Skip to Content

7 East Coast Road Trip Ideas

The Northeast is the perfect region for a road trip. Filled with diverse cities and towns, the East Coast offers ski resorts, beaches, attractions, history, and so much more. Road trips can be a great way to be more impulsive in your travel, because you aren’t going to be bound by flight reservations. They can also be a wonderful way to save money on your vacation. When road tripping, you don’t have to pay for airline tickets or rent a car.

If you are thinking of road tripping, and are looking for some inspiration, here are 7 East Coast road trip ideas. I’ve selected specific start and end points for demonstration, but keep in mind that you can adjust these trips based upon where you live and where you want to end up. Here are some tips for long road trips if you plan to be in your car for a while.

This post contains affiliate links. A purchase through one of these links may result in a commission paid to us. All opinions are my own. We may have been hosted at one of more of these destinations but all opinions are my own.

7 East Coast road trip ideas, including trips to destinations like Quebec City, Washington, DC, Florida, New York City, and North Carolina.

7 East Coast Road Trip Ideas

Quebec City wall around city

Canada – Boston Road Trip

I have so many fond memories of traveling to Canada each summer from my home in Rhode Island. If you live in the Northeast, there are several great Canadian destinations to visit, including Toronto, Niagara Falls, Montreal, and Quebec City.

Our favorite road trip to Canada is from Boston to Quebec City. There are two main routes to take, and to see more sites, you may want to take one route on the way there, and one route on the way back.

The first route takes about 7 hours and goes through the White Mountains National Forest. We typically try to stay overnight part of the way through that trip – usually stopping in Lincoln, New Hampshire.

See hotels in Lincoln, NH

The second route takes about an extra half hour and goes through Maine, including the southern coast of Maine. Although it isn’t halfway, you may consider staying in Portland, Maine.

See hotels in Portland, Maine

If you’d rather visit Montreal, you’ll travel through both New Hampshire and Vermont. A good stopping point is right on the NH/Vermont border, near Hanover, NH. That trip, from Boston to Montreal, takes a little over 5 hours.

Check out the best cities to visit in Canada here.

See hotels in Montreal
See hotels in Hanover, NH

New England Road Trip

You could easily explore much of what New England has to offer with a road trip. For this type of trip, you’ll want to start and end at the same point. During your trip, you may want to visit the following places:

A few years ago, we did a culinary road trip from Portland, Maine to New Haven, CT. This trip was a great way to sample some delicious food and see some fabulous museums.

washington DC Lincoln Memorial outside

Northeast – Florida Road Trip

When I was a kid, my family road tripped from our home in Rhode Island down to the Orlando area in Florida several times. This journey, which takes about 24 hours, can seem very long. But there are also some great places to stop along the way. To break things up, you’ll want to have several drivers or stop at least overnight. You can also make several stops, seeing varying sites along the way.

For much of this trip, you’ll be traveling down I-95. Ideas for stops include:

  • New York City
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Washington DC
  • Richmond, Virginia
  • Fayetteville, North Carolina
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Jacksonville, Florida
Exterior of the Virginia Aquarium

Northeast – Outer Banks, North Carolina

The Outer Banks of North Carolina are a popular summer destination. If you are thinking of traveling there, a road trip from the Northeast can be a great option. Overall, the trip will take about 12 hours, and there are several stops you can make along the way.

Boston waterfront

Boston-Washington DC Road Trip

A few years ago, we drove from our home in the Boston area to Washington DC. This trip takes about 8 to 8 ½ hours if you drive straight through. However, if you are trying to make it more of a journey, there are several East Coast road trip stops you can make along the way.

  • Hartford, Connecticut
  • New Haven, Connecticut
  • New York City, NY
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

During our trip, we decided to leave after school on the last day before spring break. So, we drive in the evening until we reached Greenwich, CT. We stayed overnight there, and then continued on to DC. On our way back, we wanted to get home, so we drove the whole way back straight through.

View from the Row NYC Hotel

Boston-NYC Road Trip

It’s a short trip, but there’s tons to see on the journey from Boston to New York City. It’s a bit longer, but if you are looking to see a few places along the way, I’d recommend taking Route 95. This trip will take you through Rhode Island and the coast of Connecticut. On your trip, you can stop in Mystic, Connecticut and New Haven, Connecticut to visit their attractions and eat the delicious local food.

Mount Vernon

Revolutionary War/Hamilton Road Trip

The East Coast is home to so many US history sites that you could easily plan a road trip right around those sites. One idea is a Hamilton road trip, which will take you to many of the sites mentioned in Hamilton: An American Musical. See more details on the Hamilton road trip here.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.