25 Best East Coast Family Vacations

Given the presence of major metropolitan areas like New York City and Chicago, the East Coast’s reputation as being “fast-paced” is not surprising.

It’s not just the residents who keep busy; visitors to the East Coast also have a lot to keep them occupied.

Everything from the bright lights of Broadway to the fresh air of New England to the sunshine of Florida, the East Coast has many attractions to offer visitors of all ages.

We’ve compiled a list of families’ top east coast vacation spots.

  1. Philadelphia, PA

The birthplace of America is a top choice for East Coast family vacations because it is jam-packed with fun things for kids of all ages to do.

Whether staying at a chic boutique hotel or one of the East Coast’s top family resorts, you’ll be within easy reach of all the city’s great family activities.

Philadelphia is a fantastic city for families with young children because it is easily navigable on foot, and there is no need to worry about how to transport a stroller from one attraction to another.

Visit the Philadelphia Art Museum for your “Rocky” moment, the Betsy Ross House to get a feel for American history, or the Please Touch Museum to have fun with your toddler.

The Reading Terminal Market has tasty sandwiches; you can get your fill of soft pretzels and Philly cheesesteaks there.

  1. Bar Harbor, ME

Tourists often stop in Bar Harbor, Maine, on their way to or from Acadia National Park.

Take the drive up to Cadillac Mountain to see some of the best views Acadia has, and don’t miss Thunder Hole, so named for the roar of the waves.

Those interested in seeing Atlantic Puffins, seals, and even whales flock to Bar Harbor for the viewing tours.

Bar Harbor’s downtown is like something out of a children’s book, with its many quaint restaurants, shops, and ice cream parlors.

  1. New York City, NY

No East Coast travel guide would be complete without including New York City, right?

New York is one of the most popular travel destinations because there is something for everyone to do there.

Not only should you visit Broadway, but also Times Square and Central Park.

The subway, taxis, or even just walking are simple, inexpensive ways to get around the city, as they all connect to every area.

If touring mansions is a family tradition, you should vacation in Newport, Rhode Island, where the Vanderbilts spent their summers.

  1. Jersey Shore, NJ

Beautiful seaside towns dot the New Jersey coast, from Sandy Hook in the north to Cape May in the south.

Jersey Shore is an excellent place for a cheap summer vacation with the family because of the abundance of spacious vacation rentals available at reasonable prices.

Exploring the Jersey Shore’s boardwalks, with their games, rides, and delicious food, is an excellent activity for families on vacation.

The “Shore” has become a tradition for many communities due to the abundance of activities available.

  1. Newport, RI

Since the Vanderbilts spent their summers in Newport, Rhode Island, it is “the” place to go if visiting grand homes is a family pastime.

After touring the estates, take a stroll along the Cliff Walk, a 3.5-mile path that runs along the coast and offers stunning vistas.

Take the surprisingly cheap Newport Helicopter Tour to see more of the area.

The tours last between 12 and 35 minutes and have varying prices accordingly.

The bustling downtown area is home to numerous exciting eateries, boat rides, shops, and festivals throughout the year.

  1. Delaware Beaches, DE

Many beautiful beaches can be found in Delaware, with the Delaware Beaches stretching from Lewes to the Maryland border.

The East Coast has family-friendly attractions along this trail, from Cape Henlopen State Park to Bethany Beach to Fenwick Island.

Check out Rehoboth Beach’s boardwalk and rides, perfect for kids of all ages (and their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, too!), and Dewey Beach’s chill atmosphere, perfect for preteens and teenagers.

  1. Washington D.C

Washington, DC, is home to many free, world-class museums, including the Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art. In one of the country’s most historically significant locations, families can have fun while learning about the country’s past.

Cherry blossom season is another popular time for visitors when the city is awash in pastel shades of pink, peach, and white.

In honor of these beautiful flowers, the city of Washington, DC, hosts the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival every April.

  1. Boston, MA

Like Washington, DC, Boston is a great vacation spot without breaking the bank. The city has a wealth of free museums and historic sites.

However, its compact size allows visitors to see more sights in less time.

Take a stroll down the Freedom Trail, and you might see the home that Paul Revere grew up in.

You can also take your teen on a free tour of the Harvard campus to draw motivation from this center of excellence in education.

Driving in Boston is not recommended due to the city’s complex road system.

Choose the “T,” the city’s public subway system.

Win-win because it’s inexpensive, simple, and hygienic.

  1. Cape Cod, MA

Cape Cod has been the most popular summer destination for decades, and it’s not hard to see why: the picturesque Massachusetts peninsula is only an hour and a half from the action in Boston.

Chatham, Provincetown, and Hyannis are just a few of the Cape’s New England-style coastal communities that welcome visitors with “relaxed, laid-back vibes only,” as the saying goes.

Don’t forget to stock up on the wildly popular Cape Cod Potato Chips and cool off with some ice cream at the legendary Four Seas, New England’s third-oldest ice cream parlor.

  1. Annapolis, MD

The town of Annapolis, on the western shore of Chesapeake Bay, is home to the United States Naval Academy, which you may recognize from “Annapolis,” starring James Franco and Tyrese Gibson.

The Sailing Capital of the United States, Annapolis, offers beautiful sunset cruises and more than enough mega yachts anchored in the marinas to satisfy any boating enthusiast.

With tours of the Naval Academy and other attractions, Annapolis is a one-of-a-kind destination for families.

  1. Ocean City, MD

You wouldn’t think that a small barrier island like Maryland’s Ocean City could pack so much family-friendly fun into its 10 miles of length, but that’s precisely what’s on offer.

Ocean City is jam-packed with fun activities from the ocean to the bay.

After a round of mini golf or a race around the go-kart tracks, guests can explore the exciting attractions along the boardwalk or relax on the beautiful beaches.

Ocean City has various lodging options, including hotels, condos with multiple bedrooms, and even beachfront houses.

  1. Williamsburg, VA

Traveling to Williamsburg is like taking a time machine back to the early days of American colonization because it is one of the most historically significant places in the United States.

One of the main draws to the area is Colonial Williamsburg. In this 300-acre living history museum, visitors can see people dressed in period costumes walking the streets and even eating at the same restaurant that George Washington did…

When the kids get tired of learning about the past, take them to Busch Gardens Williamsburg to enjoy the park’s thrilling roller coasters and water slides.

  1. Charleston, SC

One of the best weekend getaways on the East Coast with kids is the charming city of Charleston, known for its warm and welcoming Southern hospitality.

The city has many photogenic landmarks that appeal to parents and teenagers.

Charleston is filled with beautiful, extravagant mansions that make for perfect Instagram fodder, as does the Joe Riley Waterfront Park; you can also go for a stroll or a cruise around the harbor.

Take the kids to an abandoned plantation or the South Carolina Aquarium to see some unusual sights.

  1. Asheville, NC

Asheville is a popular mountain getaway because it is home to The Biltmore Estate, the largest private residence in the United States.

The estate, accessible via guided tours, is located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Kayaking on Lake Lure, ziplining, and hiking are just some outdoor activities available to the adventurous family.

Downtown Asheville is where it’s at, with plenty of entertainment for kids in the form of street performers, great restaurants, and breweries that welcome families with young children.

  1. Savannah, GA

Savannah is an excellent option for you and your family if you value proximity to nature and access to urban amenities.

The City of Squares gets its moniker because it has 24 parks and squares.

Savannah’s moss-covered oak trees, which form welcoming arches at the city’s entrance, take on a decidedly unwelcoming appearance around Halloween.

Teenagers will enjoy the thrills and chills of the ghost tours of haunted plantation houses and graveyards available during Halloween.

  1. Amelia Island, FL

Amelia Island is a small barrier island off the northeastern coast of Florida, famous for its white sand beaches and clear, emerald waters.

The 13 miles of beaches and abundance of outdoor pursuits on Amelia Island are major draws for visitors.

Amelia Island is a barrier resort island, so it’s safe for families to enjoy activities like kayaking, water sports, and boat tours, especially in Fernandina Beach, a seaport town with 200 years of preserved history.

Horseback riding and biking are two more activities that the whole family can enjoy, as well as taking full advantage of the beautiful beaches.

  1. The Palm Beaches, FL

All the Palm Beaches in southeastern Florida are great options for a family reunion on the East Coast beach.

Located in Palm Beach County, where Flagler built his illustrious Palm Beach to Key West railroad, the Flagler Museum gives visitors an in-depth look at the state’s history.

You probably aren’t going to the Palm Beaches to learn about the area’s past; you also want to enjoy the weather, water sports, and the beach.

The Palm Beaches are a great place to spend countless hours engaging in beach activities and soaking up the sun.

  1. Maine Coast, MA

Because of its nearly 3,500 miles of coastline, Maine is a popular vacation spot for people looking to relax on the beach.

As far north as Bar Harbor, There is no shortage of charming coastal communities along Maine’s shoreline, each with its unique appeal.

Kennebunkport is filled with quaint inns and charming cottages. At the same time, Old Orchard Beach is a historic town with plenty of traditional attractions, such as rides and a historic pier, perfect for reliving the good ol’ days.

The rocky shoreline of Casco Bay is dotted with lighthouses and is home to many tourist attractions, including delicious eateries, a brewery, and the L.L. Bean flagship store in Freeport.

  1. White Mountains, NH

The White Mountain is an excellent option for active families and people who enjoy the outdoors because of the wide variety of outdoor pursuits available.

Visitors to the White Mountains with their families can go rock climbing, hiking, and swimming in the waterfalls of Diana’s Baths.

Other must-do activities include taking the Cog Railway to the summit of Mount Washington or driving your car up to the peak to get a special sticker.

In addition, Santa’s Village and Storyland amusement parks and the summertime displays and activities at Attitash Mountains are also great places to take the kids.

  1. Green Mountains, VT

Green Vermont is an excellent destination for Northeastern family vacations because it can accommodate relaxing and exciting getaways.

Vermont is home to several world-class ski resorts and the scenic shores of Lake Champlain, perfect for summertime relaxation.

You can go on scenic drives, swim in natural hot springs, visit a Ben & Jerry’s factory, and sample local craft beers after a day of hiking and swimming.

Manchester and Woodstock, both close by, are also worth a visit.

  1. Niagara Falls, NY

Once a popular destination only for newlyweds, Niagara Falls is now a busy tourist hub for families.

You can visit our Canadian neighbors and say hello, or you can stay in the United States and take advantage of the 22 breweries and wineries along the Niagara Wine Trail.

The Niagara Gorge, the eleven New York State Parks, and the boat ride across the river will all be enjoyable experiences for an “outdoorsy” family.

In addition, there is the Niagara Aquarium, Old Fort Niagara, and the incredible Cave of the Winds, all of which are perfect for families.

  1. Clearwater Beach, FL

Located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Clearwater Beach is a picture-perfect tropical paradise with its sugary white sands and tranquil turquoise waters.

When you factor in the abundance of hotels and resorts, you have all the makings of a perfect beach vacation for the whole family.

Clearwater Beach is perfect for families with kids because of all the fun things there, such as dolphin cruises, pirate ship adventures, sunset festivals, outdoor movies, and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

You can easily spend a day traveling between Tampa and St. Petersburg to see attractions like Busch Gardens and the Florida Aquarium.

  1. Virginia Beach, VA

The 24-foot King Neptune statue may be the most recognizable symbol of Virginia Beach, but that’s far from all the city has to offer.

The Chesapeake Bay is a fantastic family vacation spot thanks to its extensive shoreline and stunning waters. Young children will enjoy playing in the bay’s calm waters, while those with more experience will enjoy the challenge of the Atlantic’s waves.

Ocean Breeze Water Park is an excellent place for families to spend the day due to its affordable admission price, lazy river, ten slides, and wave pool.

Overall, Virginia Beach is a fantastic option for ecotourists thanks to its abundance of parks, aquariums, and opportunities to observe marine mammals like whales and dolphins.

  1. Lake Lure, NC

Lake Lure is full of exciting opportunities, and the surrounding mountains are beautiful in any season.

Must-sees in the area include Chimney Rock State Park, the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge, and Chimney Rock Village, the latter of which features many dining options, retail therapy, and scenic creekside strolls.

Eight trails are explored at Chimney Rock, and the ascent to the summit and the Hickory Nut Falls Trail are two of the best.

Lake Lure Inn and Spa’s beach or a pontoon boat ride on the lake are excellent ways to unwind.

  1. Hilton Head, SC

Hilton Head is a picturesque town with endless bike trails, plenty of horseback riding, the chance to kayak through waterways and marshes, and picnicking in the Pinckney Nature Preserve among lovely oak trees draped in velvety Spanish moss.

But it’s not all quaint and traditional; there are plenty of places to play golf and eat at fine establishments offering a wide range of cuisines.

You can taste the local cuisine, some of the best barbecue in the country, or the catch of the day, all while basking in the famous Southern hospitality and charm.