People walking in downtown Bar Harbor, Maine. Image credit Darryl Brooks via Shutterstock

6 of the Most Walkable Towns on the Atlantic Coast

The Atlantic Coast runs along 14 US States, including Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. From the beautiful architecture and culture of New England, which features states like Maine, to the sunshine states like Florida, there is plenty to do and see. When it comes to traveling, walking score is important. The last thing anyone wants to think about is renting a car, finding parking, or figuring out a complicated transit system.

Thankfully, many towns along the coast feature adorable boardwalks and single-lane streets ideal for strolling. So pack your beach bag and plan out your perfect ocean getaway, whether it be a family trip, a bachelorette party, or a couples retreat.

Bar Harbor, Maine

Buildings along Main Street in downtown Bar Harbor, Maine.
Buildings along Main Street in downtown Bar Harbor, Maine. Image credit Kristi Blokhin via

The adorable New England town of Bar Harbor is nestled on an island, right next to Acadia National Park. Accessible by bridge, a ferry also travels from the town to the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.

With its small downtown and cute main street, Bar Harbor is easy to enjoy on foot and bike. Many accommodation options line the streets, such as the Bar Harbor Grand Hotel, with its stunning architecture. The Bar Harbor Inn and Spa is right next to the water, providing fabulous views. The Harborside Hotel is also along the shoreline and near delicious restaurants and shops. You also have the option to rent a cottage right downtown.

Town Beach is fantastic for watching the waves and is only a three-minute walk from Main Street. It is also right next to Agamont Park, which is full of walking paths and little gazebos great for pictures.

For those wanting to explore the sea, whale-watching tours leave right from the marina downtown. If you simply want to enjoy the beaches and sights, walk alongside Shore Path, which wraps around a generous portion of the town. If you are looking to sit down for a picnic, consider the Village Green, a park with gazebos offering some shade.

Alongside quaint hotels and beautiful parks, Bar Harbor offers several restaurants and shops within walking distance of each other. Geddy's is an excellent seafood option, as is Bar Harbor Lobster Co. Choco-Latte Cafe is a perfect place for a morning coffee. Before you leave, make sure to stop in at the artisanal boutiques, art galleries, and gift shop storefronts.

Hull, Massachusetts

Outside dining of Shipwreck'D at Pemberton Point restaurant in Hull.
Outside dining of Shipwreck'D at Pemberton Point restaurant in Hull. Image credit Yingna Cai via

The area of Hull is home to the state-famous Nantasket Beach, a resort destination popular amongst Boston residents. With easy ferry access from the big city as well as road access, this town is a family-friendly getaway traversable by foot. By walking down Nantasket Ave, you can enjoy various shops and activities. The Paragon Carousel is a restored work of art, still rideable to this day. Nearby is an arcade, ice cream parlor, and outdoor public washrooms.

There are plenty of places to pick up treats, like the Sweets by Swedes candy store. Cafes and bakeries serve up delicious muffins, cakes, and other pastries. Restaurants serve cuisine like pizza and tacos, as well as good old-fashioned American food. There are also plenty of seafood restaurants that truly fit the town's vibe.

Keep everyone entertained all weekend long with playgrounds, kayak rentals, adventures by boat, and sandy shores perfect for a day of swimming at the beach. In the summer, look forward to outdoor concerts and other live music events.

When it's time to call it a night, simply walk to a nearby accommodation, such as the Nantasket Beach Resort, or the Nantasket Beach Hotel.

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

People on the beach in Wrightsville Beach North Carolina
Summer in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Image credit StacieStauffSmith Photos via Shutterstock

Wrightsville Beach sits on a long island running along the coast of North Carolina and is a short way from Wilmington. Many of its amenities are along or close to Lumina Ave. You can bike the entire island in 20 minutes, or walk it in an hour and a half. Sandy beaches surround you with lots of public access points, so make sure to have your beach bag and sunscreen ready. You can also pick up all the necessities at the grocery store or beach supplies shops. This includes surfboards, beach chairs, umbrellas, sandals, and everything in between. Shopping can also be done at the farmer's market, or at one of the adorable maritime-themed boutiques.

Fill your day with heart-pounding activities, including scuba tours, sailing tours, fishing charters, and surf lessons, all taking place or leaving from easy-to-access areas. You can also take part in yoga on the pier, or swim in the crystal blue waters.

For the foodies, look forward to delicious seafood at restaurants like Shark Bar and Kitchen, next to the Johnnie Mercers Fishing Pier. There is also the Flying Machine Oyster Bar, Tower 7 Baja Mexican Grill, South Beach Grill, and The Workshop, which offers sandwiches and espresso drinks. For dessert, enjoy treats like frozen custard, ice cream, and smoothies. You can also grab fresh pressed juice. And finish the night off with a cocktail at a dedicated beachfront cocktail bar.

When it's time to retire, check into resorts such as the Blockade Runner Beach Resort, or book ahead and rent an apartment or cottage.

Surfside Beach, South Carolina

Surfside Beach Pier, South Carolina.
Surfside Beach Pier, South Carolina.

Surfside Beach is close to Myrtle Beach and Garden City and is just as beautiful and fun. Many of the restaurants and shops can be found along Seaside Drive, or along HWY 17, which runs right through town.

Near Seaside Drive, stop at Bubba's Fish Shack, or River City Cafe, which serves delicious hamburgers. There is also the Gracious Pig Smokehouse and Scotty's Beach Bar. The fishing pier is a prime place to set up shop for the afternoon, or you can take part in watersports like parasailing. There are 36 beach access points, and nearby hotels and accommodations include the Surfside Beach Oceanfront Hotel, Sandpebble Beach Club, and vacation rentals.

Further into town, but only by a few blocks, is HWY 17, and here you can find dozens more attractions. Grab breakfast at Golden Egg Pancake House, and lunch at Crabby Mike's Seafood. There are also restaurants serving dishes like sushi, bagels, fried chicken, and pizza, as well as sweet treats like ice cream. Check out shops selling beachwear and antiques and places where you can make your own crafts, such as beach-themed picture frames. You can also stop at Surfside Bowling and Entertainment Center for indoor fun. Nearby is the Floral Lake Playground Park, as well as a fenced dog park. Golf carts and bicycle rentals are available for those who want to rest their feet as well, and a good night's sleep can be found at hotels such as the Grand Palms Resort.

Key West, Florida

The famous Sloppy Joe's Bar on Duval Street where American author and journalist Ernest Hemingway frequently attended in Key West.
The famous Sloppy Joe's Bar on Duval Street where American author and journalist Ernest Hemingway frequently attended in Key West. Image credit Fotoluminate LLC via

A place many of heard of and dreamed of going to, Key West is a sunny escape at the very tip of Florida. Many of the town's attractions are near Duval Street but can be found all within walking distance of each other. Consider taking a walking tour to get the most out of your trip.

Key West has five beaches to choose from, including Smathers Beach, South Beach, and Simonton Street Beach. There is also a beach that is 100% dog friendly, so your furry pal can splash in the water as well. Here you can take part in activities like snorkeling, fishing, diving, and parasailing. Along the water is the take-off point for tours such as seaplane flights, tiki boat parties, glass bottom boat tours, and glow paddle kayaking.

Throughout town, you can find the aquarium, botanical gardens, Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, and the Shipwreck Treasures Museum. Group activities include scavenger hunts, pub crawls, and trolley tours. Make sure to get shopping, as well, with stores offering items such as sandals, surfboards, hammocks, and cute homemade soaps.

For dinner, order something delicious at restaurants like Pinchers Crab Shack, Sloppy Joe's Bar, Schooner Wharf Bar, and the iconic Margaritaville. Afterward, try a fun drink at Virgilio's Cocktail Bar.

Choose to spend your nights at resorts like the Lighthouse Hotel, Ocean Key Resort and Spa, and Beachside Resort, or choose from rental options like bungalows and beach houses.

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Tourists at the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk, Delaware. Image credit Ritu Manoj Jethani via
Tourists at the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk, Delaware. Image credit Ritu Manoj Jethani via

The adorable little oasis of Rehoboth Beach is a family-friendly getaway with an abundance of activities for every season. Walk the boardwalk along the salty shores, and stop at the boutiques, eateries, and activity zones. Cool off at Jungle Jim's Waterpark, featuring slides, lazy rivers, and pools. At the Midway Speedway, take part in go-karting or mini golf. At Funland right near the beach, you can play arcade games, ride the amusement rides such as the carousel, or brave the haunted house. There are also volleyball courts, swimming beaches, free weekend concerts, children's summer programs, and a farmers market.

If shopping is your jam, browse the many shops at Tanger Outlets, home to stores like Adidas, Michael Kors, Ulta, and Lacoste. Along the boardwalk and nearby streets, you can find boutiques and little shops selling items like sunglasses, shoes, books, jerky, toys, and seashells. If you are looking to purchase sweet treats, you can find shops selling candy, chocolate, fudge, ice cream, frozen yogurt, and popcorn.

When it comes time to eat, you can stop for breakfast at the Breakfast Guru. For lunch, choose from subs, Mexican cuisine, and wood-fired pizza. For dinner, try a steakhouse or seafood restaurant. Popular places include Aqua Bar and Grill, and Claws Seafood House. Afterward, sample something new at Dogfish Head Brewings and Eats, or at Revelation Craft Brewery Company.

So whether you are looking to explore the museums and homes of New England while enjoying the leaves in the fall or getting your toes sandy at a picturesque white sand beach in Florida, the Atlantic Coast is packed full of walkable beach towns. And with their combinations of trolleys, golf cart rentals, bike rentals, and walking paths and sidewalks, getting around and exploring the different restaurants, shops, and activities is a breeze. So save your worries about getting around, and instead spend your time thinking about the perfect itinerary.

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