The state of the world in 2020 has made vacation planning less easy and carefree than it should be. With challenging times, it is hard to know where to go when you need a getaway. For a relaxing retreat, consider visiting one of the many peaceful islands on the East Coast. Year-round, these islands offer activities and seclusion from the bustle of everyday life.
Peaceful islands on the East Coast have long been tourist destinations. From Florida to Maine, East Coast beach vacations offer something for everyone. Whether you prefer sailing or sunbathing, these islands are a great choice for your next vacation.
Tourists choose island vacations for many reasons. Sometimes it’s to enjoy the beautiful, natural scenery and other times for access to great restaurants and fun activities. The East Coast has peaceful islands from top to bottom. Here are a few to consider when planning your trip.
Peaceful Islands on the East Coast
Many of the islands on the East Coast are barrier islands, situated to protect the main coastline from hurricanes and other storms. Other islands, such as Long Island, are peninsulas separated from the mainland by a small amount of water. Islands can be big or small; the size will often determine how much development and activity there is.
The East Coast Is a Beach Destination
Like coastal areas around the country, the East Coast of the United States has long been a travel destination for visitors in search of beautiful beaches.
There are sunny, tropical beaches in the South and rugged, lighthouse-dotted beaches in the North. Some of the most popular beach locations are in:
- The South: The beaches of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina beaches are family-friendly locations for nature lovers.
- Mid-Atlantic: Delaware’s beaches are a weekend escape for DC-area residents, while Long Island offers a peaceful retreat for New Yorkers.
- New England: All year round, beaches in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine are also a seaside delight.
If you are thinking about making your visit to one of these islands a longer trip, consider a vacation rental. You can enjoy the beach lifestyle in your own home and not have to worry about hotels.
Georgia’s Coastal Islands Are an Unspoiled Delight
Some beach areas on the East Coast are notoriously overdeveloped and have thousands of visitors each beach season. Georgia has managed to keep its beaches unspoiled, perfect for those who are looking for nature instead of a boardwalk.
Two beaches that offer a peaceful refuge from the hustle of daily life are Tybee Island and Jekyll Island.
Located a short distance from Savannah, Tybee is packed with things to do. Climb to the top of the lighthouse to get unbelievable views of the island. Visit Fort Screven, constructed in the 1890s to protect the mouth of the Savannah River from invasion.
Tybee Island is popular with locals and tourists, but it is not hard to find a peaceful beach space. Do some beachcombing in the beautiful white sand and watch for dolphins that migrate along the coast.
Located in the Golden Isles chain, Jekyll Island is a state park and offers visitors a chance to enjoy nature at its best. The island is a stopping point for migratory birds, so birdwatchers, in particular, will enjoy their visit. The turtle rehabilitation center offers visitors information on conservation efforts.
South Carolina’s Islands Are Full of Southern Charm
Tourists in South Carolina should take the time to visit the many islands off the coast.
The charm of Charleston extends to the coast, especially to Hilton Head Island. It is a family-friendly destination with activities for all ages.
Hilton Head is located less than an hour away from Savannah, Georgia. Vacationers are able to spend time doing a variety of outdoor activities, including golfing, kayaking, and bicycling. It is also a great spot for destination events like weddings.
Find Sun and History on North Carolina’s Barrier Islands
Much of northern North Carolina’s coast is protected by barrier islands, which have been developed into popular tourist destinations.
Cape Hatteras and the Outer Banks offer peaceful havens for vacationers.
The island of Cape Hatteras is part of the National Park Service. It is the first national seashore and was established to protect this fragile ecosystem. Constantly being reshaped by storms and winds, this island is home to different wildlife habitats.
Animal lovers will get the opportunity to see seals and turtles. Adventurers can go hiking, horseback riding, surfing, and snorkeling. The beaches are also the perfect location to just lounge with a book and relax.
The Outer Banks
Further up the North Carolina coast are the Outer Banks. These are a chain of barrier islands along the coast. Full of history, the Outer Banks is where the English first settled in North America at the lost colony of Roanoke.
History lovers will also enjoy visiting Kitty Hawk, where the Wright brothers took their historic flight, and historic Fort Raleigh, which preserves the colonial and Native American history of these islands.
Find Respite on Delaware’s and New York’s Islands
For centuries, people living in urban areas have longed for a peaceful place to escape their busy city lives.
For residents of the Washington, DC area, Delaware is a popular place to escape to, while New Yorkers make summer pilgrimages to Long Island and Fire Island.
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Delaware’s Barrier Islands
The barrier islands that protect Delaware’s coastline run from Rehoboth in the North to Fenwick Island in the South and offer beautiful beaches and cute communities to visit.
Bethany Beach is on this barrier island and also connected to the mainland, making it easy to get to. Music lovers should plan on visiting on Labor Day weekend for the annual Jazz Funeral when residents and visitors celebrate the end of summer and send it off in style.
Long Island is a peninsula extending from New York City up along the Connecticut Coast. With Long Island Sound on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, there are plenty of beaches to enjoy.
There are also other opportunities to be outside, including a variety of golf courses, horseback riding trails, hiking paths, and wildlife refuges. Food lovers will be able to sample some world-class dining during their visit.
Fire Island is off the southern coast of Long Island. Cars are rare on this island, and visitors arrive by ferry from Long Island.
If you want a slower pace of life on your vacation, this is the place for you. Rent bicycles to get you from excellent restaurants to beautiful beaches and nature preserves. There are plenty of hotels and vacation rentals for you to choose from to make your trip complete.
New England’s Islands and Beaches Are World Class
New England has a long connection with the ocean, and its beaches and islands reflect that. Originally fishing villages, these communities have embraced visitors and enjoy sharing their culture and history.
Massachusetts’s beaches and islands have been popular destinations for centuries.
- Cape Cod
- Martha’s Vineyard
These charming spots welcome visitors year-round and offer something for everyone.
Cape Cod is an arm of land that extends out into the Atlantic Ocean. Popular towns to visit on the Cape are Provincetown, Truro, and Eastham. These are located in the beautiful Cape Cod National Seashore, a federally protected natural area.
Rhode Island is known as the Ocean State for a good reason. Despite being the smallest state in the nation, it has miles of coastline.
- Block Island is just off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, east of Long Island. With 17 miles of public beach space, Block Island is perfect for sunbathers and water sports enthusiasts. Other activities include horseback riding, kayaking, bird-watching, and fishing.
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Maine’s coastline is perhaps the most rugged and natural of all those presented here.
Vacationers considering Maine should think about adding Mt. Desert Island to their destinations. Home to the town of Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, this island is a treat for nature lovers.
There is plenty of accommodation, from bed and breakfasts to campgrounds. Visitors will have their pick of restaurants and stores. Enjoy some Maine lobster before heading out into the National Park!
Choose a Peaceful East Cost Island for Your Next Vacation
Now, more than ever, vacation planners are looking for a peaceful location away from the crowds of tourist hot spots. Islands are a perfect option, and the ones on this list offer seclusion while also being easily accessible. Plan your trip today, and before you know it, you’ll be relaxing on a quiet beach.
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