The weather is starting to get warmer, so what better time to plan your next getaway? While the United States’ west coast is glamorized, the eastern seaboard can’t be overlooked. The magnificent coastal cities on this side of the country provide elegant shores, fresh seafood and urban jungles to uncover. Easily explorable in a weekend, as all flights around at most three and a half hours, the following cities are ideal for a quick escape.
1. Long Beach, New York
Just a forty-minute ride on the Long Island Railroad from New York City life, this diverse coastal enclave, complete with a two-mile wood boardwalk, was built in the early 1900s. You can’t miss enjoying Long Beach’s shoreline that’s surrounded by the Reynolds Channel. When you’re off the beach try visiting the local neighborhoods and parks, including Lindell Park and the nearby Recreation Center. For breakfast look no further than the Laurel Diner. As for lunch make your way to Corazon de Cuba, where the food and drinks right on the beach will make you feel like you’re in the Caribbean. Finally, don’t forget to grab some ice cream at the nearby Frozen Cows to top off the day!
© Howard Brier
2. Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Cape Cod is a popular destination for beach goers from all over, with over 550 miles worth of coastline 40 of which are public and private sandy beaches. To be more exact there are upwards of 60-public beaches, many of which offer parking for non-residents for a daily fee. Cape Cod is also popular for its outdoor activities, with golfing being a huge must. There are 27 public, daily-fee golf courses and 15-private courses on Cape Cod. Bed and breakfasts or vacation house are often used for lodging. Holding an annual music festival during the first weekend of August, it features local, regional and national talent, along with food, arts and family-friendly activities.
© Rick Harris
3. Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
The vineyard has been a long-standing getaway since long before Cape Cod’s rise in popularity. The best way to explore the vineyard and surrounding area is on the seat of a bike, which are readily available for day rentals. After spending part of your day exploring, head over to Lucy Vincent Beach’s crystal-clear water, pristine sand and craggy cliffs. For dinner, check out L’etoile — an absolute must.
4. New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans has many visitor attractions, from the world-renowned French Quarter to St. Charles Avenue, the historic Pontchartrain Hotel to countless 19th-century mansions. Another great spot to check out is Magazine Street, filled with boutique stores and antique shops. The historic buildings, wild nightlife and incredible food makes New Orleans one of the top cities to visit.
© Eric Gross
5. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The largest city in the Commonwealth, Philadelphia is the place to be on the East Coast. Philadelphia is slightly grittier than New York City, but nonetheless a charming city to visit boasting a cool nightlife and wonderful sightseeing. Renowned as the birthplace of our nation, the city is home to a wealth of national historical sites. Penn’s landing is one of the nicest areas to walk around in the city, as it’s right near the harbor and packed with bars and restaurants.
© Jordan Staub
6. Washington, D.C.
Our capital city, Washington offers gorgeous architecture and monuments and is the hub for American politics and history. Seemingly attracting as many school trips as it does overall travelers, the district offers a peek into the country’s democratic process. There are plenty of free museums to take advantage of, but the real draw here is the memorials and monuments dedicated to great American leaders. Travelers should spend some time at the Reflecting Pool within the National Mall, among the most patriotic places in the country. Don’t forget to visit the White House!
© John Haslam
7. Wildwood, New Jersey
Wildwood is a city in South Jersey consisting of four communities and it’s part of the Ocean City Metropolitan Area, a popular summer resort destination overall. A resort city itself, it’s extremely popular with vacationers and tourists mostly from New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York. While there, check out the famous boardwalk, featuring several amusement parks and shops. The wide sand makes it large enough home for beach sporting events and concerts. There’s plenty to do outside of the beach as well, so be sure to take advantage.
© Oliver Mallich
8. Annapolis, Maryland
The capital of Maryland, Annapolis is home to plenty of notable sites, with the State House being the oldest in continuous legislative use. Outside of that, there are plenty of museums, historical sites and monuments including Maryland’s World War II Memorial. It truly is a little gem of a harbor town that has a good deal of things to do during the day and night.
© Charlie Stinchcomb
9. Boston, Massachusetts
If it’s a first-time visit to Boston be sure to walk the Freedom Trail, quickly giving all visitors a sense of this coastal city’s revolutionary spirit and history. In addition, explore some of Boston’s fine museums, including the Isabella Stewart Gardner with masterpieces on display throughout. To get a more intimate feel of local life, take a trip through the North End and Little Italy. Lastly, you can’t say you’ve truly experienced Boston culture until you’ve caught a Red Sox game from the bleachers.
© Rene Schwietzke
10. Outer Banks, North Carolina
Once home to Blackbeard, the notorious pirate, this 200-mile chain of barrier islands is now an ideal vacation spot. Cape Hatteras, National Seashore, runs 70-miles long and is the largest accessible swath of protected beach on the East Coast. While you’re at the beach, climb the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse for a birds-eye view of the coast. Two delicious places to eat are the Blue Moon Beach Grill and Avenue Waterfront Grille, each offering house-made meals that’s worth the wait.
© James Willamor
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Cover photo © Aurelien Guichard