When it comes to summer vacations in the U.S., there’s nothing more classic than a beach resort—especially on the East Coast. From the historic hotels that dot coastal Maine to upscale resorts in Florida, there’s an East Coast beach resort for every family. These are some of the best East Coast beach resorts.
1. Cliff House Maine – Cape Neddick, ME
Cliff House Maine is, indeed, located on a cliff above the ocean in Cape Neddick, Maine. The resort reopened in 2016 after extensive renovations that included updated guestrooms and suites (including a fun Bunk Suite for families), plus a cottage, all with private terraces and wine fridges. Guests of the resort enjoy access to an oceanfront outdoor pool, indoor saltwater pool, three restaurants and a spa. While the resort isn’t located right on the beach, shuttle service takes guests to beaches in the neighboring towns of Ogunquit, York and Kennebunkport.
2. The Sparhawk Oceanfront Resort – Ogunquit, ME
The Sparhawk Oceanfront Resort is so popular that many guestrooms book up a year in advance. And the people who book those rooms are mostly repeat guests who know what this charming resort is all about: a laidback atmosphere and beautiful location just steps from downtown Ogunquit, and even closer to Marginal Way and Ogunquit Beach. The Sparhawk also offers one of the area’s largest resort pools, a pool bar serving light fare and refreshing beverages; and complimentary breakfast daily. This East Coast beach resort offers a nice variety of accommodations for families of all sizes (but you’ll want to book the oceanview accommodations—trust us).
3. Wentworth by the Sea, A Marriott Hotel & Spa – New Castle, NH
Wentworth by the Sea just sounds magical—and once you arrive, you’ll see that it really is. Located in New Castle, New Hampshire, this grand East Coast beach resort offers two restaurants and a bar; indoor and outdoor pools; a spa; and modern, airy guestrooms, suites and villas, many with ocean views. From the resort, it’s a quick ride to the beach. Be sure to check the resort’s Offers & Packages page ahead of your visit.
4. Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina – Newport, RI
Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina offers outdoor and indoor swimming pools, complimentary bicycle rentals, a seasonal kids’ club, marina, seasonal skating rink and quick and easy access to several beaches. But the highlight of a visit to this East Coast beach resort—located on Goat Island in Newport—is three goats who live in their own “mansion” at the hotel! What’s Goat Island without resident goats, after all? Be sure to say hello to Cornelia, Cooper and Henry.
5. Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa – Montauk, NY
Another Gurney’s Resort, Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa is as famous and luxurious as it gets in The Hamptons. Located in Montauk, the oceanfront resort features direct access to a private beach, seawater indoor pool, water sports rentals, onsite dining and a variety of accommodations ranging from standard guestrooms to two-bedroom residences with full kitchens. Complimentary shuttle service is also available. Pro tip: treat yourself to the Finnish Rock Sauna, Russian Steam Room and a relaxing treatment at Seawater Spa.
6. Congress Hall – Cape May, NJ
An icon in Cape May, New Jersey—you can’t miss its pale, yellow exterior and overall grandeur—Congress Hall has been a favorite for couples and families alike since it opened in 1816 (rebuilt in 1879). Dubbed “America’s First Seaside Resort,” Congress Hall offers a private stretch of beach, where umbrellas and loungers await; The Blue Big Tavern, which offers a kids’ menu; and surrey and bicycle rentals (including kids’ bikes), a popular activity in Cape May. The resort also offers off-site excursions and seasonal events and activities.
7. ICONA Avalon – Avalon, NJ
An East Coast beach resort newcomer, ICONA Avalon opened in 2016. Formerly the Golden Inn, the renovated resort features stunning guestrooms, studios and suites, including the Premium Family Suite, which can accommodate up to eight guests. This luxury resort also offers an onsite brew pub, bistro and lounge; an outdoor pool, and most importantly, direct access to the beach. ICONA offers two other beach resorts in New Jersey, too: ICONA Diamond Beach in Wildwood Crest, and ICONA Cape May.
8. Bethany Beach Ocean Suites Residence Inn by Marriott – Bethany Beach, DE
It’s all about the location at Bethany Beach Ocean Suites Residence Inn by Marriott. The hotel is located just steps from the sand in Bethany Beach, Delaware, as well as the boardwalk and local restaurants and shops. The all-suite hotel features spacious accommodations that can sleep five guests, and all suites have private balconies and fully equipped kitchenettes with full-size refrigerators. The resort also offers complimentary breakfast, an onsite restaurant and an indoor/outdoor pool. What’s not to love?
9. Sanderling Resort – Duck, NC
Many families rent vacation homes in the Outer Banks. But if you’re looking for a full-service resort experience, you’ll find it at Sanderling Resort. Guests enjoy three private access points to the beach, with beach towels, chairs and umbrellas provided (seasonal) and a water sports equipment outpost onsite. When you’re not at the beach, take the kids to Mermaid and Merman School, hosted at one of the resort’s three pools. The OBX resort also offers music and S’mores by the fire at night, and other family activities during the day. Two onsite restaurants, a bar and a spa add to the appeal.
10. Wild Dunes Resort – Isle of Palms, SC
Just outside of Charleston on the Isle of Palms, Wild Dunes Resort is a favorite beach resort on the East Coast. The sprawling resort offers everything from coastal-inspired guestrooms to full vacation rentals, plus seven dining options (including dinner delivery), a golf course, deluxe spa, bike rentals, three swimming pools, water sports rentals, and direct access to the beach. Check out the resort’s packages and pricing incentives before you book, and if traveling with an infant, inquire about BabyQuip—Wild Dunes Resort partners with the baby gear company to offer everything from books and toys to cribs and strollers for its littlest guests.
11. Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort – Hilton Head Island, SC
Not all of the resorts on Hilton Head Island can say they’re oceanfront or even on the beach, but the Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort claims both—and so much more. The resort completed a multi-million-dollar renovation in 2015, resulting in beautifully renovated guestrooms with kitchenettes, pools (including one with a splash pad for young kids), a spa and fitness center. The Hilton Head beach resort also has three onsite dining options.
12. Jekyll Island Club Resort – Jekyll Island, GA
You won’t find high-rise hotels (or many hotels in general) on Jekyll Island—and that’s exactly why families find this calm island paradise so charming. The island’s namesake resort, Jekyll Island Club Resort, is the only full-service resort on the island. The resort has it all—multi-room accommodations, pools, and restaurants—plus some unique activities such as croquet. Bike rentals during the day and S’mores by the fire at night are family favorites, as is the nearby Summer Waves Water Park, open seasonally. Complimentary transportation is provided to the nearby beach or, if you want to be right on the water, book a room at Jekyll Ocean Club (part of Jekyll Island Club Resort).
13. The King and Prince Beach Resort – St. Simons, GA
The only oceanfront resort on St. Simons Island, The King and Prince Beach Resort features easy access to the beach, as well partial or oceanfront views from its guestrooms, villas and houses. When you’re not building sandcastles or sunbathing, rent a kayak or paddle board; enjoy five swimming pools, including a kids’ pool with splash fountain; grab a bite to eat at one of the onsite restaurants; or go for a bike ride on one of the complimentary bicycles. Bonus: Pets are welcome to stay at the hotel!
14. The Breakers Palm Beach – Palm Beach, FL
One of the best beach resorts in Florida, The Breakers Palm Beach is also one of the most historic. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Breakers was opened by Henry Flagler in 1896 (under a different name) to accommodate travelers on the Florida East Coast Railway. Today, it’s an over-the-top luxurious retreat for all travelers, with an oceanfront location (and easy access to the beach) in Palm Beach; water sports rentals; multiple swimming pools; a kids’ club; a family entertainment center; golf; tennis; bicycle rentals; a spa… we could keep going. The resort offers both guestrooms and suites, with the option to upgrade to Club Level and enjoy personal concierge service, continental breakfast, afternoon tea, evening hors d’oeuvres, and more.
15. JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort – Marco Island, FL
If you visited the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort before 2018, you’d hardly recognize it now. The resort recently completed a $320-million transformation, bringing with it new and enhanced accommodations with private balconies, expanded pool decks at its two swimming pools; and the addition of five new restaurants (bringing the total number of dining options to 12). Add to that a 3-mile stretch of private beach on Marco Island, a top-notch spa, golf, and the Tiki Tribe Discovery Day Camp for youngsters age 5 to 12, and you’ve got the perfect mix of luxury and family-friendly at this East Coast beach resort. Be sure to check the resort’s Specials & Packages page ahead of your visit.
16. Disney’s Vero Beach Resort – Vero Beach, FL
Whether you want to head to the beach after a trip to Disney World or are simply looking for a good East Coast beach resort that caters to families, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort is a great choice. While you won’t find character meals and themed guestrooms at this resort, located on Florida’s Treasure Coast, you will find three restaurants (plus a bar) and modern guestrooms and spacious villas, the largest ones sleeping up to nine guests. You’ll also enjoy direct access to Atlantic Beach, water sports rentals, surf school, a pirate-themed pool with a waterslide, mini- and standard golf, a spa, and activity programs for kids and teens. The resort also offers a sea turtle conservation and outing program that may just be the highlight of your visit to Vero Beach.