The East Coast is home to many great weekend getaways. From charming islands, historic little towns to gorgeous nature and beautiful national parks. In this post you will find some amazing suggestions on how to spend a weekend getaway on the East Coast.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Places to Visit on the East Coast on a Weekend
- 1.1 Nantucket, Massachusetts
- 1.2 Everglades City, Florida
- 1.3 Providence, Rhode Island
- 1.4 Poconos, Pennsylvania
- 1.5 Newport, Rhode Island
- 1.6 Lake Placid, New York
- 1.7 Acadia National Park, Maine
- 1.8 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
- 1.9 Burlington, Vermont
- 1.10 Chincoteague, Virginia
- 1.11 Amelia Island, Florida
- 1.12 Jekyll Island, Georgia
- 1.13 Bar Harbor, Maine
- 1.14 Destin, Florida
- 1.15 Savannah, Georgia
- 1.16 Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
- 1.17 Asheville, North Carolina
- 1.18 Annapolis, Maryland
- 1.19 Dover, Delaware
- 1.20 Charlottesville, Virginia
Best Places to Visit on the East Coast on a Weekend
Recommended by Linn Haglund of Brainy Backpackers
Nantucket makes the perfect weekend getaway. The charming island is jam-packed with things to do from learning about the history of Nantucket to chasing stunning beaches.
The most noteworthy museums you should make sure you visit are the Museum of African American History, Nantucket Whaling Museum, and Nantucket Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum.
Make sure you go to Siasconset to see some of the oldest houses in Nantucket. The beach there is also incredibly beautiful and you can walk the Sconset Bluff Walk to Sankaty Head Lighthouse for sunset.
Renting a bike to see the island is a wonderful way to explore the trails and beaches, but also a great way to practice responsible tourism, not only because of the obvious reasons but also because there are a lot of vulnerable turtles on the island that unfortunately walk on the road and can easily become victims of traffic.
Back in Nantucket Downtown, there is a lot of shopping, restaurants, and cafes to enjoy.
Everglades City, Florida
Recommended by Paula Martinelli from Paula Pins the Planet
The city of Everglades is a charming fishing village with a population of 443 people, great food, and a long history. It is knowing as the fishing and stone crab capital of Southwest Florida.
The Everglade City is located on the western gateway to Everglades National Park, nearby Chokoloskee Island. It is only a 1:30 hour drive from Miami, and it makes a great weekend gateway to visit this heaven for lovers of outdoor activities, with loads of nature, many hiking trails to choose from, and water activities like kayaking and the traditional airboat.
You can explore the historic city of Everglades City and Chokoloskee Island by car, bicycle, or on foot, and be able to appreciate up close a legendary past such as visiting buildings from the 1920s.
Another must-visit place during your trip to the Everglades City is the Ten Thousand Islands Wildlife Refuge the second largest mangrove forest in the world forming fascinating labyrinths of water and islands with very rich wildlife, including some endangered species.
Providence, Rhode Island
Recommended by Jade from the The Migrant Yogi
Providence, RI is an ideal New England weekend getaway. As one of the oldest cities in the nation, it’s teeming with history and culture. The city boasts a thriving nightlife and one of the best culinary scenes in the country, so you can be excited about dining at one of the best restaurants in Providence.
There is no shortage of things to do in RI’s capital city. You can explore the gritty, hipster neighborhood of the West End, or wander the tree-lined streets and admire the beautiful architecture of the East Side.
Somewhere in between, you’ll find Waterplace Park. If you’ve never been to Waterfire before, be sure to check out this iconic Providence event. Generally held on Saturday nights in the summer months, fires are lit along the river’s center and vendors and street performers line up to showcase their crafts.
Providence has something for everyone. Ready to book your weekend trip?
Recommended by Derek and Mike from Robe Trotting
One of America’s most serene and peaceful east coast destinations is northeastern Pennsylvania’s Poconos region. It’s an area with forested peaks and mountain lakes with waterfalls and hiking trails to entertain travelers.
The gorgeous natural attractions provide seasonal activities as well. In the winter months, the Poconos is Pennsylvania’s premier skiing destination. Ski resorts like Camelback, Big Bear, and Montage Mountain are full of visitors.
The area is also full of luxury cabins and many Poconos Airbnb homes rival five-star resorts. It’s also a popular destination for leaf peepers in the autumn months due to the incredible fall foliage. The spring launches the beginning of the hiking season with paintball, antiquing, and spring festivals adding to the fun.
During the summer months, many visitors enjoy whitewater rafting through the Lehigh River Gorge. The summer months are also perfect for jet skiing and boating on the mountain lakes in the area. Lake Wallenpaupack is one of the most popular places for summer activities.
Newport, Rhode Island
Recommended by Jenessa Baird-Van Woerkom from Destination Daydreamer
Newport, Rhode Island is a perfect weekend getaway on the East Coast. Newport is lined with a beautiful rocky coastline, gorgeous historic mansions, and breathtaking lighthouses.
The top thing you MUST do in Newport is to take a tour of the gorgeous Newport mansions. The Breakers is the grandest of the Newport mansions built by the wealthy Vanderbilt family in the 1800s. And the self-guided audio tour includes super interesting stories about the help and is highly recommended!
Also, be sure to soak in the views on the breathtaking Newport Cliff Walk. Plus if the weather is chilly, take a stop at The Chanler’s Hot Chocolate Bar for gourmet hot chocolate with an ocean view!
Finally, be sure to take a drive to visit the nine amazing lighthouses in the area. Bring along a picnic lunch and enjoy sweeping views from Beavertail Lighthouse and scramble on the rocky coastline.
Lake Placid, New York
Recommended by Kelly of Girl with the Passport
Nestled away in the Adirondack region of New York is Lake Placid – a charming little town that is brimming with history since it was the site of both the 1932 and 1980 winter olympics.
That’s why, if you’re looking for a romantic weekend getaway in upstate New York, then this is the perfect place for you!
So, after you check into your gorgeous room at the stunning Whiteface Lodge, feel free to take a stroll through town and visit some of the amazing Olympic sites that you’ll see along the way. You could take a picturesque walk around Mirror Lake or stop at one of the many local eateries and boutiques that can be found throughout the center of town.
Afterward, hike (or drive if you’re not feeling super energetic) to the top of nearby Whiteface Mountain and follow that up with a pint of your fave draft beer at Lake Placid Pub and Brewery.
If you have the time, you could even take a day trip to The Wild Center, an outdoor natural history museum in Tupper Lake, or admire some of the amazing waterfalls that you’ll find at nearby Ausable Chasm.
However, if you want to stay within the town of Lake Placid itself, you could always visit the John Brown Farm State Historic Site. It’s a wonderful museum with a scenic hiking trail that was the home of and is now the final resting place of abolitionist John Brown.
Regardless of what you choose to do, it’s a fantastic east coast weekend getaway that you will not regret!
Acadia National Park, Maine
Recommended by James Ian from Parks Collecting
Acadia National Park is the perfect weekend getaway in the northeast. There is a wide range of places to stay because the lovely town of Bar Harbor is right outside the park entrance.
Choose from camping inside or nearby the park, an Airbnb in Bar Harbor, or a more upscale hotel. Inside the park, there are plenty of incredible hikes that end up at hilltops with breathtaking views of the surrounding water and islands.
There are also miles of old carriage roads that are perfect for walking or cycling. In summer, you can swim at Sand Beach or in Echo Lake. In fall, the foliage color is stunning. Don’t miss having popovers (eggy ‘muffins’) smothered in butter and jam at Jordan Pond Boathouse.
You can also go kayaking along the rocky shoreline or take a sailboat trip around the islands. Add in a ferry trip to the nearby Cranberry Islands and lunch at a shoreside lobster shack, and you have the perfect weekend!
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Recommended by Victoria from Guide Your Travel
Myrtle Beach is the perfect little beach town for a weekend getaway on the East Coast. Whether you are a couple looking to spend a weekend by the water or a family with kids there is something to do for everyone.
Of course, Myrtle Beach State Park and its many beaches are one of the main attractions here. Pack a swimsuit and enjoy the white-sand beaches. This area is perfect for long beach walks and water sports.
After a relaxing day by the ocean head to Broadway by the Beach which is a large entertainment center and shopping mall. This is the perfect spot for lunch, have ice cream, or do some shopping.
Don’t miss out on the giant Ferris wheel that is one of Myrtle Beach’s main attractions. After your weekend in Myrtle Beach, you’ll find yourself wanting to come back for more.
Recommended by Karen at Outdoor Adventure Sampler
The vibrant city of Burlington is located on Lake Champlain, nestled in the northwest corner of Vermont. Known for its scenic beauty and foodie culture, Burlington is a fabulous weekend getaway.
Start out with a visit to the pedestrian mall of Church Street. With its one of a kind stores, street performers, and restaurants with outdoor seating, you can spend a whole afternoon there.
For a more active exploration, rent a bicycle on the Burlington Bike Path. You can pedal along the water and stop at several beautiful beaches along the way. There are expansive views of the Adirondack Mountains across Lake Champlain from the bike path.
The Echo Center, the premier science and nature center on Lake Champlain, is also a visitor favorite. Enjoy hours of scientific discovery in the exhibits of the Echo Center.
Finally, don’t miss a spectacular sunset over Lake Champlain. Stroll through Waterfront Park in the evening and watch the sun melt into the horizon in an explosion of color.
Recommended by Megan from Virginia Travel Tips
One of the best weekend getaways on the East Coast is the small beach town of Chincoteague, Virginia. The town was voted the best small beach town in the United States by USA Today in 2020 and is an up-and-coming destination for a weekend getaway!
There are many things to do in Chincoteague. A popular reason to visit is to check out the wild ponies that live there. Made famous from a book called ‘Misty of Chincoteague’ that dates back to 1947, the ponies are a main attraction in the town.
In addition to wildlife watching, you can also visit the Assateague Lighthouse and the Assateague Island National Seashore. The Seashore is shared with Maryland and has some of the most underrated beaches on the east coast. If you’re into space, you can always head to the Wallops Flight Facility where NASA sends rockets off to space from.
Another perk of visiting Chincoteague is that it is an affordable destination. There are plenty of Airbnbs in Chincoteague and the Eastern Shore of Virginia that are suitable for all budgets and you can even rent a waterfront property for a smaller price than down in Virginia Beach or the Outer Banks. That, and the many things to do, make Chincoteague an excellent getaway!
Amelia Island, Florida
Recommended by Nichola of Globalmouse Travel
Amelia Island in northern Florida is an absolutely perfect location for a weekend break. While many of the beach resorts of Florida can feel busy Amelia Island is like a secret getaway.
Named after George II’s daughter, Princess Amelia the island is around two hours from Orlando but a world apart. Here you can lose yourself in the miles upon miles of sandy beaches. Clinch State Park is perfect for outdoor adventures like mountain biking and hiking with over 1400 acres of parkland and beaches.
Explore the lighthouse here, the oldest in the state, and visit the farmer’s market which is one of the best around. There are also a number of great museums, the best being the Maritime Museum of Amelia Island and the fantastic Amelia Island Museum of History. This island, packed full of some of the best family resorts in Florida is made for weekend breaks.
Jekyll Island, Georgia
Recommended by Nichola of Globalmouse Travel
Jekyll Island is the perfect weekend getaway. This island retreat, off the coast of Georgia, has been welcoming visitors to enjoy its solitude for centuries. Jekyll Island is all about peace and relaxation of the best kind. Hire bikes and cycle around the island, it’s an easy bike trip and the scenery is ever-changing.
Make your way to Driftwood Beach, one of the best beaches in the US which has beautiful sand scattered with the fallen limbs of Pine and Oak trees. There’s something very other wordily about Driftwood Beach and it’s the perfect spot to watch the sunset from.
There are some great resorts on the island too, including the Jekyll Island Club which just oozes old-world charm. Visit Jekyll Island on a road trip through Florida and Georgia or on its own for a couple of days, you will fall in love with its beauty.
Bar Harbor, Maine
Recommended by Disha Smith from Disha Discovers
There are so many amazing weekend getaways on the East Coast and Bar Harbor, Maine is one of them. Located in New England, Bar Harbor is truly is a gem.
Bar Harbor is located on Mt. Desert Island and it’s the gateway for Acadia National Park. Summer is the best time to visit because the weather is more pleasant and hotels and attractions are open again after being closed for the winter. However, it’s beautiful all year round.
Be sure to kayak around the coast or do a whale watching tour when visiting Bar Harbor. You can also hit the hiking trails at Acadia National Park. Also, stroll around the banks of Frenchman Bay. Make sure you get a photo in front of the infamous Bar Harbor Town Pier.
Further, spend the afternoon walking around Village Green which is the heart of Bar Harbor. Lastly, end the day enjoying a drink and a delicious seafood dinner at one of the many local restaurants.
Recommended by Dhara from It’s Not About the Miles
Looking for a beach getaway on the Emerald Coast of Florida? Consider Destin, with its dazzling white sand beaches and photogenic turquoise waters.
You will find lots of things to do in Destin, from deep sea fishing to all kinds of water sports to shopping and strolling the waterfront. Of course, spending time on the many beautiful beaches is also a must, whether you sunbathe or stroll or build sand castles.
Kids will love Big Kahuna’s Water Park, with its many thrilling water rides. Enjoy a sunset cruise to look for dolphins or hang out in a boat at Crab Island. Sunsets in Destin are spectacular, and Henderson Beach State Park is a great place to enjoy it.
Make sure you reserve tables at some of the best restaurants in Destin: it is known for its many quality eateries, many of which offer water views as well.
Recommended by Theresa, Fueled by Wanderlust
Savannah, Georgia is the perfect destination for a weekend that includes historic charm, gorgeous scenery, and delicious food. Most visitors stay in downtown Savannah for easy walkability to the best sights. This includes its twenty-two beautiful squares, historic mansions like Mercer House and the Owens-Thomas House, and the Savannah Riverfront.
Take a walking tour of Savannah to truly understand your historical surroundings, as simply strolling under the romantic live oaks draped with delicate Spanish Moss is an experience in itself. Two popular sites that are free to visit and perfect for leisurely walks include Forsyth Park with its lovely fountain, and Jones Street for its rows of picturesque houses.
Finally, it would be remiss to visit Savannah without trying some delicious Lowcountry fare. For a classy dining experience, head straight to the Olde Pink House, which is one of the city’s oldest buildings. Its BLT salad made with fried green tomatoes is quite famous, but the whole menu is delicious. For a more modern experience, visit Collins Quarter for brunch or dinner, and be sure to try the lavender mocha.
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Recommended by Brittany Stretchbery of Family on Standby
Hilton Head Island is one of the most laid back beach towns on the east
coast. And part of the charm is that it’s a destination for all ages.
Located in South Carolina – Hilton Head is nestled between Charleston
and Savannah. And a visit here can be spent unwinding with a variety of
Hilton Head is a barrier island with 12 miles of beautiful beach to
explore. There is no shortage of soft sand, and that’s partly why it’s
known as one of the most relaxing beach destinations. For golf lovers,
Hilton Head Island offers over 24 courses and is continuously voted one
of the top golf destinations in the country. If golf isn’t your thing,
rent a bike. You’ll see people riding bikes all over Hilton Head. Given
its small size, this seems to be one of the preferred ways to get
And when it comes time to grab a bite to eat, treat yourself to some of
the delicious coastal cuisine. The Crazy Crab is where you’ll find
delicious seafood (and the added perk of walking around Harbour Town.
And the Salty Dog Café is always a classic.
Asheville, North Carolina
Recommended by Julia Williams from The Cure for Curiosity
With just minimal planning you can have a perfect weekend in Asheville, North Carolina. This quaint city is nestled into the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers a wide variety of activities for the outdoorsman, culture lovers, and craft beer seekers.
Spend your days in the great outdoors hiking through the mountains, chasing down countless waterfalls, or driving the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. Or, opt for the more cultural options in the area, like touring America’s Largest Home® at the Biltmore Estate, which spans over 175,000 square feet, or admiring the countless art galleries, studios, and murals in the River Arts District.
Round out your days by sampling the delicious Southern cuisine around Asheville, including some of the best brunch spots around, like Biscuit Head and Tupelo Honey. And, don’t forget to taste as many craft beers as you have time for. Asheville is home to over 30 breweries with more than 45 in the greater Asheville area!
Recommended by Pamela from The Directionally Challenged Traveler
With plenty of things to do and limited crowds, a weekend getaway to Annapolis is often overlooked for the bigger cities of Baltimore and Washington D.C. This walkable city is home to the United States Naval Academy where you can learn about military history and culture as well as honoring our veterans. The entire city is safe and walkable – making it a great destination for a quick getaway.
Walkthrough history dating back to the American Revolution. The Maryland State House is the oldest state capitol building in continuous legislative use and the only one that ever served as the United States capital. Tour some of the historic houses such as the William Paca House for a glimpse into history. Once you’ve gotten your fill of history, head to downtown Annapolis for your fill of delicious food and drinks! Head to Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls for your seafood fix, or the Reynolds Tavern for American fare with a touch of history.
Annapolis’ charming personality, historical sights, and walkable streets make it a great weekend getaway on the east coast.
Recommended by Neha from Travelmelodies
Dover, the capital city of Delaware is a city that get sidelined by the big cities like DC and Philly around it. But with so much history and fun things to do, it is a must visit weekend getaways on the East Coast. We visited the city as a day trip from Philadelphia.
Delaware is called ‘The First State’ as it became the first state to be ratified to US constitution in 1787. To know more about the event and history, head over to The First State Heritage Park and take the free tour. The Heritage Park consists of many sites like The Old State House, Delaware Legislative Hall, Johnson Victrola Museum and many more that are worth exploring. It is advices to begin by visiting the Welcome Center & Galleries to get acquainted with the exhibits and sites that are a part of the First State Heritage Park.
A must visit in Dover is the Air Mobility Command Museum at Dover Air Force Base with displays of a variety of military air crafts. There are decommissioned Air Force One and the Air tank lifter helicopters. The best part is that you can even check them from inside. Admission to the museum is free.
Recommended by by Julie McCool, Fun in Fairfax VA
When you need an escape in the DC area, plan a weekend getaway to Charlottesville Virginia, a historic town with a hip vibe. If you love history, start with a tour of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and the University of Virginia. The two sites make up the only UNESCO World Heritage site in Virginia.
When hunger strikes, head to Charlottesville’s downtown pedestrian mall. The outdoor mall is lined with local places to dine, drink, and shop and excellent hotels nearby offer a convenient base for exploring.
Outside the downtown core, take a scenic drive to sample Virginia wineries on the Monticello Wine Trail. Jefferson Vineyard, where Jefferson once planted grapes, is just 1.5 miles from Monticello. Or skip the wine and head to a spectacular view from nearby Carter Mountain where you can relax enjoy fresh apple cider donuts and soak in a view of C’ville and the Blue Ridge Mountains.