Sea Change was set up last November after a parliamentary inquiry into coastal towns called for more specific help with their economic problems.
The government's response was widely criticised as lacklustre and, after the committee renewed its call, the Sea Change fund was created.
Blackpool BC has gained the largest award -£4m to create a 20,000 capacity outdoor performance space on the central seafront, where the streetscape will also be redesigned.
Dover DC has received£3.8m to develop a cable car from the town's docks to its castle.
Torbay BC has a£2.2m grant to create art studios and galleries, and to improve access to a Napoleonic fort.
Communities and local government secretary Hazel Blears said: "English coastal towns can look forward to the summer trade that comes with more and more people rediscovering all that these places have to offer for a great holiday or weekend break."