8 Best East Coast Road Trips [Slideshow]

March 19, 2019
picture of the horizon at sundown

Looking for an east coast road trip ideas for the summer? Grab your sunglasses, GPS and camera and get ready for some fun in the sun. Whether you want to spend a day or a week on the road, there’s a trip for you. Here’s a list of the best road trips on the east coast.

To get a more detailed trip itinerary for each trip, check out the details below:

1. Lincoln, NH, to Portland, ME

Duration: Day trip

Hop on the Kancamagus Scenic Byway in Lincoln, N.H., and wind through the White Mountain National Forest that stretches 35 miles. “The Kanc,” as it’s known by locals, is a great trip to take in autumn when the leaves are bursting with color. Continue your trip over the border and visit Portland, Maine. Walk along the cobblestone streets in the Old Port section and visit Casco Bay for great ocean views. It’s about a 2.5-hour trip without stops.

2. Pensacola, FL, to New Orleans, LA

Duration: Weekend trip

The shoreline between Pensacola and New Orleans is a popular one. You’ll trek through four beachfront states on the four-hour journey along Highway 10. Spend time at Pensacola Beach before heading for Gulf State Park in Alabama. Take a boat to see Ship Island in Mississippi and then head for New Orleans and enjoy a creole dish for lunch, tour the French Quarter and enjoy the nightlife on Bourbon Street.

3. Fort Pierce to Miami, FL

Duration: Weekend trip

Break up this three-hour trip by doing some fishing at Fort Pierce Inlet State Park for the afternoon, then head toward Savannas Preserve State Park near Port Saint Lucie, which is home to birds and alligators. Do some kayaking on Florida’s Loxahatchee River inside Jonathan Dickinson State Park, and spend the rest of your time touring Miami. Take in a Marlins baseball game and tour the Miami Beach Boardwalk.

4. Corolla to Ocracoke, NC

Duration: 3-4 day trip

Travel through the Outer Banks of North Carolina by starting on Highway 12 in Corolla. Visit the Currituck Banks Equestrian Reserve to spot wild horses, then head south to the birthplace of air travel, the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills. Head to Jockey’s Ridge State Park, home to the tallest sand dune system in the U.S., and then ride along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore for 74 miles to the end, where you can take a ferry to Ocracoke.

5. Fort Kent, ME to Key West, FL

Duration: 7-10 days

Take Route 1, the east coast’s premier coastal highway, stretching 2,376 miles from Fort Kent, Maine, to Key West, Fla. Visit the Portland Head Lighthouse on Cape Elizabeth, see the Statue of Liberty in New York City walk around the White House and neighboring monuments in Washington, D.C., visit the Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge in South Carolina and go snorkeling in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Florida. Then travel over the seven-mile bridge to Key West for some fun in the sun.

6. Miami to Key West, FL

Duration: Weekend trip

Take a food and walking tour of Little Havana in Miami, hop aboard a speedboat or visit The Shops at Mary Brickell Village. Then buckle up for an island-hopping tour through the Florida Keys. Stop in Key Largo for lunch, snap a picture of the Key deer that roam around Big Pine Island and hit Duval Street in Key West for open-air bars including the Green Parrot. Spend some time at Smathers Beach and take a picture at Mile Marker 0.

7. Kennebunkport to Bar Harbor, ME

Duration: Weekend trip

Tour Kennebunkport’s harbor and enjoy its small-town feel, then head to Rockland and visit the shops on Main Street. Hop in the car and tour Bar Harbor and the Acadia National Forest. There are 130 trails to choose from in the park, but the one-mile Shore Path is the most popular as it runs along the ocean. This trip is 3.5 hours without stops.

8. Virginia Beach to Assateague Island, VA

Duration: Day trip

Travel across the 17-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel that connects Virginia Beach to the eastern shore of Maryland. Do some bird watching in Kiptopeke State Park in Cape Charles and tour the quaint city. Head for Onancook to hop on a ferry to see Tangier Island and spend some quiet time on the beach. End your tour on Rt. 13 visiting the Virginia end of Assateague Island, where wild ponies roam free. It’s about two hours of travel time.

Road Trip Confidently

Whether you’re hitting the road with your family or a group of friends, an east coast road trip is sure to create stories and memories that you’ll talk about for years to come.

No matter whom you’re with, or where you go, having peace of mind while driving can make a road trip that much more enjoyable. Whether your car breaks down, you get locked out of your vehicle or you run out of gas on an unfamiliar road, Nationwide’s 24-Hour Emergency Roadside Assistance has you covered. so you can set off on your east coast road trip with confidence.

  • Travel & Outdoors