The West Coast gets so much attention when it comes to road trips, however, the East Coast has so much to offer! The East Coast has it all: big cities, beaches, small towns, mountains and even a kitschy attraction or two. There’s a lot to think about when it comes to planning, but the key to an amazing road trip is finding a great deal on a car rental and choosing the best cities to stop in. If you’re driving down the East Coast, here’s the perfect itinerary for you:
1. Portland, Maine: There’s no better place to start than picturesque coastal Maine. A few plates of fresh lobster (or a half-dozen lobster rolls) will give you all the protein you need to power you through the first leg of your journey.
2. Salem, Massachusetts: You have probably heard about the Salem Witch Trials — don’t worry, they’re long over. But Salem still capitalizes on its weird history of “witchcraft” with reenactments, museums and other related landmarks. It might seem a bit cheesy, and it is; but it’s also a fun and memorable place to stop on your trip down the coast, especially with the family.
3. Washington, D.C.: You can take in a bit more national history here. There’s also an incredible roster of museums in the city if you happen to get there on a rainy day. I highly recommend visiting in the spring to enjoy the gorgeous cherry blossoms.
4. Boston, Massachusetts: No East Coast road trip would be complete without a trip to Boston. There’s so much history here that you could dedicate an entire trip to this Northeastern city. And, depending on how long you’re dedicating to your road trip, you could stay a bit longer and see it all. I just love all the charming, cobbled streets and historic homes.
5. Newport, Rhode Island: A nice pause between two of the most major cities on this list, Newport has always been a summer playground for the rich and fabulous. In fact, John F. Kennedy used to vacation here during his time in the White House.
6. New York, New York: If you take a look at some of the best road trips, a lot of them will have you starting here, and for good reason: who doesn’t dream of visiting the Big Apple? Like Boston, you can stay here for days or weeks, even, and never run out of things to do — or bagels and pizzas to eat.
7. Atlantic City, New Jersey: Atlantic City is a great overnight stop since it’s jam-packed with casinos and clubs. Let your hair down before you get back on the road to…
8. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The City of Brotherly Love! It’s another must-see since the United Staes was founded here. Grab a cheesesteak and see the sights in a day.
9. Williamsburg, Virginia: In Williamsburg, you can do one of two things: break up your historically fueled stops at the Busch Gardens theme park, or keep the learning going by stopping into Colonial Williamsburg, a living history museum which replicates 18th-century life. Both are great options that are fun for the whole family.
10. Wilmington, North Carolina: Now, let’s start our tour of the East Coast’s best coastal cities. Wilmington, North Carolina has access to wonderful beaches, but, if you’re a movie or TV buff, you can also visit the sites where shows like One Tree Hill and Dawson’s Creek were filmed.
11. Charleston, South Carolina: Charleston exudes old Southern vibes, from its old, shady trees to its famous colonial houses. You can also eat really well here, as the culinary scene is alive and very well, especially when it comes to Southern cuisine.
12. Savannah, Georgia: Savannah has the same level of Southern charm as Charleston, with its pre-Civil War architecture and horse-drawn carriages. It’s also legal to drink adult beverages on the street of the historic downtown district, so you might want to plan to sleep in after your stop here!
13. Orlando, Florida: Between Disney World and Universal Studios, you will have no problem finding more than one amusement park that you want to visit — now, let’s all give ourselves a day to act like kids again.
14. Miami, Florida: Last but certainly not least, Miami has so much culture and a lively nightlife scene to match. And then, of course, there are the beaches. If you choose to reverse this itinerary and start in Miami, I highly recommend picking up your rental car at the Miami International Airport – it’s a money saver!
There’s no wrong or right way to do a road trip, and this dream itinerary is just one way to make it happen. Exploring this vast country by car is the way to go in order to see the most places possible in one trip. You’ll soon be on your way to creating a lifetime of memories made behind the wheel!