what is the closest ocean beach to dayton ohio

What is the Closest Ocean Beach to Dayton, Ohio? 7 Spots You Can Visit

The summer months are here! There’s nothing better than a sunny summer day spent at the beach — especially a beach with real ocean waves. If you’re an Ohioan, you know that there are no ocean beaches right around the corner. But if you’re willing to take a road trip, there are plenty of great spots in nearby coastal states for you and your family to enjoy.

We’ve put together a list of some of the closest ocean beaches to Dayton, Ohio. Located in Virginia, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Maryland, these coastal towns are known for beautiful beaches, boardwalks, restaurants, amusements, nightlife and more!

The Closest Ocean Beaches to Dayton Ohio: 7 Spots to Visit

Virginia Beach, Virginia

View of the Virginia Beach, Virginia shoreline during the day.

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Drive time: 9.5 hours

Located where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, Virginia Beach is known for its history, rich culinary scene, and family-friendly activities. It’s a popular destination year-round, but especially in the summer months when the beach and boardwalk are open.

Attractions you don’t want to miss at Virginia Beach:

  • 3-mile-long boardwalk lined with hotels, restaurants, shops, games, and amusement rides
  • First Landing State Park, which features 19 miles of hiking and biking trails, kayak tours, a swimming beach and more
  • Virginia Aquarium, home to more than 10,000 animals
  • Sandbridge Beach – a secluded beachfront area that offers a quieter beach experience than the hustle and bustle of the main oceanfront area

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach oceanfront at dusk, with the boardwalk ferris wheel in the background.

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Drive time: 9.75 hours

Myrtle Beach is one of the most well-known and popular ocean beach destinations on the east coast, and for good reason. It features 60 miles of shoreline, 90+ golf courses, a boardwalk, an aquarium, and some of the best shopping and restaurants in South Carolina. In other words: there’s something for everyone in Myrtle Beach!

Some don’t-miss attractions:

Dewey Beach, Delaware

Beachfront sunset view in Dewey Beach, Delaware.

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Drive time: 9.25 hours

Dewey Beach is situated between its slightly larger Delaware neighbor, Rehoboth, and Ocean City, MD (both also on our list). Its beaches are small but beautiful and serene. Outside of normal daytime sunbathing and swimming, families can enjoy events like Monday Movies on the Beach and Wednesday Bonfires on the Beach run by the Rehoboth-Dewey Chamber of Commerce.

Dewey is also known for its lively nightlife and attracts a younger crowd in addition to family beachgoers. If you like to enjoy live music and/or are a seafood lover, you’ll enjoy the long list of authentic beach-town bars and restaurants in Dewey.  Popular favorites include Rusty Rudder, The Starboard, and Bottle & Cork.

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Beachfront boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

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Drive time: 9.25 hours

Just north of Dewey is Rehoboth Beach, the most popular beach in Delaware and a destination for beach lovers, foodies, and bargain hunters alike. Its three-mile stretch of barrier-island beach offers fun in the sun for the entire family, with a mile-long boardwalk full of restaurants, shops, and other amusements.

Here are some best things to do in Rehoboth:

Long Beach Island, New Jersey

Lighthouse on Long Beach Island, New Jersey.

Barnegat Lighthouse New Jersey

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Drive time: 9.25 hours

Long Beach Island, New Jersey is big — an 18-mile barrier island with six different smaller beach towns to choose from. You’ll find a different kind of vibe in each section of the island, but the best part is that they’re all easily accessible (in many cases, even walkable from each other) so you can spend time enjoying all that the island has to offer — no matter your mood.

Here are the six LBI towns (and what they’re best known for):

  • Surf City – Just like it sounds, a true surfer’s town with groups riding the waves and plenty of ocean-front restaurants to enjoy.
  • Barnegat Light – A great spot to choose if you’re looking to have a quieter, laid-back vacation. Features lots of hiking and nature as well as charming inns where you can stay.
  • Beach Haven – Where you’ll find lots of the action on LBI. Go here for nightlife, amusement parks, and lots of favorite bars and restaurants.
  • Harvey Cedars – A more residential section of the island, populated mostly by year-round residents.
  • Ship Bottom – One of the oldest towns in LBI. Here you’ll find lots of the island’s most well-known shops and restaurants.
  • Long Beach Township – LBT is actually spread out all over the island, encompassing most of the beach areas and the wildlife preserve in Holgate township.

Ocean City, Maryland

Cyclists and walkers on the boardwalk at Ocean City, MD.

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Drive Time: 9.5 hours

Like Myrtle Beach earlier on our list, Ocean City, Maryland is one of the most well-known and popular oceanside resort towns on the east coast. It’s an action-packed place: a sprawling beach and boardwalk, amusements and thrill rides, tons of nightlife, and an awesome food scene (to name just some of the great things to do in OCMD).

Here are some don’t-miss destinations to check out while you’re there:

  • Trimper’s Rides – More than a century old, this amusement park offers classic rides and thrilling roller coasters alike.
  • Sunset Park – This tiny park overlooking Wight Bay has great water views and birdwatching, plus free concerts in the summer
  • Seacrets – The most popular party spot in Ocean City, but don’t forget to try their awesome menu, especially the fresh seafood and soups.
  • Crab Houses – Maryland is famous for its crabs, and you can get the authentic experience at local favorites like OCM Crabs, Hooper’s Crabs, Crab Bag, and BLU Crabhouse & Raw Bar.

Cape May, New Jersey

Oceanfront homes in Cape May, New Jersey.

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Drive Time: 9.5 hours

Last but definitely not least, Cape May, New Jersey is a charming little beach town that’s consistently ranked one of the top beaches in the entire country. New Jersey itself ranked Cape May the very best of its many beaches.

Cape May manages to feel quaint while also featuring plenty to do around town: five-star restaurants, a promenade with shopping, food, and arcades, countless B&Bs, breweries, active nightlife, the Cape May Zoo, and of course its white sandy beaches.

Whether you’re looking to take a romantic getaway, bring the kids for a family vacation, or enjoy a relaxing solo trip, you won’t regret doing it in Cape May.

Moving to the Dayton area? Oberer Homes can help you find (or build!) a home you love. Contact us today to get started.

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