsites locally. Hampton beach also has a marine life research center and Sea Shell Stage.

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07Nantucket, Massachusets

Nantucket Beach, Beach chairs on the sand Fotokia / Getty Images

Nantucket is one of the most secluded beaches on the USA's East Coast, and for good reason. You need a permit and a 4 x 4 to get there. But once you do, there are miles of spectacular coastline, a lighthouse, and some of the best birdwatching opportunities around. Another choice in this area is Madaket Beach on the other side of Nantucket Island.

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08Jekyll Island, Georgia

Driftwood beach, Jekyll Island. Peeter Viisimaa / Getty Images

Known as a nesting beach for sea turtles, Jekyll Island has over 5000 acres of sand to explore. It's good for swimming as well and has a boardwalk to the beach from the main hotel areas. The ten miles of coastline are a peaceful place to chill out and simply enjoy nature at its finest, but each beach is different from the others. Driftwood beach is famed for its ancient wood monuments, whereas Glory Beach is known for its sand dunes. There is also a range of activities, including fishing, boating, and wildlife spotting.

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09Cape Hatteras, North Carolina

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Jens_Lambert_Photography / Getty Images

The view from the top of Cape Hatteras lighthouse is incredible and shows the expanse of pristine sands. The beaches are renowned for their seashells and sand dunes and are amazing places to relax under a sunshade. You'll find wildlife spotting opportunities, too, from sea turtles to marine birds. Cape Hatteras is one of the best beaches on the East Coast of the USA.

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10Madison, Connecticut

a family enjoying a stroll on the beach at sunset

Madison Beach is the largest in Connecticut and is known for its calm waters along Long Island Sound. With two miles of soft sand, this is a beautiful beach to chill out and enjoy the sun. Madison also has a wide range of activities, from boating to fishing and other watersports. The hotels and restaurants in the area add to the attraction, making it a popular place for a vacation.

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