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The top things to do on an East Coast road trip

Beach boardwalks, informative museums, and quirky roadside attractions from Boston to Miami

  • 32
  • 48:54
  • 2,584 mi
  • $403

Created by Roadtrippers - October 21st 2020

A road trip down the Atlantic Coast will take you past the historic towns of Plymouth, Massachusetts and Newport, Rhode Island, through the hustle and bustle of New York City, along Maryland's Chesapeake Bay coast to Virginia Beach and North Carolina's Outer Banks. From there, you'll pass through the gorgeous, sleepy hamlet of Savannah, Georgia and down to the oldest city in the U.S., St. Augustine, Florida. Then it's an oceanside cruise along the Space Coast to vibrant Miami Beach and finally, colorful Key West. Sure, you could take I-95 all the way from Boston to Miami, but with several detours and scenic byways this trip is more than 2,400 miles full of beaches, woodlands, two-lane country roads, vintage diners, charming small towns, and urban adventures.

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Boston, MA

You'll want to plan at least half a day to accomplish the 2.5-mile Revolutionary Freedom Trail in Boston, Massachusetts. Afterwards, the best place to grab a bite to eat is historic Faneuil Hall, which features dozens of food stands. If you have time (or you're traveling with kids) visit the New England Aquarium and the Museum of Science.

Plimoth Plantation

From Boston, head south to historic Plymouth and experience the harsh reality of 17th-century life at Plimoth Plantation. The plantation is "a living history museum," showcasing the original 1627 English settlement complete with costumed colonists.

Battleship Cove

As you leave Massachusetts, take a detour to Fall River and see Battleship Cove, which features the world's largest collection of WWII naval vessels.

White Horse Tavern

When you're hungry, head over to White Horse Tavern in Newport, Rhode Island for delicious regional, upscale cuisine in a historic building that dates back to 1673.

The entire East Coast is dotted with beautiful lighthouses, and one of the best is the Montauk Lighthouse Museum in East Hampton.

New Haven Lighthouse

Once you reach New Haven, Connecticut, visit the New Haven Lighthouse, a gorgeous historic lighthouse from the mid-1800s, featuring a beautiful, antique carousel built in 1916.

The High Line

When you reach New York City, see a different side of the city with a mile and a half walk along the High Line, an elevated park built atop an abandoned section of the New York Central Railroad.


Lombardi's has been serving perfect thin-crust New York-style pizza since 1905.

Bamboo Forest

After the hustle and bustle of NYC, head over to New Brunswick, New Jersey's serene and lush Bamboo Forest, which is open year round. A walk through the garden is the perfect way to relax after driving, or to stretch your legs.

Trolley Car Diner & Deli

If Lombardi's pizza wasn't filling enough—or if you're ready for dinner—The Trolley Car Diner & Deli in Philadelphia serves breakfast and beer next to a trolley car that serves ice cream.


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Morris House Hotel

If you need a place to spend the night, Philadelphia's Morris House Hotel is set in a colonial home built in 1787. The boutique hotel is just a block from Washington Square Park and a few minutes from Independence Hall.

The Mutter Museum

The Mutter Museum in Philadelphia showcases medical oddities including wax models, a wall of human skulls, slices of Albert Einstein's brain, and the world's largest colon.

Once you reach Maryland, visit the 41,000-acre Assateague Island National Seashore, a refuge for wild ponies.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

If you head into Washington, D.C. the National Museum of Natural History is not to be missed.


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The Hay-Adams Hotel

If you're looking for a place to spend the night in the nation's capital, the Hay-Adams Hotel in D.C.—built in 1928—is located on Lafayette Square and looks out directly over The White House.


Fredericksburg, VA

A short drive south of D.C. is the historic Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.

Buz and Ned's Real Barbecue

When you've got a hankering for some delicious southern barbecue, head to Buz and Ned's Real Barbecue in Richmond, Virginia. They're famous for their ribs, pork, and brisket, and refreshing microbrews.


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Foreman House Bed and Breakfast

Once you hit North Carolina, spend a night at the Foreman House Bed and Breakfast in Elizabeth City. The historic bed and breakfast is located just a mile off of Route 17.

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

When you want to stretch your legs, pull over at the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. This is a must-stop along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, especially for bird lovers.


Rodanthe, NC

The Inn at Rodanthe, made famous in the movie Nights in Rodanthe, almost fell into the ocean—it's since been moved to a safer location off the beach, but still makes for an impressive photo op.

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Roadtrippers helps you find the most epic destinations and detours—from roadside attractions to natural wonders and beyond.

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