The East Coast has it all! Go down south to Florida and you’ll find some of the best beaches in the world. A bit north of that will get you to the Appalachian Mountain, a true gem. We also have incredible cities like New York, Atlanta, and my city, Washington DC.
New England completes the East Coast, with fantastic ski slopes and winter fun. It’s hard to come up with just 13 places to visit on the East Coast as there are hundreds of sites to see. But without further waiting, here’s the list.
List of the Must-See Places to Visit on the East Coast, USA
1. Acadia National Park, Maine
I cover Acadia National Park in much further detail on my blog post about 7 fun things to do near Bangor Maine. The park takes up 47,000 acres or 19,000 hectares and gets around 4 million visitors per year. People come here to see the stunning cliffs, beaches, mountains, and unobstructed Atlantic Ocean views.
Thunder Hole is a spot you need to visit to see those stunning cliffs along with the Atlantic Ocean. Cadillac Mountain gives stunning views of the rest of the park with options to hike or drive up the mountain. Bangor sits just over an hour away from Acadia National Park and is a place I highly recommend visiting. If you want to read more about Acadia National along with 6 other remarkable spots nearby, I highly recommend clicking the link above.
2. National Mall, Washington DC
National Mall is a place that I know far too well. The first thing you need to do is decide which museums you want to see; they are all totally free and are worth seeing. The second thing you need to do is to buy tickets to see the inside of the Washington Monument, Capital, and White House.
There is no money involved with these tickets, but reserving in advance is required. There is so much to see in Washington DC so make sure you designate enough time to see this city.
3. Hudson Yards, New York
There is too much in New York City to possibly cover on this list, I have a blog post designated to this city on my website. We’ll focus on my favourite New York City neighbourhood, Hudson Yards.
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This marvel of an area was built in just 2019, making it New York City’s newest neighbourhood. Everything is brand new, and they didn’t sacrifice on height, as each of these buildings is at least 70 floors tall. The Vessel is the centrepiece of this neighbourhood and is something you can miss.
There is a 7-floor shopping mall in the neighbourhood, and it might be the fanciest place you’ve ever seen. Something you absolutely can’t miss is visiting The Edge. It’s an outdoor observation deck on the 100th floor that will give you crazy views.
The famous High Line also starts at Hudson Yards and is a beautiful walk. When visiting New York City, definitely check out this neighbourhood.
4. Outer Banks, North Carolina
If you like beaches, then the Outer Banks is definitely for you. The Outer Banks is a strip of land outside of North Carolina. You have the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Pamlico Sound to the west. The most obvious thing to do here is relax by the beach, as these beaches are some of the bests in the country.
Many water sports including jet skiing, paddleboarding, boating, and even parasailing is available. While you’re there, make sure to head north to Duck to try the famous Duck Donuts. This country-wide chain originated here, and you can go to the chain’s first shop. The last thing you need to do is visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial, this is where the Wright Brothers flew the first plane.
5. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Shenandoah National Park is situated right in the centre of the Appalachian Mountains giving you a full mountain experience. Hikes are plenty with over 500 miles of trails. Skyline Drive is also another place I highly recommend as it goes straight through the National Park. The last place that comes to mind is Luray Caverns, one of the largest caverns in the country.
6. Cape Canaveral, Florida
Cape Canaveral is cool for one reason, it’s directly next to Kennedy Space Center. Arguably one of the coolest places in the world. The space center has a visitor center that doesn’t disappoint. Here, you can learn about different missions and rockets while getting a first-hand look into the history of space exploration.
There is a rocket simulator which I found extremely fun and even tours past vehicle assembly buildings and the launch pads. If you manage to come here during a launch, you’re in luck. You can go to the nearby Exploration Tower in Cape Canaveral to view the launch. Watching a rocket launch is definitely something worth adding to your bucket list.
7. Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Gatlinburg is the most inland place on this list, meaning the furthest from the Atlantic Ocean. This is like a hidden gem of a place that not many people know about. Just like Shenandoah National Park, expect to get the full mountain experience here.
The town is located in the Smoky Mountains, a specific mountain range inside the Appalachian Mountains. The coolest thing in the city is the Gatlinburg SkyBridge, the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America.
Next, check out the Moonshine Mountain Coaster for an amazing experience. If you don’t mind a small drive, head north to The Island in Pigeon Forge. There are shops, games, a giant Ferris Wheel, and even a hotel. It’s an extremely cool place to be in.
8. Ithaca, New York
Home to the famous Cornell University, visiting Ithaca puts you right in the center of Upstate New York, and the finger lakes. The first and most obvious thing to do is to explore Cornell University, it’s the 17th-best college in the United States.
The college was built in 1865 and provides stunning architecture without out-of-this-world views. Ithaca is located at the southern edge of Cayuga Lake, one of the finger lakes. Take a 40-minute drive west to get to Watkins Glen, another town bordering another finger lake. Watkins Glen State Park is nearby and is must-see.
9. Stowe, Vermont
If you want skiing, look no further than Stowe in Vermont. Stowe Mountain Resort is often considered the best ski resort on the east coast. The resort has 116 trails that span 40 miles, and 12 lifts.
The slopes vary from beginner to expert, fun for everyone. The surrounding scenery is beautiful too and the tops of the slopes provide excellent views. If you’re into skiing or passionate to learn skiing, Stowe Mountain Resort is definitely for you.
10. Boston, Massachuttes
Some call this place the education capital of the world, others know it for the famous Boston Marathon. Either way, this city never fails to impress. Many know that the harbour is where it’s at, with downtown being cantered at the Boston Main Channel.
A combination of 3 rivers that feed into Massachusetts Bay. Enjoy downtown views at the pier and even take a peek at the Institute of Contemporary Art. The building looks stunning from the outside and even more incredible on the inside.
A short walk to the Boston Common Park will give you some greenery right in the middle of the city. Boston is home to M.I.T and Harvard, two of the best colleges in the country. Their campuses are equally impressive and are definitely worth checking out.
11. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia is a history-rich city with coolness throughout. The city’s main attraction is the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where you can walk up the same steps as Rocky. The views of the city from this museum are incredible as portrayed from the photo above.
The Liberty Bell is also located in Philadelphia, this bell has been around since before the United States won its Independence. Many people don’t know that Philadelphia was the capital of the United States from 1790 to 1800. This is where Independence Hall comes in, a building that had great importance during the American Revolution.
12. Miami Florida
If you are looking for warm weather, crazy nightlife, and a summer-type vibe, Miami is a place you simply can’t miss. Downtown is a happening place with places like Brickell City Centre and Bayside Marketplace. Both are popular shopping malls. Some crazy beaches are nearby at Miami Beach, a strip of land around 5 miles from downtown.
Here, you’ll find fancy shops, hotels, cars, and restaurants. Many cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean and Carnival have ports here so if you’re taking a cruise, chances are that you’ll also be seeing Miami.
13. Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimore is a city that gets a bad rep but shouldn’t be overlooked. I was recently there for 3 weeks and found the city to be so much nicer than people make it seem. Inner Harbor is a fantastic place to hang out with downtown right behind.
The National Aquarium is an incredible sight to see with the Hard rock cafe Power plant extremely nearby. Head a bit north to discover The Walters Art Museum, an incredible museum. The Washington Monument which is different from the one in Washington DC is also an incredible sight to see and provides stunning views from the top.
Conclusion For Places to Visit on the East Coast
Well, there you have it, 13 must-see places to visit on the East Coast, USA. Each of these places brings a unique experience and will surely give you a good time. The East Coast has so much to see, it would be foolish to overlook this region. What are you waiting for? Give the East Coast a visit and experience some of these places for yourself.