If you read my last post about road trip tips, you’re probably excited and ready to hit the road. All of those great ideas to make the best of your summer road trip will sure come in handy. There’s just one more very important detail to planning a road trip– deciding where to go!
This is the fun part, but if you currently live in the United States, you might feel incredibly overwhelmed by all of the options. There are 48 states you can access by car and several of them are the size of entire countries. This place is massive, there’s no denying it. From green forests and lakes to rocky deserts, the USA has all kinds of climates and different things to see.
You could travel for months and only see a small fraction of the beauty it boasts. A great way to see as much as possible is to stick to one region of the country at a time, giving you more time to spend in each place so you don’t have to rush through anything. If you’re going to take a road trip, you want to make sure you don’t try to do too much and spend the majority of your time in the car.
Since growing up in New York has made me much more familiar with this side of the country, I’ve compiled a list of what I think are the best road trip spots in the northeast. These can be your destinations or just stops along the way to be sure you don’t miss something spectacular.
Acadia National Park and the New England coast
Maine is one of my favorite states because I love the rocky coastlines and mild summer weather. This 47,000 acre park is on Maine’s Mount Desert Island. At Acadia National Park, you can find a variety of beaches, hiking trails, ponds and mountains. Maine’s coast is exceptionally beautiful and well worth the drive up. Spend a day or two here and enjoy any leisurely activity you can think of while checking out some lighthouses and indulging in some of the best seafood in the country while you make your way back down.
Historic Boston Harbor
I love Boston (besides the sports teams, of course) and thoroughly enjoy the time I’ve spent there. The weather is beautiful in the summertime and the area is so rich with history. As you can probably tell already, I especially love any place near water. Make a stop here along your way and take a history tour, a cruise on the harbor or just soak up some sun by the water.
The Adirondack Mountains
One of the most well-known mountain ranges in the eastern USA, the Adirondacks span for about 160 miles in northern New York and offer everything a nature lover could ever need. Anything from beautiful scenic drives to kayaking and hiking can be done in the Adirondacks. Nature is the name of the game here, so if you’re a lover of the outdoors, it’s a must for you to stop in the Adirondacks. It’s a great place to stretch your legs and spend a few days in outside with the whole family.
The Thousand Islands
A group of more than 1,800 islands sit on the St. Lawrence River between New York and Canada and are known as the Thousand Islands. Some islands are home to elaborate mansions and you can tour them as part of some of the cruises offered. The Thousand Islands are truly unique and remarkable to see and a great place to stop that the whole family will love.
The Finger Lakes
Everyone from New York knows and loves the Finger Lakes region. They make some of the best wine in the country and have tons of other fun summer activities you can do. You can spend the day taking a wine tour or boating and find a local restaurant with live music in the evening. There are even lots of local attractions for kids, such as the Corning Museum of Glass, mini-golf courses and the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse.
Letchworth State Park
Known for hiking trails, beautiful waterfalls and lots of green spaces, Letchworth State Park is one of New York’s most visited state parks. I grew up less than 30 miles from there, making this one close to my heart. I promise this recommendation is not out of bias, though. Letchworth truly is amazing. Niagara Falls is only about an hour and a half drive, too! If you can, get over to the Canadian side of the falls and spend a night.
Gettysburg is a great place to stop on your way south, especially with kids or if you’re a history lover. There’s a lot to see here, but I think it’s manageable to do in a few hours. You can visit the battleground sites, the museum and Visitor Center and the Gettysburg National Cemetery, where you’ll find a memorial for Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address. The historical significance of this site makes it definitely worth a stop!
Drive through Amish Country
While many rural areas in the northeast will have some Amish houses and farms, if you really want to see Amish life, drive though Lancaster, PA. Known as Amish Country, Lancaster has a very high population of Amish farms. There are plenty of attractions you can see and handmade items you can buy from them. They offer farm tours and even buggy rides. Learn more about the Amish in Lancaster on their official website. If you’re not keen to any of that, just driving through the area will be an experience you just can’t get anywhere.
If you’re planning a road trip for the summer that will include the northeast, check out some of these amazing places. There is something for everyone on this list and I can personally verify that each one will be absolutely worth the stop. Happy travels everyone!