The east coast is filled with quaint seaside towns, booming metropolises, fun and quirky attractions, and loads of history dating back to colonial America and beyond. If you live in or near the east coast and you're looking for a nice getaway for a day or two, check out this list of possible trip destinations for you and your group.
Let's start with one of the biggest draws to the east coast: history. Whether it's the colonial era, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, or the numerous memorials that catch your fancy, there's no shortage on the Atlantic coast. The obvious destination is Washington, D.C. where you can find all of the best national monuments dedicated to great Americans (plus a bunch of amazing museums). Philadelphia and Boston are also amazing for their plethora of historic attractions including the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Valley Forge, Freedom Trail, and the Old State House. Moreover, Williamsburg, Virginia is home to the most famous living history village at Colonial Williamsburg where you can see a number of historic buildings, museums, historic demonstrations, and experience the colonial era firsthand.
If you're looking for something a little unexpected and untraversed, try Salem, Massachusetts. This relatively small New England town was built on the history of the Salem Witch Trials of which, I am sure, you are aware. The beautiful landscape is in striking contrast with the museums and monuments built to represent that awful piece of history. It is, however, extremely interesting. The Salem Witch Museum, Witch Dungeon Museum, Witch History Museum, and the only house remaining from the 17th century trials, simply named Witch Museum, are but a few of the witch related attractions.
If history isn't your thing, or you want to get back to nature, there are perfect destinations for you like Shenandoah Caverns in Virginia. Since 1922, Shenandoah Caverns has been showing off its geological features to the public. Exploring caves during the summer months is a lovely alternative to hiking in extreme heat since the underground attraction keeps at a comfortable 56 degrees. The unreal limestone constructions boggle the mind and strike the imagination in grand rooms like the Grotto of the Gods and Diamond Cascade. The caverns park has also created man made attractions such as Main Street of Yesteryear and the American Celebration on Parade. The cave is, of course, the main event and is sure to steal the show.
Another natural wonder that everyone should visit at least once in there life has to be Niagara Falls. Straddling the border between Canada and New York, three rushing falls plummet violently at 32 feet per second, sending up misty clouds and rainbows to a hushed and awed crowd. Ride the boat below the falls and look upwards, feel the spray on your face as you stand on the observation decks, or even explore the rest of America's oldest state park where you can also find an aquarium.
New England, more than any other place in the United States, was a magnet for magnates like Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, and Carnegie. These tycoons built magnificent estates that exist to this day as tourist destinations for those who wish to applaud the amazing architecture, stand in awe of the grandeur, and possibly envy the furnishings. Kykuit, the Rockefeller estate, is less than an hour from New York City in the Hudson River Valley. Learn about the Rockefeller family, walk the enchanted gardens, view the art collections including works by Pablo Picasso, explore the Coach Barn's collection of carriages and cars, as well as the rest of the six-story mansion. Kykuit is located in Sleepy Hollow, New York, another small town with an interesting history as the inspiration for Washington Irving's headless horseman legend. Other amazing estates include the Biltmore Estate, home of the Vanderbilts, as well as the summer mansions of Newport which are open (most of them) for public tours.
On your weekend, or day, getaways, you may only be interested in rest and relaxation. Perhaps you want to see new things in a quaint and comforting setting. If you picture the sounds of the sea, salty sea-spray wind on your face, and the squawk of seagulls in the background, you may find yourself heading to one of the east coast's fabulous seaside villages. All up and down the coast you can find quirky coastal towns with a flair for simple enjoyment. Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Montauk, New York are wonderful for uncrowded beaches, Adirondack chairs on cliff sides, and cute antique stores manned by friendly locals. Rehoboth, Delaware has a fun mile-long boardwalk lined with funnel cake stands, amusing activities, and shops that attract people from all over the country. Lastly, Chincoteague is an island home to a wildlife reserve off the coast of Virginia. The only resort island in Virginia, Chincoteague is famous for no high tides, no traffic, and low crowds as well as the famed Chincoteague ponies. Only a short boat ride away is the wildlife reserve on Assateague Island, home to the wild ponies that inspired the award winning book Misty of Chincoteague written by Marguerite Henry in 1947.
If you're not feeling the small town scene, there are, of course, large cities as an alternative. New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. are all excellent destinations with plenty to offer in the way of daily attractions.
Depending on where you live, you can visit more than one or even all of these suggested destinations. For a full weekend getaway, possibly combine attractions and end with a relaxing stay at a seaside bed and breakfast. From historic homes to natural wonders, there are thousands of possible attractions on the east coast that would make for excellent day trips. Your whole group is sure to enjoy an east coast adventure this summer.