By Brandi M. Seals
Like many people, I absolutely love seaside towns. I do not know what it is about them, but they give off a different vibe. They somehow seem more relaxed, and yet they often have plenty of attractions to keep visitors busy.
In recent years, I have made it my goal to visit every state in the US. Currently I have 36 states under my belt. I cannot give an opinion on any coastal towns on the west coast because I have not been there yet. I have, however, been almost everywhere on the east coast. Only Florida and Maine have yet to be graced with my presence.
Below are my favorite seaside towns. Each one is unique in its own right.
Ocean City, New Jersey
Ocean City is a quaint town during the winter months when it has some 15,000 residents but it swells to a bustling locale when nearly 100,000 new residents come for the summer months.
Ocean City is really a barrier island along the South Jersey coast. The eastern side of Ocean City lies on the Atlantic Ocean, while the western side faces Great Egg Harbor.
From a visitor’s perspective, it as if no one has a job in Ocean City. The only thing they do is spend time soaking up the sun on one of the beaches. The area is relaxed and has a number of one-of-a-kind restaurants featuring excellent meals. Enjoy pancakes on a terrace overlooking the ocean or stop in for some ice cream at a local shop.
Ocean City is considered a very family friendly resort area because it does not allow for the sale of alcohol within its city limits. If you are looking for hot nightlife and a clubbing atmosphere, Ocean City is not for you.
Charleston, South Carolina
One would think Charleston is much larger than it really is. Downtown Charleston is actually quaint and very easy to get around. Almost everything worth seeing is within walking distance. Simply park on the street or in one of the parking decks, then get out and explore.
Visitors will find excellent seafood, unique restaurants, a gorgeous boardwalk and several stunning homes. The area is dotted with museums with all sorts of interesting contents. I particuallry enjoyed seeing the confederate memorabilia at the Daughters of the Confederacy Museum.
Shoppers will love the high end stores and open air market located only a short distance apart. Those looking to find out more about the history of the area should go on a guided tour around the city. Sit back and relax as you learn all about the city and its former residents. The tours are given on horse-drawn carriages and are quite interesting.
Wilmington, North Carolina
No one can quite seem to understand my fascination with Wilmington. Of course, that is coming from people that have not been there. It may not be a traditional travel location because it does not have tons of big landmarks, and it does not have that tourists trap feel to it. It is what it is – a relaxed seaside town.
The historic downtown area is my favorite. Visitors can tour gorgeous homes, admire monuments and fountains, and walk along the boardwalk. Sure there are beaches there too, but it is the small town feel that Wilmington has that I absolutely love.
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport is the largest city on Aquidneck Island. It is located in Narragansett Bay and is covered with huge mansions built for some of the richest families in America. It has great views, long beaches, a busy marina, and much more.
Newport was a happening place back in colonial times. It was the center for the slave trade in New England. In fact, visitors that stop by the Old Brick Market can see first hand where many slave auctions were held. Another point of interest is the Common Burial Ground. Located on Fairwell Street, this is where most of the slaves were buried.
John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier were married in Newport at St. Mary’s Church. It remained an important spot for the couple, as they often visited the area and stayed at the Hammersmith Farm.
No visit to Newport is complete without at least one tour of the majestic homes that dot the area.