Are you looking to explore the East Coast of the United States? Then you’ll love this East Coast road trip list full of fun and unique adventures. There are so many states that make up the East Coast, and there’s no one right way to see them.
Whether you are looking for fall foliage, picturesque views, or big cities, there is a East Coast road trip on this list for you. We’ve made sure to have options on this list that hit almost every state on the East Coast. Some of them are all in one state, other’s you’ll spend time traveling to several different states.
So, if you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway or a few days on the road, we’re sure there is something here for you. From Maine to Florida, there is so much just waiting for you to explore on the East Coast. So, let’s take a look at 15 fun East Coast USA road trips for your bucket list.
Don’t forget to check out our list of the Best Resorts On The East Coast if you are looking for some inspiration!
15 Fun East Coast USA Road Trips For Your Bucket List
Coastal Maine Road Trip
- Ogunquit Beach
- Acadia National Park
A Coastal Maine Road Trip is a great way to see the northernmost state on the East Coast. Begin your road trip in Ogunquit Beach, which has miles of beautiful sandy beaches. You’ll also find great shopping, dining, and a nice art scene. Continue on to Kennebunkport where you can visit the quaint village of Cape Porpoise, a lobster-fishing village.
From there, head to Rockland. Rockland is a famous tourist spot, known because it’s where the mountains and sea converge. After enjoying the mountains and the sea, head to Acadia National Park. Acadia National Park is a perfect way to end your Coastal Maine Road Trip. It’s got stunning rocky beaches, plenty of hiking trails, and sweeping panoramic views.
Picturesque New York
- Hudson Valley
- Catskill Mountains
- Watkins Glen
If you are looking to explore New York outside of New York City, then take this Picturesque New York Road Trip. You’ll start your road trip in Albany, a beautiful city that is actually the state’s capital. It’s also where you’ll find the United States oldest Museum. From there, head to the Hudson Valley.
The Hudson Valley is a large area of the state and is where the Hudson River flows through the state. It’s a beautiful area to relax and admire New York’s wild landscape. Next, head to the Catskill Mountains. The Catskill Mountains is where people from NYC go to reset and relax. There are lakes and rivers you can hike to and enjoy.
Continue on to Ithaca, a picturesque city in New York’s finger lakes region. It’s also home to the ice cream sundae, so make sure you enjoy one while you’re there. You’ll end your trip by exploring Watkins Glen. It’s a small village with a canal that goes straight through it.
It’s also where you’ll find Watkins Glen State Park, where you can hike and relax after a long road trip exploring picturesque New York.
Florida Springs Road Trip
- Ginnie Springs
- Devil’s Den
- Rainbow Springs
- Gilchrist Blue Springs
The best way to start your Florida Springs Road Trip is at Ginnie Springs. That is where you’ll find some of the clearest waters in Florida. It’s made up of seven springs with beautiful white sandy shores. From there, head to Devil’s Den. Devil’s Den is the perfect Florida spring for divers, as it is inside a cave.
Next, head to Rainbow Springs. Rainbow Springs was once believed to hold magical healing powers. Now it is a favorite spring for visitors. You can float down the natural ‘lazy’ river or swim in the massive spring. End your road trip at the Gilchrist Blue Springs. Its a very popular tourist destination, so make sure you get there early if you want to be able to enjoy a swim.
Kentucky Bourbon Trail Road Trip
- Woodford Reserve Distillery
- Wild Turkey Distillery
- Lexington Brewing Distilling Company
- Maker’s Mark Distillery
Kentucky is known for its bourbon, so you should absolutely take a Bourbon Trail Road Trip while you’re there. Start at the Woodford Reserve Distillery. You’ll be able to see the still, the warehouse, and the bottling process before enjoying a bite to eat in the sampling room. Then head across town to tour the Wild Turkey Distillery.
Next, head to the Lexington Brewing Distilling Company. They make bourbon as well as beer, moonshine, vodka, and rum. End your Bourbon Trail Road Trip at the Maker’s Mark Distillery. It’s possibly the most famous distillery in the state. You’ll be able to finish your trip by dipping your own bottle of bourbon in their signature red wax.
Fall Foliage On The Kancamagus Highway In New Hampshire
- Loon Mountain
- Hancock Overlook and Pavilion
- Sugar Hill Overlook
- Rocky Gorge Scenic Area
Start your Fall Foliage Road Trip at Loon Mountain. It’s a popular ski area and a great place to stop and walk around while you admire the changing leaves. Next, head to the Hancock Overlook and Pavilion. On a clear day you’ll get a beautiful view of the mountains. There is also a pavilion you can hang out that has plenty of infographics about the area.
Continue on to the Sugar Hill Overlook. There, you’ll have a great view of the Swift River Valley and mountains covered in fall foliage. End your road trip at the Rocky Gorge Scenic Area. There are paved walkways, a bridge you can cross, and you can even walk down to the river if you want. Its a beautiful area and a great stop to end your Fall Foliage Road Trip.
The Virginia Monticello Wine Road Trip
- Flying Fox Vineyard
- Pollack Vineyard
- Knights Gambit Vineyard
The Monticello Wine Road Trip is one of the best road trips in Virginia. The road trip is inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s vision of grape growing in Virginia, the Monticello Wine Road Trip can be done in a day, or you can spread it out over a few days. There are 30 wineries on the trail, but we’ll show you our three favorite must-stops.
At all of the vineyards on the trail, you can take tours before sampling their wine selection. Most even have a small restaurant or café that you can grab a bite to eat at. We suggest you at least stop at the Flying Fox Vineyard, the Pollack Vineyard, and the Knights Gambit Vineyard. They are all beautiful vineyards with great views, tours, and wine to sample.
Waterfalls Of South Carolina
- Wildcat Wayside Falls
- Twin Falls
- Issaqueena Falls
- Reedy Falls
This road trip is great for seeing some of South Carolina’s best waterfalls. It’s a great East Coast road trip! Start at the 30-foot tall Wildcat Wayside Falls, which you can actually see from the highway. You can park near just off the highway and take a short walk to get a closer look. The Twin Falls, the most popular falls in the state, are nearby. So make sure you make a stop there too.
Then head to Issaqueena Falls, which are just a short hike away from the Twin Falls. You get to see two beautiful waterfalls at the same spot! At over 200 feet of cascading waters, its an absolute must see. Finish your tour of South Carolina’s waterfalls at the Reedy Falls. The 25 foot waterfall is actually in downtown Greenville, so take some time to enjoy the city while you see the falls.
Charming Small Towns
- Montpelier, Vermont
- New Haven, Connecticut
- New Hope, Pennsylvania
- Roanoke, Virginia
If you are looking to explore some of the most Charming Small Towns then this East Coast road trip is for you. Start your road trip in Montpelier Vermont. It is the capital city of Vermont, but it is not as bustling as other East Coast capital cities. While there, head to the Ben and Jerry’s factory to sample some ice cream before heading to New Haven Connecticut.
New Haven is home to the Ivy League University, Yale. Its the state’s second largest city, but still feels very much like a small town. Grab some coffee, explore the city, or hang out on one of the beautiful lawns of Yale. Next, head to New Hope Pennsylvania.
New Hope is a charming small arts town near Philadelphia. You’ll find some really unique shops, great food, and awesome art galleries to explore. From there, head to your final small town, Roanoke Virginia. While there, enjoy beautiful mountain scenery, the world’s largest free-standing illuminating star, and check out the towns many parks.
- Boston, Massachusetts
- New York City, New York
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Washington D.C.
For those looking for an East Coast road trip that hits some of the big cities, this is the perfect road trip. Start your trip in Boston where you can explore art museums, history museums, and amazing food and shopping. Boston with kids is amazing, so if you have a family, this is a great road trip option for you!
From there, head to the Big Apple. You can’t go wrong with this fun itinerary as all of the cities are vibrant and interesting!
In New York City, you can find some unique things to do outside of Times Square. If you haven’t seen Times Square yet, then take a few selfies before you head to your next city. In Philadelphia, see the Liberty Bell, grab a cheesesteak, and run up the famous ‘Rocky Stairs’.
End your trip in the nation’s capital. In Washington D.C. hit up the many Smithsonian museums, admire the famous national landmarks like the Washington Monument, and learn more about the founding of the United States. Make sure to check out these Washington DC Travel Tips before you go!
The Blue Ridge Parkway of North Carolina
- Cumberland Knob
- Moses H. Cone Memorial Park
- Little Switzerland
- Crabtree Falls
The Blue Ridge Parkway is probably one of the most famous East Coast road trip destinations. This one focuses on all the great bits on the Parkway in North Carolina. Start at Cumberland Knob where you can explore scenic views. Linville Falls is also nearby, so make sure you hike out to see them.
From there, head to the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park. There are hiking trails and even a manor you can tour. You may even see people horse back riding. Continue to Little Switzerland and walk around before hiking to the Crabtree Falls to end your road trip.
Hidden Gems Of Tennessee
- The Lost Sea
- The Minister’s Treehouse
- The First Cracker Barrell Old Country Store
- Geographic Center of Tennessee
Tennessee is great place to see some really unique attractions. Start your road trip at The Lost Sea. The Lost Sea is a lake 3/4 mile beneath the surface in a cavern. When you take your tour, you’ll even ride in a little boat. From there, head to The Minister’s Treehouse.
The Minister’s Treehouse is a massive abandoned structure in the shape of a treehouse. It was built by a minister in the 1990s and was officially closed years ago due to safety concerns. But you can still admire it from the outside.
Continue to the First Cracker Barrell Old Country Store. You can see the original building and learn more about the chain restaurant’s early history. End your road trip at the Geographic Center of Tennessee. There’s a small plaque marking this unique spot, and the perfect end to your road trip.
Ulitmate New England
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Newport, Rhode Island
- Mystic, Connecticut
- Burlington, Vermont
This East Coast road trip is all about exploring New England. You’ll do a sort of loop as you start in Boston. Boston is the quintessential New England city, so take time to explore all it has to offer. From there, head to Newport Rhode Island. Newport is known for it’s massive and iconic mansions, so make sure to try and tour one of them.
Next, head to Mystic Connecticut. It’s a small coastal town full of charm that you are sure to enjoy. End your road trip in Burlington Vermont. Its Vermont’s biggest town and is super cool. You’ll find a great arts scene, amazing restaurants, and more. It’s a great way to end your exploration of New England.
Georgia Film Buffs Road Trip
There have been so many amazing movies and tv shows filmed in Georgia. Its recently become the Hollywood of the East Coast, and this makes it one of the best East Coast road trip ideas. Start in Atlanta, where films like ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ and ‘The Blind Side’ have been filmed. Even Marvel movies have been made there!
Next, head to Crawfordville, where you can tour the Taliaferro County Historical Society’s exhibits on local filmmaking. It’s also where ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ was filmed. From there, head to the cute small town of Monticello. In Monticello, head to the Whistle Stop Cafe, one of the filming locations for ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’.
End your road trip in Savannah. Savannah has been used as the backdrop to over 85 films, like ‘Forest Gump’ and ‘X Men: First Class’. Its a great way to end your East Coast road trip itinerary.
Historic Cities On The East Coast
- Salem, Massachusetts
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia
- Washington D.C.
- Optional Extensions: Charleston South Carolina, Savannah Georgia, St. Augustine Florida.
When everyone thinks of historic East Coast road trip stops, they think of Boston first. While Boston is a great historic city, we suggest traveling just a little outside of Boston as well to Salem.
After learning about Colonial Boston, it’s interesting to learn about Salem, which is notorious for the Salem Witch Trials. The town leans into that history, and you’ll find tons of cool places to explore. Nearby is also Plymouth, the site of Plymouth Rock and where European Settlers first landed in New England.
From there, head to Philadelphia. There, you’ll learn more about America’s fight for freedom. Check out the Liberty Bell, see where the Declaration of Independence was written, and the Betsy Ross House. Next, head to Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia.
While there, you’ll learn what daily life was like for Colonial Americans. Finish your East Coast road trip itinerary in the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. You’ll be able to see the actual Declaration of Independence as well as learn more about the nation’s history.
If you have the time to extend your trip further south, consider checking out Charleston South Carolina, Savannah Georgia, and St. Augustine Florida. All have a unique and fascinating history.
Pennsylvania’s Route 30
- Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum and Candy Emporium
- Dutch Wonderland
- The Coffee Pot
- The Bicycle Built For Two
If you love kitschy road side attractions, then you’ll love these East Coast road trip stops on Pennsylvania’s Route 30. Start your road trip outside of Gettysburg at Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum and Candy Emporium. It is full of unique Elephant memorabilia, and of course, lots of candy. From there, head to Dutch Wonderland, which is in Lancaster just off of Route 30.
It’s a theme park centered around the area’s Pennsylvania Dutch heritage. Next, head to The Coffee Pot. The Coffee Pot is a roadside luncheonette in the shape of a massive coffee pot. It has been restored, and now you can visit it. Finish your tour of Pennsylvania’s kitschy roadside attractions at The Bicycle Built For Two. It’s a 17 foot high tandem bicycle and a great way to end your road trip!
There are so many great things to do and see on an East Coast road trip. From big cities, charming small towns, and beautiful scenery. We hope you enjoyed this list and found a road trip on the East Coast that is perfect for you. Have you ever done any of these road trips? Is there one you’d like to try? Let us know in the comments!