7 Small East Coast Towns with Big Appeal (United States)

7 Small East Coast Towns with Big Appeal (United States)

Although most people associate the east coast of America with cities such as Boston and New York, there is a whole other world to explore that offers small towns with big appeal. Step away from the bright lights, traffic jams and skyscrapers into a world of beaches, laid-back lifestyle, mom and pop ice cream trucks and endless activities. With populations all under 6,000 residents these east coast towns entice visitors with superior dining, welcoming inns and a feeling like you have stepped back in time, to a quieter, more peaceful lifestyle. Next time you think of heading to the east coast, it pays to check out one of these incredible small towns.

7. Rhinebeck, New York

This historic little town is nestled in the Northern New York Hudson Valley and offers stunning views of the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River. This town is a mecca for art and culture, including visual arts and performing arts; as well as being named one of America’s best gourmet towns. The village is stunning with tree-lined streets, unique specialty shops and an abundance of restaurants. The best time to visit is during the Dutchess County Fair, one of the largest and most loved events in Rhinebeck.

Nationally recognized for its agriculture, food, and vendors, the fair draws crowds in the hundreds of thousands each year. Part of what makes this fair so unique is the dozens of themed gardens that fill the 162 acre fairground and feature such things as waterfalls and Koi ponds.  Explore the beauty of town by wandering the streets, chatting with locals and staying in one of the amazing B&B’s.

6.  Mystic, Connecticut

This town exudes New England charm and with a population of just under 5,000; this town combines history and modern amenities. One of the main draws of this small town is the nation’s leading maritime museum, Mystic Seaport. Explore American maritime history first-hand as you climb aboard historic tall ships, stroll through a re-created 19th-century coastal village or watch a working preservation shipyard in action.

Kids will love the aquarium featuring beluga whales while adults can head over to Olde Mistick Village, a collection of small shops with unusual and individualized merchandise. The town offers incredible dining options, a variety of hotels and B&B’s, and enough activities to make you want to relocate here. Whether you are searching for a romantic getaway or family vacation; Mystic delivers big appeal in a small town.

5. Edgartown, Massachusetts

It is one of New England’s most elegant communities and was actually the first colonial settlement on the Island, and maintains its beautiful small town charm. This seaport village has been preserved from the 19th century and the stately white Greek Revival houses set the stage. Wandering along the streets visitors will be privy to huge pagoda trees, beautiful captain houses, churches from the 1800’s and friendly locals. Visitors here spend a lot of time exploring the beautiful public beaches, especially South Cape Beach State Park, where sunbathing, fishing, swimming and hiking are popular pastimes.

On the other hand, if you happen to be a history buff, make sure to head to the Historical Society Museum, which features historical objects, maritime artifacts and genealogical collections that depict the lives of the area's inhabitants from 10,000 years ago to the present. Visitors will soon fall in love with Edgartown's Greek Revival architecture, fine dining restaurants, trendy shops and distinctive inns, the perfect ingredients for a charming town.

4. Saint Michaels, Maryland

It has been rated as one of America’s best coastal small towns, home to just over 1,000 residents. Visiting here is done by boat or car and there is no shortage of excellent accommodations including cabins, inns, resorts and B&B’s. You will find yourself winding your way through the streets among Victorian houses, electric boutiques, an inviting harbor and incredible seafood shacks.

The St. Mary’s Square Museum is a perfect place to get orientated with the towns historic streets but the main museum attraction is the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.   This excellent museum includes an indoor/outdoor collection of items related to commerce & trade, navigation, fisheries, and waterfowling. Wineries, markets, and cycling routes can all be enjoyed here as well as many festivals that take place throughout the year.

3. Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

It has been nicknamed the “Nation’s Summer Capital” due to its close proximity to Washington but things couldn’t look more different here in this small town when compared to the capital. Instead of power suits, you will find friendly laid-back locals and instead of traffic, you will find a mile-long beach boardwalk.

It is known as a town that inspires love and devotion, a town that leaves lifetime memories, and visitors strolling through shady streets with colorful cottages and artsy boutiques will find it hard to return home. Fun funky restaurants, a beautiful 5-star beach perfect for sandcastle building, dolphin watching swimming, and an amusement park dating back 50 years make this the perfect small town. Tax-free shopping, day spas, delectable candy stores and a beach bandstand have people of all ages coming to visit and settle down in this charming Delaware town.

2. Ogunquit, Maine

This tranquil small town is peaceful year round, no matter how many visitors may flock here in the summertime. The population sits just under 1,000 full-time residents who invite visitors in with open arms. What this town offers is one of the finest stretches of white sand beach in the east where the sand flows wide and long and rocks are few and far between. Activities include kayaking and paddle boarding.

The small harbor boasts fishing and pleasure boats; the Village Center offers countless restaurants, art galleries, guesthouses, and shops. Visitors love to explore the Marginal Way footpath that winds its way along the vast Atlantic offering exceptional views of the rocky coast. Although this town has existed over 100 years, it has evolved without losing any of its charm, and once you’ve been here, it’s hard to leave.

1. Chincoteague, Virginia

This resort island is a serene escape from skyscrapers, traffic jams, crowded boardwalks and life in general. The population here sits around 3,000 people, although many more come to relax and play in this fun-filled town. The island here is only 7 miles long and 3 miles long, but there is no shortage of things to see and do. Paved trails for cycling, nature hikes, boating, crabbing, fishing, kayaking, clamming and just wandering the streets tops the list.

One of the most favorite things to do here is head to Assateague Island and view the herd of wild ponies that have lived there for centuries. With a slew of restaurants, accommodations, and markets; time will be well spent on this island. Historic Main Street is where you will find the local events and merchants working together to deliver an incredible experience to visitors.

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