With the Eastern Seaboard stretching from Miami to Maine, there is no way to see the entirety of the East Coast in one trip. It is just too vast and too full of life.
But while there are many great locations to visit down south — Walt Disney World, Savannah, the Carolinas, Colonial Williamsburg — there are four experiences further north that cannot be missed.
No matter whether you’re a child, in college or already enjoying retirement, when it comes to these experiences, there’s something special for every age.
Exploring the Capital
The leader of the free world lives in Washington, D.C., and every American should pay this city a visit. The nation’s capital contains iconic sites — the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, the Supreme Court — that can make a grown man break down and cry while reflecting on the history of this nation.
Speaking of reflecting, make sure to visit the reflecting pool on the National Mall. From there you can see most of the landmarks printed on your money in a just a few hours, in addition to the array of world-class Smithsonian Museums. The National Air and Space Museum and the Holocaust Memorial Museum are two museums not to miss.
If you time your visit right (go in the spring), you can even see the famous cherry blossoms bloom — with the added bonus of walking around Washington before the suffocating heat takes over the city in July.
Experiencing New York City
The nation’s capital is nice, but no trip to the East Coast is complete with a stop in the unofficial capital of the world. From the skyscrapers of Midtown and the elegant beauty of the Brooklyn Bridge to the Statue of Liberty and oasis of green in Central Park, everyone knows what the Big Apple has to offer.
But until you’ve been there — to catch a Broadway play, eat an iconic slice of New York pizza, see your first rat in the subway — then you only know it from the movies. There is seeing Times Square on the big screen and then there is holding on for dear life in a yellow cab as your taxi driver breaks all the traffic laws of New Jersey on his way to Newark International Airport.
If you can make it (out alive) here, you can make it anywhere.
Seeing a Baseball Game
The Northeast loves baseball, and there is nothing like taking in a game live at one of the region’s premier ballparks. The 103-year-old Fenway Park in Boston is the top choice, with its majestic, 37-foot-high wall — The Green Monster — in left field that towers over the small, intimate field.
The new Yankee Stadium is a sight to behold as well. It doesn’t have the historic, luminous feel of its predecessor, which was torn down in 2009, but it still home to the most-famous team in America. Across town, you also have Citi Field, where the Mets play, or the Phillies’ home, Citizen’s Bank Park, in Philadelphia.
These were the three founding cities of the American Revolution, and they are also where the nation’s pastime lives on with the most enthusiasm. The fans are the rowdiest, the love of the game is the truest, and there is nothing quite like it. Play ball.
Eating Maine Lobster
No Atlantic trip is complete without a Maine lobster. Naturally, you can eat one at plenty of four-star restaurants in New York or in Boston’s Back Bay. But an authentic meal is worth the trip all the way up to the coast of the country’s most northeast state.
Drive to Portland and then continue north, stopping in Camden, Rockland or Thomaston to one of Maine’s classic “lobster pounds.” These restaurants are usually more like small shacks that sell little more than freshly boiled red crustaceans with a side of corn on the cob. And the rock-bottom prices may be low enough to make you think you actually saved money — despite filling up the tank on the way up from New York.
While you’re there, don’t just enjoy the food. Continue up the beautiful, rocky shore line to see one of the area’s beautiful lighthouses, the quaint town of Bar Harbor, and Acadia National Park, which is one of the most iconic in the U.S. park system. It doesn’t have the high peaks of the western mountains, but the short hike up to the top of Cadillac Mountain will greet you with a view over the Atlantic that you’ll never forget.