Plan a Beach Holiday at These 8 Picturesque Coastal Towns

Thanks to its unique setting with coastlines along the Atlantic, the Chesapeake Bay and numerous scenic rivers, the Capital Region is the perfect place for an American beach holiday. From family-friendly getaways to romantic settings to secluded solo retreats, there’s no shortage of waterside getaways here.

St. Michaels, Maryland, USA

St. Michaels charms visitors with its scenic city centre and prime location along the Chesapeake Bay. Tour the expansive Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, celebrating the culture of the bay with interactive exhibits, boat rides, demonstrations and more. Shop the unique boutiques and galleries before a tasting at the town’s winery, brewery and distilleries. End the day with a delicious meal at one of many award-winning restaurants.

Onancock, Virginia, USA

In the 1600s Captain John Smith called the area of Onancock "the Gem of the Eastern Shore." Today, it's more often called one of the coolest towns in the American South. Though small in size, Onancock delivers big on the relaxed Eastern Shore atmosphere with plenty for visitors to enjoy, like live theatre, world-class restaurants, museums and a varied arts scene.  For a unique beach holiday experience, travel by kayak to a local winery or the site of a Native American village. 

Cambridge, Maryland, USA

Settled in 1684, Cambridge is one of the oldest towns in Maryland and its rich maritime heritage can be explored in museums, historic district tours and river cruises. Set against an enchanting waterfront, the historical city centre is home to local shops and galleries including the Dorchester Center for the Arts. Cambridge is also home to the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina  — a premier four-diamond resort filled with opportunities for recreation and relaxation.

Tangier Island, Virginia, USA

Accessible only by water or air, the Chesapeake Bay's Tangier Island is considered the “soft-shell crab capital” of the world. Here, watermen have harvested the bay for generations and visitors can enjoy the bounty at the island’s restaurants. Rent bikes or “Tangier taxis” (golf carts) to cruise the nearly car-free isle along narrow streets. Unwind on the pristine shores, scout for Native American arrowheads or take a nature cruise to make the most of your American holiday. 

Solomons, Maryland, USA

Stroll the boardwalk of this village in southern Maryland for the sites and sounds of the waterfront, along with local shops and restaurants. See world-class art at the Smithsonian museum-affiliated Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center, a forested sculpture park featuring world-renowned artists. Soak in local lore and legends as you explore lighthouses — including one of the last remaining screwpile lighthouses in the Chesapeake Bay. Or collect fossils along the beach near the Calvert Marine Museum.

Chincoteague Island, Virginia, USA

The tiny fishing town of Chincoteague Island is steps away from the Atlantic Ocean and is known for its herds of wild ponies made famous in the novel and film, Misty of Chincoteague. Along the wildlife refuge and national seashore, visitors can bicycle, fish, sunbathe or simply watch the ponies, migratory seabirds and other wildlife. You can also head to nearby Wallops Island to watch rockets launch into space from the NASA Wallops Visitor Center.

Cape Charles, Virginia, USA

Cape Charles is home to the only public beach on the bayside of Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Located in the historic district, the free public beach meets the shallow, calm waters of the Chesapeake Bay, making this an ideal beach-holiday destination for families with small children. Area attractions include the Eastern Shore National Wildlife Refuge and Kiptopeke State Park, home to off-shore reefs constructed from concrete ships.

Kent Island, Maryland, USA

Kent Island is the largest island in the Chesapeake Bay and the site of the first European settlement in what is now Maryland. The annual Kent Island Day in Stevensville celebrates its 1631 founding each May with a parade, exhibits and other activities. For modern-era fun, golf, watersports, art galleries and seafood-laden American restaurants are all highlights.