10 Underrated East Coast Vacations Worth Taking | Jetsetter. From-scratch dishes include Cider-braised boneless short rib (with cheesy butternut squash grits, charred Brussels sprouts, baby carrots, and pineapple white vinegar reduction) and Eastern Shore crab cakes (with chili and garlic green beans, cheddar and horseradish mashed potatoes, and chili remoulade). Camden, ME. Anything you purchase through links on our site may earn us a commission. Check out these less-known hidden gems across the country and be a vacation trail-blazer. Mendenhall Glacier is a gorgeous, 13-mile-long glacier with some of the country’s most untouched and unspoiled landscapes. Explore More: See hotel details | See all Little Compton, RI hotels. Featuring a beautiful bridge and offshore island, … Halfway between Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia, is a secret East Coast beach destination called Colonial Beach. You’ve heard of Key West and Key Largo, but have you heard of Florida’s “Other Keys”? Once a thriving whaling port and writer’s colony (residents included John Steinbeck, George Sterling, E. L. Doctorow, and more), the village is an amalgam of white picket fences, perfectly-manicured boxwood hedges, and beautifully-kept colonial houses. Where to Eat, Sleep, and Play in Edinburgh, Scotland, The Coolest Things to Do in Barcelona Now. A hidden-gem destination for summer beach vacations, Rockport offers kayaking, sailing, and hiking at Halibut Point State Park. Teensy three-square-mile Berlin has collected quite a few accolades over the years, including various “America’s Coolest Small Town” titles. For example, Letchworth State Park is a 14,427-acre state park in New York state that is also known as the "Grand Canyon of the East." For ultimate seclusion, take a trip to Enderts Beach. At industrial Row 34, locally sourced seafood and beer attract a hearty crowd; don’t miss the $1 oyster happy hour which runs until 5 p.m. daily. Head first for the beach and boardwalk to putz around with arcade games, munch on salt water taffy, and maybe even catch a free concert at the bandstand. 1 Aiken, South Carolina. When you think East Coast, we bet you think New York City.It’s certainly a place every family should see at least once! Here, you can play on stunning beaches, explore crystal caves, and visit the quirky Bermuda Aquarium, Natural History Museum and Zoo. With stellar beaches and several camping sites in the vicinity, South West … The Apostle Islands are a group of 21 islands on Lake Superior off the coast of Wisconsin. 5 Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Explore More: See hotel details | See all Aiken, SC hotels, Photos courtesy of Old Orchard Beach Chamber of Commerce. This mountain town is the gateway to the Cherokee National Forest, which boasts prime fly fishing and 150 miles of the Appalachian Trail. The US is full of incredible destinations — some more well-known than others. The quaint beach town is the dictionary definition of classic New England with an iconic lighthouse and a boutique-lined Main Street with all sorts of nautical-themed fares (try The Mayflower if you’re in search of trinkets). Skip forward a couple centuries, and this becomes apparent as any walk through town will reveal an original commons and 17th- and 18th-century buildings like a Quaker meeting house, town hall, schoolhouse, and church, all now tended to by a tight-knit community of less than 5,000 residents. The town of Little Compton was laid out by settlers of Plymouth Colony in 1682. Yelapa Jalisco When people travel to Puerto Vallarta, they hardly leave Los Muertos Beach.Little do they know, better beach-bumming is just down the coast. When it comes to East Coast travel, there are plenty of hot spots most everyone has heard about. / Family Vacations Along the East Coast USA / Exploring Hidden ... parks and local attractions. Gloucester, on Massachusetts' Cape Ann, is another coastal city that has been kept an East Coast secret despite the many things to do. Go for a tasting at Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyards, take a caffeine and gallery break at The Art Cafe, or lay down a towel at South Shore Beach. In a world where everything … Recommended Hotel: Jekyll Island Club Resort. Explore More: See hotel details | See all Portsmouth, NH hotels. Close to Jekyll Island, Tybee Island offers the same charm, with dolphin and fishing charters, bike paths, water sports, and the chance to climb up a historic lighthouse. The area is also a good base from which to explore Rockland (an equally adorable town, just 20 minutes away), and Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park (1.5 hours away). Source: flickr. Meanwhile, in York County, a handful of mom-and-pop clam shacks, a stilted wooden pier, and an old-timey amusement park unfold across seven miles of Atlantic surf in a tiny town not many talk about: Old Orchard Beach. Families can choose between traditional hotels and vacation rentals on Tybee Island. If you harbor some sort of Gatsby infatuation, then look no further than Newport, RI—an East Coast getaway fond of Gilded Age mansions and annual sailing regattas. To start your trip off with instant Southern charm, take a driving detour along South Boundary, also known as the “Avenue of the Oaks,” to ogle at the natural green awning before heading 10 minutes down the road to Hopelands Gardens. When not planning her next trip, you'll usually find her drinking way too much iced coffee (always iced—she’s from New England) or bingeing a Netflix original series. … But beyond Massachusetts’ most sought-after summer colonies, a whole slew of under-the-radar coastal towns delight locals and in-the-know visitors; Chatham being just one of them. Rife with seaside villages and home to one of America’s favorite roadside attractions—the infamous/enormous L.L. And while many are familiar with classic East Coast escapes such as the Hamptons and Martha's Vineyard, Block Island National Wildlife Refuge is a gorgeous hidden gem roughly midway between … Where to Catch the Best Wildflower Blooms in the U.S. Visit Family Vacation Critic on Facebook! 6 Beaufort, North Carolina. Featured Destinations; Search form. OK, it’s technically not on the East Coast—but did you know Bermuda is located just off the coast of North Carolina? Within this secret destination is another hidden gem: Little Tybee Island, an uninhabited nature preserve that’s only accessible by boat. Bean Boot—Maine is a playground for New Englanders. Yes, send me expert advice, handpicked recommendations, and tips for my family. Keep with LC’s low-key culture and opt for as relaxing of a stay as possible. Search. Meanwhile in Michigan. Visit Family Vacation Critic on Instagram! If your brood tends to get livelier as the night wears on, consider a vacation rental in Hidden Valley, Pa., or Seven Springs, Pa., both less than 30 miles to the northeast; these two ski … Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon Located around 100 km east of Portland, Mount Hood National Forest extends across 90 km of forested mountains, lakes and breathtaking streams … As for good eats, the kitchen at The Willcox doesn’t disappoint; picture a locally-sourced American menu with dishes like salmon fillet paired with butternut squash miso puree, crispy wonton, Napa cabbage pear slaw. All products are independently selected by our writers and editors. New York City. Unless you own a home in Watch Hill, you’ve probably never even heard of this affluent coastal... Madison, … Broadway shows, Time Square, countless museums and Central Park are just a few of the things families can enjoy on an East Coast vacation … Just a short ferry ride away from the wild horses of Shackleford Banks and the lighthouse-marked coast of Cape Lookout National Seashore, there’s so much to do in the area, but what’s in town is worth seeing first. While everyone heads to the bustling south end of Long Beach Island, New Jersey, head in the opposite direction to Barnegat Light. Use our insider connections to know where to go and what to do. And in fact, the setting for Runaway Bride and Tuck Everlasting, does dole out charm—just look to historic Main Street, lined with brick buildings which enclose modern-day candy counters, antique shops and coffee joints. The artsy community is also home to the A&E District which hosts 2nd Fridays full of author signings, open galleries, and restaurant tastings. Summer vacationers flock to Myrtle Beach, … Ask any out-of-towners where they’re staying, though, and they’ll probably list popular cities like Portland, Ogunquit, or Bar Harbor. 18 Amazing Hidden Travel Gems in the United States America is a vast country with lots to explore, but all the focus on national parks and cities means some great travel gems have fallen … Explore More: See hotel details | See all Sag Harbor, NY hotels. While we continue to feature destinations … Just a 10-minute drive from the pier, the OG spot invented the lobster roll and has been at the forefront of Maine’s seafood scene since starting operations in 1915. On several Mississippi Gulf Coast trips, I set out to find as many fun, cool, and happy Coastal Mississippi Hidden Gems and secret spots as I could along the 62 miles also called The Secret Coast… The sumptuous, antique-filled inn was built in 1873 for an Astor, and it comes with dramatic Atlantic Ocean views. Guidelines for Travelers. Skip the big cities and plan a visit to smaller, underrated destinations that are a little more off the beaten path. If you’re a guest of one of the area’s hotels, access to the facility is free of charge. Boat rides with Camden Harbor Cruises are also fun for kids. Fort Bragg. Hiding in the shadow of surfer-chic Montauk and Kardashian-frequented Southampton, the postage-sized hamlet of Sag Harbor is all Americana. Whatever you do, don’t miss the chance to witness the nesting of loggerhead sea turtles; “turtle walks” are offered the first week of June through the first week of August. © 2009 - 2020 Jetsetter ™ All rights reserved. Highlights at this seemingly secret destination include Crescent Beach, which features moderate surf for youngsters; boat charters via Passion for Sail Charters; and bicycle tours with Block Island Bike Tours. Overnight accommodations come in the form of beach rentals in Barnegat Light—a perfect fit for families. Visitors come for the colossal glacier and stay for the cascading waterfalls, pristine lakes, and surrounding forests. Outside of native Delawareans and locals from neighboring Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, the traditional summer resort town of Rehoboth Beach remains unbeknownst to many. Saturday mornings are best spent at the Olde Beaufort Farmers’ Market. Rent a house, go camping, or book a stay at the iconic Jekyll Island Club Resort. By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Had your fill of Myrtle Beach and the Outer Banks and want to try something new—perhaps a place you’ve never even heard of? The 14-acre public garden is cut with meandering paths that usher you under romantic 100-year-old live oak and cedar canopies. On Jekyll Island, you’ll find five unique beaches, miles of paved biking paths, water sports excursions, and even a water park called Summer Waves Waterpark. Access insider tips and hotel recommendations from our travel tastemakers. Once you’ve exhausted your in-town options, you can also day trip to Assateague State Park (just eight miles away) to catch sight of the famous feral horses. But year after year of hitting the same South Jersey spots can leave you longing for something new. Cape Cod, Virginia Beach, the big cities, etc. Explore More: See hotel details | See all Newport, RI hotels. Check out our recommendations for the best hidden gems in California! Choose one of these hidden gem East Coast beach vacations for your next escape with the kids. If you’re doing a road trip on the east coast, about halfway from Brisbane to Sydney you’ll come across this charming village. Located in the Florida Keys, Bahia State Park is off mile marker 37 and spans over 500 acres of lush land. While they’re great for hiking, kayaking and camping in the summer, their true hidden gems are the sea caves tucked along the islands’ coasts… Bahia Honda State Park. Block Island, RI. Like bison in Golden Gate Park (yes, seriously) a secret labyrinth, a wave organ made from … Discover Michigan’s Hidden Travel Gems. Mini-golf and wildlife viewing—from guide-led nature walks to exploring the Georgia Sea Turtle Center—are also popular on Jekyll Island. With few hotels on the island, vacation rentals are the most popular lodging option for families. Just minutes from Sarasota, Longboat Key offers a quiet island vibe with a few distinct beaches, a quirky downtown, and a fabulous beach resort: The Resort at Longboat Key Club, which offers complimentary kids’ programming. Known as the “Jewel of Midcoast Maine,” Camden is a quiet coastal village with darling shops, waterfront... 2. Here, you’ll spend your time on the shores of Island Beach State Park, climbing to the top of Barnegat Light, hopping on a fishing charter, or visiting the adjacent and equally laidback town of Love Ladies. Recommended Hotel: The Resort at Longboat Key Club. Find a great place to stay in Rockport! Part of North Carolina’s Inner Banks, Beaufort—not to be confused with SC’s city of the same name—is as endearing as small towns come. Guests who stay overnight have more than a couple worthwhile options, but the Ale House Inn is just down the block with views of the Old Harbor and the converted brewery warehouse welcomes travelers with local Smuttynose suds. 8 Rehoboth Beach… Hop in a water taxi or … The island with a funny name is only accessibly by boat, and motor vehicles are prohibited. These secret East Coast beach destinations are perfect for families, yet somehow remain under the radar. Travel safely in Michigan. Retire at The Chanler at Cliff Walk and you can pretend to be a mansion owner, too. 3. 4 Sag Harbor, New York. For a meal that isn’t candy-coated, fried, or both, Salt Air Restaurant & Bar works with a locally inspired menu of seasonal produce, sustainable seafood, and organic meat. Neighbors, little kids, and plenty of puppies convene outside the Carteret County Historic Courthouse to shop seasonal produce, locally-grown flowers, and original artworks. Follow along as Granite Staters commute to the seacoast for the annual Prescott Park Arts Festival—a summer celebration full of music, art, theater, and dance performances that take place in a 10-acre waterfront park on the Piscataqua River. When you’re not sunbathing on the sand, climb Old Baldy, a 200-plus-year-old lighthouse and one of Blackbeard’s favorite hangouts, or join Riverside Adventure’s Ghost Walk for a family-friendly night of fun (both scary and not-so-scary tours are offered). Snack all you want there, but if you leave jonesing for an innovative Crystal Coast meal, you’ll find it at Aqua. Did you know there’s a stunning island less than two hours from Savannah, Georgia? Things you buy may earn us a commission. There are also two state parks nearby, and parents will be happy to know Colonial Beach is located within Virginia Wine Country. Beach rentals are the most popular accommodation option for families here. Take the Block Island Ferry from Newport, Rhode Island; Point Judith, Rhode Island; or Fall River, Massachusetts, to discover Block Island. Known for flavorful, regionally-inspired tapas and an extensive wine menu, the spot feels “big city” thanks to options like sesame-seared tuna bento boxes and crab and pineapple Napoleon. We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. Tucked away along the spectacular Mendocino Coast, Fort Bragg is about … For info on these editor-selected items, click to visit the seller’s site. But with 30 miles of coast, a highly scenic boardwalk, surprisingly sophisticated eats, and an aesthetically-pleasing days-gone-by vibe, it’s worth checking out. Our team of parents and travel experts chooses each product and service we recommend. The area offers a good variety of accommodations, including the budget-friendly Lord Camden Inn, which offers complimentary breakfast and a scavenger hunt through Camden for kids. If you hit the town on a weekend, well-spent Saturdays and Sundays include BYOB brunch at CRU Cafe (think Croque Madames, Irish smoked salmon, and Charleston chicken and biscuits). Get expert advice, handpicked recommendations, and tips for your family all year round! The seasonal summer colony pleases little tikes with the seaside Palace Playland, while parents are more taken by Bayley’s Lobster Pound. Make use of the resort’s complimentary cruisers and ride about five minutes down historic Main Street to catch a true farm-to-table breakfast at Estia’s Little Kitchen. By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. When you’re not building sandcastles or catching waves, rent bikes, grab a bite to eat at one of the area’s mom-and-pop cafes, or visit the community center to enjoy several pools (including a children’s pool), activities for children, and more. Nantucket, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard—you know ‘em and you love ‘em (for good reason). 2 Old Orchard Beach, Maine. The mom-and-pop restaurants are true hidden gems … It’s just outside of Juneau, which also happens to be a hidden gem in the US (even though it’s the capital of Alaska). ... We’re rounding out the last few weeks of summer and beyond with some tips and insights into some great hidden southern New Jersey gems… The Best Women’s Clothing to Buy on Amazon. As for food, Portsmouth has emerged as one of New England’s fiercest culinary scenes. Take Tellico Plains, a gem in the Smokies where Appalachian heritage runs deep. And when it’s time to get your fill of thrills, you can easily head down Long Beach Boulevard to Fantasy Island Amusement Park. Hidden gems: The best beach towns on the East Coast Family Travel North America Travel Tips Summer is coming, so it should come as no surprise that you find your thoughts drifting … Fort Bragg. Want to see a cool glacier up close? Recommended Hotel: Grand Beach Hotel Surfside. © Copyright 2020 Family Vacation Critic All Rights Reserved. 1. 7 Newport, Rhode Island. Known as the “Jewel of Midcoast Maine,” Camden is a quiet coastal village with darling shops, waterfront restaurants, and outdoor activities galore, from hiking at Camden Hills State Park to sunbathing on Barrett’s Cove Public Beach. We could argue all day (and night) that New Hampshire itself is underrated, but we’ll resist and just go to battle on behalf of Portsmouth in particular. Take the Block Island Ferry … Explore the best of the world. 12 East Coast Getaways Locals Want to Keep Secret Watch Hill, Rhode Island. A Brooklyn-based writer and editor, Chelsea's work has appeared in Matador Network, The Huffington Post, the TripAdvisor blog, and more. Keeping with Sag Harbor’s preferred theme, the all-season Baron’s Cove charms with nautical interiors—namely pineapple wallpaper, pom-pom fringed curtains, old-timey maps, Ralph Lauren fixtures, and baby blue accents—and a heated saltwater pool. Other fun for families includes water sports, annual festivals, and a quaint downtown area where you can get around by bike or trolley. The region is also a top spot for boating and rafting thanks to several rivers and sparkling Tellico Lake. If you buy something through our links, Jetsetter may earn an affiliate commission. It’s a popular place for spotting bears… But here we’re taking a look at a few hidden gems of the East Coast… Recommended Hotel: Riverview Inn – Colonial Beach. 17 Unbelievable Hidden Gems for Family Travel in 2021 We have come together with our family travel blogger community one last time in this best destinations series to share with you some absolute all-time favourite family vacation spots – the one that perhaps surprised us the most and took our breathe away, the Hidden Gems for Family Travel . Hidden away in Redwood National Park, the beach features 37 miles of coastline surrounded by towering, 350-foot evergreen trees. 3 Chatham, Massachusetts. If you’re looking for a vacation on the east coast of the United States, you’ll have nearly an endless list of options to choose from. If you can cast aside thoughts about Boston, NYC, and Washington D.C. for a minute, you'll discover there's pristine Atlantic coasts, small yet fierce culinary scenes, and quaint boutique sleeps to be found in some of America's lesser-known corners. You’ve heard of the Outer Banks, but what about Bald Head Island? Chatham Bars Inn puts you within walking distance of everything, and Cape Cod-style rooms are kept extra cozy with crisp white linens and furniture, wide plank floors, and shuttered windows. Thanks to the Block Island Glass Float Project, the island is known to have hundreds of glass orbs—see if you can spot some on your visit! Skip the crowds of Miami Beach and head to the nearby Town of Surfside, a quieter destination town with equally great beaches. These 10 underrated East Coast getaways top this season's list. The tropical paradise is only a two-hour flight from New York City! 1. From Maine to Florida, these are some of our top picks for east coast … This hidden gem features the second longest beach in Virginia, with calm waves ideal for new swimmers. There are lots of opportunities for beach escapes, but you’ll find plenty of exciting cities too. 10 Secret East Coast Beach Vacations 1. But long before its horse heyday, the town’s warm climate had already made it a choice escape for many Northerners, including the Astor and Vanderbilt families. While San Francisco is 7×7 miles, there are a TON of strange, unique things hidden in the city limits. The East Coast of the United States is rich in culture, history, and tradition, making it a premier vacation destination for just about any traveler. RELATED: America’s Coolest Southern Towns, Explore More: See hotel details | See all Beaufort, SC hotels. Aiken is an equestrian-obsessed town; it hosts two annual steeplechases, houses a thoroughbred training track, and organizes polo matches across a handful fields. The barrier island’s sister destination, Lido Key, also has its own downtown and resort (Lido Beach Resort), and it’s easy and fun to experience both areas in one trip, plus all the nearby fun Sarasota has to offer. Make time for a tour of the estates; two of the most famous being The Breakers—the Vanderbilt’s Italian Renaissance-style abode, and Rosecliff—a Versailles-modeled number which once belonged to a silver heiress. In Redwood National Park, the postage-sized hamlet of Sag Harbor is all.... Cedar canopies the East Coast—but did you know Bermuda is located within Virginia Wine country was laid out settlers., handpicked recommendations, and motor vehicles are prohibited England ’ s Coolest Southern,! On these editor-selected items, click to visit the seller ’ s Lobster Pound as of! Few accolades over the years, including various “ America ’ s Coolest Small ”.: America ’ s only accessible by boat, and parents will be happy to know to. 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