The one (of many) things I love about the United States is how different it can be from one state to the next. It’s one of those country’s where you can hop between states and places to see a totally different side to the country, which is actually a pretty great experience (did anyone say ‘road trip’? 😉).
Over the years, I’ve been on a few road trips around the United States and totally relish any opportunity to just hop in a car (or train, if your route takes you) to explore its vastness.
Honestly, one of the big things I still love about the east coast is the seafood. I don’t think I’ve ever come across such a tasty amount at pretty decent prices. The East Coast has that nailed for me!
Whether it’s your first trip to the United States, your fifth or you live there; I guarantee you’ll always find an excuse to visit the East Coast.
The whole coast has a totally rich history, charming chocolate-box villages to explore, and scenic beauty that always look different depending on the season you visit.
With that in mind, I wanted to share some of my favourite spots you should think of visiting on your trip to the East Coast.
Some are smack-bang on the waterfront, whilst others a few hours away. Regardless, they’re all in the East ergo why they’re all ‘East Coast’, especially when you consider how huge the country is.
In any case, take a gander at these beautiful places you have to see on your next trip within the East Coast USA, below.
1.) Fort Lauderdale, Florida
After our 5-day trip recently, I’m already itching to get back to this area and explore more. Now, lots of people seem to perch Fort Lauderdale as an ‘offshoot’ of Miami.
I assure you, it’s not. It has a very different vibe and identity that’s pretty amazing if you want a mix of chill time, culture and a heap of gorgeous natural sights to enjoy.
Unlike Miami, Fort Lauderdale’s beaches are much quieter and peaceful but just as (if not more) beautiful which are great for a little splash around in the sun.
If you’re looking for art, head over to Hollywood, Florida that’s right next door to the city. Here you’ll find a community that’s built a reputation for incredible street art from creatives from all over the world.
If nature is more your thing, pop out to the Everglades and enjoy some of the local wildlife (you’ll almost certainly spot a few alligators whilst you’re there).
2.) New York City, New York
Now, you can’t even speak about the east coast without mentioning New York City, can you? This magical city may seem overwhelming at first but spend a few days here and we guarantee that you will fall in love with its energy and vibe.
There’s just so much to see and do here that boredom is simply not an option.
Obviously, if you’re visiting for the first time, you need to visit some of the most iconic sites, for sure.
Ramble over to the iconic Times Square, watch a Broadway show (or two), visit Lady Liberty (and Ellis Island), have a picnic at Central Park and see the sunset from the Empire State Building.
If you’ve been to New York before (and you’ve checked off the usual suspects) make sure you take some time to explore some of the more secret spots in the city.
Head over to Williamsburg for a great night out or some of the restaurants in Hells Kitchen (trust me, it isn’t as hellish as it sounds). Ha!
3.) Roanoke, Virginia
This historic city is set against the backdrop of the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains. There are literally hundreds of different hiking trails making it the perfect summer spot if you’re looking for a little slice of nature.
Fall is definitely a period when lots of people visit, especially to see the change of season, it really looks magical when the leaves change to a deep red.
Though, to be honest, you don’t need to reserve your time to fall to visit and you can see the historic spots like St. Andrew’s Cathedral at any time of the year.
Whenever you decide to come, make sure you visit the gorgeous Carvins Cove Natural Reserve and the Roanoke Valley Greenways which are stunning to explore. You won’t regret it!
4.) Baltimore, Maryland
From the quirky Harbor area where you can experience street entertainers, concerts, and parades, to trendy shops, interesting museums, lip-smacking restaurants, quaint wineries, unique landmarks and more, Baltimore will charm your socks off.
After all, it’s not called the “Charm City” for nothing. Ha!
If you want to experience an old English village, head to Fells Point which is the oldest part of Baltimore. Oh, also, you can’t leave without trying some of the best crab cakes that Baltimore has to offer at the Thames Street Oyster House. Yum!
5.) Washington, D.C.
Your trip to the East Coast is incomplete without a visit to the capital of the United States.
If you’re hankering for some history you’ll love the iconic landmarks like; the Lincoln Memorial, the US Capitol, the Supreme Court and the most famous house in the United States, The White House.
I totally loved visiting the city, with one of my favourite areas being Georgetown.
It totally has a small town, historic vibe with gorgeous coffee shops, independent stores and a whole lotta pretty buildings to enjoy.
The city also has some of the best museums in the country including the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, National Gallery of Art, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and even a quirky International Spy Museum!
Oh, and don’t forget to spend an afternoon at the Eastern Market, explore the city on a bike, and gorge at Busboys and Poets (that serve the BEST coconut tofu bites and waffles too).
6.) Miami, Florida
Miami is vibrant, outlandish, sunny and totally unique.
Filled with some of the best restaurants, art deco architecture, and happening nightlife, Miami is the place to be!
Spend some time at Little Havana, enjoy Cuban food at the Versailles Restaurant, experience nature at its best at the Everglades National park, shop at Lincoln Road, and end the night with some salsa dancing at one of the many clubs that’ll keep you up till the wee hours!
7.) Portland, Maine
Portland is a charming town with gorgeous waterfront views that will win your heart, I’m sure.
The Old Port with its beautiful 19th-century buildings, cobblestone streets, craft shops, bookstores, and brick sidewalks will almost make you feel like you’ve swung back in time – it’s so traditional and a must-see.
If art is more your thing, the Portland Museum of Art with its renowned exhibitions and the impressive permanent collection is also a must-see.
Of course, you cannot miss the iconic Portland Head Light which was built in 1791 and is the oldest lighthouse that is still being used in the U.S. You can even take a cruise or go whale watching too.
In my opinion, the East Coast has some of the best local lobster I’ve ever tasted! If you’re hankering for a bite to eat, pop into Eventide Oyster for some yummy local seafood. I swear you’ll love it.
8.) White Mountains, New Hampshire
The White Mountains are a nature lovers dream spot! I promise you, f you’re looking for a little slice of East Coast charm (away from the cities) you’ll love this area.
There’s a whole community of businesses and people that really embrace this gorgeous landscape – with things like horseback rides, moose safaris, tubing in the Saco River (which is totally beautiful), and kayaking.
IF you’re looking for more of a challenge, there’s a whole heap of pretty tough mountain climbs (I’m naming you, Mount Washington) where you can work up a decent sweat and earn your dinner!
9.) Boston, Massachusetts
Boston is a must-visit city not just for its pivotal role in the history of the United States but because it has so much more to offer.
If it’s you’re first visit to the city, pop into the historical landmarks like Plymouth Rock, walk the Freedom Trail, explore Beacon Hill, head to the Charles River Esplanade, or just take a breather at the Boston Public Garden or the totally pretty Acorn Street.
From here, you can also head over to Harvard one of the United State’s most famous schools. The whole area is brimming with little cafes, shops and historic red-brick houses too.
Oh, also, if you’re hankering for a taste of the city, indulge in a Boston cream pie whilst you’re here.
10.) Salem, Massachusetts
Another Massachusetts favourite that is sure to bewitch you is Salem! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist)
Learn about its dark history, visit sites like the Witch Trial Memorial and the Old Burying Point Cemetery, spend some time at the one-of-a-kind Witch Museum, go back in time by taking a ride on the Fame Schooner, and have a fun day at the Salem Willows Park.
Needless to say, the BEST time to visit Salem is October when the witching hour is in full swing!
For a tasty, totally local, micro-brew experience, head over to Salem Beer Works that have a pretty select range of amazing beers that change almost every week.
11.) Savannah, Georgia
The coastal city of Savannah is pretty beautiful, especially with all that Southern charm.
Take a walk through history at the Historic District, experience the beauty of the Wormsloe Plantation, gaze at some amazing mansions at Jones Street, take a horse-drawn carriage ride through town, shop at some unique boutiques and antique stores, visit the famous Bonaventure Cemetery or just get spooked on a ghost tour!
You can’t leave without chowing down some comforting and delicious Southern food.
Mrs Wilkes’ Dining Room serves up some of the best southern fares in this part of the country! Just make sure to take elasticated pants.. you’ll be stuffed!
12.) Acadia National Park, Maine
This is the only national park in New England and it’s totally lovely.
If adventure is your cup of tea, there are tons of hikes and walking trails to choose from for all fitness levels including the Cadillac mountain, Jordan pond trail, Precipice trail, Thunder Hole trail that you’ll love.
You could drive along the Park Loop Road, relax at Schoodic Point and Sand Beach, or have a fun day at Bar Harbor. One thing is for sure, no matter where you go or what you choose to do at the Acadia National Park, the views are to die for!
Honourary mention: The Hamptons, New York State
And last but not least, the Hamptons.
The Hamptons is a gorgeous mix of little seaside villages (with the best restaurants), stunning coastline and incredible beaches (with the prettiest places to stay) that are perfect for a little getaway.
This historic area is totally gorgeous to visit and actually not too far from New York City itself (about 1.5 to 2-hour drive).
Once there, make sure to visit East Hampton, Pop over to Montauk (to see the lighthouse) and relax at Cooper’s Beach (in Southhampton).
If you’re looking for an idyllic stroll, head into the Hither Hills where you can work up an appetite for the best pancakes at Love Lane Restaurant (they also serve North Fork Roasters coffee too).
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