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Bucket List Worthy Locations on the East Coast

The infamous Bucket list. Everyone has one. Maybe it deals with food or adventures. Or perhaps its deals with places you would like to see. 

The East Coast of the United States has tons of places that are bucket list worthy. From major cities to seaside towns. Amazing national parks to some seriously weird and mysterious places. 

These are only my suggestions on bucket list worthy places along the east coast. Places you don’t want to miss from Maine to Florida. 

Outdoors

Let’s first take a look at the different State Parks, National Parks, and odd little places. Each state on the east coast of the US has some amazing State Parks. All should be visited in their own right. 

Of course unless you don’t work or just have a large sum of money. It would be nearly impossible to visit them all. We are just going to focus on those Bucket List places. Ones that offer amazing views, sunrises or sunsets, or just have something so unique you can’t find anywhere else. 

Acadia National Park

Known as the Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast Acadia National Park in Maine is something you just have to see. With 158 miles of hiking trails, 27 miles of historic roads and even 45 miles of carriage roads. It’s not hard to see why this is one of the most visited National Parks in the US. 

If you are looking to catch an epic sunrise. Acadia National Park is the place to try your luck. You have one of the best chances of photographing that stunningly beautiful sunrise that you always dreamed of. 

If you plan on checking Acadia off your list in the Spring, Summer, or Fall make sure you spend the night. Stargazing at Acadia is mindblowing. If you live on the east coast you don’t really have truly dark skies unless you live deep in the mountains. The amount of stars you see will blow your mind and really make you wonder if we truly are the only ones out there.

Watkins Glen State Park

Watkins Glen won third place in USA Today’s Best State Parks in the United States. That’s huge when you consider there are over 6,000 state parks in the US. The big draw to this state park is the waterfalls.

Walk along the two mile trail and you will see 19 waterfalls while you walk past 200 foot cliffs. I don’t know about you but there is something about the sound of waterfalls. It just has a calming effect. 

Niagara Falls

Sticking with waterfalls there is no better place to visit than Niagara Falls. Of course the views from the American side are nowhere near as spectacular as they are on the Canadian side. It still is breathtaking. 

Ringing Rocks County Park

Have you ever heard of rocks that ring like a bell when you hit them with a hammer? It’s no trick. The rocks at Ringing Rocks County Park in Bucks County, PA ring like a bell. 

The rocks sit in a boulder field not far from the parking lot. You can hear the “ringing” as you exit your car. Not all the rocks ring but a lot of them do. Make sure you add this mysterious place on your east coast bucket list. 

Hanging Rock State Park

Hanging Rock State Park is one of those places that you have to check out for yourself. Makes sense that it is on a list of bucket list worthy locations. Step out onto the rocks and take in the amazing views at this state park in North Carolina. 

Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a beautiful scenic drive in North Carolina and Virginia. This is one you need to do over the course of a couple days. There are so many scenic overlooks to hit up that it would be impossible to do it in a day.

Plus this little drive is all about relaxing and taking in the breathtaking views. There are so many that you are going to want to do just that.

Hunting Island State Park

Hunting Island State Park is located on the Atlantic Coast in South Carolina. The thing that sets this place apart from other coastal areas is the apocalyptic feel the one area has. 

I just wish the sun was shining the day I visited. But the grey skies really gave it that end of day’s feel to it. 

Hunting Island is also a great place to search for sand dollars. Just make sure you know the rules before you go. 

Great Smoky Mountains

Ok, so I kind of feel like this one is cheating. When I think of the Smoky Mountains I think of Tennessee. But part of the Smoky Mountains are also in North Carolina and NC is on the east coast. 

No matter if you visit them in Tennessee or North Carolina it will leave you breathless. But it should, right? Why else would it be on a bucket worthy list?

I know for me I am going to plan a trip for the fall. I just want to stop right in my tracks seeing all the colorful trees when the leaves change. That would truly be something to see. 

Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas

There is no easy way to get out here. You aren’t going by car. You can’t swim to it (well most of us couldn’t). It is located about 70 miles west of Key West and is only accessible by seaplane or boat. 

If you can get out here. You will be rewarded for your troubles. You won’t find anything like it on the east coast. 

Mount Washington

Mount Washington in New Hampshire is one of the most dangerous mountains on the east coast. Fear not though. You and your car can brave this mountain when you drive along the auto road. 

Seaside Towns

I tried to find out how many coastal towns there are on the east coast but couldn’t find a number. There are just two many to count. Now not all seaside towns are bucket list worthy. But there are many amazing places along the coast that you should visit. 

Cape May, NJ

Cape May, New Jersey is considered one of the most iconic seaside towns in the United States. It also has the best beach in New Jersey. You can spend the day or weekend in this beautiful little seaside town and understand why so many people love it.

Of course, the summer is the best time to visit when everything is open and you can enjoy the ocean. But year round Cape May has something to offer. 

Martha’s Vineyard, Mass

You can only get here by boat or by air. You can’t drive over a bridge or take a tunnel to get to Martha’s Vineyard. That’s part of the reason why it is a must see place. Not only that it is a truly stunning location with wonderful people, food, and views. 

With its rich farmland and location to the ocean you will find some delicious everywhere you look. Stop and ask a local what their favorite place is. Chances are if you ask a few people you will get a few different answers. Each will be delicious and unforgettable. 

Newport, RI

When you think of the state of Rhode Island you probably think of tiny, small. Well Newport will have you rethinking that. While Rhode Island may be the smallest state on the East Coast and in the US. Newport will blow you away with it’s charm and Gilded Age Mansions.

All you have to do is take a drive down Bellevue Ave to see just what this seaside town is all about. Besides a drive down Bellevue Ave. Do yourself a favor and take the 10 mile shoreline drive. Afterwards you will be asking for more.

Chincoteague, VA

Chincoteague is a beautiful island in Virginia. It is most famous for the wild ponies that swim from Assateague Island to Chincoteague in July. It really is a sight to see.

Around 150 ponies swimming across the channel and running down the streets of Chincoteague. However, if you can’t make it in July don’t worry. There is a lot more to this seaside town than just the ponies. It is the perfect place to spend the week and relax and enjoy the salty air. 

I use to go here as a kid with a friends family. I always remember having a fantastic time. Even as a 10 year old boy it was a good time watching the ponies running down the street and the fair was always a good time.

Outer Banks, NC

The Outer Banks of North Carolina is made up of many small seaside towns. Each one of them could land on a bucket list. So we won’t say which one is the best to visit. We are just going to put the whole area down. 

The Northern beach towns are my personal favorites. Nags Head, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hill are amazing locations with tons to offer. Plus you can’t beat the surf fishing at these locations and you might just get lucky and spot some dolphins off the coast. 

Tybee Island, GA

This island east of Savannah has everything you would want in a seaside location. Beautiful views, amazing sandy beaches, lighthouse and amazing seafood. Be sure to check out the Crab Shack for some fresh seafood that is just mouthwatering.  

Florida Keys

The Florida Keys is another location that is made up of many small seaside towns. From Key Largo to Key West the 100 miles between them is filled with so many bucket list worthy locations and adventures for you to try. 

Just make sure you go to the southernmost point of the Continental U.S.A. And while you are there be sure to swim with the dolphins. It will be one of those things you will remember for the rest of your life. 

Cities

The east coast of the United States is no stranger to major cities. Many of them are older than the country itself. But just because they are old doesn’t place them on a bucket list. 

Each of these cities listed below are bucket list worthy locations for many reasons. It could be the food, history, or some odd little known thing. Whatever the reason is, you can be sure that you will want to visit each one of these cities at least once. 

Chances are you will have to visit them a couple of times to take in everything they have to offer. 

Philadelphia

So why is Philadelphia a bucket worthy location to visit. Well it is where the US finally becomes its own country away from England. Philly is packed full of history and is a must see for every American. 

Independence Hall is one of those places everyone should see and picture seeing themselves standing there in 1776. Philadelphia also has the oldest continuously inhabited road in America at Elfreth’s Alley. It’s pretty crazy seeing how small the streets used to be. 

Places that you need to visit while in Philly are Reading Terminal Market, Magic Gardens, Eastern State Penitentiary, the oldest zoo in the US (Philadelphia Zoo), Franklin Institute, and Penn’s Landing. 

Of course, who could forget about the local fight that has been going on for years. The fight of course is who has the best cheesesteak. The fight is among Gino’s and Pat’s but you have so many choices in Philly you have to find the one you like the best. Plus Gino’s and Pat’s are always so busy and you can find a better cheesesteak not too far at John’s Roast Pork. Trust us when we tell you to go there instead.

Boston

Do you want to go where everybody knows your name? Unless you live in a really small town I just don’t see that happening. However, you can visit the “Cheers” bar from the TV show. Now that is noteworthy but that’s not the only reason to visit Boston. 

Even if you are not a Red Sox fan you should pay a visit to Fenway Park. Fenway is the oldest active ballpark in Major League Baseball and that alone should be on your bucket list. Even if you are not a baseball fan. That’s something people 100 years ago would have talked about. Just think Fenway park has made it through 2 global pandemics. 

Besides Fenway and Cheers you should check out Boston Harbor Islands State Park, MIT Museum, The Freedom Trail, and Boston Common, the oldest park in the US. 

When it comes to food in Boston you have to try their namesakes. Boston Baked Beans and Boston Cream Pie. Almost anywhere you decide to get these two delicious foods you can’t go wrong in Boston. Think about it if they weren’t any good would that place still be open?

Washington DC

Another must see city for every American. Washington DC is home to many great FREE museums. Yes I did say free.

The Smithsonian museums are all free to visit and they have some pretty amazing ones. The American history museum, Air and Space, Black History museum just to name a few. There is also the National Zoo that is free as well.  

The museums are not the only thing you should be checking out while in DC. All the monuments and Memorials are worth seeing too. You can spend the weekend checking everything out or if you are looking at only a day trip follow our guide of the top ten sites to see

New York City

What’s not to love about NYC. Other than the traffic of course. New York City is like no other place on the east coast. Sure there’s other major cities but nothing like the size and scale of New York. 

Now Times Square is a tourist trap but you do have to see it in person at least once. Avoid it at New Years at all cost but it is really beautiful around the holiday season and worth a trip to see. Other notable places to visit while in NYC is Broadway, Central Park, Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, 9/11 memorial, high line, and of course the Statue of Liberty.

New York City also has some delicious food. If you come from a place that only has Papa Johns or Pizza Hut than the pizza in New York will blow your mind. The burgers in the city are juicy and unforgettable. Check out Shake Shack, Bareburger, or Burger Joint for some of the best burgers you will ever have. Plus you have to check out Katz Deli for some amazing sandwiches.

Now you also have to hit up one of the many bakery’s all around the city. I haven’t been to one yet that wasn’t delicious. Of course how can you go wrong with cupcakes, muffins, danishes, breads, and of course New York Cheesecake. One thing we always have to get when we visit with my daughter is macaroons, They are just her favorite thing.

Baltimore 

So why should Baltimore be a place to put on your bucket list? Besides the amazing crab cakes you can find throughout the city. The National Aquarium is worth checking out for people of all ages. After your visit you’ll have no questions why the National Aquarium is ranked as one of the top three aquariums in the nation.

When you are done at the aquarium be sure to explore the Baltimore Harbor. It is packed full of fun and unique things to do. Don’t forget to ask permission to board the USS Constellation. This was the last sail only vessel built by the Navy and is a sight to see.

Orlando

A visit to Orlando is almost a must do for anyone who likes theme parks. Orlando is the theme park capital of the world. There is no shortage of rides both big and small in this city. From Walt Disney World to Universal Orlando and SeaWorld. You will find a park that everyone in your family will love.

Fly along with Harry Potter in Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida. Or go spend the day riding the most thrilling roller coasters Orlando has to offer at SeaWorld. Of course, you also have to meet Mickey and his friends over at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.


The East Coast of the United States has so many amazing places that should be on anyone’s bucket list. This is only a small sample size of the places you too should have on your list. So what are you waiting for? Pack up the car and hit the road!

Do you have a bucket list of places you want to visit? Did you add any from our list? Let us know in the comments below and feel free of giving us more suggestions of places to add.

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