A recent report named the best beach towns in North Carolina. Now, another study expands those boundaries.
Travelers were busy this summer. On Memorial Day weekend, largely considered the unofficial start of summer, the Transportation Security Administration screened 9.8 million people, surpassing pre-pandemic levels. Trips abroad spiked in popularity as people made up for time lost during pandemic-era travel restrictions.
However, as inflation made travel more expensive, budget-conscious travelers cut costs by driving to their destinations and staying stateside. During the July 4th holiday, AAA projected 43.2 million people would travel by car, a new record.
Beach destinations are popular this year, according to a survey from vacation-rental platform Vacasa, and outdoor recreation remains a top priority. Not only are beaches a great place to unwind and create family bonding moments, but they also boost people’s mental health.
So what makes a good beach town? Access to a beach, of course, but also plenty of indoor and outdoor activities to keep kids entertained, warm weather, and a long beach season (the average number of days beaches are open for swimming).
Stacker determined rankings by several factors, giving the most weight to the number of beaches within a quarter mile of a city or town and the total shoreline of those beaches. Weather patterns and the duration of each beach’s swim season affect town scores. The ranking also takes into account the prevalence of beach-related businesses, unemployment rates, and median home prices.
The EPA lists more than 350 beaches on the East Coast, totaling more than 450 miles of beach shoreline.