Home Lifestyle 22 East Coast Destinations for a Road Trip

22 East Coast Destinations for a Road Trip

by Alexa Martin
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A summer road trip is always a good idea, and there are so many options to choose from on the East Coast. There are plenty of great destinations within driving distance of Hudson County, with choices for everyone from animal lovers, history buffs, wine aficionados, sports fans, and more. All that’s needed after HG’s recommendations are an excellent road trip playlist and the driver’s choice of road trip snacks. Read on for your guide to East Coast destinations that are ideal for a summer road trip, ordered by state from North to South.

Maine

Maine is chock full of things to do and places to explore. It makes sense that the farther North you travel, the more beautiful sweeping landscapes there are to discover.

Portland | 5-hour drive from Hoboken + Jersey City

portland maine

Portland is Maine’s biggest city by population and offers plenty of art, history, and food to experience. We recommend kicking off a Portland tour in Old Port, full of beautiful historic buildings and cobblestone streets, perfect for a stroll and a meal at one of its many restaurants. And speaking of restaurants, you simply cannot cross the state lines of Maine without ordering a lobster roll to devour on the coast. Andy’s Old Port Pub, located at 94 Commercial Street, is arguably the best one in town.

If you’re looking for something to wash that lobster roll down with, head over to Allagash Brewery, a great local spot with plenty of outdoor space to enjoy a flight. If you’re worried about Fido, don’t be — it’s dog-friendly! Wrap up your time in Portland with a little art and history at the Portland Museum of Art, located at 7 Congress Street. This museum is the largest and oldest public art institution in the entire state so whether you’re into art or just plan on wandering aimlessly around, it’s a can’t-miss destination.

Read More: 16 New Jersey Towns for a Fun Summer Day Trip

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Bar Harbor + Acadia National Park | 8-hour drive from Hoboken + Jersey City

 

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Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park are two Maine destinations that often go hand-in-hand. If you’re looking for a day full of hiking, Cadillac Mountain’s trails are second to none, with sweeping views of the Maine coastline. However, if you’re more of the laid-back active type, Jordan Pond is for you. The old carriage roads you’ll encounter are beyond charming and *pro tip* — the popovers at Jordan Pond House Restaurant, located at 2928 Park Loop Road, are out of this world. It is definitely worth the stop for these crispy on the outside, soft and airy on the inside, pastries with a side of tea and jam.

maine lobster restaurant

Maine is known for killer lobster rolls and, you guessed it, beer. Stop at another Maine brewery, Atlantic Brewing Co., located at 15 Knox Road, for a pint. There you can take a tour of the brewery and then taste the classic beers. For those who prefer vino over beer, Bar Harbor Cellars Winery, located at 854 ME-3 is the place to go. This spot offers wine tasting experiences and be sure to pick up a bottle of your favorite on the way out.

Kennebunkport | 4-hour, 45-minute drive from Hoboken + Jersey City

Unlike other Maine beach towns with rock-filled coasts, Kennebunkport offers long, smooth beaches to relax on and soak up the sun. Not only is this town pretty as a postcard, but it also contains the famous compound of President Bush. Walk along the coast and take a peek from afar at the gorgeous development.

Kennebunkport is also home to many artists and galleries that show pieces of art you’ll definitely want to take home as a keepsake. Explore Homeport Pottery and Artisans Gallery, located at 131 Beachwood Avenue, Northlight Gallery located at 33 Ocean Avenue, and more. Make sure your camera is ready as you stroll around because this Maine town will not disappoint.

New Hampshire

The next East Coast destination is New Hampshire. Though much smaller in size than Maine, New Hampshire is bursting with a variety of landscapes to choose from. If you’re looking to get outdoors and stay active, New Hampshire is your state.

Concord + Manchester | 4-hour, 20-minute drive from Hoboken + Jersey City

Concord is a charming little town that just so happens to be the capital of New Hampshire and Manchester is the largest city in the state, but the two are so close to one another that the combination offers a perfect blend of the small-town and big-city vibe for a weekend getaway. Concord is often associated with orchards and farms galore so if you visit, Carter Hill Orchard, located at 73 Carter Hill Road; Dimond Hill Farm, located at 314 Hopkinton Road; and Apple Hill Farm, located at 580 Mountain Road, are few of our favorites. Of course, if we’re talking about apple cider, we wouldn’t dare leave out the hard libations. Concord is home to the Concord Craft Brewing Company, located at 117 Storrs Street, and Litherman’s Limited Brewery, located at 126 Hall Street Suite B.

Manchester brings more of the city vibe to balance out Concord’s small-town feel. If you’re feeling artsy, stop by the Currier Museum of Art, located at 150 Ash Street. Wash down your day of culture at Manchester’s 2nd Bridge Brewing Company located at 642 Hilliard Street or Labyrinth Brewing Company located at 148 Forest Street before heading home.

Lake Winnipesaukee | 5-hour, 30-minute drive from Hoboken + Jersey City

 

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This famous NH lake is the sixth-largest in the country. The lake’s beaches are perfect for relaxing in the sun or for the more active, swimming and sailing are a few of the water sports you can take advantage of on Lake Winnipesaukee in the summer.

White Mountain National Forest | 6-hour drive from Hoboken + Jersey City

Arguably one of the most popular destinations in all of NH, White Mountain National Forest is home to endless hiking trails, wild species, and views galore. Whether you visit in the spring, summer, fall, or winter, it is worth the few hours of driving. Be sure to bring your camera and stop at the ranger station before beginning an excursion because they will fill you in on all of the things to keep an eye out for on your trek.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts is a state that everyone yearns to visit in the summer. With every type of scenery from picturesque islands — think Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket — boasting sailboats and beautiful hydrangea bushes to a city with an old, cobblestone street vibe, you can do and see it all in MA, and you may even consider taking more than just one weekend to do so.

Boston | 3-hour, 30-minute drive from Hoboken + Jersey City

boston massachusetts

Visitors would be remiss to visit Massachusetts without at least passing through the bustling city of Boston. Boston is a city with old-time charm and a lot of history. As you walk through the town you encounter cobblestone streets, old buildings, and the waterfront of the harbor. Be sure not to miss iconic stops like Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox located at 4 Jersey Street; Quincy Market, located 206 South Market Street in the Faneuil Hall Marketplace; and Boston Public Garden located at 4 Charles Street for gorgeous park views.

For a little retail therapy, Newbury Street is bursting with designer shops and quaint brownstones that will have you strolling for hours, not to mention, great brunch spots can be stumbled upon as well. For the history buffs out there, pick up a map of the Freedom Trail for a self-guided history lesson. And speaking of history, Castle Island is an amazing landmark off the coast of South Boston.

Before leaving this incredible city, be sure to check out more incredible New England breweries based in Boston. Of course, the well-known Samuel Adams Boston Brewery, located at 30 Germania Street, is a must-see. If you’re in the mood for incredible craft beers and deliciously fluffy pretzels made from the actual hops of the beer, then Harpoon Brewery located at 306 Northern Avenue is the brewery for you. And finally, if you’re more of a cider-lover, Downeast Cider House, located at 256 Marginal Street #32, is a refreshingly tasty stop to conclude a day of Boston adventure.

Cape Cod | 4-hour, 15-minute drive from Hoboken + Jersey City

 

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Known for the beach, this seaside town is the perfect place for fun in the sun. The Cape Cod National Seashore boasts over 40,000 acres of protected shorelines for you to enjoy so lather up on sunscreen, pack up your cooler, and hit the beach.

Martha’s Vineyard | 5-hour, 20-minute drive from Hoboken + Jersey City

While Martha’s Vineyard does offer day trips from Boston, we recommend spending more than just an afternoon for a visit. Grab your camera for snapshots of sights like the Edgartown Lighthouse, located at 121 North Water Street, the Flying Horses Carousel located at 33 Lake Avenue, and even the furry creatures over at the Island Alpaca Company of Martha’s Vineyard, located at 1 Head of the Pond Road, Oak Bluffs. Seafood lovers can dine out on the water at a local favorite like Garde East, located at 52 Beach Road; Lucky Hank’s, located at 218 Upper Main Street; and The Seafood Shanty located at 31 Dock Street.

Nantucket | 6-hour, 30 minute trip from Hoboken + Jersey City

 

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A ferry ride to this picturesque island makes for a scenic end to the drive. This town is full of talented artists so visit one of its museums like the Whaling Museum at 13 Broad Street.

Of course, since Nantucket is an island, there are beaches galore. Hit the Madaket Beach, Surfside Beach, or Siasconset Beach and stare in awe at the many lighthouses Nantucket has to offer, namely the Brant Point and the Great Point Lighthouses. Conclude your day of beaching it with a cold one at Cisco Brewers at 5 Bartlett Farm Road. Sightsee, beach, beer, repeat.

Rhode Island

Newport | 3-hour, 15-minute drive from Hoboken + Jersey City

Possibly best known for its timeless mansions, the Cliff Walk is a must-see upon entering Newport. Beautiful estates like the Breakers at 44 Ochre Point Avenue; Rosecliff at 584 Bellevue Avenue; The Elms at 367 Bellevue Avenue and more are available for walking tours. You can purchase tickets for one or multiple estates at the Breakers upon arrival and you can walk or drive amongst each one. Along the Cliff Walk, you will also pass the beautiful Salve Regina University.

New York (Upstate)

Yes, we’re a hop, skip, and a jump away from NYC but New York is a massive state and when you enter upstate NY, it’s like a whole new world from the concrete jungle we know and love. Full of quaint small towns with boutiques and beautiful scenery, Upstate NY is not a destination to be missed.

New Paltz | 1-hour, 30-minute drive from Hoboken + Jersey City

new paltz new york weekend getaway

New Paltz is a HG favorite, all starting with the quaint Watergrasshill Bed and Breakfast at 105 Phillies Bridge Road. This B&B, named after an old Irish town, is the perfect place to stay for either a romantic getaway or a fun weekend with pals. While in town, you might consider buying a day pass to hike the Mohonk Preserve trails, all leading up to one breathtaking peak. After a fun-filled day of hiking, visit the famous Angry Orchard Cider House, located at 2241 Albany Post Road in Walden, NY for crisp ciders, tons of outdoor seating space, and food trucks galore. Also, the cider donuts made on-site are unreal.

A trip to New Paltz is not complete without walking the famous Huguenot Street. You can stop for cocktails at Huckleberry, located at 21 Church Street, dine outside, do a little antique shopping, and grab a scoop at Huguenot Creamery at 78 Main Street to end the night.

Saratoga Springs | 3-hour drive from Hoboken + Jersey City

Saratoga is most notably known for the Saratoga Race Course, located at 267 Union Avenue. Even if a race isn’t happening during a visit, it’s worth making the trip to walk around the massive grounds. During the summer, the Saratoga Farmer’s Market is in full swing, making for the perfect summer activity. And of course, the sweeping hills of New York contain many well-known wineries and Saratoga is no exception. If you’re feeling in the mood for a glass of vino, wrap your trip up at The Saratoga Winery located at 462 Route 29.

Connecticut

Connecticut is a popular destination as part of the tri-state area because it’s a quick trip from Hudson County and offers a variety of landscapes, things to do, and towns to visit.

New Haven | 1-hour, 45-minute drive from Hoboken + Jersey City

This Connecticut city plays host to the prestigious Yale University, a gorgeous campus to stroll around on. And with the campus comes the Yale University Art Gallery at 1111 Chapel Street to add a touch of culture to your trip. New Haven is bursting with parks and greens to take advantage of in the summer (or fall for the best photo opportunities) and nestled amongst them is the breathtaking Five Mile Point Lighthouse, located at 2 Lighthouse Road, a must-see in town. End the day with a meal at one of New Haven’s finest restaurants. For farm-to-table fare, try ZINC at 964 Chapel Street, for an Italian meal at a wine bar, Skappo at 59 Crown Street; or for an upscale French dinner, Union League Cafe is the way to go at 1032 Chapel Street.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is known for its popular cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, which contain a ton of historical value and things to do. However, PA is quite a large state so where you end up visiting may depend on how far you’re willing to travel.

Philadelphia | 1-hour, 30-minute drive from Hoboken + Jersey City

Philadelphia is one of the first spots to come to mind when we think of Pennsylvania, and the list of things to do in this city does not disappoint. Philadelphia certainly has no shortage of sports teams to route on from football to hockey to baseball and more. If you enjoy living on the edge, Eastern State Penitentiary at 2124 Fairmount Avenue is a popular tourist attraction, standing hauntingly empty where there once used to be a prison.

And for the Rocky fans out there, the Philadelphia Museum of Art at 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway plays host to yes, art, but more importantly, the famous steps that debuted in the Rocky films. Whether you’re going for a run-up and down them or actually using them to spend the day in the museum, they are an iconic Philly sight. For lunch or dinner plans, pay a visit to the Reading Terminal Market at 1136 Arch Street, which features over 80 food vendors.

Pittsburgh | 5-hour, 45-minute drive from Hoboken + Jersey City

 

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Pittsburgh simply doesn’t get enough credit for living in the limelight of Philadelphia as “the other major city in PA” but this city has a lot to offer. From sports like football and hockey to the famous Pittsburgh Zoo at 7370 Baker Street, there is truly something for everyone. Pittsburgh is also known for its second-to-none food scene. Enjoy dining outdoors at fantastic spots like Noodlehead at 242 South Highland Avenue, Point Brugge Cafe at 401 Hastings Street, and so many more.

Delaware

Delaware is a tiny state but again, one that is full of culture. Enter Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach — two of Delaware’s most-known cities that are both just a few hours away from Hudson County.

Rehoboth Beach | 3-hour, 30-minute drive from Hoboken + Jersey City

rehoboth

Situated on the Atlantic Ocean side of the Delmarva Peninsula, Rehoboth Beach provides both fun in the sun (including a boardwalk) as well as city amenities, such as a movie theatre, restaurants, and shopping. Surrounding towns like Lewes and Dewey Beach are also fun to check out. If you’re looking to do some hiking, walking, or biking, head to Cape Henlopen State Park located at 15099 Cape Henlopen Drive in Lewes. For the shopping enthusiasts, there are three Tanger outlet locations located on Coastal Highway in Rehoboth with every store you can imagine. For coffee and breakfast fare, stop by Rise Up Coffee at 502 Rehoboth Avenue or The Point Coffee Shop + Bakery at 37140 Rehoboth Avenue Ext. When it’s time for dinner, head to Crabby Dick’s at 18831 Coastal Highway (we recommend the crab cakes and corn balls), Stop N Go Taco at 37229 Rehoboth Avenue, or Saketumi at 18814 Coastal Highway.

Wilmington | 2-hour drive from Hoboken + Jersey City

 

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Wilmington is a city that has never-ending sites to see. For starters, the Nemours Estate at 1600 Rockland Road will transport you to France and make you feel as if you’re standing in the Chateau de Versailles garden. Exercise the cultural part of your brain by visiting the Hagley Museum and Library at 200 Hagley Creek Road, the Delaware Children’s Museum at 550 Justison Street, or the Delaware Art Museum at 2301 Kentmere Parkway. For those who are more active and looking to be outside, explore the Wilmington Riverwalk at 0 North Market Street, Bellevue State Park at 800 Carr Road, or the Brandywine Park and Zoo at 1001 North Park Drive.

Maryland

Maryland is a very well-known destination for us New Jerseyans. Known not only for its city of Baltimore, home of the Orioles for all you baseball fans or the Ravens for the football fans out there, but Maryland is also full of beaches, which you may not have known before reading this article.

Baltimore | 3-hour drive from Hoboken + Jersey City

 

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Baltimore is another city that is full of history and the fact that it’s located right on a harbor is even better. Fort McHenry and Fell’s Point are two locales that offer up historical tidbits around every corner. Baltimore is also known for the National Aquarium at 501 East Pratt Street, which is considered to be one of the best in the world. Conclude your trip to this Maryland town with an outdoor dining reservation at one of the harbor’s favorite restaurants such as McCormick + Schmick’s Seafood + Steaks at 711 Eastern Avenue or Phillips Seafood at 601 East Pratt Street.

Ocean City | 4-hour drive from Hoboken + Jersey City

The Ocean City beach and boardwalk are by far the biggest draw of this Maryland town. Enjoy a beautiful day on the beach riding the waves and end it on the boardwalk where you can eat, play, and stroll. Don’t even think about leaving this beach town without hitting up Thrasher’s Fries on the boardwalk, finished off with an ice cream cone at one of the many creamery destinations. Later on, hit up the Seacrets Distilling Company at 111 49th Street for hand-crafted spirits that will certainly lift yours.

Washington D.C. | 3-hour, 40-minute drive from Hoboken + Jersey City

 

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Of course, D.C. is not a state of its own but it is a territory that is quite well-known because, well, it’s the capital of our country. With that comes endless opportunities to brush up on history and politics.

Pretty self-explanatory, this destination is technically not a state but contains just as much to do as anywhere else on this list. Obviously, if you’re in our nation’s capital and have yet to see these sights, stopping by the White House, The Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and National WWII Memorial are a must. D.C. also plays host to museums of all types. The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History at 10th Street and Constitution Avenue holds the world’s most extensive collection of natural history specimens, the United States Holocaust Museum at 100 Raoul Wallenberg Plaza SW is a living memorial to the Holocaust. While these are just our recommendations, you could walk around this city all day and never run out of things to do or see.

See More: A Day Trip to Cold Spring, NY: A Hudson River Village

Virginia

Virginia is the most southern state we’ll be taking you to in this guide and there are plenty of destinations to make the trek worth it. VA is home to a variety of city types but we feel that Williamsburg has it all — history, culture, family fun, and more.

Williamsburg | 5-hour, 50-minute drive from Hoboken + Jersey City

The last stop on the East Coast destination tour, but certainly not the least. While Williamsburg is great for all ages if you have younger kids you really can’t go wrong here. This town is an extremely interactive way to engage your little ones in the rich history of our country. If you don’t already know, Williamsburg served as the capital of the Colony and Commonwealth of Virginia from 1699 to 1780 and acted as the center of political events leading to the American Revolution. That being said, Colonial Williamsburg is a must-see during your trip. You will be transported back in time through “townspeople” willing to tell their stories and include you in interactive experiences that tell a tale of Williamsburg long ago. If you want to stay away from a day full of history, Busch Gardens makes for a great, fun-filled day of amusement for the whole family.

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