Newport, Rhode Island. Editorial credit: Yingna Cai /

8 Serene Towns in Atlantic Coast for a Weekend Retreat

The Atlantic coastline begins at the very tip of Northern Maine’s coast and spans all the way down to the southern portion of the Florida peninsula. Situated among the diverse coastal climates, sandy beaches, and crashing waves are towns that provide the perfect opportunities to explore some of the oldest settlements in the country. Visitors have no shortage of destinations to choose from; the coastline spans 14 different states, so vacationers can soak up some vitamin D on the sandy beaches of the southern states or explore some of the earliest tales of Maritime history in the abundant coastal waters of the North Atlantic. So, regardless of your interests, these serene towns will fill up your itinerary for your weekend getaway.

Newport, Rhode Island

Sunset at Castle Hill Lighthouse. Newport, Rhode Island.
Sunset at Castle Hill Lighthouse. Newport, Rhode Island.

Newport is a seaside retreat that has long been a popular destination for those seeking a getaway in the heart of New England. The town is in a central location from major cities like Providence, Boston, and New York City, making it easily accessible for those looking to relax as the waves roll in from the Atlantic.

The town has plenty of options for a comfortable stay during your visit, from upscale stays like the Cliffside Inn to a more modest stay like the Beechtree Cottage Inn. Regardless of your choice, both are great places to rest your head after a day of excitement.

After checking in, stroll along Ocean Drive Avenue and witness grand mansions such as The Breakers or the renowned Marble House. Afterward, learn about the town’s fascinating history at the Museum of Newport, which tells the tales of the town's seafaring past and affluent figures who once called the town home. If you prefer to spend your weekend outdoors, then head to Gooseberry Beach and secure your place in this sandy sanctuary.

Kennebunkport, Maine

Some old traditional shops on Dock Square road in Kennebunkport, Maine, USA. Editorial credit: Scott McManus /
Some old traditional shops on Dock Square Road in Kennebunkport, Maine, USA. Editorial credit: Scott McManus /

Visitors can rest assured that their time spent in this coastal town will be much easier than pronouncing Kennebunkport. The relaxed vibe of this friendly town is sure to leave visitors feeling right at home regardless of the duration of their stay.

Start your visit by putting your toes in the sand, walking along Beach Avenue, and taking your pick from three pristine beaches located along the avenue. Take a journey through the town’s past, and visit the elegant Greek-style columns that sit in front of the Kennebunkport Historical Society Museum, the museum showcases key figures such as whaling captains, artifacts, and the trials and tribulations of the town’s history. There are also other historical landmarks, such as the Brick Store Museum and the renowned Seashore Trolley Museum.

End your day by enjoying a delicious seafood dinner at Striper’s Waterside Restaurant, which features some of the freshest seafood on the Atlantic coast. Finally, unwind and relax in the comfort of the charming Colony Hotel, which proves to be a popular stay amongst visitors.

Ocean City, Maryland

Ocean City, Maryland/United States. Editorial credit: Yeilyn Channell /
Ocean City, Maryland/United States. Editorial credit: Yeilyn Channell /

As the town’s title alludes to, Ocean City is situated between the main land mass of America and the Atlantic Ocean, which promises a wealth of experiences for those who visit.

Embrace your inner thrill seeker by paying a visit to one of the more popular attractions in the city and stroll along the boardwalk, which promises fun for all ages. Soar to new heights on rollercoasters at Trimper rides or slip and slide down the waterslides at Jolly Rogers amusement park.

If you’re looking for something a little more peaceful, then take to the ocean. Whether it’s casting a line at the OC fishing pier or renting a kayak and cruising through the calm waters of Wight Bay, you’re sure to be able to enjoy the luxury of the Ocean. Rest your head after a day filled with excitement at the Americana Oceanfront Hotel, where you can enjoy ocean views from the comfort of your room.

Nantucket, Massachusetts

The entrance of Nantucket, Massachusetts.
The entrance of Nantucket, Massachusetts.

Despite only being accessible by Ferry via Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket's historic past and stunning natural scenery still manage to attract a large audience during the summer months.

Begin your day by basking in the island's allure, whether it's lounging on the sandy shores of Cisco Beach or charting your course and journeying to the Sankaty Head Lighthouse, where a brisk hike rewards you with unparalleled vistas.

Delve into the island's maritime heritage with a visit to the Nantucket Whaling Museum, where you can marvel at the mammoth creatures that once sustained the local community. Conclude your day with a culinary indulgence at the Straight Wharf Restaurant, renowned for its delectable seafood sourced directly from the ocean. A day spent on the island is sure to leave you needing some rest, so whether you want to stay on the mainland at the Pequot Hotel or enjoy the evening atmosphere of the island at Seven Sea Street Inn, there are sure to be numerous options for you to choose from.

Chincoteague, Virginia

Chincoteague Island, marinas, houses and motels with parking lots. bridge and road along the bay.
Chincoteague Island, marinas, houses and motels with parking lots. Bridge and road along the bay.

Discover the many reasons why visitors flock to this vacation town situated at the edge of the “Old Dominion” state. Chincoteague is a spot where many come to relax along the beach but soon discover that the town has much more to offer.

If you’ve heard the tales of wild horses running wild along the beaches, then you’ll soon realize that the tales prove to be true. Go see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat by scheduling a boat tour with Assateague explorer and watch wild horses graze along the beaches while you drift in a pontoon boat. If you prefer to do your paddling, then take a kayak tour with Chincoteague Kayak Rentals and capture some spectacular sights of wild horses.

Visitors can also find their lot of sand along the town’s stunning natural beaches, lather on some sunscreen, and spend the day at the beaches of Assateague National Seashore. After a day filled with outdoor adventure, take a break from the sunshine and have a moment of relaxation at the fabulous Marina Bay Hotel.

Nags Head, North Carolina

Beautiful sunset over Jennette's Pier , Nags Head North Carolina.
Beautiful sunset over Jennette's Pier, Nags Head, North Carolina.

Situated on the well-known outer banks, this unique-sounding town can offer attractions as unique as the town title itself. The beachside town reaches into the Atlantic Ocean, and one of the best features of the town is the solitude and relaxed ambiance it offers.

With sand dunes rivaling those in the Sahara Dessert, some of the coolest geographic landscapes along the Atlantic coast are in Jockey’s Ridge State Park. If you want to keep the sand out of your shoes, stay along the boardwalk, but if you want to mountaineer the towering dunes, then kick your shoes off and feel the soft sand between your toes. If you truly want to relax, book an appointment at the Windswept Wellness Spa and enjoy a relaxing massage on the beaches of OBX.

Now, it wouldn’t be a coastal town without a towering lighthouse; hike up to the historic Bodie Island Lighthouse, which has been helping sailors navigate their way to safety for over 80 years.

There are numerous places to rest your head at night within the town, from the cozy ambiance provided at the Cahoon’s Cottages to the sandy doorsteps of the Dolphin Oceanfront Motel.

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

With only one way in and one way out, Hilton Head can be hectic during popular vacation times such as long weekends, spring break, and the 4th of July. But the island offers experiences that can’t be replicated elsewhere, so regardless of the date, it’s always a great time to head to this South Carolina paradise.

Largely disputed as the #1 island in America, begin your visit by exploring the extensive history of Hilton Head. Partake in the Gullah Heritage Trail Tours, which shows the African-American influence on the island's culture as you tour through former plantations and settlements once situated on the island. To learn more about the island’s heritage, head to the Coastal Discovery Museum, which showcases the earliest settlements, prominent figures, and affluent families that called the island home.

A well-known fact is that Hilton Head is home to some of the best fishing in America; schedule a deep-sea fishing excursion with Drifter Excursions or stay ashore and cast a line at the Charles C. Haigh Jr. Fishing Pier.

One of the best things about the island is that there are a variety of stays to choose from. Take your pick from well-known hotels such as the Hampton Inn or choose a much more local stay such as the Gloucester 79 Inn.

St. Augustine, Florida

St. Augustine, Florida, USA town square and fountain.
St. Augustine, Florida, USA town square and fountain.

Relaxing along the sun-kissed shores of Florida is the perfect destination for those wanting to enjoy a quaint vacation with a healthy mix of history, artistic spirit, and endless opportunities for adventure.

Walk along the cobblestone streets of St. Augustine that slice through centuries-old architecture, and be sure to stop by the iconic Castillo de San Marcos, which has long been a fortress guarding the city's shores for over three centuries. After, turn back the clock at the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, where the common folktale of eternal youth unites with archaeological wonders.

Finally, head to the beach to work on your tan. The St. Augustine beach is known for some of the purest sand along the Atlantic, so bring a blanket and fill up the picnic basket as you spend a day unwinding along the shoreline. Find a good night’s rest in the cozy rooms at the Hibiscus Oceanfront Resort, which features everything from swimming pools to delicious restaurants.

Admittedly, the list of towns that are worth visiting along the Atlantic coastline is extensive. The best way to explore the great adventures in coastal communities along the Atlantic Ocean is to get out and explore, as visitors are often shocked at how many exciting adventures lay throughout the region. Let this article serve you as a guide; whether you’re taking a coastal road trip or seeking a weekend vacation, these 8 serene towns are sure to leave you feeling content with your decision to stay.

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