12 Incredible Stops on an Atlantic Coast Road Trip

12 incredible stops on an atlantic coast road trip

The Atlantic Coast of the United States is a long stretch of land rich with historic landmarks and scenic attractions.

Any impressions of the coast formed from time spent on the congested highways and busy business roads, though, are incomplete. They don’t show the majesty that the Atlantic Coast has to offer.

To truly take in the sights, a proper East Coast road trip is in order. One that will take adventurers off the beaten path and shows the genuine spirit of the Atlantic. There are plenty to experience along the way, including…


Portland Head Light, a historic lighthouse in Maine. Located in Cape Elizabeth, the tower was built in 1791, back when Maine was still a part of Massachusetts. It lights the way to Portland Harbor, one of the state’s primary shipping locations.

Made of rubblestone, the tower stands an impressive 80 feet above ground and 101 feet above water. Its beacon has a range of 28 miles. The structure holds a spot on the National Register Of Historic Places, which it took in 1973.

The lighthouse contains a small store and museum. The surrounding area is home to Portland Observatory, the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum, and the University Of Southern Maine.

New Hampshire

Heading into New Hampshire, there’s Odiorne State Park in Rye. It’s named after the Odiorne family who settled the area in the mid-1600s. Complementing its lovely seaside scenery, are picturesque rock formations and sizable picnic areas.

While in the area, one could also check out Fort Stark and the Seacoast Science Center. The Fort is a former military installation, built to defend Portsmouth and the nearby shipyard.

The Science Center features an aquarium and lots to learn about marine life. From skeletal models to marine mammal rescue center, the center will give you an in-depth look at our cousins in the sea.


Many are tempted to head straight for Boston to check out the monuments and museums. Why not plan to stop in at Salem along the way? It’s home to a rich colonial history. There’s even the Salem Wax Museum. The museum houses a multitude of wax figures detailing the history of Salem and its significance.

During the summer months, they host a walking tour through the streets of Historic Salem. The spooky tour gives some background on the areas haunted locations. It even offers a chance to do some ghost photography, and learn about the spirits that may still lurk the region.


Once in Connecticut, travelers can head to Bridgeport to see the Barnum Museum. Constructed by the legendary PT Barnum himself, the museum houses part of his collection, along with the history of Bridgeport.

The building itself is a beautiful terra cotta structure, reminiscent of Byzantine and Islamic architectural styles. It contains replicas of his circus, library, and estate. There’s also an exhibit dedicated to Tom Thumb, one of his most famous performers.

Today, The Barnum Museum Foundation manages the historic site. It is a member of the North American Reciprocal Museums program.

New York

There’s an abundance to do and see in New York. No trip would be complete without a stop at Manhattan island to take in the many museums, restaurants, and monuments. The Statue Of Liberty, Federal Hall, and Museum of Modern Art are staples for any trek through NYC.

Somewhat off the beaten path, though, in Brooklyn, travelers can see Prospect Park. It’s a 12-acre zoo that’s been around since the 1930s. Across the way is the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Together, they provide a nature enthusiast’s dream. Showing off many plant and animal species one may not have the opportunity to see in everyday life. The Red Pandas, Sea Lions, and Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden top the list of famed attractions.

New Jersey

Fans of vintage pinball will be pleasantly surprised to learn that the Silverball Museum in Asbury Park is dedicated to exactly that. Antique machines, some dating back to the 1930s, line the walls of this prestigious establishment.

While in the area, there also beaches and parks for those that want to capture the spirit of the outdoors.


Sometimes referred to as “Delmarva,” the Chesapeake Bay plays a large role in the area’s prominence. There are plenty of historic sites around Dover and Rehoboth Beach, along with fun in the sun during the summer months.

To experience this area of the Eastern Shore to it’s fullest, travelers may consider booking a stay at a hotel in Ocean City. From there, they can relax, then see what else the coast has to offer.

Down towards Hampton Roads, there are plenty more museums, parks, and menageries to satisfy a lust for nature and environmental appreciation.

The Carolinas

North and South Carolina have miles and miles of beautiful beaches to experience. Most famous of all, perhaps, is Myrtle Beach, a grand hub of vacationing and summertime antics.

The area is the focal point of several week-long motorcycle rallies, where enthusiasts of two-wheeled transportation come to show off their rides and commune with like-minded souls.

Travelers can take in a bit of history at old Fort Sumter, or visit Kitty Hawk, the site of the site of the Wright Brothers’ successful airplane flight.


Once in Georgia, the 18th Century ruins located at the Wormsloe Historic Site become a must-see location. Once a small plantation, the area is now a placid scenic site.

Visitors can tour the estate and gardens, see The Isle of Hope, and stroll along the oak-lined avenue.


The southern end of the Atlantic Coast. Florida is widely acclaimed for its tropical temperatures and well-known animal species like alligators and crocodiles. There’s no shortage of beaches, from Fort Lauderdale, to Miami, all the way down to the tip of Key West.

While in Florida, visitors should plan a trip to the Key West Aquarium, one of the state’s oldest. While in the Keys, it’s imperative to head to the Southernmost Point, a monument to the southernmost tip of the continental US.

It’s a scant 90-miles from Cuba, and while not the actual Southernmost point (the true title goes to Ballast Key) it’s a major tourist attraction nonetheless.

Atlantic Coast road trip stops