Most Beautiful Places to Visit on the East Coast is the second part to the US Bucket List written by the best travel bloggers for Raw Mal Roams. The post is divided into 3 sections including most beautiful cities in the US, most beautiful National Parks and natural wonders and most beautiful islands in the US. Happy reading!
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Best Places to Visit on the East Coast – Cities and Towns
New York, one of the East Coast major cities, is a vibrant mixture of art, food, fashion, and entertainment. It is one of the best East Coast cities with a myriad of iconic things to see and do.
The Empire State Building stands 380 meters high, and its main observation deck is on the 86th floor. It is still the 44th highest skyscraper in the world and is spectacular to visit at night (open till 02.00). The One World Trade Centre is the tallest building in the western hemisphere. The 93-meter high Statue of Liberty is another must-see. You can get there by ferry, and there is also a museum that is worth visiting.
A trip yo New York wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Central Park one of the absolute must-see places on the East Coats. It sits in the middle of Manhattan and is huge with 25,000 trees, a lake, ponds and fountains. The easiest way to explore is on foot or by metro.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art backs onto Fifth Avenue and contains 5,000 years of art from all over the world – if you love art, it could take you a whole day to see it all! Other places to visit include the Rockefeller Centre, Times Square, and Brooklyn Bridge plus the myriad of different shops. Grab an early dinner because Broadway is a must-do in the evening – there are 41 shows to choose from!
I recommend staying in Hotel 32 32 situated in the heart of Mid-town East, just one block from the subway and within walking distance of Times Square and other famous landmarks. Rooms are contemporarily styled with marble bathrooms and flat-screen TV, and many have a small kitchen.
By Chrysoula from Travel Passionate
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No travel to East Coast USA is complete without a visit to the nation’s capital, Washington, DC – one of the best cities on the East Coast. This beautiful and historic city is located 5 hours south of New York City on the East Coast. DC is best known for its politics and historic landmarks, but it is also a city filled with vibrant neighbourhoods, incredible nature and great food.
Must see locations include walking on the National Mall and taking in the Lincoln and Washington Monuments, White House, and Capitol building. Tip: Make sure you check them out at night when there are fewer crowds and beautiful photo ops!
Take time to explore one or two of the free 18 Smithsonian museums and galleries in the city. If exploring outdoors is more your interest, you can’t go wrong visiting Rock Creek Park located in the middle of the city with 2000 acres of lovely trails and bridges.
Off the tourist path, check Union Market in NE and the lively H Street Corridor with some of the best local restaurants. You can even take the only free Streetcar up and down H Street. (Highly recommend Toki Underground or Maketto).
Washington, DC, has many great hotels at all price points. The best mid-budget hotel with a fabulous location is the Hyatt House at the Wharf in Southwest DC. It is close to downtown offers suites with kitchenettes and waterfront views!
By Jennifer from FamilyTripGuides.com
Miami in the South of Florida, the Sunshine State is one of the best places to visit on the gold coast, especially for beach-goers.
Miami Beach, part of Miami located on a barrier island, features miles of perfect sandy beaches. The South Beach area is especially alive and kicking.
Apart from the fantastic beaches, one can enjoy high-end cuisine in many eclectic restaurants and party the night away at the many stylish clubs. Miami is undeniably one of the best East Coast vacations spots.
South Beach’s Art Deco historic district features several pastel-coloured houses including Versace’s House bearing witness to the shooting of Versace right on the stairs of his mansion. It’s a picturesque area to stroll through. Street art is abundant too, and many a mural adorn the district’s streets.
Miami Downtown is a lively business district with plenty of shopping opportunities and cultural venues. There too, you can admire some fantastic street art. Miami spreads out into all sides in culturally diverse districts. Among those, at least Little Havana and Coconut Grove are a must-see too.
What’s terrific about Miami and its surroundings is how compact it is and how good the public transport infrastructure is – it’s easy to get around Miami without a car.
For a good mid-range hotel near the beaches, stay at Stardust South Beach Hotel on Collins Avenue.
By Veronika Primm from Travel Geekery
Boston, one of the biggest East Coast cities of USA is also one of the oldest settlements in the USA. It was founded on the Shawmut Peninsula, Atlantic Ocean in 1630 by Puritan settlers from the English town of the same name. Here you can find many historical sites, museums, parks, universities. Boston is one of the best places to visit in the East Coast for history buffs.
The best place to start your visit is downtown. From South Station, where you will probably arrive in the city, visit Chinatown first and Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum. From there continue to Old State House. In the historic Faneuil Hall Market, where you can find many restaurants. You should try their baked beans, clam chowder, lobster sandwich, and oysters.
Continue to the north to find the Freedom Trail that comprises American Revolution sites set on a path marked with red lines on the 2.5-mile sidewalk. It starts at the Boston Common, America’s oldest public park, and ends at the famed Bunker Hill Monument.
If you are a baseball fan, you should head west and visit Fenway Park with almost 38,000 seats, home to the Red Sox team since 1912. It hosted the World Series 11 times.
Boston is also home to the centre of knowledge with some of the best schools and universities including Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lesley University, and Hult International Business School in Cambridge.
By Džangir from Drjam Travels
New Orleans is one of the best East Coast cities for bubbling excitement and history at every turn. With some of the most delicious food and drinks in the country, fantastic music and very entertaining nightlife – it really is one of the best places to travel on the East Coast, that often gets overlooked!
Top things to do here include taking a food tour. It’s a great way to get a sampling of all the local cuisines and learn the difference between Creole and Cajun cooking. See a live jazz show – New Orleans is the place where jazz was born. Here, you’ll find many incredible live jazz shows at night. Take a cemetery tour – NOLA’s historical tombs are above ground (due to the high water table). They are actually quite beautiful and interesting to see. In fact, New Orleans is one of the best East Coast vacation destinations for foodies and jazz fans!
If you’re looking for a place to stay, The Royal Sonesta is a nice hotel in a prime location. Pro tip: if you pick a room on the Bourbon Street side, you’ll have some fun views, but it will be LOUD at night. (They provide earplugs, but just an FYI. Bourbon Street is crazy until the sunrises!) Another great option is to stay at one of the many awesome Airbnbs in New Orleans.
Where to eat:
· Café Du Monde – for the best beignets!
· Brennan’s – for a fine dining experience with some yummy Creole dishes on the menu. Be sure to also try the Bananas Foster.
· Three Muses – for the incredible handcrafted cocktails and live jazz.
By Lindsey Puls from Have Clothes, Will Travel
Chicago is a city that fantastically blends old and new, modern and historic – an absolute must-see city on your East Coast travel. It is the home of so much incredible art deco architecture, contemporary sculpture and design and many exciting East Coast attractions such as hidden-away jazz and blues bars that come alive in the dark of night.
A three day stay in Chicago is enough to just scratch the surface, but it would easily be possible to spend longer here. Staying around the Magnificent Mile is an excellent idea because you’re mostly walking distance to downtown and attractions like Navy Pier and the Chicago Riverwalk.
In winter, Chicago can be bitterly cold, but so rewarding. Lake Michigan freezes over and looks utterly magical from up close at Oak Street Beach. In summer months, the same spot transforms from a winter wonderland into a lovely small swimming beach with fantastic city views.
Millennium Park is a huge drawcard to Chicago, and most visitors will be familiar with the bean-shaped reflective Cloudgate sculpture that has become synonymous with the city. But Millennium Park has much more to offer including a winter ice-skating rink and an installation called the Crown Fountain which features faces of Chicago residents projected on two pillars at opposite ends of a reflecting pool.
The food of Chicago is also a huge drawcard. Visitors absolutely cannot leave the city without trying Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizza or a Chicago-style hotdog from the iconic hot dog restaurant Portillo’s.
By Emma from Emma Jane Explores
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Philadelphia, the ‘City of Brotherly Love,’ is rich in history and culture and one of the best places to visit on East Coast. Founded in 1682, this city has witnessed America’s fight for independence and growth of the country after that. This is the place where the constitution was written. Visiting the iconic Liberty Bell and National Constitution Center lets you know more about the constitution and the independence.
Philadelphia is one of the best destinations for weekend getaways on the East Coast being close to nature with many parks, trails and fountains that add to its beauty. The Franklin Square, Logan Square and its fountain, Spruce Street Park, Schuylkill River Trail are the best places to get close to nature. There is so much for everyone be it history lovers or nature lovers or food lovers. There are many things to do in Philadelphia with kids – the variety of things they can explore be it indoors or outdoors.
Philly can be best explored on foot to appreciate the beautiful architecture of the buildings. One of them is the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This is a must-visit for art lovers. Stroll by the museum along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway through the Logan Square to the Love Park where the iconic Red LOVE sculpture stands.
Philly shares border with New Jersey with the Delaware River between the two. Penn’s Landing is the waterfront area that has many activities to choose from throughout the year. The Independence Seaport Museum built on an old warship is loved by the kids. The Blue Cross River Rink Summerfest and Winterfest let you roller skate in the summer and ice skate in the winters.
By Neha from Travelmelodies
If you’re visiting the United States for the first time or travelling to a state beyond your own, Atlanta in Georgia is one of the best East Coast cities to visit! With plenty of restaurants, Atlanta is one of the best places in the East Coast for foodies, lots of top museums for history buffs, art-lovers, and science fans, plus outdoor parks and gardens and fun nightlife!
Although you can see a lot of Atlanta in a day, it is best visited over a weekend as there is much to do. The Georgia Aquarium is the largest in the world, with 10 million gallons of water housing their exhibits! It’s a must-do! Don’t miss the Atlanta History Center with a museum, plus historic gardens and homes, including Swan House, which has been featured in numerous movies.
For stunning views of the skyline, visit Piedmont Park where at the Midtown Reflection viewing point, you can take in Atlanta’s beauty!
Lastly, the Atlanta Botanical Gardens are incredible because they have unique, giant topiary sculptures, including an extensive Alice in Wonderland-themed exhibit right now. See if you can find the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit, and even Alice herself!
One of the best hotels is the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, which has incredible architecture that has also been used in movies. For nightly rates of $100, it’s in a great location near the Aquarium and other top sights!
By Alanna Koritzke from Periodic Adventures
Austin, Texas, is one of the best places to visit on the East Coast of USA. Located in the middle of the state, Austin is known for its excellent barbecue, bat colony, and the pink granite capitol building.
Barbecue is a Texan tradition. However, no one in Austin does it quite like Franklin BBQ. It is so good, you’ll definitely regret it if you don’t add Franklin’s to your Austin weekend itinerary. Crowds gather in the morning to wait in line for a taste, be sure to arrive early for your best picks of the meats. Their beef ribs, brisket, and pulled pork are to die for!
If you’re looking to best things to do on the East Coast for wildlife, you may have heard of the bats underneath the Congress Avenue Bridge. The bridge crosses the Colorado River in the middle of the city and is home to over 1.5 million bats.
During the spring and summer, venture out to Lady Bird Lake or the Colorado River around dusk, you’ll be treated to a view of the largest bat colony in the world leaving their home in search of dinner.
Amongst other unique sights in the city, Austin is also home to a pink capitol building. The Texas State Capitol Building is pink due to the sunset red granite, also known as pink granite, found north of the city. The Texas capitol also offers tours where you can learn more about the state government process and Texas state history.
For an affordable hotel in the middle of everything, stay at Aloft in downtown Austin. It is located near Lady Bird Lake and close to many delicious restaurants and bars.
By Constance from The Adventures of Panda Bear
There are so many beautiful East Coast travel destinations, and Nashville, Tennessee is one of them. It’s perfect for a weekend getaway or for a longer stay. Nashville is one of those charming cities where you’ll feel right at home.
Known as “the Music City,” Nashville has so much to offer. Nashville is brimming with music venues, and it’s home to so many popular music stars. The city boasts country music, rock and roll, blues, and more. Some notable places to learn more about musical history in Nashville are the Ryman Auditorium, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the Johnny Cash Museum. If you’re an avid music fan, Nashville is the best place to visit on the East Coast for you!
Aside from music, Nashville is known for its food scene, fun vibes, and charm. Some of the best things to do in Nashville include hopping from one honky-tonk to another, watching the sunset at Love Circle, taking a stroll through Centennial Park (which also has a beautiful replica of the Parthenon), doing a Nashville mural crawl, having breakfast at the infamous Loveless Cafe and going on a Nashville food tour.
Be sure to spend a day exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Start this road trip an hour before sunrise to see an epic view of the sun rising behind the mountains.
Lastly, one of the best hotels to stay at in Nashville is TownePlace Suites by Marriott in the downtown area with an excellent location within walking distance to most attractions.
By Disha from Disha Discovers
It’s no wonder that Savannah, Georgia is on the bucket lists of many USA travellers – with its beautiful squares covered in Spanish Moss, its rich history, and delicious food, Savannah is one of the most beautiful places to visit in East Coast .
One of the best reasons to visit Savannah is to simply admire the city’s beauty. The Savannah Historic District dates back to the 18th century and features gorgeous historic mansions, churches, and plenty of draping Spanish moss. The district is dotted with 22 unique historic squares, each dedicated to a person or event significant to the city’s history. The squares feature monuments, statues, and fountains that serve as a tribute to those historical figures.
Savannah is also known for its haunted history – did you know that Savannah is one of the most haunted cities in the United States? Visitors to Savannah should not miss out on a Savannah ghost tour. There are several different options, from family-friendly haunted history tours to adults-only bar crawls. If a ghost tour isn’t spooky enough for you, pay a visit to Bonaventure Cemetery. It’s free to roam around the cemetery, but you can also reserve a guided tour to learn more about the cemetery history and its eternal residents.
There are so many adorable hotels in Savannah, and the Andaz Savannah is one of the best for travellers on a mid-range budget. The best part? The Andaz is perfectly located in Savannah’s Historic District, putting you right in the middle of Savannah’s excitement and beauty. If you’re looking for the best couples or best family vacations on the East Coast – Savannah is top on the list!
By Sydney from A World in Reach
Disney World Orlando
Florida has many top-notch attractions, and Disney World is one of the most unique and best places to vacation on the East Coast for families. There’s nothing like it anywhere else. The other Disney parks are special, but Disney World tops them all.
Walt Disney World one of the largest East Coast tourist attractions, is situated in Orlando, in the state of Florida. With 101km² it’s a city on its own. The park has 33 resort hotels on-site, five theme parks, two water parks and several sports facilities. There’s something for everyone.
For the true Disney magic with the castle and all go to Magic Kingdom. If you love technology and the future, visit Epcot. Animal lovers will pay a visit to Animal Kingdom. Movie buffs can go all out at Hollywood Studios. For a cool down go to either Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach. The newest addition is Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, for all the Star Wars fans out there.
Don’t miss the fireworks and light show in the evening at Magic Kingdom and/or Epcot. Both have a fantastic evening show. Definitely go to one of the two water parks. It’s great to cool down from the heat, and the parks have a fun set up with lots to do.
When staying at a Disney hotel, stroll around to see the fun things on-premise. Every hotel has its own theme and is decorated accordingly.
An excellent hotel to stay at while visiting Disney World is Pop Century Resort, it’s midrange in price. You can use the free busses for transport between the parks and your resort.
By Cosette from KarsTravels
At the southernmost point of Florida, on the Florida Keys archipelago, is the vibrant city of Key West. The city is an attractive and enjoyable place to visit thanks to its colourful conch-style houses, tropical scenery, and laid-back vibe. If you’re looking for best vacations on the East Coast, you’ll love Key West. No matter what your interests are, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Key West.
Key West is an excellent destination for things to do in the East Coast for outdoor adventures. They can spend their days snorkelling in the calm waters, diving to the coral reefs, kayaking through the mangroves, racing around on jet skis, or going deep-sea fishing.
History buffs will appreciate an excursion to Fort Jefferson in Dry Tortugas National Park, a tour of Ernest Hemingway’s home and President Truman’s winter home, or a stroll through the historic cemetery.
For some art and culture, pay a visit to the Audubon House to see some artwork created naturalist John James Audubon or browse one of Key West’s many galleries.
A perfect way to unwind after a day of sightseeing or adventuring is by watching the sunset from onboard a sailboat. You could also drop by the sunset celebration that takes place each evening in Mallory Square.
After the sun goes down, retire to one of Key West’s charming hotels or guesthouses, like the Barbary Beach House.
By Rhonda Krause from Travel? Yes Please!
Most beautiful US regions and natural wonders on the East Coast
Niagara Falls, New York, is by far one of the most beautiful places to go on the East Coast. As home to the first national park, the beauty of the Falls is difficult to top, but it’s the city’s diverse landscape that makes Niagara Falls so uniquely beautiful.
There are multiple guided tours offered at Niagara Falls that boast in-depth historical and practical knowledge. Start at the Falls by booking a spot on the Cave of the Winds Tour. This exhilarating walk takes guests into a stormy mist zone where they soak up the powerful water spraying from the gorgeous Niagara Falls. Once you work up the courage to “explore the roar”, book the Maid of the Mist Tour to ride a boat into the basin of Niagara Falls State Park’s Horseshoe Falls.
After exploring this mesmerising natural wonder, check out the rest of Niagara Falls State Park, which is also one of the must see places on the East Coast. Here you can experience a world-renowned wonder by exploring acres of well-kept hiking trails through scenic terrain. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking Upstate scenery and head over to the area’s award-winning wineries and tasty orchards.
Niagara Falls is by far one of the most beautiful vacation spots on the East Coast. The best accommodations offered in the city are located right along the Canadian border. Perfectly located steps away from the Falls in downtown Niagara Falls, Hyatt Place, offers superior service and accommodations at a fantastic price.
By Ellie from Ellie’s Travel Tips
Florida Gulf Coast
Florida Gulf Coast destinations regularly occupy the top spots in articles that rank vest vacation spots on the East Coast and best places to live on the East Coast. From Clearwater Beach at the top to Marco Island at the southern end, the Florida Gulf Coast. Still, it remains an underrated vacation spot for world travellers throughout the year.
Visitor favourite highlights include phenomenal sugar sand beaches, magnificent sunsets, fun water activities, collecting seashells, creative and modern coastal cuisine, and convenient access to one of the world’s most unique environments—Everglades National Park.
Lesser visited hidden gems along the Florida Gulf Coast include the towns of Gulfport, Indian Rocks Beach, Anna Maria Island, Punta Gorda, and vast natural areas like Babcock Ranch Preserve (east of Punta Gorda), Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary (east of Naples), and the Ten Thousand Islands portion of the southwest Everglades.
Find your own Florida Gulf Coast secret spots by taking to the water. Boca Ciega, The Great Calusa Blueway, and Gasparilla Sound are some favourite kayaking areas. Countless fun organized boat excursions are available, including dolphin tours, sunset sailings, airboat rides and fishing charters. You can also rent your kayak, canoe, SUP, or boat to explore the Gulf barrier islands.
If you’re looking for East Coast vacation ideas, Florida Gulf Coast is a solid choice. Recommended places to stay along the Florida Gulf Coast include Lemon Tree Inn in Naples, The Fenway in Dunedin, and dozens of mid-range hotel chain properties—like Four Points in Punta Gorda, Bentley’s Boutique Hotel (Best Western Premier) in Osprey/Sarasota, and Lighthouse Resort in Fort Myers Beach. Also, consider vacation rentals (like Airbnb properties).
By Charles McCool from McCool Travel
Recommended Hotels: Lemon Tree Inn | Fenway Hotel, Autograph Collection | Four Points by Sheraton Punta Gorda Harborside | Bentley’s Boutique Hotel; Best Western Premier Collection | Lighthouse Resort: Inn & Suite
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The Texas Hill Country
The Texas Hill Country is by far, one of the best places to go in the East Coast and the most beautiful places to visit in Texas. It’s a large expanse of land between Austin and San Antonio featuring rolling green hills, rivers, historic small towns, and Texas’ wine region.
Some destinations like Hamilton Pool and the distilleries in Dripping Springs or the original location Salt Lick BBQ can be visited as a day trip from Austin. But with so much beauty to discover, the Hill Country is one of the best places to vacation on East Coast.
Rent a car and hit the road to explore the region’s small towns and the beautiful scenery in between. Fredericksburg is the most popular in the area and a great place to use as a base.
Highway 290 leading into town is lined with vineyards, try Predernales and Becker for some of the state’s best wine and views!.
Hike Enchanted Rock and try authentic German food downtown. Just 15 minutes outside of Fredericksburg is Luckenbach. This historic town hosts live music on the back patio of its original post office turned honkey-tonk bar.
Another must-see historic small town is Gruene. It’s home to the oldest dance hall in Texas and regularly hosts some of the state’s most popular musicians. Dine at the Gristmill next door for a delicious dinner perched on the cliffs over the river.
For accommodation, there are a few beautiful B&B’s in Gruene like the Gruene Mansion Inn. Otherwise, Airbnb is an excellent option with rental homes dotting the landscape with stunning views throughout the Hill Country.
By Erin from Sol Salute
Most Beautiful National Parks on the East Coast
Acadia National Park
Arcadia National Park is one of the best places to travel in the East Coast for adventure lovers.
There is no one perfect time to visit Acadia, but if you are going to visit, their summer boasts the best weather and the highest temperatures (as well as the highest number of visitors).
As one of the oldest National Parks, Acadia preserves some of the most rugged coastline of the North Atlantic United States. Named for the early French settlers to the area, the Acadian wilderness boats beautiful hills, forests, and seas teeming with wildlife (particularly the lobster that the state is famous for).
Among some of the highlights to Acadia is some of the best hiking in the northeast and getting to see the first rays of light in the US from the peak of Cadillac Mountain.
No park in the northeast compares to Acadia’s size and diversity, and it’s the only park designated as a “National Park” in this region of the United States.
If you do visit, be sure to check out some of the popular hikes such as the precipice and beehive trails, although they are maybe tough for those afraid of heights and exposed cliffs.
There are great trails along the water and among the hills around Jordan Pond for some more relaxing hikes. For those with more time, a visit to Schoodic Peninsula and Isle Au Haut, which are beautiful and fare less touristed than the park’s main areas.
By Anwar from Beyond My Door
Everglades National Park
The World Heritage Site of the Everglades National Park is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places on the East Coast. A vibrant ecosystem, located in the sunny state of Florida, located only 1.5 hours west of Miami and Fort Lauderdale, it makes a great side trip to visit this heaven for lovers of outdoor activities. With loads of nature, many hiking trails to choose from, and water activities like the traditional airboat.
During your trip to the Everglades, one of the East Coast must see places 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.
When you are in the area, explore the Everglades City, a charming fishing village with a population of 443 people, with great food, and a long history. It is known 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. If you are looking to spend a few days exploring this incredible area, the Ivey House Everglades Adventures Hotel is a great option.
The best time to visit is between October and May when the weather is cooler and drier. The temperature and the humidity levels are lower, the mosquitoes are not around, and hurricane season has passed. During this time, the average temperature ranging between max 78.4°F (25.8°C) and min 59.7°F (15.4°C).
It is also the best time to see the local wildlife. This is the time that manatees migrate to the Everglades. Also, the water levels drop during the dry season, and a large number of animals congregate around the water holes, making wildlife viewing an easy endeavour.
If you visit during the summertime, between June and September, book your hikes and outdoor adventures for the morning, to avoid the hottest parts of the day and the frequent summer storms in the afternoon. Everglades National Park is one of the most beautiful places to vacation on East Coast.
By Paula from Paula Pins the Planet
Recommended Accommodation: Ivey House Everglades Adventures Hotel
Shenandoah National Park
One of the most beautiful places to go in East Coast United States is less than 2 hours from Washington, DC. Shenandoah National Park stretches along a ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, offering scenic views, classic park lodges, and excellent hiking.
Skyline Drive winds along the mountain ridge for 105 miles and is the centrepiece of the park. Along the drive, 75 overlooks give easy access to eastern and westward views of the Virginia mountains and valleys. Over 100 trails, including the iconic Appalachian Trail, criss-cross the park.
Many of the best things to do are in Shenandoah National Park’s Central District. Here you can stay in either of two lodges, Skyland or Big Meadows, and explore the park’s natural and historic sites. Both lodges have restaurants for dining with a view and meals to-go.
Popular hikes in the area include Stony Man, Dark Hollow Falls, Mary’s Rock, Hawksbill, and the wheelchair accessible Limberlost Trail. Visit the Harry Byrd Visitor Center in Big Meadows to learn about the park’s nature, the people who once lived here, and the effort to build Skyline Drive.
Shenandoah is a year-round destination, but most facilities close in the winter. Late spring and early fall are two of the best times to visit when mountain laurel and fall foliage colour the views.
By Julie McCool from Fun in Fairfax VA
Recommended Accommodation: Graves Mountain Farm & Lodges | Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Charlottesville-UVA, VA
Silver Springs State Park, Florida
If you’re looking for the best places to visit on the sunshine coast, you’re in luck. Florida is filled with hidden gems like Silver Springs State Park. Tucked into the Ocala National Forest, this blue lagoon is naturally heated by underwater thermal vents. At only $6 a person for admission, you would think this haven would be overrun with tourists, but fortunately for you, it remains a secret to most travellers.
You should plan to spend one whole day in the springs and be sure to bring a snorkel. Manatees frequent Silver Spring State Park lagoon during the winter months to keep warm, and it’s not uncommon to have the opportunity to swim with them. Even without the manatees, the clear blue water and a plethora of fish make for some good snorkelling and free diving. If you have a kayak or wish to rent one you can also leave the lagoon and explore the maze of mangroves that cut through Floridas’ centre.
Most local Floridians spend the day swimming and BBQing during the hot and humid summer months, but the Silver Springs State Park is a perfect and stunningly beautiful destination to visit year-round.
By Geena from Beyond the Bucketlist
Big Bend National Park, Texas
When it comes to National Parks in Texas, Big Bend National Park takes the cake. From hiking its high-elevation peaks, exploring the arid desert and lush-green valleys, taking a dip in its natural hot springs, beautiful stargazing, camping, and even a potential stop in Mexico for lunch, Big Bend National Park is one of the best places to vacation on the East Coast.
What makes Big Bend National Park so popular?
Big Bend is one of the largest parks in North America with over 800,000 acres to explore. Seclusion and quiet are guaranteed here. With its vastness, comes a diverse ecosystem which includes the Rio-Grande river, the Chihuahuan Desert and the Chisos mountain range. Each part of the park has a drastically different climate, flora, and fauna. It also boasts of one of the darkest night skies of any national park in the lower 48 states and is considered one of the best places to go stargazing.
Some of the must-see things to do in Big Bend:
Go hiking at some of its excellent trails – There are a lot of hiking trails within the park ranging from easy to hard. Some of these are stroller accessible as well.
Cross the border into Boquillas, Mexico: Big Bend is along the US-Mexico border, so you can take a boat ride into Boquillas Mexico which is a great day trip and highly recommended. Don’t forget your passport.
Go on a drive on the scenic along Ross Maxwell Drive: You can enjoy Big Bend from the confines of your car by taking the beautiful Ross Maxwell drive.
Visit the Mc. Donald’s observatory: The star parties here are very popular with kids and adults alike. Don’t miss an opportunity to see the planets up close at one of these.
Visit the Ghost town of Terlingua: The nearby town of Terlingua has some awesome food, lodging and ruins in its ghost town to explore. Enjoy a fun evening here.
By Mama Pinot from Wine Travel Kids
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
There is no doubt that the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most beautiful places in the United States and one of the best places to vacation on East Coast. This area is located along the border between North Carolina and Tennessee. The mountains are part of the Southern Appalachians. This is America’s most visited national park, but it is huge, so you will definitely be able to feel as if you are away from the bustle of everyday life.
The park has ridge upon ridge of seeming endless swaths of forest-covered mountains. The ever-present morning fog settles in the folds of these ridges to give this area the nickname “The Smoky Mountains.”
You will find many activities in this area. The hardest part will be choosing what to do. There are auto tour routes, bicycling, fishing, hiking, white water rafting, horseback riding, and much more.
This park is world-renowned for the diversity of its plant and animal life. It is considered a biologists paradise. One of the most popular things to do in the park is to observe wildlife, including elk and black bear. You will also be able to see old settler’s towns from the early 1800s to get a feel for what life was like in these mountains in the past.
Another fun activity is waterfall chasing. There are innumerable waterfalls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Some are just a short walk off a roadway, and others are deep in woods down hard to find trails. The waterfalls in the park are simply stunning.
A visit to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one of the most beautiful places to go on East Coast, is a time to delve deep into nature and refresh your spirit with the beauty of these mountains.
By Karen from Somewhere Down South
Recommended Accommodation: Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Gatlinburg Downtown | Sidney James Mountain Lodge
Most Beautiful Islands of the United States
Hawaii is one of the best places to visit in the USA. It’s got the perfect climate, amazing landscapes and friendly locals. While you can be pretty happy visiting any of the Hawaiin Islands you should put Oahu to the top of your list. It is slightly less touristy than some of the other islands, especially if you stay on the North Shore, and it has some of the most ruggedly beautiful scenery.
The North Shore is a mecca for surfers, and you’ll notice the laid-back surf vibes as soon as you arrive. The pace of life doesn’t move too quickly up there, which is a great way to live. One of the main attractions on the island of Oahu is Kualoa Regional Park, where the original Jurassic Park was filmed.
You can go on a quad tour through the park or simply enjoy the views from a distance at the beach on the north end of Kaneohe Bay. The mountains here are formed into deep ridges covered in tropical greenery that truly gives off the Jurassic Park feel. From the beach, you’ll also get a cool view out over the water towards Mokoli’i island.
If you’re looking for the ultimate beach to spend the day on then head to Lanikai Beach where you’ll find white sand and crystal-clear blue water. This is also one of the most protected beaches on the island, making it ideal for swimming, stand up paddleboarding and kayaking. You’ll also get a great view out to the Mokalua Islands right from the palm tree-lined beach.
The Courtyard by Marriott Oahu North Shore is a great place to stay as it is right on the beach but also has a huge pool for you to relax in. You can find it near the town of Haleiwa on the North Shore of the island.
By Luke from Wild About BC
The most beautiful destination in the USA has to be Kauai, Hawaii. It’s an island full of adventure and relaxation. With majestic coastlines and lush forests, white sand beaches and deep canyons, Kauai, Hawaii has got to be on your USA Bucket list!
This tiny island chain is known for its swaying palm trees, laid-back culture and beautiful beaches. In fact, Kauai’s beaches are some of the best in all of Hawaii. Offering incredible snorkelling, huge wintertime waves and plenty of surfing and boogie boarding, you could spend days beach-hopping on Kauai.
Perhaps even more unique than the beaches in Kauai are its mountainous terrain. The Waimea Canyon is known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. It’s massive, multi-coloured canyon makes its way from the island’s centre down to the ocean.
The NaPali Coast along the northern shore is rugged, gorgeous and a truly breathtaking experience. Giant, jagged cliffs reach out of the sea up to the sky. The unexplored forests and waterfalls make for a truly unique destination.
Of course, all the beauty comes with a price. The best ways to see Kauai, Hawaii on a budget is to wait for affordable flights and find inexpensive accommodations. You will find the best deals on vacation properties and condos versus hotels.
By Nikki from She Saves She Travels
If your dream US destination includes a secluded tropical island and beautiful beaches, Sanibel Island may be just what you’re looking for. Tucked away just off Ft. Myers on Southwest Florida’s Gulf Coast, Sanibel is a small barrier island, separated by a tiny inlet from its sister island of Captiva just next door.
These islands are a world away from the bustling nearby cities of Ft. Myers, Cape Coral, and Naples, and offer one of the best getaways in the US for a relaxed family gathering or romantic escape.
There’s plenty to enjoy on Sanibel if you love world-class shopping and dining. But it’s the quieter more natural attractions that draw most visitors — like cycling along quiet bike paths that run the entire length of the island or kayaking the JN “Ding” Darling Wildlife Preserve. Visiting the Sanibel lighthouse at sunset is also a highlight of any visit.
But your best memories will be wading in the gentle sea and combing the beaches for the amazing seashells that wash upon the shores. The weather in southwest Florida is mild year-round, which makes for good swimming in the Gulf of Mexico from March through November. And doing the Sanibel Stoop in search of the little gifts from the sea is one of the best ways to enjoy this Florida gem!
By Lori from Travlinmad
Recommended Hotels: Song of the Sea
Mackinac Island, Michigan
Are you looking to visit the most beautiful destination in the USA? Hands down, the place is Mackinac Island, Michigan. Located between the upper and lower peninsulas of the state, this magical island is just about eight miles around and requires a ferry to get there.
But wait, there’s more! The real impressive part of this island is that no cars are allowed on the island. Everything is done by foot, bike or horse and carriage. It is like stepping back in time. This is a top travel bucket list destination in the Midwest but is increasing in visibility around the world.
Some of the must-do activities on the island are: a carriage tour to get the full overview of history and layout of the land, afternoon tea at the Grand Hotel, a rum runner form the Pink Pony, definitely walk around and taste fudge from all the shops – the island is known for its famous fudge, watch a sunrise on the lawn of Mission Point Resort and sunset from the West Bluff or the porch of the Grand Hotel, rent a bike and ride the outskirts of the island, visit Arch Rock, eat fancy for an evening at The Woods Restaurant, and if you are there during the Lilac Festival, take it all in.
Popular dishes on the island include white fish anything (dip, sandwiches, spreads, etc.) and the pecan ball served at Grand Hotel restaurants.
If you are looking for an iconic hotel to stay in on the island, the Island House is perfectly situated just past the bustling Main Street and overlooks Lake Huron and the boats in the harbour.
By Nicole Sunderland from Bucket List Lists
Nantucket is a charming island which lies 30 miles off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Along with Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket has a well-earned reputation as an idyllic summer vacation destination.
Nantucket is easily accessible from the mainland and Martha’s Vineyard by ferry or plane. Thanks to the need to organise a flight or a ferry, the summer crowds on Nantucket are much less than on mainland Cape Cod. There are only about 10,000 year-round residents, and the population increases to about 50,000 in the summer months.
Nantucket is a small and fairly flat island which is easy to explore by foot or by cycle. There are two towns on the island with a long and narrow shape (approximately 15 miles long by 3 miles wide). It’s perfect for people who love the outdoors with hiking, cycling and water activities, such as kayaking and surfing. It’s easy to rent bicycles as well as water sports equipment. There are about 30 public beaches to explore as well.
Historically, Nantucket was influential in the whale trade, which made the island very wealthy. Nowadays, there is a whaling museum and three lighthouses that attest to its maritime importance. Today, the island’s wealth is mainly derived from tourism to a well-heeled crowd.
There are luxury hotels and charming B&B’s for accommodation as well as plenty of boutique shops and restaurants. The vibe is preppy chic.
Located in a historic Greek Revival building, we like the Periwinkle Inn B&B which has a great location in town within walking distance of many activities. Created from a former lifesaving station, the HI Nantucket Hostel is also renowned for being very nice with a great location.
By Shobha George from Martha’s Vineyard Tourist
Recommended Hotels: Nantucket Periwinkle Inn
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