Best Places To Live On The East Coast: Top 5 Cities Most Recommended By Experts

Life on the East Coast of the United States is splendid. From sunbathed beaches in Florida, to snow-capped mountains in Maine, and everywhere in between, the coast has a little bit of something for everyone. Some of the best places to live on the East Coast are charming, welcoming and beautiful.

Families flock to the East Coast for its access to nature, especially the beaches. With the Atlantic Ocean at your fingertips and most states offering plenty of green space, it’s a great place to raise kids who are itching to get outdoors. Research even goes so far as to suggest that kids who spend time connecting with nature are happier overall.

In a 2020 study by the Sonora Institute of Technology study, 296 children between the ages of nine and 12 filled out a scale in school designed to measure their connectedness to nature, sustainable behavior (environmentally friendly acts, frugality, equity, altruism) and overall happiness. Results indicated that the more connected to nature a child was, the more environmentally conscious action they took, and the happier they reported feeling.

The children aren’t the only ones who benefit from life on the East Coast. A recent survey ranked multiple East Coast states as the best places to live for working dads. Massachusetts came in at the top spot, with Washington, D.C. (2nd), New Jersey (4th), Connecticut (5th), Rhode Island (6th), Vermont (7th), and New York (8th) all ranking in the top 10 states friendly to fathers.

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.

The List: Best Places to Live on the East Coast According to Locals

1. Portland, Maine

With gorgeous ocean views and a charming New England feel, Portland is a gem for East Coasters both new and old. “Approximately one-third of Maine’s population calls Portland home,” notes ExtraSpace. “But don’t let that fool you—it’s still a small town with a close-knit community!”

“Portland is at the center of [Maine’s] cultural and economic life,” says Travel + Leisure. “The city, which just topped U.S. News & World Report‘s latest ranking of the best cities to live on the East Coast for its low crime rates and the overall well-being of its residents, attracts newcomers with its natural beauty, bustling art scene, and laid-back outdoorsy lifestyle.”

With chilly winters and mild summers, Portland residents enjoy all four seasons. “The inhabitants of the city enjoy the perfect weather, even during the sweltering summers,” 9Kilo boasts. “Where people in other areas experience constant sweat-weather during the summer season, Portland enjoys a mild and pleasant atmosphere.”

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

2. Boston, Massachusetts

A major city that lacks nothing in quintessential New England charm, Boston is a standout among East Coast cities. “Boston city, thriving with employment opportunities and of rich historical importance, is one of the most popular cities to live on the East Coast,” says 9Kilo. “So, if you are looking to start a new chapter … Boston is the perfect city for you.”

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. “The greater Boston area is home to two of the best universities in the country — Harvard and MIT — along with more than three dozen other colleges, breathing a youthful vibe into the city,” says Travel + Leisure. “Boston is also a short drive or ferry ride from some of the best beaches in the country on Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard.”

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

3. Jacksonville, Florida

Year-round sunshine chasers will fall in love with Jacksonville’s 365 days of summer. “It’s easy to see what makes Jacksonville so desirable to both Florida and out-of-state newcomers,” claims Travel + Leisure. “The city is home to 22 miles of white-sand beaches and the largest urban park system in the country, encompassing seven state and two national parks, a national preserve, and 400 city parks.”

“Want to live with your family in a lively neighborhood? Jacksonville is the perfect place to be,” 9Kilo states. “It is the most populous city in Florida, offering affordable housing and real-estate costs. In fact, compared to other major cities in the US, Jacksonville is more cost-effective and cheap, with all the amenities you need.”

And of course, there’s nothing like the Florida weather and beaches. As ExtraSpace says, “the weather here is unbeatable, with average high temperatures of 80 degrees—so get ready to spend your days outdoors at the amazing beaches in Jacksonville!”

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

4. Charleston, South Carolina

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. “Southern charm and culture abound in South Carolina‘s biggest city,” says Travel + Leisure. “The Holy City’s oceanfront location and high-ranking job market transform it into one of the top 10 most sought-after cities for relocation.”

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. “Charleston is a popular choice for those seeking an East Coast locale with warm weather, beach options, history and culture,” notes US News. “The metro area grew by 5.63% between 2016 and 2021 due to net migration alone.”

“The Holy City is best known for its charming historic district and top-quality restaurants, as well as being one of the most romantic cities in the U.S.,” boasts ExtraSpace. “Though tourism continues to drive the area’s economy, commercial shipping and information technology services have also ensured new growth for the region.”

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

5. Savannah, Georgia

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. “Savannah’s postcard-worthy downtown area, complete with centuries-old oak trees draped in Spanish moss, is surely a thing of beauty,” claims Travel + Leisure. “But the Hostess City has plenty more in store 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 of Savannah is located on the Savannah River, a short drive within the metro area will get you to popular islands with beaches and access to the open ocean,” says US News. “Add to that Savannah’s newfound status as one of the country’s best food destinations, scenic landscapes, and affordable homes, and you get a good picture of why it was one of the metro areas that experienced a huge population boost in 2022,” Travel + Leisure adds.

“This is a sightseeing hotspot with warm temperatures for the majority of the year and some cold weather,” says International Van Lines. “Savannah is simply a lovely location to live.”

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

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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.