We are back again with our weekend road trip travel series highlighting amazing cities and adventures that are easily accessible without spending much money or time traveling. We’ll be covering each geographical region of the U.S., and this time around we’re headed to the mid-Atlantic!
Not quite in the north or south, the mid-Atlantic enjoys the best of both worlds. Throughout the region there are many unique destinations that are easily accessible, budget-friendly, and incredibly charming. Though it wasn’t easy choosing just five, today we’re sharing our favorite mid-Atlantic spots for a quick weekend getaway.
If you’re looking for a relaxed weekend and waterfront charm, look no further. Annapolis is a small town situated on the Chesapeake Bay, home to character, beauty, and history. Because the city is situated right on the bay, those who love being on the water will be head over heels for all that the city has to offer. In the warmer months, waterfront options are limitless. Sailing, cruises, kayaking, and canoeing are all part of the Annapolis experience.
If you’re keen to stay on land, there are still a number of fantastic options for you. From early on, Annapolis was often referred to as the “Athens of America” due to the city’s host of cultural activities, and that still holds true today. A stroll through historic Annapolis, the Banneker-Douglass Museum, and one of the city’s many festivals should absolutely be on your list when visiting. In the summer months, you can’t miss dining outdoors on a breezy patio, and feasting on Maryland’s famed steamed crabs.
It’s rare to find a quick destination that is easily accessible regardless of where you are in the mid-Atlantic, but if one exists, it’s the Appalachian Trail. Spanning from Georgia to Maine, the Appalachian Trail winds through just about every mid-Atlantic state, creating a number of mountainous areas to explore along its path. While the trail itself spans approximately 2,200 miles, most of the popular parts are located within various national and state park areas.
Though the full trail is daunting, taking in small portions along its path can be a breathtaking experience of scenery and history. Even though hiking is probably the first activity that comes to mind when thinking of the trail, there is much more to experience. A number of historic towns and sites dot the region including Harpers Ferry, a small town containing civil war remnants, and if you’re feeling adventurous, there are several camping sites throughout the area.
If you’re hoping to get a city feel without the high prices of New York City, Philadelphia is the perfect pick. Though it’s chock full of beautiful art galleries, great food and shopping, Philadelphia is considerably less expensive than New York, and much easier to access for mid-Atlantic residents. There are a countless number of unique neighborhoods, unlimited food options, and fun cultural sites to explore. A few musts on your exploration of the city include Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, South Street, and Independence Park.
If food is your focus while traveling, Philadelphia won’t disappoint. Despite the clichés, the Philadelphia food scene encompasses a lot more than just the cheesesteak (though we'll take one any day!). There are several neighborhoods and areas throughout the city, each with their own culinary flair. We love Honey’s Sit N’ Eat for an easy, inexpensive breakfast whileSerpico is a must if you’re looking for a special dinner spot.
Rehoboth Beach is a small, beach town just a little over two hours away from Philadelphia, and just under three hours away from DC. As one of the most easily accessible beaches in the mid-Atlantic, the spot makes for a perfect day trip regardless of where you are. Though you don’t necessarily think of the beach when you think of Delaware, the town’s boardwalk, white sands, and lively bars and restaurants will have you sold in no time. Just make sure you get there early—the beach and boardwalk area does tend to get crowded during high season.
Spend your morning sunbathing on the shore, stop in to Zogg’s for lunch, and finish off your visit with a bit of shopping along the boardwalk. Though there are a lot of quaint shops lining the boardwalk, you’ll find the Tanger Outlets just a few miles away from the beach, a good option if you’re truly serious about scoring a deal. If shopping isn’t your style, a stone’s throw away from the coastal area is the Dogfish Head Brewery, a true institution of the mid-Atlantic. Pop in for a free tour and samples.
Wine country on the east coast? Yes, really! Believe it or not, Napa Valley isn’t the only place in the U.S. for wine lovers. In recent years, the Shenandoah wine region has exploded with a countless number of vineyards and wineries, making for the perfect weekend road trip with the girls. Because many of the vineyards are close together and often family-owned, you get the benefit of really getting to know about the wine region you’re exploring. There are many tours throughout the area that remove the guesswork if you’re unsure where to head.
We recommend staying at one of the area's quaint B&Bs or guesthouses while visiting in order to keep things simple. If you need to be sold any further, the region is nestled within the Shenandoah Valley, meaning you get beautiful views of serene mountains year round. Tip: Though you can go anytime, the fall is extra-spectacular as you are able to watch the leaves change across the valley. Some of our favorite vineyards in the region are Linden Vineyards, Barrel Oak, and Glen Manor.