While 2020 was a lot to handle, with the borders closed to international travel, we took full advantage of the opportunity to explore the East Coast in particular New England. In between planning a wedding, my husband and I planned several road trips to New York, Vermont, and most recently Massachusetts. Driving a few hours from home, we acquainted ourselves with the small rural towns we overlooked in the past. We also visited the destinations that have been on our travel wish list for a while. Since there are so many incredible places to visit on the East Coast, we’ve decided even when things open back up, local travel is here to stay for us. While we have so much more to see, so far, here are the best vacation spots on the East Coast.
Whether you are looking to plan your first local getaway a few hours from home or you’re curious to see what is involved, grab a copy of my travel planning guide which will give you a realistic overview of the things to consider when planning local trips during the pandemic.
Places To Visit On the East Coast
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Hands down Cape Cod is one of the best vacation spots on the East Coast. Spanning over 400 miles, this popular summertime travel destination has everything you need for a relaxing beach getaway including lighthouses, sparkling beaches, breweries and wineries, cultural attractions, and more.
Having visited Martha’s Vineyard a few years ago, we couldn’t wait to visit Cape Cod and stop at a seafood shack. While our trip was short, we spent a day in Provincetown and grabbed a few drinks at Bad Martha’s Brewery in Falmouth. Check out our Cape Cod Food Guide for more food and drink options.
Press play to watch our Cape Cod getaway recap.
Read Next: Free Things To Do in Martha’s Vineyard
Town of Hunter, New York
While I had visited Hunter Mountain years ago where I climbed to the top of the Hunter Mountain Fire Tower, last Fall I had a chance to spend a few days exploring the area while celebrating my birthday. Home to famous ski resorts, the Fall foliage here is breathtaking. If you plan on visiting in September or October, do not miss Oktoberfest at Hunter Mountain, an annual event celebrating German heritage, beer, and food. Hunter Mountain is one of the best places to visit in the Fall in the East Coast.
Read Next: Best Travel Podcasts For Road Trips
If you’re looking for small towns to visit in Vermont hugging the countryside, I recommend visiting Bennington, Vermont. We discovered Bennington after finding a gorgeous rustic Airbnb cabin in Shaftsbury, approximately 20-minutes away.
Bennington was Vermont’s first established town, so there are plenty of opportunities to step back in time. Visit the Bennington Museum which houses one of the oldest American flags or tour a well-preserved Victorian mansion.
Nearby I visited my first barn-covered bridge at Arlington Green Covered Bridge, one of Vermont’s oldest covered bridges. Growing up in New York City, I am fascinated by these! Bennington is also a great place to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities like hiking, leaf-peeping in the Fall, and lake swimming.
Listen to this episode, we share the things we loved about Vermont and how we planned our trip.
Noteworthy Attractions in Bennington:
For a sweeping vista view of the local area, visit Bennington Battle Monument, one of Vermont’s most historic sites. Completed in 1891, the Bennington Battle Monument is a 306-foot-high stone obelisk that commemorates the Battle of Bennington (said to be a turning point of the American Revolutionary War). Unfortunately during our visit the elevator to the observatory was closed but we enjoyed the views from the grounds. This is a great spot to rest and enjoy a picnic.
As the capital of the United States, there’s no shortage of things to do in Washington, D.C. Washington D.C. has clearly marked bike lanes which make cycling a great way to see the city. Along the way, you’ll find tons of museums like the Smithsonian Institution, the National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, and more.
Looking for more places to go on the East Coast? As I continue to explore more destinations on the East Coast, I will update this post, so bookmark it and check back often for updates.
Where would you recommend visiting next? Leave a comment and let me know!
Danielle Desir is a financially savvy traveler, 5x author, and podcaster. She paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27, and has traveled to 27 countries. She refuses to let her financial responsibilities hold her back from living life on her terms. Listen to The Thought Card Podcast here.