The East Coast of the United States. Home of the Big Apple. New England. Virginia’s awe-inspiring Shenandoah Valley. And let’s not forget the one and only Disneyworld in Florida.
The perfect way to explore the East Coast? You know the answer already: it’s road trip time.
I’ve done things a little bit differently and combined both fixed road trips you can (just about!) copy and paste into your GPS, and what I like to call the ‘East Coast Highlight Reel’. Pick a few and build yourself a DIY road trip.
Road Trip Itineraries
If the unending list of East Coast highlights is giving you information overload, I’ve condensed the options into two digestible road trips. You can either go for a full fortnight or limit it to a quick, 7-day tour.
New England Fortnight
New England in the autumn is one of the most picturesque areas in the United States, period. From the White Mountains to Providence, Boston, to Acadia National Park, this part of the country will leave you reaching for an extra memory card for your camera.
You begin your journey at Acadia National Park in Maine. You can either take quick stops and take Insta-worthy snaps, or you can use Bar Harbor as the springboard to a selection of treks.
You then drive off to Stowe in Vermont. Known for its skiing spots, it’s ideal no matter what time of your you decide to visit. Once you’ve had your share of snow, head on over to the White Mountains National Forest. Here you’ll find stunning hikes, or for those less willing to develop blisters, take the tramway or railway for some envy-inducing views.
Now, for one of my favorite cities in the US: Boston. Home of the American Revolution, you can check out markets full of delicious food, feed the shopaholic in you, or absorb culture by walking the Freedom Trail.
7-Day Highlight Tour
Your road trip doesn’t have to be weeks long to make it worth doing. Squeezing it all into a week can still be totally epic. This 7-day tour will take you through some of the most awe-inspiring cities in the country. We’re talking Boston, the Big Apple (NYC), Philly (aka Philadelphia), and our nation’s capital. (Washington D.C.). You can round off your trip by stopping off at Shenandoah NP.
This road trip is all about combining history, indulgence, culture, nightlife, and a wee bit of nature. Enjoy the tranquility of the Boston Commons, head on over to Harvard, don’t miss SoHo or Central Park, and walk/run those “Rocky steps” in Philly.
Finally, remember one of the often untold truths of the East Coast: it’s not all about the hustle and bustle of the city. There’s gorgeous nature to be had, so finish your trip with some scenery in Shenandoah NP. Gaze at the stars in some of the finest woodlands in the country.
East Coast Highlight Reel
The road trips above are tried and tested. Choose one and you’ll have a good time. But I know some of you reading this want to follow your own path. Before you drive off, however, make sure you stop off at some of the following East Coast highlights.
Witch House, Salem
If you’re interested in the Salem Witch Trials of the 17th century, this is a can’t miss East Coast Highlight. The famous Witch House once belonged to Judge Corwin, the man responsible for sending 19 so-called witches to the gallows.
It’s not the original California Disneyland, but it’s definitely the best. And to be honest, you shouldn’t be limiting it to just Disney. There’s Universal Studios as well, which is perhaps even better. Don’t hit the East Coast without visiting Orlando, if you can help it. Have kids? Take them here, or they’ll never forgive you!
King Street, Alexandria, Virginia
Looking for old-school Americana? You can’t get better than taking a stroll down King Street, one of the most epic streets in the United States. It oozes tradition, has a bunch of cute stores, and the restaurants are also definitely worth a bite.
Charleston City Market, South Carolina
Established in 1807, it’s one of the country’s oldest markets. It has more than just longevity and tradition on offer, however, with a thriving market culture that’s still very much alive. Every time I go it takes me hours to get out. In the good way.
George Washington and Jefferson National Forests
If they’ve named forests after some of the most illustrious men in American history, you know they’ve got to be good. And they won’t disappoint. Head on over to Roanoke, Virginia, and get a taste of some of the best nature the East Coast has to offer.
Whether you decide to pick one of my tailored routes or going DIY based on the must-sees, I guarantee (no refunds, however!) that you’ll have the trip of a lifetime.
The East Coast offers such a rich and varied experience, that there’s no way you’ll get bored. Get planning; it’s time to hit the road!