8 Great East Coast Summer Vacation Ideas
When it comes to summer vacation ideas, minds often wander to Hawaii, California and many West Coasts destinations. While the sunny Golden Coast might be known as a fine spot to take the whole family, if you live on or near the East Coast, these ideal summer destinations are giving the west a run for its money. From historic cities to appealing beaches, from Maine to Florida, you’re sure to find a number of perfect stops on your summer vacation.
1. Ocean City, Maryland
In terms of East coast summer vacations, Ocean City, Maryland is one of a kind. The Atlantic Ocean resort town is also one of the most popular destinations in Maryland and the Eastern Seaboard during the summer months. Ocean City is lined with gorgeous beaches, a three-mile boardwalk and mini golf.
2. Charleston, South Carolina
If you’re staying in Charleston, South Carolina, you’re already in a premiere East Coast vacation destination. With its dozens of historic buildings, centuries old mansions and magnolia filled gardens, Charleston oozes that sweet Southern charm. It’s also one of the South’s best-preserved cities. This South Carolina stunner makes for a fine spot to eat, shop and sightsee.
3. The Outer Banks, North Carolina
For those who seek East Coast beaches with powdery white sands, the Outer Banks of North Carolina will not disappoint. You can make the 114-mile drive along Highway 12 stretching from the northern town of Corolla down to Ocracoke to appreciate this remarkable part of the state. The Outer Banks has plenty for the whole family to appreciate including historic lighthouses, ocean views and popular sights like the Wright Brothers National Memorial where they were first in flight.
4. Acadia National Park, Maine
Maine is an appealing summer destination as it’s finally thawed out from winter, but doesn’t get too hot in the summer months. One of the best places to visit in the state during the summer months is Acadia National Park. Showcasing the rugged coast of Maine, the park is home to many plants, animals and the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic Coast. The national park is a fine place to hike, bike or merely just enjoy the scenery.
5. Savannah, Georgia
Along the same lines as Charleston, Savannah, Georgia is one of the South’s great historic cities. While it’s known for heat and humidity in the summer months, the city still is a top destination for East coast family vacations. Savannah relishes in its live oaks dripping in Spanish moss, antebellum mansions, horse drawn carriages and salty history. You can leisurely roam its many streets or even get spooked on a ghost tour while in town.
6. Boston, Massachusetts
Boston is one of the East Coast’s most popular cities to visit in the summer. And with the city’s popularity, there is certainly no shortage of comfortable hotels to make home for a few days. In many ways, it is at its most pleasant when the large student population has vacated. Visitors can walk the Freedom Trail or the Esplanade along the Charles River. For history and art buffs alike, Boston has museums like the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts.
7. Amelia Island, Florida
In the summer, Florida is full of vacationing families. If you want to head a little bit away from the crowds that flock to places like Orlando, you can seek out Amelia Island. Just off the coast of the northeastern corner of the state, the island is home to 13 miles of beaches with steep sand dunes. Amelia Island also houses many historic buildings like the Civil War era Fort Clinch.
8. Alexandria, Virginia
For the history loving family, Alexandria, Virginia makes for a fine base to explore nearby Washington D.C. However, you may just end up wanting to stick around town instead, for the city’s Old Town boasts more than 2,000 buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries. Alexandria is also home to Mount Vernon, the famous home of first President George Washington.
Whether you’re looking for beaches or history, the East Coast has it all for your summer vacation. From the shores of Maine down to sunny Florida, summer along the East Coast is always an appealing idea for vacation.
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Group Vacation Planning 101
If you typically only travel for work, get stressed out at airports or don't remember the last time you saw your friends, it may be time to consider taking a group vacation! Not only do many hotels offer better rates for groups, but now planning a group vacation has never been easier. Check out some of our favorite group vacation ideas below, and get ready to enjoy traveling again.
Make a Group Vacation Checklist
Packing — and deciding on an itinerary — will be a lot easier if you divide responsibility between parties. If you've got a foodie friend, let them be in charge of where you're going to have your meals. Your friend with a Master's Degree in history can finally put their degree to use by picking out the best museums in your destination. Fitness buff in your group? Have them check out walking tours in the area. Instead of bringing eight separate hairdryers, bottles of shampoo, and, of course, bottles of champagne, assign each person an "area" (toiletries, wine, quick snacks) of shareable supplies to cover. Cut down on your baggage weight and your cost! Check out one of the many lifestyle magazines that offer their own checklist of essential items made in travel size for easy access!
The Devil's in the Details
If you're wondering how to plan a group vacation, there are a lot of moving pieces to consider. It's best to come up with a budget ahead of time and make sure that it's reasonable for everyone — the last thing you want is to make a friend feel uncomfortable by selecting activities that are out of their price range. Apps like Venmo, which allow you to send your friends money, can help to keep everything organized and can make payment a breeze. Pick activities that interest your party, and remember, a lot of group traveling is all about compromise. Try to do at least one of the "must-do" activities on every person in your party's list. When in doubt, the old "raise your hand if..." technique tends to work well. Be sure to remember that everyone has different sleeping habits and patterns, and take that into consideration. It's ok to break up a few days and have your friends go in separate, smaller groups to check off a few things on your list. That way, the "early risers" won't waste half their days waiting for the night owls to wake up, and the night owls will actually be pleasant to travel with if they've had enough sleep.
Group vacations are surprisingly easy to plan, lots of fun and a great way to see more of the country while saving on many expenses. So get that group text going and plan your vacation!