The east coast of the USA is home to amazing landscapes, historical attractions, culture & traditions, breathtaking drives, mountain views, and delicious culinary delights. In this post discover 15 epic east coast USA road trip itinerary ideas to start planning your own!
15 Ultimate East Coast USA Road Trip Itinerary Ideas
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What States are on the East Coast of the US?
The east coast of the United States comprises the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
All the fourteen states on the East Coast border the Atlantic Ocean and form the eastern seaboard of the country. It will take about 45 hours, give or take to drive coast to coast.
Popular east coast cities include New York City, Boston, Miami, and Orlando! And there are national parks, and beach resort getaway places like Myrtle Beach on the Atlantic Coast and beyond.
So whether it is embarking on a scenic New England road trip in the fall, the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC, checking out the Kennedy Space center and Walt Disney World in Florida, or soaking in views of lighthouses in Maine to the southernmost point in Key West, the trip combinations are endless!
Packing for USA road trips
Here are some essential items to pack for your upcoming road trip destinations,
- Emergency Car Kit – Bring an emergency car kit with you on all of your road trips. This 90 piece emergency comprises a portable air compressor, tow strap, jumper cables, and more. Buy your emergency car kit here
- First Aid Kit – Carry a small first aid kit. Buy a first aid kit here
- GPS or Offline Maps – Don’t forget a GPS for road navigation. Buy GPS here. Or download Google Maps prior to your trip. Maps.me is a good option too.
- Car Adaptor – To charge your smartphone and/or other electronics. Buy your car adaptor here
- Music – Great Playlist
- Clothes – Including a waterproof jacket. Buy my all-time favorite jacket here
- Scarf – To cozy up or as a cover-up
- Flip flops – To walk the beach. Buy your flip flops here
- Camera – Don’t forget your camera to capture beautiful road trip photos. Buy our favorite camera here
- Sunscreen and any OTC medications – Buy sunscreen here
- And of course, don’t forget car insurance and roadside assistance service. Get this nifty holder to keep details
NYC to Finger Lakes East Coast Road Trip
By Allison from Eternal Arrival
- Number of Days: 5 Days
- Route: From New York City to the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York
This NYC to Finger Lakes road trip is the perfect East Coast road trip for wine lovers, waterfall friends, and art lovers alike. This road trip can be done at any time of year, as there’s never a bad time to visit the Finger Lakes!
However, winter weather can be unpredictable, so we suggest visiting the Finger Lakes in summer if you want to swim and enjoy the lakes or in autumn if you want to take advantage of the beautiful fall foliage.
Day 1 -2: Start by leaving New York City and going straight to Ithaca; traveling via Scranton, Pennsylvania is the fastest (and a fun stop for fans of the Office — or President Biden!) Travel around Ithaca for some of the best waterfalls you’ll be able to find anywhere in the US!
A few great waterfalls include the waterfall at Cascadilla Gorge Trail and the falls at Taughannock Falls State Park.
After exploring the waterfalls, do some wine tasting around Cayuga Lake, following the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail.
Day 3-4: Seneca Falls makes a good stop, where you can learn about the history of women’s suffrage at Women’s Rights National Historical Park and see the home of the noted suffragette, Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
If you’re still looking for more wineries, head to the Seneca Lake Wine Trail next, to taste some of the region’s best wines. Continue on to Watkins Glen State Park for some incredible hiking with beautiful views — this is also a great place for fall foliage.
Day 5: Finally, end your road trip in Corning, with a trip to the Corning Museum of Glass, before returning to NYC or heading onwards to Niagara Falls if you want to continue your road trip.
The lovely La Tourelle Hotel & Spa, located near Buttermilk Falls State Park, is an incredible place to stay in Ithaca. Ithaca makes a good base for traveling around the Finger Lakes region if you don’t want to move around with every stop.
Hotel Recommendations: La Tourelle Hotel & Spa
Boston to Acadia National Park, Maine
By Dhara from It’s Not About the Miles
- Number of Days: 3 to 4 days
- Route: Boston to Acadia National Park, Maine
Boston is a city with many iconic green spaces, such as the Boston Public Garden and the Boston Common, but it is also close to many beautiful natural areas.
In particular, a road trip to Acadia National Park in Maine is worth considering, for its beautiful landscapes and stunning fall colors.
You can travel from Boston to Acadia National Park via the beautiful New England Coast, or you can travel an interior route, which you might want to do in the fall, to take in more fall colors along the way. But the coastal route is wonderful any time of year.
Stop 1: Along the route, you will want to stop at Portsmouth, the New Hampshire port city, where you can admire the historic architecture at the 10-acre Strawbery Banke Museum, and enjoy shopping at some of the many lovely stores in the city.
Stop 2 (full day): Next, drive on to Portland, where you will want to spend at least a full day exploring. In Portland’s Old Port, wander the streets and admire the beautiful old red brick architecture. There are many one-of-a-kind shops to browse and street art to view.
Walk the waterfront, to photograph the many boats lined up in the harbor. Stroll Congress Square Park and Monument Square.
Enjoy a sweet treat at the Holy Donut. Eat seafood at Portland Lobster Company. Take in the views from Munjoy Hill. Visit Portland Head Light, one of the most beautiful lighthouses on the US east coast.
Stop 3: On the coastal route to Camden, enjoy the Androscoggin Swinging Bridge, a pedestrian suspension bridge that crosses the river of the same name, and the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse.
Stop 4 (full day): Arrive at Bar Harbor, where you can spend the rest of the day exploring the cute town before you hit up the park the following day.
Stop 5: At Acadia National Park, there are numerous trails to hike, and scenic overlooks for photos. Don’t miss Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse: it is particularly beautiful at sunset.
Road Trip from Annapolis MD, Chincoteague, VA to Virginia Beach
By Jennifer from Family Trip Guides
- Number of Days: 4 to 6 days
- Route: From Annapolis MD, Chincoteague VA, to Virginia Beach
Discover sunny beaches, delicious food, and wild ponies on this delightful east coast road trip on the water!
This road trip is best for 4-6 days of exploring starting in Annapolis MD, driving 2.5 hours to the natural beauty of Chincoteague Island VA, and then driving 2 hours to miles of beaches at Virginia Beach, VA.
Stop 1 – Annapolis, MD: This historic city is the capital of Maryland filled with historical landmarks and delicious restaurants. Make sure to check out Dock Street Bar and Grill right on the City Dock where you can eat great seafood and check out the beautiful boats in the harbor.
Stop 2 – Wild Horses of Chincoteague Island, VA: Next, drive 2.5 hours south across the Chesapeake Bay and down its banks to the unspoiled beauty of Chincoteague Island.
The wild ponies are actually located on Assateague Island which is a National Park Seashore located nearby. You can go to the seashore and see the ponies that are living wild and were the inspiration for the family movie, Misty.
Lots to do on top of watching ponies and hanging out at the beach including visiting the Assateague Lighthouse and the Captain Timothy Hill House. There are some small hotels on the island and also lots of beach rental properties.
If you are traveling in the spring, fall, or winter, we recommend all-weather gear for kids to enjoy the sand and surf without being too cold!
Stop 3 – Virginia Beach, VA: The final stop on your road trip is the vast and beautiful beaches of Virginia Beach. There are actually 28 miles of sandy public beaches to explore!
There is also a wide boardwalk with dozens of hotels right on the beach. The Residence Inn Virginia Beach Oceanfront is a great option as each suite has a kitchenette to save money on making meals in the room.
Virginia Beach is a contrast to Chincoteague as it has all the vacation amenities right at your door including tons of shops, restaurants, and things to do like mini golf, surrey bike rentals, and more.
- Annapolis: Stay at The Westin Annapolis or Annapolis Waterfront Hotel
- Virginia Beach: Residence Inn Virginia Beach Oceanfront
Washington D.C. to Philadelphia, to New York City
By Rachel from A City Girl Outside
- Number of Days: 10 days
- Route: From Washington D.C. to Philadelphia, and ending in New York City
This 10-day itinerary features one of the best road trips on the east coast of the USA, from Washington D.C. to Philadelphia, and ending in New York City. These three American cities are not only historical but offer tons of fun things to see and do.
You can start in either Washington D.C. or New York City. This road trip can be done any time of the year but is especially good in the early summer months.
Day 1-3: Start by spending 3 days exploring Washington D.C. the capital of the United States. The great thing about Washington D.C. is that many of the main attractions are free. Begin your time in D.C. by touring the Capitol Building.
Tours of the Capitol are free but must be booked online and a booking fee of $1.50 per person will be charged to secure your time. During your tour, you’ll get to explore the famous rotunda and the House Chamber.
Next head to one of the many Smithsonian Museums. All of these museums are free but my personal favorite and must-do in Washington D.C. is the Natural History Museum. Take a walk down the National Mall hitting all the famous memorials.
Take a trip to the top of the Washington Memorial then climb the steps to the Lincoln Memorial. Get an up close and personal look at the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives Museum, another free activity in Washington D.C. that can be booked online.
Day 4 – 5: Your next stop is Philadelphia, the birthplace of the United States. Philadelphia also offers many free things to do and most attractions are within walking distance of the city centre. 2 days in Philadelphia is the perfect amount of time to see this city’s best attractions.
Book a free tour of Independence Hall and learn about the beginnings of the USA, tours can be booked in advance and tickets can be picked up on the day. After your tour head to the Liberty Bell – one of the most famous symbols of American Independence.
Just a stone’s throw away from Independence Hall is the Betsy Ross house where the very first United States Flag was sewn. To tour the house will cost around $5.
A short walk from the Betsy Ross house is Elfreth’s Alley, a quaint cobble-stoned alley and the oldest residential street in the United States. Explore the Reading Terminal Market for all your snacks and sweet treats.
Day 6 – 10: And finally, end your road trip in the big apple – New York City! NYC is a huge city with a plethora of activities. 5 days is recommended for this part of the trip in order to see New York’s best attractions.
Some must do’s in New York City are the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, and a visit to an observation deck. There are plenty of options for an observation deck, our favorite is the Rockefeller Centre with its iconic views of the Empire State Building.
But you can also opt for the newer One World Observatory of the Empire State Building itself.
A walk through Central Park is always on every list of things to do in New York. Take your time walking through this park as there are many sights to stop at and take photos.
A New York food tour is a great option for sampling the best food in the city. Donuts, coffee, hotdogs, and pizza should be on your list of foods to try in New York. End your trip by sipping on cocktails in one of New York’s rooftop bars!
- Washington DC: Hotel Hive
- Philadelphia: The Marriott Philadelphia Centre City
- New York City: Hyatt Times Square
St Augustine, Florida to Beaufort, South Carolina
By Carol from IsThisEvenARoad
- Number of Days: 3 days
- Route: From St Augustine, Florida to Beaufort, South Carolina
The east coast is one of the most beautiful places in the country for a road trip. There is a good balance of nature, cities, and historic places on the drive from St Augustine, Florida to Beaufort, South Carolina.
Driving straight through would take less than 6 hours. Three days is advisable to leisurely take in all the sites of the coast.
Day 1: Starting in St Augustine, avoid the concrete and signs of the highway and take A1A along the shore. Most of the way to Amelia Island offers gorgeous Atlantic views. At the end of the road, it is an easy transition onto 95 which will go all the way to Savannah and then 170 into Beaufort.
St Augustine, the oldest city in the U.S., is rich with history and needs a full day to explore. Enjoy traditional Spanish architecture on a walking tour throughout the town.
Do check out Castillo de San Marco’s, a 17th century stone Spanish fortress. Take a drink from Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth. Then relax at the 1905 Columbia Restaurant for traditional Spanish food.
Day 2: Savannah is the next stopping point. There are a number of driftwood beaches and golden sand beaches along the way. Once in town, stay in the Historic District at one of the Heritage Hotels.
Most of this area can be explored on foot including Colonial Park Cemetery. The famous Bonaventure Cemetery and the Wormsloe Plantation are a short drive from the city.
Day 3: On day three head up towards Beaufort, home of Forrest Gump. Make sure to stop and grab boiled peanuts from a roadside stand. Just north of Beaufort is the jaw-dropping Sheldon Church Ruins and the St Helena Chapel of Ease.
This stretch of coast has something for everyone for a memorable and enjoyable road trip.
Search hotel deals on Booking.com
North Georgia Mountains Road Trip
By Kay from Dotted Globe
- Number of Days: 3 to 4 days
- Route: From Dahlonega to Blue Ridge
Road tripping the North Georgia mountains is an amazing experience. Begin your trip in Downtown Dahlonega and drive all the way up to Blue Ridge.
On the way, this unique road trip takes visitors through the small towns of Helen and Cleveland. We recommend keeping aside 3 to 4 days to enjoy the destinations.
Day 1: (Downtown Dahlonega) The trip is the ultimate combination of small-town charm, natural scenery, and loads of history. After all, this was where the first gold rush in America occurred in the 19th century. You can learn all about it at Dahlonega Gold Museum.
Take a stroll around the historic structures and shop at the boutiques.
Day 2: Stop in Cleveland at the Babyland General Hospital. This toy store/museum is most known as the home of the famous Cabbage Patch Kids. Families love seeing the many handmade dolls and accessories as well as seeing new kids ‘being born’.
Day 3: Then visit Helen and enjoy the striking Bavarian architecture. Drink German beer and eat an apple strudel. Helen is also popular for river tubing in the summer.
The state parks and recreation areas outside of Helen are perfect for hiking while the wineries surrounding Helen are great for wine tasting. Stay at the Helendorf River Inn by the water.
Day 4: Your final stop should be in Downtown Blue Ridge. The fall colors are spectacular here but the town is great to visit year-round. Go shopping, fish, or have a nice meal while you relax downtown. Enjoy the fresh mountain air in North Georgia before you return to routine.
Hotel Recommendation: Helendorf River Inn in Helen, GA
Providence RI to Provincetown, Cape Cod, MA
By Melissa from NavigationJunkie
- Number of Days: 5 to 7 days
- Route: Providence, RI to Provincetown, MA
A road trip from Providence, RI to Provincetown, MA will give you the perfect combination of a city visit and a beach getaway.
Stop 1: Begin your journey in Providence, RI where you can enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the park and the many attractions located throughout Roger Williams Park and a stroll through Federal Hill, Providence’s Historic Neighborhood marked by a bronze pinecone.
You will find plenty of Italian restaurants along Atwells Avenue in Federal Hill. The perfect way to end a day spent in Providence is to take a sunset Gondola ride through downtown Providence.
Stop 2: Your next stop will be Newport, RI where you can enjoy the Cliff Walk, a paved walk along the shore, a visit to historic Fort Adams, see pieces of art at the Newport Art Museum, and spend a couple hours relaxing on a sandy beach.
Stop 3: After Newport, continue on to Plymouth, MA. Here you can view Plymouth Rock, the landing site of the Pilgrims, climb aboard a replica of the Mayflower II, wander the streets of Plymouth and find plenty of quaint, local shops, and visit a replicated village, the Plimoth Plantation.
Stop 4: From here, you will head to the Cape, stopping first in Sandwich at the Heritage Museum and Gardens. Next drive along the Cape Cod National Seashore, where you can stop in many small towns to hit the beach, try some seafood, and visit some lighthouses.
Stop 5: Your final stop will be Provincetown where you can enjoy some shopping, enjoy an over-sand vehicle tour, go whale watching, and view Cape Cod’s famous sunsets.
While there are fun winter activities that could be enjoyed in the colder months, summer is the best time to take this road trip to get all that these destinations have to offer.
- Newport: The Chanler at Cliff Walk
- Cape Cod: Dunes Motor Inn (for a cheaper option within a couple of minutes walk of the beach) in South Yarmouth or Surfside Cottages in Wellfleet
Miami to Key West, Florida
By Megan Starr from Megan Starr
- Number of Days: 1 – 3 days
- Route: From Miami to Key West
The road trip from Miami to Key West, Florida is arguably one of the best road trips in the United States (and all of North America)! The road connects two fantastic cities and has a plethora of beautiful stops along the way, making it ideal for all travelers.
Technically, the duration of the road trip from Miami to Key West takes 3 hours and 17 minutes (159 miles), but you will be missing out on so many amazing stops if you drive straight through.
It is recommended to take your time on the drive and you can even extend your road trip from 3 hours to 3 days and never run out of things to do along the way!
As you will be starting from Miami, we suggest adding these road trip attractions to extend your Florida getaway. Spend 1-2 days in Miami exploring Wynwood Walls, Little Havana, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, and Miami Beach.
With an extra day, you can also visit Everglades National Park before kickstarting the Miami-Key West road trip as outlined below.
Day 1: The first stop is in Key Largo, Florida. This Upper Keys city is 69 miles (1 hour and 21 minutes) away from Miami. When you’re there, you will find amazing attractions such as Coral Castle, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
There are also several places where you can stay overnight and one of the top recommendations is the Key Largo Marriott Resort, which sits along the bay and allows you to even see manatees from the dock!
Day 2: On day two, you will drive from Key Largo to Marathon where you can see historical and geological parks such as Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park and Long Key State Park. A recommended place to stay is the 4-star Tranquility Bay Resort which offers delightful ocean views.
Day 3: The next day, you will take off from Marathon and pass through other places such as the Blue Hole on Big Pine Key, Bahia Honda State Park (a must stop!), and you can eventually pull into Kimpton Winslow’s Bungalow Hotel in Key West and get ready for your final adventure there.
The Blue Ridge Parkway
By Bret Love & Mary Gabbett of Blue Ridge Mountains Travel Guide
- Number of Days: 3 to 7 days
- Route: Blue Ridge Parkway
The full Blue Ridge Parkway route stretches from Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to the entrance of Shenandoah National Park in Virginia (where it turns into the equally scenic Skyline Drive).
The great thing about the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway is that you can easily break it down into a 3-day weekend getaway, or an epic week-long (or multi-week) vacation. The speed limit is 45 mph, but many drivers go even slower as they soak in the stunning scenic views.
Theoretically speaking, it would take 15 hours to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway straight through with no stops.
With more than 15 million annual visitors, the BRP is the #1 most popular unit in the US National Park Service. There are 200 Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks in NC and VA, each offering jaw-dropping vistas of America’s wilderness at its most pristine.
From mountains and waterfalls to lush valleys and forests, there are countless noteworthy landmarks along the way.
Day 1 – 4: Most people don’t drive the entire Blue Ridge Parkway in one stretch, rather breaking it up into day trips or multi-day vacations. We spent 4 days traveling from Cherokee NC (Milepost 469) to Banner Elk, NC (MP 305), and honestly wished we’d had more time for waterfall hikes, exploring attractions, etc.
Some of our favorites included Mount Mitchell (NC’s tallest), Pisgah National Forest, the Linville Gorge Wilderness, the Linn Cove Viaduct, Looking Glass Rock, Grandfather Mountain State Park, and Price Lake at Julian Price Memorial Park.
Best of all, there are no billboards, neon signs, restaurants, shopping centers, or other signs of commerce (or “progress”) on the road’s entire length. Just miles and miles of gorgeous views of unspoiled nature at its finest!
There is only one hotel situated on the entire Blue Ridge Parkway– the Switzerland Inn in the quaint little alpine village of Little Switzerland NC. But there are loads of hotels, lodges, and cabins for rent within a few miles of the historic route.
Hotel Recommendations: Our favorites include the Engadine Inn & Cabins near Asheville NC, the Pisgah Inn, and The Cottages at Spring House Farm near Marion NC.
Outer Banks Road Trip
By Neha from Travelmelodies
- Number of days: 2 to 3 days
- Route: From Corolla to Cedar Island
Outer Banks, a set of barrier islands off the Atlantic coast is a great place to enjoy some of the best beaches along with loads of other interesting things.
The scenic road passes through many small coastal villages along the route – Duck, Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, Avon, Buxton, Hatteras, and Ocracoke to name a few.
The route takes about 6.5 hrs including the 3.5 hrs on two ferry rides – one from Hatteras Island to Ocracoke island which is free and the other from Ocracoke to Cedar Island which is paid.
Stop 1/lighthouse stops: There are many beautiful lighthouses along the way including the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the iconic Bodie Island Lighthouse, and Ocracoke lighthouse worth a stop.
This is the place where the Wright brothers created history by flying the first flight. So stop by the Wright Brothers Memorial and witness the flight strip.
If you are an adventure lover, then there are options galore.
Stop 2: Drive your AWD vehicle on Corolla and Cape Hatteras beaches or chase wild horses at Corolla or indulge in water sports.
Stop 3: For the last leg of the trip, do spend a day at Ocracoke Harbor Inn in the quaint village of Ocracoke.
In all of these stops, it won’t be justice to the ethereal beauty of the place to just drive by without staying and watching the magical sunset/sunrise.
We would highly recommend staying at Days Inn & Suites Mariner Kill Devils Hills, one of the best Outer Banks hotels during the beginning of the Outer Banks road trip. It is located right by the beach and conveniently located near major attractions like Wright Brothers Memorial, Jockey Ridge State Park, and the shopping complex.
New York City to Boston to Hanover, New Hampshire
By Nicole from Go Far Grow Close
- Number of Days: 7 days
- Route: New York City to Boston to Hanover, New Hampshire.
A fantastic 7 day road trip on the East Coast would be from New York City to Boston to Hanover, New Hampshire.
Day1 – 3: You should start in New York City and spend 2-3 days here exploring all the city highlights. You can explore on foot or by public transportation. If you want to be in the middle of everything, then spend 3 nights at the gorgeous Knickerbocker Hotel at Times Square.
Over the next couple of days, you should take the ferry and go see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, visit the 911 Memorial and Museum, walk the High-Line and attend a Broadway show.
Day 4 – 6: On day four, you should drive 3 ½ hours on I-90 from New York City to Boston, and then, spend the next three nights at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Boston.
From there, you can easily walk everywhere, exploring the Freedom Trail – a 2.5 mile walk that connects 16 historically significant sites – or taking a food tour of Little Italy or the Boston Public Market.
Day 7: On day seven, you should drive 2 hours on the I-93 and I-89 to reach the small town of Hanover, New Hampshire. Here, you can experience all the lovely stores, cafes, and restaurants on Main Street, and explore Dartmouth Campus. The Hanover Inn is a lovely hotel in the center of town.
Boston, MA to Provincetown (Cape Cod)
By Jackie Gately from Enjoy Travel Life
- Number of days: 4 days
- Route: From Boston to Providence
The road trip from Boston to Provincetown can certainly be made in a day but is more leisurely made in 4.
The high season is July and August, but spring and fall offer fewer tourists and better hotel rates. As you travel through the Cape Cod towns and villages, you will find each has a unique personality.
Day 1: From Boston, take Route 3 and cross the Sagamore Bridge onto the Cape. Continue to Sandwich, where you’ll visit the 17th Century Hoxie House, and The Sandwich Glass Museum, and walk along the Sandwich boardwalk for sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Have dinner and check into the Belfry Inn & Bistro, unique accommodations within a former church.
Day 2: Grab a pastry, coffee, and picnic lunch at The Brown Jug, then head for Route 6A. You’ll want to meander along, making stops at the boutiques and antique shops.
Have lunch at Nickerson State Park in Brewster, overlooking one of Cape Cod’s ancient kettle ponds, then head to Orleans. There, browse Tree’s Place for some fine art and walk the Rock Harbor beach.
Rest your head for the night at The Parsonage Inn, a lovely bed and breakfast.
Day 3: Pick up Route 6 through the towns of the Outer Cape, flanking the National Seashore. Once in Provincetown, explore the vibrant town center for souvenirs and street performances. Get a birds-eye view of MacMillan Pier by climbing the steps of Pilgrim Monument.
Next, tour the sand dunes with Art’s Dune Tours–and upgrade to the sunset lobster dinner at Race Point beach. Spend your night at The Crowne Point Hotel and Spa.
Day 4: Finally, head back to Boston along Route 6 for a faster return, crossing over the Bourne bridge. Or, better yet, take the ferry.
Road trip through Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
By Julie McCool from Fun in Fairfax VA
- Number of Days: 3 to 5 days
- Route: From Winchester, VA to Roanoke, VA
A road trip through Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley combines scenic country roads, quaint towns, rich history, and outdoor fun. Allow 3 to 5 days for the 200-mile trip from Winchester to Roanoke Virginia.
Highway 81, the quickest route through the valley, offers beautiful views of farms, rolling hills, and the Blue Ridge Mountains. But you will find even more to enjoy on the smaller country roads that traverse the valley, including historic Route 11.
Virginia is beautiful year-round, but the valley is especially beautiful in spring and fall.
Day 1: Begin your trip exploring the walkable downtown of Winchester, Virginia. The lovely Old Town Pedestrian Mall is lined with restaurants, shops, and fun for kids at the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum.
Stay at The George Washington Hotel and you can walk to the mall, local breweries, and historic sites.
Day 2: As you head south, visit apple orchards, farm stores, breweries, and wineries that dot the countryside. Spend your second night in Harrisonburg, a college town with a fun and relaxed vibe. Or continue further and explore the towns and sights in the Southern Shenandoah Valley.
Staunton is home to the American Shakespeare Center, the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s Blackfriars Theater. In Lexington, take a hike to the 215-foot high formation at Natural Bridge State Park then head underground to the Caverns at Natural Bridge.
Day 3 – 4: End your road trip in the hip town of Roanoke. This haven for outdoor lovers is surrounded by great hiking, paddling, and some of the best mountain biking in the Eastern US.
Stay at the historic Roanoke Hotel and you can walk to the dining, breweries, and shops that pack the compact downtown. Be sure to drive up Mill Mountain to see the 88-foot Roanoke Star and a fantastic view of the valley.
East Coast Road Trip from Washington DC to West Virginia
By Richa from MyTicklefeet
- Number of Days: 2 to 3 days
- Route: From Washington DC to New River Gorge
If you are looking for a quiet escape into nature then a weekend getaway in West Virginia is going to take you on an off the beaten path road trip. This easy drive from Washington DC will take you through the windy roads, lush mountains, and fresh air of the Mountain State.
It will take you roughly 4-5 hours to get to Monongahela National Forest from DCA Reagan National Airport. You can complete this entire road trip in 2-3 days.
Day 1: Start your drive in the northern region of West Virginia i.e. cutting through the Monongahela National Forest, after visiting Blackwater Falls State Park or Seneca Rocks if you love hiking.
Then head on south to route 28 towards the town of Greenbank and Cass continuing on until you hit New River Gorge.
Day 2: The town of Cass is known for its scenic railway ride in autumn and skiing in winter. Greenbank is best known for its National Radio Astronomy Observatory which is a fun stop for kids and science lovers.
Our favorite season to visit WV is Autumn to see the gorgeous fall foliage. One of the most scenic Fall drives in West Virginia is the Highland Scenic Highway which is also known as State Route 150. It’s a 23 mile long American scenic byway.
Summer would be another good season to visit especially if you are considering camping outdoors.
Day 3: If you are the adventurous type then you must go White Water rafting in New River Gorge which offers one of the best class 5 rapids in the US. Do not miss the New River Gorge Bridge which is an iconic structure in West Virginia.
We recommend the Mountain Quest Inn, for a refreshing and quaint stay in West Virginia. This place is located in the middle of a working farm so expect to see horses, goats, and even llamas. But the best part about this place is its extensive two-story home library.
Stay at Mountain Quest Inn
Charleston, SC to Savannah, GA
By Brittany from Travel by Brit
- Number of Days: 6 days
- Route: From Charleston, South Carolina, to Savannah, Georgia
The drive from Charleston, South Carolina, to Savannah, Georgia, is one of the most charming road trips on the east coast.
Since these cities are just over 100 miles apart, you’re able to spend the majority of your road trip exploring these captivating, historic cities rather than countless hours in the car.
Six days is the perfect amount for your southeastern USA road trip—three days in Charleston and three days in Savannah. Both cities are drenched in unique history, serve up some incredible southern cuisine, and have tons of interesting activities to enjoy.
Day 1 – 3: Spend 3 days in Charleston. Immerse yourself in Civil War and WWII history at the Fort Sumter National Monument or Patriot’s Point. And then explore Pineapple Fountain and Rainbow Row.
On day 2, take a day trip from Charleston to Boone Hall Plantation or the Charleston Tea Garden.
On your final day here, relax on the beach at Kiawah Island or Folly Beach. Followed by a visit to Poogan’s Porch or FIG for a delicious meal.
Day 4 to 6: Travel to Savannah, and spend the remainder of the road trip here. Walk down to River Street to embark on a riverboat cruise adventure or indulge in authentic, freshly-baked beignets at Huey’s.
Submerge yourself in Savannah’s spooky history by going on a haunted ghost tour.
And don’t forget to stroll through Savannah’s 22 squares—including Forsyth Park.
Enjoy an unforgettable southern dining experience at The Olde Pink House. Or relish an ice cream cone at Leopold’s—Savannah’s oldest and most iconic ice cream parlor.
We hope you found this post on USA East Coast road trip routes helpful, and are ready to hit the road!
Other USA posts:
- USA West Coast Road trips
- Road Trips from San Francisco
- Northern California road trip itineraries
- Landmarks to historic site items for California bucket list
- Best Airbnbs in the US