Growing up, many people told me that road tripping was strictly a Midwest fad. But after visiting the East Coast, I discovered that it had more to offer than clam chowder and fresh blue crabs.
While historic routes on the highway often offer kitschy towns with interesting trinkets and eclectic people, the scenic routes on the East Coast offer breath taking views of mountains and towns rich in America’s colonial history.
Here are five must-travel East Coast road trip ideas:
If you’ve ever wondered if rolling hills actually exist, then you’ve clearly never driven on the Brandywine Valley. Stretching from the rolling hills of southeastern Pennsylvania through Wilmington, Delaware, the Brandywine Valley is a beautiful route that has an array of museums and historic locations for everyone in your family. You can even visit the Nemours Mansion, a 102-room chateau owned by Alfred I. du Pont.
With 3,478 miles of coastline, the Maine Coast has more coastline than California so touring the Maine Coast is not an easy task. However, if you have a week or more for vacation, this is definitely a route you should consider. The first 30 miles of Maine’s southern coast has eight quaint historical towns which are home to the oldest jail in America, a mini-lobster and fishing village, summer festivals and amusement parks for your kids. While you are driving along this route, be sure to check out Maine’s seafood and spectacular beaches.
Massachusetts’ Mohawk Trail offers over 100 attractions for your entire family, including adorable inns and gift shops, private camping areas and beautiful parks, mountains, canyons and rivers. Like many routes on the east coast, the Mohawk Trail has deep historical roots. During the colonial period, Benedict Arnold traveled the Mohawk Trail to Fort Ticonderoga, New York. If you are short on time, you can find ideas for one-day road trips along the Mohawk Trail here.
New York’s Seaway Trail runs along the shores of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, the Niagara River and the Saint Lawrence River. Along with breathtaking views of New York’s lakes and rivers, are quaint villages and picturesque farms. If you enjoy fishing, there are many fishing opportunities along the Seaway Trail where you can catch bass, walleye, salmon and rainbow trout. The Seaway Trail was selected as one of America’s Byways by the U.S. Department of Transportation, an honor given to highways that “exemplify the regional characteristics of our nation.”
Running from northeast Virginia to south-central Maryland, the George Washington Memorial Parkway passes by historic sites such as Mount Vernon, the White House and the Potomac River. There is a six-mile, four-lane section called the Clara Barton Parkway which is home to the Clara Barton National Historic Site . This site has a 38-room house that was first used as a Red Cross warehouse. Adjacent to the Clara Barton National Historic Site is Glen Echo Park, an arts and cultural center with a beautiful antique, hand-carved and hand-painted Dentzel carousel that operates on weekends.