5 Best Places To Live On The East Coast, According To Locals

Craving cobblestone streets, charming harbors, or sun-kissed beaches? The East Coast beckons with diverse landscapes, vibrant cities, and rich history. From bustling metropolises like New York City to quaint seaside towns in Maine, the Atlantic seaboard offers something for everyone. Whether you’re seeking cultural immersion, a thriving job market, or a laid-back coastal lifestyle, this dynamic region holds a hidden gem waiting to be called home. So, unpack your bags and join us on a journey to discover the best places to live on the East Coast, where your perfect slice of Americana awaits.

Whether you’re considering a move to the East Coast for ocean access, to get your kids outside more, or to take advantage of the many great cities for work and play, you’re sure to find plenty of what you’re looking for. To help kickstart your new hometown research, StudyFinds compiled expert opinions from around the internet to find the five best places to live on the East Coast. But of course, if you have a favorite we didn’t include, be sure to let us know in the comments below.

➡️ How Our “Best Of The Best” Lists Are Created

StudyFinds’ “Best of the Best” articles are put together with the idea of taking the work out of common consumer research. Ever find yourself searching for a product or service on Google and reading multiple reviews to find items listed across many of them? Our Best of the Best lists are created with that process in mind, with each item ranked by how frequently it appears on expert reviews or lists. With Best of the Best, you are getting consensus picks — making them truly the best of the best!

The Best Places to Live on the East Coast, According to Experts

1. Portland, Maine

Lighthouse in Portland, Maine
A lighthouse in Portland (Photo by Mercedes Mehling on Unsplash)

With gorgeous ocean views and a charming New England feel, Portland is a gem for East Coasters both new and old. According to ExtraSpace, about one-third of Maine’s population lives in Portland, and there’s definitely reason for that. But, despite those numbers, Portland has a small town feel with a close community.

Travel + Leisure hails Portland as the heart of Maine’s cultural and economic scene. This city, recently crowned the best place to live on the East Coast by U.S. News & World Report for its low crime rates and resident well-being, attracts newcomers with its stunning natural beauty, vibrant art scene, and relaxed, outdoorsy lifestyle.

With chilly winters and mild summers, Portland residents enjoy all four seasons. 9Kilo paints a picture of perfect weather year-round, even during summer’s peak. While other areas swelter under the sun, Portland boasts a mild and refreshing atmosphere, offering a welcome escape from the typical summer heat. This pleasant climate, combined with the city’s other charms, makes it a highly desirable place to call home.

2. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston harbor and skyline
Boston harbor and skyline (Photo by Prateek Pisat on Unsplash)

A major city that lacks nothing in quintessential New England charm, Boston is a standout among East Coast cities. According to 9Kilo, Boston is bursting with employment opportunities and a rich history, making it one of the most popular places to call home along the East Coast.

If you’re looking to find a new job where you move, Boston is sure to have plenty of options. “Beantown consistently ranks as one of the best cities to live and work in and is home to several major companies like W.B. Mason, Marshalls, and Cisco Systems,” notes ExtraSpace.

Outside of work, Boston has tons to offer. Here, you can find two of the best best universities in the country, Harvard and MIT, and many many more esteemed colleges. If you get sick of city life, take a quick drive or ferry ride to some of the best beaches in the country on Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard (Travel + Leisure).

3. Jacksonville, Florida

Beach sunset in Jacksonville, Florida
Beach sunset in Jacksonville (Photo by Josh Moore on Unsplash)

Year-round sunshine chasers will fall in love with Jacksonville’s 365 days of summer. Travel + Leisure highlights Jacksonville’s irresistible appeal to new residents, both within Florida and beyond. With 22 miles of pristine white-sand beaches and a staggering urban park system encompassing national and state parks, preserves, and hundreds of city parks, the city offers nature lovers endless opportunities for exploration.

Families also find much to love in Jacksonville, according to 9Kilo. As the most populous city in Florida, it boasts affordable housing options compared to other major U.S. cities, allowing families to enjoy a vibrant lifestyle without breaking the bank. All the necessary amenities are readily available, making it a convenient and cost-effective choice.

And of course, there’s nothing like the Florida weather and beaches. ExtraSpace notes the average high temperatures reach 80 degrees year-round. This warm climate beckons residents outdoors, inviting them to enjoy the stunning beaches and countless other activities that Jacksonville offers.

4. Charleston, South Carolina

Homes in Charleston, South Carolina
Homes in Charleston (Photo by Leonel Heisenberg on Unsplash)

Nestled in the warmth of the American South and with all the access and amenities of a city, Charleston is a perfect compromise between small town and big city. Travel + Leisure paints Charleston as a city brimming with southern charm and rich culture. Nestled on the oceanfront and boasting a thriving job market, it’s no wonder it ranks among the top 10 most desirable relocation destinations. U.S. News confirms this popularity, highlighting the warm weather, beautiful beaches, and historical appeal that attract new residents in droves. The metro area’s population growth of over five percent between 2016 and 2021 alone speaks volumes about its allure.

Clearly, if you’re contemplating a move to Charleston, you’re not alone. Thanks to its charming community, great location and weather, and booming job market, it is among the most desirable places for movers. ExtraSpace emphasizes Charleston’s unique charm, calling it the “Holy City” known for its picturesque historic district, delectable restaurants, and romantic atmosphere. While tourism remains a cornerstone of the economy, commercial shipping and information technology are fueling further growth and diversification.

5. Savannah, Georgia

A home in Savannah surrounded by Spanish Moss trees
A home in Savannah surrounded by Spanish Moss trees (Photo by Sunira Moses on Unsplash)

The streets of Savannah may make you feel like you’ve been transported back in time. With plenty of history and more than a fair helping of Southern charm, life in Savannah is sweeter than sweet tea. Travel + Leisure paints a postcard-perfect picture of Savannah’s downtown, with centuries-old oaks draped in Spanish moss creating a picturesque scene. But this “Hostess City” offers much more than just visual charm for potential residents.

Savannah may not be a beach town, but moving to the city won’t lose your access to the nearby Atlantic Ocean. While the city itself sits on the Savannah River, U.S. News highlights the accessibility of nearby islands with beaches and open ocean access, just a short drive away. This, combined with Savannah’s recent rise as a top food destination, scenic landscapes, and affordable housing options, makes it easy to understand why the metro area saw a significant population boom in 2022, as Travel + Leisure adds.

International Van Lines echoes this sentiment, describing Savannah as a sightseeing hotspot with warm weather most of the year. Even the occasional cold snap can’t diminish the overall appeal of this “lovely location to live.”


Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links.


  1. If Boston is one of the best every where else must be tragically bad. You’ll need three jobs or a rich daddy to live here.

  2. Checking in to cast my vote for Portland, ME

    It is everything the article states, plus nearby air jetport, diverse ethnic foods, and decent road access to outer areas.

    Boston is indeed far more expensive and unruly with academia types. Might as well just move to NYC for the ultimate rush and craziness, if that’s what you desire.

    Overlooked from survey is Portsmouth, NH which can be pricey, offers very similar backdrop to Portland.

    Newburyport MA also rates consideration behind my top picks.

  3. Jacksonville has one of the highest crime rates in the country. Do your research. Huge problem with drug overdoses and not many prosecutions. Leads the nation in pedestrian deaths. What a load of crap!!

  4. As for as best places to live and thrive on the east coast of the USA. Barrington, Rhode Island. Never heard of it? Good.

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