30 Best Places to Visit on the East Coast: Top Vacation Spots

by Global Viewpoint
Best places to visit on the east coast of the USA

Must-see places on the east coast USA

Looking for some east coast vacation ideas? Seeking out the best and most beautiful places to visit on the east coast this summer? Then you’ve come to the right place. These east coast vacation spots will inspire you and leave you in awe!

From historic cities and towns to nature getaways, the East Coast of the USA is jam-packed with bucket-list places.

In this slice of the country—extending from Maine to Florida—you’ve got a little bit of everything: sprawling cities and fishing towns, state and national parks, tropical beaches, mountain resort towns, historical sites, and so much more! Though Maine and Florida seem worlds apart, they both share miles upon miles of scenic Atlantic coastline. And in between, there are more than a dozen other states, each offering their own unique sights and attractions along America’s east coast.

Whether you’re into epic road trip adventures or simply looking for a relaxing vacation getaway, here’s my list of the 30 best places to visit on the east coast of the USA.

Best places to visit on the east coast of the USA pinterest image.
This article on east coast vacations contains affiliate links, where I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

But first, here’s a map showing all of them. Hope this article gives you some great east coast vacation ideas!

Map of the best places to visit on the east coast of the USA

#1 tip for finding cheap flights to east coast cities

Looking for affordable flights to destinations across the east coast? Before diving into all the coolest cities and airports to fly to, I want to share a quick tip on how to save BIG on airfare.

For the past 2.5 years, I’ve used Scott’s Cheap Flights to find flight deals. All you do is enter in your home airport and where you want to go, and they’ll send you mistake fares and other ridiculously cheap flight deals. Last year alone, I saved thousands of dollars thanks to their email alerts – including most recently, a $68 roundtrip fare from Boston to Miami and a $127 roundtrip ticket from Boston to Puerto Rico. Typically, I save about $200 roundtrip on domestic flight routes, which easily covers the $49 per year charge for the premium version. So, I’m a huge fan!

Now without further ado, here are the coolest east coast vacations you should add to your 2023 bucket list.

1. Niagara Falls, New York

Niagara Falls is a must-see vacation destination on the east coast. Nestled along the US-Canadian border in Upstate New York, this trio of waterfalls boasts the highest flow rate of any in North America. It lets out a thunderous roar, which along with the misty spray you and your poncho will encounter, is a stark reminder that nature is a force to be reckoned with.

With a vertical drop of over 160 feet (50 m), these cascades are both powerful and majestic. It’s no secret that Niagara Falls is considered one of the best places to visit on the east coast of the US.

If you have time, make your way over to Buffalo, an underrated destination in Western New York that lies on the Niagara Frontier. You won’t regret it!

For further reading: 13 fun facts about Niagara Falls

Read next: 12 fun things to do in Buffalo NY

These raging waterfalls are among the most beautiful places to visit on the east coast.
These raging waterfalls are among the most beautiful places to visit on the east coast.

2. The Poconos, Pennsylvania

A round-up of the best east coast trips wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Poconos. Located in eastern Pennsylvania, the Pocono Mountains cover forests, lakes, and valleys just west of the Delaware Water Gap.

The Poconos is a prime place for leaf peeping in the fall.
The Poconos is a prime place for leaf peeping in the fall.

The Poconos is a paradise for nature lovers. It’s a great place in Pennsylvania for hiking, fishing, canoeing, whitewater rafting, parasailing, skiing, and so much more. The region is also home to Bushkill Falls, a series of eight waterfalls, one of which is over 100 feet high.

Bushkill Falls is known as the Niagara Falls of Pennsylvania.
Bushkill Falls is known as the Niagara Falls of Pennsylvania.

Stay at a cozy spa resort in the mountains. Explore historic towns like Jim Thorpe and the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway. With so many hiking trails and other outdoor activities, it’s no wonder the Poconos is among the top east coast vacation destinations.

Read next: Coolest Lake House Rentals in the Poconos

Jim Thorpe is a charming town named after the Native American Olympic athlete.
Jim Thorpe is a charming town named after the Native American Olympic athlete.

3. Acadia National Park, Maine

What is the best vacation spot on the East Coast? From rocky untouched coastline to granite mountains and dense forests, Acadia National Park is among the most beautiful places to visit on the east coast.

Jordan Pond, one of the best places to visit on the east coast of the usa, gives visitors a taste of serenity.
Jordan Pond gives visitors a taste of serenity.

As the only national park in New England, Acadia offers a smorgasbord of epic landscapes for nature lovers and adventure seekers. This outdoor oasis in northeastern Maine is also home to many species of fish, birds, and mammals. Nearby, you’ll have plenty of great restaurants and accommodations in Bar Harbor, a top coastal town in ME.

There’s more than 120 miles of hiking trails, so you’ll want to spend a decent chunk of time exploring and getting lost amid a backdrop of stunning scenery.

There are so many amazing east coast vacation ideas in the state of Maine.
There are so many amazing east coast vacation ideas in the state of Maine.

4. Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston is one of the best east coast vacations due to its rich history, charming architecture, and beautiful beaches. Located in South Carolina, Charleston is known for its antebellum mansions, cobblestone streets, and quaint boutiques and restaurants.

A round-up of east coast vacations would be incomplete without mentioning Charleston
A round-up of east coast vacations would be incomplete without mentioning Charleston

One of the things that makes Charleston unique is its rich cultural history. The city was founded in 1670 and has a long and fascinating history, which can be explored through its many museums and historical landmarks. Some of the must-see historical sites in Charleston include the Charleston Museum, the Nathaniel Russell House, and the Fort Sumter National Monument.

In addition to its historical attractions, Charleston is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches on the east coast. Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island, and Isle of Palms are all popular spots for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing.

Charleston is also a food lover’s paradise, offering delicious restaurants serving everything from Lowcountry seafood to traditional Southern comfort food. The city is also home to several craft breweries and distilleries. This makes it the perfect destination for those who enjoy trying local beers and spirits.

Other activities to consider while visiting Charleston include taking a carriage ride through the city’s historic streets, visiting the city’s many gardens and parks, or exploring the nearby Francis Marion National Forest. No matter what you choose to do, Charleston is sure to be a memorable and enjoyable east vacation destination.

The streets of Charleston
The streets of Charleston

5. Washington, D.C. – One of the best cities to visit on the east coast

Washington D.C. is my favorite city in the US. Not because of the politics, but because of the city’s rich history and culture. It offers an interesting mix of old and new, deserving a top spot among the best places to visit on the east coast.

Washington D.C. is among the best east coast cities to visit.
View of the U.S. Capitol Building.

As the nation’s capital and the de facto capital of the western world, Washington D.C. has a whole lot going on. By day, explore the myriad of well-maintained parks, monuments, and museums. And by night, check out the city’s cool nightlife.

When you visit D.C., don’t miss top sights like the White House, U.S. Capitol, Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. These iconic structures offer great photo opportunities, but you’ll also appreciate the riveting history behind them.

Also, be sure to step inside the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Air and Space Museum, and National Gallery of Art, among many other museums and art galleries.

Though I’ve visited Washington D.C. four times, it feels like I’ve only scratched the surface!

While you’re in DC, be sure to check out nearby Maryland and Virginia, each hosting a variety of unique attractions!

Washington, D.C. is among the best east coast cities to visit, especially if you appreciate history.
Washington, D.C. is among the best east coast cities to visit, especially if you appreciate history.

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6. Miami Beach, Florida

Miami Beach is one of the liveliest and most beautiful beach destinations on the east coast. It’s home to miles of lovely beachfront property, including hundreds of Art Deco buildings, trendy beach clubs, restaurants, and hotels.

Ocean Drive is a must see in Miami on the east coast USA.
Ocean Drive is a must see in Miami.

South Beach—a neighborhood of Miami Beach— is the top draw for most visitors. It’s home to Ocean Drive, the center of Miami’s Art Deco district and the heart and pulse of the city. It also boasts over 2 miles of beautiful white sand, and lots of beautiful villas, mansions, and vacation rentals in between.

Beyond Miami, you’ll find so many other treasures in Southern Florida. The weather here is perfect year-round, making it one of the best and most desirable places to visit on the east coast.

Before visiting, be sure to brush up on your Spanish, as more than 70% of Miami’s population speaks Spanish!

Read next: Coolest Miami Mansions to Rent

For further reading: Miami, the Gateway to Latin America

Miami is one of the most beautiful places to visit on the east coast.
Miami is one of the most beautiful places to visit on the east coast.

Read next: Most Unique Rentals in Florida in 2023

7. Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

Looking for a relaxing east coast vacation? Visit Lake Winnipesaukee in the summer and you’ll be in for a treat.

A cozy A-Frame cabin on Lake Winnipesaukee.
A cozy A-Frame cabin on Lake Winnipesaukee.

Located in New Hampshire, Lake Winnipesaukee is the largest lake in the state and definitely among the most scenic. It’s a popular east coast vacation spot for those who enjoy watersports. You can rent boats (or bring your own) and partake in other fun activities on the lake including kayaking, swimming, and jet skiing.

In addition, there are many mountains nearby that are perfect for scenic drives and hiking. Visiting during the fall foliage season is a must, but you really can’t go wrong any time of year on Lake Winnipesaukee.

Not far north are the White Mountains, another east coast vacation destination. More on that later in the article!

Read next: Coolest Stays on Lake Winnipesaukee

Lake Winnipesaukee is one of the best hidden gems on east coast.
Lake Winnipesaukee is one of the best hidden gems on east coast.

8. Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina + Tennessee

Attracting over 12 million visitors last year, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most-visited national park in the US. It’s home to over 500,000 acres of pristine wilderness— including mountains, waterfalls, and forests— often covered by a “smoky” fog from which the region draws its name. Some of the top sights here include Cades Cove, Rainbow Falls, and Mount Le Conte.

The fall foliage season reminds us why the Smoky Mountains are one of the best places to visit on the east coast.
The fall foliage season reminds us why the Smoky Mountains are one of the best places to visit on the east coast.

Located at the gateway of the Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg is an excellent homebase and one of the best hidden vacation spots in the US. This mountain town is a great place to visit during all four seasons, including the fall during peak foliage season and winter for skiing and ice skating. Another city nearby with lots of restaurants and entertainment venues is Pigeon Forge. You truly can’t go wrong with either of these east coast vacation spots!

Read next: Top Rentals in Tennessee

Asheville is a must-see east coast vacation spot nearby

While you’re in the Great Smoky Mountains, be sure to also spend some time in Asheville, North Carolina. Located along the Blue Ridge Parkway, this small city boasts a creative spirit with an amazing craft beer scene and an enclave of artists and hippies. It’s also home to historical sites like the Biltmore Estate, the largest estate in the US.

Read next: Coolest Cabin Stays in Asheville

Not far from the Smoky Mountains is Asheville, North Carolina, yet another bucket-list destination to visit on the east coast.
Not far from the Smoky Mountains is Asheville, North Carolina, yet another bucket-list destination to visit on the east coast.

9. Newport, Rhode Island

Planning to do a New England road trip itinerary? Consider spending a day or two in Newport, Rhode Island, a quaint New England town known for its Gilded Age mansions.

Newport is one of the best and most beautiful places to visit on the east coast.
Newport is one of the best and most beautiful places to visit on the east coast.

Along Newport’s windswept coastline, you’ll find summer residences belonging to some of America’s wealthiest families. Take a tour around the grounds of the Newport Mansions, where you’ll see extravagant properties paired with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. A few of my favorites are the Breakers, Marble House, and Rosecliff. Of course, there are countless others showcasing the opulence and decadence of fin-de-siècle families like the Vanderbilts.

If you have time, I also recommend doing a day trip to Block Island, just off the coast of Newport. This is a must-see when you’re visiting Rhode Island.

Whether you’re into relaxing coastal retreats or historical mansions-turned-museums, you’ll find that Newport is the perfect summer vacation spot. It’s also among the best places to visit on the east coast of the USA.

Newport is one of the best east coast vacations, especially during the summer.
Newport is one of the best east coast vacations, especially during the summer.

10. Nashville, Tennessee – One of the top places to visit on the East Coast

If you’re interested in visiting somewhere inland yet within reach of the east coast, consider a trip to Nashville, Tennessee.

Known as the music capital of the world, Nashville boasts a fun country music scene, paired with trendy restaurants and bars. It’s home to cool sights like the Grand Ole Opry (a weekly country music stage concert), the Country Music Hall of Fame, and a replica of the Parthenon (hence Nashville is sometimes called the Athens of the South).

Printer's Alley in Nashville, Tennessee.
Printer’s Alley in Nashville, Tennessee.

Nashville’s fun and quirky vibe merits a top place among the best vacation destinations within reach of the east coast. And you won’t be far from the beautiful mountain resort towns and lake destinations just a short drive away.

Downtown Nashville, Tennessee
Downtown Nashville, Tennessee

11. Portland, Maine

Ahoy there! Are you in need of a nautical getaway? Look no further than Portland, Maine! This charming coastal town is the perfect destination for those who love lobster rolls, lighthouses, and all things nautical.

Portland is the ideal east coast vacation for those looking to spend time on the water
Portland is the ideal east coast vacation for those looking to spend time on the water

One thing that makes Portland such a special place is its rich maritime history. The city is home to a number of historical lighthouses, including the Portland Head Light, which has been guiding ships into Portland Harbor since 1791. You can also visit the Maine Maritime Museum to learn more about the state’s rich shipbuilding history.

But Portland isn’t just about historical stuff – it’s also a foodie paradise! The city is known for its delicious lobster rolls, which can be found at a number of local seafood shacks. Portland is also home to a thriving craft beer scene, with a number of local breweries offering tastings and tours.

If you’re looking for outdoor activities, Portland has plenty to offer. The city is surrounded by beautiful parks and nature reserves, including the Portland Observatory and the Fore River Sanctuary. You can also take a boat tour to explore the stunning coast of Maine.

So come on down to Portland and experience all that this charming city has to offer. Just be sure to bring your lobster bib and your sense of adventure!

The Portland waterfront area
The Portland waterfront area

12. White Mountains, New Hampshire

Those looking for an outdoor adventure will find it in the White Mountains. This is one of the top east coast vacation spots without a doubt! It’s truly a place in NH that you’ll never want to leave.

The White Mountains are among the top family vacation destinations on the east coast.
The White Mountains are among the top family vacation destinations on the east coast.

This region of New Hampshire is a must-see during a New England road trip. It’s brimming with picturesque forests, creeks, gorges, waterfalls, and so much more. It’s no wonder the White Mountains are a popular weekend trip amongst Bostonians.

If you’re a nature lover, prioritize the Kancamagus Highway and Franconia Notch State Park. Avid shoppers should consider making a stop in North Conway, a town hailed for its retail outlets and antique shops. Another place to check out is the Omni Mount Washington Resort, one of the most iconic buildings in New England.

For nature and adventure seekers, the White Mountains is definitely among the best places to visit on the east coast.

Read next: Best Time of Year To Visit New England

Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods.
Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods.

13. Everglades National Park, Florida

Not far from Miami, Everglades National Park is a top place to visit in southern Florida.

Alligators in the Everglades.
Alligators in the Everglades.

This 1.5 million-acre preserve is home to beautiful wetland scenery and a diversity of flora and fauna. You’ll encounter many alligators here, and if you’re lucky, perhaps even a Florida panther.

Hop on an airboat or kayak to explore the mangrove canals meandering around the park. Just don’t fall in!

Many visit the Everglades as a day trip from Miami. Others take a drive on the wild side and visit en route to the Florida Keys, another best place to visit on the east coast.

Do you see the pair of alligator eyes in the water?
Do you see the pair of alligator eyes in the water?

14. Boston, Massachusetts – One of the best places to visit on the East Coast

From historic cobbled streets to a beautiful waterfront area, Boston, Massachusetts is a city you should add to your east coast bucket list.

Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood is the US-equivalent of Europe's old towns.
Beacon Hill is the US-equivalent of Europe’s old towns.

Boston is the hub of New England. It’s a world-class city, but still retains its colonial, small town heritage.

Some of my favorite historical sites include the Freedom Trail, Faneuil Hall, and Beacon Hill. These historic east coast attractions are not to be missed on a New England road trip.

For a more modern and cosmopolitan take on the city, explore Newbury Street, the Rose Kennedy Greenway, and Boston Harborwalk. You’ll find lots of unique Boston restaurants that serve the freshest seafood, as well as multicultural dishes. Just wait until you try the desserts here too!

In the city of Boston, nature isn’t far away, either. Take a stroll through one of the city’s parks, including The Boston Public Garden and Boston Common that are found in the heart of the city.

In addition to the city’s attractions, there are many popular day trip options nearby, including Salem, Rockport, and Portsmouth. Give yourself plenty of time to cover Boston and the surrounding areas on a New England road trip itinerary.

With a mix of old and new, Boston is one of the best cities to visit on the east coast.

Read next: Coolest Restaurants in Boston

Boston is one of the best places to visit on the east coast.
Boston from the Charles River Esplanade.

15. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Looking for a nature getaway in the Mid-Atlantic? Check out Shenandoah National Park, which is located just 75 miles from Washington, D.C. It lies along the Appalachian Trail, a strip of land jam-packed with glorious mountain vistas and verdant woodland.

Shenandoah National Park is made up of 200,000 acres of lush green forests, dreamy waterfalls, and gently rolling hills covered in wildflowers. It’s a popular place for hiking, where you can choose from hundreds of miles of trails spanning from beginner to advanced-levels.

There’s something for everyone here, which makes it one of the best places to visit on the east coast.

Read next: Top Lake Houses for Rent in Virginia

Shenandoah National Park is a great east coast trip idea, particularly if you live in any of the Mid-Atlantic states.
Shenandoah National Park is a great east coast trip idea, particularly if you live in any of the Mid-Atlantic states.

16. Stowe, Vermont

Stowe is one of my favorite weekend getaways in New England, and a great place to visit if you’re doing an east coast road trip. It’s one of my favorite spots to visit in VT and it’s easy to see why.

Stowe is known for its farm-to-table-dining. The food is amazing!
The food in Stowe is amazing and it’s pretty much all locally sourced!

Stowe is a top place to see in East America

Lovers of the Austrian Alps will find a little dose of Austria here in Stowe, Vermont. It’s home to the Trapp Family Lodge, founded by the Von Trapp family who fled Austria during German occupation in WWII. This hotel, as well as the Innsbruck Inn down the road, resemble the chalets of western Austria. The alpine architecture, paired with the surrounding mountains, will definitely give you the feeling of gemütlichkeit. Nothing beats these cozy VT cabin vibes!

Stowe is also known for its farm-to-table dining scene, range of outdoor activities (including zip lining, hiking, and mountain climbing), and its amazing beer. Don’t miss a visit to the Alchemist Brewery if you enjoy IPAs. And ice cream lovers won’t want to miss out on the Ben and Jerry’s Factory in neighboring Waterbury!

When you’re visiting Stowe, pay a visit to the nearby city of Burlington, another one of the best places to visit on the east coast.

Read next: Unique Airbnb Rentals in Stowe, VT

The Innsbruck Inn is one of the best places to visit on the east coast of the USA.
When I visited the Innsbruck Inn during high season a couple of years ago, it only cost $70/night. Stowe is one of the best cheap weekend getaways on the east coast.

17. Orlando, Florida

Ahh Orlando. The ultimate vacation destination for families with small children, and everyone else who’s still young at heart. I visited when I was little and again when I was 21 – enjoying it just as much the second time (drinking around the world at Epcot, anyone?).

Epcot at Disney in Florida.
Epcot at Disney in Florida.

Orlando is home to massive theme parks like Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld. Each park offers its own unique attractions and inevitably brings out your inner-child.

Not far from Orlando and its theme parks and resorts is Cape Canaveral, home of the Kennedy Space Center. This is where SpaceX’s Crew Dragon recently launched from, as well as many other NASA rockets and spacecrafts. Is this one of the best east coast attractions? Absolutely!

Disney is consistently one of the top east coast family vacation destinations
Disney is consistently one of the top east coast family vacation destinations.

18. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Are you in search of sun, sand, and a good ol’ fashioned beach vacation? Look no further than Myrtle Beach, South Carolina! This sunny destination is the perfect place to kick back, relax, and soak up some vitamin D.

Myrtle Beach is an east coast vacation unlike anywhere else
Myrtle Beach is an east coast vacation unlike anywhere else

Why Myrtle Beach is a top east coast vacation

One of the things that makes Myrtle Beach such a special place is its 60 miles of sandy shoreline. Whether you want to build sandcastles, hunt for seashells, or just work on your tan, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to do so at Myrtle Beach. The city is also home to a number of water parks and attractions, including the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel and the Ripley’s Aquarium.

But Myrtle Beach isn’t just about the beach – it’s also a golfer’s paradise. The city contains more than 100 golf courses, making it the perfect destination for those who love to hit the links.

If you’re feeling adventurous, there are also plenty of other activities to try in Myrtle Beach. You can go parasailing, take a boat tour, or visit one of the city’s many amusement parks. And when it comes time to refuel, you’ll find no shortage of delicious seafood restaurants and beachside shacks serving up all kinds of tasty treats.

So come on down to Myrtle Beach and experience all that this sunny destination has to offer. It’s one of those east coast vacations that you’ll never forget!

Read next: Top Vacation Homes for Rent in Myrtle Beach

A beachfront sunset in Myrtle Beach
A beachfront sunset in Myrtle Beach

19. Finger Lakes, New York

It’s easy to lose yourself in the Finger Lakes, and not just physically. The region’s pristine nature and fine wines are enough to distract you from all of life’s worries. So, it’s no wonder this is among the best east coast vacation spots.

With a glass of wine in hand and a view of the Finger Lakes, you'll quickly realize why it's one of the best places to visit on the east coast.
With a glass of wine in hand and a view of the Finger Lakes, you’ll quickly realize why it’s one of the best places to visit on the east coast.

The Finger Lakes is among the best summer getaways on the east coast

Named after its finger-shaped lakes, this bucket-list destination on the east coast is chock-full of precious scenery. It’s a top place to visit in Upstate NY and for good reason.

Explore Watkins Glen State Park, acclaimed for its gorgeous gorges and afterwards have a glass of wine at Seneca Lake. My other favorite lakes are Cayuga and Skaneateles Lake, but there are still a couple I have yet to visit. You’ll need at least a week to properly explore the area and see each lake, as there are 11 in all and they extend up to 40 miles long!

While you’re visiting the Finger Lakes, you’ll definitely want to stay at a cottage on one of the lakes for the full experience.

From state parks filled with gorges and waterfalls to wineries overlooking glacial lakes, the Finger Lakes is mother nature at its finest. This region is truly one of the best east coast places to visit.

Looking to visit the Finger Lakes soon? Read next: 11 Best Airbnbs in the Finger Lakes

Watkins Glen looks otherworldly.
Watkins Glen looks otherworldly.

20. Helen, Georgia

This cheap east coast vacation will blow your mind. Located in the mountains of northeastern Georgia, the town of Helen looks like it’s something out of a fairytale.

For Europe travel lovers, Helen GA is among the best east coast trips.
For Europe travel lovers, Helen GA is among the best east coast trips.

Helen is a Bavarian-style town known for its German food and festivals and variety of outdoor activities. It’s nestled in the Southern Appalachian Mountains within reach of the Blue Ridge Mountains. So, adventure awaits you!

Take advantage of Chattahoochee National Forest and Smithgall Woods State Park that lie nearby. There are plenty of hiking trails and waterfalls in the area, however after stepping foot inside this unique European-inspired village, it will be hard to leave! A must-see in Georgia for sure!

Is this one of the best places to vacation on the east coast? It sure is!

Read next: Coolest Mountain Cabins in Helen GA

Anna Ruby Falls in Helen is one of the coolest east coast vacation destinations.
Anna Ruby Falls in Helen is one of the coolest east coast vacation destinations.

21. The Hamptons, New York

Looking for a chic and stylish east coast getaway? Look no further than the Hamptons! This posh destination on the eastern end of Long Island is the perfect place to rub elbows with the rich and famous (or at least pretend to).

The beaches of the Hamptons are top notch
The beaches of the Hamptons are top notch

What makes the Hamptons so unique is its stunning natural beauty. The area is home to picturesque beaches, including Coopers Beach and Main Beach, as well as beautiful parks and nature reserves. In the summer, you can spend your days lounging on the beach, playing a round of golf, or exploring the many boutiques and art galleries in the area.

But the Hamptons isn’t just a summer destination. It’s also a popular spot for fall foliage and winter holiday getaways. In the fall, you can take a scenic drive through the area to see the beautiful autumn leaves, or visit one of the many vineyards and wineries in the region. And in the winter, the Hamptons transforms into a festive holiday wonderland, with holiday markets, ice skating rinks, and festive events happening throughout the season.

No matter what time of year you visit the Hamptons, you’ll find so many fun things to do. So come on down and experience all that this posh destination has to offer. Just be sure to bring your designer sunglasses and your wallet – the Hamptons ain’t cheap!

Places to visit on the east coast don't rival the Hamptons
Places to visit on the east coast don’t rival the Hamptons

22. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is one of the best east coast cities

Not far from Washington, D.C. in proximity and historic significance, Philadelphia (Philly) is one of the best places to visit on the east coast.

Liberty Bell is among the top east coast attractions
The Liberty Bell is an iconic symbol of American independence.

As Pennsylvania’s largest city, Philly is steeped in rich revolutionary history and offers a variety of unique attractions. Chief among them are the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall (houses the Declaration of Independence). These are definitely among the best east coast attractions. If you’re into immersive art experiences, check out Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens.

When you’re exploring the streets of Philadelphia, don’t forget to try an authentic Philly cheesesteak!

Philadelphia is a unique place to visit on the east coast
Philadelphia is one of the best east coast cities to visit.

23. Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

Located in the Gulf of Mexico, Dry Tortugas National Park is a remote island escape. It’s made up of more than 100 square miles, including 7 islands and protected coral reefs.

Dry Tortugas National Park and its underwater paradise is one of the most beautiful places on the east coast.
Dry Tortugas National Park and its underwater paradise are among the most beautiful places to visit on the east coast.

Here, you can go snorkeling, diving, and boating to admire the colorful coral reefs.

In addition to the abundance of sea life, this archipelago is known for its legendary shipwrecks and its imposing brick fortress, Fort Jefferson. Though never fully completed, Fort Jefferson was built as a military base to deter piracy in the Caribbean. Some 16 million bricks were used in its construction, making it the largest brick structure in the Americas to this day.

To get to Dry Tortugas National Park, take a ferry from Key West or a seaplane or charter boat.  More logistical information can be found on the official National Park Service website.

There are quite a few east coast trip ideas in the state of Florida.
There are quite a few east coast trip ideas in the state of Florida.

24. Outer Banks, North Carolina

Pristine shoreline, quaint seaside villages, and diverse wildlife are some of the many things you’ll discover in the Outer Banks. This is one of the top places to vacation on the east coast for good reason.

Outer Banks lighthouse is one of the best east coast attractions
Outer Banks lighthouse

Located off the coast of North Carolina, these barrier islands contain a myriad of beautiful beaches, state parks, national seashores, diving sites, and so much more. The Outer Banks are also home to Roanoke Island, the first settlement in the New World.

Some of the best east coast attractions are found here, including the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Avon Beach, and the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. If you’re looking for a dose of nature and history in the same east coast trip, look no further!

Read next: Most Unique Stays in North Carolina

The Outer Banks is a top beach destination on the east coast.
The Outer Banks is a top beach destination on the east coast.

25. New York City, New York – a cool, bucket-list city on the East Coast

Who else loves New York?

From diverse international restaurants and high-end shops to street art and spacious parks, New York offers a little bit of everything. It’s no wonder NYC is considered an obligatory bucket-list destination in the US, thus deserving a spot on this list of the best places to visit on the east coast.

NYC is an endless concrete jungle.
NYC is an endless concrete jungle.

Some of the must-see attractions are the Statue of Liberty, Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met), Empire State Building, and Brooklyn Bridge. Also, you can’t miss Central Park and the High Line to get a totally different perspective of the concrete jungle. Oh, and don’t forget to see a Broadway show!

I could write much more about NYC, but I think you already get the point that it’s one of the most bustling, action-packed cities in the world. Be sure to plan your itinerary carefully, as there’s so much to see and do. Make every second count!

Read next: Cheapest flight destinations from JFK

NYC George Washington Bridge.
NYC is top among the best east coast cities to visit

26. The Berkshires, Massachusetts

Nature’s calling again; this time from the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts. One of the top places in New England to visit in the fall.

Known for its unspoiled nature and range of outdoor adventures, the Berkshires is one of the best places to visit on the east coast. It’s especially picturesque during the fall foliage season, when the mountains and forests are covered in red, orange, and yellow leaves. The summer is also a great time to visit, when you can hike mountains like Mt. Greylock, kayak down the Housatonic River, and take full advantage of the region’s exquisite farm-to-table dining scene.

Compared to most of the other destinations on this list, the Berkshires is among the cheap weekend getaways on the east coast.
Compared to most of the other destinations on this list, the Berkshires is among the cheapest weekend getaways on the east coast.

When the weather’s not too great, there are plenty of indoor activities as well. My favorite museums are the Norman Rockwell Museum, Mass MoCa, and Hancock Shaker Village. These are some of the best hidden gems on east coast, hands down.

Whether you’re contemplating a weekend getaway or a longer stay, the Berkshires offers plenty of exciting outdoor attractions that will make your visit a memorable one.

Hancock Shaker Village in the Berkshires.
Hancock Shaker Village in the Berkshires.

27. Savannah, Georgia

For a taste of the south, add Savannah to your east coast bucket list. It’s the oldest city in Georgia and boasts some of the state’s most picturesque coastal scenery and best-preserved architecture.

Savannah is incredibly picturesque
Savannah is incredibly picturesque.

Savannah‘s main draw is its Historic District, comprised of 22 park squares amid a maze of old cobblestone streets. There are also many historic monuments, museums, and restored 18th-century homes. It’s truly a gem in the heart of Georgia!

Savannah is separated from South Carolina by the Savannah River. Just under an hour away is Hilton Head Island (SC), a world-class beach destination that I recommend visiting in the same trip. And a couple of hours further north is Charleston, South Carolina, which exudes more of Savannah’s historic, southern city vibe. As such, I also consider it one of the best places to visit on the east coast of the US.

Read next: Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Georgia

Forsyth Park is a must-see in Savannah’s historic district. The water fountain in its center is one of the most iconic sights in the city.
Forsyth Park is a must-see in Savannah’s historic district. The water fountain in its center is one of the most iconic sights in the city.

28. Adirondack Mountains, New York

Ready to rough it in the great outdoors? Want to discover an east coast vacation outside of the major cities? Head to the Adirondack Mountains in New York!

For me, the best time of year to visit the Adirondacks is in the fall months
For me, the best time of year to visit the Adirondacks is in the fall months

This nature lover’s paradise offers hiking, fishing, boating, and more in the summer. In the fall, go leaf peeping and apple picking. And in the winter, hit the slopes at one of the region’s many ski resorts.

But the Adirondacks aren’t all about the outdoors. Check out the Wild Center natural history museum and the Olympic Training Center, or browse small town boutiques and galleries. Don’t forget your hiking boots and sense of adventure!

For me, the best time of year to visit the Adirondacks is in the fall months
East America is home to a treasure trove of beautiful scenery, including the Adirondacks

29. Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia

Want to chase waterfalls on your next nature getaway? Look no further than Blackwater Falls State Park in the beautiful state of West Virginia.

Blackwater Falls State Park is one of the many must see places on the east coast.
Blackwater Falls State Park is one of the many must see places on the east coast.

This state park is named after Blackwater Falls, a 57-foot cascade that’s every photographer’s dream. This is one of the best east coast attractions for nature lovers. Also, not to be overlooked are Elaka Falls, Pendleton Point Overlook, and Lindy Point. If you’re into camping, biking, fishing, and hiking, then you’ve met your match at Blackwater Falls State Park.

West Virginia is a hidden gem on the east coast that deserves a mention among the best places to visit. I know very few people who have visited this state, yet the variety of outdoor vacation spots like this one should draw more hype.

Read next: Top Cabin Getaways in West Virginia

30. Cape Cod

It’s easy to fall in love with Cape Cod. From Upper Cape Cod to the “elbow” and “tip” of the Cape, this peninsula in Massachusetts is home to charming fishing villages and beautiful beaches. What more could you want in a summer vacation?

Drive along Old King’s Highway (Route 6A), and you’ll find miles of beautiful beaches and historic seaside towns. Head all the way over to Provincetown for its art scene or Chatham for a quiet and relaxing retreat. Take a ferry to nearby Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket, which are also a must-see on a New England itinerary.

Whether you’re looking to chill on the beach or walk around quaint New England towns, Cape Cod will not disappoint. It’s easily one of the best summer destinations on the east coast. Even in the winter, Cape Cod is absolutely stunning!

Read next: The most unique stays in Cape Cod

Cape Cod is the perfect east coast beach destination.
Cape Cod is the perfect east coast beach destination.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about east coast vacations

Want to learn more about East America and how to prepare for a trip in this part of the country? Here are some common questions I get about these east coast vacation spots.

Q: What are some unique vacation spots on the east coast?

A: The answer will depend on your personal preferences. However, here are some ideas: the historic cities of Boston and Charleston, the picturesque beaches of the Hamptons and Myrtle Beach, and the outdoor paradise of the Adirondack Mountains.

Q: Where is the most affordable beach vacation?

A: If you’re looking for an affordable beach vacation on the east coast, consider visiting the sunny shores of Ocean City, Maryland! This charming coastal town is known for its beautiful beaches, family-friendly attractions, and budget-friendly accommodations. You can find many affordable hotels, motels, and vacation rentals in the area, as well as a number of delicious (and affordable) seafood restaurants.

Plus, Ocean City is just a short drive from a number of major cities on the east coast, making it an easy and convenient destination to reach. So grab your flip flops, and head to Ocean City for a cheap beach vacation that won’t break the bank!

Ocean City is another place that belongs on everyone's East America bucket list
Ocean City is another place that belongs on everyone’s East America bucket list

Q: How many national parks are there on the East Coast?

A: There are so many amazing national parks on the East Coast that it’s hard to keep track! But if you want to get specific, there are 14 national parks located on the East Coast of the United States. These include Acadia National Park in Maine, Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina, and Shenandoah National Park in Virginia (to name a few). So whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or just looking for a beautiful place to explore, you’ll find no shortage of amazing national parks on the East Coast to visit. So pack your hiking boots and your camera, and get ready to discover all the beauty that the East Coast has to offer!

Q: What are the best east coast cities to visit?

A: Some of the best east coast cities to visit include the iconic metropolis of New York City, the historic charm of Boston and Philadelphia, the cultural attractions of Washington D.C., and the southern charm of Charleston. No matter which city you choose, you’ll find a wealth of things to see and do, from world-class museums and landmarks to delicious dining and shopping options.

East Coast vacations can't beat Philadelphia
East Coast vacations can’t beat Philadelphia

Q: What are the best east coast road trip routes?

A: Looking for the ultimate east coast road trip route? How about a trip down the historic and scenic Blue Ridge Parkway? This 469-mile long road winds through the beautiful Appalachian Mountains, offering breathtaking views and plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure. Along the way, you can stop at a number of interesting attractions, including national parks, wineries, and charming small towns.

Or, if you’d prefer to stick to the coast, you could take a trip down the famous East Coast Beaches route, which takes you from the sandy shores of the Hamptons all the way down to the sunny beaches of Myrtle Beach. No matter which route you choose, you’re sure to have an unforgettable road trip adventure on the east coast!

A forage into East America wouldn't be right without seeing the Blue Ridge Parkway
A forage into East America wouldn’t be right without seeing the Blue Ridge Parkway

Best east coast vacations in 2023

I hope you enjoyed this list of the best places to visit on the east coast USA. Obviously, there are many more places I could include here, but I think it’s a decent starting point and hopefully your bucket list grew a little longer.

Looking for more east coast vacation ideas and bucket-list destinations across the US? Check out the articles below.

Happy Travels! – Jon

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2 comments

Steph June 22, 2020 - 16:45

This list is so helpful for planning my summer vacay right now!

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Global Viewpoint June 22, 2020 - 23:12

So glad to hear it! Hope you have a great summer and stay safe 🙂

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