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The eastern part of the United States is the ideal choice for the road trip of a lifetime. Whether you’re a fan of bustling cities, historic sites, or exciting adventures, the eastern part of the country can provide.
If you want to sample the delights of an eastern road trip for yourself, then plotting your route will undoubtedly be the most challenging task you will face. There’s simply so much to capture your attention, narrowing down the options can seem next to impossible – but in this piece, we’ve sought to do just that.
Starting point: Miami, Florida
Starting in the south, you’ll first have the chance to explore all of the wonders Miami can provide before hitting the road. You can take a walking tour of the Art Deco District (which also includes the iconic Ocean Drive), shop up a storm at the wonderful Bayside Marketplace, or step away from the hustle and bustle to experience the tranquil, historic charm of The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. There’s also the opportunity to get onto the water and take a speedboat tour; a nice choice, given you will soon be spending many hours in a car as your road trip gets under way!
Next stop: Orlando, Florida
Distance from Miami: 236 miles (three and a half hours by car)
With Universal Studios, Disney World and the water park Volcano Bay located close to the city, it’s clear that Orlando will always be known as the home of the theme park. However, stepping away from the theme parks can also be rewarding; the Orlando Science Museum promises a fascinating day out, and you can visit the world’s largest collection of Tiffany glass at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art.
Next stop: Jacksonville, Florida
Distance from Orlando: 141 miles (two hours by car)
Jacksonville may not be amongst the most commonly-visited cities in the US, but there’s still plenty to see and do – The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens can offer a relaxing day out amongst beautiful surroundings, while Atlantic Beach is a great choice for anyone interested in surfing. While in the area, a visit to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge offers something a little different; with wide, open spaces and wildlife (including alligators) aplenty, the Refuge will never disappoint.
Next stop: Charleston, South Carolina
Distance from Jacksonville: 238 miles (around three and a half hours by car)
The Fort Sumter National Monument is perhaps the best-known attraction in Charleston, allowing a glimpse back into the past that is definitely worth your time. You can also visit the famous “Rainbow Row” – a row of multicolored houses that date back to the Georgian era – and take a photo with the Angel Oak Tree. The nightlife of Charleston can also be charming and lively, and an evening in one of the many seafood restaurants in the city will definitely be time well spent.
Next stop: Charlotte, North Carolina
Distance from Charleston: 209 miles (three and a half hours by car)
When it comes to adventure and excitement, Charlotte more than delivers. You can visit CaroWinds to ride the truly phenomenal Fury 325 roller coaster, or try whitewater rafting or rock-climbing at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. You can also balance out your stay with gentler pursuits, such as a visit to the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, or immerse yourself in the glory of nature by hiking through Freedom Park.
Next stop: Roanoke, Virginia
Distance from Charlotte: 205 miles (three and a half hours by car)
Something of a hidden gem, Roanoke is the kind of place that offers something for everyone. The beautiful Mill Mountain Park is worth the trip to Roanoke alone; the trails allow you to see the landscape at its best, and you can also visit the zoo, which includes red pandas and, snow leopards, and red wolves amongst others. As well as Mill Mountain Park, the Taubman Museum of Art ensures a fantastic experience, and take a glimpse into the past with a visit to the Virginia Museum of Transportation, which is also located in downtown Roanoke.
Next stop: Washington, District of Columbia
Distance from Roanoke: 241 miles (just over four hours by car)
No eastern USA road trip would be complete without spending a little time in the nation’s capital. There are obviously plenty of landmarks to see in the area, so you can take a walking tour to see the area’s array of instantly-recognizable buildings and structures – such as the Capitol, the Washington Monument, and the White House – in person. A trip to Ford’s Theater is also an ideal way to spend an evening; the theater now exists as both a museum and a live theater venue, so you can learn more about President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination and catch a production of shows such as Guys and Dolls.
Next stop: Atlantic City, New Jersey
Distance from Washington: 194 miles (three and a half hours by car)
Atlantic City is the fantastic blend of incredible entertainment and a classic “seaside” feel. There’s simply so much to see in the area that it’s impossible to list them all, but there are a few standouts: walking the famous boardwalk is always worth the visit, and spending time at the Borgata to see shows such as the Chevy Chase Presents Caddyshack event or comedy from renowned stand-ups such as Trevor Noah is also very highly recommended. In addition, staying in Atlantic City also gives you relatively close access to Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, which is home to the world’s tallest roller coaster, Kingda Ka – a must visit for any roller coaster enthusiast.
Next stop: Brooklyn, New York
Distance from Atlantic City: 146 miles (nearly three hours by car)
When it comes to potential places to visit in New York City, Manhattan tends to receive the bulk of the attention – so we thought we’d instead suggest a stop in the neighboring borough of Brooklyn instead. The Brooklyn Museum is home to around 1.5 million different works and runs regular enthralling exhibitions, while the Waterfront Museum is dedicated to maritime history. There’s also a number of stunning parks in the borough – with the picturesque Prospect Park (pictured above) a particular highlight – and a visit to the charming Coney Island is sure to help complete the ideal penultimate stop of your trip.
Finishing point: Boston, Massachusetts
Distance from Brooklyn: 216 miles (just over four hours by car)
Finally, your road trip comes to a close in Boston – one of the most unique and interesting cities in the U.S. The Freedom Trail remains one of the most popular things to do in the city; the route encompasses 16 different historic sites across two and a half miles – a perfect insight into the history of the U.S. There’s also museums – including the Harvard Museum of Natural History and its famous glass flowers – and the Boston Public Garden is the perfect place to unwind and reflect on the wonders you have seen on your journey.
In the above, we’ve tried to focus on a very eclectic mix of things to do and see – a little history, some metropolitan stops, natural beauty, and so forth. If you want to see the eastern part of the USA at its very best, then the entire Miami-to-Boston route above should be able to deliver, but you can also pick and mix different ideas to custom create your own epic road trip itinerary.
This post was written by a contributing writer and features sponsored links.