Best East Coast Places

61 Of The Best East Coast Places to Visit in the USA

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I lived in Delaware for three years; now I know that seems odd, because how many people have you met that lived in the smallest state in the united states? But for the time I was there, it was a great place to venture along the East Coast. I was an hour to Philadelphia, two hours to New York and DC. A straight shot up to Montreal! Though I didn’t love a lot about Delaware as a state, it was a lovely location on the east coast and gave me a great base to explore.

If you’re thinking about visiting the East Coast, there are plenty of the best places from Mountains to Oceans; you really would have to work hard not to find a scenic drive to road trip down. Now I won’t assume I know what kind of place you’re looking for, so I broke this list of 61 into Categories.

Want to skip to a specific category that sounds the best? Just click the one you want: we’ll start with big cities, then beach destinations, national parks and nature places, charming small towns, best to go with kids, and last but not least, quirky stops you might not have heard of!

Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

The Big City Best Places to Visit in the Eastern United States

  1. Portland, Maine – Located in the northeasternmost state of Maine, Portland is a coastal city known for its seafood, historic Old Port district, and picturesque setting along Casco Bay. People flock there for it’s charming houses and sailing. Tourism is their biggest industry, so you’ll be well-taken. Make sure you take the ferry to Peaks Island.
  2. Boston, Massachusetts – The capital and largest city of Massachusetts, Boston is rich in history and home to many iconic landmarks such as the Freedom Trail, Fenway Park, and Harvard University. There’s lots to do in the city, and it has a full farm-to-table movement brewing. It’s the 24th biggest city in the US – which seems surprising to me. You could do that Boston Tea Party tour thing, or walk the Freedom trail.
  3. New York City, New York – Often referred to simply as “The City,” New York is the most populous city in the United States and a global hub of finance, entertainment, and culture.
  4. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – The largest city in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia is home to the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and numerous other historical landmarks. It is also known for its vibrant food scene, with many famous restaurants and food markets.
  5. Baltimore, Maryland – Located on the Chesapeake Bay, Baltimore is known for its seafood, sports teams, and cultural institutions such as the National Aquarium and the Maryland Science Center.
  6. Washington, D.C. – The capital of the United States, Washington D.C. is home to numerous national landmarks and institutions, such as the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Smithsonian museums.
  7. Charleston, South Carolina – Located in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina, Charleston is a charming city known for its historic architecture, beautiful beaches, and Southern cuisine.
  8. Savannah, Georgia – Another charming city in the South, Savannah is known for its beautiful parks, historic squares, and antebellum mansions.
  9. Orlando, Florida – Home to numerous theme parks such as Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, Orlando is a popular vacation destination for families.
  10. Miami, Florida – Located in southern Florida, Miami is a vibrant city known for its diverse culture, beautiful beaches, and lively nightlife.
Best East Coast Places

The Beach Best Places to Visit on the East Coast of the USA:

  1. Nantucket: This island off the coast of Massachusetts is known for its beautiful beaches, charming New England villages, and seafood. It has a rich history as a whaling port and is now a popular summer vacation destination. Nantucket is accessible by ferry from Cape Cod or by plane from Boston.
  2. Cape Cod: This peninsula in Massachusetts is known for its picturesque villages, lobster shacks, and beautiful beaches. It is a popular summer vacation destination, known for its laid-back atmosphere and abundance of outdoor activities such as swimming, fishing, and boating. Cape Cod is a popular day trip or weekend getaway from Boston.
  3. Rehoboth Beach: This beach town in Delaware is known for its wide, sandy beaches and charming boardwalk. It is a popular summer vacation destination for families, with a variety of activities including beach bonfires, mini golf, and amusement parks. Rehoboth Beach is located about two hours from Philadelphia and three hours from Baltimore. (and honestly, the only perfect place to go in Delaware)
  4. The Jersey Shore: This stretch of coastline in New Jersey is known for its boardwalks, amusement parks, and beachfront towns. It is a popular summer vacation destination, with a variety of activities including sunbathing, surfing, and nightlife. The Jersey Shore is located about an hour from Philadelphia and two hours from New York City.
  5. Virginia Beach: Located in Virginia, Virginia Beach is a popular beach destination known for its wide, sandy beaches and lively boardwalk. It is a family-friendly destination with a variety of activities including beach volleyball, fishing, and theme parks. Virginia Beach is located about three hours from Washington D.C.
  6. Outer Banks: This string of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina is known for its beautiful beaches, lighthouses, and wild horse populations. It is a popular vacation destination, with a variety of activities including surfing, kiteboarding, and fishing. The Outer Banks are located about four hours from Raleigh and six hours from Washington D.C.
  7. Myrtle Beach: Located in South Carolina, Myrtle Beach is a popular beach destination known for its beautiful sandy beaches, golf courses, and amusement parks. It is a family-friendly destination with a variety of activities including mini golf, water parks, and go-kart racing. Myrtle Beach is located about an hour from Charleston and four hours from Charlotte.
  8. Hilton Head Island: This island in South Carolina is known for its beautiful beaches, golf courses, and luxury resorts. It is a popular vacation destination, with a variety of activities including tennis, boating, and shopping. Hilton Head Island is located about an hour from Savannah and four hours from Charleston.
  9. Marco Island: Located in southwestern Florida, Marco Island is a popular beach destination known for its beautiful beaches, fishing, and water sports. It is a laid-back destination with a variety of activities including shelling, golf, and wildlife viewing. Marco Island is located about an hour from Naples and three hours from Miami.
  10. The Hamptons: This area on Long Island in New York is known for its beautiful beaches, luxury homes, and celebrity sightings. It is a popular summer vacation destination for the wealthy, with a variety of activities including shopping, dining, and attending events such as art fairs and music festivals. The Hamptons are located about two hours from New York City.

The Nature Draws as the  Best Places to Visit in the Eastern United States:

  1. Acadia National Park: Located in Maine, Acadia National Park is known for its beautiful coastline, hiking trails, and scenic drives. It is the oldest national park east of the Mississippi River and is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including moose, black bears, and seabirds.
  2. Adirondack Mountains: Located in upstate New York, the Adirondack Mountains offer a wide range of outdoor activities, such as hiking, camping, and rock climbing. The region is home to numerous state parks and protected areas, including the Adirondack Park, which is the largest protected natural area in the contiguous United States. The Adirondack Mountains are a popular destination for both summer and winter activities.
  3. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area: This national park in Pennsylvania and New Jersey is known for its beautiful scenery, hiking trails, and water sports. The park is located along the Delaware River and is a popular destination for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. The park is also home to a variety of wildlife, including black bears, bald eagles, and white-tailed deer.
  4. Shenandoah National Park: Located in Virginia, Shenandoah National Park is known for its beautiful mountain scenery, hiking trails, and waterfalls. The park is home to a wide range of plant and animal life, including black bears, deer, and over 200 species of birds. The park is also home to the popular Skyline Drive, a 105-mile scenic roadway that runs through the park.
  5. Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Located on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known for its beautiful mountain scenery, hiking trails, and wildlife. The park is home to a wide range of plant and animal life, including over 1,500 species of flowering plants, as well as black bears, elk, and over 200 species of birds. The park is also home to a number of historic structures, including log cabins and grist mills.
  6. Cape Cod National Seashore: This national park in Massachusetts is known for its beautiful beaches, hiking trails, and historic lighthouses. The park is home to a number of historic structures, including the Cape Cod Light, which is the oldest operating lighthouse on Cape Cod. The park is also home to a variety of wildlife, including seals, whales, and a variety of birds.
  7. Monongahela National Forest: Located in West Virginia, Monongahela National Forest is known for its beautiful mountain scenery, hiking trails, and outdoor recreation opportunities. The forest is home to a number of recreational areas, including Dolly Sods Wilderness Area, which is known for its unique landscape and hiking trails. The forest is also home to a variety of wildlife, including black bears, white-tailed deer, and over 200 species of birds.
  8. Appalachian Trail: This famous long-distance hiking trail runs from Georgia to Maine and offers a unique opportunity to experience the beauty of the East Coast. The trail is over 2,000 miles long and passes through 14 states, including Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland. The trail is popular with hikers, who often spend several months completing the entire route.
  9. Congaree National Park: Located in South Carolina, Congaree National Park is known for its beautiful swamp and forest landscapes, as well as its hiking trails and canoeing opportunities. The park is home to a variety of plant and animal life, including a number of rare and endangered species. It is also home to a number of recreational areas, including the Congaree River, which is popular for canoeing and kayaking.
  10. Everglades National Park: Located in southern Florida, Everglades National Park is known for its unique wetlands ecosystem, with a wide range of plant and animal life. The park is home to a variety of species, including alligators, crocodiles, and a wide range of birds. It is also home to a number of recreational areas, including the Shark Valley Visitor Center, which offers guided tram tours through the park. The park is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with various activities including hiking, birdwatching, and boating.
Best East Coast Places

The Small City Best Places to Visit in the Eastern United States – (they’re all charming, so sorry I have to repeat the word!)

  1. Nantucket is a stunning island off the Massachusetts coast, famous for its picturesque beaches, quaint shops, and delicious dining options. It is a must-visit destination for those seeking a tranquil coastal getaway.
  2. Cape May, a charming beach town in New Jersey, boasts an array of historic Victorian architecture and stunning sandy beaches. It is perfect for those looking to immerse themselves in the past while enjoying the beauty of the present.
  3. St. Michaels, a quaint town in Maryland, draws visitors in with its picturesque waterfront and charming historic inns. It is an ideal destination for those seeking a relaxing and historic getaway.
  4. Woodstock, a charming small town in Vermont, is known for its breathtaking natural setting and New England architecture. It is a must-visit for those seeking a peaceful escape in the heart of nature.
  5. Bar Harbor, located in Maine, is a charming small town showcasing its beautiful coastline and traditional New England villages. It is a perfect destination for those seeking a traditional New England experience.
  6. Annapolis, a charming small town located in Maryland, is renowned for its picturesque waterfront and historic mansions. It is a must-visit destination for those seeking a blend of history and coastal beauty.
  7. Newport, a beautiful small town located in Rhode Island, is famous for its gorgeous beaches and historic mansions. It is a perfect destination for those seeking a luxurious and historical coastal getaway.
  8. Edenton, a charming small town in North Carolina, is known for its picturesque waterfront and colonial-style architecture. It is a must-visit for those seeking a taste of the colonial past.
  9. St. Augustine, a charming small town located in Florida, boasts beautiful beaches and a charming Spanish colonial-style architecture. It is a perfect destination for those seeking a warm and historic coastal getaway.
  10. Lewisburg, a charming small town located in West Virginia, is known for its quaint downtown and historic architecture. It is a must-visit destination for those seeking a charming and historic escape.
Best East Coast Places

The Best Places to Visit in the Eastern United States with Kids:

  1. Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, Florida – This world-famous theme park resort is a must-visit for families with kids of all ages. The resort is home to a variety of theme parks, including the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It also offers a wide range of dining, shopping, and entertainment options, making it a perfect destination for a family vacation.
  2. Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida – Another top theme park destination, Universal Studios offers a variety of rides, shows, and attractions based on popular movies and TV shows. The park is home to a number of popular franchises, including Harry Potter, Minions, and The Simpsons. It also offers a variety of dining and entertainment options, making it a perfect destination for a family vacation.
  3. Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida – This space center offers a variety of educational and interactive exhibits, as well as the opportunity to see rocket launches and visit a replica of the International Space Station. The center is a great destination for families with kids who are interested in space and science. It is located about an hour east of Orlando.
  4. The National Mall, Washington D.C. – This iconic national park offers a variety of educational and cultural attractions, including the National Museum of Natural History, the National Air and Space Museum, and the National Gallery of Art. The mall is a great destination for families with kids who are interested in history, science, and the arts. It is located in the heart of Washington D.C. and is easy to access by public transportation.
  5. The National Aquarium, Baltimore, Maryland – This aquarium is home to a wide variety of marine life, including dolphins, sharks, and a variety of fish. The aquarium is a great destination for families with kids who are interested in marine biology and ocean conservation. It is located in the Inner Harbor area of Baltimore and is easy to access by public transportation.
  6. The Bronx Zoo, New York City, New York – This world-famous zoo is home to a wide variety of animals, including lions, gorillas, and elephants. The zoo is a great destination for families with kids who are interested in animals and conservation. It is located in the Bronx borough of New York City and is easy to access by public transportation.
  7. Philadelphia Zoo, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Another top zoo destination, the Philadelphia Zoo is home to a variety of animals, including gorillas, chimpanzees, and a wide range of reptiles. The zoo is a great destination for families with kids who are interested in animals and conservation. It is located in Philadelphia and is easy to access by public transportation.
  8. LEGOLAND, Florida and New York – This theme park is specifically designed for younger children and offers a variety of LEGO-themed rides, shows, and attractions. LEGOLAND is a great destination for families with kids who are fans of LEGO toys and building. It has locations in Winter Haven, Florida and Goshen, New York.
  9. Children’s Museum of Indianapolis: This museum is specifically designed for children and offers a variety of interactive exhibits on a wide range of subjects, including science, history, and the arts. The museum is a great destination for families with kids who are interested in learning and hands-on experiences. It is located in Indianapolis and is easy to access by car or public transportation.
  10. Sesame Place: This theme park is based on the popular children’s TV show and offers a variety of rides, shows, and attractions featuring Sesame Street characters. The park is a great destination for families with younger children who are fans of the show. It is located in Langhorne, Pennsylvania and is easy to access by car or public transportation. The park also offers a variety of dining and entertainment options, making it a perfect destination for a family vacation.
Best East Coast Places

The Quirky Best Places to Visit in the Eastern United States:

  1. The International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport is a great place to learn about the history of tennis and see some of the sport’s most famous artifacts and memorabilia.
  2. The Museum of Bad Art in Boston: This museum is dedicated to showcasing the worst of the worst in art, with a collection of pieces that are so bad they’re good.
  3. The Coney Island Museum in Brooklyn: This museum is dedicated to the history of Coney Island, with exhibits on sideshows, carnival games, and other quirky aspects of the iconic amusement park.
  4. The International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland: This museum is dedicated to studying cryptozoology, or searching for mysterious and unknown animals.
  5. The Museum of Sex in New York City: This museum is dedicated to the history of human sexuality, with exhibits on everything from ancient artifacts to modern-day sex toys.
  6. Ruby Falls – an underground waterfall in Tennessee near Chattanooga. One hundred forty-two feet into Lookout mountain.
  7. The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore: This museum is dedicated to showcasing the work of self-taught artists with a collection of quirky and imaginative pieces.
  8. The National Toy Train Museum in Strasburg: This museum is dedicated to the history of toy trains, with a collection of rare and unique toy trains on display.
  9. The National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington D.C.: This museum is dedicated to the history of medicine, with exhibits on everything from ancient medical tools to modern medical technology.
  10. The H. P. Lovecraft Museum in Providence: This museum is dedicated to the life and work of horror writer H. P. Lovecraft, with exhibits on his life and the influence of his work.
  11. Museum of Bad Art – Boston Massachusets. No more explanation is needed 🙂
Best East Coast Places

East coast is truly a marvelous place full of historic sites and Atlantic Ocean beaches, perfect for the history buff and the nature lovers alike! I hope this post has inspired you to jump in the plane or the car and see the sites. While there is no perfect time to visit anywhere, the northeastern part is best in the fall! And I’d pick may in the North Carolina beaches any day! Your next right place to visit is just waiting for you.

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