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10 east coast weekend getaways for your bucket list

10 east coast weekend getaways for your bucket list

For the travel lovers who work full time, weekend getaways are the staple that helps us function in between longer vacations. There’s no better way to start your work week after having been away for the weekend.

As a former Bostonian (hello New England!) I’ve had my fair share of east coast weekend trips. To help my fellow East Coasters – whether you live in NYC or further down south, I’ve put together a guide to some of the most fun places you can visit when planning your upcoming east coast weekend getaway!

Read on for some east coast weekend getaways ideas:  

1. Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park is perfect for the outdoor lovers reading this. When I lived in Boston, this was my favorite east coast weekend trip – perfect for escaping the city!

Known for beautiful foliage in the Fall, Acadia National Park is a 4.3hr drive from Boston, perfect for any long weekends coming up. If you live a little further south and need to fly up, you can fly into Portland, Maine and Acadia is then only a 2hr 45min drive away.

If you’ve got the time, you also should check out Portland, Maine for at least a day or two.

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Best time to visit: 

Maine is famed for its beautiful leaves during the fall. This is a busy time of year, so make sure to book ahead if you want to visit during the fall! Otherwise, spring or summer are also fun times of year to visit!

Tips for budget travelers:

If you have your own car, you will reduce your costs significantly. If you love camping, there is the opportunity to reduce your costs even more (HELLS YEAH). Day to day costs here can be very low too – the best part of Acadia National Park is the hiking! You won’t be spending too much when it comes to your day-to-day activities.

2. New Haven, Connecticut

Recently featured in the Spring 2017 edition of the Lonely Planet Magazine, New Haven is perfect for art and culture lovers. There are endless museums here and of course, New Haven is home to Yale!

If you’ve got a long weekend or a spare few days, make sure to visit Granby, a small area just outside Hartford in Connecticut. This was one of my favorite places to visit in Connecticut.

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Best time to visit: 

Connecticut can get pretty cold during winter, but every other time of year is fair game! If you visit during Fall, you can even spy some pretty fall leaves!

Tips for budget travelers:

If you live in Boston or New York, the Amtrak can be reasonably priced in comparison to car rental (especially if you book in advance). There is a range of accommodation options available, including the opportunity to stay at Yale! (The Study at Yale, rooms from $199)

3. Savannah, Georgia

Ever since I moved to the US, I’ve been looking forward to when I eventually can fit in a couple of days to Savannah. The city is picturesque and is the perfect east coast weekend trip for photography or Instagram lovers!

Best time to visit: 

If you’re budget conscious, late winter (January – February) or the shoulder season (mid-September to mid-November) can be the best times of year to snag a bargain. Summer can be incredibly busy, and also humid so it may be worth avoiding this time of year.

Tips for budget travelers:

Unless you can drive in, flights to Savannah can be quite pricey, especially on long weekends or public holidays. Flight prices are significantly lower during the week. As a popular tourist city (and a major city in its own right), Savannah has a range of accommodation options available to suit all budgets.

4. Charleston, South Carolina

If you love photography or are obsessed with getting the perfect Instagram shots, you will love Charleston. The architecture here is colorful, and Charleston is famous for brightly colored buildings.

Best time to visit: 

Summer can get pretty hot and humid here, so best to avoid this time of year. Your best bet is March to May or September to November, which is before/after summer and a more quiet time of year for tourism.

Tips for budget travelers:

Similar to Savannah, unless you can drive in, flights to Charleston can be quite pricey, especially on long weekends or public holidays. If you live nearby, drive in or time your visit during the week.

5. Charlotte, North Carolina

Another Southern favorite, there is something about the South that is so inherently beautiful! Again if you love photography, this is a great place to visit!

Best time to visit: 

Summer can get pretty hot and humid here, so best to avoid this time of year. Your best bet is March to May or September to November, which is before/after summer and a more quiet time of year for tourism.

Tips for budget travelers:

Unless you can drive in, flights to Charlotte can be quite pricey, especially on long weekends or public holidays. If you live nearby, drive in or time your visit during the week.

 

6. Tallahassee, Florida

I’ve wanted to make the trip to Tallahassee for a long time. The area known as the Panhandle has so much to offer visitors, but it’s usually overlooked by Southern Florida. I made this mistake when planning my trip to Florida, and as much as I loved Miami and Southern Florida, I wish I had time to explore the Panhandle!

The Panhandle is a diverse area – from the culture filled Southern Tallahassee, to beautiful beaches of the Gulf coast, this is also a great place for nature lovers.

Best time to visit: 

This depends on what time of activities you’re after, but if you want to do more outdoorsy activities, your best bet is to aim for sunny weather. May to early July (pre-summer break peak time) or mid-August to early October.

Tips for budget travelers:

Unless you can drive in, flights to Tallahassee can be quite pricey, especially on long weekends or public holidays. If you live nearby, drive in or time your visit during the week.

7. San Juan, Puerto Rico

If you love the beach and colorful architecture, you will love Puerto Rico. A popular getaway for North Americans suffering during Winter, San Juan is a popular tourist destination to kick back and relax.

Best time to visit: 

San Juan gets really busy during winter (December – March), so if you’re after smaller crowds aim for April to June. Summer which is late June to late September can get rainy (which is not ideal if you want to enjoy the beach!) and Fall (late September – late December) is hurricane season.

Tips for budget travelers:

Flights to San Juan can be quite pricey, especially on long weekends or public holidays. If you’re on a budget, try to time your visit for during the week or to not clash with a public holiday. If you have more than a couple of days here, you will also probably need to rent a car – public transport isn’t that great.

8. White Mountains, New Hampshire

Similar to Acadia National Park, the White Mountains in New Hampshire is the perfect East Coast weekend getaway for those who love nature, the outdoors and hiking.

Best time to visit: 

New England is famed for its fall leaves, so this would be a great time of year to visit. Otherwise, the White Mountains are a year-round destination (unless you aren’t a winter person, then avoid the December – February period!)

Summer is a busy time of year, so if you aren’t a fan of crowds it would be best to avoid this period. If you’re after small crowds, aim for the months before summer (so before June / July) or post-summer (October – November).

Tips for budget travelers:

If you have your own car, you’ll be able to keep costs at a minimum. This is not a travel destination where you can expect to be spending a lot when it comes to your day-to-day expenses.

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9. Montreal, Canada

Perfect for culture lovers and francophiles, Montreal is often overlooked as an east coast weekend getaway. If your idea of a perfect weekend is spending your time café hopping and checking out local museums, you will love Montreal. We visited late summer, and had an amazing time – it was warm still, but not uncomfortably so!

Best time to visit: 

Smaller tourist crowds can be found around the summer season. Aim for March to May or September to November.

Tips for budget travelers:

Flights to Montreal can be expensive over long weekends/public holidays. Look out for flight specials or if you live in NYC/Boston, consider driving up with a group of friends!

10. Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Before I moved to Boston, I didn’t know too much about Newfoundland and Labrador. I had often spotted it on google maps, as its name definitely stood out!

What I didn’t realize was how stunningly beautiful it was as a place to visit. This area is the perfect east coast weekend getaway for outdoor lovers.

Best time to visit: 

This really depends on what type of holiday you’re after! If you want to see the Whales while here, summer is definitely the best time of year to visit.

Tips for budget travelers:

Flights can be very pricey, especially on long weekends or public holidays. If you’re on a budget, try to time your visit for during the week or to not clash with a public holiday. You will also need to consider car rental once you arrive.

Phew, what a list of east coast weekend getaways!

There are so many weekend travel options if you live on the East Coast. Regardless of whether you’re keen on the outdoors or love a bit of culture, there definitely is a perfect destination for you.

east coast weekend getaways for your bucket list

Tell me: after reading my East Coast weekend Getaways guide, where are you heading to next?

If you’re after more inspiration, Check out our guides for visiting the US 

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