Best places to go on an East Coast road trip

Along America's East Coast, you'll find a wide variety of adventures suitable for the whole family, whether you're interested in sprawling cityscapes, scenic countryside, or soft, sandy beaches. You can see it all, with all of the convenience and fun you could ask for on an East Coast road trip. You just need to know where to go. Here are the top 10 best destinations for East Coast road trips.

1. Venture through outdoor splendor at Cape Cod in Massachusetts

On the eastern edge of Massachusetts, you'll find Cape Cod, one of the most popular summer vacation destinations for East Coast road trips. You can enjoy whale watching in Provincetown or visit the local art museum to see its impressive collection. Of course, the beach is the true star of the show, whether you want to swim or venture out in a boat.

2. Visit The Hamptons on Long Island

New York City has much to offer, but a bit of an East Coast drive will lead you to a different kind of experience in The Hamptons. This seaside resort area is packed full of adventure, including an extensive array of golf courses and beaches. It's also much more laid back and quiet compared with New York City, despite it being so close.

3. Stop by Cape May County in southern New Jersey

Visit the southern tip of New Jersey during your East Coast USA road trip, and you'll find Cape May County, named after the Cape May Peninsula. This is a premier destination for beachfront fun, as you'll find the Atlantic to the east and Delaware Bay to the west. There are 30 miles of beaches here, and Cape May itself holds historical value as America's oldest seaside resort.

4. Explore the massive waterfront in Ocean City

Ocean City in Maryland has plenty to offer the whole family. With 10 miles of sandy beaches, you can relax by the waves while the little ones build sandcastles and play in the water. That's just the beginning, however, as the famous boardwalk offers delicious seafood and other culinary treats along with shopping opportunities for your US East Coast road trip.

5. Trek through the White Mountain National Forest

Within the White Mountains of New Hampshire and Maine, you'll find the White Mountain National Forest. This is a destination you won't want to miss out on during your road trip on the East Coast if you're looking for outdoor adventure. The area is 1,225 square miles in total and is perfect for hiking and camping. Of course, skiing is a popular activity as well if you're taking a winter road trip.

6. Find outdoor adventure in the Pocono Mountains

If you're looking for adventure on your East Coast road trip, the Pocono Mountains have it all. You'll find skiing, whitewater rafting, hiking, and even beaches on the lake. Kids will especially enjoy the adventure parks where they can spend all day riding, sliding, climbing, and gliding throughout its numerous fun challenges.

7. Hit the beach at the Jersey Shore

The famous Jersey Shore is one of the most iconic and memorable East Coast destinations you'll find. It's especially suitable for road trips because the large shore itself includes 141 miles of oceanfront, so having a car is basically a necessity to explore most of it. When you're here, you can enjoy the beach, boardwalks, and even amusement parks throughout the region.

8. Enjoy fun in the water at Wells Beach

If you have the family with you, you won't want to miss out on Wells Beach, Maine. This kid-friendly beach offers safe swimming conditions with enough waves to practice some moderate surfing and bodyboarding. There are also plenty of access points for kayaks and boats if you're looking to tackle the water in a different way during your East Coast road trip.

9. Take your car on the ferry to Nantucket

When you're embarking on an East Coast road trip, you may think that islands would be off the table. Fortunately, there's a ferry service that can get you to Nantucket, Massachusetts, where you'll find peaceful beaches and impressive art galleries and museums. Be sure to keep an eye out for the island's iconic lighthouses as well.

10. Explore the forest city of Portland, Maine

If you're looking for a more metropolitan experience on your East Coast road trip, the city of Portland, Maine, is one of the best options. This city is filled with virtually endless adventure with extensive art galleries and museums along with heavily forested parks, which led to the nickname "The Forest City."


Discover the top kids' activities along the East Coast with our family destination guides