Waterfront Towns & Villages You Should Visit

  • Newport, RI

    Just 75 miles south of Boston, you'll find the seaside town of Newport, RI. Located on the tip of Aquidneck Island in Narragansett Bay, Newport has been a vacation hotspot for the country's wealthy elite since the nineteenth century. Contrary to what you might believe, the town of Newport offers numerous affordable inns, B&Bs and cafes in close proximity to many historic maritime sites and museums.

    Photo courtesy of Onne van der Wal

  • Ocean City, Maryland

    When Maryland residents say they're heading to the shore, chances are, they're heading to sun-splashed Ocean City, a playful seaside town with a classic boardwalk and a 10-mile stretch of public beach. While the permanent population is just over 7,000 people, during the summer, it becomes the second largest city in Maryland after Baltimore thanks to a massive influx of tourists.

    Photo courtesy of RiverRatt3

  • Port Orford, Oregon

    The coastal villages of the Pacific Northwest have a completely different flavor than those on the East Coast, and one of the most charming is Port Orford, Oregon. As one of only six dolly ports in the world, Orford's harbor is one of its best free attractions, where you can watch fishing boats getting lifted in and out of the water every day. It's also home to the Cape Blanco Lighthouse, the oldest in the state.

    Photo courtesy of Julie Gibson

  • Haleiwa, Hawaii

    The sleepy seaside community of Haleiwa on Oahu, a one-hour drive from Honolulu, is most famous for its North Shore surf. The town sprung up in the 1900s as part of the sugar plantation industry, but today, it's all about surfing. When you're not hanging ten, munch on some fresh seafood, pic up some beach gear in one of the many surf shops or check out the galleries in what has become the artistic capital of the North Shore.

    Photo courtesy of daryl_mitchell

  • Edenton, NC

    The 300-year-old seaside town of Edenton, located two hours east of Raleigh, was the colonial capital of North Carolina until 1743. Today, it holds the honor of being one of America's prettiest towns – a great place to stroll past historic architecture, sample Low Country cuisine or set sail in Albemarle Sound.

    Albemarle Sound
    Albemarle Sound
    Albemarle Sound

    Photo courtesy of -ted

  • Northeast Harbor, ME

    Most of Maine's quaint seaside towns are worthy of a weekend visit, including the lovely Northeast Harbor, located on the remote Mount Desert Island. Visitors come to this small summer community for some peaceful R&R, shopping on Main Street, a bike ride along the coast and a healthy dose of fresh lobster.

    Photo courtesy of Harvey Barrison

  • Mackinac Island, MI

    Nicknamed the "American Island," Mackinac Island sits in the waters of Lake Huron, and visiting there makes you feel like you're stepping back in time. Cars aren't allowed, so you'll have to take a horse-drawn carriage to get around. This family-friendly destination is also famous for its fudge, a tasty confection dating back to the Civil War.

    Photo courtesy of Calm Vistas

  • Bolinas, CA

    Tucked away in the coastal forests of Northern California near San Francisco sits the seaside hamlet of Bolinas, a community of surfers and artists who've made a life along one of the state's most beautiful stretches of coast. It's a little hard to find, but once you're there, you'll be rewarded with dramatic scenery and excellent surfing.

    Photo courtesy of Tracy Ruggles

  • Gig Harbor, Washington

    Further up the coast in Washington, you'll find the small community of Gig Harbor, 50 minutes from Seattle. Known as the Gateway to the Olympic Peninsula, Gig Harbor makes an excellent base for exploring the temperate rainforests and dramatic coastline of the area. Come in summer and tune in as Celtic, Scandinavian and local bluegrass musicians perform during a packed calender of summer festivals.

    Photo courtesy of Nick Kinkaid

  • Boca Grande, FL

    Located in the Gulf of Mexico on Gasparilla Island, Boca Grande is known for its historic resorts and world-class fishing. The small town is dominated by Old Florida homes and quiet streets, and if you're in need of some vitamin D (summer or winter), you'll find miles of pristine, white sand beaches.

    Photo courtesy of Sean O'Shaughnessy