Looking for the best vacation spots on the east coast? Look no further. Here’s a comprehensive list of top family vacation spots in this region. Taking a family vacation on the East Coast with kids? There’s a lot to do. This guide breaks down the best locations, activities and places to stay so your family can truly enjoy the area.
No matter what time of year you’re thinking about a family vacation, the East Coast is calling for your attention. New York City’s playground is one of the most popular tourist hot spots on the East Coast, drawing in more than 50 million tourists each year. Explore museums like The Whitney and The Met, decadent shopping in Soho and Madison Avenue, and don’t forget to take in a Broadway show at The Big Apple’s best Broadway theaters.
If you’re looking for an exciting, cost-effective east coast family vacation this summer, consider Washington D.C. The nation’s capital has plenty of things to do for the whole family and is just a few hours from New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and more!
Brimming with some of the best family vacation spots in the U.S., the East Coast is a great choice for family trips built around kid-friendly activities, outdoor attractions, and the natural splendor of mountains and coastline. Whether you’re coming from near or far, the best East Coast vacations offer something to love for everyone in the family.
Family Vacation On East Coast
The Top East Coast Vacations for Families
For history buffs, baseball fans, and everyone in between, here are the top East Coast vacation spots you can enjoy any time of year.
1. The Adirondacks, New York
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The summer months were built for fishing, swimming, biking, hiking, and paddling. In winter, snowshoeing, downhill skiing, and ice skating on frozen lakes (or on Olympic ice in Lake Placid) take center stage. Fall is a family favorite thanks to a spectacular display of crimson, amber, and orange leaves igniting the landscape. Spring brings beautiful blooms to meadows of wildflowers.
Small towns like Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, and Bolton Landing dot the region. There’s a yesteryear quality to these resort areas, with lakefront dining and old-fashioned mom-and-pop shops around every corner. In Tupper Lake, The Wild Center connects guests to the Adirondacks in a thoughtful way with multimedia exhibits and 31 acres of marked trails, plus a network of treetop bridges called the Wild Walk that’s a hit with kids and parents alike.
Where to Stay in the Adirondacks
For families, it doesn’t get any better than Saranac Waterfront Lodge in scenic Lake Saranac. Situated right on the water, this kid-friendly hotel is centrally located for activities like hiking (easy to moderate trails abound), biking (rentals are available on site), and water sports including fishing, kayaking, and chartered boat rides (boats depart from the hotel’s private dock). Dine inside or al fresco at the lodge’s in-house restaurant, The Boathouse, then take a s’mores pack outside to roast marshmallows at one of the many fire pits for guests.
2. Boston, Massachusetts
With historic attractions, interactive museums, and ample green space, Boston is catnip for any family seeking East Coast vacations with an urban feel. Compact and walkable, the city is easy to explore without a car, yet close enough to all corners of the region to serve as a launching point for other New England getaways, seaside villages, and fall foliage vacations.
There are hundreds of interactive exhibits at the Museum of Science and more than 800 different sea species at the New England Aquarium. The Boston Children’s Museum is a great place for hands-on discovery and play, and it celebrates diversity with exhibits like “Boston Black,” which aims to encourage a dialogue around race and identity. A visit to the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum is an interactive way to examine this seminal event, and the Freedom Trail is a walkable path through notable destinations in America’s fight for independence.
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Where to Stay in Boston
With sweeping views of Boston Harbor and personalized service, the swanky Boston Harbor Hotel is always a hit with families.
3. Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia
Unplug from the 21st century for a while with an East Coast family vacation to Colonial Williamsburg, the largest living history museum in the United States. Roam cobblestone streets filled with horse-drawn carriages while surrounded by well-preserved 18th century buildings that capture the spirit of the times.
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Kids love meeting the authentically costumed re-enactors as they go about daily chores, demonstrating crafts such as bookbinding, blacksmithing, wig-making, open-hearth cooking and more. Questions are encouraged. For foodie families, historic taverns serve menus inspired by Colonial-era recipes.
Where to Stay in Colonial Williamsburg
4. The Poconos, Pennsylvania
Situated in the northeast corner of Pennsylvania, the Poconos Mountain Region feels like a remote East Coast vacation spot, yet it’s only a two-hour drive from both New York City and Philadelphia. Natural beauty and a wealth of outdoor activities have made these mountains a time-tested panacea for the hectic pace of urban life. Charming villages, freshwater lakes, and mighty mountains are all found here.
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In summer, hiking, fishing, swimming, and boating are popular pastimes. In winter, there’s downhill skiing at Camelback, Shawnee, and Jack Frost, as well as opportunities to snowshoe and ice-skate on frozen lakes. Spring brings high waters on the Delaware River for paddling a canoe or kayak. Late in the year, fall vacation ideas abound when apple picking, pumpkin patches, and vibrant foliage weave a patchwork of color. And if the weather doesn’t cooperate, there are numerous indoor water parks, such as Kalahari and Aquatopia.
Where to Stay in the Poconos
One of the best all-inclusive family resorts in the U.S., homespun Woodloch Pines Resort has been owned and operated by the same family since 1958. With scores of kid-favorite activities on the sparkling lake, plus swimming pools, ice skating, go-carts, and bedtime-friendly evening entertainment, a stay at Woodloch is a recipe for smiles.