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21 Best Coastal Towns

21 Best Coastal Towns

Have you been thinking about moving somewhere waterfront? Do you know what the best coastal towns to travel and move to in the United States are? We do! That’s why we’ve decided to put together a list of some of the most beautiful destinations on the coasts of America for you to choose from. Whether you prefer an ocean with big waves or a calm and secluded lake house, we’re sure you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for.

What Are Your Criteria for the Best Coastal Towns

It’s not exactly possible to name one single place “the best” one to live in. We all have different desires and preferences, which is why our ideas of an ideal location differ greatly. For that reason, it is important that you figure out some basic criteria and stick to it when choosing your new home. Here are some things to consider.

Island or Mainland

The first obvious choice you’ll have to make is the one between moving to an island or staying within the coastal territory of the United States. While most islands are known for their enjoyable tropical vibes and pleasant weather, they certainly have their disadvantages as well. For example, visiting any other state by simply driving over the state border won’t exactly be possible anymore. So think hard about whether this type of lifestyle is the right choice for you.

21 Best Coastal Towns

A Beach or a Port

It is all too easy to assume that people want to travel or move to a coastal area in order to be able to go to the beach whenever they feel like it. However, some people simply enjoy watching ships and boats and don’t care much for swimming. Which group do you belong to? Although most ports today have beaches as well, we’re sure you’ll agree that the water is much cleaner in those areas where there aren’t that many ships.

West Coast or East Coast

Have you thought about which side of the United States you’d like to move to? While both coasts have some beautiful places, they offer completely different lifestyles and, for the most part, attract different types of people. Which coast would fit your preferences better?

Oceanside or Lake

When we talk about coastal areas, most people tend to think only about oceanfront locations, completely forgetting that North America is home to some magnificent lakes as well. Are you more of a freshwater person or a saltwater person?

21 Best Coastal Towns

Secluded or Popular

When it comes to waterfront areas, it seems that they can all be divided into two distinct groups: those popular among tourists, and those that are still undiscovered gems. Are you more attracted to the buzzing and liveliness of tourist attractions or do you prefer more secluded and peaceful places?

Island Life of Hawaii

If you’re going for the typical tropical vibe, there is no better place than Hawaii. The state is made up of eight main islands and a handful of smaller ones. This means that you will have quite a wide range of choices if you decide to make Hawaii your new home. Some of our top suggestions are:

  • Pa’ia. The historic Pa’ia town is located on Maui. It is home to less than 3,000 people and has a homely and peaceful feel to it. 
  • Kailua. The residents of this Oahu town will tell you that it is the most typically Hawaiian place in the world.
  • Waikiki. Also on Oahu, Waikiki has already gained worldwide fame for its tropical vibe.

Beach Weather in California

Sure, Los Angeles and San Francisco might be great cities, but there are so many attractive smaller places in California worth considering. The year-round warm weather and that typical east-coast feeling are what makes these places all the more magical. Some of our favorites include:

  • Mendocino. Home to only around 1,000 residents, this small town offers all the peace, quiet, and privacy you will ever need if you choose it as your new home.
  • Carmel-by-the-Sea. This place is just as dreamy as it sounds. It is also popular for its dog-friendly character and many restaurants and hotels that allow dogs.
  • Avalon. Avalon is located on the isle of Santa Catalina and its economy mostly relies on tourism.


Florida’s Tropical Vibe

Of course, Florida had to find its way to our list. Being surrounded by water from three out of four sides, it abounds in idyllic oceanfront places you should consider for your new home. Here are some suggestions:

  • Siesta Key. Known for its beautiful sandy beaches, Siesta Key is perfect for anyone who enjoys spending the day – and the night – listening to the sounds of the ocean. It is also home to some very rare types of birds.
  • Apalachicola. Unlike what you would expect to find in a state such as Florida, Apalachicola has more of a rustic vibe and values privacy. Brimming with seafood restaurants where you can eat and drink, this marine town has a unique charm to it.
  • Key West. Ever wondered what the southernmost point of the US is? It’s Key West. Far from being a quiet small village, Key West is famous for its lively (and affordable) nightlife.

Lakeside Michigan

Michigan might not be an oceanfront state, but it boasts the longest freshwater coastline in the country – over 3,000 miles. It is no wonder, then, that many people find its coastal area magical. Have you been dreaming of living in a scenic lakeside house? Then here are some suggestions:

  • Grand Haven. With its sandy beaches and a charming lighthouse pier, Grand Haven attracts a lot of attention from tourists – but also from people looking to move there.
  • Cheboygan. This affordable destination is just as picturesque as some larger – and more expensive – areas in Michigan. Plus, it has more than seven miles of coastline.
  • Traverse City. This small place has the best of both worlds. It is not too secluded to make you feel lonely, but also not too big to lack any privacy.

Lakeside Michigan

South Carolina and the Atlantic Ocean

It might seem like a somewhat unlikely choice for our list at first, but those who have visited South Carolina’s beaches know just how magical they can be. We suggest you take a look at these places:

  • Summerville. Home to around 50,000 people, Summerville isn’t nearly as tiny as some other places on our list. But we still think it is worth considering.
  • Hilton Head. Located on an isle with the same name, Hilton Head is a resort that is growing increasingly popular among tourists. 
  • Conway. Although it is officially a city, Conway definitely has that homely vibe that smaller places do. It boasts a scenic river walk.

The Beautiful State of Georgia

Georgia is one of those states you simply have to travel to in order to experience and understand their charm. It boasts a handful of charming small coastal places. Here are our picks:

  • St. Marys. With year-round warm weather and a location that provides easy access both to the salt- and freshwater shoreline, St. Marys is definitely worth considering moving to.
  • Darien. Located at the mouth of the Altamaha River, Darien is home to around 2,000 residents. It is truly a place where you’ll be able to find your peace and enjoy some privacy.
  • Tybee Island. This place is the easternmost point in the state. It has had quite an eventful history and carried the name “Savannah Beach” for a short period of time.

Savannah Beach

Mild Weather in Washington

The state of Washington might not have that tropical vibe everyone thinks of when talking about waterfront cities, but it definitely boasts some scenic places we think you should travel, or even move to. Here are some of them:

  • Long Beach. This one might not be as big as California’s Long Beach, but its stunning shoreline has earned it a place on our list.
  • Ocean Shores. The name of this place perfectly fits its character – it is all about the beautiful water here. However, it is also home to some great hiking trails if that is more up your alley.
  • Westport. Do you enjoy surfing? Then any Washingtonian will tell you that Westport is the place to go. With its scenic shoreline on one side and pine forests on the other, it truly brings two worlds together.

There you have it – our top list of the most charming coastal towns to move to in the United States. Have you chosen your favorite yet?