• Meet the Team
  • Work with Us
  • Czech Republic
  • Netherlands
  • Switzerland
  • Scandinavia
  • Philippines
  • South Korea
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • Budget Travel
  • Work & Travel
  • The Broke Backpacker Manifesto
  • Travel Resources
  • How to Travel on $10/day

Home » North America » USA » East Coast

EPIC East Coast Road Trip Guide (2024)

If you want to explore America’s past and sample some of its splendor, then you can’t go wrong with an East Coast road trip!

On the East Coast, you’ll discover some of the most significant historical sites in the entire nation, not to mention a huge array of landscapes and an even greater diversity of people. While the West Coast gets most of the attention for its weather, natural beauty, and upbeat residents, the East Coast is usually considered the foundation of the nation.

But planning a road trip alongside the Atlantic Ocean can be stressful. With so many states and so many places to stop, it can be hard to know what NOT to miss and what you’d be better off skipping.

And that’s exactly why I wrote this East Coast Road Trip insider guide : so YOU know exactly what to do and where to stay along the USA’s Eastern Seaboard.  We’ll cover a wide range of topics over the course of this article including some East Coast road trip itineraries, food, lodgings, and sticking to a budget during your vehicular adventure.

Now without further ado, here’s everything you need to know to have an EPIC East Coast Road Trip!

The view of the Brooklyn Bridge and World Trade Centre from the Manhattan Bridge

A note on the format of this guide: Because the East Coast is massive and we have already written separate guides on New England, New York City, and Florida, this article will often refer you to other sources too. In order to best understand the East Coast, it’s very advisable to read these separate articles alongside this guide.

East Coast USA Road Trips Costs

Where to stay on your east coast road trip, best east coast road trips, places to visit on the east coast, east coast road trip tips, apartments and hotels on the east coast, renting a car or campervan on the east coast, final thoughts on an east coast road trip.

It’s hard to say how much the average cost of a road trip up the East Coast will be because there are so many routes one could take, not to mention each state is more or less expensive.

Almost every expense associated with going on an East Coast driving trip, including gas, lodging, food, drink, and whatnot, will vary depending on the state which, again, makes costs difficult to gauge.

I can say with certainty, however, that going on a road trip along the East Coast–like traveling in the USA as a whole– will not be cheap. All of the aforementioned costs add up very quickly and can be a substantial burden on your wallet. This is especially true if you’re the type of traveler who doesn’t pay attention to their spending…

mit docks and boston skyline new england road trip roaming ralph

Luckily you have us; we’re always looking for ways to travel cheap and love sharing the best tricks with you, the readers. Even if we are unable to travel on $10/day like in our favorite countries, we can at least help you minimize expenses. Plus, there are plenty of East Coast budget adventures to be had.

A ballpark estimate for an East Coast road trip budget would be around $175-$225 . This covers food, lodging, a rental car, gas, and entertainment.

There are a couple of things that you need to be mindful of while driving in the USA :

  • Gas will be your biggest expense as you’ll be traveling a lot; more than you’re probably expecting.
  • Hotels and lodging will be very expensive in popular destinations e.g. New York City, Florida beach resorts, the national parks, etc.
  • Food will cost more or less depending on how often you eat out and how much you cook for yourself.

Average Costs of an East Coast Road Trip

This breaks down exactly how much you can expect to spend while traversing the East Coast.

Rental Car: $30 – $100/day

RV Rental: $100 – $300/day

Gallon of Gas: $3.50 +

Cheap Airbnb: $80 – $100

Hotel room: $130 – $150

Hostel: $15 – $35

Campground: $0 – $50

Sandwich: $4 – $9

Beer at a bar : $4 – $8

Coffee: $2-$5

Attractions : $0-$20

Dinner for two: $25 – $75

Looking for specific accommodation recommendations? Here are some of the top places to stay on an East Coast road trip:

Best East Coast Mountain Getaway: Bear Ridge Lodge

raised wooden porch with couch and rocking chairs overlooking mountains on the east coast

The Bear Ridge Lodge in New Hampshire is the absolute PERFECT East Coast road trip stop. The beautiful, secluded log cabin has been featured in several magazines and boasts epic mountain views without any neighbors in sight. You can relax on the beautiful porch, use the stone fireplace as a nightcap, or start a hike anytime as miles of trails are right outside the door. The lodge can sleep up to 8 guests and is a 15-20 minute drive from restaurants and stores.

Best East Coast Oceanside Cottage: Island Beach Living

yellow beach cottage with palm trees in florida east coast roadtrip

Located on Pass a Grille beach alongside Florida’s West Coast, this idyllic oceanside cottage is the perfect beach stop on your East Coast road trip. Peaceful, secluded and free from the perils of mass tourism that plague most of Florida’s beaches, this cottage is literally steps from the ocean, and comes with a cycle! You can also utilize the full kitchen, or if not, several restaurants and shops are also within walking distance. This beach cottage can host two guests, and also has an outdoor shower to wash off after a sandy day!

Best Airbnb in Boston: Historic Beacon Hill Apartment

living room with green couches in boston on an east coast road trip

This Boston Airbnb is the best in the city for several reasons. First off, it’s located in a historic brownstone and is just minutes from the T and just a bit longer to some of Boston’s most iconic attractions. The booking gives you the entire apartment, which was recently renovated and can accommodate up to 3 guests. The picturesque space is well maintained and even has a fully functioning kitchen if you want to save money on meals!

  • Boston to Washington D.C – 7 days
  • East Coast Historical Road Trip – 14 days
  • Ultimate East Coast Road Trip – 21 days

Below is a list of suggested itineraries for driving the East Coast of America. Varying from 7 days to 21 days in length, they cover many of the East Coast’s top attractions.

Each itinerary provides day-by-day highlights, which are meant to give you some good East Coast road trip ideas.

road trip east coast

The USA is  blisteringly beautiful. It’s also blisteringly expensive! Visiting two national parks in day can run you $70+ in entry fees.

Orrrr… you kick those entry fees to the curb, buy an annual ‘America the Beautiful Pass’ for $79.99,  and get unlimited access to ALL 2000+ federally managed sites in the States totally FREE!

You do the math. 😉

Boston to Washington D.C – 1-Week East Coast USA Road Trip Itinerary

This is a great East Coast road trip if you only have 7 days, and you want to explore some of the USA’s best and most historic cities: Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.

With 7 days you can see each of these cities’ highlights and best cultural attractions, and camp one night in Shenandoah National Park.

east coast road trip map - driving itinerary #1

  • Boston’s Freedom Trail
  • Fenway Park Walking Tour and Game
  • Exploring Manhattan and Brooklyn
  • Philly’s Liberty Bell
  • The Lincoln Memorial
  • White House
  • Shenandoah NP and the Blue Mountains

Hyatt Regency Boston

Freehand New York

Hotel Baron (D.C.)

  • Boston – Sam Adams Brewery
  • Brooklyn – Brooklyn Brewery, Smorgasburg
  • Philadelphia – Monk’s Cafe, Evil Genius, Yards, Love City, and Crime and Punishment for a good brew. Northern Liberties neighborhood, and Steve’s Prince of Steaks for… cheesesteak.
  • Washington D.C. – Adams Morgan and The Shaw for nightlife.

Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park

  • Governor’s Ball (June in NY)
  • Tribeca Film Festival (NY)
  • Philly Beer Festival (February)
  • By the People Art Festival (Washington D.C in June)

lincoln memorial washington dc - major east coast attraction

Things to Do in 7 Days on the East Coast

  • See the highlights of Boston
  • Watch a game at Fenway Park
  • Walk along the Freedom Trail
  • Explore the Boston Commons
  • Go on a Little Italy food tour
  • Hit the food markets in NY
  • Eat and go out in SoHo and Chelsea
  • Walk the Highline
  • Cycle in Central Park
  • Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Get some views from the top of the Empire State Building
  • Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge
  • Explore Brooklyn’s nightlife
  • Eat some NY pizza .
  • Walk around historic Philadelphia including Liberty Bell and Independence Hall
  • The Betsy Ross House
  • Visit the Museum of the American Revolution .

Explore the historical sites of Washington D.C.:

  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Washington Monument
  • Capitol Hill
  • The Smithsonian Museum
  • The White House

PLUS take a scenic drive in the beautiful Shenandoah National Park and camp in the woods.

Many of the activities on this itinerary are great for history buffs and learning about the East Coast’s culture.

A yellow taxi and USA flag with Times Square behind

Historical Route from Boston to Savannah – 2-Week East Coast USA Road Trip Itinerary

With an extra week, you can really explore the East Coast’s most significant historical and cultural attractions. Any history buffs will love this East Coast itinerary as it will start with you exploring Boston and end all the way down to Savannah, Georgia, exploring some of the country’s most significant attractions along the way.

Along the way, you’ll pass through NYC, New Jersey, Philadelphia and the Gettysburg, D.C, Williamsburg + Fort Raleigh, and the must-visit Charleston.

east coast road trip map - driving itinerary #2

  • Plymoth Plantation
  • Fort Raleigh
  • Roanoke Island
  • Myrtle Beach
  • Apple Hostels of Philadelphia
  • ARC THE HOTEL Washington DC
  • Charleston – The Obstinate Daughter, Lewis Barbecue, and Bangkok Lounge for drinks and karaoke.
  • Savannah – The Grey and Fox and Fig
  • Scenic route on the Carolina coast to Savannah
  • The entire Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Savannah Music Festival (March)
  • MOJA Arts Festival (Charleston)

jefferson memorial at night while driving through washington d.c.

Things to Do in 14 Days on the East Coast

Here are some of the best things to do in 2 weeks on the East Coast!

  • Visit Bunker Hill
  • Spend a day at Plimoth Plantation
  • Visit the New-York Historical Society
  • And the 9/11 Memorial and Museum
  • Spend a day at Battery Park
  • Visit Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
  • National Museum for African American History
  • National Gallery of Art

Visit Colonial Williamsburg and the first English settlement

PLUS stop by Wilmington or Myrtle Beach, visit the plantations outside Charleston, and walk the cobblestone streets of Savannah.

south carolina plantation charleston

Ultimate East Coast USA Road Trip – 3-Week Itinerary

This is the  ultimate 3 week East Coast itinerary. While the previous itinerary focuses on cities and historical sites, this itinerary also leaves plenty of room to discover this side of the coast’s best beaches, hikes, and parks.

Unlike the previous routes, we’ll be starting in Maine, one of the United States’ gems. If you like good seafood and great beer, you’re going to love Maine.

Next, you’ll continue down the East Coast in a similar fashion as itinerary #2, but will also visit Acadia National Park (in Maine) Shenandoah National Park, Asheville, and the Smoky Mountains.

This is the best itinerary for you if you want to explore some of the country’s most beautiful forests and beaches as well as the most eccentric concrete jungles. Make sure to check out some awesome bed and breakfasts in Maine along the way.

east coast road trip map - driving itinerary #3

  • Acadia National Park
  • Aloft Miami Brickell (Miami)
  • Generator Hostel (Miami)
  • Scenic route on the Carolina Coast to Savannah
  • Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Florida Keys highway
  • Asheville Wine & Food Festival (August),
  • Brewgrass in Asheville (October)
  • Daytona 500 (February)
  • Ultra Miami Music Festival (March)

acadia national park maine beach

Things to Do in 21 Days on the East Coast

  • Grab a lobster roll in Portland Maine and explore the craft brew scene.
  • Watch the sunrise in Acadia National Park before anyone else in the US.
  • Stop by Camden Hills State Park on your way to Boston to gawk at some quintessential New England coastline.
  • Explore some of the country’s most famous campuses like MIT and Harvard in Cambridge.
  • Outside of Boston, visit Walden Pond where Henry David Thoreau lived.
  • Visit NYC’s best landmarks and neighborhoods.
  • Eat yourself full in Queens.
  • Visit all of Philadelphia’s historical landmarks.
  • Explore Washington D.C’s National Mall.
  • Visit some of the country’s best museums like the Smithsonian.
  • Drive along the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah.
  • Camp in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
  • Visit the hipster town of Asheville and Biltmore Estate.
  • Explore the Charleston plantations and Carolina coastline
  • Check out the Savannah Historical Center.
  • Driving through Florida: Amelia Island, Castillo de San Marcos, Daytona Beach, and every beach in between.
  • Hang out at on the beaches of Clearwater.
  • Explore the historic city of St. Augustine.
  • Take a boat ride in the Everglades.
  • Explore Wynwood, stay on Miami Beach, and admire Brickell’s galleries.
  • Shopping in Miami.
  • Hit the town at night too; this is one of the best places to party in the USA..

PLUS, for more nature, visit Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park and take a  Key West road trip to the Florida Keys, where you can check out places like Bahia Honda State Park, Key Largo, the southernmost point of the US and, of course, the legendary Key West itself.

a lifeguard hut on the sand behind beach sea grass during a light pink pastel sunset at key biscayne beach in miami florida

Below is a list of the best road trip destinations on the East Coast. Study them well and decide which ones you like the most.

New England Road Trip

New England is often considered the cradle of American society because of its role in the early colonial days. Many of America’s original colonies were founded here but much of their remnants still remain. It’s one of the most quaint places to visit in the United States .

Those on a road trip on the Northeast Coast of the USA will find a treasure trove of historical sites, not to mention amazing coastal scenery, hearty food, and memorable locals too.

New England is a large region that is composed of 6 different states: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine, so in this section, we’re only going to be able to highlight the best of New England.

Staying in Boston is guaranteed to be a good time. It’s one of the best cities on the East Coast and it’s a truly awesome place to explore.

rugged maine coastline and lighthouse

When in Boston, be sure to check popular local attractions like Fenway Park, Boston Commons, Trinity Church, and Uptown. Try attending a sports match, which is like church for Bostonians, and be sure to grab a drink in a local New England pub. I also HIGHLY recommend staying in Cape Cod for a few days if you get the chance.

The rest of New England is defined by pastoral villages, rugged coastline, and expansive woods. A bed and breakfast in Vermont is the perfect place to unwind in lush, mountainous greenery while famous coastal destinations like Acadia National Park, and the Connecticut Coastline are unlike any other beaches in the USA.

There are a ton of awesome bed and breakfasts in Connecticut where you can stay in a historical building and enjoy that welcoming East Coast hospitality.

Also consider driving through the New England countryside, particularly around the Litchfield Hills, Mohawk Trail, and the White Mountains. If you’re on an East Coast road trip during the autumn, you’ll be treated with the magnificent fall foliage that New England is so famous for.

New York Road Trip

New York, New York. It is the very symbol of the USA and probably its most well-known city. It is a bewildering busy place with an insane amount of people, who bounce around the city like atoms in a nuclear reactor. New Yorkers like to say that if they can make it in this city, then they can make it anywhere because where else could they feel so alive?

Traveling in New York City shouldn’t be taken lightly–the city is an absolutely enormous place that has more districts than one can count. It would take a lifetime to explore all of NYC’s neighborhoods – and I’m about to explain New York in the course of around 300 words. If you think this is a vastly underwhelming number, then we agree.

NYC is one of those places that’s absolutely worth spending some time in– staying in NYC is quite the experience!

new york city skyline from brooklyn

New York is one of the greatest economic engines on the entire planet. This city churns out more money than most countries. Its skyline, which is one of the most recognizable in the world, is a representative of the city’s financial success. At the same time, New Yorkers, reaping the benefits of the economy, like to celebrate after a paycheck, often.

Hotels and Airbnbs are often expensive in and around the Big Apple, but elsewhere in the state you can look at staying in New York motels which are designed for road trippers!

As for gastronomy, people love to eat and drink in NYC. This city hosts one of the craziest nightlives in the world and more world-class restaurants than I can bother to imagine. Meeting up with friends after a hard day’s work or just visiting a local attraction like the MET, One World Trade Center or Central Park , is undoubtedly the top thing to do in New York.

There’s more to New York than just the city. Be sure to visit the oft-forgotten Upstate New York. Niagara Falls , the Hudson Valley , Catskills , and the picturesque stays in the Adirondacks should all be included on a road trip from New York.

New Jersey Road Trip

New Jersey is often seen as the butt-end of New York City – a state that only serves as a giant suburb for New Yorkers who want to settle down but still be close to the city. While its close proximity to the top places in NYC is certainly a boon – you can literally see Manhattan across the Hudson in New Jersey – it’s much more than New York’s backyard.

New Jersey has a lot to offer those on a road trip down the East Coast USA, including mountains, some of the best beaches in the Northeast, and lots of agrotourism opportunities. In fact, a bed and breakfast in New Jersey is so much cheaper than staying in the Big Apple, that many tourists visiting New York opt to stay in Jersey City/Newark and commute in.

The greatest density of people in New Jersey is in Jersey City/Newark , which, to little surprise, is right next to New York City. These places are often used as a cheaper base for exploring the city but are worthy of seeing as well.

new jersey coastline sunset east coast road trip

As for what to do in Jersey City , you can eat and drink just as well as in NYC and, best of all, enjoy the best views of skyline without having to deal with the massive crowds. Newark has an excellent selection of museums and art galleries.

Most who visit New Jersey head straight for the beaches, which are very fine. Atlantic City , infamous for its gangsters and casinos, is the most visited coastal city in New Jersey and arguably the most famous resort town on the East Coast. Though many come here for more carnal reasons, Atlantic City still benefits from some gorgeous beaches and surfing opportunities.

Other popular beach getaways include Belmar, Asbury Park , the Wildwoods , and Sandy Hook . You can also opt to stay on Cape May for a truly spectacular Jersey seaside experience.

Few people realize that New Jersey has mountains! The Kittatinny Mountains , a subsection of the Appalachians, run along the western edge of the state and offers many hiking trails. Further south is the expansive Pine Barrens , which is great for camping and berry picking.

Pennsylvania Road Trip

Pennsylvania is one of the most historically significant states in the entire USA. The state has been the theater for many of America’s most important revolutionary events and has also been the birthplace of many of its greatest industries.

Coal, steel, mining, and even Amish woodworking are among Pennsylvania’s proudest exports and each of these paint a clear picture of what the state is today. A road trip through Pennsylvania will be an excellent insight into middle American life, both old and new.

You can’t pass through the state without visiting Philadelphia , which is one of the most historical cities in the USA. Philadelphia’s most important landmarks include the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall , the latter of which is where the Declaration of Independence was signed.

panoramic philadelphia skyline east coast road trip

Philadelphia also hosts a wide variety of museums and historic sites that are some of the finest on the East Coast. Most famous is the Philadelphia Museum of Art , which, aside from having an excellent collection, also hosts the steps that Rocky Balboa trained on.

The rest of Pennsylvania is mostly rural. Much of Pennsylvania’s natural splendor is found here, and it’s particularly beautiful if you stay around the Poconos , Lake Eerie, and the Laurel Highlands . Famously, the Amish also live in the Pennsylvania countryside, mostly around Lancaster .

If you make it as far as Pittsburgh in the western portion of Pennsylvania, you’ll be rewarded. Pittsburgh was once the steel capital of the USA and, though it had a couple of rough years, is now becoming one of the coolest East Coast cities.

Maryland and Delaware Road Trip

Maryland and Delaware are two of more historically significant states in the country. Much of their two histories are defined by the vital Chesapeake Bay , which served as an extremely important waterway during colonial days.

Nowadays, Maryland and Delaware are pretty quiet and mostly act as residences for rich folk from DC. The states still benefit from being located next to the Chesapeake – the seafood here is some of the best on the East Coast and there are lots of little coastal haunts worth checking out. These, in addition to the many historical attractions, make both states worth seeing.

Baltimore , Maryland is the largest city in the region and hosts the densest collection of attractions. Staying in Baltimore , made famous for its criminal elements thanks to The Wire , is not nearly as dangerous as it used to be and is actually one of the most desirable cities on the East Coast.

lighthouse on delaware coast sunset

It has several interesting neighborhoods -like eclectic Fell’s Point , vibrant Hampden , and the artsy, somewhat ritzy Midtown – that make Baltimore worth visiting. Visit these areas and be sure to grab a famous Blue Crab around the Inner Harbor .

East of Baltimore is the Chesapeake Bay and the Delmarva Peninsula, which is where you’ll find most the region’s coastal charm. The Delmarva is shared by both Maryland and Delaware. Interestingly, the peninsula is culturally unique from the rest of the Atlantic states in that it identifies more with the South for both historical and geographic reasons. You’ll find many awesome cabins in Maryland to make a pit stop in these coastal towns.

Delaware is a very small state situated almost entirely on the Delmarva Peninsula . Almost all of the state’s attractions are found in Wilmington and on the coast.

Although it’s the largest city in Delaware, there isn’t a whole lot to do in Wilmington aside from maybe visiting nearby Brandywine Country . The Delaware Coast at least has some nice beaches. Noteworthy Delaware beaches include Rehoboth Beach and Bethany Beach .

You can also check out some of the cool best bed and breakfasts in Delaware , many of which are ideally located close to the beach!

Washington DC Road Trip

Washington DC is the glorious yet under-privileged nation’s capitol. It’s a perfect example of American exceptionalism and, at the same time, economic stratification. At the end of the day, staying in Washington DC is one of the best cities on the East Coast to visit, if not for its sheer beauty then for its relevant social dynamics.

Few can argue against how gorgeous the city of Washington DC is. The city itself is the product of a city planning movement that was meant to represent a new age in America. As such, Washington DC is designed to be a very modern metropolis with perfect gridwork and several large areas designated for monuments.

Most of DC’s top things to do monuments are located in or near the Mall District – a 2-mile long park that runs through the center of the city.

Most of the city’s greatest landmarks, including the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument , the Smithsonian Museum , and the White House are located in this park. The Mall District is certainly one of the must-see places on any East Coast road trip route and makes for a very lovely day of walking.

a photo of the white house in washington dc the capital of the usa

On the edges of the Mall are the rest of Washington DC’s most iconic places . North is Adams Morgan and The Shaw , which is where you’ll find much of the city’s surprisingly active nightlife.

East is Capitol Hill where most of the United States’ politics are done. South is the gorgeous Jefferson Memorial and, across the Potomac River, the hallowed Arlington Cemetery .

One should definitely add the outskirts of the city to their Washington DC itinerary to experience a “realer” side of the capital, where gentrification is in full effect. Much of DC’s satellite neighborhoods, where most natural-born residents are from, were socially neglected in the 90s.

Nowadays, these districts are being renovated aggressively and, in the process, are losing their identity. Visit H Street, Columbia Heights , and the Near Northeast for a taste of the new DC, both the good and bad of it.

Virginia Road Trip

Virginia is a transition state where Southern culture begins to take hold. As the former capital of the US Confederacy during the Civil War, the state is certainly not lacking its historical landmarks.

Virginia also has some of the finest scenery in the Eastern United States–you’ll even find cool wonders like the Natural Bridge State Park. Those on a road trip down the East Coast will be both delighted and captured by Virginia’s beautiful cabins that give a full dose of nature.

Richmond is the capital of Virginia. It’s a very old and historically significant city that has been around since the Colonial days. Much of its original architecture was destroyed in a great fire that occurred after the Confederates fled the city but, regardless, Richmond is still full of history and pride.

Virginia Airbnbs are plentiful in Richmond and beyond–do try them out for a more local, residential feel.

Richmond is a fairly spread-out urban area with several neighborhoods. Strewn sparsely among them are several museums dedicated to everything from poetry to historic landmarks. Aside from these, Richmond is also an arc for art and music and there are several clubs spread throughout the city.

blue ridge mountains virgina

The Virginia Coastline is where you’ll find the largest population in Virginia in addition to the usual beachside resorts. Here you’ll find Virginia Beach, Chesapeake , and Norfolk , which sort of combine to form their own metropolitan area. This part of Virginia has lots of excellent beaches to lay on but most of them are family-oriented. Staying in Virginia Beach is a great choice if you want to relax for a bit.

The interior of Virginia is mountainous and is home to a couple of beautiful national parks, like Shenandoah . Many people visit Virginia to see these parks and make road trips on the gorgeous Skyline Drive .

There are many quaint bed and breakfasts in Virginia that offer an authentic experience and are usually in renovated historical buildings. I highly recommend checking one out and experiencing that warming East Coast hospitality.

You can navigate this route all the way to the Great Smoky Mountains if you want, and can take a break at any time to go on hikes or to visit local landmarks. The Natural Bridge and the town of Winchester are good stops.

Consider taking part in the Brew Ridge Trail , which is one of the best East Coast brewery road trips!

North Carolina Road Trip

If there were one Mid-Atlantic state that offered the most, then it would probably be North Carolina . North Carolina has beaches, interesting cities, awesome mountains, and, of course, plenty of southern charm.

There are several urban centers in North Carolina. Charlotte is the largest city in the state and is becoming increasingly hip each and every day with more and more things to do . There are many cool Charlotte Airbnbs to choose from for your stay.

It’s a working man’s city with a booming economy and growing entertainment district that will soon be the next Southern jewel. It is, admittedly at the moment, still a bit dull compared to some other East Coast cities though. But you can find some cool and trendy North Carolina Airbnbs to enjoy your road trip stop at–for a much better rate than New England, that’s for sure.

Raleigh and the surrounding communes of Chapel Hill and Durham are much more fun. These cities are home to several universities, including the popular North Carolin State University and Duke , which means that there are lots of young people looking to have a good time.

great smoky mountains north carolina

The cities themselves are often ranked as being some of the most livable in the country and so make for great East Coast road trip stops.

The North Carolina Coast is awesome, filled with white sandy beaches and some of the best destinations for an East Coast road trip. Here you’ll find the extremely historical Roanoke Island as well as Kitty Hawk aka the birthplace of modern aviation. Some of the best beaches in North Carolina are Holden, Carova, Carolina, and Corolla .

North Carolina’s greatest treasure may be the fabled Great Smoky Mountains , which is home to some fantastic hiking trails. Cloaked in mist and legends of bootleggers, the Smokies are one of the most storied parts of the USA and, consequently, the most visited national park as well.

Be sure to stay in Asheville while in the Smokies, which is hands down one of the best East Coast cities to visit. Asheville has an amazing art and beer scene, and is often compared to eccentric places like Austin, Texas and Portland, Oregon. The grand Biltmore Estate is also near Asheville.

Charleston to Savannah Road Trip

Charleston (South Carolina) and Savannah (Georgia) are two cities that are fighting for your attention! Like squabbling children who want mommy to listen to them, these two cities have been in a fierce competition for generations. Visiting both of these cities will definitely be a highlight on your East Coast USA road trip.

Charleston is often considered to be the quainter and more intimate alternative to Savannah. It’s a small city that hosts some of the most well-preserved Southern architecture in the region. The French Quarter, Magnolia Plantation, Rainbow Row , and Boone Hall are all wonderful examples. A night in Charleston should definitely be prioritized, as should the epic Charleston City Market.

Savannah, on the other hand, is often seen as the larger and more charged of the two cities. As the birthplace of Georgia and a vital economic center for the South, a stay in Savannah has become much grander and, some locals would argue, more fun than Charleston.

Though Savannah lacks some of the singularly amazing landmarks that Charleston has, it still has that classy Antebellum style that we love about the South.

savannah georgia trees

Savannah’s Historic Quarter is one of the largest in the USA and is most well-known for its gorgeous cobblestone streets and large public squares. Forsyth Park is a fantastic place to spend some time in, and there are also a lot of historic Georgia vacation rentals you can spend your trip in. Taking a walking tour in Savannah is arguably one of the best things to do on an East Coast road trip.

In the end, there are too many intangibles when it comes to Charleston and Savannah. The best way to experience these cities is just to visit them and compare the two yourself. Note how each prepares local Southern food and how each has worked to preserve their respective images.

Both the states of South Carolina and Georgia are much bigger than Charleston and Savannah. There are also lots of things to do in Myrtle Beach with kids. Consider visiting this beach resort town in South Carolina for your family getaway. Alternatively, head to Kiawah Island for an ocean escape.

A ways inland is Atlanta , which is the largest city in Georgia and arguably the cultural capital of the Deep South.

Florida Road Trip

Welcome to Florida ! Home to amazing tropical beaches, abundant sunshine, and most of the East Coast’s retirees. If you’ve been craving some Vitamin C and some delicious Latin food, you should be very excited to visit Florida.

If you’ve made the arduous road trip from Maine to Florida, congratulations – your beach chair and pina colada are waiting for you.

Florida is a gorgeous state with a shit ton of attractions and cities to visit. Staying in Florida is sure to be one hell of an experience. There isn’t another state quite like it, for better or for worse.

In order to better understand the Sunshine state, we highly recommend you read it.

windsurfers flying on the beach on key biscayne in miami florida

The first place most people think when they hear Florida is Miami. (Cue corny Will Smith song.) Though much of what you hear about Miami is true – it’s glamorous, full of amazing beaches, and sometimes a shitshow – there’s a lot more to it.

Visiting Miami also means getting to experience an amazing art scene, which is best experienced in the Design District, Wynwood , and Midtown neighborhoods.

Thanks to its enormous immigrant population, Miami also has some most authentic Latin and Caribbean communes outside of their respective regions. Be sure to visit Little Havana and Little Haiti for the amazing cultures and food.

While Miami is safe for tourists, avoiding the neighborhoods of Overtown, Liberty City, and Opa Locka are musts. Luckily, there’s nothing for travelers to do in those places anyway.

The rest of Florida is defined mostly by endless stretches of beach, swamps, and Southern hospitality. The Everglades are one of the most important wetlands in the nation and are an impressive natural wonder.

Stunning beaches are a dime a dozen in Florida though the ones around the Emerald Coast, Tampa Bay, Florida Keys, and Atlantic Coast are particularly great (and yes, that’s just about everywhere.)

The only thing more numerous than beaches in Florida is Southern folk. Contrary to popular belief, only the area around Miami is predominately Latin – Central and Northern Florida are more similar to the Deep South. Expect lots of BBQ, fried gator, and charm. Places to stay in St. Augustine still have much of their Spanish colonial history and make great places to stay for a rest stop.

road trip east coast

Wanna know how to pack like a pro? Well for a start you need the right gear….

These are packing cubes for the globetrotters and compression sacks for the  real adventurers – these babies are a traveller’s best kept secret. They organise yo’ packing and minimise volume too so you can pack MORE.

Or, y’know… you can stick to just chucking it all in your backpack…

Off The Beaten Path East Coast Road Trip Ideas

Want to expand your road trip on the East Coast? Try connecting it with one of these other regions! They’re a bit off the beaten path but are worth visiting.

Why not just continue all the way into the Great White North for some good Canadian fun, eh?! With lovely people, hugely fun cities, and some of the most beautiful landscapes in North America, it’s no surprise that visiting Canada tops many’s bucketlist.

Visit the likes of Montreal , Toronto , Nova Scotia , and Newfoundland to experience some of the best of Canada.

2. Appalachia

The Appalachian Mountains are the greatest mountain chain on the East Coast, which separates it from the Midwestern and Great Plains regions. It is a relatively isolated place that, over the years, has developed its own distinct culture and identity. Renting a cabin in West Virginia will give you a real look into Appalachian life, which is notably different from most other US states.

Tennessee and Kentucky, though Southern leaning, are arguably a part of this region. There is no better way to experience the Appalachians than the epic Appalachian Trail, which traverses a staggering 2,200 miles and takes over 6 months to complete.

Perhaps you’re the type who likes frigid weather and lots of dairy products? Make a detour to the Midwest then for a chance to experience some of the warmest hospitality in the country.

chicago city at night midwest

Surrounding the Great Lakes are welcoming states like Michigan and its up-and-coming capital Detroit, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Illinois that have been the subject of much love and ridicule (because of those funny accents). The Midwest hosts a number of cool cities–you cant go wrong with a visit to Chicago or Minneapolis.

4. Deep South

If you’re looking for pleasant winter weather and a chance to experience more Southern comfort, why not head further inland into the Deep South to Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. If you drive through Alabama, check out some of the cool and unusual hotels in Birmingham and stay for a few extra days to sample some of the real staples of Southern living.

Larger cities are quite cosmopolitan–you can’t drive through the region without visiting New Orleans ! On the other hand, states like Mississippi and Alabama are where things just get plain weird.

Historical East Coast Road Trip Attractions

Want to travel through America’s history? Then stop by one of these many historical East Coast road trip attractions to learn more about how the US was made!

gettysburg memorial pennsylvania

  • Bunker Hill (Charlestown, Massachusetts) – Site of one of the earliest and most important battles in the American Revolutionary War. A granite obelisk now stands at this location. One of the first monuments erected in the USA.
  • Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, Massachusetts) – An open-air museum located on grounds of the former Plymouth Colony. Attempts to recreate life as the settling English pilgrims experienced it.
  • Gettysburg (Pennsylvania) – Battleground for the largest battle of the American Civil War. Gettysburg was a decisive victory for the Union and it proved to be a turning point in the conflict. A sobering cemetery and military park are the only remains of the fight.
  • Mt Vernon (Alexandria, Virginia) – Former home and plantation of the USA’s first president, George Washington. Open 365 days per year as ordained by the president himself.
  • Colonial Williamsburg (Virginia) – A section of modern Williamsburg that was preserved in order to appear like an original colonial settlement. Includes American colonial buildings, educational tours, and actors dressed in anachronistic apparel.
  • Biltmore Estate (North Carolina) – An enormous mansion built by the Vanderbilts, one of the foremost tycoon families of the American Gilded Age. Still owned by the Vanderbilts and still the largest private dwelling in the USA.
  • Fort Raleigh (North Carolina) – The preserved remains of the Roanoke Colony, the first-ever English settlement in the USA. Shrouded in mystery as the residents famously disappeared after they lost contact with the crown.
  • St. Augustine (Florida) – A modern-day city that actually has some of the most significant Spanish colonial architecture in the country. The impressive Castillo de San Marcos is the grandest and most popular attraction in the town.

National Parks on the East Coast

The national parks are among the must see places on the East Coast as they offer some of the most spectacular scenery in the region. Consider stopping by one of the following parks…

  • Acadia (Maine) – A jewel of the Northeastern coastline. Features some of the best and most rugged coastal scenery in the United States. Great beaches, great fall foliage, and great attractions for a road trip up the East Coast. For easy access to the national park, we recommend staying in Bar Harbor as it’s one of the nearest towns.
  • Shenandoah (Virginia) – A slim national park that is mostly visited by those making the superlative Skyline Drive. Mountainous scenery that bursts into color during the autumn. Lots of hidden vistas and waterfalls available to hikers.
  • Great Smoky Mountains (North Carolina) – One of the best places on the East Coast, though it’s actually a bit far from the ocean. Spending time in the Great Smoky Range means visiting the highest mountain chain in the entire Eastern USA. One of the most ecologically diverse places in the USA and officially the most visited national park in the country. The “smokey” title comes from the frequent fog that likes to hang around the mountains.
  • Congaree (South Carolina) – A very large and well-preserved tract of hardwood forest that hosts some of the largest trees on the East Coast of the USA. It floods regularly, which brings in huge amounts of nutrients for local ecosystems. Overall, a very ecologically diverse park.
  • Everglades (Florida) – Massive wetlands that are one of the most important natural habitats in the USA make Everglades National Park a must see. Features endless groves, glades, and inlets that hide several threatened species including the Florida panther, manatee, and the American crocodile. Usually explored by airboat or on foot via several trails.
  • Dry Tortugas (Florida) – A small chain of keys that hosts the astounding Fort Jefferson, which is the largest brick masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere. Being a part of the iconic Florida Keys , Dry Tortugas also has excellent diving opportunities and that beautiful Caribbean water. Can only be reached by boat.
  • Biscayne (Florida) – A offshore park that shelters an enormous amount of aquatic life. A very popular place among divers and fishers. 90% of the park is located in the ocean so camping and hiking opportunities are pretty limited.

East Coast Scenic Drives

Choose any one of these scenic routes listed below to gain more East Coast road trip ideas! Each one features more of the best places on the East Coast to visit.

fall foliage drive in new england

  • Blue Ridge Parkway (Virginia/North Carolina) – The most scenic road trip on the East Coast. A very long road that traverses the Blue Ridge Mountains and connects Shenandoah with the Great Smoky Mountains.
  • Skyline Drive (Virginia) – A road that runs the length of Shenandoah National Park, which is arguably the most popular destination in the park. Offers breathtaking views of the mountains and also provides access to several hiking trails, including the ACT. Connects with the Blue Ridge Parkway in the south.
  • Kancamagus Highway (New Hampshire) – A spectacular East Coast road trip route through the White Mountains. Most popular during the fall when the mountains explode with autumn color. Several campgrounds and viewpoints are found along the 35-mile stretch.
  • Florida A1A (Florida) – A highway that runs the entire length of Florida’s Atlantic Coast. The route hugs the entire coastline to Miami and affords amazing views of the ocean. Also includes the Florida Keys Scenic Byway, which is arguably one of the most beautiful roads in the USA.
  • Acadia National Byway (Maine) – Ring road that offers the best sights of Acadia National Park . Most of the park’s top attractions can be reached via the byway including Sandy Beach and Jordan Ponds. Popular in fall when the trees are changing colors as well.
  • Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad (Maryland) – A historical East Coast road trip route that follows the trail of the Underground Railroad – one of the most important escape routes for African slaves during the Civil War. Along the way, you’ll visit many museums, churches, and former residences that educate you about the railroad. Not very scenic but very humbling. Baltimore is a very cool city if you fancy hanging out a few days.

A few insider tips to help your East Coast Road trip go just a lil’ bit smoother!

Getting Insured

Do you need Travel Insurance for your trip? Even if you’re only going for a few days, that’s more than enough time to get smote by wrathful angels. Have fun on your road trip, but take it from us, overseas medical care and canceled flights can be seriously expensive – insurance can, therefore, be a life-saver.

Travel mishaps can and do happen and it is well worth thinking about insurance before you leave home.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing .

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

road trip east coast

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

Top Tips for Broke Backpackers

Below is a list of East Coast road trip ideas for saving money. Try and practice these as much as possible.

a bright orange sunset over a beach with some high rise buildings in the background seen while staying in miami florida

  • Use vehicle relocation services: These brilliant services offer huge discounts to people on the condition they get a vehicle to a certain place at a certain time. No joke, you can rent a car sometimes for as low as $1/day! Availability is very limited though, so keep a watchful eye on the sites. Check immova and Cruise America to start with.
  • Rent an economy car: Prices can be as low as $25/day depending on the time of year and how far in advance you reserve. Economy cars are also more fuel-efficient so you’ll save on fuel.
  • Camp: Unless you want to fork out big bucks for a lodge, you have to camp. Campgrounds are way less expensive and sometimes even free. Check out this post for a breakdown of the best tents to take backpacking .  If you’re feeling really adventurous and want to save some cash, consider picking up a backpacking hammock.
  • Sleep overnight in an empty lot: Though not technically legal, people sleep in parking lots all the time. Make sure the lot is safe by asking around. Walmarts are reportedly good places to park overnight as they allow overnight parking.
  • Buy an America the Beautiful Pass : Seriously, if you’re visiting more than two national parks, you’d be a fool not to buy this.
  • Cook your own food: Eating out can be very expensive. Cook your own food as much as possible to save – I recommend bringing a portable backpacking stove . Otherwise, have a fancy night out at a food cart.
  • Do free shit: There are lots of free activities on the East Coast! From hiking to laying on the beach to going to the local monuments; all of these things cost you nill. Be sure to keep your ear to the ground for all things free in the East.
  • Pack a filtered water bottle : It’s good for your wallet and the environment. Purified water is easy to come by in the States versus other countries.

Feeling a little gross after hanging out in the Great Smoky Mountains? Got sand in every crack and corner of your body after laying on the beach too long? Maybe it’s time to take a break from your camping road trip on the East Coast and to check into a hotel.

Thankfully, hotels are everywhere in the USA and come in all shapes and sizes–there’s even quite the selection of USA budget hotel chains . You could perch yourself in a high-rise condo in the middle of the city or perhaps laze away in a small inn on the countryside.

If you’re on a budget East Coast road trip and need to cut costs, you’ll most likely have to settle for cheaper guesthouses and motels . These types of accommodation are fairly generic, drab, and offer a pretty limited amount of amenities. If you’re using hotels in more expensive states, than you’ll still end up paying $80/night minimum.

charming new england home

No matter what you end up choosing though, one thing is for certain – hotels on the East coast are expensive. Airbnbs in the US are a much better option than chain hotels most of time, and you can see plethora of reviews beforehand.

If you needed to save the most money on your East Coast road trip, then you should take advantage of hostels and campgrounds .

They are by far the most affordable type of accommodation on the East Coast, and are actually quite fun to stay at. Though hostels in the USA can be a little weird (we know: we’ve stayed at several), most are perfectly decent even if they’re not as rad as the ones in Europe or Asia.

Best Places to Stay on the East Coast

Here are some of the absolute best places to stay on your East Coast road trip:

washington capitol building night

East Coast Camping Road Trip

Spread across the entire Eastern seaboard is an endless variety of campgrounds set amongst dozens of landscapes. An East Coast camping trip is a fantastic way of seeing everything that the region has to offer, and you should rarely be left uninspired by the amazing selection.

There are all kinds of campgrounds in the East that offer a wide range of amenities and rates. Generally speaking, there are four types: private, public, dispersed , and backcountry . Below is a brief explanation of each.

  • Private – Larger campgrounds that offer the most amenities including communal kitchens, showers, and maybe onsite restaurants. Most appropriate for demanding campers. Most expensive as well. Payment is made through the office of the owners.
  • Public – More basic campgrounds that offer limited but crucial amenities. Running water, electricity, and bathrooms should be but are not always present. Good prices. Payment is made to a public organization either online or via a drop box at the camp.
  • Dispersed – aka wild camping, primitive camping . Camping in an area that is not an official campground but is still legal. Little to no amenities. Almost always free.
  • Backcountry – Camps located in the wilderness areas. Almost always require a hike to reach. Often no facilities so campers must bring food, cooking gear, camp supplies, etc. Permits are usually required and can be arranged at a nearby ranger station.

A lot of campgrounds, especially those at the national parks, can fill up very quickly. Consider booking a campground ahead of time to ensure that you have a spot.

If there are no campgrounds left at a specific place, there may be walk-up sites available, which you’ll need to arrive early to claim. If you strike out on the walk-up sites as well, there may be overflow camping nearby.

You can definitely camp for free while on a road trip down the East Coast! Most of these campgrounds are pretty remote or located on some sort of specially mandated land.

Each state offers different types of free backcountry camping so you will need to research each. To get started, check this website for a compendium of free camping on the East Coast.

florida campground with rvs

Camping on the East Coast – Gear Checklist

The East Coast has some of the finest camping in the whole country. You could sleep in your car or an RV while traveling on the East Coast but sleeping outside under the stars is way more fun. Having a good tent will keep you comfortable on those chilly nights and give you lots of flexibility when it comes to finding a place to sleep.

Here are some other essentials that we recommend adding ton your road trip packing list …

Pacsafe belt

Travel Security Belt

This is a regular looking belt with a concealed pocket on the inside – you can hide up to twenty notes inside and wear it through airport scanners without it setting them off.

sea to summit towel

Microfiber Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

Gifts for backpackers

Petzl Actik Core Headlamp

A decent head torch could save your life. If you want to explore caves, unlit temples, or simply find your way to the bathroom during a blackout, a headtorch is a must.


‘Monopoly Deal’

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Mesh Laundry Bag Nomatic

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Don’t forget the insect repellent either!

packable travel medical kit

Things go wrong on the road ALL THE TIME. Be prepared for what life throws at you.

Buy an AMK Travel Medical Kit before you head out on your next adventure – don’t be daft!

Renting a car is the most popular way of getting around the Eastern USA. There are a myriad of car rental agencies here that offer varying deals and varying models.

To find the best rental car deal in the USA, use search engines that compare the prices of individual companies. I personally like using rentalcars.com as they’ve never failed to give us a great price.

You can also rent an RV or campervan, which means you don’t have to worry about packing camping gear. You will have to empty and refill the various water tanks though, which will require a visit to the proper facilities. RVs also cost more to rent, use more gas, and demand higher prices at campgrounds.

You can drive your own campervan around the country, but this is only practical if you already own one and are importing it into the country, or have a long enough US visa to make the most out of your wheeled home.

road trip on the florida coast

I suggest booking a campervan with Outdoorsy as they usually have a good selection and good prices. Better yet, Broke Backpackers also get a $40 discount with Outdoorsy! Just use the coupon code “BACKPACKER” when checking out.

The roads are generally very good and a sedan or economy car should deliver you to most of the East Coast’s top destinations. Only in the most remote portions of the Appalachia and the swamplands will you need to be concerned about having 4-wheel drive.

If you need any extra motivation to book that trip, here is the perfect mix of cheesy and inspirational road trip quotes . I’m sure they’ll give you the nudge you need.

Tips for Saving Money on Car Rentals in the US

east coast road trip mountains

  • Reach out to vehicle relocation services, like Imoova and Cruise America , as a way of saving heaps of cash on rentals.
  • Car insurance isn’t always mandatory in the USA but is highly encouraged. This being said, you don’t necessarily have to buy car insurance from the company you’re renting from. Purchase a RentalCover.com policy to cover your vehicle against any common damages such as tires, windscreens, theft, and more at a fraction of the price you would pay at the rental desk.
  • Many credit card companies offer free car insurance if you book the car with the proper card. Call your credit card company for more information regarding terms and conditions.

Best Time to Visit the East Coast

The East Coast is a massive region that is subject to more than a dozen different climates. While on a road trip along the East Coast, USA, you could potentially experience rain, sunshine, snow, and tropical storms – all in the course of a few weeks!

Depending on what you want to do, you could visit the East Coast at any time of the year. Summers generally have the most reliable weather though you might get dumped on in Florida.

On the other hand, if you were on an East Coast road trip in the winter, you could totally go skiing in New England and then surfing in Florida! Just don’t forget a high-quality ski jacket .

I have broken the East Coast into three different climate categories. These are broad generalizations and, in reality, each state has much more complex weather patterns. These categories are relevant enough for you to understand how the weather works on the East Coast.

an incredible orange and pink sunset as seen at a marina full of boats on water in connecticut in new england usa

Northeastern States (New England -> Pennsylvania) – These states are subject to 4 distinct seasons with cold, snowy winters and warm, semi-humid summers. Winters in these states can be frigid as the Canadian winds wreak havoc. Summers are mostly mild but heat waves are still common.

Central Atlantic States (Maryland -> Georgia) – These states receive more regular rainfall throughout the year and less dramatic temperature swings. Winters are still relatively cold and summers are the hottest time of the year, which means that these states are still classified as having 4 seasons. Though rare, Georgia and the Carolinas can actually receive snow in the winter.

Tropical States (Florida) – While the climate of Northern Florida is more similar to Georgia’s, Southern Florida is textbook tropical. Rain comes in bucket loads during the summer, sometimes dangerously in the form of hurricanes. Winters are mild and clear.

Food on the East Coast

A road trip on the East Coast will afford endless opportunities for you to try different foods. The food of this region is so diverse and so different that it’s not possible to put all of it into one category (except, of course, a delicious category).

Each state has its own local delicacies. You could make a culinary road trip from Maine to Florida in pursuit of these dishes and it would certainly take up a lot of your time and attention!

But let’s briefly talk about what you’ll find on each part of the East Coast…

New England is famous for its seafood , which is often baked, stewed or steamed to divine results. Chowder is perhaps the most famous dish here, though you can’t go wrong with a good ol’ clambake or lobster roll. On that note, Maine lobster is highly regarded. Food in Boston is particularly famous for its clam chowder, Boston baked beans, and being a legendary baseball city, hot dogs.

grilling lobsters from maine

New York City has just about every type of food imaginable because of its enormous immigrant population. You can seriously eat some of the best food from around the globe in one city. If there was one or two foods that could be called true New York food, it might be bagels and pizza . As pizza in the city is often priced at backpacker-friendly rates, just pair it with a cheap NYC hostel for an affordable adventure.

Pizza and, for that matter, Italian food is fairly common in the Atlantic states. Some places, like New Haven (Connecticut) and Scranton (Pennsylvania) even claim to have the best in the world.

The sandwich is also a staple of the East Coast and comes in many varieties. New Jersey is famous for inventing “the sub” while you can’t say you’ve visited Philadelphia’s tourist attractions without savoring its very well-known Philly cheesesteak.

As we drive further south the food begins to change. Southern cooking becomes the dominant trend and BBQ and fried foods are heavily featured. The Carolinas are particularly famous for their version of BBQ, though the Georgian variety is no slouch either.

Finally, Southern Florida has some of the best Caribbean and Latin food that you’ll eat in the USA. Cuban, Jamaican, Dominican, South American – all of these culinary styles are represented very well in Miami and the surrounding area.

Get your Buzz On

The East Coast is called the Beast Coast for a reason – people get wild on a regular basis and throw some of the best parties in the USA! You can party in a myriad of ways while on a road trip up the East Coast – you could go to a speakeasy in New York City, drink with rowdy Southies in a Boston dive, rub shoulders with politicians in Washington DC or dance all night in Miami. The possibilities are limitless.

Just make sure you know your personal limits (and that of your wallet) before dabbling in drug tourism, that’s all!

Drinking on the East Coast, particularly in the bigger cities, is by no means cheap though. Cover charges, exorbitant drink prices, and taxi fees add up very quickly; you could easily drop more than $100 in a single night.

A person looking out over NYC and The Empire State Building

I advise drinking at local dive bars for the cheapest drinks and taking advantage of the ubiquitous happy hour. You can get a beer for as low as $1 in some bars.

Beer is probably the most popular drink on the East Coast and is found in abundance at nearly every bar. No matter which bar you end up in, you’ll usually have a huge selection of domestic, craft, and imported choices. Best of all, it’s usually the cheapest drink!

One idea is to go on a brewery tour of the East Coast! There are hundreds of breweries on the East Coast making everything from shitty lagers to divine ales. I suggest visiting Brooklyn Brewing, Wicked Weed in Asheville, Ommegang in upstate New York, and Creature Comforts in Athens, Georgia.

Marijuana is legal for recreational use in several New England states! While on a Northeast coast road trip, you can drop by a dispensary and pick up a dime bag. All you need to buy weed is an ID proving that you’re over 21 and cash.

Be sure to brush up on local laws and don’t bring marijuana across state borders (especially into illegal states).

Being a Responsible Backpacker

Remember to be a respectful camper while on your East Coast road trip. Depart from the grounds at a decent hour, follow leave no trace principles , and be very, very aware of fire bans.

Reduce your plastic footprint: Perhaps the best thing you can do for our planet is to make sure you do NOT add to the plastic problem all over the world. Don’t buy one-use water bottles, the plastic ends up in a landfill or in the ocean.

I know it can be hard, but do your best to use the least amount of plastic water bottles that you can. Refill the ones that you do buy! Use a GRAYL GEOPRESS . Refill at your hostel/guest house! There are plenty of ways to reduce plastic!!!

Pack a tough and cool travel water bottle. You’ll use it every single day whether you are traveling or not! Be a responsible traveler , and grab a Grayl!

grayl geopress filter bottle

Drink water from ANYWHERE. The Grayl Geopress is the worlds leading filtered water bottle protecting you from all manner of waterborne nasties.

Single-use plastic bottles are a MASSIVE threat to marine life. Be a part of the solution and travel with a filter water bottle. Save money and the environment!

We’ve tested the Geopress  rigorously  from the icy heights of Pakistan to the tropical jungles of Bali, and can confirm: it’s the best water bottle you’ll ever buy!

I hope this epic East Coast road trip guide has prepared you for your overland journey along the Atlantic Ocean. This region of the country is filled with unique landscapes, plenty of history, and some truly delicious food.

Traveling here will help you get to know the US, and give you a look at the diversity within it. Just look at the differences between Miami and Maine!

This is a lot to take in, but remember that road trips can be spontaneous. That’s half the fun! On the other hand, if you just can’t quite decide where to start, you can’t go wrong with the Ultimate East Coast Road trip, which truly hits all the best stops on this side of the United States.

So make those last-minute van repairs or secure your rental.

An East Coast road trip awaits !

an assortment of orange and red trees as seen from above on an autumn hike in connecticut new england usa

Updated April 2023 by Samantha Shea from Intentional Detours .

road trip east coast

And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links . That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!

Ralph Cope

Share or save this post

promotional sidebar image for booking.com

I noticed a typo. The South Carolina State University is not located in Raleigh, NC. It should read North Carolin Satate University.

Awesome high level ideas for the ultimate East Coast road trip! As a Florida local, I’d recommend travelers check out some of the smaller, lesser-known FL West Coast areas like Anna Maria Island just south of Tampa or Sanibel if you’re heading even further south. All said and done, your guide did Florida justice — from visiting the Dry Tortugas to trying our BBQ and fried gator.

Wow, really long and informative article! Don’t have much to add but two tips that fall under the category general (obvious) advice:

– Don’t set the stops in stone and don’t try to keep a timeline. Take your time to explore places and stay flexible. Your trip will benefit greatly. – Keep a track of gas stations on your route. Because obviously there’s nothing worse but to run out of gas on a rainy day in the middle of nowhere…

Totally agree! You should really check out that ViaMichelin app for gas stations and what not. It’s brilliant.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.


20 East Coast Road Trips (with Maps & 1-Week Itineraries)

20 east coast 1 week road trips lighthouse and bridge over water

The family road trip has made a comeback and with it, families are looking for even more road trip ideas. While plenty of East Coasters have made the road trip down 95 to Florida over the years, now families want to take time to stop and explore along the way. With so much to see, we have divided this part of the country up into 20 different East Coast road trips, each of which could be done in a one-week vacation.

Each of these mini East Coast road trip itineraries will give you ideas for new ways to explore sections of the East Coast of the U.S.A. Check off one at a time or string a few together for a longer vacation.

Not sure where to start? Here are my top picks:

  • Best for nature fans: White & Green Mountains in NH and VT
  • Best for history buffs : Colonial History Philadelphia to Williamsburg
  • Best for beach lovers: Coastal Islands: Wilmington NC to Jacksonville FL
  • Best for national park stampers: Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Best for theme park fans: Daytona to Tampa
  • Best iconic views: Florida Keys road trip

20 East Coast Road Trips

Each of these East Coast road trip ideas should take approximately 7 to 10 days to complete as outlined. My goal is to only require one week of vacation time from work, since that is the typical family vacation. I’ve linked to some more detailed road trip itineraries and included maps to give you an overview of the route.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. All opinions are my own.

New England Coast: Boston to Bar Harbor, ME

Portland Head Light rocks

The drive from Boston, Massachusetts up to Bar Harbor, Maine can be done in about four hours on the highway, but it is better to take the scenic route and explore Vacationland’s scenic coast along the way. One of the best East Coast road trips, this one is full of Maine foods like lobster rolls, blueberry soda, and whoopie pies; as well as lighthouses, rocky coasts, quaint small towns, and Acadia National Park .

Portland: spend 2 nights in Portland exploring the Old Port, maybe taking a lobster boat tour, climbing on the rocks by Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, or spending a day shopping at the L.L. Bean outlet up in Freeport. You could also visit some local breweries or take a day trip to Maine Wildlife Park in Gray to see some moose.

Where to stay: The Press Hotel , Inn by the Sea , or the Courtyard Marriott Waterfront

Boothbay Harbor: spend 1-2 nights in Boothbay Harbor . On your way, stop and enjoy the coastal towns, Giant’s Stairs in Harpswell, spend an afternoon soaking up the sun on Popham Beach, a rare sandy stretch of sand, and be sure to line up for lobster rolls at Red Eats.

The next day, get out on the water with one of Boothbay Harbor’s many sightseeing cruises to see puffins or whales, or rent a sea kayak to explore Muscongus Bay. Leave time to browse at the many boutiques in town.

Where to stay: Tugboat Inn , Fisherman’s Wharf Inn

Rockland: spend 1 night enjoying the artistic town of Rockland . Pop into the Center for Maine Contemporary Art or the Farnsworth Art Museum. If the outdoors holds more appeal, hop aboard a traditional Maine Windjammer for a short sail, walk along the Rockland Breakwater, or explore the trails at Camden Hills State Park. This arts city of Maine is such a delightful surprise!

Where to stay: 250 Main Hotel

Bar Harbor: finish up your road trip at the scenic town of Bar Harbor, just outside of Acadia National Park . You will want to spend 2 to 3 nights exploring the park. Try to catch a sunrise or sunset from the top of Cadillac Mountain, drive the Park Loop Road, relax on Sand Beach, stop to see the natural phenomenon at Thunder Hole, take in the view from Otter Cliffs, bike the Carriage Roads, and check out some of the popular hikes. Don’t forget to enjoy an authentic lobster pound before you take the fast route back to Portland. (See more things to do near Acadia National Park .)

Where to stay: Bar Harbor Grand Hotel , Hampton by Hilton Bar Harbor , or go glamping at the Terramor Outdoor Resort

Read more: Check out my full coastal Maine road trip itinerary

White & Green Mountains: Boston, MA to Burlington, VT

Fall colors on trees with White Mountains in the distance from the Kancamaugus Highway in New Hampshire

The drive from Boston to Burlington takes only about 4 hours, but use this New England road trip to spend time enjoying the beautiful scenery of the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the Green Mountains of Vermont along the way, especially during fall foliage season.

Boston: if you haven’t been to Boston , plan on spending 2 nights enjoying this historic city. Don’t miss the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum , walk the Freedom Trail, enjoy a swan boat tour in Boston’s Public Garden, and taste your way through Boston’s Little Italy in the North End.

Where to stay: Fairmont Copley Plaza , Boston Harbor Hotel

Lincoln, NH: Lincoln can make a nice home base for 1-2 nights of exploring the White Mountains . Hike through the Flume Gorge, zip line, or hike at Loon Mountain, ride the Mount Washington Cog Railway, or drive the Mount Washington Auto Road. There are also plenty of hikes to try, rock climbing, a scenic drive on the Kancamagus Highway , and splashing in the waterfalls at Diana’s Baths.

Where to stay: Riverwalk Resort at Loon Mountain , Lumen Nature Retreat , Alpine Garden Glamping , or Huttopia

Stowe, VT: spend a couple of nights enjoying the Green Mountains from a home base in Stowe. On your drive from New Hampshire, you may want to stop at the Cabot cheese factory, Ben & Jerry’s Factory, and the Cold Hollow Cider Mill. In Stowe, you can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and other resort activities.

Where to stay: TopNotch Resort , Stowe Mountain Resort

Burlington, VT: Finish your road trip with a night in the hip waterfront city of Burlington. There are so many things to do in Burlington, VT and you can check out nearby Shelburne Farm, and the ECHO museum. Or if you prefer lake life, finish with a few days on Lake Champlain at the Basin Harbor Hotel .

On your drive back to Boston, be sure to stop and stroll through the charming downtown of Woodstock.

Where to stay: Hotel Vermont , Courtyard Burlington Harbor

Read more: Vermont Route 100 road trip stops , things to do in the White Mountains

Southern New England COast: New York, NY to Provincetown, MA

girl on whale statue in Provincetown MA

You should be able to make the trip from New York to Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod in 5 to 6 hours, but the traffic can be horrendous on summer weekends so try to travel midweek for this east coast road trip if you can.

Mystic, CT: Break up the trip with a night in Mystic. You will want to visit the historic Mystic Seaport, stroll through downtown, and maybe stop in at the Mystic Aquarium. You will find plenty of things to do in Mystic with kids.

Where to stay: Mystic KOA , Inn at Mystic

Newport, RI: spend a night in the yachting capital of the world . You can walk the Cliff Walk, fly a kite at Brenton Point State Park, visit some of the Newport Mansions, shop along Thames, and take a sail in the harbor.

Where to stay: Newport Marriott , The Vanderbilt

Providence, RI: instead of skipping over Rhode Island’s Creative Capital, spend a night to discover this little gem. Take a Rhode Island food tour, visit the RISD Museum, take a gondola or river boat ride, bike along the East Bay bike path, and, if you are lucky, take in Providence’s famous Waterfire .

Where to stay: The Graduate Providence , Aloft Providence Downtown

Falmouth, MA: stay the next 2 nights on the elbow of Cape Cod in Falmouth. Take time to relax on the beach and then hop the ferry over to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket for a day. You can also ride the Cape Cod bike trail or visit the Woods Hole Science Aquarium.

Where to stay: Sea Crest Beach Hotel or Autocamp Cape Cod

Provincetown, MA: finish your road trip with a couple of nights in the unique and vibrant town of Provincetown. You can shop, dine, take a tour of the sand dunes , go on a whale-watching tour, climb the lighthouse, or visit the Pirate Museum. The best part is searching the tide pools at low tide and watching the sunset.

Where to stay: Surfside Hotel & Suites

Read more: New York to Boston road trip itinerary, things to do in Providence

New York to Niagara Falls, NY

Maid of the Mist boat under rainbow approaching Niagara Falls

The drive from New York City to Niagara Falls can take 6 to 7 hours, but turn it into a road trip with a few days in the Finger Lakes region on the way and plenty of stops along the Western New York Upstate Eats Trail .

Watkins Glen: spend 2 nights in Watkins Glen, at the southern point of Seneca Lake. For fans of The Office, you may want to stop in Scranton, PA on your way for a self-driving tour of filming spots. Enjoy time on the lake, hike to the waterfalls in Watkins Glen State Park, or take a glider ride in Elmira, the Soaring Capital of the World.

Where to stay: Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel

Hammondsport: move over to Keuka Lake and spend a couple of nights in Hammondsport. You can enjoy water sports, wine tasting, and a day at the fascinating Corning Museum of Glass.

Where to stay: Keuka Lakeside Inn

Niagara Falls: you will want to spend 2 to 3 nights in Niagara to explore all the attractions including the Cave of the Winds, Maid of the Mist, Old Fort Niagara, jet boat tours, and hiking trails in Niagara Falls State Park.

Where to stay: Sheraton Niagara Falls , Hyatt Place Niagara Falls

Buffalo: on your return to New York, stop in for some food, history, and fun in Buffalo . This city is going through a renaissance and plenty of fun activities along the waterfront (in summer or winter). Make sure you try some of these must-eat foods in Buffalo too!

Where to stay: Buffalo Marriott LECOM Harborcenter

Cooperstown: on your return trip, be sure to stop in Seneca Falls and visit the Women’s Rights National Historical Park and the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Then spend a night in Cooperstown and visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Where to stay: Otesaga Resort , Inn at Cooperstown

Read more: Things to do in Hammondsport, NY , New York road trips

PA Pitstops: Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, PA

Cannon at Devil's Den at Gettysburg PA

Driving from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh takes about five hours, but going straight through means you will miss out on some many historic, scenic, and family-fun spots along the way.

Lancaster: start your trip with a night in Lancaster’s Pennsylvania Dutch Country. You will want to take a buggy ride, indulge at an Amish feast, or take in some of the historic sites. You can also take a tour of the Turkey Hill Ice Cream Experience.

Where to stay: Residence Inn by Marriott Lancaster

Hershey: next stop is the sweetest place on earth, Hershey . You can spend the day at Hersheypark, visit Hershey’s Chocolate World, or the Hershey Experience. History buffs will enjoy the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, a good introduction before you head to Gettysburg.

Where to stay: Hershey Lodge

Gettysburg: next up is the historic town of Gettysburg . I would highly recommend a guided tour of the Battlefield, but there are many other things to do in town as well.

Where to stay: Hilton Garden Inn Gettysburg , Gettysburg Hotel

Laurel Highlands: the Laurel Highlands is a scenic mountainous region east of Pittsburgh offering spectacular natural scenery and outdoor recreation. You will want to spend 2 days rafting down the Ohiopyle, climbing through Pennsylvania’s largest cave at Laurel Caverns, and enjoying mountain resort activities including zip lining, rock climbing, summer tubing, and more.

Where to stay: Nemacolin Woodlands Resort

Pittsburgh: you can fit a lot into 1 day in Pittsburgh , but spend 2 nights if you can spare it. See the view from Mount Washington from the Duquesne Incline, visit the Heinz History Center, explore the Carnegie Science Center, and don’t miss the Tribute to Children statue of Fred Rogers near the Allegheny River. There is also the Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and the Andy Warhol Museum. And if the Pirates are in town, try to catch a baseball game.

Where to stay: Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh , Omni William Penn Hotel

COlonial History: Philadelphia, PA to Williamsburg, VA

Colonial Williamsburg in a day (or less) -- reenactments on the village green

The drive from Philadelphia to Williamsburg takes about five hours but why not turn it into a learning experience with an American history road trip?

Valley Forge, PA: if you have already explored the historical sites of Philadelphia like the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, you may want to venture out of the city for a visit to the Valley Forge National Historical Park .

Baltimore, MD: spend 2 nights in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, where you can easily visit Fort McHenry, visit the National Aquarium, stroll through the cobblestone streets of Fells Point, and enjoy the other Inner Harbor attractions.

Where to stay: Hilton Baltimore Inner Harbor , Pier 5 Hotel Baltimore

Washington D.C.: you will want to spend at least 2 to 3 days exploring the nation’s capital. There are so many museums and monuments to explore, you may want to use our DC itinerary. Just remember if you want to visit the White House, you will need to make reservations in advance.

Where to stay: Embassy Suites by Hilton Washington DC Georgetown

Williamsburg, VA : finish your road trip in Colonial Williamsburg. You will need 2 to 3 days to enjoy the sites, including a full day in Colonial Williamsburg , a visit to Historic Jamestowne and Yorktown, and Busch Gardens or Water Country USA .

Where to stay: Kingsmill Resort , Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg

Read more: Northeast road trip for history lovers

Mid-atlantic Gems: Cape May, NJ to Chincoteague, VA

What to do in Chincoteague -- pony watching with Captain Dan's Around the Island Tours

If you want to stick to the Mid-Atlantic coast, this road trip will bring you through cute Victorian towns, beautiful beaches, and nature preserves.

Cape May, NJ: start off your journey in Cape May. This quaint town isn’t like the rest of the Jersey Shore. Enjoy the gourmet restaurants, charming boutiques, and gingerbread-style Victorian homes.

Where to stay : Congress Hall

Lewes, DE: take the ferry across to Lewes, Delaware, another Victorian town full of history, cute cafes, and shops. You must stay a night so that you can take a sunset cruise past the lighthouse and if you get lucky, you may see some dolphins on the way.

Where to stay : Inn at Canal Square

Bethany Beach, DE: as you continue down to the beaches of Southern Delaware, you may also want to stop and check out some of the local breweries and wineries in this region. If you are seeking a boardwalk, combined with bike trails, and great restaurants, you may prefer Rehoboth Beach . Dewey Beach is full of seaside hotels and beach bars, along with gorgeous state beaches. But if you are seeking quiet for a few days at the beach, I would recommend Bethany Beach.

Where to stay: Bethany Beach Ocean Suites Residence Inn by Marriott

Chincoteague, VA: on your way to Assateague Island National Seashore to see the wild ponies , stop in the cute small town of Berlin, MD or for a stroll on the Ocean City boardwalk. To get up close to the wild horses, I would recommend taking a boat tour with Captain Dan from Chincoteague. Afterward, get some marsh mud ice cream at Island Creamery.

Where to stay: Hampton Inn and Suites Chincoteague Waterfront

Eastern Shore: Baltimore, MD to Virginia Beach, VA

Virginia beach pier at sunrise

Swing through Maryland and Virginia’s Eastern Shore on your way down to Virginia Beach. You can then take the highway back to Baltimore, with a stop in Norfolk or Williamsburg on your return trip.

Annapolis, MD: start off with a night in Annapolis. Spend the day exploring some of Annapolis’ historic sites, including the State House and the U.S. Naval Academy, as well as the boutiques and galleries downtown. Don’t leave town without enjoying some crab cakes!

Where to stay: Graduate Annapolis

St. Michaels, MD: spend a night enjoying the Chesapeake side of the Eastern Shore. The charming town of St. Michaels offers up plenty of retail therapy options, but also cultural attractions like the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Nearby you can go tasting at local wineries and breweries, or get out on the water with a kayak or paddle board.

Where to stay: St. Michaels Harbour Inn

Chincoteague, VA : the kids will then enjoy a night on the other side of the peninsula, finding the wild ponies at Chincoteague or exploring the Assateague National Seashore. Be sure to stop for ice cream at the Island Creamery!

Virginia Beach, VA: there are so many things to do in Virginia Beach that you will want to spend a few days enjoying the wide sand beaches and exploring. Also, check out my friend Brianna’s guide to where to eat in Virginia Beach . If you want to take a day trip, pop over to Hampton to explore some early history or visit the Virginia Air and Space Museum.

Where to stay: Hilton Garden Inn Virginia Beach Oceanfront

Wi lliamsburg, VA: finish your road trip in Colonial Williamsburg. Plan on a full day in Colonial Williamsburg , and if you have more time, include a visit to Historic Jamestowne and Yorktown, Busch Gardens, or Water Country USA .

Skyline Drive: Washington DC to Charlottesville, VA

Tips for visiting Monticello with kids

This road trip will bring you through Shenandoah National Park for a mix of outdoor adventures and historic landmarks. We covered this ground during part of a more extensive Virginia road trip a few years back.

Woodstock, VA : spend 2 nights in Woodstock, exploring nearby Shenandoah Caverns, climbing the Woodstock Tower, tubing on the Shenandoah River, enjoying summer sports at Bryce Resort, and hiking in Shenandoah National Park.

Where to stay: Hampton Inn & Suites Woodstock

Harrisonburg, VA: spend the day exploring Shenandoah National Park and driving the Skyline Drive before arriving in Harrisonburg for the night. This is a great road trip for a college tour because James Madison University is also located here. Be sure to also stop at Kline’s Dairy Bar for its famous custard-style ice cream.

Where to stay: Residence Inn Harrisonburg

Charlottesville, VA: plan on spending 2 nights in Charlottesville . Stroll and shop downtown and then enjoy a traditional, Colonial-style luncheon at the historic Michie Tavern, followed by a visit to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello estate.

In the evening, head up to Carter Mountain Orchard to catch a sunset and some live music. On your second day, you can either explore more history at President James Monroe’s home, do some local wine tasting, tour the campus of the University of Virginia, or kayak along the James River.

Where to stay: Graduate Charlottesville

Richmond, VA: finish up your road trip with a couple of days in Richmond . While it was once the capital of the Confederate South, today the state capital is finding a new identity with plenty of street art, craft beer, and fun dining options. You may want to check out the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, or the Institute of Contemporary Art before heading back to DC.

Where to stay: Graduate Richmond

Carolina Coast: Washington DC to Wilmington, NC

beach view from the Blockade Runner hotel

If you are ready to escape the city for the coast, it is time for a road trip down to Wilmington , North Carolina and Wrightsville Beach. The six-hour drive is long but then there is plenty to do on the Carolina coast once you arrive and this road trip gives you a chance to figure out your favorite beach.

Emerald Isle, NC: Emerald Isle is on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast, or the “southern” Outer Banks. This area attracts visitors who have returned for decades for the simple beach pleasures of a family vacation. Emerald Isle offers 12 miles of pristine shoreline and incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean and Bogue Inlet. Spend a few days enjoying watersports, fishing, or simply sitting on the sand and enjoying the sound of the waves rolling in.

Where to stay: Inn at Pine Knoll Shores , Islander Hotel & Resort

Surf City, NC: stay a couple of days in Surf City, the center of Topsail Island. The relaxing and uncrowded beaches are what some call “the way the beach used to be.” You can also enjoy kayaking, fishing, and boating on the Intercoastal.

Wrightsville Beach, NC: once you have arrived in Wrightsville Beach set up your home base for the next few days to explore. You will want to spend some time in the historic downtown of Wilmington, take a food tour in Kure Beach, stroll the grounds of Airlie Gardens, take a hike in Carolina State Park, or enjoy some beach time. Don’t miss a stop at Britt’s Donuts — the best on the east coast!

Where to stay : Blockade Runner Beach Resort

Low Country: Raleigh, NC to Savannah, GA

Savannah square and fountain

You can make the drive from Raleigh to Savannah in about five hours, but it pays to take the coastal route and make some stops along the way.

Myrtle Beach, SC : how long you spend in Myrtle Beach depends on the vibe of a beach town that you enjoy. If you enjoy a boardwalk, arcades, family attractions, and plenty of kitsch — then you will enjoy a classic family vacation to Myrtle Beach. But you can also get away from the crowds by kayaking through the salt marshes, strolling through Brookgreen Gardens, or paddle boarding.

Where to stay: Island Vista

Charleston, SC: for a complete change of pace, spend a night or two in the historic city of Charleston. Start off with a carriage tour through the downtown, visit some of the historic homes and gardens, and discover why Charleston is a foodie destination.

Where to stay: The Mills House Wyndham Grand

Beaufort, SC: spend a day exploring Beaufort, the upcoming-and-coming “next” Charleston or Savannah. Explore its antebellum mansions and downtown historic district. You can also enjoy the low country marshlands and waterways.

Where to stay: Anchorage 1770 Inn

Savannah, GA: finish up this east coast road trip in Savannah. Wander through the city’s many squares lined with oaks dripping in Spanish moss in Savannah’s historic district . Check out the Prohibition Museum, and then enjoy Savannah’s vibrant dining and craft cocktail scene. Stroll down touristy river street, take a ghost tour, visit some of the historic homes, or spend a day out on the beach at Tybee Island. See my friend Rob’s (who has an Airbnb there) favorite things to do in Savannah and my friend Karen has great suggestions on the best family restaurants in Savannah .

Where to stay: Perry Lane Hotel

Blue Ridge Mountains: Charlotte, NC to Gatlinburg, TN

Great Smoky Mountains in the fog

If lakes and mountains are calling you, head towards the Blue Ridge Mountains and Great Smoky Mountains National Park — with a few stops along the way.

Lake Lure, NC: the backdrop to Dirty Dancing, Lake Lure is a favorite family vacation destination. You will need a couple of days to explore Lake Lure Flowering Bridge, Chimney Rock State Park, and Chimney Rock Village which has plenty of shops and dining options, along with a scenic riverwalk next to the creek that kids will enjoy playing in on a warm sunny day. Plus you have to leave time to enjoy the lake, by boat or beach.

Where to stay: Lake Lure Inn & Spa

Asheville, NC: located on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville has many fun things to do with kids . Take the Blue Ridge Highway to Sliding Rock, Looking Glass Falls, and other hiking trails. Swing from the treetops at the Adventure Center of Asheville, play some games at the Asheville Pinball Museum, visit the Biltmore Estate , one of the most popular things to do in North Carolina , or sample some local craft brews. If you have more time to road trip, be sure to explore these Blue Ridge Parkway stops .

Where to stay: Aloft Asheville Downtown

Gatlinburg, NC: use Gatlinburg as your base for exploring parts of Great Smoky Mountains National Park (don’t miss Cades Cove Loop ) and Pigeon Forge as well. You can go hiking, bike through the park, spend a day at Dollywood, go zip lining, see the view from Clingmans Dome, go horseback riding, or see a show.

Where to stay: Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg

Coastal Islands: Wilmington, NC to Jacksonville, FL

sunset over hilton head harbor

Another coastal road trip, this one bypasses the cities in favor of luxury beach destinations and brings you from Wilmington, NC all the way down to Jacksonville, Florida. A 6.5-hour drive by highway, you can spend a week or more exploring the coast. This trip brings you to some of the best beaches in the USA .

Kiawah Island: start off your road trip in luxury at the Kiawah Resort. This private residential island and resort is famous for its acclaimed golf course, but families can also enjoy 5-Star accommodations and 10 miles of private sandy shoreline.

Where to stay: The Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island Resort

Hilton Head Island: spend a couple of days enjoying the beaches of Hilton Head Island. You can also golf, take a guided dolphin or kayak tour, or enjoy some low-country cuisine. You won’t find tacky souvenir shops or neon signs. HHI has a quieter, more relaxed way of life.

Where to stay: Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort

Amelia Island: finish this luxe road trip at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island . Relax and enjoy the resort, search for shark teeth, star gaze from the beach, go shopping in downtown Fernandina Beach, take a kayaking tour, or hop a ferry for a day trip to Cumberland Island to see the wild horses.

Where to stay: The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island

Civil Rights Trail: Atlanta, GA to Memphis, TN

National Civil Rights Center

It is a six-hour drive from Atlanta to Memphis, and I recommend turning it into a Civil Rights road trip .

Atlanta: starting off in Atlanta , if you haven’t already visited I would recommend spending a couple of days visiting some of the important Civil Rights sites including the Center for Civil and Human Rights and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. Another fun way of exploring some history is through a food tour with Atlanta Food Walks.

Where to stay: Loews Atlanta Hotel

Montgomery, AL: plan on spending a full day in Montgomery visiting the Rosa Parks Museum, the Freedom Rides Museum, and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which honors victims of lynchings. On your way to Birmingham, you can make a detour to Selma to walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge and visit other Civil Rights sites.

Where to stay : Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa

Birmingham, AL: if you stop in Selma, you may want to plan on spending 2 nights in Birmingham so you don’t have to rush. Be sure to visit the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Kelly Ingram Park, and the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Take some time to enjoy Birmingham’s up-and-coming neighborhoods and food scene too.

Where to stay: Westin Birmingham

Memphis, TN: it is easy to spend at least 3 days in Memphis , more if you want to do a day trip to Graceland. You will need a half-day to take in the sobering exhibits at the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel (the place where MLK Jr. was assassinated.) Also visit Slave Haven, Sun Studios and STAX Museum of American Soul Museum. Just leave time to enjoy some great BBQ and soul food .

Where to stay: The Peabody Memphis

Read more: Plan a civil rights road trip

Golden Isles: Savannah, GA to St. Augustine, FL

Flagler College fountain and sundial

This coastal road trip from Savannah to St. Augustine, Florida stops at many of Georgia’s Islands along the way.

Little St. Simons Island: spend a few days on this private island nature preserve with just 32 other guests and 7 miles of pristine beach to explore. Take advantage of twice-daily naturalist-led expeditions, kayak through the marshes to go bird watching, bike to the beach, or track some of the property’s resident armadillos.

Where to stay: Little St. Simons Resort

Jekyll Island: plan on spending at least 2-3 days on Jekyll Island, another of Georgia’s Golden Isles. You will want to visit Driftwood Beach, check out the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, picnic at South Dunes Beach Park, relax on one of the many Jekyll Island beaches or even enjoy a day at the waterpark.

Where to stay: Jekyll Island Club Resort

St. Augustine, FL: finish your road trip with a visit to historic St. Augustine — the country’s oldest continuously occupied city. You can stay on the beach or in town but be sure to check out both. You can visit the Fountain of Youth, walk the ramparts at Castillo St. Marcos, take a trolley tour, take a food tour to discover some of the town’s best places to eat , take a ghost tour, climb a lighthouse, or explore these other fun things to do with kids .

Where to stay: Embassy Suites St. Augustine Beach

Florida Coast: St. Augustine to Miami, FL

South Beach Miami, Florida

Driving the east coast of Florida from Jacksonville to Miami can be done in five hours, but why miss all the great beaches, history, and fun attractions on the way?

Jacksonville / St. Augustine: you can fly into Jacksonville or start off in St. Augustine. In addition to all the historic town of St. Augustine has to offer (see above), Jacksonville offers plenty for kids too with the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, Museum of Science and History, Sweet Pete’s Candy Shop, TopGolf, and more.

Where to stay: The Lodge & Club at Ponte Vedra Beach

Cocoa Beach, FL: spend 2 to 3 days enjoying the area near Cocoa Beach, including a full day at Kennedy Space Center . You can also kayak past the giraffes at nearby Brevard Zoo in nearby Melbourne or learn to surf at Cocoa Beach, the East Coast surf capital.

Where to stay: Hampton Inn Cocoa Beach

Hollywood, FL: next you can stay a couple of nights in Hollywood, between Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Enjoy strolling along the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk, ArtsPark at Young Circle, the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, and the Anne Kolb Nature Center, with mangrove trails and an aquarium.

Where to stay: Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort

Miami, FL: if you have had enough beach time, you can focus on Miami’s neighborhoods and cultural attractions including Wynwood Walls, Little Haiti, Little Havana, and the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. Even plan a day trip to the Everglades for an alligator airboat tour! Of course, you can’t leave town without at least checking out Miami Beach.

Where to stay: Eden Roc Beach Hotel or The Diplomat Beach Resort

Florida Keys: Miami to Key West, FL

Florida Keys Overseas Highway

Driving from Miami to Key West is a classic American road trip. The trip can take a good five hours, but you need to leave plenty of time depending on traffic. It gives you the time to get into “island mode.”

Key Largo: it is best to break up the trip by staying a few days in the upper keys, since every key has its own personality. From here you can explore most of what Key Largo and Islamorada have to offer including John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, snorkeling or other watersports at Robbie’s, or glass-bottom boat tours of the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary.

Where to stay: Baker’s Cay Resort

Duck Key: Hawk’s Cay at Duck Key is a great spot for families to stop and relax for a few days, enjoying all the activities on this family-friendly resort.

Where to stay: Hawks Cay Resort

Key West: on your way to Key West , you will want to stop at the Turtle Hospital in Marathon and Bahia Honda State Park. Once in town, don’t miss out on the famous Sunset Celebration. You may also want to take a snorkel cruise or sunset catamaran. You can explore Key West’s vibrant food scene with a food tour — plus find out where to get the best Key Lime pie . Don’t forget to take a picture at the Southernmost Point.

Where to stay : Margaritaville Key West

Read more: Plan a Florida Keys road trip

Southwest Florida: Miami to Tampa, FL

cabanas on the beach in Marco Island

Cross Alligator Alley from Miami to Southwest Florida to explore the beauty of the Paradise Coast. Each town has its own personality so you will want to do a little beach hopping on your way up Florida’s Gulf Coast .

Marco Island: the wide, white sand beaches of Marco Island will entice you to stay for a few days. On the way, you should stop at Everglades National Park and take one of the many airboat tours available. You may also enjoy a dolphin watch tour, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, parasailing, and even jet skiing. A nature walk in Big Cypress Nature Preserve will introduce you to the area’s plant and wildlife.

Where to stay: JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort

Captiva Island: shelling fans will find their paradise on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. With much of the islands kept as a nature preserve, you are bound to spot dolphins, manatees, and abundant birdlife.

Where to stay: Seven Seas Island Resort

Clearwater Beach: just west of Tampa, the sugar-soft white sand of Clearwater has long been recognized as one of the best beaches in the U.S. In addition to beach time and water sports, families enjoy visiting the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. You can also explore the cultural attractions and family attractions of Tampa, including Busch Gardens, ZooTampa, the Museum of Science and Industry, and more.

Where to stay: Hyatt Regency Clearwater

Central Florida: Daytona to Clearwater, FL

Clearwater Beach cabanas

The shortest road trip may be across Florida from Daytona Beach to Clearwater. Yet there is so much to do in Orlando and Central Florida that you can easily spend a week or more getting the best of all worlds from the beach to the theme park.

Orlando: before leaving Daytona Beach, make sure you spend a day at the Kennedy Space Center , especially if you are lucky enough to be around to launch day. Of course in Orlando you can spend weeks in Disney , Universal , Legoland , and SeaWorld, plus all the water parks like Volcano Bay and H2O Live. But there are so many off-the-beaten-path Orlando attractions too from kayaking through the wetlands to visiting nearby natural springs.

Where to stay: Margaritaville Orlando

Clearwater Beach: before arriving in Clearwater Beach , you may want to hit up some of the attractions in Tampa, like Busch Gardens or ZooTampa. Then take time to relax on the sugar-soft white sand beaches of Clearwater. Take a pirate cruise, enjoy movies in the park, and visit Winter the Dolphin (famous from the movie A Dolphin’s Tale) and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

Where to stay: Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach

Panhandle: Orlando, FL to Orange Beach, AL

Pier and beach at Turquoise Place in Orange Beach Alabama

When you are ready to escape Central Florida for the gorgeous beaches of the Panhandle, head north on this Florida road trip.

Tallahassee: the drive from Orlando to Tallahassee takes about 4 hours, but there are plenty of natural springs, like Crystal River or Rainbow Springs, to stop at along the way. Or, turn it into a college trip and visit the University of Florida in Gainesville. In Tallahassee, you will find trees lined with trees dripping in moss instead of the palm trees of South Florida. Kids will also enjoy the Tallahassee Museum, Challenger Learning Center, Mission San Luis, and the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab.

Where to stay: aLoft Tallahassee Downtown

Destin: get ready for a few days of beach life in Destin on the Panhandle’s Emerald Coast. There are a ton of things to do with kids including the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, Indian Mound Museum, Big Kahuna’s water park, banana boat rides, parasailing, and more.

Where to stay: Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort

Orange Beach, AL: one of our favorite beaches, you can compare the Florida versus Alabama Gulf coast experience. In addition to relaxing on the sugar-soft sands of Gulf Shores or Orange Beach, there is so much else to do from biking in Gulf State Park, zip lining at The Wharf, sunset cruises with Sail Wildhearts, dolphin cruises, and of course, chowing down on amazing food !

Where to stay: Turquoise Place

Time to grab your road trip essentials and hit the road! If you don’t find what you are looking for, you can also take a New York to Florida road trip .

I hope this East Coast road trip planner was helpful. If you still need more inspiration, see more East Coast vacation ideas or things to do in New England .

Save this on Pinterest

20 east coast road trips girl in bar of car with suitcases and arms out

Tamara Gruber is the Founder and Publisher of We3Travel. A former marketing executive and travel advisor, Tamara is an award-winning travel writer and recognized expert in family travel. Tamara is a member of SATW and the Adventure Travel Trade Association, and serves on the Board of the Family Travel Association. She is also the publisher of YourTimetoFly.com and the co-host of the Vacation Mavens travel podcast.

Find this useful? Share it!

Publish Date: November 19, 2023



We3Travel.com will use the information you provide on this form to send you newsletters. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting [email protected] . By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.


Start typing and press enter to search

  • Search Please fill out this field.
  • Manage Your Subscription
  • Give a Gift Subscription
  • Sweepstakes

10 Best East Coast Road Trips for History, Beaches, and Seafood

Whether you're a foodie or history buff, prefer hiking or relaxing on the beach, these East Coast road trips will truly deliver.

road trip east coast

Unlike the West Coast, where only three states border the Pacific, a total of 14 states lie along the Atlantic shores. Road trips on the East Coast offer plenty of variety, taking in mountains, beaches, rugged seashores, large cities, small towns, and Intracoastal waterways. To top it off, seafood — from Maine's lobsters and Maryland's oysters to Florida's stone crabs — is abundant. Nearly every East Coast state has a culinary specialty as well, making food a memorable part of any East Coast road trip.

We've put together 10 of the best East Coast road trips, and while these have been broken up into easy weekend itineraries you can do from major cities, you could certainly tweak them, connect the dots, and build the ultimate multiday road trip all the way from Maine to Florida. Whatever you decide, there's plenty of adventure and lots of beautiful sights to see, from the incomparable colors of Vermont in the fall to the wild horses on the beaches of Virginia and, of course, grand cities like Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Miami.

Boston, Massachusetts to Burlington, Vermont

If you're on the East Coast when the trees begin to change color, a road trip through Vermont and New Hampshire will deliver some of the greatest autumn backdrops you could imagine. Starting in Boston, head north to Lake Winnipesaukee, where you'll find one of the country's best lake towns . Dubbed "America's oldest summer resort town," Wolfeboro is a place worth spending a night to soak up the Americana aesthetic in this town that many have called "Rockwellesque."

From the lake, drive an hour north on NH-16 to get to North Conway where you can get on the Kancamagus Highway, a top-tier National Scenic Byway for fall foliage lovers that offers scenic stopping points like waterfalls and gorges. The highway travels for 34.5 miles through the White Mountain National Forest . Once you've come out the other side in Lincoln, New Hampshire, you can continue on your way west and cross over into Vermont.

Set your sights next on Stowe, Vermont's most picturesque ski resort town , and the location of the Trapp Family Lodge, the historic home of the real von Trapp family that inspired Rodgers and Hammerstein to write "The Sound of Music." If there's no snow on the ground, the area offers plenty of trails for biking and hiking, or you can enjoy a scenic gondola ride and the charming downtown area. You'll finish the trip when you arrive in the state capital of Burlington, a small city with a youthful personality as the home of the University of Vermont. You can stock up on farm-fresh groceries at the celebrated Saturday farmers market and go barhopping among the city's many craft breweries.

Boston, Massachusetts to Acadia National Park, Maine

There's no shortage of ways to explore Boston — self-guided walking tours, museum visits, and strolls through Little Italy (in the North End) and historic spots like Faneuil Hall and Boston Common are all great options for soaking in the city. Visitors can also take a harbor cruise or ride a seasonal Swan Boat in the Public Garden lagoon. Don't leave town without sampling the city's famous clam chowder and Boston cream pie.

The fastest route on this 285-mile trip takes nearly five hours and passes through Salem, Massachusetts; Portsmouth, New Hampshire; Portland, Maine ; and Augusta, Maine's capital, before reaching Bar Harbor. You'll experience New England's scenery and history if you take U.S. Route 1 with a few detours along the way.

Traveling north on U.S. Route 1 from Boston, you'll pass over the Mystic River. If time allows, watch for the Yankee Division Highway heading east toward Gloucester — a worthwhile detour if you're interested in seeing lighthouses, fishermen's memorial statues, and historic buildings. Back on the highway, you'll drive north, just a mile or so from the sea most of the time, briefly passing through New Hampshire until you reach Portsmouth and enter Maine. Continue through beach towns and the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge , and take State Route 9 for a detour to Kennebunkport . Spend the night, dine on Maine lobster, and check out the stunning mansions in this nearly 400-year-old town.

Take Route 9 around the shore, then head back to U.S. Route 1 on Route 208. Continue on U.S. Route 1 to Portland, another great option for an overnight stay. From Portland, three hours on the shore-hugging scenic route will get you to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park .

New York, New York to Newport, Rhode Island

Spending a few days in Manhattan is the ideal lead-in to a relaxing road trip to a quieter town like Newport. After noshing on bagels or pizza, shopping, visiting museums, and strolling through Central Park , it could be time for a change. Don't leave without walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, meandering along The High Line , and experiencing The National September 11 Memorial Museum .

When it's time to leave, head north on Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive (FDR Drive) along the East River to the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, which spans the Harlem River. Interstate 278 then takes you through the Bronx and onto Interstate 95 through Westchester County. The highway runs northeast, close to the shore of the Long Island Sound into Connecticut. You'll pass through New Haven, home of Yale University, and have an opportunity to explore the campus.

Shortly after the town of Guilford, exit onto State Route 1, which will take you closer to the sea and add about 30 minutes to the four-hour, 185-mile trip — but it's well worth it for the views and beach access. You'll join Interstate 95 again to get back on your way to Newport, eventually exiting onto State Route 102 and then Route 138.

In Newport, park your vehicle and spend a few car-free days along the shore, strolling the three-and-a-half-mile Cliff Walk , exploring vintage mansions, and enjoying fresh seafood. Take a bike ride along one of many trails or relax on a sunset cruise.

New York, New York to Washington, D.C.

Greg Pease / Getty Images

This 226-mile trip takes approximately four hours, depending on traffic and road conditions. From lower Manhattan, take the Holland Tunnel that passes under the Hudson River to New Jersey. You'll be on Interstate 78 in Jersey City, with views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty . The interstate highway crosses Newark Bay on the Vincent R. Casciano Memorial Bridge, then meets Interstate 95 heading south.

Driving south on Interstate 95 (New Jersey Turnpike), Staten Island, one of New York City's boroughs, will be on your left across a narrow body of water called Arthur Kill — the word "kill" is derived from the Dutch, influential in settling this part of the northeast. Continue south on Interstate 95 through New Jersey — maybe taking a detour to the beaches of the Jersey Shore — until you cross the Delaware River into the state of Delaware. You'll soon enter Maryland, where Interstate 95 is named John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway, cross the Susquehanna River, and go on to Baltimore.

Continue south on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway (295) into Washington, D.C., where there's plenty to see and do, from museums, memorials, and monuments to outdoor activities on the waterfront. The Smithsonian museums alone could fill several days, plus there's hiking, biking, and boating for those who want to spend some time outdoors.

Baltimore, Maryland to Virginia Beach, Virginia

Starting in Baltimore, this East Coast road trip will take you on a long detour from I-95 that passes through a rare coastal landscape populated by wild horses. From Baltimore, it's a 118-mile drive across the Chesapeake Bay to Delaware's Bethany Beach, a lovely first beach to set the tone for this coastal adventure. From here, travel south along the water until you reach Ocean City, Maryland , a classic American beach town to base your adventures in Assateague State Park. Open to beach campers, this 48,000-acre stretch of grass and sand is considered one of the country's most scenic camping destinations.

You'll find wild horses roaming the landscape on Assateague and further south on Virginia's Chincoteague Island, which is your next stop. There's no main road connecting the two islands (although there are many back-country campsites) so you will have to briefly go back inland to get to Chincoteague, where you'll find even more beautiful scenery, horses, and the famous Pony Swim , which takes place every summer. During the event, spectators can watch as the horses are herded across the bay by the "Saltwater Cowboys" in an impressive display of the animals' swimming chops.

From Chincoteague Island, it's a beautiful 105-mile drive with the Atlantic on one side and the Chesapeake Bay on the other. Make sure to stop for lunch in one of the small towns along the way for fresh seafood. When you reach the end of the island, you'll travel across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and arrive at your final destination in Virginia Beach, another classic American beach town, where you'll have your pick of chic hotels and a large boardwalk with plenty of restaurants and attractions for all ages.

Washington, D.C. to Nags Head, North Carolina

After taking in the sights, restaurants, and history of our nation's capital, you may be ready to head to the beach — this trip takes you about 280 miles south to the Outer Banks of North Carolina . As with most of these road trips, there's the faster way and the more scenic route. In this case, the scenic drive adds nearly an hour to the approximately five-and-a-half-hour trip, but if you're on vacation, it's worth the additional time.

Head south out of Washington, D.C. on Interstate 395 (which turns to Interstate 95). You'll pass the Thomas Jefferson Memorial , then cross the Potomac River into Virginia. Continue south until you reach State Route 3 around Fredericksburg — head east on Route 3, then south on Route 17. Called Tidewater Trail, Route 17 meanders along next to the Rappahannock River, a spot known for outdoor fun and delicious oysters.

You'll cross the York River and the James River, which empty into the Chesapeake Bay. In the city of Newport News, take Interstate 64 southeast, and in Chesapeake, take Route 168 into North Carolina. The highway meets up with Route 158, takes you along a narrow peninsula to the Wright Memorial Bridge, and south to the Outer Banks town of Nags Head. Relax on the beach, climb to the top of the still-active Bodie Island Lighthouse , or watch the hang gliders at Jockey's Ridge State Park among massive sand dunes.

Charlotte, North Carolina to Gatlinburg, Tennessee

For this scenic East Coast road trip, you'll travel to the heart of Appalachia, starting in Charlotte, North Carolina where you can pay a visit to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. From here, you'll head west to Asheville, another city with a lot of character and a unique history. Consider this your gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park . While in town, you should stop by The Biltmore Estate, the impressive mansion of the famously rich Vanderbilt family, and plan to spend sunset at the Omni Grove Park Inn , a historic hotel that once hosted American authors like F. Scott Fitzgerald and also has the best sunset views in town.

From Asheville, get yourself to the Blue Ridge Parkway, a road that provides 469 miles to explore the poetic Appalachian Mountain landscape from the comfort of your car — with plenty of stopping points to enjoy a cozy cabin lodge or gentle hike. The road goes northwest through Virginia, but we recommend traveling southwest to finish in the Smoky Mountains and then crossing the national park until you reach Gatlinburg . For a trip this grand, why not plan a big finale and book a night in one of the region's luxury tree houses? The Sanctuary Tree House Resort in nearby Pigeon Forge is home to beautiful feats of architecture with real tree houses boasting trip-making amenities like outdoor hot tubs and swinging day beds.

Wilmington, North Carolina to Savannah, Georgia

Daniela Duncan / Getty Images

Start or end this road trip by spending a few days in the riverfront city of Wilmington, strolling Cape Fear's 1.75-mile Riverwalk , browsing the shops, or dining at one of the waterfront cafes or restaurants. Tour the Battleship North Carolina , just across the river from downtown, to catch a glimpse of its role in World War II's Pacific Theater. Spend a day at the beach or ride in a horse-drawn carriage among Wilmington's historic mansions.

When it's time to begin your drive south to Savannah, you have a few options. The fastest route is inland on Interstate 95, a little less than five hours for 300 miles. But take your time and drive near the coast on U.S. Route 17. While this will add around an hour, you'll pass through small towns and be able to stop for lunch on a nearby beach. If time allows, you could happily take three days or more to enjoy this scenic and historic section of the coast.

Head west across the Cape Fear River, then U.S. Route 17 takes you inland for a few miles south before you get close to the Atlantic shore for most of the drive. You'll pass Shallotte, its river of the same name, and the Brunswick Islands , five barrier islands with beaches, seafood, and a historic atmosphere. North Carolina's Outer Banks region, which comprises 100 miles of shoreline, is a popular summer destination, and you might decide to spend some time (or even a night) in one of the beachside towns.

Myrtle Beach in South Carolina might be your next stop, or you can continue your scenic drive along the shore and spend the night in Charleston. Continue on U.S. Route 17, driving near the Sea Islands — hundreds of barrier islands along the shores of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida — for about two hours, before arriving in Savannah.

Savannah, Georgia to Orlando, Florida

It may not be easy to leave Savannah's squares, parks, riverfront, and restaurants, but if you're planning a visit to Orlando's theme parks and many attractions, it's time to get on the road. Most of the 300-mile trip will be on Interstate 95, which runs fairly close to the coast, but there's a short detour that takes you to Sea Island , Little St. Simons Island , and Jekyll Island that's well worth an extra hour or more.

Take Interstate 16 West out of Savannah to meet up with Interstate 95 South — you'll drive mostly inland, but pass over creeks and streams along the way. Shortly after the Altamaha River, watch for a turnoff onto State Route 99, then take Route 17 south. Take a road to whichever island you want to visit. Then, continue on Route 17, which meets up with Interstate 95 again. Continue south, passing Amelia Island, and on toward Jacksonville, where you'll cross the St. Johns River.

You'll drive near the coast as you pass St. Augustine, the nation's oldest city, and a variety of beach towns. At Daytona Beach, home of the Daytona International Speedway , head southwest on Interstate 4, passing Lake Monroe and on to Orlando, where hotels, Disney World, Epcot, Universal Studios, and entertainment of all kinds await. Explore the natural surroundings at Shingle Creek Regional Park , where you can paddle a canoe or kayak, or enjoy a quiet picnic.

Miami, Florida to Key West, Florida

Artur Debat/Getty Images

This classic road trip takes you to the furthest reaches of Highway 1 and the southernmost point of the continental U.S. From Miami, it's a 164-mile drive to Key West, but it's a trip that should be broken up along the way to enjoy the diversity of the many islands that make up the Florida Keys — and maybe even a detour to Everglades National Park if you've always wanted to see gators in person. Before you set out, make sure you take the proper time to enjoy the scene of South Beach, have a cafecito on Calle Ocho in Little Havana, and take a few shots for the 'gram at Wynwood Walls .

From Miami, embrace the laid-back style of the Keys by traveling slowly, first stopping at Key Largo for a slice of Key Lime Pie at Mrs. Mac's Kitchen . As you roll down Highway 1 past Islamorada and Marathon, you'll see fabulous resorts and cozy bed-and-breakfasts but for an experience that's a little different, park the car and hop on a boat to the celebrated Little Palm Island , a private island resort where you can have your own luxury bungalow . You can spend the entire trip exploring the many wildlife-rich snorkeling and diving spots, especially if you take an excursion to Dry Tortugas National Park , a protected marine reserve.

For literature fans and animal lovers, a visit to the Hemingway Home and Museum is a must, where you can meet the unique six-toed cats descended from the great American author's precious pet Snowball who lived there with him in the 1930s. Of course, with only one way to go from Key West, the drive back is just as scenic as the drive there, so keep track of your favorite spots and make sure you never miss the sunset, which is magnificent from just about every angle.

Things to Do in Acadia National Park

7 Epic East Coast USA Road Trip Routes

Planning to take an east coast USA road trip but not sure where you want to go?

We adore taking road trips in the United States, and for as long as I can remember, road tripping the east coast has been my travel comfort zone.

As a child, I was shuttled from Orlando to North Carolina to visit family at least a couple of times a year for the better part of a decade, and a few years later, my family spent a couple of months taking an east coast road trip all the way from North Carolina to Maine.

In my early twenties, I made some truly special memories taking road trips throughout the south with my mom and Grammy.

Romantic Getaways in USA: Jones Street in Savannah

Some links in this post may be affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please see our disclosure policy for more detail.

Fast forward a few years, and Jeremy and I have put our dent in east coast USA road trips as well, touring both parts of New England and the south by car.

We haven’t been able to get everywhere (yet), though, so for this post, we’ve teamed up with several other travel bloggers to recommend some of the absolute best east coast USA road trip routes… and added a couple of new destinations to our bucket list in the process.

From the southernmost point in the continental USA to the rocky beaches of Maine, here’s where to go on your next USA road trip.

We have offered suggestions for the best hotels in each place but if you are doing this as a true road trip it is really cool to do it in an RV. You can rent incredible RVs and camper vans from Outdoorsy, book here for your next road trip!

Things to Do in Acadia National Park

Table of Contents

Southeast USA Road Trip Routes

Mid-atlantic road trip routes, new england road trip routes, miami to key west road trip.

From Sarah of Travels of Sarah Fay

The best way to see the beauty of Florida is a drive from the art deco-clad roads of Miami, to the beaches of Key West. Also, there is something very satisfying about reaching the end of the Route 1 highway in Key West.

It is so iconic that it is popular to take a photo at the last highway marker for Route 1 in Key West. 

This iconic overseas highway crosses 42 bridges that take you to a few destinations not to be missed including Key Largo, Islamorada, Bahia Honda State Park, and the famous Key West.

Top things to do in Key Largo include taking a glass-bottom boat tour or snorkeling to see one of the world’s best reefs. The John Pennekamp State Park offers snorkeling tours that will show you the colorful wonders of the reef.

Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, a must see during any trip to Miami! The street is lined with palm trees and there's a yellow and white building in the foreground. An American flag is waving at the top of the photo.

Before making your way to Key West, stop at Robbie’s to not only eat but feed the Tarpon off the pier and maybe see a shark. Then as you make your way down south, why not stop at the Florida Keys Brewing Company in Islamorada.

Along this drive, you will find one of the best beaches in the world at Bahia Honda State Park located on Marathon Key. The endless expanse of pearly white sand and turquoise waters and a little hike on one of the original bridges constructed from Miami to Key West is the perfect way to relax before getting to the party in Key West.

Finally, in Key West, you can have a slice of the famous Key Lime Pie, take a picture at the southernmost point of the continental USA, and party on Duval Street because you have completed this epic east coast USA road trip.

If you are feeling really adventurous you could also try and check out the Everglades, which is just a short detour off of Route 1 when leaving Miami.  

Driving Distance

Recommended trip length.

You can drive from Miami to Key West in about 4 hours if you go straight through. With a couple of days to explore, you’ll be able to see plenty of sights along the way, making this an excellent weekend road trip!

South Pointe Pier in Miami Beach, with view of downtown on the far left and South Beach on the right--definitely visit during your 3 days in Miami!

St. Augustine to Charleston Road Trip

For a mix of relaxing coastal vibes and delightful southern charm, plan an east coast USA road trip leading from St. Augustine, Florida to Charleston, South Carolina!

This road trip has its fair share of beaches and natural beauty, while also covering some of the best East Coast cities to visit .

Start your trip in St. Augustine, which happens to be the oldest city in the USA: founded by the Spanish in 1565, St. Augustine is packed with history. 

Be sure not to miss visiting the Castillo de San Marcos for a rare chance to visit a castle in the USA, the Lightner Museum, and the St. Augustine Lighthouse. Once you’ve had your fill of history for the day, kick back and enjoy some of Florida’s legendary beaches.

From St. Augustine, head to Savannah to admire what is arguably the most beautiful city in the south.

Stroll through the 22 town squares, wander down famous Jones Street to peek at one of the most beautiful streets in the USA, visit Forsyth Park, tour some house museums, hit up City Market, and, if you’re up for a scare, head out on a ghost tour.

The Best Things to Do in Savannah: Jones Street

After visiting Savannah and possibly stopping at nearby Tybee Island for a little more beach time, make your way to Charleston for the final stop on this east coast USA road trip.

In Charleston, be sure to snap photos at famous Rainbow Row and Folly Beach, visit Fort Sumter, check out the Charleston City Market, and visit the stunning 1500-year-old Angel Tree.

Those interested in military history will also enjoy a visit to Patriot’s Point, and food lovers can’t go wrong with a food tour in order to taste some of the best Lowcountry food around.

We suggest spending at least 5 days on this east coast road trip, but by slowing down and potentially adding other side stops like Tybee Island or Hilton Head, you could easily make this into a 7-10 day vacation!

Rainbow Row in Charleston USA, a row of colorful houses. These are pink, purple, and green from left to right. Charleston is one of the best weekend trips for couples in USA!

Blue Ridge Parkway

From Bret Love & Mary Gabbett of Green Global Travel

One of America’s most iconic road trips, the Blue Ridge Parkway runs nearly 500 miles through North Carolina and Virginia, connecting the Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah National Parks .

Construction of the route began back in 1935, and it has been the United States National Park System’s most visited attraction almost every year since the mid-1940s.

The route begins on U.S. Route 441 at Oconaluftee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, near Cherokee, North Carolina. It ends at the southern entrance to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia at Rockfish Gap. 

Once you take this jaw-droppingly beautiful drive for yourself, you’ll see why. With stunning scenery, historic landmarks, and thousands of different wildlife species along the way (birds, bears, deer, and more), the Blue Ridge Parkway offers a taste of unspoiled Americana at its finest. 

There are way too many highlights of this route to adequately summarize here, but I’d definitely recommend spending a few days in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and exploring the area in and around Asheville.

Blue Ridge Parkway USA shot from above during the fall, with fall foliage on either side of the road--one of the best weekend trips in the United States

Heading north, there are great hiking and fishing in both the Pisgah and Cherokee National Forests, as well as charming little mountain towns such as Boone and Blowing Rock, NC.

Virginia’s must-sees include Roanoke, George Washington & Jefferson National Forest, and of course Shenandoah National Park. 

Our favorite time to explore this region is autumn. The crowds are smaller, the weather is cooler, and the stunning color of the leaves turn the Blue Ridge Mountain scenery into something magical.

We suggest exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway over 3-5 days.

Kate Storm hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one of the best east coast USA road trip routes.

The Adirondacks Road Trip

From Jim of Uncovering New York

The Adirondack Mountains of northern New York are one of the most beautiful and remote regions of the east coast of the United States. While there are faster routes between Lake George and Lake Placid, this road trip route will take you through some of the region’s most beautiful small towns and past some of its best attractions.

Start in Lake George. While here, consider taking a boat cruise on the Minne Ha Ha and touring Fort William Henry.

From here, head north out of town on Route 9 before picking up NY-28 south and then NY-8 south.

Route 8 passes along the southern reaches of the Adirondack Park and past many great waterfalls and hiking trails. One to make sure not to miss is the 70-foot Auger Falls. Shortly after Auger Falls, take NY-30 north, making sure not to miss the beautiful shores of Indian Lake and the hike to Ok Slip Falls.

In the town of Blue Mountain Lake, the  Adirondack Experience  is a can’t-miss museum that tells the story of the Adirondack Park and people that call it home. This is a truly fantastic museum and is worth saving a few hours to experience. While in town, you can also explore local art at the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts.

Continue on the journey enjoying the incredible scenery of the Adirondacks as you pass by spots like Long Lake and Tupper Lake. Veer off onto NY-3 east for your final stop for the evening in Saranac Lake, New York.

Saranac Lake, Adriondacks New York in the fall, with houses nestled against the lake shore, taken from across the water. Upstate NY in the fall in is one of the most romantic USA trips to take!

The next day, explore the history of this community at the Saranac Laboratory Museum and learn how the community was built by tuberculous patients. You can also visit the former home of author Robert Louis Stevenson.

Finally, take NY-86 the short distance to Lake Placid, home to two Winter Olympics. While in town, tour the Lake Placid Olympic Museum, High Falls Gorge, and enjoy shopping in this quaint town. End your weekend road trip with a climb up Cobble Hill for great views of Lake Placid.

While you certainly spend a full week or even longer exploring this route and the communities along it, this is a great two-day road trip that’s perfect for any nature lover.

Overview in Adriondacks New York showing fall foliage and a lake in the distance. The Adriondacks are one of the best east coast USA road trips!

New Hampshire Road Trip

From Micki of The Barefoot Nomad

New Hampshire’s fiery fall foliage, mountain passes, serene lakes, and rugged coastline make for a picturesque east coast USA road trip. The state is a dream destination for nature lovers, with ample opportunities for hiking, kayaking, swimming, and outdoor winter sports. 

One of the state’s highlights is the charming seaside town of Portsmouth, where you can enjoy craft ale and fresh seafood among jewel-box colonial buildings.

Odiorne State Park is a short 10-minute drive from downtown Portsmouth, and home to rugged coastal views, the educational Seacoast Science Center, and the remains of Fort Dearborn.

From Portsmouth, make your way to the Kancamagus Highway, which is rightly touted as one of the USA’s most scenic drives. The Kancamagus twists through the White Mountains and offers stunning views of fall foliage and plenty of hiking and camping.

Harbor in Portsmouth NH taken at sunset from across the water--one of the prettiest places to see in New England

From the Kancamagus, continue on to Franconia State Park to see the Flume Gorge, a natural gorge that runs for about 800 feet at the foot of Mount Liberty. The 1886 Pemigewasset covered bridge at Franconia Notch State Park is well worth a stop. 

From there, it’s a short 10-minute drive from the Flume Gorge to the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway, an 80-passenger cable car that reaches the 4,080-foot summit of Cannon Mountain. There’s a short hiking trail at the summit that offers views of the mountains of New Hampshire , New York, Vermont, Maine and even the Canadian province of Quebec.

Next up, a stop at idyllic Lake Winnipesaukee offers a change from the mountains. While some areas around the lake (like Weirs Beach in Laconia) are packed with tourists in summer, Winnipesaukee’s 183 miles of coastline, and more than 300 islands means that secluded spots aren’t hard to find.

While you can take this trip in any season, many mountain passes, like the Kancamagus Highway, are closed during heavy snowfalls. However, winter is a great time to try snowshoeing or skiing at any of the state’s 19 ski resorts. In autumn, North Conway, Kancamagus Highway, and Franconia boast incredible fall foliage. 

Start and end this trip by flying into Boston, Massachusetts, heading north through Portsmouth, Odiorne State Park, Kancamagus Highway, Franconia State Park, Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway, Lake Winnipesaukee, and ending your loop in Boston.

Four days is plenty for this drive, though you’ll have to limit your time in a few locations. You’ll be on the road for about 7 and a half hours during this east coast road trip.

New Hampshire 1886 Pemigewasset Covered Bridge at Fronconia Notch State Park, part of one of the best east coast USA road trips!

Portland to Bar Harbor Road Trip

From Kaisa of Glam Granola Travel

The Maine stretch of US-1, also known as the Coastal Highway, is a classic New England-style east coast road trip. While you could drive this iconic seaside road in a day, there are so many things to do in Portland , Acadia, and everywhere in between, it’s best appreciated leisurely over several days. You can start at either end, but starting in Portland and heading north provides increasingly beautiful scenery. There are plenty of campsites and B&Bs along the way in Maine’s many state parks and harbor towns. 

Portland is famous for potato donuts, breweries, and quirky local charm. Allagash and Bissell Brothers are two award-winning breweries; the former often has food trucks, while the latter shares space with a great local café. The Old Port area near the water is full of cool shops, including one of the best Portland donut shops The Holy Donut. A picnic in the Eastern Promenade park overlooking the water is a particularly peaceful way to spend the afternoon. 

Heading north of Portland, one encounters more and more of what Maine does best—natural beauty and seafood. There are three unique state parks to choose from on this route, from south to north: Popham Beach State Park (Phippsburg), Camden Hills State Park (Cambden), and Moose Point State Park (Searsport).

Popham Beach State Park is known for its perfect sandy beach, rare along Maine’s rocky coastline, and picturesque lighthouses. Camden Hills’ main attraction is the panoramic view of Camden and the ocean from Mt. Megunticook, a moderate day hike. Moose Point has awesome tide pools, which are  so  much fun to explore and observe critters in.

In Wicasset, between Popham Beach and Camden Hills, Red’s Eats makes one of New England’s most delicious lobster rolls. For a state famous for its lobster rolls, being considered among the best is a massive accomplishment. 

Things to Do in Acadia National Park

Finally, end this east coast USA road trip in Acadia National Park.

Located next to Bar Harbor on Bar Island, it’s a true gem of the National Park system and there is no other park like it. Whale watching trips leave from Bar Harbor every day during the high season and are a definite must-see!

The hiking in Acadia is incredible, as well—don’t miss the Beehive, a short, thrilling (but still family-friendly) climb up rocky cliffs complete with metal bars and manmade bridges between the rocks. The view at the top, of the Atlantic Ocean, harbor, and endless lush hills, is New England at its finest.

While you can technically complete this US road trip route in a day, we suggest taking a couple of days to savor the sights along the way.

Things to Do in Acadia National Park

New England Road Trip Loop

From Danielle of Wanderlust While Working

Whether you’re looking for majestic mountains, breathtaking coastal views, photogenic lighthouses, or the excitement of a big city, New England has it all.

For the perfect northeast USA road trip, take an epic road trip through New England starting and ending in Boston.

Enjoy exploring Boston via the Freedom Trail and take in some of America’s oldest historical sites along the 3.5-mile route.

Next, drive southwest to the coast of Newport, RI, home of the extravagant Newport Mansions. After exploring Newport for a day, continue to follow the coast to the quaint seaside town of Mystic, CT, home of historic Mystic Seaport.

Next, cut across Western Massachusetts to the lush Green Mountains in Vermont with a stop in Burlington bordering the beautiful Lake Champlain. Spend the day wandering this cute college town and imbibing in one of the many breweries (Vermont has the largest number of breweries per capita of any state!).

Things to Do in Boston: Acorn Street

From here, head east through the White Mountains of New Hampshire, home to Mount Washington, the tallest mountain on the East Coast. The last major stop of the loop is Maine’s Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, ME. See all Acadia has to offer whether it’s hiking, biking the famous carriage roads, or exploring the coast by boat for a few days before returning to Boston via Portland, ME.

While there is plenty to do in New England any time of year, visit in summer for the best weather and to enjoy the coastal beaches or in fall for a tour through New England’s famous fall foliage. Along the way don’t forget to try some of the food New England is famous for, including Maine lobsters and New England clam chowder!

1,100 miles

We recommend taking about 10 full days to road trip New England in depth.

Photo of an empty road with yellow double line in the center. Trees with fall foliage are on either side of the road. Black text on a white background reads "7 epic east coast usa road trips"

About Kate Storm

Image of the author, Kate Storm

In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

8 thoughts on “7 Epic East Coast USA Road Trip Routes”

In 2007 we drove part of one of your routes from Savannah (where we spent three nights) to Charleston (where we also spent a night). I had just read “Midnight In The garden of Good and Evil” (John Berendts) which brought extra meaning to Savannah’s sights. It was such a pretty city that allegedly in 1866 General Sherman refused to torch it as had been his custom in other towns.

On Tybee Island we had a dellicious crab meal at The Crab Shack. Hopefully it’s still there. I loved their novel idea of having a hole in the centre of the table where the food scraps are simply dropped where they fall into a bin.

On the way to Charleston, Beaufort is also a pleasant stop with a delicious chocolate shop and pretty houses.

The ferry to Fort Sumter IMO is a must for history buffs being where the first shots of the American Civil War were fired.

Love that part of the country! Savannah is one of our favorites, I’d like to keep going back forever.

Hi, Great blog packed with fantastic ideas for my as yet unplanned US road trips whenever we get back to a new normal for travelling. I’m thinking of combining my chosen road trips with some of the best rail journeys and thought about starting in New York across to San Francisco by Amtrak then drive to my next train and so on. Have you ever done this to get around the US or do you have you any route suggestions? Also, is interchanging between road and rail achievable? I’m looking at staying for no less than two months my idea being to cover many miles by train being far cheaper than renting a car for the whole time. Many thanks. Kev

Hi Kev! Honestly, traveling by rail in the US is, generally speaking, very expensive and very inefficient. You can technically do it, but it’s usually much more about the story of crossing the US by train than the fact that it’s a good way to see the country.

You can combine driving and trains, but again, it would be pricey to do so, especially if you’re consistently dropping your rental cars off at a different location than you pick them up at (many companies charge a fee for that).

That being said, 2 months exploring the US is an incredible trip and you can see a lot in that time!

Love all the pictures and descriptions of the places you have travelled! Truly gives great inspiration to see the World. Our little family tries to travel a couple of times per year but would love to take a first time RV trip from Eastern NC to destination unknown between Christmas and New Year Day. Wide open question, but any suggestions for a 5 day adventure?

That’s great to hear, thanks Brian! I’m actually typing this comment back to you from NC myself–we’re in town visiting my Mom and Grammy, who both live in the Raleigh area.

Five days from Eastern NC in an RV… the options are pretty limitless! My first thought is St. Augustine/Savannah/Charleston–a great trifecta with limited driving. The Outer Banks Scenic Byway, perhaps with a dip north into Virginia and the Chincoteague area (especially if any of your kids are horse fans) may feel close to home but could also be an amazing trip–no swimming, of course, but I have to say I love the wide open spaces of NC beaches in the winter (and parking will be much easier too–just be sure to check for seasonal ferry and RV park closures).

The mountains (GSMNP followed by Shenandoah, with a ride up the Blue Ridge Parkway along the way) is of course another great option, but I’d watch the weather carefully before committing to that one in December. If you do head that way, the Biltmore should still have its Christmas decor up!

With 5 days and it being your first time in an RV, I’d hesitate to include any of the large eastern seaboard cities or go much further afield, though of course you can if you’re determined to hit the ground running!

Love your ideas for putting together some touring routes. We need help – we will be arriving in Raleigh area for a wedding in August so expecting to do some travel prior in July. Looking for road trip ideas, my husband has very limited walking capacity and will not go near a city! Will we see much doing the Blue Ridge Parkway without hiking? Also the Shenandoah Forest? And I think Id like to see some American beaches!.

Some ideas to set us off would be great thankyou.

Thanks so much, Karen! My mom and Grammy both live in Raleigh and I’ve been visiting since I was a kid, so those are stomping grounds I’m very familiar with. 🙂

American national parks are generally very well set-up from an accessibility standpoint, and that includes Great Smoky Mountain, Shenandoah, and Blue Ridge Parkway (not technically a national park in its own right, but mostly part of the system). Not all of the parks will be accessible, of course, but scenic drives in the US virtually always have plenty of easy spots to pull off on and appreciate the views. Skyline Drive will be a hit for you guys, I suspect!

Definitely stop by the visitor’s center in each park and pick up maps–they’ll have clear markings of pull-off spots and also how much walking is involved in them, with the answer sometimes being little to none, plus the difficulty level, distance, and accessibility access of any trails.

National parks also tend to have at least one short wheelchair accessible trail that is paved, often found near the visitor’s center.

Beach wise, you’ll be close to North Carolina’s Outer Banks, which are very popular and beautiful. Kitty Hawk (home of the Wright Brother’s first flight) and surrounding towns might be a great fit. Other options include the Crystal Coast (a bit further south and my stomping grounds), or heading north into Virginia and the Chincoteague area (as in Misty of Chincoteague, if you remember those books from childhood).

In all of those places, sandy/wild beaches with lots of waves, lighthouses, fishing piers, and (in some cases) wild horse spotting on the various islands they live on are all popular attractions.

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

The Best East Coast Road Trips to Take This Year—And Beyond

By Paul Rubio and Alex Erdekian

9 Best East Coast Road Trips 2022 Where to Stop Stay  Eat

Perhaps more than any form of travel, the road trip is stamped in the American imagination. And when it comes to an East Coast road trip, no region is as underrated. Sure, it lacks the sprawl of the middle and west of the country , but the vast number of states, four distinct seasons (beyond Florida’s endless summer, that is), and incredible range of cultures prove the East Coast is the coast with the most—and the only possible way to sample its infinite variety is behind the wheel. Here are nine of our favorite East Coast road trip itineraries, including where to stop, where to stay, and what to eat along your drive.

This gallery was originally published in August 2017. It has been updated with new information. All listings featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. If you book something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The Chanler at Cliff Walk

Small but mighty: New Haven to Newport

Hit the highlights of two of America’s smallest states, Connecticut (#3) and Rhode Island (#1) with the 100-mile drive along US-1 from New Haven, Connecticut, to Newport, Rhode Island. This journey is a cinch for Bostonians and New Yorkers alike, and is chock-full of underrated pizza spots, scenic cliffs, and, of course, historic mansions. Anticipate the best views along oceanfront Scenic Route 1A in Rhode Island from Westerly to Wickford (At 39.6 miles, that’s a long distance in Rhode Island terms.)

Where to stop: When you stop in Newport, head to the cliff walk, a light and breezy 3.5-mile hike with panoramic bay views and sights of the Vanderbilt estate known as the Breakers, among other Gilded Age mansions. Experience a different side of the Breakers on a “ Servant Life Tour ,” which exposes the back-of-house operations that fueled socialite events at the 65,000 square-foot mansion designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt.

Where to eat: Fuel up at the start of your journey in New Haven with the famed clam pie at Frank Pepe’s pizzeria (as featured on Ugly Delicious among many other hit shows). The accolade-racking pie is well worth the wait.

Where to stay: If you’re itching to splash out, look no further than The Chanler at Cliff Walk in Newport, which has landed on our Readers' Choice Awards . We’re partial to the Martha’s Vineyard villa, with its ocean view and canopied four-poster king bed.

Image may contain Water Bridge Building Waterfront Dock Port Pier Outdoors Nature Ocean Sea and Boardwalk

Tropical temptations: Miami to Key West

Florida’s Overseas Highway is a 107-mile highway that connects the southernmost reaches of Miami , near Everglades National Park, to the southernmost point of the continental United States in Key West . It’s about a four-hour drive across countless coral and limestone islets on a two-lane highway, so use the slow-moving traffic as an excuse to stop to sightsee, eat, snorkel, or swim. After crossing the long and narrow seven-mile bridge, look forward to the most beautiful—and famous—parts of the Florida Keys, including Bahia Honda State Park and the self-proclaimed Conch Republic (aka Key West).

Where to stop: Swim among Technicolor tropical fish at either John Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo or Sombrero Reef off Marathon in the Middle Keys. Organized snorkeling tours are available at both. Also get some beach time at Bahia Honda State Park. Sitting at the confluence of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico at mile marker 37 of US-1/Overseas Highway, this 524-acre beach park has some of the finest stretches of sand in the Florida Keys . There are both secluded and more trafficked spots for sunbathing and excellent photo opps of the largest intact section of Henry Flagler’s elevated overseas railroad.

Where to eat: Where Miami ends and the Overseas Highway begins, there’s an option for taking a secondary road, Card Sound Road, to initially reach the Upper Keys (you’ll then connect to the Overseas Highway). Take the Card Sound detour, and stop for lunch at Alabama Jacks , a waterfront dive bar and eatery with the best conch fritters and mahi mahi sandwiches in the Keys. If opting for the entirety of the Overseas Highway, stop for lunch at Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen , ordering the catch of the day (usually snapper) and an obligatory slice of key lime pie (note: they have whole pies available to-go).

Where to stay: Spend the night relaxing at The Reach Key West, Curio Collection by Hilton , located on a quiet stretch of beach but just a short walk from the bustle of central Key West.

Image may contain Field Outdoors and Golf Course

Giving it 100: Vermont Route 100

Spanning more than 200 miles of idyllic New England countryside and almost the entire length of Vermont, this route takes you through countless Norman Rockwell-esque towns. Pass country stores and farm stands and explore the well-traversed stops of Wilmington, Ludlow, Killington, Warren, and Stowe.

Where to stop: In Weston, browse around the Vermont Country Store (est. 1946) where you’ll find everything from old-fashioned fudge to seersucker pajamas. In Brookfield, stock up traditional goat milk’s caramel sauce at the family-run Fat Toad Farm and watch the crew making the good stuff on this working farm (There are no tours per se but you can observe the process during daylight hours most Mondays-Thursdays). Take the time to drive slowly—and stop often—to take in the natural splendor between the mountain ridges of Stowe and Waterbury on the 14-mile Green Mountain Byway (a jazzed-up name for this highly scenic stretch of VT Route 100).

Where to eat: You can get casual authentic Mexican eats at an outpost of the no-frills, Vermont favorite Mad Taco in Waitsfield. In Stowe, dine at Plate , a small and stylish family-owned restaurant that showcases the best of Vermont’s farm-to-table riches and offers incredible vegetarian and vegan options (the veggie burger and vegan “crab cakes” are equally epic).

Where to stay: In Stowe, take in New England’s all seasons outdoor pursuits at the family-friendly (four-legged members included) Lodge at Spruce Peak . Depending on the time of year, pursuits such as hiking, skiing, mountain biking, ice climbing, and canoeing may be on offer. There are also concert series, specialty dining events, movies under the stars and seasonal installations (such as an ice-skating rink in winter), all taking place in the Spruce Peak Village next to the lodge.

Image may contain Building Architecture Tower Lighthouse and Beacon

Quintessential coastal charm: Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Bar Harbor, Maine

There’s nothing like an extended northern New England coastal drive , dotted with impossibly quaint seaside villages. From Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and all the way up the coast of Maine , roll past endless beaches and fishing harbors, artists’ colonies and historic districts.

Where to stop: Plan to spend a few mealtimes in Portland . Though Maine's is the smaller and lesser-hyped Portland, it’s become a hot foodie city where lots of young chefs—alumni of bold restaurants in New York—have gone to open their own first spots. Further north near Bar Harbor, plan a day in Acadia National Park. Take the 27-mile Park Loop Road, which curves along the boulder-strewn coastline, through dense deciduous forest, and passes sights like the iconic Cadillac Mountain. For more intimate experiences with Acadia, detour on to unpaved roads; or better yet, park the car for a bit and cycle, hike, or venture on horseback on the myriad, carless “carriage roads” that zigzag through the heart of the park. Also, make sure to hit Sand Beach, the only non-rocky beach in the park and arguably Maine’s most stunning swathe.

Where to eat: Besides all the great restaurants in Portland, treat yourself to briny local oysters and local seafood delights at Row 34 Portsmouth. In Camden, indulge in a creative, five-course, wine-paired lobster-tasting menu at award-winning Natalie’s Restaurant .

Where to stay: At one end, check into the cozy Hotel Portsmouth , which screams Americana by design and is within walking distance to the town’s prolific craft breweries and awesome restaurants. At the other, go luxe at the Camden Harbour Inn , a boutique property of Relais & Chateaux pedigree with an enviable location near the harbor action.

7 Destinations for Spring Travel That Are Actually Affordable

Jessica Puckett

The 11 Best Cruise Lines for Adults

Janice Wald Henderson

The Best Time to Cruise Alaska for Wildlife, Northern Lights, and Fewer Crowds

Susan B. Barnes

Relearning How to Relax on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai

Florida beach bliss: Miami Beach to New Smyrna

With scenes that are both cocktail- and kid-friendly, Florida has beautiful beaches to suit every personality. Experience some of the Sunshine State’s superlative spots with a road trip that covers most of 339-mile highway A1A, starting in the flash of South Beach and ending in the unexpected surf town of New Smyrna Beach. After your fill of Art Deco, beautiful people, and parties in Miami Beach, inch up to the wide, sparkling beaches of Fort Lauderdale. Gawk at the mansions of tony Palm Beach and later cross over to the nature-steeped environs of Vero Beach, Melbourne Beach, and Merritt Island, where manatees, sea turtles, and seabirds rule.

Where to stop: Participate in naturalist-led turtle walks during nesting and hatching seasons (June-September annually) at Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge . Located between Melbourne Beach and Wabasso Beach, the Refuge is the world’s most significant area for loggerhead sea turtle nesting and North America’s most significant area for green turtle nesting. In New Smyrna Beach, hang ten or simply immerse yourself in the surf culture of this small stretch of Florida, which often receives accolades as one of the top surf towns in the U.S.

Where to eat: Experience the Miami trend of restaurant-club hybrids that promise fine dining early evening but all-out throwdowns until the wee hours. Check out downtown’s Sexy Fish , an ocean-themed, seafood-centric, Asian restaurant that dazzles by design, with over-the-top, aquatic-imbued glass mosaics and sculptures plus works by the likes of Damien Hirst and Frank Gehry. On the beach, dress to impress at MILA , a vibe-heavy rooftop Mediterrasian restaurant that attracts Miami’s style set.

Where to stay: To truly take in the pulse of South Beach, consider staying at The Betsy - South Beach , 1 Hotel South Beach , or The Setai Miami Beach —all 2021 Readers’ Choice Award winners. Upon reaching the quieter shores of A1A, settle into a room at the Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel & Spa , located on Central Florida's Treasure Coast.

Image may contain Road Landscape Outdoors Nature Scenery Freeway Highway Panoramic Aerial View Tarmac and Asphalt

Brooklyn goes bucolic: A trip up the Hudson Valley

Many New Yorkers will tell you that the Hudson Valley makes for a great trip no matter how much time you have to spend—a day trip , short and sweet overnight, or a weekend getaway road trip from the city , you name it. Zip upstate on I-87 and meander through Beacon, Kingston, and Hudson, each with its own country-cool “over the city thing” vibe (think: Brooklyn in the woods). These destinations can be a road trip on tracks, too. Just hop aboard the Metro North.

Where to stop: A favorite Hudson Valley attraction is Storm King , a 500-acre sprawling lawn where you’ll find sculptures galore and more in an outdoor museum. If you don’t bring your own, rent a bike for the downhill adventure at Windham Mountain Bike Park , the longest jump trail on the East Coast, located about 30 miles west of Hudson.

Where to eat: Backbar may look like an antique garden shop, but it’s actually a bar. The creation of Zak Pelaccio (formerly of Manhattan’s Fatty Crab) is worth driving two hours to Hudson just for the dumplings and tequila-spiked-slushies. In Beacon, sample chef Brian Arnoff’s multi-course menu at his wildly popular Kitchen Sink Supper Club . The menu changes every four weeks based on what’s in season and available and is offered exclusively on Fridays and Saturday evenings.

Where to stay: Make a home base in Kingston at Hotel Kinsley , which is housed in a former State of New York bank building and offers high design in a low-key environment. Alternatively, book Hutton Brickyards , located on a 73-acre riverfront campus that was once home to a brick factory.

Image may contain Plant Food Produce Vegetable Meal and Dish

Mass magic: Salem to Provincetown

Massachusetts is rife with personality-filled towns and cities, the best of which lie off the 135 miles of highway connecting spooky Salem and the colorful tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown. On the mainland, expect plenty of historical sites, important monuments, and major universities while the curling bicep of Cape Cod via U.S. Route 6 promises riveting marine experiences and a restorative salty breeze, ending in the impossibly fun LGBTQ+ Mecca of Provincetown.

Where to stop: Let Salem cast a spell on you. The city’s prolific 18 th century facades now house the likes of cool coffee shops, pop-up shops, galleries, and boutique hotels. Next, experience a different side of Cape Cod through a once-in-a-lifetime research expedition with Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (AWSC), conducting great white shark research off the southern cape near Chatham. Just south of Provincetown, pop into Truro Vineyards + South Hollow Spirits , which is both a winery and a distillery that makes gin and rum. Once in Provincetown, explore the uninhabited sand dunes of the northern Cape with Art’s Dune Tours or set sail on a highly rewarding whale watch with eco-conscious company Dolphin Fleet .

Where to eat: Experience Boston ’s foodie renaissance at restaurants like Coquette , Wood Hills Pier 4 , and Fox & The Knife . For a fancy Cape classic, dine at the Chatham Bars Inn restaurant. The waterfront dining is on Chatham Harbor, offering those much-needed views and the premium quality seafood to match. The New England clam chowder is legendary.

Where to stay: In Provincetown, settle into AWOL , a seasonal 30-key inn by Lark Hotels, located within walking distance of both Herring Cove Beach and the town’s principal thoroughfare.

Image may contain Boat Vehicle Transportation Vessel Watercraft Nature Building Outdoors Housing and Countryside

Northern exposure: The Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia

Okay, this one's going to mean crossing a border, but the minor inconvenience is well worth it. Head north—way north—to the tip of Atlantic Canada for the 185-mile Cabot Trail , a highly rewarding loop through the wilds of northeastern Nova Scotia, hugging the craggy coastline of Cape Breton Island and traversing the canyons and valleys of Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The well-marked trail is dotted with small towns, fishermen villages, lighthouses, and pubs as colorful as the locals.

Where to stop: Stop in Chéticamp for a riveting zodiac whale watching experience and the chance to see some 10 species in their natural environs (Charismatic pilot whales are most often sighted). Captain Zodiac leads tours during the migratory season (June to September) to marvel at these highly intelligent creatures.

Where to eat: Grab a seat on the oceanfront terrace, and feast on fresh lobster rolls or grilled haddock and scallops at no-frills, Nova Scotian mom-and-pop Seagull Restaurant in Ingonish.

Where to stay: Unpack at the 72-room, waterfront The Lodge at Cabot Links . Golf enthusiasts will appreciate its world-renowned courses, but non-golfers can simply enjoy the views and comforts of the most modern accommodation in all of Cape Breton and a home base from which to explore the far reaches of the Cabot Trail.

Image may contain Plant Tree Ruins Grass and Building

Historic southeast: St. Augustine, Florida to Charleston, South Carolina

Journey through coastal American history —and the southern spaces that fully embrace their historic allure—starting at the nation’s oldest city (c. 1565), Spanish-influenced St. Augustine. Then, head to the South’s two most iconic cities, Savannah and Charleston , linked by US-17, where horse farms and churches mix with war relics and towering oak trees. After taking in all the southern charms of Charleston, continue to the tranquil beaches of Sullivan Island.

Where to stop: In St. Augustine, visit the famed yet kitsch “Fountain of Youth” (yes, that Fountain of Youth.) Between Savannah and Charleston on US-17, stop at lesser-known historic site Sheldon Church Ruins, the remains of a circa-1753 church set ablaze first by the British during the Revolutionary War and then by the Union Army during the Civil War.

Where to eat: Savor the cuisine of Charleston's it chef, James Beard winner Mike Lata, at his two institutions, The Ordinary and FIG (which stands for Food is Good). Experience the apex of low country fare at Circa 1886 , where Executive Chef Marc Collins uses regional ingredients and reinterprets recipes and dishes of decades past to create thoughtful dishes that keep culinary history in style (Don’t miss the “Southern Grilled Cheese” a pillow of grilled brioche stuffed with pimento cheese mousse, Surryano ham, and paddlefish caviar).

Where to stay: Stay in the center of Charleston’s historic district at The Charleston Place . Formerly part of the Belmond collection, this iconic hotel has gone independent under the direction of new ownership, which is infusing some $200 million into the storied property.

By signing up you agree to our User Agreement (including the class action waiver and arbitration provisions ), our Privacy Policy & Cookie Statement and to receive marketing and account-related emails from Traveller. You can unsubscribe at any time. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


15 East Coast USA Road Trip Itinerary Ideas

Love it? Share it!

The east coast of the USA is home to amazing landscapes, historical attractions, culture & traditions, breathtaking drives, mountain views, and delicious culinary delights. In this post discover 15 epic east coast USA road trip itinerary ideas to start planning your own!

15 Ultimate East Coast USA Road Trip Itinerary Ideas 

road trip east coast

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

What States are on the East Coast of the US?

USA East Coast road trips Illustrated Map

The east coast of the United States comprises the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

All the fourteen states on the East Coast border the Atlantic Ocean and form the eastern seaboard of the country. It will take about 45 hours, give or take to drive coast to coast.

Popular east coast cities include New York City, Boston, Miami, and Orlando! And there are national parks, and beach resort getaway places like Myrtle Beach on the Atlantic Coast and beyond. 

So whether it is embarking on a scenic New England road trip in the fall , the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC, checking out the Kennedy Space center and Walt Disney World in Florida, or soaking in views of lighthouses in Maine to the southernmost point in Key West, the trip combinations are endless!

Reserve Car Rental: Prepare Ahead

If you need a car rental, we recommend comparing and checking prices on Discovercars.com to book yours.

Packing for USA road trips 

Here are some essential items to pack for your upcoming road trip destinations,

  • Emergency Car Kit – Bring an emergency car kit with you on all of your road trips. This 90 piece emergency comprises a portable air compressor, tow strap, jumper cables, and more. Buy your emergency car kit here
  • First Aid Kit – Carry a small first aid kit. Buy a first aid kit here
  • GPS or Offline Maps – Don’t forget a GPS for road navigation. Buy GPS here . Or download Google Maps prior to your trip. Maps.me is a good option too. 
  • Car Adaptor – To charge your smartphone and/or other electronics. Buy your car adaptor here
  • Music – Great Playlist
  • Clothes – Including a waterproof jacket. Buy my all-time favorite jacket here
  • Scarf – To cozy up or as a cover-up
  • Flip flops – To walk the beach. Buy your flip flops here
  • Camera – Don’t forget your camera to capture beautiful road trip photos. Buy our favorite camera here
  • Sunscreen and any OTC medications – Buy sunscreen here
  • And of course, don’t forget car insurance and roadside assistance service . Get this nifty holder to keep details

NYC to Finger Lakes East Coast Road Trip

By Allison from Eternal Arrival 

Finger Lakes Road trip

  • Number of Days : 5 Days
  • Route: From New York City to the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York

This NYC to Finger Lakes road trip is the perfect East Coast road trip for wine lovers, waterfall friends, and art lovers alike. This road trip can be done at any time of year, as there’s never a bad time to visit the Finger Lakes! 

However, winter weather can be unpredictable, so we suggest visiting the Finger Lakes in summer if you want to swim and enjoy the lakes or in autumn if you want to take advantage of the beautiful fall foliage. 

Day 1 -2: Start by leaving New York City and going straight to Ithaca; traveling via Scranton, Pennsylvania is the fastest (and a fun stop for fans of the Office — or President Biden!) Travel around Ithaca for some of the best waterfalls you’ll be able to find anywhere in the US! 

A few great waterfalls include the waterfall at Cascadilla Gorge Trail and the falls at Taughannock Falls State Park. 

After exploring the waterfalls, do some wine tasting around Cayuga Lake, following the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail. 

Day 3-4: Seneca Falls makes a good stop, where you can learn about the history of women’s suffrage at Women’s Rights National Historical Park and see the home of the noted suffragette, Elizabeth Cady Stanton. 

If you’re still looking for more wineries, head to the  Seneca Lake Wine Trail next, to taste some of the region’s best wines. Continue on to Watkins Glen State Park for some incredible hiking with beautiful views — this is also a great place for fall foliage. 

Day 5: Finally, end your road trip in Corning, with a trip to the Corning Museum of Glass, before returning to NYC or heading onwards to Niagara Falls if you want to continue your road trip.

The lovely La Tourelle Hotel & Spa , located near Buttermilk Falls State Park, is an incredible place to stay in Ithaca. Ithaca makes a good base for traveling around the Finger Lakes region if you don’t want to move around with every stop.

Hotel Recommendations: La Tourelle Hotel & Spa

Boston to Acadia National Park, Maine

By Dhara from It’s Not About the Miles

Acadia National Park, Maine East Coast USA

  • Number of Days:   3 to 4 days
  • Route : Boston to Acadia National Park, Maine

Boston is a city with many iconic green spaces, such as the Boston Public Garden and the Boston Common, but it is also close to many beautiful natural areas.

In particular, a road trip to Acadia National Park in Maine is worth considering, for its beautiful landscapes and stunning fall colors.

You can travel from Boston to Acadia National Park via the beautiful New England Coast, or you can travel an interior route, which you might want to do in the fall, to take in more fall colors along the way. But the coastal route is wonderful any time of year.

Stop 1 : Along the route, you will want to stop at Portsmouth, the New Hampshire port city, where you can admire the historic architecture at the 10-acre Strawbery Banke Museum, and enjoy shopping at some of the many lovely stores in the city.

Stop 2 (full day) : Next, drive on to Portland, where you will want to spend at least a full day exploring. In Portland’s Old Port, wander the streets and admire the beautiful old red brick architecture. There are many one-of-a-kind shops to browse and street art to view.

Walk the waterfront, to photograph the many boats lined up in the harbor. Stroll Congress Square Park and Monument Square.

Enjoy a sweet treat at the Holy Donut. Eat seafood at Portland Lobster Company. Take in the views from Munjoy Hill. Visit Portland Head Light, one of the most beautiful lighthouses on the US east coast.

Stop 3 : On the coastal route to Camden, enjoy the Androscoggin Swinging Bridge, a pedestrian suspension bridge that crosses the river of the same name, and the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse. 

Stop 4 (full day) : Arrive at Bar Harbor, where you can spend the rest of the day exploring the cute town before you hit up the park the following day.

Stop 5 : At Acadia National Park, there are numerous trails to hike, and scenic overlooks for photos. Don’t miss Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse: it is particularly beautiful at sunset.

Hotel Recommendations: Stay at the Portland Harbor Hotel in Portland and in Acadia Hotel in Bar Harbor.

Road Trip from Annapolis MD, Chincoteague, VA to Virginia Beach 

By Jennifer from Family Trip Guides

Annapolis East Coast USA Road trip

  • Number of Days: 4 to 6 days
  • Route: From Annapolis MD, Chincoteague VA, to Virginia Beach

Discover sunny beaches, delicious food, and wild ponies on this delightful east coast road trip on the water!

This road trip is best for 4-6 days of exploring starting in Annapolis MD, driving 2.5 hours to the natural beauty of Chincoteague Island VA, and then driving 2 hours to miles of beaches at Virginia Beach, VA.

Stop 1 – Annapolis, MD: This historic city is the capital of Maryland filled with historical landmarks and delicious restaurants. Make sure to check out Dock Street Bar and Grill right on the City Dock where you can eat great seafood and check out the beautiful boats in the harbor. 

Lots of wonderful harborside hotels including The Westin Annapolis and Annapolis Waterfront Hotel , Autograph Collection.

Stop 2 – Wild Horses of Chincoteague Island, VA: Next, drive 2.5 hours south across the Chesapeake Bay and down its banks to the unspoiled beauty of Chincoteague Island.

The wild ponies are actually located on Assateague Island which is a National Park Seashore located nearby. You can go to the seashore and see the ponies that are living wild and were the inspiration for the family movie, Misty. 

Lots to do on top of watching ponies and hanging out at the beach including visiting the Assateague Lighthouse and the Captain Timothy Hill House. There are some small hotels on the island and also lots of beach rental properties.

If you are traveling in the spring, fall, or winter, we recommend all-weather gear for kids to enjoy the sand and surf without being too cold!  

Stop 3 – Virginia Beach, VA: The final stop on your road trip is the vast and beautiful beaches of Virginia Beach. There are actually 28 miles of sandy public beaches to explore!

There is also a wide boardwalk with dozens of hotels right on the beach. The Residence Inn Virginia Beach Oceanfront is a great option as each suite has a kitchenette to save money on making meals in the room.

Virginia Beach is a contrast to Chincoteague as it has all the vacation amenities right at your door including tons of shops, restaurants, and things to do like mini golf, surrey bike rentals, and more.  

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Annapolis: Stay at The Westin Annapolis or Annapolis Waterfront Hotel
  • Virginia Beach : Residence Inn Virginia Beach Oceanfront

Washington D.C. to Philadelphia, to New York City

By Rachel from A City Girl Outside

Washington City USA bucket list

  • Number of Days : 10 days
  • Route : From Washington D.C. to Philadelphia, and ending in New York City

This 10-day itinerary features one of the best road trips on the east coast of the USA, from Washington D.C. to Philadelphia, and ending in New York City. These three American cities are not only historical but offer tons of fun things to see and do. 

You can start in either Washington D.C. or New York City. This road trip can be done any time of the year but is especially good in the early summer months. 

Day 1-3: Start by spending 3 days exploring Washington D.C. the capital of the United States. The great thing about Washington D.C. is that many of the main attractions are free. Begin your time in D.C. by touring the Capitol Building. 

Tours of the Capitol are free but must be booked online and a booking fee of $1.50 per person will be charged to secure your time. During your tour, you’ll get to explore the famous rotunda and the House Chamber. 

Next head to one of the many Smithsonian Museums. All of these museums are free but my personal favorite and must-do in Washington D.C. is the Natural History Museum. Take a walk down the National Mall hitting all the famous memorials.

Take a trip to the top of the Washington Memorial then climb the steps to the Lincoln Memorial. Get an up close and personal look at the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives Museum, another free activity in Washington D.C. that can be booked online. 

Day 4 – 5: Your next stop is Philadelphia, the birthplace of the United States. Philadelphia also offers many free things to do and most attractions are within walking distance of the city centre. 2 days in Philadelphia is the perfect amount of time to see this city’s best attractions. 

Book a free tour of Independence Hall and learn about the beginnings of the USA, tours can be booked in advance and tickets can be picked up on the day. After your tour head to the Liberty Bell – one of the most famous symbols of American Independence. 

Just a stone’s throw away from Independence Hall is the Betsy Ross house where the very first United States Flag was sewn. To tour the house will cost around $5. 

A short walk from the Betsy Ross house is Elfreth’s Alley, a quaint cobble-stoned alley and the oldest residential street in the United States. Explore the Reading Terminal Market for all your snacks and sweet treats.

Day 6 – 10: And finally, end your road trip in the big apple – New York City! NYC is a huge city with a plethora of activities. 5 days is recommended for this part of the trip in order to see New York’s best attractions. 

Some must do’s in New York City are the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, and a visit to an observation deck. There are plenty of options for an observation deck, our favorite is the Rockefeller Centre with its iconic views of the Empire State Building.

But you can also opt for the newer One World Observatory of the Empire State Building itself. 

A walk through Central Park is always on every list of things to do in New York. Take your time walking through this park as there are many sights to stop at and take photos.

A New York food tour is a great option for sampling the best food in the city. Donuts, coffee, hotdogs, and pizza should be on your list of foods to try in New York. End your trip by sipping on cocktails in one of New York’s rooftop bars!

Hotel Recommendations:  

  • Washington DC : Hotel Hive
  • Philadelphia: The Marriott Philadelphia Centre City
  • New York City: Hyatt Times Square

St Augustine, Florida to Beaufort, South Carolina

By Carol from IsThisEvenARoad

St Augustine USA

  • Number of Days : 3 days
  • Route : From St Augustine, Florida to Beaufort, South Carolina

The east coast is one of the most beautiful places in the country for a road trip. There is a good balance of nature, cities, and historic places on the drive from St Augustine, Florida to Beaufort, South Carolina.

Driving straight through would take less than 6 hours. Three days is advisable to leisurely take in all the sites of the coast.

Day 1: Starting in St Augustine, avoid the concrete and signs of the highway and take A1A along the shore. Most of the way to Amelia Island offers gorgeous Atlantic views. At the end of the road, it is an easy transition onto 95 which will go all the way to Savannah and then 170 into Beaufort.

St Augustine, the oldest city in the U.S., is rich with history and needs a full day to explore. Enjoy traditional Spanish architecture on a walking tour throughout the town. 

Do check out Castillo de San Marco’s, a 17th century stone Spanish fortress. Take a drink from Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth. Then relax at the 1905 Columbia Restaurant for traditional Spanish food.

Day 2 : Savannah is the next stopping point. There are a number of driftwood beaches and golden sand beaches along the way. Once in town, stay in the Historic District at one of the Heritage Hotels.

Most of this area can be explored on foot including Colonial Park Cemetery. The famous Bonaventure Cemetery and the Wormsloe Plantation are a short drive from the city.

Day 3 : On day three head up towards Beaufort, home of Forrest Gump. Make sure to stop and grab boiled peanuts from a roadside stand. Just north of Beaufort is the jaw-dropping Sheldon Church Ruins and the St Helena Chapel of Ease.

This stretch of coast has something for everyone for a memorable and enjoyable road trip. 

Search hotel deals on Booking.com

North Georgia Mountains Road Trip

By Kay from Dotted Globe

Helen Georgia

  • Number of Days: 3 to 4 days
  • Route : From Dahlonega to Blue Ridge

Road tripping the North Georgia mountains is an amazing experience. Begin your trip in Downtown Dahlonega and drive all the way up to Blue Ridge.

On the way, this unique road trip takes visitors through the small towns of Helen and Cleveland. We recommend keeping aside 3 to 4 days to enjoy the destinations. 

Day 1 : (Downtown Dahlonega) The trip is the ultimate combination of small-town charm, natural scenery, and loads of history. After all, this was where the first gold rush in America occurred in the 19th century. You can learn all about it at Dahlonega Gold Museum.

Take a stroll around the historic structures and shop at the boutiques. 

Day 2 : Stop in Cleveland at the Babyland General Hospital. This toy store/museum is most known as the home of the famous Cabbage Patch Kids. Families love seeing the many handmade dolls and accessories as well as seeing new kids ‘being born’. 

Day 3: Then visit Helen and enjoy the striking Bavarian architecture. Drink German beer and eat an apple strudel. Helen is also popular for river tubing in the summer.

The state parks and recreation areas outside of Helen are perfect for hiking while the wineries surrounding Helen are great for wine tasting. Stay at the Helendorf River Inn by the water. 

Day 4: Your final stop should be in Downtown Blue Ridge. The fall colors are spectacular here but the town is great to visit year-round. Go shopping, fish, or have a nice meal while you relax downtown. Enjoy the fresh mountain air in North Georgia before you return to routine.

Hotel Recommendation : Helendorf River Inn in Helen, GA

Providence RI to Provincetown, Cape Cod, MA

By Melissa from NavigationJunkie

Provincetown MA

  • Number of Days: 5 to 7 days 
  • Route : Providence, RI to Provincetown, MA 

A road trip from Providence, RI to Provincetown, MA will give you the perfect combination of a city visit and a beach getaway. 

Stop 1 : Begin your journey in Providence, RI where you can enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the park and the many attractions located throughout Roger Williams Park and a stroll through Federal Hill, Providence’s Historic Neighborhood marked by a bronze pinecone.

You will find plenty of Italian restaurants along Atwells Avenue in Federal Hill. The perfect way to end a day spent in Providence is to take a sunset Gondola ride through downtown Providence. 

Stop 2 : Your next stop will be Newport, RI where you can enjoy the Cliff Walk, a paved walk along the shore, a visit to historic Fort Adams, see pieces of art at the Newport Art Museum, and spend a couple hours relaxing on a sandy beach. 

Stop 3 : After Newport, continue on to Plymouth, MA. Here you can view Plymouth Rock, the landing site of the Pilgrims, climb aboard a replica of the Mayflower II, wander the streets of Plymouth and find plenty of quaint, local shops, and visit a replicated village, the Plimoth Plantation.

Stop 4: From here, you will head to the Cape, stopping first in Sandwich at the Heritage Museum and Gardens. Next drive along the Cape Cod National Seashore, where you can stop in many small towns to hit the beach, try some seafood, and visit some lighthouses. 

Stop 5: Your final stop will be Provincetown where you can enjoy some shopping, enjoy an over-sand vehicle tour, go whale watching, and view Cape Cod’s famous sunsets.

While there are fun winter activities that could be enjoyed in the colder months, summer is the best time to take this road trip to get all that these destinations have to offer. 

  • Newport: The Chanler at Cliff Walk  
  • Cape Cod: Dunes Motor Inn (for a cheaper option within a couple of minutes walk of the beach) in South Yarmouth or Surfside Cottages in Wellfleet

Miami to Key West, Florida

By Megan Starr from Megan Starr

Florida road trips

  • Number of Days : 1 – 3 days
  • Route :  From Miami to Key West

The road trip from Miami to Key West, Florida is arguably one of the best road trips in the United States (and all of North America)!  The road connects two fantastic cities and has a plethora of beautiful stops along the way, making it ideal for all travelers.

Technically, the duration of the road trip from Miami to Key West takes 3 hours and 17 minutes (159 miles), but you will be missing out on so many amazing stops if you drive straight through.

It is recommended to take your time on the drive and you can even extend your road trip from 3 hours to 3 days and never run out of things to do along the way!

As you will be starting from Miami, we suggest adding these road trip attractions to extend your Florida getaway. Spend 1-2 days in Miami exploring Wynwood Walls, Little Havana, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, and Miami Beach. 

With an extra day, you can also visit Everglades National Park before kickstarting the Miami-Key West road trip as outlined below.

Day 1 : The first stop is in Key Largo, Florida.  This Upper Keys city is 69 miles (1 hour and 21 minutes) away from Miami.  When you’re there, you will find amazing attractions such as Coral Castle, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge.  

There are also several places where you can stay overnight and one of the top recommendations is the Key Largo Marriott Resort , which sits along the bay and allows you to even see manatees from the dock!

Day 2 : On day two, you will drive from Key Largo to Marathon where you can see historical and geological parks such as Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park and Long Key State Park.  A recommended place to stay is the 4-star Tranquility Bay Resort which offers delightful ocean views.

Day 3 : The next day, you will take off from Marathon and pass through other places such as the Blue Hole on Big Pine Key, Bahia Honda State Park (a must stop!), and you can eventually pull into Kimpton Winslow’s Bungalow Hotel in Key West and get ready for your final adventure there.

  • Key Largo: Key Largo Marriott Resort
  • Key West: Kimpton Winslow’s Bungalow Hotel

The Blue Ridge Parkway 

By Bret Love & Mary Gabbett of Blue Ridge Mountains Travel Guide

road trip east coast

  • Number of Days:   3 to 7 days
  • Route : Blue Ridge Parkway 

The full Blue Ridge Parkway route stretches from Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to the entrance of Shenandoah National Park in Virginia (where it turns into the equally scenic Skyline Drive). 

The great thing about the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway is that you can easily break it down into a 3-day weekend getaway, or an epic week-long (or multi-week) vacation. The speed limit is 45 mph, but many drivers go even slower as they soak in the stunning scenic views. 

Theoretically speaking, it would take 15 hours to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway straight through with no stops.

With more than 15 million annual visitors, the BRP is the #1 most popular unit in the US National Park Service. There are 200 Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks in NC and VA, each offering jaw-dropping vistas of America’s wilderness at its most pristine.

From mountains and waterfalls to lush valleys and forests, there are countless noteworthy landmarks along the way. 

Day 1 – 4: Most people don’t drive the entire Blue Ridge Parkway in one stretch, rather breaking it up into day trips or multi-day vacations. We spent 4 days traveling from Cherokee NC (Milepost 469) to Banner Elk, NC (MP 305), and honestly wished we’d had more time for waterfall hikes, exploring attractions, etc. 

Some of our favorites included Mount Mitchell (NC’s tallest), Pisgah National Forest, the Linville Gorge Wilderness, the Linn Cove Viaduct, Looking Glass Rock, Grandfather Mountain State Park, and Price Lake at Julian Price Memorial Park. 

Best of all, there are no billboards, neon signs, restaurants, shopping centers, or other signs of commerce (or “progress”) on the road’s entire length. Just miles and miles of gorgeous views of unspoiled nature at its finest!

There is only one hotel situated on the entire Blue Ridge Parkway– the Switzerland Inn in the quaint little alpine village of Little Switzerland NC . But there are loads of hotels, lodges, and cabins for rent within a few miles of the historic route. 

Hotel Recommendations : Our favorites include the Engadine Inn & Cabins near Asheville NC, the Pisgah Inn, and The Cottages at Spring House Farm near Marion NC.  

Outer Banks Road Trip

By Neha from Travelmelodies

  • Number of days : 2 to 3 days
  • Route: From Corolla to Cedar Island

Outer Banks, a set of barrier islands off the Atlantic coast is a great place to enjoy some of the best beaches along with loads of other interesting things.

The scenic road passes through many small coastal villages along the route – Duck, Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, Avon, Buxton, Hatteras, and Ocracoke to name a few. 

The route takes about 6.5 hrs including the 3.5 hrs on two ferry rides – one from Hatteras Island to Ocracoke island which is free and the other from Ocracoke to Cedar Island which is paid.

Stop 1/lighthouse stops : There are many beautiful lighthouses along the way including the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the iconic Bodie Island Lighthouse, and Ocracoke lighthouse worth a stop.

This is the place where the Wright brothers created history by flying the first flight. So stop by the Wright Brothers Memorial and witness the flight strip.

If you are an adventure lover, then there are options galore. 

Stop 2 : Drive your AWD vehicle on Corolla and Cape Hatteras beaches or chase wild horses at Corolla or indulge in water sports.

Stop 3 : For the last leg of the trip, do spend a day at Ocracoke Harbor Inn in the quaint village of Ocracoke.

In all of these stops, it won’t be justice to the ethereal beauty of the place to just drive by without staying and watching the magical sunset/sunrise. 

We would highly recommend staying at Days Inn & Suites Mariner Kill Devils Hills , one of the best Outer Banks hotels during the beginning of the Outer Banks road trip. It is located right by the beach and conveniently located near major attractions like Wright Brothers Memorial, Jockey Ridge State Park, and the shopping complex.

Stay at Days Inn & Suites Mariner Kill Devils Hills

New York City to Boston to Hanover, New Hampshire

By Nicole from Go Far Grow Close

NYC USA Bucket list

  • Number of Days : 7 days
  • Route :  New York City to Boston to Hanover, New Hampshire. 

A fantastic 7 day road trip on the East Coast would be from New York City to Boston to Hanover, New Hampshire. 

Day1 – 3 : You should start in New York City and spend 2-3 days here exploring all the city highlights. You can explore on foot or by public transportation. If you want to be in the middle of everything, then spend 3 nights at the gorgeous Knickerbocker Hotel at Times Square .  

Over the next couple of days, you should take the ferry and go see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, visit the 911 Memorial and Museum, walk the High-Line and attend a Broadway show. 

Day 4 – 6: On day four, you should drive 3 ½ hours on I-90 from New York City to Boston, and then, spend the next three nights at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Boston .

From there, you can easily walk everywhere, exploring the Freedom Trail – a 2.5 mile walk that connects 16 historically significant sites – or taking a food tour of Little Italy or the Boston Public Market . 

Day 7: On day seven, you should drive 2 hours on the I-93 and I-89 to reach the small town of Hanover, New Hampshire. Here, you can experience all the lovely stores, cafes, and restaurants on Main Street, and explore Dartmouth Campus. The Hanover Inn is a lovely hotel in the center of town.

Hotel Recommendations

  • New York : Knickerbocker Hotel
  • Boston : Hyatt Regency
  • Hanover: Hanover Inn

Boston, MA to Provincetown (Cape Cod)

By Jackie Gately from Enjoy Travel Life

Dunes in Provincetown East Coast USA Road Trips

  • Number of days: 4 days
  • Route : From Boston to Providence

The road trip from Boston to Provincetown can certainly be made in a day but is more leisurely made in 4.

The high season is July and August, but spring and fall offer fewer tourists and better hotel rates. As you travel through the Cape Cod towns and villages , you will find each has a unique personality. 

Day 1 : From Boston, take Route 3 and cross the Sagamore Bridge onto the Cape. Continue to Sandwich, where you’ll visit the 17th Century Hoxie House, and The Sandwich Glass Museum, and walk along the Sandwich boardwalk for sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Have dinner and check into the Belfry Inn & Bistro, unique accommodations within a former church. 

Day 2 : Grab a pastry, coffee, and picnic lunch at The Brown Jug, then head for Route 6A. You’ll want to meander along, making stops at the boutiques and antique shops.

Have lunch at Nickerson State Park in Brewster, overlooking one of Cape Cod’s ancient kettle ponds, then head to Orleans. There, browse Tree’s Place for some fine art and walk the Rock Harbor beach.

Rest your head for the night at The Parsonage Inn , a lovely bed and breakfast.

Day 3 : Pick up Route 6 through the towns of the Outer Cape, flanking the National Seashore. Once in Provincetown, explore the vibrant town center for souvenirs and street performances. Get a birds-eye view of MacMillan Pier by climbing the steps of Pilgrim Monument.

Next, tour the sand dunes with Art’s Dune Tours–and upgrade to the sunset lobster dinner at Race Point beach. Spend your night at The Crowne Point Hotel and Spa .

Day 4 : Finally, head back to Boston along Route 6 for a faster return, crossing over the Bourne bridge.  Or, better yet, take the ferry.

  • East Orleans : Parsonage Inn
  • Provincetown: The Crowne Point Hotel and Spa

Road trip through Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

By Julie McCool from Fun in Fairfax VA

Shenandoah Valley on east coast USA Road trip itinerary

  • Number of Days : 3 to 5 days
  • Route : From Winchester, VA to Roanoke, VA 

A road trip through Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley combines scenic country roads, quaint towns, rich history, and outdoor fun. Allow 3 to 5 days for the 200-mile trip from Winchester to Roanoke Virginia. 

Highway 81, the quickest route through the valley, offers beautiful views of farms, rolling hills, and the Blue Ridge Mountains. But you will find even more to enjoy on the smaller country roads that traverse the valley, including historic Route 11.

Virginia is beautiful year-round, but the valley is especially beautiful in spring and fall.

Day 1: Begin your trip exploring the walkable downtown of Winchester, Virginia. The lovely Old Town Pedestrian Mall is lined with restaurants, shops, and fun for kids at the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum. 

Stay at The George Washington Hotel and you can walk to the mall, local breweries, and historic sites.

Day 2: As you head south, visit apple orchards, farm stores, breweries, and wineries that dot the countryside. Spend your second night in Harrisonburg, a college town with a fun and relaxed vibe. Or continue further and explore the towns and sights in the Southern Shenandoah Valley . 

Staunton is home to the American Shakespeare Center, the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s Blackfriars Theater. In Lexington, take a hike to the 215-foot high formation at Natural Bridge State Park then head underground to the Caverns at Natural Bridge.

Day 3 – 4: End your road trip in the hip town of Roanoke. This haven for outdoor lovers is surrounded by great hiking, paddling, and some of the best mountain biking in the Eastern US. 

Stay at the historic Roanoke Hotel and you can walk to the dining, breweries, and shops that pack the compact downtown. Be sure to drive up Mill Mountain to see the 88-foot Roanoke Star and a fantastic view of the valley.

  • Winchester: The George Washington Hotel
  • Roanoke: Hotel Roanoke

East Coast Road Trip from Washington DC to West Virginia

By Richa from MyTicklefeet

New River Gorge Bridge West Virginia

  • Number of Days : 2 to 3 days
  • Route : From Washington DC to New River Gorge 

If you are looking for a quiet escape into nature then a weekend getaway in West Virginia is going to take you on an off the beaten path road trip. This easy drive from Washington DC will take you through the windy roads, lush mountains, and fresh air of the Mountain State.

It will take you roughly 4-5 hours to get to Monongahela National Forest from DCA Reagan National Airport. You can complete this entire road trip in 2-3 days.

Day 1: Start your drive in the northern region of West Virginia i.e. cutting through the Monongahela National Forest, after visiting Blackwater Falls State Park or Seneca Rocks if you love hiking.

Then head on south to route 28 towards the town of Greenbank and Cass continuing on until you hit New River Gorge. 

Day 2 : The town of Cass is known for its scenic railway ride in autumn and skiing in winter. Greenbank is best known for its National Radio Astronomy Observatory which is a fun stop for kids and science lovers.

Our favorite season to visit WV is Autumn to see the gorgeous fall foliage. One of the most scenic Fall drives in West Virginia is the Highland Scenic Highway which is also known as State Route 150. It’s a 23 mile long American scenic byway.

Summer would be another good season to visit especially if you are considering camping outdoors. 

Day 3: If you are the adventurous type then you must go White Water rafting in New River Gorge which offers one of the best class 5 rapids in the US. Do not miss the New River Gorge Bridge which is an iconic structure in West Virginia.

We recommend the Mountain Quest Inn , for a refreshing and quaint stay in West Virginia. This place is located in the middle of a working farm so expect to see horses, goats, and even llamas. But the best part about this place is its extensive two-story home library.

Stay at Mountain Quest Inn

Charleston, SC to Savannah, GA

By Brittany from Travel by Brit

road trip east coast

  • Number of Days : 6 days
  • Route : From Charleston, South Carolina, to Savannah, Georgia

The drive from Charleston, South Carolina, to Savannah, Georgia, is one of the most charming road trips on the east coast.

Since these cities are just over 100 miles apart, you’re able to spend the majority of your road trip exploring these captivating, historic cities rather than countless hours in the car.

Six days is the perfect amount for your southeastern USA road trip—three days in Charleston and three days in Savannah. Both cities are drenched in unique history, serve up some incredible southern cuisine, and have tons of interesting activities to enjoy.

Day 1 – 3: Spend 3 days in Charleston. Immerse yourself in Civil War and WWII history at the Fort Sumter National Monument or Patriot’s Point. And then explore Pineapple Fountain and Rainbow Row.

On day 2, take a day trip from Charleston to Boone Hall Plantation or the Charleston Tea Garden.

On your final day here, relax on the beach at Kiawah Island or Folly Beach. Followed by a visit to Poogan’s Porch or FIG for a delicious meal.

Stay in the heart of Downtown Charleston at the Mills House or The Vendue .

Day 4 to 6 : Travel to Savannah, and spend the remainder of the road trip here. Walk down to River Street to embark on a riverboat cruise adventure or indulge in authentic, freshly-baked beignets at Huey’s.

Submerge yourself in Savannah’s spooky history by going on a haunted ghost tour.

And don’t forget to stroll through Savannah’s 22 squares—including Forsyth Park.

Enjoy an unforgettable southern dining experience at The Olde Pink House. Or relish an ice cream cone at Leopold’s—Savannah’s oldest and most iconic ice cream parlor.

Stay at the haunted Hamilton Turner Inn (Walt Disney’s inspiration for the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland!), or the DeSoto Savannah for remarkable views of Historic Savannah.

  • Charleston, SC: The Mills House or The Vendue
  • Savannah, GA : Hamilton Turner Inn or the DeSoto

We hope you found this post on USA East Coast road trip routes helpful, and are ready to hit the road!

road trip east coast

Other USA posts:

  • USA West Coast Road trips
  • Road Trips from San Francisco
  • Northern California road trip itineraries
  • Landmarks to historic site items for California bucket list
  • Best Airbnbs in the US

Pin: 15 Ultimate Road Trip USA East Coast | East Coast Road Trip Ideas

Pin for East Coast road trip ideas

Mayuri is the founder & editor of ToSomePlaceNew. An Indian-Canadian globetrotter, she has traveled to over 100 cities and 35+ countries. Mayuri has a graduate degree in History and is an MBA. She loves traveling the world, capturing historical nuances, and discussing that over a cup of coffee with her husband, Salil. She currently resides in Edmonton, Canada, and plots travel plans to Europe, the Americas, and beyond. 

Similar Posts

37 Best Winter Destinations in USA for every traveler

37 Best Winter Destinations in USA for every traveler

Looking for the best winter destinations in USA? Excellent! The United States of America is one of the most geographically and culturally diverse countries in the world. A country of 50 states, the USA offers a great variety of winter getaways. There is snow, there are sunny and warm beaches, city lights and music, shopping,…

4 days in London itinerary: Plan a trip to London 4 days

4 days in London itinerary: Plan a trip to London 4 days

Cosmopolitan – cultural – (sometimes) crazy, that is London for you! If you’re thinking of spending 4 days in London itinerary, you’re in for a treat!  A London 4-day itinerary will be full of history, culture, and an endless array of things to do. From iconic landmarks to world-class museums, there’s something for everyone in…

The Ultimate 2 days in Barcelona Itinerary

The Ultimate 2 days in Barcelona Itinerary

We landed in Barcelona with a bag full of explorer stories – of Christopher Columbus and his sea voyages. Barcelona today is full of artsy landmarks, and it is a football and food heaven. This 2 days in Barcelona itinerary is perfect for a city break, a quick weekend getaway, a stop-over, or an add-on…

2 Days in Florence Itinerary: A Weekend of Art & Culture

2 Days in Florence Itinerary: A Weekend of Art & Culture

Florence, the capital of the Tuscany region of Italy, is without a doubt one of the most picturesque cities in Europe, if not the world. Filled with iconic landmarks, a first-time visitor may find it a bit daunting to fully experience this alluring city on a short weekend trip. But our 2 days in Florence…

Perfect 10 days in Iceland itinerary without car

Perfect 10 days in Iceland itinerary without car

It would be difficult to do justice to the natural beauty of Iceland in such a short amount of time, but 10 days is enough to get a good taste of what this unique country has to offer. We are sharing our 10 days in Iceland itinerary to help make your trip planning a little…

One day in Aveiro Itinerary: Aveiro Day trip from Porto

One day in Aveiro Itinerary: Aveiro Day trip from Porto

Aveiro is known as the “Venice of Portugal” for its canals and colorful boats. The city is home to many churches, museums, galleries, and parks. If you’re looking for things to do in Aveiro for your Portugal trip, we got you covered. This easy one day in Aveiro itinerary has sightseeing and travel tips to…

I read your blog found it very informative. Next year we are planning for 1 month east coast trip for family of 4. Just wanted to know if you could plan, or suggest some itenary for us including some main attractions, country side or national park Thanks

So good to hear, Bhavesh. In one month, you can surely combine a city, nature, and beach vacation. The 10 day Washington D.C. to Philadelphia, to New York City itinerary sample is a good one that covers the iconic sites/landmarks. Then head to Georgia (North Georgia Mountains Road Trip) and finish the trip in Florida (Everglades National Park).

Or you can do Washington D.C. to Philadelphia, to New York City itinerary with Boston + Acadia National Park, Maine.

Hope this helps!

Thanks for sharing your experience information.

thanks for sharing this with us about tour .

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

AFAR Logo - Main

8 Scenic East Coast Road Trips to Take This Year

Pick a podcast, gas up (or charge up), and hit the road for one of these epic drives..

  • Copy Link copied

8 Scenic East Coast Road Trips to Take This Year

Elevated views abound on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Photo by Ashley Knedler/Unsplash

What better way to celebrate the beginning of summer than to hop in the car with the family or a dear friend and hit the road? Whether you’re on the hunt for the best lobster rolls in the land or the finest key lime pie, country charm or stately design, Old World elegance or modern panache, these are eight of the best East Coast road trips to take.

Portland Head Light at Cape Elizabeth is an essential Maine photo stop.

Portland Head Light at Cape Elizabeth is an essential Maine photo stop.

Photo by Yoav Hornung/Unsplash

Maine: The lobster trail

  • Distance: 232 miles
  • Start: Ogunquit
  • End: Acadia National Park

With 3,400 miles of coast, the Pine Tree State boasts one of the longest coastlines of any U.S. state and, as most Mainers will proudly tell you, the best lobsters in the world. Taste for yourself on this road trip, traveling Route 1, affectionately known as “the lobster trail,” along the storied, jagged coastline, stopping to sample lobster dishes in all forms—buttered, steamed, on a roll, or even in a decadent mac-and-cheese. The trip starts in quaint Ogunquit, with its rare (for the area) three-and-a-half miles of white-sand beach. Make your first lobster of the journey count, steamed with a side of drawn butter at Barnacle Billy’s in picturesque Perkins Cove harbor. Stop at Big Daddy’s for a cone on your way to the shipbuilding center—and summer home of George H. W. Bush—Kennebunkport. Stay at the recently redesigned 150-year-old classic White Barn Inn , and consider a sailing trip for an afternoon. With lobsters cooked in ocean water, the legendary lobster roll at the Clam Shack is a must.

On your way to Portland, Cape Elizabeth is great for photos by the historic lighthouse, Portland Head Light , before fresh seafood with an ocean view at the Lobster Shack at Two Lights . Browse the cute shops and take a gallery walk in Portland before heading further up the coast to Georgetown (where freshly caught lobster meat is employed to tantalizing effect in the lobster roll at Five Islands ) and Rockland (with a bustling arts scene on Main Street). Windsor Chairmakers sells exceptionally well-crafted furniture made from fine woods in Lincolnville. Finally, it’s time to get out of the car for a nice long stretch at trip’s end, Acadia National Park , where some 45 miles of bike trails beckon—a good way to work off those crustacean confections you’ve enjoyed on the way here.

Downs Creek and its coastal wetlands at Cutchogue are a far cry from big city life.

Downs Creek and its coastal wetlands at Cutchogue are a far cry from big city life.

Photo by quiggyt4/Shutterstock

Long Island’s Twin Forks: From country appeal to Hamptons elegance

  • Distance: 45 miles (134 miles if starting from Manhattan)
  • Start: Mattituck
  • End: Montauk

Once you get past the horror of Long Island expressway traffic, you’ll quickly see why Manhattanites have been weekending along the coastal towns of the “twin forks” for generations. This trip begins on the North Fork, where you’ll wind along County Road 48 through country hamlets; pop into fine design shops and surprisingly wonderful wineries along the way. In Mattituck, stop for insanely delicious treats from North Fork Doughnut Company , aka NoFo DoCo (trust us, try the Froot Loop one), and then feed the baby goats at Goodale Farms in nearby Riverhead. Further down the Fork, in Cutchogue, is one of the area’s finest wineries, Bedell Cellars , which hosts small group tastings; next up is the bustling (for the area) Greenport, alive with colorful artisan shops, galleries, and restaurants. Try the locally sourced watermelon spirit at sustainably-minded Matchbook Distilling Company —and consider a stay at the owner’s cute boutique hotel the Lin Beach House , before taking the ferry to picturesque Shelter Island, which features interior shops like Fredric Bernstein with its impossibly chic, punky decor. Take time for a kayak trip around the gentle waters, and try André Balazs’s Sunset Beach for a sophisticated cold beverage.

Ferry over to Sag Harbor on the South Fork, your gateway to the Hamptons, for lunch or dinner at the enchantingly warm Italian eatery Tutto il Giorno. (Co-owned by Donna Karan’s daughter, Gabby, it also sells tasteful decor items.) Stock up on sustainable beauty buys from Naomi Watts–backed Onda or Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop , and browse more elegant home decor shops—Madison Street is packed with excellent choices (like Monc XIII ). Accommodation options include the iconic American Hotel or the more luxurious Baker House 1650 in East Hampton for ultimate pampering. From here you can bike to Main Beach, one of the few legendarily scenic Hamptons beaches where you can also pay to park (during the week only). Or take a break from the sun and spend the afternoon basking in the magnificent gardens and outdoor sculptures at LongHouse Reserve while your Tesla charges right in the parking lot.

From there, head east to Montauk, stopping for a famed lobster roll at Bostwick’s Chowder House on Route 27 en route to Montauk. Hang 10 with the surfers at Ditch Plains, where you can grab lunch from the longtime food truck, the Ditch Witch, then browse the shops in town or pop into local favorite 668 the Gig Shack for its delicious blackened local fish “montacos” or tuna tartare taquitos. Consider a stay at the scene-y the Surf Lodge (if you want an entree to its wellness classes or concert series) or Gurney’s Montauk along old Montauk Highway, situated along one of the finest stretches of sand on the East Coast.

Key West’s Overseas Highway runs the length of the Florida Keys.

Key West’s Overseas Highway runs the length of the Florida Keys.

Photo by Mia2you/Shutterstock

Florida’s Overseas Highway: Coastal glory + key lime pie

  • Distance: 165 miles
  • Start: Miami Beach
  • End: Key West

Rent a convertible for this sun-kissed stretch: With 165 miles—113 of them on the iconic Overseas Highway (U.S. 1)—and 42 bridges to cross (including the spectacular Seven Mile Bridge, whose older span you can also walk over, in Marathon, FL), this American road trip is a classic. Electric vehicles can take you the whole way without a recharge stop—and there are multiple hotels and resorts with EV charging stations at trip’s end in Key West.

Begin in Miami, by strolling along the Wynwood Art District to snap Instagram stories in front of colorful street art murals, and visit the myriad groovy little galleries or the Museum of Graffiti and get a beer at any number of craft breweries. For an elevated sushi feast, book a 10-course chef’s tasting (or 6-course vegetarian menu) at the celebrated Austin import Uchi . The art deco hotels along Ocean Drive are worth a look before you head out of town. Put your top down and delight in the ocean air as you traverse U.S. 1, making stops along the way for key lime pie. You could make the entire trip a quest to find the perfect sweet/tart slice of heaven, but the best bite may be at trip’s end with the family recipe used at Key West’s Blonde Giraffe , a consistent fan favorite over the generations.

Full-fledged divers will want to spend an afternoon underwater in the Dive Capital of the World, Key Largo, which also boasts the first underwater preserve in the United States, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Everyone else can enjoy an afternoon of snorkeling along the coral reefs of the six Keys that make up Islamorada. (Geology and history buffs may want to check out Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park and the History of Diving Museum.) It’s worth booking one of the 16 elegant suites at Casa Morada for a night or two to better savor every moment. At the tail end of the route, and the southernmost point in the country, Key West resides just 90 miles from Cuba and has an inclusive spirit that’s long welcomed LGBTQ communities and nourished writers such as Ernest Hemingway. Check in to the colonial Queen Anne Artist House , with rooms sporting 12-foot ceilings, and stroll through the historic district neighborhood.

Charleston packs in a huge number of historic sites.

Charleston packs in a huge number of historic sites.

Courtesy of Explore Charleston

Charleston to Savannah: A southern charmer

  • Distance: 113 miles
  • Start: Charleston, South Carolina
  • End: Savannah, Georgia

Who couldn’t use some southern comfort on their travels? U.S. 17 connects two of the most iconic southern towns, from the foodie city of Charleston (from which you can also venture a bit further afield to the nearby sandy beaches of Sullivan Island) to the birthplace of southern Gothic, Savannah. Beginning in Charleston, founded in 1670, history buffs will want to park at the elegant John Rutledge House Inn, built in 1763 for South Carolina’s first governor, who helped write the U.S. Constitution. For a more modern design, check in to the Restoration , and enjoy its notable photography installations and crab cakes at the rooftop eatery, the Watch. Or head to the aptly named Darling Oyster Bar for fresh seafood and seasonal cooking.

When you stroll along cobblestone streets to City Market, make time for at least one of the many historic plantations or gardens, such as the Gilded Age–era Calhoun Mansion and Gardens (now called the Williams Mansion), considered one of the most important pieces of Victorian architecture on the East Coast. A little over midway through the trip, stop in Beaufort, founded in 1711, for a scenic walking tour of historical sites and glimpses of Hollywood lore—parts of The Big Chill and Forest Gump were filmed here. Consider an overnight stay at the Beaufort Inn and an educational visit to Reconstruction Era National Historic Park and the Penn Center to better understand the history of slavery.

Heading on to Savannah—Georgia’s first city, founded in 1733—succumb to the Gothic charms (iron gates, massive, moss-covered oak trees) that have enchanted writers such as Flannery O’Connor and John Berendt. (You can tour the sites made famous from his book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil , such as the Mercer Williams House and the Bonaventure Cemetery.)

In Savannah, book a night at the luxurious Perry Lane Hotel and take your time wandering this many-storied city. The upstairs art galleries at City Market are worth browsing as are the eclectic boutiques (must-hit: the Paris Market ) along Broughton Street. Dine on locally sourced creative fare like quail over grits cake and creole sauce from James Beard Award–winning chef Mashama Bailey’s the Grey (housed in an art deco gem, the city’s former bus stop). If you tack an additional 20 minutes onto your journey, you can check out laid-back Tybee Island with its tiny cottages, five miles of tidal beaches, and the tallest lighthouse in Georgia.

Road trip views don't get much better than those in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Road trip views don’t get much better than those in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Photo by Wes Hicks/Unsplash

Blue Ridge Parkway: Scenery that commands you to slow down

  • Distance: 384 miles
  • Start: Charlottesville, Virginia
  • End: Asheville, North Carolina

Slow it down and take in the memorable scenery on this bucolic trip. This favorite stretch of the 469-mile-long Blue Ridge Parkway, which takes you from Shenandoah National Park over the Blue Ridge chain to the Great Smoky Mountains, offers unparalleled vistas and natural highs, plus a multitude of cultural charms. Book a night at the 35-room Oakhurst Inn in Charlottesville, and take time to visit Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello before embarking on the journey. There are opportunities to hike along the Appalachian Trail or go fly-fishing at the Tye River before replenishing with a country ham sandwich at Layne’s Country Store in Glasgow. And just a 15-minute detour from the Parkway is the impressive limestone arch of the National Historical Landmark Natural Bridge , or “Nature’s Cathedral.”

An afternoon in Roanoke, an hour away, brings you the contemporary and folk art delights of the Taubman Museum of Art , and the farm-to-table fare of the River and Rail Restaurant. Get your bluegrass fix afterward at Floyd Country Store . Further up the road, you’ll find the sights and sounds of rural Appalachia at Mabry Mill ; Sunday afternoons are made for hootenannies here. Stay overnight in a luxury tree-house cottage or romantic log cabin at Primland , which offers an observatory for stargazing.

Keep the tunes a-comin’ with a stop at the Blue Ridge Music Center , where string bands knock out bluegrass music daily. Wind around spectacular curves as you cross the North Carolina border. The Parkway Craft Center outside Blowing Rock offers the chance to get crafts, with the Southern Highland Craft Guild hosting demonstrations by artisans on the porch of the Moses Cone Manor. In Asheville, you can tour the fabled Biltmore Estate (stay over at one of three on-premises hotels), browse the Mast General Store downtown, and cap things off with a hearty meal at the community-driven Rhubarb and a craft beer from among the 48 companies that brew here.

Check out AFAR’s favorite Blue Ridge Mountain cabins to rent on Airbnb and VRBO.

Storm King Art Center has a collection of more than 100 carefully sited sculptures by some of the most acclaimed artists of our time.

Storm King Art Center has a collection of more than 100 carefully sited sculptures by some of the most acclaimed artists of our time.

Photo by Felix Lipov/Shutterstock

From NYC to Woodstock: An upstate sojourn

  • Distance: 142 miles
  • Start: Manhattan
  • End: Woodstock

Yes, New York City is one of the great cultural centers of the world. But there’s a world of art and culinary treasures just outside the city that’s worth exploring as well, not to mention scenic mountain ranges and preserves. Cross the GW Bridge and take the leafy Palisades Parkway, which hugs the Hudson River, up toward Storm King Art Center for an afternoon of awe-inspiring large-scale outdoor art sculptures. From here, travel another 22 miles north, crossing back over the Hudson River (via I-84 North), and check in to the industrial-chic Roundhouse in Beacon, housed in an old textile factory and offering romantic views of the waterfall that feeds into Fishkill Creek. There’s a creative restaurant on premises, and Dogwood Bar & Restaurant down the street offers craft cocktails (like the hot and smoky Dogwoodrita).

Here you can spend the next morning viewing the impressive collection at Dia Beacon (the Dan Flavin installations are worth the trip alone) before crossing back over the bridge and taking 87 to 299 W to get to Mohonk Mountain House . Spend a night or two soaking up the Old-World rustic feel and immersing in nature: You could canoe in the pond, hike the magnificent property, or rock climb the Shawangunk Mountains in nearby Mohonk Preserve . Take a drive through adorable towns like Rosendale and High Falls, where you’ll find upscale design shops like Object Found on your way to Kingston, which has become a bit like Brooklyn North. Browse shops and dine at Kingston’s first zero-waste restaurant and cocktail bar, Miss Bāo .

Wrap things up a short 11-mile drive further upstate in Woodstock, which still retains its bohemian charm all these years later. (Go on, cut loose, and free-form dance to drum circles with the tie-dyed set in the town square in the evening.) It also boasts fine dining (like Cucina ), tastefully curated boutiques, and a killer bookshop, the Golden Notebook . For a quirky stay, consider the Herwood Inn , with four suites paying homage to female music icons. Rock on!

Explore Charlotte, the most populous city in North Carolina.

Explore Charlotte, the most populous city in North Carolina.

Wes Hicks/Unsplash

North Carolina’s Piedmont Region: A reinvented core

  • Distance: 185 miles
  • Start: Raleigh
  • End: Charlotte

North Carolina gets a lot of fame for its beaches on the east and the Blue Ridge mountains on the west, and now its previously unsung Piedmont region is garnering attention for road-trip wanderers. In the words of AFAR writer Sheryl Nance-Nash, the Piedmont’s “former textile mills and tobacco warehouses are being transformed into innovation hubs and food halls, and many people have flocked to the area to live.”

Start your trip through the reinvented region in Raleigh, North Carolina, Nance-Nash suggests, where you can spend your time admiring art installations, murals , and museums like the North Carolina Museum of Art and CAM Raleigh . While you’re here, stay in historical accommodations like the Heights House Hotel , an 1858 Italiante-style mansion in downtown Raleigh.

Next: Drive 80 miles west to Greensboro, a city rife with southern history. The perfect place to start your tour is with the International Civil Rights Center & Museum at the F.W. Woolworth building, where four college freshmen helped launch the sit-in movement in 1960—the museum even displays a restored lunch counter, preserved in the original location of where the momentous event took place. Then, have Sunday brunch at Magnolia House , where such legends as James Brown, Ray Charles, and Tina Turner have stayed.

A mere 30-minute drive is the small and artistic city of Winston-Salem. Have a meal at Sweet Potatoes , a homey joint cofounded by James Beard–nominated chef Stephanie Tyson, before walking off your food baby in the city’s Downtown Arts District . The area hosts a cluster of murals, galleries, boutiques, breweries, and distilleries, and the monthly First Friday gallery hop nights are a must-experience event.

Finally, end your trip by the South Carolina border in Charlotte . See the Queen City’s fast growth up close through its sprawl of neighborhoods—one of them being NoDa, an arts and entertainment district known for street art, creative people, and colorful establishments. Here you can find vintage clothing at the Rat’s Nest , or relax at Smelly Cat Coffee House & Roastery . When it comes to cuisine, restaurants like Midnight Diner , Leah & Louise , What the Fries , and Mert’s Heart & Soul will fill your body with southern-fried goodness. End things with a beer at the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery —the city’s oldest—or with a dessert at one of the Amelie’s French Bakery locations.

Alys Beach's bright white facades are a draw for visitors passing through.

Alys Beach’s bright white facades are a draw for visitors passing through.

Ken Schulze/Shutterstock

Northwest Florida: A postcard-worthy stretch of Mexico’s Gulf

  • Distance: 28.5 miles
  • Start: Inlet Beach
  • End: Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

“If Miami’s love language is spicy, then northwest Florida’s comes through in a syrupy coo,” writes AFAR’s Terry Ward about the upper section of Florida that hugs the Gulf of Mexico. Scenic Highway 30, a nearly 30-mile offshoot of U.S. Highway 98 that runs through Walton County, whisks you to the seaside towns and white-sand beaches that give this area its dreamy vacation reputation.

Start your journey at Inlet Beach, and take your time exploring the residential Gulf-front community Rosemary Beach and the new urbanism architecture of Alys Beach, Ward recommends. The sun-kissed fun continues when you head 10 miles east to Grayton Beach and visit Grayton Beach State Park (which has been praised as one of the most beautiful beaches in the country). For lunch, go to Grayton Beer Co. for its shrimp po’boys or the Red Bar —a lunch and dinner spot beloved for its crab cakes and wall-to-ceiling collection of eclectic decorations.

Drive about five miles west and wind down your day trip by visiting Topsail Hill Preserve State Park ’s 25-foot dunes and coastal dune lakes, which are lakes with both fresh and saltwater that exist in dune ecosystems. (Such lakes can only be found in Madagascar, New Zealand, Australia, and a small number of other places outside of the area.)

Choose to rest your head from a variety of stays along this route: There’s the WaterColor Inn in Santa Rosa Beach, which stands between the Gulf and Western Lake, and the Pearl Hotel at Rosemary Beach, with turrets and a clock tower that bring a sophisticated twist to the getaway establishment.

This piece was originally published on June 7, 2021, and was updated in May 2022, with new trips in Florida and North Carolina by Chloe Arrojado.

>> Next: What to Pack for a Road Trip

A woman laying in a super bloom of golden California poppies in Antelope Valley

Protect Your Trip »

10 epic east coast road trips to take this summer.

Spend a few days or even a week or two exploring these exciting East Coast destinations.

Epic east coast road trips to take this summer

(Getty Images) |

Grab the keys and hit the road for a summer vacation to remember.

East Coast road trip in Baltimore, Annapolis and Washington, DC

Baltimore, Annapolis, Md., and Washington, D.C.

East Coast road trip in Hudson Valley, New York

New York's Hudson Valley

East Coast road trip in Hilton Head, Beaufort and Charleston, South Carolina

The lowcountry: Hilton Head, Beaufort and Charleston, South Carolina

East Coast road trip from Boston to Portland, Maine

Courtesy of Robert A. Dennis |

Boston to Portland, Maine

East Coast road trip in Florida's first coast

Florida's First Coast: Amelia Island to St. Augustine

East Coast road trip in Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

Virginia's Shenandoah Valley

East Coast road trip in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania's Route 30

East coast road trip in the Virginia Shore

Virginia's Eastern Shore

East Coast road trip from Miami to Key West, Florida

Miami to Key West, Florida

East Coast road trip from Connecticut to Rhode Island

Connecticut to Rhode Island

Scenic Byway 60

You Might Also Like

  • 16 Top East Coast Beaches to Visit
  • The Most Scenic Drive in Every State
  • 12 Top West Coast Road Trips to Take
  • Top Poconos Resorts to Visit
  • 20 Road Trip Essentials for Your Vacation
  • RV Travel: 12 Tips for Renting an RV
  • America's Ultimate 7 National Parks Road Trips

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

You May Also Like

The best kids luggage.

Amanda Norcross March 1, 2024

road trip east coast

Best Hoover Dam Tours from Las Vegas

Holly Johnson and Ann Henson March 1, 2024

road trip east coast

Top Things to Do in Colorado

Leilani Osmundson Feb. 29, 2024

road trip east coast

The 5 Best NYC Bus Tours for 2024

Holly Johnson and Marisa Méndez Feb. 29, 2024

road trip east coast

Top Bachelor Party Destinations

Timothy J. Forster Feb. 29, 2024

road trip east coast

The 8 Best Hollywood Tours

Gwen Pratesi and Ann Henson Feb. 28, 2024

road trip east coast

Top Adults-Only Resorts in the Caribbean

Sharael Kolberg Feb. 28, 2024

road trip east coast

The Best Statue of Liberty Tours

Lyn Mettler and Ann Henson Feb. 27, 2024

road trip east coast

The Best Vatican Tours

Lyn Mettler Feb. 27, 2024

road trip east coast

The Best Maui Helicopter Tours

Gwen Pratesi Feb. 27, 2024

road trip east coast

Flashpacker Family is a family travel blog sharing adventures and tips on travel with kids.

The Best Ever East Coast Road Trip Itinerary

Last summer we took an East Coast road trip, from Montreal all the way to Miami. What an amazing trip it was! There is so much to see on East Coast road trips in the USA. The East Coast is chock full of cities with amazing history, charming towns, great food and some lovely scenery.

We think we planned one of the best East Coast road trips there is! There’s not much we didn’t do on our trip from Montreal to Miami. We did our East Coast road trip with kids, naturally, but if you’re travelling solo, as a couple or with friends this is still a great trip to take.

This post will help you plan your own East Coast road trip. Use the tools I have created to plan your itinerary and map out your route. Plus see what destinations we recommend the most!

What You'll Find in This Post

East Coast Road Trip Itinerary, East Coast Road Trip Map

East Coast Road Trip Map

Here is the East Coast road trip map from our journey in this summer. You can customize this East Coast road map for your specific trip by making a copy of the Google Map below and saving it to “My Maps” in Google . This is an excellent tool for planning road trips!

Our East Coast Road Trip Itinerary

This is our East Coast road trip itinerary from the summer. It took us around six weeks to drive the entire length (almost!) of America’s East Coast. If you are in a hurry you could do all or part of this in two to three weeks. Use our itinerary as a base East Coast road trip planner. You can customize this East Coast road trip itinerary to meet your needs. Send me an email if you need help or East Coast road trip ideas for your journey.

Here’s our six-week East Coast road trip itinerary from Montreal to Miami:

  • Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont (2 nights)
  • Portland, Maine (2 nights)
  • Boston, Massachusetts (3 nights)
  • Cape Cod, Massachusetts  (3 nights)
  • Providence, Rhode Island (1 night)
  • Mystic, Connecticut (1 night)
  • New York City, New York (5 nights)
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2 nights)
  • Lancaster, Pennsylvania (2 nights)
  • Washington DC (5 nights)
  • Fayetteville, North Carolina (1 night)
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (1 night)
  • Charleston, South Carolina (1 night)
  • Savannah, Georgia (2 nights)
  • Jekyll Island, Georgia (2 nights)
  • Orlando, Florida (4 nights)
  • Miami/Fort Lauderdale (2 nights)

East Coast road trip itinerary template for you to download:

I have created a spreadsheet that you can  download from Google Docs here . Use my East Coast road trip itinerary as a guide. You can customize this spreadsheet with the details of your East Coast road trip or just directly copy mine.

East Coast Road Trip Itinerary Template

East Coast Road Trip Destinations You Can’t Miss!

When you’re planning a road trip, you start with the places you really want to see and then fill in the gaps along the route with other destinations that look intriguing or break up the journey. Depending on how much time you have available for your road trip, you may have to pick and choose what to do. Here are the of the East Coast road trip attractions and destinations we loved the best!

Reuben & Hazel at Ben & Jerry's, Vermont, East Coast Road Trip

Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour in Vermont

If you’re starting this far North, you have to stop and see some of Vermont’s covered bridges and take a tour of the Ben & Jerry’s Factory near Stowe. Free samples included!

Where to Stay: Smuggler’s Notch Resort  – This is the most amazing resort for families. Check out all the amazing things they have on offer. Your kids will love spending a few days here!

Maine Coastline, Near Portland, East Coast Road Trip

Maine’s Rocky Coast

You’ll love Maine’s rocky coastline. Dotted with lighthouses to admire and lobster shacks to get a delicious dinner. Maine is beautiful in the summer and I would definitely recommend extending your East Coast road trip this far north if you can.

Where to Stay: Comfort Inn & Suites Scarborough  – Portland is a surprisingly expensive city, especially in the summer. Save money by staying out in the suburbs. This was a great value hotel!

Boston from Above

Boston’s Historic City Center

If you don’t know anything about the early history of the US, take a historic tour in Boston. It’s the best place to begin your educational journey of America’s history. A historical trolley tour is a must! Besides it’s history, Boston is a super cool city with great food and interesting people. Squeeze in a trip to Salem and Plymouth Rock as you road trip to and from Boston. We recommend getting the Boston CityPASS to save money on all the museums and attractions in the city. It’s only $55 and $42 for kids. You can buy it online in advance here.

Kids Playing on Beach, Cape Cod, East Coast Road Trip

Cape Cod’s Beaches

If you’re road tripping the East Coast in the summer, swing by Cape Cod for a few days of beach time. The Cape is the Eastern most point of the United States and sandy & pebbled beaches stretch for miles along it’s coast.

Where to Stay:   Hampton Inn and Suites Cape Cod  – Cape Cod ain’t cheap, especially over summer weekends. This is an affordable option but you’ll need to book ahead in peak season.

Reuben and Hazel in Times Square, New York

Everything about New York City!

If there’s one city on the East Coast that you can not miss, it’s New York City. The Big Apple is probably the greatest city in the world. There is so much to do here so allow yourself at least five days to explore. See and do as much as you can or as much as your budget permits. We recommend using the New York CityPASS to access the attractions in NYC. You’ll save 40% on the actual cost of each of the attractions. You can buy it in advance online here.

Where to Stay: Hyatt Times Square  – Right in the heart of Times Square this is a fabulous location that will let you walk to everything! They do have parking but it’s cheaper to use Park Whiz for the parking building on the same block.

Philadelphia Skyline at Sunset, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia’s History & Museums

Philadelphia was the first capital city of the United States and played an important role in the country’s history. Not only is it home to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, there are also many great museums in the city. The Please Touch Museum is especially good for kids! Again, we recommend the CityPASS for Philadelphia to save money on the attractions in the city. It’s $59 for adults and $39 for kids and includes an open top bus tour which is great for getting an insight into the history that occurred in Philadelphia. You can purchase it online here.

Where to Stay: Loews Hotel Philadelphia  – This is a beautiful art deco hotel right in the heart of Philly. Again, use  Park Whiz  to skip the hotel’s expensive valet and self park down the street. You’ll be able to explore the city’s historic sites on foot with ease. As you can see the view from the rooms is SO good at sunset!

Amish Buggy and Horse, Lancaster Pennsylania, East Coast Road Trip

Amish Country in Lancaster

OK. It’s a little weird to travel to a place purely to peek at it’s people but Amish Country Pennsylvania is a must visit! It’s so unique and, even though it feels slightly voyeuristic, it is fascinating to see Amish people up close and witness their way of life. Ride the Strasburg Railroad , eat a home-cooked meal at  Plain & Fancy restaurant (don’t miss the shoo fly pie!) and visit the Amish Farm & House .

Where to Stay: Courtyard Marriott Lancaster  – Like any other Courtyard Marriott you’ll get a clean, comfy room. The location is excellent for exploring the county and it’s just down the road from the Discover Lancaster tourism office so be sure to stop in an pick up some maps & info.

The White House at Twilight, East Coast Road Trip

Monuments & Museums Washington DC

Washington DC is a major East Coast road trip attraction! Come for the museums, monuments and of course The White House. Best of all, almost everything to do in DC is free.

Where to Stay:   Holiday Inn Rosslyn @ Key Bridge  – This location is excellent. The hotel has free parking and is right across the Key Bridge from Washington DC’s sites so you can easily explore from here.

Flashpacker Family at Myrtle Beach, East Coast Road Trip

Southern Feast in Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach is just another beach destination. The beach itself is nice enough if not overly developed. The real star of Myrtle Beach was the food at Simply Southern Smokehouse . Good ol’ fashioned Southern fare, served buffet style. It’s cheap and it’s good. It’s worth going for the peach cobbler alone.

Where to Stay:   Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center  – We chose to stay away from the beachfront because all the hotels there looked old and tacky. It was a great decision in the end as this Sheraton was very nice indeed. There is a small fee for parking but it’s only a couple of dollars.

Historic Homes in Savannah, East Coast Road Trip

Historic & Charming Savannah

Savannah will steal your heart! The Spanish Moss covered trees, leafy squares and historic homes make this small town feel like it’s stuck in time. Taking a historic trolley tour is a great way to get an overview of Savannah’s past… and meet Forrest Gump.

Where to Stay: The Brice A Kimpton Hotel  – This hotel is just WOW! It’s an old converted factory only a block from the river so walking distance to all of Savannah’s charming squares. The trolley tour we took stopped right at the hotel so it is very convenient!

Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Florida, East Coast Road Trip

Cape Canaveral’s Kennedy Space Center

Awe-inspiring, educational and literally out of this world. The Kennedy Space Center on Cape Canaveral is somewhere you should definitely plan on visiting as a day trip from Orlando or a stop along the coast on your way south.

Where to Stay:   Radisson Resort at the Port  – You can stay in the Cape Canaveral area of visit as a side trip from Orlando as it’s only about a one hour drive.

Riding the Tea Cups, Disneyworld Orlando, East Coast Road Trip

A Day at Disneyworld

road trip east coast

Where to Stay:   Embassy Suites Orlando Lake Buena Vista South  – Stay as close to the Disney gates as you can!

Save on Orlando's Best Theme Parks!

Planning an East Coast Road Trip?

Let me know if you need any assistance with your East Coast road trip itinerary, help choosing the best East Coast road trip destinations or deciding where to focus your time along the East Coast.

I have lots more posts about road tripping around America. If you want to extend your road trip around Florida , read this post. Or if you want more ideas for road trip routes, then read this post on my 5 favourite road trips.

Looking for a rental car for your road trip-

Top 10 Road Trip Essentials

Before you set off on your road trip, make sure you’ve got all the essential items at the ready.

  • GPS covering American & Canadian roads
  • AAA breakdown kit
  • Car charger with multiple USB ports
  • Cooler & large Ziploc bags  for filling with ice from hotel ice machines
  • Audible membership for listening to audiobooks
  • Tide Pods – put a handful in a Ziploc bag for doing laundry on the road
  • Baby wipes for wiping up after snacks or messes
  • First aid kit
  • Radar detector

Get an exclusive first look at my new ebook... "East Coast Road Trip Guidebook"!

Now you’ve planned your East Coast road trip, get my companion guide to make the most of your road trip!

My East Coast Road Trip Guide Book will be available shortly!

This ebook will contain a detailed guide to each of the cities road trip including the top things to do and places to eat as well as tips on where to park and where to stay while you visit.

To receive updates on the ebook and get a FREE preview chapter, click here!

  • Pinterest 13.3k
  • Send to a Friend 35

Best Toddler Travel Bed (2019) – Top Picks from Family Travel Expert!

Wow, you guys covered a lot of ground! It looks like a great itinerary and fun experience.

' src=

I want to do this very trip! You’ve done an awesome job of laying it all out! love it!

' src=

What an amazing adventure! I grew up on the east coast, so this was fun for me to see through your eyes…though I haven’t traveled much in the far NE—I’d love to visit Maine, Vermont & the Massachusetts coast. Next time you’ll have to spend more time in North Carolina!

' src=

You’re amazing!!!! I have been searching for hours to find an itinerary for just this trip…to no avail…then I found your site through Pininterst. There is literally no other itinerary that is this specific for a Fl to Maine trip. You’re a lifesaver! Thank you so much! The only other info I’d love if you’d want to share would be the budget estimates for this trip. Thank you again! Can’t wait to bookmark the site and read more.

' src=

Hi Jen! So glad you found us! We travelled during the summer and we did find New England a little pricey at this time of year. I have all my spending records on Trail Wallet so I’ll let you know what they were once I look at my phone. 🙂

' src=

Hi! We live in Auckland, New Zealand and pretty much want to do this same trip with our 3 children (4,8 and 10) next year. How can I pick your brain for more information. Our biggest questions to start with is how to get around. Do we get an RV or do car and accommodation? Can I get a rough idea of your overall spend for this trip and lastly what months of the year did you do this in?

Hi Louise! I would definitely choose a car + hotels & Airbnbs over an RV. There are lots of big cities on this list which would make parking an RV a nightmare. Hotels in America can be had for pretty cheap. We generally booked them the night before we needed them, sometimes even the morning of! We used Priceline Express Deals to make sure we got a good deal. We did our trip in August/September which was perfect weather wise. When were you thinking? I track all my spending when we travel using an app called Trail Wallet. So useful. We budgeted $200 USD for everything excluding car and were pretty much bang on spending wise. You might need to increase that slightly as we have two small children and you have one extra plus they’re a little older. Let me know if you have any more questions!

Great thanks Bethany. Yes our children probably eat a bit more than yours plus the extra child always makes accomodation a bit more pricey so we might need to look closer towards the 300 per day mark. When you say everything did that include attractions? Sounds like an RV is definitely not the thing for us. We want to go next year. Probably around June time

Family accommodation is pretty good in America. Almost every hotel room we stayed in had either two queen beds or a king bed and a pull out sofa bed. You could definitely make it work. We generally stayed in hotels when were in one place for just a night or two. Another over three or four nights and we’d look for an Airbnb so we could spread out, have separate bedrooms, a living area etc. That figure includes attractions, parking, hotels, gas, food… everything! June would be a nice time to travel on the East Coast. The coastal towns in New England get VERY busy in the summer months. We paid $175 a night for a 2-star motel in Maine just because it was a Saturday night! Try and structure your itinerary so that you’re in the beach towns during the week to save money. How long have you got for your trip?

Thanks so much for all your help. I think we will take 5-6 weeks the same as you. We will fly out of Auckland so will have to work out how to navigate the one way car rental and the flights etc. Your help is really appreciated!

' src=

Hi, i’m taking my parents (both in their 70’s) on a east cost road trip this April. probably not as extensive as yours. i’m thinking Boston to DC. I read that you booked hotels the day before/morning of – why did you do that? Price reasons, flexibility in your movements or another reason? Thank you

Hi Varun. That sounds like a great trip. Lots of history, museums etc on that stretch. Make sure you do some guided city tours or trolley tours to make the most of it!

The reasons we book last minute is so we could be completely flexible on our journey. This is partly because we travel long term and didn’t have to finish by any point but also partly because I was doing the research to write this post! If you’re travelling for a shorter, set amount of time then I would suggest booking in advance as you don’t want to spend time thinking about where to go tomorrow, booking a place to stay etc.

If you want to reply with your proposed itinerary I can critique it for you and give you some ideas or suggestions.

I have a post here on using Priceline Express Deals to get cheap accommodation. This is how we booked ALL our last minute stays and it worked brilliantly. You can use it for advance bookings too though –

' src=

We are planning the same trip this summer with 2 kids and your article is very useful. Thank you very much for sharing your experience with other travellers.

You’re welcome Meltem! Let me know if you have any questions.

' src=

I’m going to end of this month October on a road trip from Tampa Florida to Baltimore on the return trip to Tampa would like to see a lot of things

' src=

We are thinking of coming over to New York in may of this year for our honeymoon and doing the east coast. The question I’ve got is what are the rental companies like dropping the car off in another state. Does it cost extra and how much extra? If you have any other tips that would be great!

Hi Rob! Usually a one way rental costs an extra fee. Typically it’s around $300 but it depends on the car rental company and which states you’re in. Some states have an agreement that waives the one way fee, like between CA, NV and AZ. When you do a car rental quote, it should come up either in the fee breakdown or in the policy wording. Check a few of them before booking so you get the best price!

' src=

Hi! I was wondering how the drive back from Florida to Montreal was. And around how much did the whole thing cost? Thank you!

Hi Kani! Thanks for stopping by. We only drove one way. Afterwards we did a road trip around Florida and then continued on and drove across the Gulf Coast of the US, Texas and back to Utah. You could drive back up if you live in Montreal, taking a more inland route. Or rent a car for the trip and fly back instead. Up to you!

Our budget for this trip was $200 USD per day for everything including accommodation, food, attractions and gas. We are a family of four. We had our own vehicle so if you planned on renting a car you would have to factor this into the budget. That said, you could definitely do this trip cheaper than we did by spending a few days less in NYC and avoiding New England in the summer as it’s very expensive there at this time of year.

Let me know if you have any other questions!

– Bethaney

' src=

Hi Bethany. Intending on being in New Orleans/Florida mid December xmas in North Carolina and New York around new yrs . Fly back home to oz from there. Family of 4 with kids 15 and 21! Thinking trip to be around 3 weeks long. Saw your blog on east coast tour and looks very inviting. My only worry is the climate that time of yr and is it what u call ” peak season” . Would we expect big crowds and high pricing. Be interested in your comments. Thanks. Kirk from oz.

Hi Kirk. Christmas time on the East Coast wouldn’t be peak season as it’s the middle of winter. NYC and DC will be cold and potentially snowy. That may impact your driving. Further south, not such a big problem.

We travelled at the end of summer last year and had no problem getting accommodation except in coastal Maine on a weekend. Heading down towards Florida you might strike people holidaying over the Xmas period. But remember that Americans get far less holiday time than us down under, even around Christmas and NY. There’s no boxing day holiday. This list of holidays in the US might help – http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/ .

Thanks Bethany. Useful info. We may leave car in Raleigh N/C and bus to NYC with stops along way if the weather is not good driving at that time of yr ! I’m sure buses do that route regularly. Do you have any thoughts on that ? Kirk.

I’ve not used buses to get around America Kirk. I’m sure driving is fine on the I95 even in winter. America really is better with a car!

' src=

Hey! I’m trying to go on a road trip for 7 days with 4 mid 20’s friends, Id appreciate any advice and recommendations on what to see on the east coast, much appreciated!!!

Everything on this itinerary! If you want to party, you might want to spend a bit more of your time in Miami or NYC. 7 days is not a lot of time for this itinerary. It took us about 6 weeks.

' src=

Hi Bethaney, Thank you for inspiring us. We just wrapped our first 2500 mile East Coast road trip with 3 kids. Your tips and suggestion was excellent. We started our journey from Massachusetts on August 16th,2016 , we used waze maps for directions. There is one problem with Waze, it states that it only has up map range of 1000 miles, however,we realized early on that its server was timing out. So, the journey was broken down into 500 miles -600 mile range. Please pick your points a head of time. We did our best to stay away from I-95 S. Waze puts on I_81S, this was a good road to travel. Our first stop was Orlando FL, luckily Floridians are back in school so the parks and roads seems to have a light traffic. We parked in Miami FL and took a Cruise to Bahamas. It was great!, we returned and drove to Key Largo to take a glass bottom boat cruise t to from John Pennenkamp Coral Reef State Park. This state park is great as it has 3 beaches on site where you can do Snorkeling and it is shallow. From Key Largo we drove to Coco Beach to visit Cape Canaveral, from this point onward we followed your road map. We stopped at NASA ( had a great time), Georgia (took the Old Savannah Trolley tour and stopped at Mrs.Wilkes for Lunch), Myrtle Beach SC( Stayed in La Quinta across from Broadway on the Beach ) and decided to stay an extra day, so stayed at the Sheraton Convention Center. From SC we drove up to Mount Laural NJ and stayed at the Holiday inn Express. This was our stopping point to visit Philadelphia. The distance between Mt.Laurel and Philadelphia is 16 miles. Hotel was very nice. Since we stayed only for one day we visited the Independence Hall, Liberty Bell and took the Big Bus tour. We stopped for Philly Cheesteak at Pats King of Steaks ( Sub was pre-made and was luke warm, so decided to go to Geno’s across the street ( Cheese Steak was delicious). Finding parking in this neighborhood was quite difficult. Again, Thank you for this blog, it came in handy through out through out our journey.

Hi Bernard! I’m glad to hear you had such an amazing trip along the East Coast. It’s always amazing for me to hear that people are following my travel advice and getting value from the info I provide. 🙂 I can’t wait to go back to the US and finish off the states we haven’t done. The ones in the middle mainly!

' src=

Hi, that’s an awesome trip and very informative, thank you.

We live in the UK and done a West Coast USA road trip last year and it was the best trip we have ever had, I’m still buzzing about it now TBH. We are now wanting to do the Deep South as my girlfriend really wants to sample the good old American bars playing the music she loves. However, looking over itineraries online I’m just not feeling it and I think the East may be more appealing. Starting in NYC, heading up to Thousand Island Park, across to Niagara then back down to NYC – plus many stops along the way. We have 21 travelling days to play with.

What do you think is best, East or South? Or have I just been spoilt with the awesome scenery of the West around Bryce, Zion, Grand Canyon and Yosemite, just to name a few – like I said, I’m still buzzing over that trip ha-ha!

Hi Kev! That is actually a really tough question! The East Coast is great but if your GF is into the music scene then it would be a tough call. The South is fab! We haven’t done a whole Deep South Road trip but we’ve kind of done bits of it in a couple of different road trips when criss-crossing from east to west and west to east.

Why not combine a bit of both? With three weeks you could start in NYC, travel down to Philly/Amish Country, then to DC then start to cut across VA and down into Tennessee, Mississippi and then end in New Orleans. I think that would be great for 3 weeks. We absolutely LOVED Nashville and Memphis. New Orleans is something else completely. Might just be my favourite city in the US now!

Let me know what you think! Happy to discuss further. 🙂

' src=

Just found your website, and am so excited to read about your travels. I am planning a trip down the east coast and I love that you put your itinerary out there. I have been looking for something similar to this and love that your sharing your travel tips!

Thanks Tasha. Glad I could help! Let me know if you have any questions about your trip. 🙂

' src=

Hey Bethany, Thank you for your information! We’re planning an East coast trip this summer. It’s mainly the 13 colonies & end in Disney World. All of this with our 13 yr old grandson & our kids coming & going. Coming from Or, the debate is1) fly to the east rent a car & drive/hotel. 2)rent a cruise America thing & stay in Koa type places. A lot of cities have bus tours. Such pro’s & cons! We can’t decide. HELP we gave 4-6 weeks.

Hi Sandi! What a great trip. Lucky grandson getting to tag along. I guess my question to you would be are you comfortable sharing a small space for that length of time? If you go for an RV, it’ll be tight quarters. Plus a lot harder to drive around the cities (and park) when you’re in places like Philadelphia, Boston, DC, New York etc. I would personally go for a car for this type of trip. Other road trips in the US would be great in an RV but there are so many cities on this one, you’d end up having to stay right on the outskirts to park your RV and probably have to catch public transport each day. 4 to 6 weeks is a great amount of time for this trip. We did it in 6 weeks by came all the way from Montreal so that did add a bit of extra time on there. You’ll have a great time! Feel free to ask any further questions.

' src=

This trip looks amazing! Do you have an estimate of overall cost? I couldn’t find that anywhere in the post. I’d need to adjust the trip based upon cost. Thanks!

Hi David. Our budget was $200 USD a day for our family of four which we kept to comfortably. We did have our own car though so if you’re renting you need to factor that into the budget. We didn’t do things as cheaply as one could though. You could definitely get it down to $150 a day and still be OK. Hope that helps!

' src=

hi ! we will have 4 weeks (including coming from/returning to Oz)… any suggestions where we could cut back in time? but still see the best!!! Kim

Hi Kim! I think 4 weeks would be great from NYC to Orlando or Miami. Are you travelling with kids or without? You’ll probably need to stopover in LAX or SFO on the way so figure about 3 weeks of driving. What time of year?

' src=

Hi Kim, we just finished travelling from New York to Florida in 5 weeks and I would say it was just about enough time, although more would have been better. We did have a week in the Outer Banks (highly recommended) and a week in Orlando, which might save you time if you don’t intend to stop long anywhere.

If you want to save time anywhere, I would suggest between NC and Florida, there are fewer sights there and you really don’t want to miss anything further north. Happy Travels

Great guide, we actually just used it ourselves when we road tripped the east coast. Although we did a slightly shorter version from New York to Orlando, also we included the Outer Banks of NC as I used to live there once and wanted to revisit it. Although it did turn out to be one of our favourite locations on route. I am curious why you didn’t go that way, very few people seem to?

Thank you again for writing this blog, it was so helpful in planning our trip.

' src=

Hi there! 🙂

Thanks for this amazing itinerary. Me, my girlfriend, both 28 years old, and our son that will be 1 next june plan on doing Miami – New York.

My first question is why you skip north carolina? I see that you drive from fayetteville straight to washington. Was this just because you have to skip something or is NC just not that interesting?

We plan to do this in 1 month and I am trying to fit all the best places. We don’t like to travel to much since we have the baby with us. So 3-5 nights minimum each place. If you had to choose around 7 places what would you choose? 🙂 I know it’s a hard question.

Also, would you recommend having a rental car for most of the time or can you also use public transportation?

Hi Sveinn! Thanks for your comment. We didn’t find anything along the route that we considered worth stopping off at in NC so decided just to power through. I’m sure there are good places to visit in NC but they weren’t along the I95 or were too much of a detour. We did this trip with our baby aged 15 months and son at age 5 so it’s definitely doable with small kids. There are some places where 3-5 nights is too long e.g. Lancaster or some of the other smaller towns and some where it’s not enough e.g. NYC! I would not miss NYC, DC, Savannah or Cape Canaveral. Philadelphia was great but you could easily be satisfied with the other two big cities. You could skip Jekyll Island or Myrtle Beach but we just used these as handy places to break up the drive. I would absolutely recommend travelling by rental car the whole way. Public transport is not great in the US and road tripping is by far the easiest way to travel with a baby. 🙂

' src=

That is a wonderful trip….but the East Coast actually involves Canada…how come you didn’t take time to explore IT??? We have driven that drive from the Maritimes down to Key West and believe me, it is a fantastic trip. However, we deliberately avoided NYC and Washington!!!

Don’t forget to explore Atlantic Canada!!!!!!!

We spent 4.5 months in Canada on our travels. We started this part of our road trip from Montreal.

' src=

Hello. My Son is studying at University of Toledo, Ohio. I am planning a vacation with him in month of July. I would like to explore nearby places. I have 4 weeks with him…can you help me plan a trip. I have never been to East Coast. Thank you.

With a month, I think you New York to Miami would be best. Or vice versa. So fly to either of those cities and make a start there. If you need to drive from Toledo and back then you could go across to NYC and start there and then take an inland route back up to Toledo from Miami. Or actually you could just do the New England section plus NYC, DC, Lancaster and Philly. That might actually be better if ou’re starting from and returning to Toledo. Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any more questions.

I have another NEw England road trip itinerary in this post –

' src=

Hi there! Really enjoyed reading about your trip to East Coast 🙂 We are a family of 4, planning a 3-week visit to the USA and a trip along similar route in August. Apart from visiting friends for a few days in Frederick, MD and doing a week-long beach vacay around Delaware (and possibly visit to Kennedy Space Center), we are not fixed on any other places. Where would you recommend we fly to for the start of our trip and return from? Some say better to fly to Philly than NYC…Thanks for your advice.

Hi Sanja! How old are your kids? That might change my recommendation a little. NYC is amazing and if you haven’t been I would definitely include it in your trip. The drives are all pretty short in that part of the road trip. If you did want to skip NYC you could fly into Philadelphia or even DC. There is so much great stuff to do in DC with kids. We wish we’d had even longer there to be honest.

Week one – The cities in some combination of NYC, Philly, DC. You could easily spend it all in DC especially if you are visiting friends in Maryland. Philly and DC with a side trip out to Lancaster would be good too. It’s probably smart to skip NYC with this short amount of time. Week two – Your beach trip to Delaware. Week three – You’d need at least one stop between your Delaware beach destination and Savannah or it’s a long drive down. Spend a few days in Savannah and then head down to Florida. You could stay at the Cocoa beach/St Augustine/Cape Canaveral area and visit the beach and Kennedy Space Center. Or you could stay in Orlando and visit the theme parks if your kids would like that and then do a day trip from there to Kennedy Space Center.

Hope that helps!!!!

' src=

Hi Bethaney,

So glad we found you on Pinterest! We have 20days on the east coast. Extra 4 days in NYC. This will be my first trip to the US with the kids. I have done NYC.

Kids are 11-7 and 4 of them. I am will hire a car and start in Miami. I really want to make it to Montreal and head back to NYC last 4 days.

' src=

I’d just like to add if you’re going to do an East Coast trip you definitely shouldn’t sleep on Baltimore. I lived on the East Coast my whole life. Between Upstate NY (Syracuse and Buffalo), DC, and now Baltimore. Baltimore doesn’t get the credit that it’s neighbors DC and Philly get but I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

I suggest stopping off in Baltimore for at least a day as it’s between Philly and DC off of 95S on your way down. For hotels stay close to the inner harbor or the newer Harbor East area.

Places to see: – Camden Yards, one of the best baseball parks in the country. – Fort McHenry, where the US held off the British navy in 1812 and inspired the Star Spangled Banner – Federal Hill, best views of the city. US again defended against the British at the hill in 1814. During the civil war, the North pointed cannons at the city to keep Maryland from joining the Confederacy. -Edgar Allen Poe’s grave – Inner Harbor, great people watching and can get a lunch/dinner cruise – National Aquarium, one of the best aquariums anywhere – Seafood! Some of the best seafood in the country, if not the world LP Steamers and Nick’s Seafood are my favorites.

There’s a lot to see and do in Baltimore. It’s a significant historical city on the same level as Boston, Philly, DC in terms of importance to early US history.

The people are great and very welcoming. The city gets a bad rap, but it’s very safe in the tourist areas. Just stay out of West Baltimore (west of the stadiums) and East Baltimore (north of Patterson Park).

' src=

Bethaney – I have to say you are my hero! We travel quite a bit, albeit not nearly as much as you but we are both teachers and so make the most of our summers off. I am a planner, just like you and your spreadsheet for this trip is amazing!!! We just went on a 16 night California roadtrip last summer that went really well. We were a little nervous about traveling that long in a car with kids, but it was wonderful. With that trip under our belt, I now have started planning our east coast trip for summer 2018. I have gotten our trip down to about 4 weeks (starting in Maine and ending in Georgia), but am a little nervous about the budget. Our Cali trip averaged about 500 a day, which I didn’t think was too bad until I read that you did East Coast at 200 a day. We averaged about 250 for hotels and 250 for food/activities, amusement parks, souvenirs etc. So my goal is to get it closer to the 300 mark, but looking at some of the hotels you listed (especially NYC) I’m not seeing how you got it down so low, was it same day discounts perhaps? I’m such a planner that last minute makes me a little nervous, but perhaps it will be worth it??? Any thoughts on cost saving strategies would be greatly appreciated!

Hi Kelly! Thanks for your nice comment!!! We had no trouble getting hotels on Priceline Express Deals by booking last minute, usually the night before or the morning of, typically you save 25% to 40% using Express Deals. The reason we did this was so we could a) save money but also b) remain totally flexible in our travel plans. Our budget for accommodation was $100/night and we often spent around that or a bit less. You can still plan ahead and use Priceline Express Deals though! It is definitely worth trying if you want to shave a bit off your accommodation costs. I have a blog post on it here –

We also used CityPass for attractions in the likes of Boston, NYC and Philly to save money on entrance fees. We almost always had breakfast in our hotel, travelled with bowls and spoons and a reusable grocery bag with snacks, cereal etc plus a cooler for milk. We mostly stuck to one meal eating out per day and one grocery store/takeaway meal which was almost always Wholefoods Salad bar or something cheap like Chipotle. Our kids are little so they don’t eat a heap or cost as much in admission fees for things so you’d have to factor that in if you were travelling with older kids or teens.

Let me know if that helps!

' src=

Hi! This might have been said already…but what’s your advice for this trip with the little ones? We’re planning a similar trip this May with our two kids ages 3 and 10 months. What would you recommend skipping or highly suggest? Thanks!

Our kids were 5 years and 1.5 years when we did this exact trip so, for the itinerary, keep it the same and find kid-friendly things to do in the cities. My main advice for the actual road tripping with kids part is to not drive long journeys back to back days unless you have to, limit travel days to 400 miles or less, try and get your driving done early in the morning, pick hotels with pools if you’re travelling in summer and snacks & games for the car are a must!

' src=

North Carolinas coast is absolutely breathtaking and charming. Very sad that N.C was skipped over and you stayed on Myrtle Beach instead of riding a fairy over to Ocracoke or seeing the Sand Dunes in Outer Banks. My favorite spot on the East coast is the Eastern Shore of Virginia! The 13 mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge has the most beautiful view of the sunset if hit at the right time and its so awesome to see Bay/Atlantic/Marsh/Pines all there together and all the White tall deer! It’s so hard to see it all. Next time touch some on those areas : ) LI’ve your post though! A North Carolinan, born and rainsed ; )

' src=

Hi Bethaney! Love your blog, so happy i found your post! we are planning an East Coast trip this summer and I am really confused about the stops! We will be 10 people, we will rent a large van (we rented a 12-seater last summer from Vegas to California). We will all have luggage the whole time. Thing is, ages range from 3 years old to 70! it’s hard to plan. We want to start in Boston, stay for 2 days, then New York another 2 or 3 days, Washington DC 1 day, and then we want to skip as fast as possible through the rest to spend the last days in Miami. The trip will be around 2 weeks. What is the best stop out of the last few stops to not make it a really long drive for the kids? We are 7 adults, a 13 year old, a 9 year old, and a 3 year old. We won’t go to Disney World though. I will start working on hotel options as well for each of the areas we will stay in. In Boston we have a condo and some will be at a hotel so no problem there. Any tips or recommendations are much appreciated! Thank you!

Hi Sahar! Sounds like a great trip. Washington DC to Miami is so far, over 1000 miles, 16+ hours of driving) and if you’re on a time crunch I would probably say just fly that leg and concentrate on Boston, NYC and DC for your travel by van. If you do plan to drive it though I would suggest stopping in Savannah as it’s the most interesting stop en route between the two. Savannah is a lovely town. If you can, break up the drive from Savannah to Miami by stopping off at the Kennedy Space Center for a couple of hours as it’s fascinating.

' src=

Hi, our family planning a road trip from Montreal to cape cod, MA. I am wondering if you can suggest any attractions a long the way as we will travel with 2 kids( 2.5 yo and 6 month old). Also any tips about road trip with young kids will be much appreciated.

We did all that with our kids at 5 years and 18 months. It’s a good route because the drives are pretty short. Lots to do in Boston with kids. We liked Salem too but more for the history and the witchy stuff. Lots of lighthouses and beaches down the Maine coast and of course Cape Cod. Don’t miss the Ben & Jerry’s factory tour!

Tips for road tripping with small kids:

– Don’t drive more than 400 miles in a day. (Easy in New England area!) We found our baby could manage her first nap in the car but about an hour after that nap she could not sit in the car any longer at all and would just scream if we were in the car any longer.

– Don’t do back to back days of long driving if you can avoid it. Try and stay places two nights to give kids a break from the big drives. (This can be hard if you’re driving across country or trying to get somewhere fast.)

– On days where you are doing a lot of driving, pick a hotel with a pool as a reward and to let kids burn off energy.

– Get up and do your driving first thing in the morning after a quick hotel breakfast.

– Pack a “food bag” with cereal, snacks etc in a reusable grocery bag plus a cooler with milk, yoghurt etc so you can feed kids easily in the car or hotel room. Take a large ziploc bag and fill it with ice from hotel ice machine to keep your cooler snacks fresh. Snacks are a good way to break up the journey for little kids.

– Bring coloring books, crayons, activity toys, ipads, music for the car. Make sure you interact with the kids and talk about what you’re seeing out the window, colors, the trees, point out any animals you pass etc. Play eye spy even if they don’t quite get it!

– Don’t except the kids to want to go out to eat in evening if you’ve been driving during the day, they just won’t get back in the car! Instead plan on eating take out in the room and have one parent go pick it up or have it delivered.

' src=

Sounds like a fun trip. We (myself, wife and daughters 6 and 9 are planning one now for the entire winter of 2017. We are going to start out in October chasing the sun until may of 2018. We will be spending a lot of time in south west Florida and the Florida keys. To anyone planning a similar trip be sure to add fripp island South Carolina. We spent some time there in April. We’ve been to many places and few are as beautiful as fripp.

' src=

I would add the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and the Outer Banks of North Carolina as must sees!

' src=

Thanks for such an amazing layout of the entire trip and helping us out. Looks like you guys had a lot of fun.

I have a small question and favor to ask. My family and I plan to visit the east coast for 10 days and although want to do everything you’ve listed above, Guess due to a short holiday we must only do the best and most recommend tours. `could you please help out with that.

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

Flashpacker Family is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com and its partners.

Affiliate advertising is used throughout this site. These affiliate ads allow me to earn a small commission on any bookings you may make but they do not incur any extra cost to you.

You can read our privacy policy here.

Try Airbnb

Start typing and press Enter to search

11 of the Most Epic East Coast Road Trips

03/04/2021 by Emily Becker 5 Comments

Thinking of heading out on your next road trip adventure, but not sure where to go? We’ve got you covered. Whether you reside on the East Coast or are looking for a trip out of a bigger city, this list is sure to inspire an epic journey, no matter which one you choose:

Table of Contents

11. Outer Banks, North Carolina

road trip east coast

You may have heard of Outer Banks from the hit Netflix tv show by the same name and if so, it’s probably been on your mind to travel there! Following the Outer Banks Scenic Byway from north to south takes you through a series of islands on the coast of North Carolina with plenty of wildlife and beaches along the way.

  • Corolla : This small town is known for its wild horses. Rent a bike and spend the day riding around and exploring.
  • Currituck National Wildlife Refuge: A relatively undeveloped area, the refuge is a great place to get off the beaten path and explore .
  • Kitty Hawk Pier : Full of historic landmarks and beach activities, this is a classic North Carolina adventure.
  • Wright Brothers National Memorial: This quick stop is the site of the first controlled, powered flight which took off in 1903. Here you can even find a full-sized replica of the powered 1903 Wright Flyer by the Wright brothers.
  • Bodie Island Lighthouse: A local must-see, this landmark has been around since 1847 and has an interesting history attached to it.
  • Hatteras Village: This is where you can find Outer Banks’ most pristine beaches and adorable small town vibe–a great place to wrap up your trip.

10. Portland to Bar Harbor, Maine

road trip east coast

The scenic drive from Portland to Bar Harbor is like a fantasy – quaint fishing towns, lobster, rocky coastal cliffs, and of course, lighthouses. This route takes you right through Acadia National Park, too!

  • Portland: There’s plenty to do in Portland to kick off this epic trip. Take a lobster boat tour, visit a local brewery, or spend some time on the rocky beach taking in the sights.
  • Boothbay Harbor: This is where you can find a rare sandy stretch of beach. Kayak to explore Muscongus Bay or catch a cruise to see whales or puffins nearby.
  • Rockland: Known for its artsy vibe, this small town is home to the Center for Maine Contemporary Art. Want to get out on the water? Hop on a Maine Windjammer for a quick sail.
  • Bar Harbor: A great way to wrap up the trip, Bar Harbor lies right outside Acadia National Park, which is full of sites to see. Climb to the top of Cadillac Mountain and take advantage of everything the park has to offer.

From Bar Harbor, you can take the highway back to Portland which is just a 3-hour drive.

9. Boston, MA to Burlington, VT

road trip east coast

This is your classic New England road trip if there ever was one. With plenty of mountain views to enjoy and quaint small towns to explore, the drive between Boston and Burlington can be as long or as short as you want it to be.

  • Boston: Boston is full of history and iconic architecture. Whether you want to check out the many museums around the city or explore the landmarks along the Freedom Trail, there is plenty to do here.
  • Lincoln, NH: Nestled in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, Lincoln has outdoor activities galore: hiking through Flume Gorge, zipline through the trees at Loon Mountain, and so much more.
  • Stowe, VT: Now onto Vermont’s Green Mountains, continue your outdoor adventure with hiking, biking, and rock climbing. After a full day of outdoor fun, head to nearby Waterbury for a factory tour at Ben & Jerry’s!
  • Burlington, VT: As Vermont’s largest city, there is plenty to do and see in Burlington. Downtown you’ll find plenty of museums, a thriving art scene, and awesome New England restaurants. Burlington is also a great launching point for the Lake Champlain Scenic Byway, in case you want to extend your trip.

8. NYC to Provincetown, MA

road trip east coast

There are plenty of options for East Coast trips starting in New York City, but this one has a special charm about it. Summer is the best time to embark on this adventure, but keep in mind that traffic is thick on the weekends as you leave the city. Try kicking off this one during the week if you can.

  • Mystic, CT : Mystic is about a 3-hour drive from NYC, with plenty of little stops along the way if you want to extend your trip. This little beach town has a laid back, enchanting vibe. While peak tourism season is summertime, fall is particularly beautiful here.
  • Newport, RI: Newport is the yachting capital of the world, but also a great place to sail. Take a walk on the Cliff Walk and take in the gilded age architecture and ocean views or visit some of the famous Newport Mansions.
  • Providence, RI: Known as Rhode Island’s creative capital, Providence is a laid back college town with plenty to do and see. You can take a gondola on the river, bike the trails along the East Bay, or visit one of the many museums in town.
  • Falmouth, MA: Just a short ferry away from Martha’s Vineyard, this is a great place to relax and enjoy the beaches of Cape Cod. Hop on the Cape Cod bike trail for a scenic ride before heading further north.
  • Provincetown, MA: Provincetown is a truly charming and unique town. As America’s oldest art colony , it has a rich history and plenty of creative spaces to enjoy. Check out the nearby sand dunes on the Cape Cod National Seashore or go whale watching on the sea.

7. Washington, DC to Charlottesville, VA

road trip east coast

Cutting right through the scenic Shenandoah National Park, this trip is full of historic landmarks, outdoor adventures, and those scenic stretches of road that make the long drive worth it.

  • Woodstock, VA : This tiny town with a population just over 5,000 is a hub for Revolutionary and Civil War history. Check out the Woodstock Tower atop Massanutten Mountain and explore the newly opened Seven Bends State Park.
  • Harrisonburg, VA: Another town on the end of Shenandoah National Park, you’ll arrive here by way of the Skyline Drive , the only public road that goes through the park. It’s a great place to rest and is famous for its frozen custard at Klines Dairy Bar.
  • Charlottesville, VA: Home to both the Thomas Jefferson Monticello estate and the home of President James Monroe, Charlottesville is full of historical sites and quirky colonial gems, like the Michie Tavern. Catch a sunset at Carter Mountain Orchard , where you can enjoy some live music or check out the local produce they sell.
  • Bonus–Richmond, VA: If you’re heading back to D.C., consider taking the long way home and stopping in Richmond for one last hurrah. Known for its eclectic food scene, craft beer, and great museums. The Institute of Contemporary Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden are all worth a stop.

6. Philly to Pittsburgh, PA

road trip east coast

This trip is a quick one if you don’t make any stops, but there is so much to see between these two iconic cities. If you’re big on American history, this East Coast road trip is for you!

  • Lancaster: Located in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Lancaster is full of Amish culture and traditions that have stood the test of time. Take a buggy ride before stocking up on handmade Amish candy to last the rest of your trip.
  • Hershey and Harrisburg: Speaking of candy, Hershey is truly an East Coast landmark. Visit the Hershey-specific attractions such as Hershey’s Chocolate World or embark on the town’s Sweet Treat Trail to really get the most out of this sugary wonderland. Nearby in Harrisburg, you can gear up for the next stop of your adventure by brushing up on your history at the National Civil War Museum.
  • Gettysburg: There is so much history to discover in Gettysburg and so many ways to get immersed in it. Take a tour of the battlefield or try out any one of the town’s activities , including an apple pie making class!
  • Laurel Highlands : Itching to get out into nature? This stop right outside of Pittsburgh is full of outdoor adventure opportunities, including rafting at Pennsylvania’s largest state park Ohiopyle and exploring the caves at Laurel Caverns.
  • Pittsburgh: Last but certainly not least, wrap up your trip in Pittsburgh with a craft beer, a sports game, and a visit to any of the many museums in the city.

5. Baltimore, MD to Virginia Beach, VA

road trip east coast

This East Coast road trip is a circular one, making its way down the shore to Virginia Beach and back up again on the other side of the Chesapeake Bay before landing back in Baltimore.

  • Baltimore, MD: If you’re going to visit Baltimore, be sure not to miss out on its vibrant art, theatre, and music scene . The Baltimore Museum of Art and a whole collection of niche museums make this city unique and definitely worth a visit.
  • Annapolis, MD: Before you do anything in Maryland’s state capital of Annapolis, you have to try their famous crab cakes at one of the local restaurants. Afterwards, check out the Naval Academy and the nearby Historic London Town and Gardens to get a glimpse of the area’s beautiful nature.
  • St. Michaels, MD: If you’re looking to spend some time on the water, this is the place to do it. Kayak or paddleboard on the Chesapeake side of the bay, or enjoy one of the many tours available. St. Michaels is also home to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum–a must-stop on this trip!
  • Chincoteague, VA: This is one of the few places in the USA where you can find wild ponies, making it an awesome place for families. This quaint town is also right along the Assateague Island National Seashore , which is a quiet place to get out and explore.
  • Virginia Beach, VA: A great East Coast beach destination, Virginia Beach lies between the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay and is most well known for its incredible food scene as its location yields some of America’s best seafood .
  • Williamsburg, VA : Located nearby to plenty other historical sites, Williamsburg is the perfect launching point for a full US history tour if that’s your thing. Check out Colonial Williamsburg, the Jamestown Settlement, and many other historical sites while you visit.

4. Raleigh, NC to Savannah, GA

road trip east coast

From inland Raleigh, along the Southeastern coast and finally landing in Savannah, this trip is full of Southern charm and kitschy stops.

  • Raleigh, NC: This Southeastern city could really be a whole trip on its own with how much there is to do there, but it’s also a great launching point for this epic road trip. Make sure to take advantage of Raleigh’s impressive food scene and get out to see some live music before embarking on your journey south.
  • Myrtle Beach, SC: An East Coast classic, Myrtle Beach is the kind of beach destination where you can expect to see boardwalks full of family attractions, seafood restaurants, arcades, and so much more. If you’re looking for a quieter stop here, consider heading to the salt marshes or Brookgreen Gardens, which tend to be less crowded.
  • Charleston, SC: Another bigger city, Charleston is best known for its rich history, southern charm, and amazing barbeque. For a quicker trip, consider hopping on one of the many tours available, or simply take a stroll through town to check out the impressive architecture of the old homes and gardens.
  • Beaufort, SC: Like Charleston and Savannah, Beaufort is full of history and beauty. Wanting to get out into nature a bit more? No worries, as Beaufort is right next to some of South Carolina’s most beautiful marshes and waterways.
  • Savannah, GA: Known for its southern comfort food, huge oak trees hanging with Spanish moss, and gorgeous historic homes, Savannah is the perfect place to end your trip. Even better, it’s known as one of the ‘world’s friendliest cities’! Looking for some inspo? Check out BMTM’s Savannah Guide !

3. Wilmington, NC to Jacksonville, FL

road trip east coast

This list isn’t complete without a truly coastal road trip full of some of the East Coast’s best beach destinations. This route is great for a longer trip, as the 7 hour drive can be broken up with as many stops as you want to make. Here are just a few:

  • Wilmington, NC: Wilmington is a versatile place to start your journey as it boasts all kinds of attractions and outdoor fun. As the first American city to receive the designation of “American World War II Heritage City,” there is plenty of history here. You can also find plenty of museums, gardens, and island beach attractions in town.
  • Kiawah Island, SC: While this destination is best known for its luxury beach resorts, it is also home to some incredible wildlife . The beach itself is pristine and perfect for a relaxing vacation.
  • Hilton Head Island, SC: This is another more laid back beach town which boasts clean shores and plentiful wildlife. Get on the water and see if you can spot the dolphins that inhabit the area, or try the area’s famous lowcountry cuisine.
  • Amelia Island, FL: Truly an enchanting destination, Amelia Island is a great place to enjoy the uncrowded beach and soak up the sun. The island is home to beautiful marshes, rivers and greenways to explore and is just a quick drive away from Cumberland where you can see wild horses.

2. St. Petersburg to Miami, FL

road trip east coast

Florida’s landscape is diverse, making it a great place to embark on a road trip. Take in the change of scenery as you head south and consider making a few stops along the way.

  • St. Petersburg: Known for its sunshine and artsy and eclectic vibe, St. Petersburg is home to plenty of museums and parks to enjoy. Don’t skip on the Salvador Dali museum, which is truly one of a kind. The Fort de Soto park is a local favorite, and of course, the waterfront is the place to be any time of year.
  • Sarasota: Known for its soft white sandy beaches, Sarasota is the perfect place to soak up the sun and enjoy the ocean.
  • Everglades National Park: Heading west on highway 41, take a scenic drive through the Everglades, stopping at Shark Valley along the way.
  • Miami: Arriving in Miami, don’t miss the iconic South Beach and Little Havana. Dance the night away to salsa music, or take a more laid back approach and take a tour of the famous street art at Wynwood Walls.

1. NYC to Niagara Falls, NY

road trip east coast

This is truly an epic trip to top off our list of epic East Coast road trips. Starting in NYC and heading through upstate New York, watch as the scenery changes drastically before your eyes before arriving at one of the best road trip destinations there is–Niagara Falls.

  • Finger Lakes Region: We’ve mentioned the Finger Lakes before on BMTM, and for good reason. This area of upstate New York is full of outdoors activities and most of all, wine! Some of the best wine in the USA can be found here, as the climate is perfect for wine production.
  • Watkins Glen: This gem of a town can be found at the southernmost point of Seneca Lake and is best known for Watkins Glen State Park where a beautiful waterfall awaits.
  • Hammondsport: Home to the unique attraction Corning Museum of Glass , this small town is full of quirks. Not just that, it’s also right on Keuka Lake and therefore has plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy.
  • Cooperstown: If you’re heading back to the big apple, consider stopping in Cooperstown on your way. Something unique there is the  Women’s Rights National Historical Park  which is truly a historical gem. Even cooler, there is the  National Women’s Hall of Fame  in Seneca Falls on the way from Cooperstown to Niagara Falls!
  • Niagara Falls: There really is so much to do at Niagara Falls, beyond just seeing the falls themselves. Don’t miss the Observation Tower , Maid of the Mist, or Cave of the Winds while you’re there.

road trip east coast

First Name:

From as far north as Maine and as far south as Miami, there are plenty of awesome stops along any one of these trips. Whether you’re looking to take a deep dive into American history, or just looking for your next beach vacation, the East Coast really has it all!

About Emily Becker

Emily Becker is a digital nomad based in Costa Rica. She's been traveling on and off since 2014 and has visited 15 countries—planning to tick many more off her bucket list. In addition to writing for BMTM, she works as a copywriter and project manager.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

 subscribe to our newsletter

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

Kristin says

03/04/2021 at 8:40 am

Yay! You did the East Coast road trips! Thank you!

I’ve done Wilmington to Charleston before, kind of a hybrid of a couple of yours… It was a good one. They aren’t far apart and have several good stops in between. A very relaxing trip. I did 3 nights in Wilmington and 3 nights in Charleston. Had I not been to Myrtle Beach a hundred times growing up, I probably would have stayed a couple of nights there too. But, with the limited time I had available, I just stopped in for the afternoon on my way to Charleston…

03/04/2021 at 10:03 am

I keep hearing about Myrtle Beach and feel like I have to go. Emily did a great job with this one!

bhagyashree says

03/05/2021 at 9:57 pm

The great post, thank you for sharing them, I really enjoyed all of blogs on this website, I hope you will continue to have similar posts to share with everyone.

03/07/2021 at 6:32 pm

Great job with this post! Very excited as well to see the Eastern Coast focused upon here. Great choices and some towns I have been to but sites I missed. Will have to stop by them next time I am in the area, plus use this as a guide for Rhode Island and Maine, the two remaining states I have not visited east of the Mississippi. This was a fun read! Look forward to this being added to your road trip section in Travel Resources! All these can be done solo!

Here is some additional cool things you might like: In the Philly to Pittsburgh route:

1. Hersheypark: Not much about chocolate, but awesome amusement park rides and adventures. I loved going there and then afterwards going to Chocolate World and having Hershey chocolate cocoa! Definitely after not before!

2. PA has lots of factories making yummy food (okay “junk” food) . I call it the the junk food factory tour: I grew up enjoying a variety of delicious snacks made in PA next door. Arrive in Nottingham from Philly and enjoy great Herr’s factory tour and snacks (especially potato chips!). Then head to Lancaster and enjoy the Amish candy. Then head nearby in Lititz for Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery to learn pretzel baking and try some soft ones (yum!). It is the oldest commercial pretzel bakery business in the US. Then Harrisburg-Hershey followed by going back south to Columbia for Turkey Hill ice cream factory and make you own! End the snack road tour with Thomasville to the SW for Martin’s chips and popcorn and famous Snyder’s hard pretzels in Hanover, PA. From there it is the Laurel Highland and the rest of your original trip 🙂 I saw most of these each on separate occasion but you can do it in one road trip! haven’t been to Martin’s and the soft pretzel shop.

In the NY trip: Cooperstown is a great choice! I missed a chance to see the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum last time I was up there and will visit next time, but also will look at your suggestions too! They have a farmers museum that seems neat too if you are into reliving history as they try to imitate that.

Great job Emily and all of BMTM!

03/07/2021 at 6:43 pm

Excuse the typos! “Haven’t been to Martin’s” and “I call it the junk food factory tour” (heaven bless Pennsylvania Dutch Country!)

  • Skip to right header navigation
  • Skip to main content

The Wandering Suitcase

Travel Blog

  • New Zealand Travel
  • New Zealand
  • Balancing a Career with Travel
  • Budget Travel
  • Driving Overseas
  • Moving Overseas
  • Photography
  • Winter Travel Tips
  • Sustainability

Smoky Mountains TN

10 Incredible East Coast USA Road Trips

June 25, 2020 //  by  Mae-Gene //   1 Comment

Why, hello there! This post might contain affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you!) if you purchase from them. 

When I lived in Boston, it often felt like all the road trip action was on the west coast. It took me a lot of research (and convincing!) to finally realize that the great American road trip is alive and kickin’ on the east coast too!

For my east coast friends, this post shares some of the best East Coast road trip ideas. This includes suggested road trips from some east coast road trip experts, so get ready to add some vacation ideas to your bucket list!

North East Road Trips

As a former Bostonian, I may be a lil’ biased, but I could never get sick of the North East. Here, you’ll find both bustling cities (hello NYC!) and quiet leafy towns famous for their New England charm.

You’ll learn about the beginnings of the American Revolution, but you won’t go hungry in the process while you enjoy a lobster roll (or two).

1. A Coastal New England Road Trip

Boston, ma – ogunquit – kennebunkport – portland – camden – bar harbor – acadia national park.

Beacon Hill, Boston

Recommended no. of days: 3 -5 days

This coastal road trip begins in New England’s busiest city, Boston, but takes you through some of Maine’s most well-known coastal towns before finishing at Acadia National Park in Maine .

For those who’ve never had a chance to explore New England, this is the best way to do it!

Highlights include the famous town of Kennebunkport, which is the well-known summer retreat for the Bush family (yes, that Bush family) and the hip city of Portland , perfect for the foodies in your life.

View of Portland Head Lighthouse, Maine

Smaller towns like Ogunquit (perfect for walking along the beach) and Camden are great for stretching your legs.

The road trip finishes at Acadia National Park (and nearby town, Bar Harbor), where you’ll get to really stretch your legs and go for a hike or two. Acadia National Park is an incredible place to visit during the summer and fall seasons.

2. A Historial East Coast Road Trip

Boston, ma – providence, ri – new haven, ct – new york city, ny – princeton, nj – philadelphia, pa.

New York City

Recommended no. of days: 7 – 10 days

Boston, Massachusetts to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is the perfect historical road trip. Start in Boston and spend at least 3 days seeing what Boston has to offer. Boston is the birthplace of the American Revolution and many of the sites from the war are located along the Freedom Trail.

After Boston, head south to Providence the capital of Rhode Island. Make sure to stop at the capitol building and the Rhode Island School of Design.

Then, head to New Haven, Connecticut the home of Yale University. New Haven contains a plethora of delicious pizza parlors, so it is the perfect place to spend the night.

From there, spend at least 3 days in New York City exploring what the city has to offer.

After NYC, stop in Princeton, New Jersey to check out Princeton University before ending this east coast road trip in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In Philadelphia visit historical sites important to the birthplace of the United States such as Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.

Submission by Francesca Makana of Homeroom Travel

3. Classic New England Road Trip

Boston, ma – grafton village, vt – woodstock, vt – stowe, vt – burlington vt.

Stowe Vermont

Recommended no. of days: 3-4

With its hills, lakes, farms, breweries, and state parks, Vermont is a charming state to visit in every season. Its proximity from Boston makes it a great long weekend getaway as it is sure to transport you to the countryside.

Start your road trip in Boston and drive 2 hours to Grafton Village for a taste of Grafton Village cheese. Vermont’s dairy industry is one of its mainstays, and the quality of its milk products is supreme.

Vermont Dam - Funtravelvlog

Next, head over to the town of Woodstock, one of America’s prettiest towns. No visit to Vermont is complete without a visit to the Ben & Jerry’s Ice cream factory. Take a tour to see how this iconic brand makes its world-famous ice cream.

From here, you could opt to visit another quintessential New England town, Stowe, which looks beautiful in the fall season or drive over to Burlington, located near Lake Champlain. Overlooking the Adirondack Mountains, this town has tons to offer. You could choose to take a cruise on the lake, bike along the trails, or even take a food tour for a perfect ending to your New England road trip. 

Submission by Supriya of Fun Travelog

South East Road Trips

One of my regrets from when I lived in Boston was not having the chance to explore more of the South East.

While my travel adventures in the South East were mainly in Miami, the following road trips show that there are so many more fun road trips to be had in this part of the US!

4. Savannah, Georgia to Charleston, South Carolina

Savannah – hilton head – beaufort – charleston.

Charleston, South Carolina

Recommended no. of days: 5 days (2 days in Savannah, 1 day in Hilton Head and Beaufort, 2 days in Charleston)

A road trip from Savannah to Charleston offers a glimpse into the best of Southern culture. Savannah is one of the most elegant cities in the United States, known for its fascinating history and delicious food.


Moving on from Savannah, the roughly three-hour drive to Charleston includes notable stops along the way such as the lowcountry beach town Hilton Head and the charming antebellum town Beaufort.

Finally, this road trip finishes in Charleston, a city known for its beautiful architecture and history.

Submission by Dale of Wander Her Way

5. The Queen City to The Music City

Charlotte – asheville – pigeon forge/gatlinburg – knoxville – nashville.

Charlotte Skyline

Recommended no. of days: 8 – 10 days 

Enjoy a variety of destinations on a road trip starting with Charlotte, North Carolina, and ending in Nashville Tennesee.

Charlotte offers amazing restaurants, sporting events, and adventurous activities, so plan for 3 – 4 days of fun in the city.  Go to the US National Whitewater Center where you can go on a white water adventure through man-made rapids, visit the Charlotte Motor Speed Way and Nascar Hall of Fame, and spend a day at Carowinds Theme Park. 

Your next two stops will take you through the Smoky Mountains stopping at Asheville and the Pigeon Forge area.  Both are perfect for enjoying the great outdoors.

In Asheville, check out some of the  unique glamping options  and give yourself 2 days to visit the Biltmore Estate, shop at the indie stores downtown, go on a food tour, and find a few hikes. Stay at a cabin in Pigeon Forge while visiting Dollywood and Splash Country. 

On your way to Nashville, a stop in Knoxville is perfect for stretching your legs. Finish your road trip in the Music City, visiting the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame. 

Submission by Dan Bagby of Cabin Critic

6. St Petersburg to Miami, Florida

St petersburg – fort de soto – sarasota – everglades national park – miami.

road trip east coast

Recommended no. of days: 6

Florida is famous for being home to a wide range of landscapes. On one side, you will find the white sandy beaches, on the other, you will get the wetlands in the Everglades National Park .

A road trip from St Petersburg to Miami through the Everglades is ideal to get the best of both worlds. Your trip will start in St Petersburg, an artsy and sunny city. You will drive south and stop at Fort De Soto State Park. This beautiful state park is perfect to go sea kayaking or paddling. 

St Petersburg Beach - Beelovedcity

After that, head to Sarasota. If you love white sandy beaches, Siesta key will be your paradise – the sand is so smooth!

Hit the road again towards the Everglades. You will drive on Highway 41, through Shark Valley where you can stop for an airboat ride. Finally, you will arrive in Miami. In Miami, you can visit the famous South Beach, Little Havana, and the neighborhood of Wynwood.

Submission by Pauline Vergnet of BeeLoved City

7. Hidden Gems of Florida’s Gulf Coast

Tallahassee – wakulla springs – cedar key – crystal river – tarpon springs – tampa.


Recommended no. of Days:  5 – 7 days

If you think Florida is resorts and theme parks, think again. The majority of Florida is in fact still wild and rustic, with nature and wildlife galore. There are many  Florida road trips  you can take, but the route from Tallahassee to Tampa takes you right through some of the hidden gems along the Nature Coast.

Spend a day or two in the state capital of Tallahassee, and learn about Florida’s native inhabitants and the Spanish culture that settled here. The Tallahassee Museum is a great stop to take it all in.

From Tally, make your way south to Wakulla Springs, one of the many natural springs in this part of Florida, then on to Cedar Key, a unique Gulf Coast community seemingly untouched by time. An hour south of Cedar Key is Crystal River, where you can swim with manatees (in winter) or scalloping in the warm Gulf waters. The Plantation on Crystal River is a great place to stay overnight.

Your last stop before Tampa is the Greek community of Tarpon Springs, home to the sponge diving culture that’s unique to Florida.

Along the way, you’ll pass nostalgic roadside stands, orange grove stands, and Old Florida-style kitschy tourist attractions. By the time you reach the bustling city of Tampa, you’ll have seen some of the state’s hidden gems — now it’s time to hit the beach, some of the best in Florida!

Submission by Lori Sorrentino of Travelinmad

8. Miami to Key West, Florida

Miami – key largo – marathon – key west.

Florida Keys

Recommended no. of days: at least 2 days

No visit to Miami would be complete without road-tripping to Key West. This road trip takes you from Miami through the archipelago of the Florida Keys and finishes at Key West, Florida’s southernmost point.

Here, you’ll get to see incredible beaches, beautiful coastal views and The Overseas Highway (a 113-mile highway which stretches over the water!)

Turtle Hopsital, Marathon

Highlights of the Florida Keys include: the beautiful island of Key Largo, Marathon which is home to the turtle hospital (a worthwhile stop, the turtles are adorable to see and learn about!)

9. The Blue Ridge Parkway

The great smoky mountains national park – asheville – burnsville – galax – meadows of dan – lyndhurst – shenandoah national park.

Smoky Mountains TN

Recommended no. of days: 5 days

This road trip will take you along the entire length of the famous Blue Ridge Parkway , covering over 450 miles of picturesque views in the mountains. It can be driven easily in either direction, both starting and ending in a national park.

Once you’re on the parkway, keep your eyes open for scenic overlooks, black bears, deer, and other wildlife.

Top picks include Clingman’s Dome and Cade’s Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Dark Hollow Falls in Shenandoah National Park.

Notable stops for hiking and scenic views include Craggy Gardens in Asheville (there are also many more Asheville hiking options ), Mt. Mitchell State Park, and Humpback Rocks. These stops have trails to stretch your legs or simply rest stops to enjoy the scenery.

Hikes near Asheville

Pull over for some Appalachian culture at the Blue Ridge Music Center, Mabry Mill, and Biltmore Estate where you can tour, listen, and learn more about the area’s history.

There are camping and quaint lodging options all along the parkway and you can easily shorten or lengthen this road trip depending on your time frame!

Submission by Stephanie Woodson of Explore More Clean Less

10. Outer Banks Road Trip, North Carolina

Corolla – currituck national wildlife refuge – kitty hawk pier – wright brothers national memorial – bodie island lighthouse – cape hatteras lighthouse – hatteras village.

Outer Banks Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Recommended no. of days: 7 days or more

An Outer Banks vacation road trip is a great way to explore this 100 mile stretch of barrier islands on the Atlantic Coast of North Carolina. Each of the towns along Highway 12 has its own vibe, local history and attractions.

In Corolla, rent bikes to see the wild horses and spend time enjoying family friendly beaches. Travel south to spend a couple more days in the Kitty Hawk area, visiting historic landmarks and traditional beach town attractions.

From there, head to Hatteras VIllage, stopping to visit the US Coast Guard’s Chicamacomico Historic Site in Avon along the way. Finish up the trip climbing the lighthouse for stunning views and riding horses on the beach. For this road trip, stay at small hotels along the way. Or, rent a beach house in Kitty Hawk to use as home base for exploring north and south.

Submission by Karen Dawkins of Family Travels on a Budget

Regardless of where you live in the US, the east coast is home to some incredible road trips.

Which road trips have you been on in this list? Share your recommended road trips below for your fellow road trip enthusiasts!

road trip east coast

Did you like this post? Pin it for later:

10 can't miss road trips east coast usa

About Mae-Gene Yew

road trip east coast

I'm obsessed with eating copious amounts of sushi and hiking in New Zealand. But on most days you can find me in my home city of Melbourne dreaming of my next adventure, working my lil' corner of the internet (this blog!) or gettin' ready to strap on my hiking boots. Read more...

Jefferson Memorial in Spring, Washington DC

Reader Interactions

road trip east coast

November 19, 2021 at 6:53 am

This is a very charming city and easy to get to, I hope I can return to visit sometime in the future when all this is over. Seeing and sharing places like this is why I love traveling and make posts so much!

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website. *

The Ultimate East Coast Road Trip Guide

road through cape cod

This article is brought to you by The Dyrt Pro , your go to resource for downloading maps and campgrounds for when you’re exploring off the grid.

Hit I-95 this summer and explore some of the spectacular natural and historical attractions that the East Coast has to offer. We have rounded up the best attractions, highlights, and campgrounds from Maine to Florida to get the most out of your East Coast road trip.

coast at acadia national park

No camping road trip to Maine is complete without a stay at Acadia National Park . Home to some of the most stunning granite cliffs, lush forest hiking trails and tranquil New England beaches in the country. There are plenty of campgrounds to choose from across the 47,000-acre recreation area.

The Blackwoods Campground down at Otter Creek is a short drive from charming Bar Harbor, which offers historical walking tours and cruises. The campground is shadowed by Cadillac Mountain, which you can climb for an unforgettable panoramic view of the bay.

Although smaller than some of the other vibrant cities in Maine, Portland’s buzzing arts, music, and food scene make it a must-see stop on your East Coast road trip. Spend the day whale watching, walking or biking the Portland Trails, and enjoying mouth-watering lobster rolls.

Park your RV or pitch your tent at any of the well-equipped scenic campgrounds in the Portland area, including Bailey’s Camping Resort right on the coast and only 20 minutes from downtown Portland.


boston public garden, flowers blooming in front of statue

It wouldn’t be a historic East Coast road trip without a stop at the birthplace of America — Boston. Remnants of the American Revolution can be felt in every corner of the city. Walk the Freedom Trail to experience 16 of the most significant historic sites across the city. Then, catch a ball game at Fenway Park, the oldest ballpark in the US, and chow down on a famous Fenway Frank.

If you love football, swing by Foxboro to check out Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots. Explore the shops and restaurants in the outdoor mall and visit the Patriots Hall of Fame. Patriot Place also features a host of concerts throughout the summer and fall, so you can even coincide your trip with Country Fest at the end of August.

From 495 in Foxboro, continue down to Cape Cod. Cape Cod boasts some of the most immaculate beaches in the country. There’s warm water for swimming at Nantucket Sound and sky-high sand dunes on the Outer Cape.

There are plenty of things to do in Cape Cod, including a visit to the Kennedy Museum in Hyannis or the Pilgrim’s Monument in Provincetown. You can also make a quick detour on your I-95 road trip and take the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket Island to enjoy the coastal scenery.

Camp in luxury at the Cape Cod Campresort & Cabins . The site boasts three pools and a jacuzzi, as well as private access to a lake for boating and fishing.

railroad through patapsco valley state park

Keep following I-95, and it will take you straight to Baltimore, Maryland’s largest city. The bustling metropolis has a plethora of attractions to visit, including Fort McHenry, the birthplace of the National Anthem, the National Aquarium, and the Civil War-era ship, the USS Constellation.

Stay at the Hilton-Patapsco Valley State Park , which offers ample tent and RV sites, as well as rustic cabins, and features plenty of family-friendly hiking trails.

Sitting halfway between Chincoteague Island, Virginia, and Ocean City, Maryland, Assateague Island National Seashore is a hidden gem along the East Coast. Take a wildlife tour and watch as 300 wild horses wander the salt marshes, dunes, and inland pine forests. Enjoy kayaking along the serene waterways and birdwatch for peregrine falcons, sandpipers, and other birdlife that populate the animal refuge.

South Carolina

raised pathway at Congaree National Park

As you head into South Carolina, make a stop at Congaree National Park to see the largest and most well-preserved bottomland hardwood forest on the continent. Canoe along the pristine waterways and take in the abundant wildlife. There are two designated tent-only campgrounds at the park, as well as ample backcountry camping opportunities if you prefer to get off the beaten track.

Take a detour from the I-95 and head over to Charleston to be transported back to a time of horse-drawn carriages and cobblestone streets. Don’t miss the Confederate Museum and Waterfront Park in the French Quarter, or the Battery promenade.

While you can’t camp in the center of historic Charleston, the campground at James Island County Park , located just outside of downtown Charleston, features 159 sites ranging from 20/30/50 amp hook-ups to primitive campsites.

Mt. Yonah in Georgia

Continue exploring the East Coast’s rich history with a visit to historic Savannah. Take in the best of Savannah’s stunning antebellum architecture and pristine landscaped parks with a trolley tour. Go on a ghost tour of Mercer Williams House Museum and explore the famous Bonaventure Cemetery in one of the most haunted cities in America. You can even take a walking haunted pub crawl since it is legal to bring your drink along with you in historic Downtown Savannah.

A short distance from Savannah’s historic district, you’ll find Red Gate Campground & RV Resort . This is a well-appointed, relaxing campground with plenty of scenic walking trails, fishing areas, and an outdoor pool to help you beat the humid Georgia weather.

If you don’t want to wander too far off I-95 to , you can still take in Georgia’s natural beauty with a stop at Jekyll Island. The island is brimming with historical landmarks and interactive natural wonders.

Visit the Georgia Sea Turtle center to get up-close with some of the world’s oldest marine animals or take a guided tour of the Landmark Historic District. There are four campgrounds to choose from on the island, but the most popular is the Jekyll Island Campground with grounds densely populated by grand oaks draped in Spanish moss, and just a short walk from both Driftwood Beach and Clam Creek.

couple kayaking at islamorada

Cap off your historical road trip with a visit to the oldest town in the United States, St. Augustine. Colonized originally by the Spanish, St. Augustine, boasts remarkable colonial architecture and a wealth of historical sites to visit.

Take a tour of the Castillo de San Marcos or tour the Lightner Museum and the St. Augustine Lighthouse. Swing by the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! to view some interesting oddities.

Check out where spring break happens in Daytona Beach, and enjoy the beautiful warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Dip your feet in the sand and head to a beach restaurant or tiki bar to watch the sunset while enjoying the local cuisine.

While I-95 technically terminates in Miami, the Overseas Highway is a scenic 110-mile drive that takes you from Miami to The Keys. The highway spans the vibrant living Florida coral reefs with breathtaking views as far as the eye can see. Choose from any of the islands in the Keys. Stay at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo, just 18 miles from Miami, or enjoy the laid-back vibe of Islamorada, a prime fishing spot.

Popular Articles:

  • Get the Latest 2023 Camping Travel Trends
  • How To Find Free Camping in National Forests
  • The Checklist Every First Time RVer Needs
  • Find Free Camping With The Dyrt Map Layers
  • The Ulimate Boondocking Guide To Free Camping
  • Everything You Need To Know About Wifi For Your RV
  • 7 of The Best Overland Routes in North America
  • 14 Wilderness Survival Tools You Should Have in The Backcountry
  • Here's What To Add To Your Primitive Camping Checklist

Bart Branson

When Bart's not writing about the outdoors, he loves to get out there himself, whether that's angling on a river, or sitting around a campfire with his family.

More Articles

Man with hat standing in front of cascading waterfall.

10 Waterfall Hikes in the U.S. to Start your Summer Wanderlust

This article is brought to you by Banner and Oak. Banner and Oak makes high-quality snapback trucker hats that are stylish and breathable—a perfect accessory…

couple enjoying food from chuckbox built into trailer

4 Creative Ways to Personalize Your Camping Chuck Box

This article is brought to you by The Dyrt Pro, your go to resource for downloading maps and campgrounds for when you’re exploring off the…

  • Skip to right header navigation
  • Skip to main content
  • Skip to primary sidebar

Follow Me Away

Couples Travel & Travel Photography Blog

  • Middle East
  • North America
  • South America
  • Photography
  • Travel Tips

A lighthouse on the coast of Maine a great East Coast road trip

15 East Coast Road Trip Itinerary Ideas!

February 29, 2024 //  by  Follow Me Away //   1 Comment

There are so many options for an East Coast road trip itinerary! I love road tripping and the East Coast states offer so much to see and do!

Whether you are interested in seeing gorgeous nature, historic sites, charming towns, or bustling cities, there are East Coast America road trip ideas in this list for you!

I’ve made sure to have options that hit almost every state on the East Coast. Some of them are all in one state, others you’ll spend time traveling to several different states.

If you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway or a few days on the road, I’m sure there is something here for you.

From Maine to Florida, there is so much waiting for you to explore on an East Coast trip.

Don’t forget to check out my list of the best resorts on the East Coast if you are looking for some inspiration!

Now, let’s dive into my road trip planner for the East Coast USA!

Woman in a flowing yellow skirt and leaf sweater walking on a highway under a bridge during fall on an East Coast road trip.

Coastal Maine Road Trip

  • Ogunquit Beach
  • Kennebunkport
  • Acadia National Park

A coastal Maine road trip is a great way to see the northernmost state on the East Coast.

Begin your road trip in Ogunquit Beach, which has miles of beautiful sandy beaches. You’ll also find great shopping, dining, and a nice art scene.

Continue to Kennebunkport where you can visit the quaint Cape Porpoise, a lobster-fishing village.

From there, head to Rockland. This tourist spot is famous because it’s where the mountains and sea converge. After enjoying the pretty landscape, head to Acadia National Park.

Acadia is a perfect way to end your Maine road trip. It’s got stunning rocky beaches, plenty of hiking trails, and sweeping panoramic views.

This is also one of my favorite summer trips in the USA !

Vivid sunset over the ocean and a lighthouse on a stony shoreline in Acadia National Park on an East Coast road trip.

Picturesque New York Road Trip

  • Hudson Valley
  • Catskill Mountains
  • Watkins Glen

If you want a New York road trip that takes you outside of New York City, then consider this East Coast USA itinerary.

Begin in Albany, a beautiful city that is actually the state’s capital. You’ll also find one of the oldest museums in the US. The Albany Institute of History & Art was founded in 1791.

From there, head to the Hudson Valley. This is a large area of the state and where the Hudson River flows. It’s a beautiful place to unwind and admire New York’s wild landscape.

Next, head to the Catskill Mountains. These pretty mountains are where people from NYC go to reset and relax. There are lakes and rivers you can hike to and enjoy.

Continue to Ithaca, a picturesque city in New York’s Finger Lakes region. It’s also home to the ice cream sundae, so make sure you enjoy one while you’re there.

You’ll end your trip by exploring Watkins Glen. It’s a small village with a canal that goes straight through it. Stop by Watkins Glen State Park where you can hike and discover lovely waterfalls.

A waterfall falling down into a ravine with a stone bridge and staircase. There are trees with yellow leaves behind the rock formations and moss growing on the rocks.

Florida Springs Road Trip

  • Ginnie Springs
  • Devil’s Den
  • Rainbow Springs
  • Gilchrist Blue Springs

The best way to start your Florida springs road trip is at Ginnie Springs. You’ll find some of the clearest waters in Florida. It’s made up of seven springs with beautiful white sandy shores.

From there, head to Devil’s Den. This is the perfect Florida spring for divers, as it is inside a cave. It is super unique!

Next, head to Rainbow Springs. The waters of this state park were once believed to hold magical healing powers. Now it’s a favorite spring for visitors. Float down the natural “lazy” river or swim in the massive spring.

End your road trip at the Gilchrist Blue Springs. It’s a very popular tourist destination, so make sure you get there early if you want to be able to enjoy a swim.

This Florida vacation is great for an East Coast itinerary with kids!

A woman in a red bathing suit with long hair standing in a crystal blue Florida spring.

Kentucky Bourbon Trail Road Trip

  • Woodford Reserve Distillery
  • Wild Turkey Distillery
  • Lexington Brewing Distilling Company
  • Maker’s Mark Distillery

Kentucky is known for its bourbon, so you should absolutely take a bourbon trail road trip while you’re there!

Start at the Woodford Reserve Distillery about 30 minutes outside of Lexington. See the still, the warehouse, and the bottling process before enjoying a bite to eat in the sampling room.

Then drive twenty minutes to tour the Wild Turkey Distillery.

Next, head to the Lexington Brewing Distilling Company. They make bourbon as well as beer, moonshine, vodka, and rum.

End this Kentucky road trip at the Maker’s Mark Distillery. It’s possibly the most famous dis tillery in the state. You’ll be able to finish your trip by dipping your bottle of bourbon in their signature red wax.

A room full of shelves with barrels of bourbon stacked on top of each other at Woodford Reserve Distillery on an East Coast road trip.

Kancamagus Highway In New Hampshire

  • Loon Mountain
  • Hancock Overlook and Pavilion
  • Sugar Hill Overlook
  • Rocky Gorge Scenic Area

Do you want to experience an amazing fall foliage road trip in the US? The Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire is one of the best routes!

Start this East Coast road trip at Loon Mountain. It’s a popular ski area and a great place to stop and walk around while you admire the changing leaves.

Next, head to the Hancock Overlook and Pavilion. On a clear day, you’ll get a beautiful view of the mountains. There is also a pavilion that has plenty of infographics about the area.

Continue to the Sugar Hill Overlook. There, you’ll have a great view of the Swift River Valley and mountains covered in fall foliage.

End your road trip at the Rocky Gorge Scenic Area. There are paved walkways and a bridge you can cross. You can even walk down to the river. It’s a beautiful area and a great stop to end your northeast road trip.

Pretty fall day at a rocky waterfall at Rocky Gorge Scenic Area.

Virginia Monticello Wine Road Trip

  • Flying Fox Vineyard
  • Pollack Vineyard
  • Knights Gambit Vineyard

The Monticello Wine Trail is one of the best road trips in Virginia! The route is inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s vision of grape growing in Virginia.

This scenic wine trail can be done in a day or you can spread it out over a few days. There are 30 wineries on the trail, but I’ll mention three favorite must-sees.

At all of the vineyards on the trail, you can take tours before sampling their wine selection. Most even have a small restaurant or café where you can grab a bite to eat.

I suggest at least stopping at the Flying Fox Vineyard, the Pollack Vineyard, and the Knights Gambit Vineyard. They are all beautiful vineyards with great views, tours, and wine to sample.

The view of a vineyard in Virginia. There are rows of grape vines, mountains and fields in the distance, and white flowers in the front of the picture.

Waterfalls Of South Carolina

  • Wildcat Wayside Falls
  • Issaqueena Falls
  • Reedy Falls

This Eastern USA road trip is great for seeing some of South Carolina’s best waterfalls.

Start at the 30-foot-tall Wildcat Wayside Falls, which you can see from the highway. Park near just off the highway and take a short walk to get a closer look.

Twin Falls, the most popular falls in the state, are nearby. So make sure you make a stop there too.

Then head to Issaqueena Falls, which is just a short hike away from the Twin Falls. You get to see two beautiful waterfalls at the same spot! At over 200 feet of cascading waters, it’s an absolute must-see.

Finish your tour of South Carolina waterfalls at the Reedy Falls. The 25-foot waterfall is actually in downtown Greenville, so take some time to enjoy the city while you see the falls.

Beautiful tiered Issaqueena Falls cascading down a rock face among fall foliage.

Charming East Coast Towns

  • Montpelier, Vermont
  • New Haven, Connecticut
  • New Hope, Pennsylvania
  • Roanoke, Virginia

There are so many charming small towns on the East Coast ! This road trip will introduce you to some of the most popular townsto explore.

Start in Montpelier, Vermont. It is the capital, but it is not as bustling as other East Coast capital cities. While there, head to the Ben and Jerry’s factory to sample ice cream before heading to New Haven, Connecticut.

New Haven is home to the Ivy League University, Yale. It’s the state’s second-largest city, but still feels very much like a small town.

Grab some coffee, explore the city, or hang out on one of the beautiful lawns of Yale.

Next, head to New Hope, Pennsylvania. This is a charming small arts town near Philadelphia. You’ll find some unique shops, great food, and awesome art galleries to explore.

From there, head to your final small town: Roanoke, Virginia. While there, enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery, the world’s largest free-standing illuminating star, and the town’s many parks.

An aerial view of a small town in Vermont. You can see a large church steeple with decorations on it. The town is super cute and surrounded by red, yellow, and orange fall leaves

Cities of the East Coast

  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • New York City, New York
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Washington D.C.

Are you looking for a East Coast travel guide that focuses on the big cities? You can’t go wrong with this fun itinerary as all of the cities are vibrant and interesting!

Start your trip in Boston, Massachusetts, where you can explore art museums, historic sites, and amazing food and shopping. Boston with kids is amazing, so this is a great family road trip option for you!

From there, head to the Big Apple! In New York City, you can find some unique things to do outside of Times Square . There are a ton of iconic buildings and monuments to see!

In Philadelphia, see the Liberty Bell, grab a cheesesteak, and run up the famous stairs from Rocky .

End your trip at the nation’s capital. In Washington D.C., hit up the many Smithsonian museums, admire the famous national landmarks like the Washington Monument, and learn about the founding of the United States.

Make sure to check out these Washington D.C. travel tips before you go! You are sure to have a wonderful time on this road trip down the East Coast!

The skyline of Boston, Massachusetts at sunset. You can see very old buildings mixed with modern skyscrapers. The sky is blue, pink, and purple.

The Blue Ridge Parkway of North Carolina

  • Cumberland Knob
  • Moses H. Cone Memorial Park
  • Linn Cove Viaduct
  • Little Switzerland
  • Crabtree Falls

The Blue Ridge Parkway is probably one of the most famous East Coast road trip destinations. This one focuses on all the great bits of the route in North Carolina.

Start at Cumberland Knob where you can explore scenic views. Linville Falls is also nearby, so make sure you hike out to see it.

From there, head to the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park. There are hiking trails and even a manor you can tour. You may even see people horseback riding.

As you continue down the parkway, you will pass over the iconic Linn Cove Viaduct.

When you make it to Little Switzerland, walk around before hiking to Crabtree Falls to end your road trip.

This is one of the best fall foliage weekend road trip ideas on the East Coast!

Woman with long hair and a yellow hat standing overlooking the Linn Cove Viaduct at sunset during the fall.

Hidden Gems Of Tennessee

  • The Lost Sea
  • The Minister’s Treehouse
  • The First Cracker Barrel Old Country Store
  • Geographic Center of Tennessee

Tennessee is a great place to see some unique attractions.

Start your road trip at the Lost Sea. The Lost Sea is a lake 3/4 miles beneath the ground in Craighead Caverns. When you take your tour, you’ll even ride in a little boat.

From there, head to the Minister’s Treehouse in Crossville. The Minister’s Treehouse is a massive, abandoned structure in the shape of a treehouse.

It was built by a minister in the 1990s and was officially closed years ago due to safety concerns. But you can still admire it from the outside.

Continue to the First Cracker Barrel Old Country Store in Lebanon. You can see the original building and learn more about the chain restaurant’s early history.

End your road trip at the Geographic Center of Tennessee in Murfreesboro an hour outside of Nashville. There’s a small plaque marking this unique spot.

A large wooden treehouse structure that has been abandoned for years. It is haphazardly put together making a very eclectic building and treehouse.

Ultimate New England Road Trip

  • Newport, Rhode Island
  • Mystic, Connecticut
  • Burlington, Vermont

This East Coast road trip is all about exploring New England. You’ll do a sort of loop as you start in Boston.

Boston is the quintessential New England city, so take time to explore all it has to offer.

From there, head to Newport, Rhode Island. It is known for its massive and iconic mansions. Make time to tour one of them.

Next, head to Mystic, Connecticut. It’s a small, coastal town full of charm that you are sure to enjoy. It was also the filming location for the 1988 movie Mystic Pizza .

End your road trip in Burlington, Vermont. It’s Vermont’s biggest town and is super cool. You’ll find a great art scene, amazing restaurants, and more. It’s a great way to end your exploration of New England.

The marina in Mystic, Connecticut, on a cloudy day with many docked sailboats.

Georgia Film Buffs Road Trip

  • Crawfordville

There have been so many amazing movies and TV shows filmed in Georgia . It has recently become the Hollywood of the East Coast, and this makes it one of the best Southeast road trip ideas.

Start in Atlanta, where films like Driving Miss Daisy and The Blind Side have been filmed. Even Marvel movies have been made there!

Check out the beautiful Swan House where scenes from The Hunger Games series were shot.

Next, head to Crawfordville, where you can tour the Taliaferro County Historical Society’s exhibits on local filmmaking. It’s also where Sweet Home Alabama was filmed.

From there, head to the cute small town of Monticello. In Monticello, head to the Whistle Stop Cafe, one of the filming locations for Fried Green Tomatoes .

End your road trip in Savannah. Savannah has been used as the backdrop to over 85 films, like Forrest Gump and X-Men: First Class .

This is the best road trip on the East Coast USA for anyone interested in film-making!

The grand Swan House mansion with a cool staircase surrounded by green gardens in Atlanta on an East Coast Road Trip.

Historic East Coast Cities

  • Salem, Massachusetts
  • Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia
  • Optional Extensions: Charleston, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; St. Augustine, Florida.

When everyone thinks of historic East Coast road trip stops, they think of Boston first. While Boston is a great historic city, I suggest traveling just a little outside of Boston as well to Salem.

After learning about Colonial Boston, it’s interesting to learn about Salem, which is notorious for the Salem Witch Trials. The town leans into that history, and you’ll find tons of cool places to explore.

Nearby is also Plymouth, the site of Plymouth Rock and where European Settlers first landed in New England.

Next, head to Philadelphia. There, you’ll learn more about America’s fight for freedom. Check out the Liberty Bell, see where the Declaration of Independence was written, and visit the Betsy Ross House.

Next, head to Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. While there, you’ll learn what daily life was like for Colonial Americans.

Finish your East Coast road trip itinerary in the nation’s capital: Washington D.C. You’ll be able to see the actual Declaration of Independence as well as learn more about the nation’s history.

If you have the time to extend your trip further south, consider checking out Charleston, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; and St. Augustine, Florida. All have a unique and fascinating history!

The infamous Witch House in Salem Massachusettes. It is a pre-colonial puritan home that is painted all black and has three peaks. There are small windows on it. In front of it are piles of pumpkins and straw.

Pennsylvania’s Route 30

  • Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum and Candy Emporium
  • Dutch Wonderland
  • The Coffee Pot
  • The Bicycle Built For Two

If you love kitschy roadside attractions, then you’ll love the best East Coast road trip stops on Pennsylvania’s Route 30.

Start your journey outside of Gettysburg at Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum and Candy Emporium. It is full of unique elephant memorabilia, and of course, lots of candy.

From there, head to Dutch Wonderland, which is in Lancaster just off Route 30. It’s a theme park centered around the area’s Pennsylvania Dutch heritage.

Next, head to The Coffee Pot. This is a roadside luncheonette in the shape of a massive coffee pot. It has been restored, and now you can visit it.

Finish your tour of Pennsylvania’s roadside attractions at the Bicycle Built For Two. It’s a 17-foot-high tandem bicycle!

This is one of the most fun family road trips on the East Coast USA!

Sunny day over a giant Coffee Pot with an open door on an East Coast road trip.

There are so many great things to do on the East Coast. From big cities, charming small towns, and beautiful scenery, you will have a great time!

I hope you enjoyed this list of the top road trips on the East Coast and found one that is perfect for you.

Have you ever done any of these road trips? Is there one you’d like to try? Let me know in the comments!

Visiting the harbor is one of the best things to do in Cobh, Ireland

Reader Interactions

Leave a reply cancel reply.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

The Down Lo

The Ultimate East Coast Road Trip: 5 States in 5 Days

road trip east coast

While we  Texans  can drive 12 hours and still never leave the state, the east coast is blessed with the accessibility to see a lot in a short amount of time. If you’re looking to make a big dent in your  USA bucket list  and check off a number of new states, here are the shining gems and not-to-miss spots perfect for a spring, summer, or fall east coast road trip. This Maine to Boston itinerary has planes, trains, boats and trolleys, mountains and beaches , small towns and big cities, and is perfect for those without a million vacation days to burn.

Of course, if you have some flexibility, give yourself a few extra days to explore so you can see more. A bit of padding never hurts in case the weather doesn’t cooperate, but if time is tight, you’d be surprised just how much you can pack into a week. Without further ado, let’s  hit the road , shall we?

road trip east coast

Day 1: Maine 

Fly into Bar Harbor (10-minute drive) or Bangor (1 hour). Boston Logan has connections from each and grab a rental car.

For your first day, your home base for explorations will be  Bar Harbor at the very tippy-top northeast corner of the US on the Atlantic Ocean before you cross the border to Canada. The gateway to Acadia National Park, this cobblestone beach town looks like it was straight out of a Hallmark movie with all the homes built before 1901 (I forget the east coast has much more history than the rest of the country), and water never gets above 56 degrees (the lobsters love it, the humans not so much). You’ll find almost no chain restaurants or shops so wander the streets, peruse the boutiques, indulge in your first lobster roll and cup of chowda, and watch the boats come in.

Don’t miss:  Your nose will lead you to Ben and Bill’s Chocolate Emporium, which has wall after wall of truffles, fudge, and sweets galore. They boast over 100 flavors of ice cream, including lobster.

When you’re ready to hit the trails, Acadia National Park is a stunning recreational area. It is one of the smallest  national parks  in the country and the first national park east of Mississippi, yet one of busiest. Designed by the same architect as Central Park in NYC , it’s beautifully landscaped (albeit largely manmade). There are a few ways to explore via the self-drive car loop, the Island Explorer, the park’s free shuttle bus, and guided bus and trolley tours if you want to relax and take it all in. One of the most unique ways to see the sights is on one of the park’s carriage routes, available May through October.

Mount Desert  is the most concentrated (read: popular) part of the park and what first-time visitors want to see, which is what the drive loop circles. You’ll hit three of the main attractions: Cadillac Mountain (note: you’ll need reservations to summit), Jordan Pond lake, restaurant and overlook, and Thunder Hole with its iconic pink granite cliffs and dramatic beaches. The park is open 24/7, so if you’re keen on avoiding the crowds or getting a bit of hiking in, consider coming offseason or off-hours.

Hit the Road: From there it’s a three-hour drive up the coast to Portland. But don’t miss the LL Bean flagship store, which is a fun stop and photo op if you need to stretch your legs.

road trip east coast

Stop: Portland, Maine

Maine’s largest city, is home to less than 100,000 residents, still giving it that coveted small town, hyper-local feel. It’s artsy, eclectic, hipster, and charming, and the best way to explore is to wander. Head to the Old Port area, take in the waterfront sunsets, boutiques, and insane food scene. If you have time, get out on a boat (we loved the 100-year-old wooden schooners from Portland Schooner Co.), relax at Soakology (a foot spa and teahouse aka. what dreams are made of), eat your fill of seaside seafood, photograph the lighthouses, and marvel at the mega-mansions of Cape Elizabeth.

Overnight in Portland:  The Press Hotel (Splurge), Black Elephant Hostel (Budget)  

road trip east coast

Day 2: New Hampshire

Be sure to  pack a jacket  because the landscape is about to change dramatically – and we’re going from one extreme to another, the beach to the mountains. A 2-hour, 20-minute drive from Portland,  Mount Washington  is the highest peak on the east coast and home to the world’s worst weather, which is no joke as the wind regularly clocks in at 70-200 miles an hour (it’s so bad it’s actually where the military practices their extreme helicopter takeoffs).

But don’t let that scare you because the sights are worth it. Part of Appalachian Trail, Mount Washington is a popular hiking area, but the more fun way to summit is the  Cog Railway.  Passing through four eco-zones, the ride up feels like a long and slow ascending rollercoaster in brightly colored cars that looks a bit like a Disney train that takes about three hours round trip. If you’d rather stretch your legs, you can hike 3-7 miles uphill and take the train back down.

road trip east coast


We wanted to save our thighs as just 45 minutes away is the GORGE-ous (pun intended)  Flume Gorge . An accessible 1.5-mile waterfall ravine, scoot along the boardwalks and take in greenery that looks like it’s straight out of Narnia.

  Overnight in New Hampshire : Conway is the largest ski town in the area with the most amenities, but there are tons of B&Bs dotted around the White Mountains (which is a bit of a deceiving name as the area is really quite green in summertime). Recommended hotels: Omni Mount Washington (Splurge), North Conway Grand Hotel (Midrange), North Conway Mountain Inn (Budget)

road trip east coast

Day 3: Vermont

Today it’s off for more greenery in the rolling hills of Vermont. Known for cheese, ice cream, beer, cider, and farm to fork goodness, we’re spending the day eating our way through the Green Mountain State. Starting in  Stowe , map out your spots along the  Cheese Trail , taste one of the best apple cider donuts in the country at the Old Cider Mill (they also have hard cider flights and apple cider hot dogs if you’re so inclined), and snag a scoop at the original Ben & Jerry Factory in  Waterbury  where you can also tour the flavor graveyard to see some of the quirkier pints that are no longer with us.

When you’re ready to stretch your legs and give your stomach a break, the Shelbourne Museum is a must-see roadside attraction for art, history, and photography. Home to over 39 buildings, there’s everything from an old ship you can tour to a working carousel and vintage toys.


In the afternoon, it’s off to  Burlington , which, if you’ve been to  Boulder , may look familiar. Another quirky college town, Church Street is a virtual clone of pedestrian Pearl Street, and the city itself has been called “Boulder of the East” (although a bit more crunchy and counterculture-y than trustafarian) and right on the water.

Overnight in Vermont : Hotel Vermont (Splurge), Lang House on Main Street (Midrange), Mad River Barn (Budget)

road trip east coast

Day 4: Connecticut

It’s our longest driving day, so get up early and begin the trek south because soon it’s back to the beaches. The Waterbury area to  New Haven  is a little over 3.5 hours, but you can break it up with stops en route.  Hartford  boasts the Mark Twain House and the beautiful Elizabeth Park Rose Garden, and further afield is Gillette Castle State Park and Sleeping Giant State Park.

Once in New Haven, make yourself a self-guided photo tour of Lighthouse Point Park and Carousel or pack a swimsuit and go for a dip on the beach. Wander East Rock Park and Pardee Rose Gardens, or charter a boat tour of  Thimble Islands , a string of 25+ private islands which each have their own charm and appeal, many of which have one summer cottage per archipelago in case you’re looking for some prime real estate.

Overnight in New Haven:   Graduate New Haven (Midrange), The Blake Hotel (Midrange), The Study at Yale (Midrange)

road trip east coast

Day 5: Rhode Island 

Drive up the coast an hour and a half due east, and you’ll arrive in the ritzy town of Newport, Rhode Island, but not without a quick stop in Mystic, CT first.  Mystic  was one of Connecticut’s most popular seaports with a historic colonial downtown, steeped churches, and drawbridges. Stretch your legs and grab a bite.

Newport  ended up being one of my favorite stops for its gorgeous landscaping and quaint waterfront. Wander the shops and restaurants around Bannister’s Wharf, tour the Breakers (the Vanderbilt summer home), follow the cliff walk, taking in the oceanside mega-mansions, or hop on a lobster boat and try your hand at fisherman life. If you’re up for one last thrill, the pedal-powered rail bikes are a great adrenaline rush to end the day. If you have more time, definitely tack on a day trip to Block Island or spend a weekend in Providence.

Overnight in Newport:   Pelham Court Hotel (Splurge), The Cliffside Inn (Splurge), OceanCliff Hotel (Midrange)

road trip east coast

Day 6 – Optional Add-on: Boston & Cape Cod

From here, you can either fly home from Providence or Boston or continue on to Cape Cod. If you’re up for exploring the Cape, a handful of quaint beach towns await. Explore downtown Hyannis, play Goldilocks with the beaches (you have both saltwater and freshwater to choose from), eat your weight in lobster rolls from the roadside chowder shacks (or try a traditional Clam Bake!), and slowly make your way to Provincetown at the very tip.

One of the most LGBTQ+ friendly cities in the country, P-town is a maze of people watching, whale watching, and rainbow everything. It’s sensory overload in the best way possible.

Overnight in Cape Cod: Crown Point Historic Inn & Spa (Splurge), The Bradford (Midrange), Moffett House Inn (Budget)

Like It? Pin It!

The ultimate east coast road trip for fall, spring or summer - explore the USA and hit 5 states in 5 days. Conquer your America bucket list with east coast adventures and things to do in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Cape Cod, Massachusetts. A drive itinerary for a week vacation on the east coast with kids or family from Boston to Maine stopping for food, fun, outdoor adventure, and nature.

You might also like

road trip east coast

Leave a Reply

Leave a reply cancel reply.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

When my third grade teacher told me I should be a writer, I laughed because that was so basic. After all, my best friend was aspiring to be a princess. Lo and behold, 20 years later, here I am, biting my tongue.

A Chicago native, a Denverite by choice, and now an accidental Texan, I've made it my mission to see as much of the world as possible because life is short, but sweet for certain. Subscribe to follow the (mis)adventures.

Did We Just Become Besties?

road trip east coast

Julie Around The Globe

14 Best Family-Friendly Road Trips on the East Coast

Posted on August 20, 2022 | Julie J. |

Last Updated on April 9, 2023

Planning a family road trip on the East Coast and wondering where to go? Hit the open roads, get ready for some adventure, and discover some of America’s most stunning landscapes, prettiest cities, and most important historic sights.

Whether you’re looking for a short road trip near you for your next weekend getaway or a long one for your next vacation, you’ll find the best East Coast family road trips listed below. From wild beaches and quaint villages to mountain roads and national parks , find inspiration for your next family road trip.

These road trips feature plenty of kid-friendly activities and many stop opportunities to avoid driving for too long . They can easily be adapted to the time you have, the things you want to do and see, and your kids’ age.

Keep on reading to discover the best road trips on the East Coast for families!

Related – Road Trip Must-Haves and Packing List

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on any links and make a purchase, we’ll get a small commission, at no cost to you.

Before You Go – Family Road Trip Tips

  • Make sure to pack road trip entertainment and snacks for the kids;
  • Plan where you’re going to spend the night beforehand and book everything, especially during high season. You can check the best deals on hotels here and the best deals on vacation rentals here ;
  • Before heading out to more remote areas, make sure you have enough gas , and check where you can fill up your tank;
  • If you’re flying in, check the best deals on flights on Skyscanner and the ones for car rental here;
  • Getting travel insurance can be a good idea. World Nomads has a plan for road trips, covering sudden trip cancellations, unexpected medical emergencies, rental car insurance for vehicle damage, emergency assistance, road trip interruptions and delay, and protection for stolen belongings – More info on their website.

Vermont Fall Foliage Road Trip

Stowe Pinnacle, Vermont

Start: Wilmington End: Newport How many days: 3 to 7 days Length: 216 miles Best time: Fall

Route 100 in Vermont is one of the most picturesque roads on the East Coast , especially during the fall, when the trees’ colors turn into intense shades of red and oranges. Meander through the Green Mountains enjoying the scenery, and visit charming New England villages.

You can complete the road trip in 3 days but can easily stretch it to a whole week. You can start in Wilmington, in the south, and make your way north to Newport.

Take the time to visit Wilmington then make your way to Ludlow (maybe the next day depending on when you get in town). On the way stop at Mount Snow and ride the gondola to the top of the mountain to see the fall foliage from high up.

Next head to the charming town of Jamaica, for an easy hike through the forest , don’t miss Jamaica State Park . The West River Rail trail is ideal during fall and easy enough for children to hike it.

Next stop is the picturesque town of Weston . There, stroll around town, window shop, and stop by the Vermont Country Store where you’ll find a bit of everything.

Once you’re in Ludlow, enjoy the small-town vibes and head to Buttermilk Falls , gorgeous during the fall. If you want to meander through the countryside, you’ll find a couple of trails around town.

The next stretch of road, from Ludlow to Stowe, is filled with charming villages, acres of farmland, and plenty of scenic lookouts. Some of the most popular stops for families include Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site in Plymouth Notch , Moss Glen Falls in Granville , Ben & Jerry’s Factory Store , and  Little River State Park .

Once you reach Stowe, make sure to ride the gondola to the top of the mountain , Vermont’s highest peak.

If you have time, you can make a detour to Smuggler’s Notch on route 108, a narrow pass between Mt. Mansfield and Spruce Peak with plenty of easy hikes you can do from the road. The trail to Bingham Falls is only a 1.6-mile round trip. Note that the pass is not suitable for RVs.

Related – Best Road Trips in the US for your Bucket List

Great Lakes Seaway Trail

Lake Superior

Start: Erie, PA End: Massena, NY How many days: 3 to 7 days Length: 518 miles Best time: Spring through Fall

Outdoorsy families will love driving along Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River , stopping at state parks, and enjoying the wilderness. With stunning scenery and plenty of fun things to do , the Great Lakes Seaway Trail is one of the best East Coast family road trips.

You can drive it within a day but you can also take your time, visiting the towns along the way, enjoying water activities (if you’re there during summer), visiting historic sites, and hiking at some of the state parks. It’s an ideal road trip to take with kids as you’ll find plenty of easy trails and fun things to do.

There are plenty of stops you can take, depending on what you want to do, make sure to visit a state park or two, some beaches, historic lighthouses, maybe a museum or two, and a couple of small towns and cities. You can check out Wikipedia’s page for a full list of attractions along the way.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Looking Glass Rock, Blue Ridge Mountains, Brevard, NC, USA

Start: Front Royal, VA End: Cherokee, NC How many days: 3 to 7 days Length: 469 miles Best time: mid-May to mid-September

From Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway stretches through stunning landscapes and offers plenty of kid-friendly things to do.

You could drive the parkway in 2 days but it’s recommended to stay at least 5 days , to really explore the area and see the top sights. You can also plan a longer road trip, you won’t get bored.

Along the way, you’ll find plenty of easy hikes that will be perfect for kids and that will take you to stunning overlooks. Some of the most kid-friendly trails include:

  • Fallingwater Cascades Trail – 1.4 miles back and forth
  • Gully Creek Trail – 2-mile loop (recommended for older kids as some parts are pretty rough)
  • Price Lake Trail – 2.2 miles
  • Rough Ridge Trail – 0.2 miles, leading to a viewpoint
  • Hike to the top of Mount Mitchell – great if you are looking for a longer hike.

The towns of Waynesboro, Roanoke, Blowing Rock, Asheville, and Gatlinburg make great places to stay for the night – and also, offer plenty of activities the kids will enjoy.

For more cultural activities, visit the 1890s farm building in Humpback Rocks , stop by Mabry Mill , tour the Moses Cone Manor House , and visit the Museum of North Carolina Minerals.

Florida Keys

Seven Mile Bridge, Key West, United States

Start: Miami End: Key West How many days: 2 to 3 days Length: 165 miles Best time: Winter and Spring

A great family road trip to escape the cold weather in winter, the Florida Keys offers pristine beaches, fun water activities, and opportunities for kids to learn new things.

The easiest is to start in Miami, you can drive to Key West in a day, but it’s better to plan 2-3 days so you can stop along the way. You can then spend a couple of days in Key West before driving back.

You should plan to spend a day exploring Everglades National Park . Airboat tours are popular, but for something more eco-friendly take a kayak tour to learn more about the different plant and animal species. There are also short hikes you can take with kids – Bobcat Boardwalk Trail , Eco Pond Trail , Anhinga Trail , Pa-hay-okee Trail are recommended.

Next, spend some time snorkeling at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park – watching the beautiful coral reefs, colorful fish, and their famous underwater statue. There’s also a mangrove area where you can kayak.

You can plan to spend a night in Key Largo , where you can enjoy cruising the canals onboard the famous African Queen , and watching the sunset from Plantation Key’s Mile Marker 88 Beach.

Kids will love seeing the giant Lobster statue on marker 86. Another highlight of the drive is the impressive 7-mile bridge.

Once you reach Key West, relax at the beach for a couple of days and enjoy some water activities.

If you have more time you can drive down the entire East Coast of Florida, starting in St Augustine or Jacksonville , planning a few stops at Hollywood, Cocoa Beach, and Fort Lauderdale, before heading to the keys.

Finger Lakes Road Trip, New York

Taughannock Falls State Park, Finger Lakes

Start : Canandaigua, NY End: Ithaca, NY How many days: 3 to 7 Length: 100 to 300 miles Best time: May through September

With 9,000 square miles of stunning lake views, endless farmlands, gorges and waterfalls, world-class vineyards, flower fields, breweries, historical museums, and much more, the Finger Lakes region will make an awesome family road trip destination in New York.

With the perfect blend of culture, history, and nature, everyone in the family will have fun . There’s not one itinerary you have to follow, you can adapt it according to how long you have and what you want to see.

The main lakes are Canandaigua, Kekua, Seneca, Cayuga, and Skaneateles Lakes, and are called Finger Lakes, because of their shape.

Along the way, you’ll find a couple of state parks and easy hiking trails , waterfalls, small towns, historic sights, farm-to-table restaurants, museums, and crafts markets.

The Outer Banks of North Carolina

Outer Banks

Starts: Nags Head, NC Ends: Beaufort, NC How many days: 5 Length: 138 miles Best time: Mid-April to Mid-December

The perfect East Coast road trip for families, the Outer Banks Scenic Byway will take you through North Carolina’s beautiful beaches, thriving wildlife preserves, historic towns, and iconic lighthouses . Kids will love spending time at the beach, exploring historic buildings, and seeing wild horses roam free.

Start in Kitty Hawk and visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial where the first flight took place. In town, you can have a meal at the kid-friendly Rundown Cafe , serving Caribbean and Pacific Rim-inspired food.

Then keep heading south until you reach Beaufort . You can drive the byway within a day, but it’s better to plan at least 5 days for the trip as you’ll want to spend time visiting some of the places along the way.

Some of the top sites to tour with children include Jennette’s Pier  in Nags Head, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Bodie Island Lighthouse , the Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station from the 19th century, the shipwreck Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum , and Ocracoke Lighthouse .

You’ll find plenty of pretty beaches, nice restaurants, and small towns to stop by along the way as well.

Outdoorsy families who want to spot wildlife, enjoy unspoiled beaches, and go for easy hikes, need to include Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge or Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge in their road trip.

You can visit the Outer Banks year-round, but most restaurants, hotels, and shops will be closed during winter.

Boston to Bar Harbor Road Trip

Acadia National Park

Starts: Boston, MA End: Bar Harbor, ME How many days: 3 to 7 Length: 280 miles Best time: Summer and Fall

If you’re feeling like going on an adventure with stunning views of the coast, beautiful state parks, and historic towns, the quick yet scenic East Coast road trip from Boston to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor is one the whole family will enjoy.

Crossing Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine, the whole trip can be done in a day, and then, you can spend a couple of days in Acadia National Park or you can plan a couple of overnight stops along the way. This road trip can also be started in NYC or Portland.

If you have time, you can take a detour to drive the Kancamagus Highway part of the White Mountains Scenic Byway.

You should definitely plan to visit a couple of historic cities like Portsmouth , Portland, Rockport, and Camden , strolling around their historic district and maybe touring a couple of historic buildings and museums.

If your family likes hiking, then stop for a short hike in one of the many state parks you’ll pass by . Stroll around the 19th-century gardens and plantings at Maudslay State Park , go for a swim at Bear Brook State Parks, look for birds at the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge , and make a small detour to explore Fort Knox State Park .

Once you reach Bar Harbor, you can spend a couple of days exploring Acadia National Park, where you’ll find plenty of kid-friendly hiking and biking trails as well as beautiful beaches . Take a few hours to drive the Acadia All American Road.

Skyline Drive Road Trip, Virginia

skyline drive

Start: Front Royal, VA End: Rockfish Gap, VA How many days: 1 Length: 105 miles Best time: Spring and Fall

Located within Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive is one of the most scenic road trips you can go on on the East Coast. Featuring stunning scenery over the Shenandoah Valley, picturesque viewpoints, and easy trails accessible from the road , this drive is ideal to take with kids. And, if you’re lucky, you might even see some wildlife.

Running along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the drive will take you through 75 overlooks and will connect you to all the major visitor centers, campgrounds, lodges, picnic areas, and most trailheads.

You can do this road trip in a day, but you can also plan a couple of overnight stops at the campgrounds or lodges found along the way within Shenandoah National Park. Just make sure to book ahead.

Some of the top kid-friendly hikes you’ll find along the way include:

  • Fox Hollow Interpretive Trail – 1.2-mile loop
  • Traces Trail Hike – 1.7-mile loop
  • Mary’s Rock Trail – 3.7-mile round trip – Moderate, recommended for older kids.
  • Stony Man Trail – 1.6-mile round trip 
  • Dark Hollow Falls – 1.4-mile circuit – Moderate, steep and rocky trails, often slippery

Charleston to Savannah Road Trip

Riverboat in Savannah, Georgia

Start: Charleston, SC End: Savannah, GA How many days: 3 to 8 Length: 108 miles Best time: Year-round

Charleston and Savannah both have a lot to offer, and taking a road trip to explore the iconic cities as well as their surrounding is a great thing to do with kids. They’ll enjoy touring historic plantations, visiting children’s museums and their hands-on exhibits, and gorging on Southern food.

Explore the low-country in Georgia and South Carolina, first starting in Charleston, then heading to Beaufort, stopping by Hilton Head Island, then Bluffton, making your way to Savannah (or the other way around). You could do the drive in one day but it’s recommended to plan a couple of overnight stops.

Spend time exploring the historic districts , visit museums and historic buildings , enjoy the beach, stroll around a state park or two ( Edisto and Hunting Island State Parks are recommended), and don’t miss touring a plantation.

If you have time, you can drive the Savannah River Scenic Byway where you’ll find scenic views, get a glimpse of life in the rural South, and experience southern hospitality. The byway starts a bit before Clarks Hill and ends in Oakway, it takes around 3 hours.

You can also start this road trip in Raleigh, North Carolina, and drive to Myrtle Beach, then onto Charleston.

Appalachian Trail Road Trip

Appalachian Trail

Start: Carrabassett Valley, MA End: Tallulah Gorge State Park, GA How many days: 14 Length: 2,100 miles Best time: Spring through Fall

One of the most popular hiking trails in the United States, the  Appalachian Trail winds from Maine’s North Woods all the way down to Georgia. The driving route follows closely along the trail passing by stunning landscapes, charming towns, and historic sites .

The best part about this road trip is that it combines some of the best road trips on the East Coast , so you get to drive some of the most scenic drives in the country in one big road trip.

The Appalachian Trail crosses through 14 states (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia), 8 national forests, and 6 national parks.

Popular spots along the route include:

  • Baxter State Park in Maine.
  • The White Mountain National Forest, Mount Washington Auto Road, and the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire.
  • Harriman and Bear Mountain State Parks in New York.
  • Shenandoah National Park, Water Gap National Recreation Area, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, and Mount Rogers in Virginia.
  • The Great Smoky Mountains, and Blood and Springer mountains in Georgia.
  • Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, in DC and Maryland.

Northern Florida Road Trip

Alexander Springs Ocala National Forest Florida

Start : Falling Waters State Park End: Fort Clinch State Park How many days: 5 to 7 Length: 424 miles Best time: Spring or Fall

Northern Florida has a lot to offer and hides many gems few tourists know about. Plan a road trip there to explore its highlights, enjoying the sun, the beaches, and all the natural wonders it features. It’s ideal for families looking to spend some time outdoors while still having time to relax.

The drive from Falling Waters State Park to Fort Clinch State Park takes around 8 hours but you’ll want to spend time at the stops, so count at least 5 days but a full week would be better as there is a lot to do and see.

Here are the highlights of the trip:

  • Visit Florida’s highest waterfalls at Falling Waters State Park – there you’ll find many easy hikes through the wood, accessible to kids of all ages.
  • Take a 45-minute tour through the caves in Florida Caverns State Park – check the tour schedule beforehand. There you can also kayak on the Chipola River and hike to the Blue Hole Spring.
  • Ride a boat at one of the biggest and deepest freshwater springs in the world, Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park , where you might spot birds, manatees, and alligators. The park also features a couple of nature trails and areas where you can swim and snorkel.
  • Tube down the river at Ichetucknee Springs State Park
  • Swim in a sinkhole at the Devil’s Den Spring .
  • Stroll around America’s oldest city, St. Augustine
  • Enjoy the peaceful scenery at Big Talbot Island and Little Talbot Island
  • Spend some time at the beach on Amelia Island

Washington Heritage Trail, Virginia

Harpers Ferry, Virginia

Start: Paw Paw End: Berkeley Springs How many days: 1 to 3 Length: 136 miles Best time: Year-round

Forming a loop through the Morgan, Berkeley, and Jefferson counties, the Washington Heritage Trail traces the footsteps of George Washington and the marks his family left in the Eastern Panhandle . It’s an ideal road trip to take with kids to teach them about American history in a fun way.

There are over 40 official sites to visit along the trai l, from 18th-century towns and historic sites to scenic overlooks and picturesque scenery. You can pick the ones you like best or visit them all!

Most of the sites are located within 5 towns: Berkeley Springs, Martinsburg, Shepherdstown, Harpers Ferry, and Charles Towns . At each, you’ll find historic buildings and museums you can visit. You can see the full list here>>

Hudson Valley Road Trip, New York

Bear Mountain Bridge over the Hudson River

Start and End: New York City How many days: 2 to 3 Length: 180 miles Best time: Fall

Less than an hour’s drive away from New York City, the Hudson Valley is ideal to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and relax for a few days – it’s a perfect road trip from New York City for families looking to explore some stunning landscape and enjoy outdoor and cultural activities.

You can either start from NYC and back or take a train to one of the towns along the Hudson River and rent a car from there (a good idea to avoid traffic).

If you start from NYC, drive the Palisades Interstate Parkway and then Perkins Memorial Drive to reach the top of Bear Mountain . Don’t miss some of the lookouts on the way. Once in Bear Mountain State Park you can spend some time hiking (the Hessian Lake Loop is easy and nice to do with kids) or keep going.

Stop by West Point Academy , you can take a guided tour there and visit the museum. Then stroll around Storm King Art Center , home to one of the largest collections of contemporary outdoor sculptures in the United States – kids will love walking around the park, seeing all these sculptures.

Make your way to Hyde Park , where you can visit the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Home and The Vanderbilt Mansion . Then drive to the village of Rhinebeck , home to over 300 sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Kids will love touring the Rhinebeck Aerodrome Museum as well.

Next stops include Poughkeepsie (don’t miss the bridge), the Locust Grove Estate, Sleepy Hollow, and Tarrytown.

Cape May to Virginia Beach Road Trip

Assateague Island, Maryland and Virginia

Start: Cape May, NJ End: Virginia Beach, VA How many days: 3 to 7 Length: 200 miles Best time: Summer

An ideal road trip to take from Washington DC or Baltimore for families who want to spend some time at the beach, explore the wilderness, and see the famous wild horses.

The top spots on this East Coast road trip include:

  • Lewes and Rehoboth Beach
  • Bethany Beach
  • Chincoteague and Assateague Island National Seashore
  • Virginia Beach

Save this post on Pinterest for later:

East Coast Family Road Trips

Related posts:

Best family vacations on the East Coast

road trip east coast

East Coast Road Trip: 25+ Stops You Don’t Want To Miss!

We spent about 4 weeks doing an East Coast Road Trip in the fall and it was magical! Below we share the destinations we stopped at, what we did and how much time we spent to help you plan your East coast trip.

Emily's Covered Bridge

It was a whirlwind trip but so much fun!!

We also included some southern states and stops in case you want your road trip itinerary to take you all the way from Maine down to the Florida .

Here is a summary of the stops we recommend: Stowe, VT | Lincoln, NH | Acadia National Park | Boston, MA | Newport, RI | Mystic, CT | New York City | Cape May, NJ | Philadelphia, PA | Delaware | Washington, DC | Shenandoah NP | Asheville, NC | Charleston, SC | Savannah, GA | St Augustine, FL | Orlando, FL | Florida Keys

Table of Contents

Map Of East Coast Road Trip

The first map shows the first half of the trip.

1st Half map of East Coast Road Trip

This map shows the 2nd half of the trip.

2nd Half map of east coast road trip

Vermont – 2 Nights

Stowe Vermont Road Trip East Coast Road Trip

Vermont is known for its green mountains, maple syrup, cider, wineries, breweries and gorgeous covered bridges. We tried to cover all of that when we visited!!

Ben and Jerry’s ice cream was also started here – we ran out of time and weren’t able to visit. But this is something else you may want to add to your list.

Burlington, Vermont

Things To Do In Burlington Vermont

This fun college town has the famous Church Street – the street has a church on each end of it. It is exactly what you think a New England town would look like! It also has cool shops, yummy chocolates and a distillery tasting room. Plus a variety of unique shops and high end clothes stores.

Outside of the down is the waterfront with the Maple Creemees stand – you can’t leave without getting one! Plus foam brewers. We love stoping at local breweries.

You can also make a stop at Shelbourne Farm for cheese, syrup and walking trails.

Here is a high-level look of things to do in Burlington Vermont:

Shelbourne Farm 

  • Walk trails
  • Cheese making at 11am
  • Get lunch food

Walk on Church Street 

  • Find the Global Pathways Jewelry Store and The Crystal Cottage of Vermont
  • Find street art 
  • Lake Champlian Chocolates
  • Smugglers Notch distillery

Waterfront around sunset 

  • Foam Brewers 
  • Creemees Ice Cream (Maple Creemees)
  • Citizen Cider – Have Poultine for dinner here

More Fun Activities in Burlington

Burlington Scavenger Hunt check out all of Burlington’s landmarks and hidden gems as you answer trivia questions.

Sip for Burlington Brewery Tour Check out Burlington’s world-class brewery scene on this guided tour

For all the details on Burlington, VT check out our post: 15 Fun Things to do in Burlington, VT

Stowe, Vermont

Emily's Covered Bridge on your east coast road trip

This gorgeous town located at the foot of the highest peek in Vermont: Mount Mansfield is a must do while in Vermont. There are gorgeous hiking trails, picturesque bridges and beautiful scenic drives – especially in fall when the leaves are changing.

You won’t want to miss a stop at Cold Hollow Cider Place for hot cider and cider donuts. Be sure to head over the brewery for some cider beer!

If you like local breweries the Alchemist Stowe is known to have some of the best beers in the whole US. You will also find the Von Trapp place in Stowe. It is busy so if you are interested in visiting be sure to book a reservation ahead of time.

Here is a high-level look of things to do in Stowe, Vermont:

  • Smugglers Notch State Park
  • Hike the Bingham Falls via Mills Trail
  • Walk Stowe’s Main Street
  • Auto Toll Road to the top of Mt. Mansfield
  • Emily’s Covered Bridge (Gold Brook Bridge)
  • Scenic Drive (90 minutes)
  • Cold Hollow Cider Place
  • The Alchemist Stowe
  • Stowe Cider
  • Dinner at Von Trapp Place

For more on Stowe, Vermont check out our post: 20 Fun Things To Do in Stowe, Vermont

Where to Stay

We visited the east coast in our RV and choose to stay at a campground where we could visit Stowe and Burlington. There are also a lot of great hotels and vacation rentals in the area.

Apple Island RV Park Where we stayed

Sterling Ridge Resort  is in between Burlington and Stowe and would make a good base.

Green Mountain Inn  is right in Stowe and would be a great place to stay to explore Stowe.

Courtyard Burlington Harbor  is right in Burlington and would be perfect for exploring Burlington.

Vacation Rentals

Close to Stowe and the Mountain

Lake View Close to Burlington

If you are looking for more things to do in Vermont check out our post: 45 Places to Stop on Your Ultimate Vermont Road Trip and 31+ Fun Things To Do In Vermont [2 Day Itinerary included]

New Hampshire – 2 Nights

White Mountain National Forest, East Coast Road Trip

New Hampshire and Vermont share a lot of similarities on what they are known for. Beautiful landscape, maple syrup, scenic drives, covered bridges.

Lincoln, New Hampshire

Things To Do In Lincoln New Hampshire on an east coast road trip. Picture of Flume Gorge Hike.

When we visited New Hampshire we knew we wanted to do a tram or cog train ride . We opted for the tram as it would take us to the top of Cannon Mountain and one of our kids is named Cannon – it was an easy choice.

I also wanted to do the gorgeous Flume Gorge hike and it did not disappoint. Since we were there in fall we wanted to be sure to do the Kancamagus highway drive to see the changing leaves.

High-Level overview of what we did in New Hampshire:

  • Cannon Mountain Tram
  • Flume Gorge Hike  
  • Grab Purple Tomatoe Sandwiches
  • Kancamagus Highway Drive – great for seeing the fall leaves. Here is a list of attractions located off of the highway.
  • Mt Washington Auto Road – Highest point in NH

Where To Stay

This is where we stayed: Fransted Family Campground & RV Park

Riverwalk Resort at Loon Mountain A restaurant on site, outside swimming pool, a hot tub and gorgeous scenery!

InnSeasons Resort Pollard Brook In the White Mountain National Forest but a 5 minute drive to downtown Lincoln! It has an indoor and outdoor pool too.

Luxury Loon Mountain Home

For more on New Hampshire check out our post: 14 Best Things To Do In Lincoln New Hampshire

Maine – 3 Nights

Cannon driving a Lobster Boat on the waters around Acadia National Park

Maine is known for its rugged coast, pristine forests, lobster, outdoor recreation and Acadia National park. For our stop in Maine we just did Acadia National Park but we would love to go back to explore more of Maine. You also don’t want to miss the lobster rolls!

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park, shows a man on an overlook point, East Coast Road Trip

Whenever we visit a National Park we like to visit the whole park. Those off the beaten path places that most people don’t go to – along with all of the must see stops.

This meant there were 3 areas of Acadia we would visit – the 4th would have been taking a boat to one of the islands but we opted not to do that this time around. But will the next time we go!

The 3 areas we visited were the Schoodic Peninsula, the Main Loop and the Quiet Side. We also spent time in Bar Harbor eating and exploring the town.

Here is a high-level overview of what we did in Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor:

Schoodic Peninsula – Acadia National Park

  • Sundew Trail
  • Schoodic Headtrails

Acadia National Park – Main Loop

  • Cadillac Mountain Sunrise – need tickets
  • Park Loop Road drive stop at lookouts
  • Precipice Trail – 2.1 miles 1000 ft elevation gain Crazy Family Adventure Acadia National Park Precipe Trail
  • Beehive Trail – 1.5 mile 500 foot elevation gain https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/maine/the-beehive-loop-trail
  • Thunder Hole – Ocean Path trail to Thunder Hole (.7 mile there and .7 back)
  • Jordan Pond House (Popovers (open 11am-5pm)) and Jordan Pond Path after dinner if we want to. 

Acadia National Park – Quiet Side And Lobster Boat

  • Bass Harbor Lighthouse
  • Hike Wonderland Trail
  • LuLu Lobster Boat Tour

For more on Acadia National Park check out our posts: 17 Fun Things To Do In Acadia National Park and Acadia National Park Itinerary [Plus Where To stay]

Bar Harbor is a super cute town and with its close proximity to Acadia you will definitely want to spend some time here. Here are a few things to do:

Bar Harbor Culinary Walking Tour Taste local foods as you explore Bar Harbor on this 3-hour tour

Historic Guided Walking Tour Learn about the history of this historic town and its historic landmarks on this fun 2 hour tour

For more on Bar Harbor check out our post: 11 Things To Do In Bar Harbor Maine


We stayed here: Mt Desert RV Park which was in a perfect location to see all parts of the park. Plus it was close to the Happy Clam Shack!

Hadley’s Point Campground This lovely campground offers a quiet escape from city life.

Bar Harbor Grand Hotel in Central Bar Harbor this hotel is located just 1.4 miles from Acadia National Park

Acadia Inn this comfortable hotel has an onsite trail that accesses the park

Vacation Rental

Shannon Cottage in Bar Harbor only a 5 minute walk to the Village Green

Lovely Mayapple Cottage outside of Bar Harbor this is a great option if you are looking for peace and quiet.

Massachusetts – 3 Nights

Boston Tea Party Museum, East Coast Road Trip

Craig and I had gotten engaged in Boston back in 2001 and we were excited to get back to visit again! There is so much history in Boston to take in via the Freedom Trail, the historical streets and the restaurants.

We choose to spend 2 full days exploring Boston and crammed in a lot. Here is what we did:

  • Freedom Trail – Freedom Trail Walking Tour App
  • Book a 2.5 hour guided walking tour of the Freedom Trail here.
  • Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum Interactive Tour
  • Donut Tour – Book your Underground Donut Tour here!
  • Boston National Historic Park
  • Little Italy Dinner – make a reservation
  • Basketball Game – Celtics Game
  • Fenway Park Book a 1 hour guided tour of Fenway Park

More Great Boston Activities

Old Town Tolley Tour  Hop on and off at one of 14 spots on this great tour. These great spots include the Boston Public Garden, the USS Constitution Museum, Quincy Market, and more.

Buy a Go City All Inclusive Pass  This pass includes 40+ attractions including the famous swan boat, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Children’s Museum, Museum of Science, Franklin Park Zoo, and more.

Boston Duck Tour  See Boston from a different view with this one of a kind kid friendly tour.

For more on Boston and Salem check out: 29+ Fun Things to Do In Boston With Kids

Accommodations in Boston

We left our RV at the Sandy Pond campground in Plymouth and went into Boston and spent the night at a hotel. There are not many options for campgrounds close to Boston. From what we could find.

Omni Parker Hotel Where we stayed

Seaport Hotel Boston  Stay right on Boston’s historic waterfront

Historic Loft Near Boston Common

Townhouse in the Center of Boston

Salem is usually a nice train ride from Boston. Well when we were there they were working on part of the line so we had to take a train and a bus. Plus we went the opening of Halloween weekend. It was an experience! The bus ride was packed full and felt like it took forever but we made it.

There is so much history in Salem as well as long as all the fun that surrounds Halloween there! I am glad we went and experienced Halloween in Salem. That being said I would really like to come back to Salem and explore when it isn’t so packed with people.

Here is what we did in Salem and was recommended to us:

  • Walk the Salem Heritage Trail
  • Stroll along Chestnut Street (Take the time to wander down beautiful Chestnut Street, which was the first planned street in America. Read all of the house plaques to learn about the people who built and lived in the exquisite Federal-style mansions.)
  • Salem has wonderful, historic cemeteries, including the Old Burying Point Cemetery on Charter Street, Howard Street Cemetery and the Broad Street Cemetery.
  • The Charter Street Burying Point is one of the oldest cemeteries in Massachusetts. In it you can see the graves of a Witch Trials judge, a Mayflower passenger, and architect Samuel McIntire. 
  • Salem Witch Trails Tour Guide App
  • Haunted Happenings Marketplace – Salem Commons

More Great Activities in Salem

Ghosts of Salem Walking Tour  This family friendly tour will immerse you in the city’s dark past.

Haunt & History Guided Night Tour  Explore this historic city at night.

For an extra stop check out this awesome Nantucket Itinerary!

If you want to go straight from Boston to NYC check out this great post on how you can do it via the train! Taking the Boston to NYC Train .

Rhode Island – 1 Night

Picture of a bridge in Newport, Rhode Island, East Coast Road Trip

When making a stop in Newport, Rhode Island we knew we wanted to try some Oysters! Being that we were there with the kids we knew they would maybe try an oyster but would not appreciate them or how much they cost. For that reason we got some to go and it worked out great.

Here is a list of things to do in Newport, Rhode Island:

  • Newport to Ocean Drive Historic District
  • Bowen’s Wharf
  • Brenton Point State Park (get a kite)
  • Pawtucket – National Park Site
  • Providence for lunch
  • Snake Den State Park
  • West Greenwich
  • Mantucket Rhodyoyster farm tour and dinner.

For more on Rhode Island check out: 19 Best Things To Do In Newport RI

We stayed at the Worden Pond Family Campground.

Marshall Slocum Inn this federalist style hotel is conveniently only a 5-minute drive from the Newport Mansions and within walking distance to the Cliff Walk.

Newport Harbor Hotel and Marina Here you can enjoy waterfront views, on-site dining, and an indoor saltwater pool.

Downtown Newport Luxury on Thames

Harbor View Retreat

Connecticut – 1 Night

shows 4 kids standing on a pier in downtown mystic, East coast road trip

In Connecticut we wanted to check out a cider mill and the cute small town of Mystic!

Here are a few things to do in Mystic:

  • Mystic Seaport Museum
  • Olde Mistick Village
  • Downtown Mystic
  • Clydes Cider Mill

More to do in Mystic

Glow in the Park TreeTrails Burn some energy high in the tree tops. Great for ages 7+

Downtown Mystic Ghost Tour learn about this seafaring town’s dark past on this 2 hour guided tour.

For more on Mystic check out: 21 Best Things To Do In Mystic CT

Sun Outdoors Mystic On-site amenities and activities include basketball, horseshoes, miniature golf, bocce ball, pickleball, volleyball, and a heated swimming pool, among others.

Whaler’s Inn This hotel is within walking distance of shops and restaurants and is around the corner from the Mystic River Bascule Bridge.

Taber Inn Only an 8-minute walk from the beach, and 1 mile from the Mystic Seaport, the Taber Inn has everything you need for a comfortable and relaxing stay.

Overlooking the Mystic River

Seaside Getaway

New York – 3 Nights

picture of a family in Times Square in NYC, East Coast Road Trip

New York City

While in NYC we wanted to be sure to hit the historic sites, a broadway play, China Town and also the 9/11 Memorial. NYC is such a cool city with so much to see and do and just an awesome energetic vibe. We were there for 2 1/2 days and went from the minute we got there until we left.

This time we stayed on the New Jersey side and the subway was right down the road from our RV park. We took the ferry one trip and did the subway the rest of the time and it was so easy for getting into the city.

Here is what we did with our 2 1/2 days in NYC:

  • Book your tickets for the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island with Ferry Ride
  • Statue of Liberty
  • Food Tour – do it ourselves of Pizza Places
  • Central Park 
  • Lego Store 
  • Thrift Store  – Thrifty Hog
  • Flight Club – shoe store 
  • Rutger Park – bball court
  • Knicks Basketball Game
  • 9/11 Memorial & Museum Timed Entry Ticket
  • Little Italy – Walking Tour App
  • China Town – Walking Tour App
  • Dinner by Broadway at Haru Sushi and dessert at Juniors
  • Booked Broadway Play 8pm – The Lion King Get tickets here: The Lion King on Broadway
  • Times Square

More to do in NYC

New York CityPass – Save money at 5 tops attractions including the Empire State Building, American Museum of Natural History, Top of the Rock, Guggenheim Museum and more.

Manhattan Helicopter Tour Get a bird’s eye view of the Big Apple

Big Bus Hop On and Off Sightseeing Tour Hop on and off at your leisure at NYC’s most iconic landmarks

Check out our post for more to do in NYC with kids: Visiting New York City With Kids [Itinerary Included]

We would 100% recommend the Liberty Harbor RV park as a great place to stay if you are coming in an RV. It wasn’t cheap at over $100 a night for basically a water and electric parking lot (there was a dump station) but with the location it was perfect for exploring NYC!

It is located in New Jersey but it is just across the water and there is a subway up the road (that you can walk to) that you can take to easily get into New York City.

Hyatt Place NYC Chelsea this great location is walking distance to restaurants, landmarks, and the subway

Hampton Inn Times Square Stay in the heart of Times Square at this amazing hotel.

One Bedroom Apartment with Den in NYC

Cozy Studio Apartment near the Empire State Building

Another great place to visit in New York – that is located on the western side of the state is Ithaca, New York! If you are interested in stopping here check out this great post on things to do in Ithaca .

New Jersey – 1 Night

Ocean City NJ boardwalk, East Coast Road Trip

Ocean City and Cape May

We didn’t spend much time in New Jersey but knew when we were there we wanted to visit one of the boardwalks. Our first stop was the Ocean City boardwalk and since it was off season (Fall) it wasn’t very busy but we still got an idea of what the boardwalk is like!

Exploring the city of Cape May and seeing the beach was fun too. Here is a list of things we recommend you do in New Jersey:

  • Barnegat Lighthouse State Park
  • Atlantic City (Absecon Light House – Open Thursdays through Mondays
  • Lucy The Elephant,
  • Historic Smithville
  • King King Sundae at the Sugar Factory
  • Ocean City – walk the boardwalk and the Atlantic Ocean beach
  • Cape May (Ligthhouse, Washington Street Mall, Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum, Cape May Historic District)
  • Brew and Surf Trail
  • Explore Cape May
  • Cold Spring Brewery
  • Ghost Tour at Historic Cold Spring Village – booked

More Fun Activities at the Jersey Shore

Jersey Shore Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruise learn about marine life and the history of Cape May on this 3 hour cruise

Weekend Dolphin Watching Breakfast Cruise Enjoy breakfast as you watch dolphins on this 2-hour guided tour

We stayed at the Echo Farms campground . It was fine – it was a place to stay. The roads were a bit tight but we made it work.

Biscayne Suites is a hotel located in Ocean City that has all of the amenities that you could ask for. 

Ocean 7 is located on the boardwalk in Ocean City

4 Bedroom/ 4 Bath Beachfront Condo

2 Bedroom/ 3 Bath with Ocean Views

Philadelphia – 2 Nights

The Liberty Bell, in Philadelphia, East Coast Road Trip

We ended up spending one day in Philly. We booked a food tour and didn’t really think about the times that a lot of the historic buildings were open. So we ended up just seeing a lot of them from the outside.

The food tour was well worth it! Just wish we would have planned the timing better.

Here is what we did in Philly:

  • Reading Terminal Market – food tour: Book it here: Flavors of Philly Food Tour
  • The Liberty Bell
  • Independence Hall – you need a ticket ahead of time – we saw it from the outside.
  • John F. Kennedy Plaza – Love Sculpture
  • Amore Sculpture – Sister Cities Park
  • Penn’s Landing on the waterfront

Click here to download a map of historic Philly

Additional Things to do in Philly

Revolutionary Walk Guided Tour Journey through the Old City on this guided tour

Amazing Philadelphia Scavenger Hunt Adventure use your smartphone as a guide and set your own pace. It includes stops at many of the most famous spots in the city, as well as some lesser-known sights

For all the details check out our post: 17+ Fun Things To Do In Philadelphia With Kids [Plus 1 day Itinerary]

We stayed at the same place we stayed when we explore Jersey: Echo Farms campground .

Philadelphia Marriot Downtown A super comfortable hotel right in the heart of downtown Philadelphia, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown is a wonderful place to call home for a few days.

Hilton Garden Inn Philadelphia Center City be within walking distance of several attractions when you stay here.

Historic 3- Story Classic Trinity House

Beautiful 3 Bedroom Apartment in the Heart of Center City

Delaware – 1 Night

The boardwalk in Wilmington , DE, east coast road trip

We weren’t exactly sure what to do in Delaware but we kept seeing beaches and boardwalks. And also knew we wanted to visit the Assateague National Seashore to try to see the horses (Even though this is actually in Maryland).

  • Assateague National Seashore
  • Wilmington Scavenger Hunt Visit all the hidden gems and landmarks that Wilmington has to offer while ansering trivia questions.

We stayed at the Jellystone Park in Lewes . It was a really nice park!

Hyatt Place Wilmington Riverfront This modern hotel is located right on the riverfront, in an ideal location for sightseers.

Homewood Suites by Hilton Wilmington Downtown both the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts and the Brandywine Zoo are within walking distance.

Upscale Vacation Rental Home

Gateway Oasis in Brandywine Valley

Washington DC – 3 Nights

Washington Monument East Coast Road Trip

Washington DC

We spent one day exploring Washington DC and the monuments. The next day we returned to do some of the free museums. Check out what we did:

  • White House picture from the outside. White House Experience App
  • Black Lives Matter Plaza
  • The White House Visitor Center
  • Thomas Jefferson Memorial
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
  • Korean War Veterans Memorial
  • Abraham Lincoln Memorial
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  • Washington Monument
  • Arlington National Cemetery
  • Union Station

For all the details check out our post: 23 Things To Do In Washington DC With Kids [+ 2 Day Itinerary]

Great Tours in Washington DC

Hop-On and Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Tour  See the sites and learn the history of DC from a double-decker bus. This tour visits the White House, Lincoln Memorial, National Cathedral, Arlington National Cemetary, National Capital, and more.

Tastes of Georgetown Food Tour  Learn about the history of DC’s oldest and most iconic neighborhood while sampling delicious local foods.

Monuments and Memorials Bike Tour  Bike through the Tidal Basin and National Mall on this self-guided tour. This three-hour guided tour is perfect for all ages and includes bikes and helmets.

Georgetown Ghost Tour  Discover the dark side of this historic part of the city, including visiting the famous Exorcist stairs featured in the movie during this walking tour.

African American History Tour  On this 4-hour tour, you will see some of the most iconic sites and lesser-known unique landmarks in civil rights history. From the home of Frederick Douglass to African American Civil War Memorial and Museum to Howard University take an in-depth look at the struggle for civil rights.

Washington Plaza Hotel  This hotel is located close to the White House and Dupont Circle. The hotel offers a wide variety of rooms and suite choices.

Courtyard by Marriott Washington Downtown/Convention Center  Stay in the heart of our nation’s capital. This hotel has a restaurant, private parking, free bikes, and a beautiful garden on site.

Private Apartment in a Historic Home  Located in the center of Northwest DC, this home is located within walking distance of the Metro and monuments and museums.

Historic Victorian Townhome  This beautiful three-bedroom townhome is located in one of the city’s most vibrant neighborhoods. Walking distance to restaurants, bars, and the National Mall.

That is where we ended our 4 week East Coast road trip. But here are a few other stops we have made over the years that you could add to your trip:

Picture of kids standing in front of the sign for Shenandoah National Park, East Coast Road Trip

Shenandoah National park

Shenandoah National park is a great stop when visiting Virginia.

Here are a view things to do:

  • Shenandoah National Park Self-Driving Audio Guide
  • Luray Caverns and Shenandoah Skyline Drive Guided Tour


When in Virginia you don’t want to miss making a stop at Colonial Williamsburg.

Colonial Williamsburg Guided Walking Tour Learn about the role that Williamsburg played in our nation’s independence.

Busch Gardens & Water Country Option Ticket Enjoy family fun at this great theme park

Haunted Ghosts, Witches and Pirates Tour Hear stories of the ghosts that haunt Colonial Williamsburg

Virginia Beach

Sunset Dolphin Kayak Tours experience the sunset over the Chesapeake Bay on this 2-hour kayak tour

Wetland Zipline Tour See a unique view of the wetland forest of Virginia Beach

Comfort Inn Williamsburg Gateway This hotel is centrally located halfway between the Jamestown Settlement and Colonial Williamsburg.

Williamsburg Woodlands Hotel This great family-friendly hotel has a seasonal outdoor pool, children’s playground, and fitness center.

Hampton Inn Virginia Beach Oceanfront North is located oceanfront this hotel only steps away from fun attractions and nightlife.

3 Bedroom Home with a Great Patio

Beautiful 5 Bedroom Home Steps Away from the Beach

North Carolina

Best Asheville Hikes, east coast road trip

Head inland to Asheville. Located off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. We love the town of Asheville – they have some great shops and breweries. We also love all of the hiking and things to do in the surrounding area.

Things To Do In Asheville:

  • Scenic Helicopter Experience Take in unbeatable views of Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains

Check out our posts for more details:

9 Amazing And Fun Things To Do In Asheville With Kids

5 Best Kid Friendly Breweries in Asheville, North Carolina

Kid Friendly Hikes Near Asheville, North Carolina

Accommodations in Asheville

Wilson’s Riverfront RV Park This is a wonderful campground located right on the French Broad River.

Blue Ridge Travel Park This RV park is located in nearby Hendersonville. It is surrounded by beautiful views and great places to hike.

Country Inn and Suites by Radisson A mile from Asheville and 2.5 miles from the Biltmore the Country Inn has a continental breakfast, fitness center, and indoor heated pool. 

The Omni Grove Park Inn  – Built in 1913 the Grove Park Inn is a beautiful place to stay in Asheville. There are plenty of amenities on site such as a subterranean spa with mineral pools, a sauna, a steam room, and a golf course on site.

Mountaintop Log Cabin is located in a well-established community with plenty of privacy and a 300-acre nature preserve within walking distance as well. 

Relaxing Mountain Cabin  – Two-story cabin with a wonderful deck with a hot tub and fire table. Located near downtown Asheville and close to all the many hiking trails that Asheville has to offer. 

South Carolina

Congaree National Park, SC East Coast Road Trip

Fort Sumter in Charleston holds an important place in our country’s history. Book here to take a ferry ride to Fort Sumter and explore the museum and National monument.

Tour historic downtown Charleston by horse-drawn carriage on this 1 hour guided experience.

Savor the flavors of Charleston on this food tour. Learn about Charleston’s 300 years of culinary history on this 2.5-hour tour.

Congaree National Park

Home to the oldest and largest intact expanse of old-growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States, Congaree National Park in South Carolina has a fairytale-like quality.

Learn more: 10 Fun Things to do in Congaree National Park

Savannah Georgia, east coast road trip

Learn the secrets and stories that make Savannah America’s Most Haunted City on this small group walking tour. It is about 3 hours but the time flies and the kids are sure to love it.

A great Tybee Island tour idea is  this dolphin tour . You’ll have a good chance to see dolphins. You will love seeing over a hundred reptiles at the alligator pond. You’ll get views of Cockspur Island Lighthouse, Fort Pulaski, and Tybee Island Lighthouse. However, this tour is 5 hours in length so plan to do a day trip to Tybee Island.

Explore Savannah on this hop-on-and-off historic trolley tour get on or off at any of the 14 stops including Temple Mickve Israel, the Cathedral of St John the Baptist, the Antique Mall, and more.

Riverboat Harbor Narrated Sightseeing Cruise Sail along Savannah’s beautiful waterfront while you learn about the history of this great city.

More Wonderful Activities in Savannah

Discover amazing places to eat on the East Side Food Tour . Enjoy award-winning food without having to wait in line. Find out the best places to dine that only the locals know.

If you love spooky be sure to check out the Ghosts and Gravestones Trolley Tour where you will learn all about the paranormal and haunting in America’s Most Haunted City.

Learn more about Savannah: 21 Superb Things To Do In Savannah, GA with Kids

If you are interested in staying in the historic district be sure to check out this post: Where to stay in Savannah’s Historic District.

McIntosh Manor RV Park and Campground  – Located on Highway 17 in Townsend, Georgia, about 45 minutes outside of Savannah. This campground offers amenities including 30/50 amp hookups, a large fire pit, and a laundry facility.

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Walking distance from the Ships to Sea Museum and other popular attractions. This hotel offers private parking, a fitness center, free bikes, and a continental breakfast.

Marriott Savannah Riverfront this luxury hotel is located downtown. The hotel has an attached restaurant and marvelous city views.

4 Bedroom Victorian Home in the Historic District

2 Bedroom Charming Home in a Great Location

Florida Keys sunset cruise east coast road trip

St Augustine

We won’t want to miss the oldest city in the US: St Augustine, Florida! There is so much history here and so many great things to do from a St Augustine romantic getaway to an awesome family trip!

Marineland Dolphin Adventure is about 20 miles south of St Augustine. Book your ticket here. One option at Marineland is to swim with the dolphins. During this encounter you will get to touch, swim and play with these amazing sea creatures.

Visit the haunted side of America’s oldest town with the Ghost Walking Tour .

Potter’s Wax Museum was the first wax museum in the US. It opened its doors in 1949. You can visit its fascinating collection of more than 150 wax figures.

Learn more: 17 Exciting Things To Do In St. Augustine With Kids and Unique Museums In St Augustine.

Where to Stay in St Augustine

Sun Outdoors St Augustine numerous site options including full hookups, shaded site, patio sites and buddy sites at this large RV park.

Ocean Grove RV Resort is located just blocks away from St. Augustine beach. This property offers several activities year round to keep the entire family entertained.

Sebastian Hotel  – offering extra large guest rooms or two room suites, perfect for a family trip.

DoubleTree by Hilton  – located in the Historic District, convenient to the Fountain of Youth and Castillo De San Marcos.

Ocean Front Home Minutes from Downtown

There are so many fun things to do in Orlando! It has our favorite outdoor water park in the US: Volcano Bay. Of course Disney World and Universal with Harry Potter World. But there are also a lot of other fun things to do in Orlando with kids including tubing down a gorgeous river!

Here are a few more posts to help you plan your time in Orlando:

  • Magic Kingdom
  • Universal Orlando Tips
  • Discover 24 Tips for Universal Volcano Bay

Legoland Florida is a must see if you have younger kids.

Other Fun Orlando Activities

Titanic Artifact Exhibition Ticket Travel back in time to visit the Titanic in this 20,000 square foot interactive museum

Orlando Go City Explorer Pass Save money on the top tours and attractions in Orlando

Explore the beauty of the Everglades on this Sunset Airboat Tour . During this 1-hour tour you will search for alligators, turtles and other wildlife.

If you are in Orlando during the Halloween season be sure to Check out Universal Halloween Horror Nights.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites is located a short drive from Orlando’s main attractions. You will love the family rooms, pool, fitness center, free parking and more.

Endless Summer Resort with Universal The Resort itself is nice with a large pool and multiple food options.

Stunning 3 Bedroom/2 Bath Orlando Vista Cay

Large 4 Bedroom Close to Universal Studios

Florida Keys

The Florida Keys have so much to offer! We love going here with our family and getting out on the water. You can learn more about our Florida Keys Road Trip here!

Snorkeling Tours

Half Day Snorkel Trip See the marine life of the Keys up close as you explore the US’s only living coral reef. This is suitable for beginners, you only have to know how to swim.

Snorkel 2 Coral Reefs Visit some of the best snorket sites in the Key Largo Marine Sancturary. See John Pennekamp Coral Reef Park, Christ of the Abyss, Elbow Reef, and Grecian Rocks on this tour.

Glass Bottom Boat Sunset Cruise Enjoy the beauty of the fish without getting wet in this glass bottom boat. During this 2-hour cruise you will see one of the gorgeous sunsets the Keys are known for.

Go for a Sunset Sail on a Schooner Sailboat Sit back with a glass of champagne and relax watching for native marine life on this epic sailboat cruise.

Fiesta Key RV resort  – a good campground with full hookups, sites on the water (if you can get one), a large pool, and an onsite restaurant overlooking the ocean!

Sun Outdoors Key Largo  located in Key Largo, smaller campground with only about 35 full hookup sites.

Baker’s Cay Resort Key Largo a variety of water sports and amentities including private beach access are offered at this resort.

Playa Largo Resort & Spa you will be impressed by the amenites offered including private cabanas, fire pits, hot tubs, and water sports facilities.

Fun in the Sun 3 Bedroom House

Pin to Your Family Road Trip Board to Save for Later

Plan the best east coast road trip with your family!

  • Recent Posts


  • Alaska Highway Road Trip With An RV – What TO Know! - March 1, 2024
  • 23+ Fun Things To Do In South Padre Island, Texas - February 29, 2024
  • 25 Fun And Exciting Things To Do In Chicago With Kids - February 29, 2024

DISCLOSURE : This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read my disclosure for more info.

The 15 Best Stops to Make for the Ultimate East Coast Road Trip

Add these must-see places, starting in New Hampshire and ending in Florida, to your route.

east coast road trips

The eastern coast of the United States offers travelers endless opportunities to explore. From historic destinations to quaint towns, beautiful forests to must-see museums, these stops make up the vacation of a lifetime. What are you waiting for?

White Mountains (Lincoln, New Hampshire)

Begin your journey at the White Mountains region in New Hampshire, which provides visitors with a variety of incredible outdoor experiences. If you're feeling adventurous, explore on horseback. Ride through meadows and the hardwood forest with panoramic mountain views. From there, you can participate in other exciting activities such as tubing in the Saco River or going on a moose safari tour.

Portland Head Light (Cape Elizabeth, Maine)

Head to the coast to see the Portland Head Lighthouse, one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world, which was first lit on January 10, 1791. Walk along the amazing shores of Fort Williams Park to take in the breathtaking views, then stop by the museum located in the former keepers' house to learn about the history of the beautiful structure.

For more information, visit  portlandheadlight.com .

The Witch House (Salem, Massachusetts)

Step back into the 17th century in the historic town of Salem, Massachusetts. The Witch House was once the home of Jonathan Corwin, the judge who served during the Salem Witch Trails and sent 19 people to the gallows. His house is now the only structure still standing that's connected to the 1692 event.

For more information, visit salemweb.com .

Newport Mansions (Newport, Rhode Island)

Need a Downton Abbey fix? Visit Newport's famous mansions that once served as the summer homes for New York's high society. The tour, hosted by the Preservation Society of Newport County, showcases the beautiful homes and even begins at the servants' entrance. Based on the Crawley residence, we can only imagine what kind of social lives (filled with juicy gossip, no doubt) belonged to these homeowners and their staff.

For more information, visit newportmansions.org .

New York Botanical Gardens (Bronx, New York)

Avoid the hustle and bustle of NYC by taking a nature walk through The New York Botanical Gardens. The national historic landmark is one of the largest in the country with 250 acres to prove it! Plan a trip this spring and catch sight of more than 200 cherry blossom trees planted in the gardens. 

For more information, visit nybg.org . 

National Constitution Center (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

If your family loves the latest musical sensation  Hamilton , then they need to see the real history behind it. The National Constitutional Center brings the U.S Constitution to life with interactive exhibits, leadership talks, and more. Also, b e sure to stop by the historic landmarks nearby including the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall . 

For more information, visit  constitutioncenter.org .

Smithsonian's National Zoo (Washington, D.C.)

Next, make your way to the nation's capital to explore the Smithsonian's National Zoo, which is always free of charge. Home to more than 1,500 animals across 300 different species, the zoo sits in the heart of Rock Creek Park. A hidden treasure away from the crowds is the Bird House's Outdoor Flight Cage. Get close with the free-flying birds—they certainly love their visitors! 

For more information, visit  nationalzoo.si.edu .

King Street (Alexandria, Virginia)

Old Town Alexandria is the place George Washington once called home. Walk along King Street, known as one of the "Great Streets" of America, or jump on the free King Street trolley to stop at the best local restaurants or boutiques. 

For more information, visit  visitalexandriava.com .

George Washington and Jefferson National Forests (Roanoke, Virginia)

Take in the beauty of  the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests with a bike ride. It stretches across the Appalachian Mountains, and even touches parts of West Virginia and Kentucky. It's one of the largest public lands out East, after all. If you're ready to rest up, spend the night outdoors at one of their 50 developed campgrounds. 

For more information, visit  www.fs.usda.gov .

Union Point Park (New Bern, North Carolina)

Explore America's charming small town culture by visiting this riverfront escape filled with tiny boutiques and delicious eateries. Take a stroll through Union Point Park where the Neuse and Trent Rivers meet. The relaxing atmosphere is perfect for a picnic or sitting on a park bench to take in the waterfront sights. 

For more information, visit  visitnewbern.com .

Myrtle Beach Boardwalk (Myrtle Beach, South Carolina)

Head further south to spend the day at the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk. A little over a mile along the Atlantic Ocean, it's a hot spot for families and groups of friends. Visit Ripley's attractions right by the beach or take a ride on the famous Myrtle Beach SkyWheel. You can always enjoy a regular beach day as well by kicking back on the sand and soaking up the sun.

For more information, visit myrtlebeachdowntown.com .

Charleston City Market (Charleston, South Carolina)

The Charleston City Market is one of the nation's oldest public markets and has been around for more than 200 years. With hundreds of vibrant vendors, be on the lookout for hidden gems perfect for your house and tasty treats to take home. 

For more information, visit  thecharlestoncitymarket.com .

Bonaventure Cemetery (Savannah, Georgia)

Savannah showcases some of the best historic spots and landmarks in the South, including this 100-acre cemetery with elaborate tombstones. Take a guided tour to learn about the famous folks buried from poet Conrad Aiken and lyricist Johnny Mercer. While you're at it, opt for a ghost tour to see more eerie spots in this old-fashioned town. 

For more information, visit  bonaventurehistorical.org .

St. Augustine Distillery Company (Saint Augustine, Florida)

Taking a grown-ups only trip? You'll have to stop by the St. Augustine Distillery Company located inside a renovated ice manufacturing plant from 1917. Watch how the company mixes batches of vodka, rum, gin, and whiskey. On the tour, you'll also taste their small batch sprits in the tasting room—free of charge! 

For more information, visit  staugustinedistillery.com

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park (Key Largo, Florida)

Take in all of the beauty and wildlife featured in the Atlantic ocean by visiting the first undersea park in the United States. Founded in 1963, the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park takes you through three beautiful miles in the Atlantic Ocean. Opt for a snorkeling tour or ride on a Glassbottom Boat to catch a glimpse of the fish, coral, and sea life. 

For more information, visit  pennekamppark.com .

preview for Country Living US Section - All Sections & Videos

.css-1shyvki:before{background-repeat:no-repeat;-webkit-background-size:contain;background-size:contain;content:'';height:0.819rem;margin-bottom:0;margin-right:-0.9375rem;width:3.125rem;}.loaded .css-1shyvki:before{background-image:url('/_assets/design-tokens/countryliving/static/images/arrow.svg');}@media(max-width: 48rem){.css-1shyvki:before{display:none;}}@media(min-width: 40.625rem){.css-1shyvki:before{display:inline-block;}} Travel .css-unxkmx:before{background-repeat:no-repeat;-webkit-background-size:contain;background-size:contain;content:'';height:0.819rem;margin:0.7rem auto 0.9375rem;width:3.125rem;}.loaded .css-unxkmx:before{background-image:url('/_assets/design-tokens/countryliving/static/images/arrow.svg');}@media(max-width: 48rem){.css-unxkmx:before{display:block;}}@media(min-width: 40.625rem){.css-unxkmx:before{display:none;}}

sunset looking out to ocean over upper pool at fairmont kia lani in maui

20+ Magically Free Things at Disney World

eggo house of pancakes

You Can Stay Inside a Stack of Pancakes for Free

cherry blossoms in university of washington

30 Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms in the U.S.

winter in milford connecticut

The 30 Most Charming Small Towns in Connecticut

rear view of a man looking at amsterdam canal on a sunny day, netherlands

8 Unique Vacation Destinations to Visit in 2024

mardi gras in new orleans

Mardi Gras Facts We Betcha Don't Know

a person standing on a rock looking out at a body of water

An Asheville Itinerary for Every Season

a character from disney's country bear jamboree

Disney's Country Bear Jamboree is Closing

a street with buildings on the side

42 Ever-So-Charming Canadian Towns

skiing in sun valley

Discover Epic Skiing In These 6 US States

the gibson inn apalachicola florida

Coastal Meets Country In This Tiny Florida Town

Two Week Traveller

2 Weeks on the East Coast USA: 3 Itineraries

DISCLAIMER: This post might have links to travel services and products that we enjoy. We might make a commission from it at no extra cost to you.

The East Coast of America is a travel destination with plenty to offer everyone. The scenic natural beauty and exciting cities, which stretch from Florida in the South to Maine in the North, is an excellent region to explore.

If you have 2 weeks on the east coast USA, you could do so much. Whether you enjoy skiing, dining, water activities, hiking, or visiting museums, you’ll undoubtedly find a variety of activities to do in the top places in this region.

Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Florida, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia are among the 14 states that comprise the East Coast of the USA. These states border the Atlantic Ocean and provide a variety of coastal activities and sights, including theme parks, beaches, lighthouses, and museums.

RELATED POST: If you prefer to see the West Coast of the US, we also have a 2 weeks in the West Coast USA Itinerary


4 images - Miami Beach, New York Empire State Building, Capitol Building in Washington DC, Fall Foilage in Vermont - 2 Weeks on the East Coast USA Itinerary

Before you get on your computer and make some travel arrangements, check out these things you should know about going on a trip to the east coast of the US. This will help you ensure that you’re visiting at the right time and see if you can make a road trip or need to fly.

When is the best time to go to the East Coast US

This depends on what you what to do. The East Coast of the US is massive and features super unique seasons. For example, if you want to avoid high humidity in Florida, you must go in winter. But that means it will be too cold to explore around New England covered in snow in winter.

If you want to mix the south and northern east coast, it’s best to go during early spring for good weather in the south. At the same time, it’s no longer freezing in New England.

On the other hand, if you just want to see New England, then come visit in the autumn season when the fall foliage is at its best colour at the same time, it’s not too cold yet.

RELATED POST: What to pack for a 2-week trip

Are 2 weeks enough for East Coast USA

Not really. As mentioned before, it’s a big region. However, if you are realistic about the places you want to see and decide to mix flying and driving, 14 days on the east coast of the US can be ideal.

In this article, I’m featuring three travel itineraries. You can either just cover the south or just the north – which can be done as a road trip on the east coast of the US. But you can drive first if you want to do the entire region. Then after exploring for seven days, take a flight to your next destination (especially if driving is longer than 6 hours), and then rent another vehicle there.

Getting around

There is a train system (AMTRAK) on the east coast, but they’re not well-connected through each state. Most trains travel within each state only, while the others are for cargo shipping only.

There are also public buses, trolleys, and subways you can rely on. Travelling around via bus and train is the most affordable, but it can take a chunk of your time from your limited days.

My best recommendation for getting around the east coast US is to rent a car, especially if you plan to explore states or cities near one another. Then you can also book tours for city sightseeing to take a break from driving.

Of course, there are ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft. There are plenty of taxis, but they can be very pricey.

If you want to see the northern and southern parts of the east coast, booking a flight is better when the driving is longer than 5 or 6 hours.

Language and currency

English is the primary language in the US. But once you reach Florida, especially in Miami, many people speak Spanish, and even restaurant signs and menus are displayed in both languages. On the other hand, if you reach Vermont and Maine, you’ll notice how some people speak French since it’s by the border to the French-Canada Region of Quebec.

US Dollar (USD) is the main currency here. You can pay both by cash or bank card. Cashless payment is super typical here, and most locals don’t even carry any cash with them. But as a visitor, having at least $50 with you for emergencies is best.

What is the average cost for 2 weeks on the East Coast USA

On average, you should budget a minimum of $2,500 for 14 days on the east coast of the US. Accommodation will be the most expensive, followed by gas prices, then food. You can go on a shoestring budget of $1,500 if you stay in hostels or rent a small van where you can sleep.

For luxury, you must have a $4,000 budget to sleep in four or five-star hotels and eat out in top-dollar restaurants.

You should remember that store prices don’t include sales tax. This means that when you checkout, you’re more likely to pay a bit, around 8% more. You are also expected to give a 15%-20% tip in the service industry. This is for services such as food, taxis, hotels, etc.

This estimated budget doesn’t include your flight to and from the US, travel insurance, and travel items you will need.

Other basic travel tips

Medical travel insurance is a must for travelling to the US. The medical cost here, especially for emergencies, is super expensive. You must get insurance from companies that are global or US-based, so you don’t have to expect to pay out of your pocket at all. Leaving with a hospital bill in the US could affect your future travels in the country.

I know 2 weeks on the east coast USA is not a long trip, but it’s undoubtedly not worth the risk of not getting medical insurance coverage. It’s also possible that the immigration officer will ask you to show one, and this might be a reason to deny you entry.


Click the icon on the top right to enlarge the map. Credit: map data: Google


Planning 2 weeks on the East Coast USA can be challenging, as there is so much to see and do in the region. However, I have curated some example itineraries that can serve as a guide for you. These itineraries include one for first-time visitors, one for a tour of New England, and one for a trip along the Southeast Coast.

The suggested itineraries are not mandatory, you can always make your own itinerary , depending on your interests and preferences. It’s important to note that the East Coast is a huge region with many more places to visit and things to do.

MUST-READ: 2 weeks in the US (across the country – 7 itineraries)

Itinerary #1: First-time visitor (Boston, New York, Washington D.C., Miami)

This itinerary for 2 weeks on the East Coast USA is designed for those visiting the East Coast for the first time and looking to experience some of the most iconic cities. It includes New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., and Miami stops. These cities offer diverse experiences and attractions, providing a comprehensive overview of this region.

Apart from that, this itinerary is ideal, particularly if you have children who want to go to Disneyland, as it affords plenty of rides, parades, and shows that will keep them entertained for hours on end. I highly recommend coming in the late spring or late summer season. It has warm weather and is not too humid.

This itinerary is most efficiently done by air travel (domestic flight), with the option to fly into Boston and fly back home from Miami. However, if you prefer to drive, it is possible to do so from Boston to Washington D.C. However, remember that you must leave your rented car and catch a flight to Miami for the last leg of the trip.

2 images- downtown New York City and Acorn Street in Boston

Boston and around for 4 days

Boston, the capital of Massachusetts, is an exciting city with world-class museums, beautiful parks, and green spaces. If you’re interested in higher education, stroll through the campus of Harvard University, one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

You can also check out Boston Common, America’s oldest public park, which provides visitors an excellent opportunity to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

Located in the heart of the New England region, this city is an excellent starting point for day trips. You can see some of America’s most iconic historic sites and attractions there. For those looking for a change of scenery, you can plan a day trip to the long beaches of Cape Cod.

New York City and around for 4 days

New York City is a global destination renowned for its throbbing energy and iconic landmarks. Tourists flock to this bustling metropolis to enjoy the famous Broadway shows, indulge in world-class shopping and dining experiences, and explore the many popular tourist destinations.

The Statue of Liberty, Times Square, the Empire State Building, and Central Park are among the must-see attractions that draw visitors to the city.

The most popular option from Boston to New York City is a direct flight with a duration of 1 hr 20 min. On the other hand, the road distance from Boston to New York City is 364.8 km (226.7 miles), and you can reach it by a 4 hr 40 min-car ride via route I-84.

Washington D.C for 3 days

Washington D.C., the capital of the United States, is an ideal destination for those interested in politics as it is home to many of the country’s most important government buildings. Apart from that, The National Mall is a must-see attraction, featuring the city’s most prominent landmarks, such as the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and Smithsonian Museums.

Visitors also have the opportunity to take a tour inside the White House, though it is important to note that these tours must be arranged in advance through your embassy or Congressional office.

There are several daily flights between New York City and Washington D.C., about 1 hr 23 min. When driving, the quickest route you should follow is I-95 S which is roughly 4 hr 25 min across a total distance of approximately 364 km (226.2 mi).

2 images - Everglades National Park Airboat and The White House and Capitol Building

Florida for 4 days

Anyone looking for a magical and unforgettable vacation experience will find four incredible theme parks at Orlando’s Walt Disney World, including Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. Each has unique attractions, making it the best place to conclude your two weeks on east coast USA trip.

Located on the waterfront in Miami, The Bayside Marketplace is the place to be if you’re looking for a place to shop and dine, as it features over 120 stores and 30 restaurants. Visiting Miami and Orlando on the same trip can be a great way to experience the best of Florida in 4 days.

You can take a 2 hr 48 min direct flight from Washington D.C. to Miami. The non-stop flight between Washington D.C. and Orlando is approximately 2 hr 40 min. You can also fly to Orlando, spend a day or two, and then drive down from Orland to Miami, which takes just a little over 3 hours to finish your 2 weeks on the East Coast USA

Itinerary #2: New England Route (Boston, Coastal Maine/Acadia, Burlington/White Mountain National Forest, Springfield, Providence)

History buffs will enjoy visiting these places since this itinerary takes you through the first colony area of the British Empire in the Americas. The route passes through charming coastal towns, picturesque countryside, and bustling cities, offering a diverse range of experiences for travellers who enjoy a mix of outdoor activities and cultural experiences.

The Maine Archipelago is a group of islands situated off the coast of Maine, known for its scenic beauty. Some places you need to add to your itinerary include The Permaquid Point Lighthouse, Old Orchard Beach, The Farnsworth Art Museum, and Acadia National Park.

I recommend booking a flight to Boston as your starting point and catching home from Boston or Providence at the end of your trip to make it more of a circular itinerary.

One of the major draws of the New England Route is during autumn, when the region’s trees put on a spectacular display of fall foliage, making it an ideal time to explore the region’s parks, forests, and countryside.

However, the New England Route is best avoided in winter unless you plan to visit ski resorts. If you’d rather spend time in nature than the city, skip Burlington and head straight to White Mountain National Forest.

2 images - Saint Johnsbury in Vermont and Acadia National Park rocky shoreline

Boston for 3 days

Boston is a premier destination for those interested in the history of America’s colonial and Revolutionary War eras since it holds more history of this period than any other in the country, making it an ideal starting point for an East Coast USA trip.

Unsurprisingly, its main historical sites have become a famous pilgrimage for Americans and international visitors seeking to understand this period of time.

Riding the iconic Swan Boats around the lake surrounding the Boston Public Garden’s centre is one of the city’s most memorable experiences for people of all ages. Popular tourist destinations in Boston include the Freedom Trail, a 3-mile long trail showcasing 16 historical sites, including the Old South Meeting House and the USS Constitution Museum.

Coast Maine and Acadia National Park for 3 days

The Permaquid Point Lighthouse offers magnificent coast and Atlantic Ocean views. Old Orchard Beach is a classic beach resort that embraces its retro charm as it is New England’s only remaining full-scale amusement park on a beach that will delight visitors of all ages.

In addition, The Farnsworth Art Museum has an exceptional collection of art by Maine-affiliated artists and its Wyeth Center, showcasing the works of N.C., Andrew, and James Wyeth. It is a must-see for fans of the Wyeth family.

For outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, Acadia National Park, located on the coast of Maine, extends a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, cycling, and kayaking. The park is even home to Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak at 1,530 feet, providing views of the coast and islands. Other highlights in the park are Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse and Thunder Hole.

If you’re looking for a beautiful road trip, pack your bags, fill up your gas tank, and hit the road from Boston to Acadia National Park. With a distance of 451.3 km (280.4 mi), the drive is about 4 hr 28 min and takes you along the scenic route of I-95 N.

Burlington or White Mountain National Forest for 3 days

You can choose between White Mountain and Burlington, depending on what you want to do and see. You can see both, but your schedule will be tight.

Suppose you’re looking for an unforgettable experience in Burlington. In that case, you should definitely experience taking a cruise in Lake Champlain as it presents stunning views of the mountain, and provides an excellent opportunity to learn about the history of the lake and the Revolutionary War.

With over 100 stores and restaurants, the Church Street Marketplace, a charming pedestrian mall, is the perfect place to spend an afternoon.

The White Mountain National Forest is a nature lover’s paradise, offering a wide range of outdoor activities year-round. One of the area’s main draws is its high peaks, including the iconic Mount Washington, the tallest mountain in New England. Adventure-seekers can take on the challenging Franconia Ridge hike, which features a 9-mile loop trail with views of Mount Lincoln, Mount Lafayette, and Little Haystack Mountain.

On the other hand, there are also beginner-friendly options like the Flume Gorge hike, a 2-mile round-trip trail that leads to waterfalls, and breathtaking mountain views.

From Acadia National Park, you can drive directly to Burlington, which is around 6 hours, taking up 333 miles.

If you want to stop at White Mountain first and spend a night or two, the drive from Acadia National Park is approximately 3 hr 32 min through route I-95 S which spans 294.7 km (183.1 mi).

Then continue your drive from White Mountain National Forest to Burlington. This will take you under 1 hr 44 min on a scenic route along US-302 W and I-89 N with an entire distance of 136 km (84.5 mi).

2 images - Sakonnet in Rhode Island and Old Building in Harvard University in Massachusetts

Springfield for 2 days

Packed with a dozen thrilling coasters and a waterpark, get your adrenaline pumping at Six Flags, the largest theme park in New England. You can also pay homage to the sport of basketball at the Basketball Hall of Fame, which honours over 400-star players and coaches, featuring exhibits, skills challenges, and shooting contests.

Step back in history at the Springfield Armory National Historic Site, and you’ll be at the very spot where guns that won the American Revolution were manufactured.

If you plan to get from Burlington to Springfield, you can drive by car down routes I-89 S and I-91 S. The trip will take about 3 hr 12 min and spans 336.5 km (209.1 mi).

Alternatively, if you’re skipping Burlington, Springfield is just a 2 hr 43 min drive away from White Mountain National Park via I-91 S for the entire distance of 255.9 km (159 mi).

You can also skip Springfield and drive directly from Burlington to Providence, which will take 4 hours (264 miles/424.8 km). Fro, White Mountain National Forest to Providence, that’s a 2 hr and 45 min journey covering 176 miles (283 km).

Providence for 3 days

Providence is the capital city of Rhode Island State. It is rich in history with incredible New England architecture, you can visit the State House and the John Brown House Museum. You can also dive into the culinary where you can check out food trucks and fantastic seafood dishes.

While at the park, visit the Botanical Center, New England’s largest public indoor display garden that boasts 12,000 square feet of gardens. Whether you’re a fan of French Impressionists, Japanese prints, ancient Egyptian designs, or contemporary art, you’ll be able to indulge your artistic passions and discover new favourites at the RISD Museum of Art.

Travelling by car is a flexible way to get from Springfield to Providence. The quickest route is to go along I-90 E, which takes an average time of 1 hr 29 min from a distance of 136.5 km (84.8 mi).

Itinerary #3: Southeast Coast (Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville, Savannah, Atlanta)

If you’re looking for a fun-filled adventure on the Southeast Coast of the United States, look no further, as I have the perfect itinerary for your 14 days on the East Coast USA. Start your journey in Miami, where you can soak up the sun on Miami Beach. Next, head to Orlando, home to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

From there, travel to Jacksonville, where you can explore the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens. Then, head to Savannah and take in the views of River Street. Finally, end your journey in Atlanta and visit the famous Georgia Aquarium.

This route is ideal for a road trip since the distance between the cities is not too long. I recommend booking a flight to Miami and ending your trip to Atlanta, where you can fly back home.

2 images - Savannah River in Georgia and Disney Worlds in Orlando Florida

Miami for 3 days days

Escape to the sun-soaked paradise of Miami, a premier vacation destination in South Florida known for its picturesque beaches. Miami Beach is a seaside haven with peaceful neighbourhoods, lively entertainment hotspots, and miles of soft-sand beaches. Take a stroll and admire the pastel-coloured buildings from the 1930s and 1940s in the Art Deco Historic District.

Experience the wild side of Florida with a visit to The Everglades National Park, where visitors can witness the incredible array of wildlife, including alligators, snakes, crocodiles, and more, in their natural habitat.

When it comes to beautiful beaches, you can also spend 2 weeks in Hawaii .

Orlando for 3 days

You can’t spend 2 weeks on the east coast of the US without seeing at least one theme park or themed museum. If you’re looking for an out-of-this-world experience, add the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to your list of day trips since it provides a glimpse into one of NASA’s most well-known operations centres.

Another must-visit destination is Discovery Cove, which allows you to interact with ocean life in a natural setting. You can sign up for snorkelling and discover coral reed with a full dive helmet. You’ll also see stingrays, and even swim with dolphins.

For fans of the Harry Potter series, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the place to be. It is designed to immerse visitors in the magical world of Harry Potter, such as experiencing thrilling rides, sampling delicious butterbeer, trying wand magic classes, and so on.

The fastest way to get from Miami to Orlando is by plane, with a 1 hr 9 min flight duration. If you prefer to travel by car, the distance between the two cities is around 378.5 km (235.2 mi) which is around 3 hr 28 min along Florida’s Turnpike.

Jacksonville for 2 days

One of the main reasons to visit Jacksonville is its beautiful beaches, like Jacksonville Beach and Atlantic Beach, making it a perfect destination for a weekend getaway or a longer vacation.

Apart from that, Jacksonville is also home to several cultural attractions, such as the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens and the Kingsley Plantation, which give visitors a glimpse into the city’s rich history. Foodies will also appreciate the diverse range of dining options available in this city, from seafood restaurants and steakhouses to craft breweries and bars.

The road trip between Orlando and Jacksonville takes about 2 hr 6 min, covering a distance of 229.8 km (142.9 mi). You can take routes I-4E and I-95 N.

2 images - Miami Beach and downtown Atlanta

Savannah for 3 days

From grand old mansions to lush parks with fountains and sprawling moss-covered trees, Savannah exudes a timeless elegance that is truly breathtaking. Strolling down Bull Street is the best way to experience the preserved Savannah Historic District.

With its cobblestone streets and restored warehouses, enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants on River Street, or take a boat tour along the Savannah River to get the best riverfront photo ops.

You can expect the trip from Jacksonville to Savannah, which spans 223.5 km (138.9 mi), by driving to take 2 hr 4 min through route I-95 N.

Atlanta for 3 days

Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply looking for a fun and educational experience for the whole family, the High Museum of Art is a great choice. If you’re looking for a serene escape amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, look no further than the 30-acre Atlanta Botanical Garden.

The most convenient way to travel from Savannah to Atlanta is to take a flight, which typically takes about 1 hr 11 min with Delta Airlines. If you drive, the quickest route is to take I-16 W to I-75 N. The estimated arrival time is 3 hr 52 min through the entire distance of approximately 399.1 km (248 mi).


Atlanta, georgia.

  • Save money and get an Atlanta CityPass
  • High Museum of Art
  • Atlanta – learn about Black History and Civil Rights
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park
  • World of Coca-Cola – get your skip-the-line ticket
  • Piedmont Park
  • Centennial Olympic Park
  • Atlanta Botanical Garden
  • Day trip to North Georgia Wine Country – join a tour
  • Stone Mountain Park

Burlington, Vermont

Boston, massachusetts.

  • For exploring Boston downtown, get a hop-on, hop-off trolley pass or get a Go City pass
  • Cape Cod National Seashore
  • Boston Common and Public Garden Swan Boats
  • Plimoth Patuxet
  • Spooky Tours – Haunting of Salem – Haunting Salem or Ghosts and Gravestones Trolley
  • Museum of Science
  • Fenway Park – join a tour with a local guide
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • Freedom Trail – discover with history and food
  • Museum of Fine Arts
  • Day trip to Martha’s Vineyard – book a tour with a round-trip ferry
  • Faneuil Hall
  • Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum – enjoy an interactive tour
  • Crane Beach
  • Boston Harbor Islands State Park
  • Carson Beach
  • John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum & Library
  • Harvard University – explore with a student guide
  • Wachusett Mountain
  • Jiminy Peak
  • Learn about the cuisine of Massachusettes – book a walking tasting tour or underground donut tour or buffet cruise at Boston Harbor

Coastal Maine/White Mountain National Forest

Miami, florida.

  • Miami – cruise to see Millionaire homes or join a speedboat sightseeing or evening cruise on Biscayne Bay
  • Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
  • Everglades National Park – book Everglades Airboat Tour and Wildlife Tour
  • Deering Estate
  • Fort Lauderdale – get a water taxi all-day pass
  • Key West – sunset sail and live music
  • Coral Castle
  • St. Augustine – get a hop-on, hop-off trolley pass
  • Go Food and Drinks Exploration – join Little Havana food walking tour (Miami)

New York City

  • Discover New York – on a one-day sightseeing tour or purchase a New York CityPass
  • Central Park
  • Manhattan – go on a helicopter ride
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Statue of Liberty – combo with Ellis Island tour
  • Times Square
  • One World Observatory – get your admission ticket
  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • 9/11 Memorial Museum – purchase an entry ticket
  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
  • Summit One Vanderbilt – read the tour reviews
  • Empire State Building – skip the line and go to 102nd Deck
  • The High Line
  • American Museum of Natural History – get your pass
  • Rockefeller Center
  • Friends Experience – visit the production set
  • Top of The Rock
  • Ice Cream Museum – book a ticket in advance
  • Bryant Park
  • Go on culinary experience – visit Chinatown and Little Italy or Greenwich Village or Brooklyn food tour or Hell’s Kitchen Tour
  • Washington Square Park
  • Enjoy a dinner cruise

Orlando, Florida

  • Walt Disney World Resort
  • Magic Kingdom Park
  • Orlando – enjoy a pirate show with dinner
  • Universal Orlando Resort
  • Rock Spring – go kayaking with a glass-bottomed boat
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
  • Snorkel with Manatee – tour with a photographer
  • SeaWorld Orlando
  • Tampa Bay – purchase a city pass
  • The Dalí (Salvador Dalí Museum)
  • LEGOLAND® Florida Resort
  • Go to Kennedy Space Center – reserve an entry ticket

Savannah, Georgia

  • Explore Savannah – by land and sea tour or hop-on, hop-off ancient trolley or join a narrated trolley tour or Riverboat Cruise
  • The Davenport House Museum
  • Wormsloe Plantation – join a tour from Savannah
  • Savannah Theater
  • Spooky Savannah – check this history and haunted tour
  • Forsyth Park
  • Tybee Island – book a guided tour
  • Service Brewing Company
  • Victorian Districts – combo with Bonaventure Cemetery tour
  • Discover food and drinks culture – culinary and culture walking tour or pub crawl and food
  • Enjoy nightlife – Savannah Drag Queen Show or Comedy Trolley Tour
  • The Olde Pink House
  • Ride a helicopter on a scenic tour – read the reviews

Washington D.C.

  • Learn about Washington DC – in a one-day tour or on a bike tour or Capitol Hill guided tour
  • Library of Congress
  • United States Capitol and Capitol Hill – book a Moonlight tour by trolley or simply get your reserved entry pass
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Discover DC Monuments – via big bus hop-on, hop-off or a night tour
  • Washington Monument
  • The White House – advance planning must be done
  • National Air and Space Museum
  • National Mall – tour on an electric vehicle
  • Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin
  • Mount Vernon – do a day trip combo with Alexandria
  • National Gallery of Art
  • Smithsonian National Zoological Park and Museum – visit the museum with a private guide
  • National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • Arlinton National Cemetry – walking tour with changing of guards
  • Thomas Jefferson Memorial
  • National Harbor Capital Wheel – check the ticket price
  • International Spy Museum
  • Try out local food and drinks – on a food and history tour or pub crawl and history or cruise and gourmet


You’ll visit lots of cities and at least eight states if you follow one of the 2 weeks on the East Coast USA itinerary. This means you can explore this region’s cuisine because it’s a must-not-miss.

The food scene from New England to the seafood capital of Maryland to the southern region is impeccable. Whether you like meat and seafood or are a dessert fan, there’s something for everyone. Heck, if you’re a brewery chaser, don’t miss out on discovering various breweries throughout your trip. Here’s a list of must-try dishes from the east coast of the US:

  • Lobster Roll (New England)
  • Pizza (New York)
  • Clam Chowder (New England)
  • Philly Cheesesteak (Philadelphia)
  • Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs (Maryland/Washington D.C.)
  • Bagels and Lox (New York)
  • Barbecue (South or North Carolina)
  • Crab Cakes (Maryland/Washington D.C.)
  • Cuban Sandwich (Flordia)
  • Shrimp and Grits
  • Buffalo Wings (New York)
  • Portuguese Sweet Bread (New England)
  • Key Lime Pie (Florida)
  • Clambake (New England)
  • Craft Beers (from Maine to Florida)
  • Bourbon (Southern)
  • Eggnog (Northeast)
  • Cider (Northeast)

3 images - lobster roll, key lime pie, and crab cakes


  • Affordable: The Verb Hotel or HI Boston Hostel or Boston Homestel
  • Mid-range: Oasis Guest House or DoubleTree by Hilton or The Godfrey Hotel
  • Luxury: Encore Boston Harbor or InterContinental Boston or Seaport Hotel® or Hyatt Place

Portland, Maine

  • Affordable: Hampton Inn & Suites or AC Hotel by Marriott or Inn at St John Portland
  • Mid-range: Canopy by Hilton or Courtyard by Marriott or Embassy Suites by Hilton
  • Luxury: The Press Hotel
  • Affordable:
  • Mid-range: Green Mountain Suites Hotel or Starlight Inn or Homewood Suites by Hilton
  • Luxury: Hotel Vermont Burlington

Springfield, Massachusetts

  • Mid-range: Fairfield Inn & Suites or Holiday Inn Express or Hampton Inn & Suites

Providence, Rhode Island

  • Mid-range: Residence Inn or Hampton Inn & Suites
  • Luxury: Renaissance Providence Downtown Hotel or Homewood Suites by Hilton
  • Affordable: The Local NY or HI New York City Hostel or West Side YMCA
  • Mid-range: The Herald by LuxUrban or Raven Hotel by Wyndham
  • Luxury: Riu Plaza Manhattan Time Square or Arlo Midtown or citizenM New York Time Square
  • Affordable: Duo Housing or Duo Nomad
  • Mid-range: Washington Plaza Hotel or citizenM Washington DC or HighRoad Washington DC
  • Luxury: JW Marriott or Sofitel Lafayette Square or Hotel Madera or Riggs Washington DC
  • Affordable: Red Roof Inn or La Quinta by Wyndham or Microtel Inn by Wyndham
  • Midrange: Reverb by Hard Rock Downtown or The Darwin Hotel
  • Luxury: The Candler by Hilton or Glenn Hotel Autograph Collection
  • Affordable: Red Roof Inn & Suites Savannah Airport or Days Inn & Suites by Wyndham
  • Mid-range: Hotel Indigo or The Thunderbird Inn
  • Luxury: Mansion, Kessler Collection or The Marshall House

Jacksonville, Florida

  • Affordable: Econo Lodge or Emerson Inn
  • Mid-range: DoubleTree by Hilton or Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham
  • Luxury: Renu or Hyatt Regency or Aloft Airport Hotel
  • Affordable: Hotel Monreale Express or Avanti Palms Resort or Orlando Palms
  • Mid-range: Wyndham Garden Airport or Avid Hotels by IHG or Ramada by Wyndham
  • Luxury: Hyatt Regency or Caribe Royale or Buena Vista Suites
  • Affordable: Art Hostel Wynwood Concept
  • Mid-range: Hampton Inn/Coconut Grove or Hilton Garden Inn
  • Luxury: East Miami or InterContinental or The Elser Hotel Miami


From bustling cities to quaint coastal towns, the East Coast offers diverse experiences. The East Coast is also a foodie’s paradise, with various cuisines and dining options. You’ll find it here whether you’re in the mood for a classic lobster roll in Maine or a slice of New York-style pizza.

You can also visit world-renowned museums, catch a Broadway show, or simply wander the streets and soak up the cities’ energy. This region’s history and natural beauty are splendid, and a two-week trip will allow you to immerse yourself in all the East Coast fully has to offer. With so much to see and do, a vacation in this region should not be missed.

I hope I was able to help you plan your 2 weeks on the East Coast USA, whether you’re looking for a beach vacation or an autumn road trip to see the fall foilage.


Traveling the East Coast of the USA offers a rich tapestry of experiences, from New York's bustling streets to Florida's sunny beaches. Discover historical landmarks, diverse cultures, and stunning natural beauty along this vibrant coastline. via @twoweektraveller


Take A Scenic Drive Along The East Coast On This Must-Do US Road Trip Route

O ne of the beautiful things about exploring the United States is that you can hop in a car and go wherever the wind takes you. A road trip is the perfect way to travel , and driving around the sprawling country has become one of the ultimate expressions of freedom and adventure. The Great American Road Trip has been immortalized time and time again by writers like Steinbeck and Kerouac.

If you've been dreaming about hopping behind the wheel and hitting the open highway, consider planning a trip along the United States East Coast from New York City to Key West, Florida. The scenic drive along the Eastern Seaboard will take you along scenic coastal roads bordering the Atlantic Ocean, with opportunities to stop in some of America's coolest cities and funky beach towns. You'll cover over 1,600 miles with a total driving time of around 33 hours, so it's best to budget a whole week or more for this trip and give yourself plenty of time to stop for sightseeing along the way.

Whether you're a first-time visitor to the United States or a veteran road tripper looking to experience a new region of the country, grab your road atlas, make an epic playlist, and get ready for the ultimate East Coast road trip.

Read more: Things Every American Should Do In The US In Their Lifetime

New York City To Atlantic City (The Jersey Shore)

New York City is the perfect place to begin your road trip along the Atlantic Coast. Aside from being an iconic destination all on its own, it's greater metropolitan area has no fewer than three major international airports, so finding a flight from anywhere in the world should be no trouble. If you're renting a car, there are dozens of rental locations in the city.

Driving around New York City can be stressful — there's a lot of congestion on the roads, and parking can be costly. If you're renting a car for your road trip, it's best to wait until you're ready to leave the city. Until then, you can explore New York's unique neighborhoods, museums , nightlife, and food scenes by taking the city's excellent public transportation system. Budget at least a day or two in New York to see  iconic sites like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, and the Empire State Building. With more time, wander around neighborhoods like Soho, Greenwich Village, Manhattan, and Chelsea. Whatever you do, don't forget to try a slice of pizza before hitting the road.

The drive from New York to Atlantic City on the Jersey Shore takes just over two hours, so it's a nice way to start your road trip. Spend a night in Atlantic City exploring the famous boardwalk and trying your luck at some glittering casinos.

Ocracoke, North Carolina

After the hustle and bustle of New York and Atlantic City, you'll be ready for a change of scenery — and Ocracoke Island off the coast of North Carolina is the perfect off-the-beaten-path beach destination along the Atlantic Coast. The trip from Atlantic City to Ocracoke Island will take around 10 hours, including a one-hour ferry ride to the island. So, if you want to break it up, consider stopping halfway in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Somehow, Ocracoke Island remains one of the best kept secrets on the East Coast. The entire island is only 16 miles long and 3 miles wide and was once a favorite hideout of the notorious pirate Blackbeard and his men in the early 1700s. During your stay; you'll have the opportunity to take in historical landmarks and learn plenty of local legends associated with pirate life. Make sure to visit Springer's Point, which was once the location of unhinged pirate parties but now serves as a beautiful nature preserve.

Ocracoke Village is tiny and picturesque, with a variety of tasty restaurants serving freshly caught seafood and some cute shops with local artisan goods, and many of the local restaurants and bars have live music in the evenings. Locals and tourists alike enjoy spending the days sprawled out on the island's spacious white sand beaches, swimming in the Atlantic, riding bikes, and taking scenic boat rides around the island.

Charleston, South Carolina

After spending a few days enjoying the surf and sun on Ocracoke Island, hop back in the car and drive for about nine hours until you reach Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston is one of the most picturesque cities in the southeastern United States, and you should add it to your travel list immediately .

Charleston is known for its historic architecture, cobblestone streets, and laid-back Southern vibes. You can explore art museums and galleries here, catch a theatrical performance, and chow down on delicious Southern cuisine. For excellent shopping and people-watching, stroll down King Street or head to City Market to pick up some souvenirs from local artists and craftspeople. If you're looking for more beach time and less urban exploration, head to nearby Folly Beach, an adorable beach just over 20 minutes from downtown Charleston.

While Charleston is beautiful, it also has a complicated and disturbing history as a former hub of the North American slave trade. There is no denying that the city's wealth and prosperity were due to the exploitation of enslaved Africans and their descendants. While the horrors of that time can never be erased or forgotten, in recent years, the city of Charleston has attempted to preserve Black history with various tours, museum exhibits, and events where you can learn about the many ways African-American culture impacted the city and the American South as a whole.

Savannah, Georgia

After you've enjoyed the city of Charleston and its nearby beaches for a few days, hop back in the car for a short two-hour drive to Savannah, Georgia, which tourists often call  the most friendly destination in the U.S.   With streets draped in Spanish moss, beautiful architecture, and a thriving arts scene, Savannah makes an excellent stop along your East Coast road trip.

The city is home to Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), one of the top-rated art schools in the United States, so it's no surprise that the city has developed a reputation for artistic expression and creativity. As you explore, you'll find plenty of art galleries, music venues, and theaters scattered among historic buildings and cobblestone streets.

With a day or two to spend in Savannah, you'll have time to experience the city's highlights. To cover the most ground, consider taking a hop-on, hop-off trolley tour, which will take you by all of the significant landmarks. For a spooky and unforgettable evening, book the Ghosts and Gravestones tour offered by Old Town Trolley Tours — Savannah is considered one of the most haunted cities in the United States.

Afterward, walk down its famous River Street, located along the waterfront, and admire the views before enjoying some mouthwatering seafood and a delicious cocktail at one of the many restaurants.

Key West, Florida

Key West, Florida, is the southernmost tip of the continental United States, and the drive from Savannah is about 10 hours. If you have time, break up the long stretch in the car with stops in either St. Augustine or West Palm Beach. Key West is one of the most enchanting beach communities in the United States, and there are many adventurous things to do during your visit. The tiny island is made of sand and coral and measures 4 miles long and 1.5 miles wide. To get there, you'll drive along the famous Overseas Highway, a 113-mile stretch with tons of bridges over the ocean and incredible views the entire way.

During your stay in Key West, leave plenty of time to kick back, relax on white sand beaches, and swim in shallow, turquoise waters. If you're an ocean lover, make sure you book one of the snorkeling excursions offered by various tour companies so that you can explore the only barrier reef in the United States. Back in town, you can enjoy excellent seafood restaurants, colorful architecture, and historic sites including the home where Ernest Hemingway lived and wrote many of his most iconic books throughout the 1930s.

If you rent a car for your road trip, you can choose to drop it off in Key West or head back to Miami, where you'll find a major international airport with plenty of options for flights home.

Read the original article on Explore .

Friends on a road trip

The best fall East Coast road trip route

Our favorite stops on a north carolina to maine road trip.

a windy road in new england surrounded by fall leaves

Summer’s great, but we all know fall is really where it’s at. And with smaller crowds, milder weather, and golden-hued landscapes, we’d make the argument that East Coast road trips are better in the fall, too. Follow our North Carolina to Maine road trip route to explore the best places to stop on an East Coast road trip—as well as a few incredible places to stay along the way.

P.S. Don’t worry about sticking to our East Coast road trip itinerary too much. It’s your trip, and we hope these fall East Coast road trip ideas spark ideas for other detours and destinations you’ll love.

How to market your Airbnb to pet owners

Looking for dog-friendly East Coast road trips?

beach homes on holden beach

Stop 1: Holden Beach, NC

Starting at the very southern tip of North Carolina, Holden Beach is a classic summertime vacation destination, but it’s just as fun in the fall. Take advantage of smaller crowds and get a taste of beach life the way the locals do it.

The best road trip activities near Holden Beach, NC

Charter a fishing boat to catch flounder, king mackerel, trout, and more. Can you say dinner?

  • Schedule a tee time at Carolina National Golf Club or the Rivers Edge Golf Club . The latter was designed by the great golfer (and beverage namesake) Arnold Palmer
  • Go bird watching on the appropriately named Bird Island Reserve in Sunset Beach, NC

Places to stay in Holden Beach, NC

road trip east coast

Stop 2: Lake Anna, VA

Take I-95 north 360 miles to the next stop on our East Coast road trip: Lake Anna, VA. Only an hour outside of historically significant and culturally vibrant Richmond, Lake Anna is a little slice of peace beloved by Virginians for decades.

The best road trip activities near Lake Anna, VA

  • Hike the Goodwin Mine Loop to explore the ruins of a 19th-century gold mine
  • Rent a boat for a leisurely paddle—or less-leisurely kayak—on Lake Anna
  • Sample local beers and watch the sunset lakeside at the Lake Anna Taphouse

Places to stay near Lake Anna, VA

road trip east coast

Stop 3: Tannersville, PA

Head another 300 miles north to our next destination in the rolling Poconos . Tannersville is a go-to destination for skiing in the winter, but it’s a hidden gem in the fall. And after all that driving, you’ll find Tannersville the perfect spot to kick up your feet and relax.

The best road trip activities near Tannersville, PA

  • Visit an ice-age relic, the Tannersville Cranberry Bog
  • Hikers of all skill levels will find a route to love in Big Pocono State Park: casual hikers can get fabulous views from Indian Trail, while more adventurous hikers can test their skills on the steep inclines of the South Trail

Places to stay in Tannersville, PA

road trip east coast

Stop 4: The Adirondacks, NY

From Tannersville, drive north to New York. Only an hour and a half outside Albany, you’ll feel worlds away from city life in the Adirondack Mountains. Our top tip: stay near Lake George to get the best this special region has to offer.

The best road trip activities near the Adirondacks

  • Go leaf peeping up Prospect Mountain
  • Hike under the golden canopies of the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness
  • Pick apples at a local orchard to get a real taste of autumn

Places to stay in the Adirondacks, NY

road trip east coast

Stop 5: Killington, VT

Bringing a bike? Perfect. Killington’s a must-visit destination for mountain bikers (and has plenty to offer folks who enjoy an easier pace of life).

The best road trip activities near Killington, VT

  • Mountain bike down Killington Peak
  • See Vermont’s famous fall colors in Woods State Park

Sample real maple syrup and local cheese at Sugarbush Farms in nearby Woodstock, VT

Places to stay in Killington, VT

road trip east coast

Stop 6: North Conway, NH

Another ski town 140 miles from Killington, North Conway is an outdoor enthusiast’s ideal stop. Known across the northeast for its rock climbing, skiing, and hiking, North Conway is the perfect place to stop and stretch your legs (and then some).

The best road trip activities near North Conway, NH

Hike the White Mountain National Forest

  • Take a ride on the historic Conway Scenic Railroad
  • Enjoy picturesque autumn New England scenes of fall foliage and covered bridges in nearby Albany, NH

Places to stay in North Conway, NH

road trip east coast

Stop 7: Bar Harbor, ME

200 miles from North Conway and the gateway to Acadia National Park , quaint Bar Harbor is the perfect place to end your trip.

The best road trip activities near Bar Harbor, ME

  • Shop and dine Bar Harbor’s picture-perfect town center
  • Hike in Acadia to take advantage of the smaller crowds and cooler temperatures

See whales and other sea life on a tour with the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co.

Places to stay in Bar Harbor, ME

road trip east coast

East Coast fall road trip FAQ

When planning an east coast road trip, take these three things into consideration:.

1. How much time do I have to travel?

Because the East Coast has diverse landscapes, cultures, and regions, you can craft an amazing trip within even small amounts of time. But the best trips have time to spare for off-the-beaten path detours, extended stays, and rest from the road. For a North Carolina to Maine road trip, budget at least 14 days.

2. Where am I starting from?

If you’re planning to start from a major metropolitan area, like a road trip from Boston or New York, take into consideration how and when you’re planning to escape the city—and where you’re going. If you’re thinking of a Labor Day East Coast road trip, for example, be prepared to encounter traffic that eats away at precious travel time (plus crowds in popular destinations). Skip the congestion and head out on a weekday if you can, and definitely look into roads less traveled: you might discover your next favorite vacation spot.

3. What season will I be traveling in?

The time of year you hit the road can make all the difference in the world for accessibility, lodging prices, crowds, activities, and more. That’s why fall East Coast road trips are a great option for people who like smaller crowds (and good deals). But there are fabulous places to go in each season, so do your homework, plan a budget, and check out local events and conditions before deciding on an itinerary.

Where can I take my dog on a road trip?

You can take your dog on a road trip anywhere, but be thoughtful about finding common ground between what your dog needs and what you want out of a vacation. Dog-friendly road trips on the East Coast depend on the dog—if your bud is the active, adventure-loving sort, plan a trip that has lots of hiking and space to run. Bringing more of a couch potato along? Make sure your activities are more easygoing. But for every East Coast dog-friendly road trip, make sure you schedule plenty of stops for them to stretch their legs and book pet-friendly vacation rentals. (We have quite a few to choose from.)

How long does a road trip down the East Coast take?

An East Coast Road trip usually takes five or more days, depending upon where you’re going and how much time you’ll be spending in each destination. A regional route might only take a long weekend, like an East Coast road trip from New York to Maine or a road trip from Washington D.C. to the Carolinas. The number of stops you make will also determine the length of your trip—an East Coast road trip with fewer, longer stops could take as much time as a straight-through drive over a long distance, like a road trip from Florida to New York. For the perfect blend of restful and exciting, we recommend spending at least two nights at each stop.

Deck with view of Georgia with fall foliage

Start planning your East Coast Road Trip

You might also like....

A sandy beach with people hanging out along the shore on a sunny day with white clouds

Sign up for emails

Curated tips & inspiration for your next vacation.

Devils close out West Coast road trip with 5-1 loss to Kings

New jersey allowed three unanswered goals over the last two periods.

Associated Press

New Jersey Devils left wing Jesper Bratt (63) and Los Angeles Kings defenseman Jacob Moverare (43) battle along the boards in the first period at Crypto.com Arena / Jayne Kamin-Oncea - USA TODAY Sports

Popular in the Community

More from sny.

Thumbnail of the entry

Simmons again dealing with nerve impingement

Thumbnail of the entry

Everything you need to know about potential Jets draft target Jenkins

Thumbnail of the entry

Everything you need to know about potential Giants draft target Latu

Thumbnail of the entry

Knicks battle without Brunson for gutsy win over Cavs

Thumbnail of the entry

How Milton could fit with Knicks down the stretch this season

Thumbnail of the entry

SEE IT: Manaea cuts his hair for first time in four years


  1. 10 Stunning East Coast Road Trip Ideas 2024

    road trip east coast

  2. US East Coast Road Trip Itinerary Suggestions

    road trip east coast

  3. East Coast Road Trip Map

    road trip east coast

  4. 20 East Coast Road Trips (with Maps & 1-Week Itineraries)

    road trip east coast

  5. East Coast Road Trip Map

    road trip east coast

  6. Road Trip Along The East Coast of USA

    road trip east coast


  1. EPIC East Coast Road Trip Guide (2024)

    Boston to Washington D.C - 7 days. East Coast Historical Road Trip - 14 days. Ultimate East Coast Road Trip - 21 days. Below is a list of suggested itineraries for driving the East Coast of America. Varying from 7 days to 21 days in length, they cover many of the East Coast's top attractions.

  2. 20 East Coast Road Trips (with Maps & 1-Week Itineraries)

    20 East Coast Road Trips. Each of these East Coast road trip ideas should take approximately 7 to 10 days to complete as outlined. My goal is to only require one week of vacation time from work, since that is the typical family vacation. I've linked to some more detailed road trip itineraries and included maps to give you an overview of the ...

  3. 10 Best Places to Go on an East Coast Road Trip

    Unlike the West Coast, where only three states border the Pacific, a total of 14 states lie along the Atlantic shores. Road trips on the East Coast offer plenty of variety, taking in mountains ...

  4. 13 Best East Coast USA Road Trip Ideas

    4. Acadia National Park Loop - a short but enjoyable East Coast road trip. Location: Maine. Distance: 27 miles. The 27-mile Park Loop Road bends around the east part of Mount Desert Island and joins Acadia National Park's shimmering lakes, rocky cliffs, mountains, and gorgeous views of the Atlantic Ocean.

  5. 16 Best East Coast Road Trips for Your USA Bucket List!

    This east coast road trip is great pretty much year-round, but the weather will likely be the best in both the spring and the fall. Suggested by Lisa at Planning Away. 13. West Virginia Road Trip. West Virginia is one of the most underrated states in the USA, and one of the best ways to explore it is by doing a road trip. The beautiful scenery ...

  6. 7 Epic East Coast USA Road Trip Routes

    For the perfect northeast USA road trip, take an epic road trip through New England starting and ending in Boston. Enjoy exploring Boston via the Freedom Trail and take in some of America's oldest historical sites along the 3.5-mile route. READ NEXT. 2 Days in Boston: The Ultimate Weekend in Boston Itinerary.

  7. The Best East Coast Road Trips to Take This Year—And Beyond

    From Florida's Overseas Highway to Nova Scotia's Cabot Trail, these East Coast gems are rife with historic sites, culinary stops, and incredible hotels. By Paul Rubio and Alex Erdekian. September ...

  8. 15 East Coast USA Road Trip Itinerary Ideas

    New York City! Number of Days: 7 days. Route : New York City to Boston to Hanover, New Hampshire. A fantastic 7 day road trip on the East Coast would be from New York City to Boston to Hanover, New Hampshire. Day1 - 3: You should start in New York City and spend 2-3 days here exploring all the city highlights.

  9. 8 Best East Coast Road Trips to Drive in 2022

    Maine: The lobster trail. With 3,400 miles of coast, the Pine Tree State boasts one of the longest coastlines of any U.S. state and, as most Mainers will proudly tell you, the best lobsters in the world. Taste for yourself on this road trip, traveling Route 1, affectionately known as "the lobster trail," along the storied, jagged coastline ...

  10. 10 Epic East Coast Road Trips to Take This Summer

    Take a tour with Backwater Cat Adventures, a sunset cruise with Amelia River Cruises or hop on the ferry to view wild horses and tour Cumberland Island, Georgia. Next, make your way to St ...

  11. The Best Ever East Coast Road Trip Itinerary

    Here's our six-week East Coast road trip itinerary from Montreal to Miami: Smuggler's Notch, Vermont (2 nights) Portland, Maine (2 nights) Boston, Massachusetts (3 nights) Cape Cod, Massachusetts (3 nights) Providence, Rhode Island (1 night) Mystic, Connecticut (1 night)

  12. 11 of the Most Epic East Coast Road Trips

    1. NYC to Niagara Falls, NY. This is truly an epic trip to top off our list of epic East Coast road trips. Starting in NYC and heading through upstate New York, watch as the scenery changes drastically before your eyes before arriving at one of the best road trip destinations there is-Niagara Falls.

  13. 10 Incredible East Coast USA Road Trips

    Recommended no. of days: 6. Florida is famous for being home to a wide range of landscapes. On one side, you will find the white sandy beaches, on the other, you will get the wetlands in the Everglades National Park. A road trip from St Petersburg to Miami through the Everglades is ideal to get the best of both worlds.

  14. The Ultimate East Coast Road Trip Guide

    Sitting halfway between Chincoteague Island, Virginia, and Ocean City, Maryland, Assateague Island National Seashore is a hidden gem along the East Coast. Take a wildlife tour and watch as 300 wild horses wander the salt marshes, dunes, and inland pine forests. Enjoy kayaking along the serene waterways and birdwatch for peregrine falcons ...

  15. 15 East Coast Road Trip Itinerary Ideas!

    This Eastern USA road trip is great for seeing some of South Carolina's best waterfalls. Start at the 30-foot-tall Wildcat Wayside Falls, which you can see from the highway. Park near just off the highway and take a short walk to get a closer look. Twin Falls, the most popular falls in the state, are nearby.

  16. Top 13 East Coast Road Trips

    The Blue Ridge Parkway. Best Places to Stay. The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most scenic East Coast drives. It stretches 469 miles (755 km) through the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia and North Carolina. An iconic road trip you'll always remember, it offers breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, vibrant foliage in the fall ...

  17. East Coast USA Road Trips

    Day 2: New Hampshire. Be sure to pack a jacket because the landscape is about to change dramatically - and we're going from one extreme to another, the beach to the mountains. A 2-hour, 20-minute drive from Portland, Mount Washington is the highest peak on the east coast and home to the world's worst weather, which is no joke as the wind regularly clocks in at 70-200 miles an hour (it ...

  18. 14 Best Family-Friendly Road Trips on the East Coast

    Vermont Fall Foliage Road Trip. Start: Wilmington End: Newport. How many days: 3 to 7 days. Length: 216 miles. Best time: Fall. Route 100 in Vermont is one of the most picturesque roads on the East Coast, especially during the fall, when the trees' colors turn into intense shades of red and oranges.

  19. East Coast Road Trip: 25+ Stops You Don't Want To Miss!

    Walk Stowe's Main Street. Auto Toll Road to the top of Mt. Mansfield. Emily's Covered Bridge (Gold Brook Bridge) Scenic Drive (90 minutes) Cold Hollow Cider Place. The Alchemist Stowe. Stowe Cider. Dinner at Von Trapp Place. For more on Stowe, Vermont check out our post: 20 Fun Things To Do in Stowe, Vermont.

  20. 11 Best One Week East Coast Road Trip Itineraries (Curated by Experts

    One of the best one-week East Coast road trips in the USA is the trip from Miami to Key West. Covering 165 miles, this epic road trip starts in Miami and ends in Key West, and you'll drive back the same way you came. Day 1: Explore Miami. Explore downtown Miami where you can walk through Bayfront Park since it sits on Biscayne Bay.

  21. 15 East Coast Road Trip Destinations

    View full post on Instagram. Old Town Alexandria is the place George Washington once called home. Walk along King Street, known as one of the "Great Streets" of America, or jump on the free King Street trolley to stop at the best local restaurants or boutiques. For more information, visit visitalexandriava.com. 9.

  22. 2 Weeks on the East Coast USA: 3 Itineraries

    Visiting Miami and Orlando on the same trip can be a great way to experience the best of Florida in 4 days. You can take a 2 hr 48 min direct flight from Washington D.C. to Miami. The non-stop flight between Washington D.C. and Orlando is approximately 2 hr 40 min. You can also fly to Orlando, spend a day or two, and then drive down from Orland ...

  23. Take A Scenic Drive Along The East Coast On This Must-Do US Road Trip Route

    Somehow, Ocracoke Island remains one of the best kept secrets on the East Coast. The entire island is only 16 miles long and 3 miles wide and was once a favorite hideout of the notorious pirate ...

  24. The Best Fall East Coast Road Trip Route

    An East Coast Road trip usually takes five or more days, depending upon where you're going and how much time you'll be spending in each destination. A regional route might only take a long weekend, like an East Coast road trip from New York to Maine or a road trip from Washington D.C. to the Carolinas. The number of stops you make will also ...

  25. Devils close out West Coast road trip with 5-1 loss to Kings

    The New Jersey Devils closed out their west coast road trip with a 5-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday afternoon. ... UConn secures outright Big East regular season title with rout of ...

  26. Lo on Instagram: "East Coast Road Trip @FashionNovaCurve"

    546 likes, 27 comments - lo_sangstaaa on March 2, 2024: "East Coast Road Trip @FashionNovaCurve"