Chances are, you’ve traveled to the United States before. As Canada’s neighbour, it makes for a relatively easy and popular trip. In our guide, we’ll cover some of the best examples of where to go in the Eastern US; hitting up cities, historical sites, parks, beaches, and more as we make our way down the coast. A lot of the joy in exploring the United States comes from simply driving through, stopping in lesser-known towns and cities and making your own experience. We can’t truly capture that here, but these are the places that you have to make a point of stopping in whether you’re on a road trip or just flying in united travel.
This is the United States, so we already know the transportation network is comprehensive. Interstate highways make it easy to tackle long trips. I-95 specifically runs down from Maine to Florida and can be used as the main thoroughfare for the East Coast. Of course you always have the option to fly direct into your chosen city and travel cheaply by air within the US. In the Northeast Corridor, travel by train is a viable option with Amtrak servicing Washington DC, New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia fairly comprehensively.
Pretty simple; the further south you go, the warmer it gets. New England and New York experience much of the same weather we get up in Ontario or Quebec, so be careful when taking a long road trip through the north during the winter. As you move down the coast, the weather gets warmer year round until you reach Miami. Keep in mind that Florida and the South can be very humid in the summer.
Where to go in the Eastern US?
It’s very close and an easy first stop on any US getaway or road trip. As the birthplace of America, New England is full of history but the natural beauty of the region is arguably an even bigger draw. There’s a lot you can see here, so we’ll just mention a few places.
The largest state in New England, Maine, features a long, rocky coastline and a wild interior, making it one of the go-to destinations for outdoors types. Acadia National Park, small fishing villages, and the best lobster you’ll ever have – Maine offers a chance to get away from it all. If you do crave civilization however, the vibrant city of Portland and popular Old Orchard Beach will hit the spot.
It might be the only state in New England without an ocean coastline, but Vermont more than makes up for it with a gorgeous, rustic interior. Covered bridges, the changing colour of the leaves in fall, and the Green Mountains themselves lend the state a distinct feel and culture. Still, arguably the main reason to visit is for the skiing and snowboarding during the winter, with the state offering the best selection in eastern North America. Major ski resorts include Killington, Jay Peak, Okemo, and many more. There’s also a large craft beer market, with loads of different tastes and flavours on offer throughout the state.
The White Mountains in New Hampshire is a great place to visit for hikers, adventurers, and sightseers. The Presidential Range is at the heart, with Mount Washington the most famous (and tallest) mountain in the east. It is infamous for its inclement weather and held the record for fastest wind speed in the world for 76 years. Still, if you can make it to the top on a good day (either by driving, under your own power, or via the famous cog railway), you’ll be treated to spectacular views and bragging rights.
You can’t visit New England without a stop in Boston. Despite not being that large (24th in the US), Boston has a very big city feel to it. From its famous sports teams to its history as the ‘Cradle of Liberty’, Boston has always been at the forefront of America. With a great music scene, tons of bars (Irish and sports bar alike), and historical sights such as the Bunker Hill Monument; Boston is a city that deserves to be experienced.
Lastly, be sure to stop by historic Cape Cod (about an hour and half from Boston) to check out one of the top tourist destinations in the Northeast. Boating, fishing, beaches, and a long history of maritime culture make Cape Cod the quintessential ocean getaway in the region. Camp out, stay in one of the quaint towns, or check out one of the many tourist centres; Cape Cod has it all.
New York City
There’s no world where New York wouldn’t make it on a list of places to see in the US (let alone just the East). It’s the biggest city in the country and probably the most important single city in the world. That may sound like hyperbole, but when you’re walking through Midtown Manhattan you’ll get the same feeling. There’s plenty to see and do here. Of course, there are the famous sights such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Times Square, Central Park, and the new One World Trade Centre but much of the joy will come from exploring the various neighbourhoods and different cultures. Centuries of immigration have turned New York into one of the most diverse cities on earth, making sure there is something for everyone. One thing to keep in mind though, New York can be a very expensive city to visit, so definitely save a bit of cash. Still, there’s no better city in which to lose yourself and New York will continue to capture the hearts and minds of visitors and residents alike for decades to come.
While it can often be overlooked due to its proximity to New York, Philadelphia is no slouch itself – it’s the 5th largest city in the country. Philly offers a more authentic East Coast city experience, with revitalized regions helping to make it a very livable place. Besides a bustling cultural scene (from music to the arts), Philadelphia, the first capital of the fledgling United States, is home to many famous historical sights and experiences. The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall are the most well known but many others are worth a look, such as the Franklin Institute (a science museum). While it might not have the allure of New York or Boston, Philadelphia is a worthwhile stop as you make your way down the coast.
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