The Mid-Atlantic region of the United States is known for being the historic heart of the country, home to commerce and industry, politics and power. What makes up the Mid-Atlantic region? It’s generally considered to be New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, and West Virginia. That’s a lot of territory!
Whether you live in one the Mid-Atlantic region’s urban centers (New York, Newark, Philadelphia, Washington/D.C. Metro Area, Baltimore) or one of its many suburbs and small towns, you have lots of choices for easy weekend getaways. Within just a few hours are amusement parks, historic sites, mountains, beaches, waterfalls, national parks and state parks.
Obviously, all of the above mentioned urban centers are close enough to be their own getaways. Lots of folks from Philly head to NYC for a weekend and D.C. denizens are a quick hop from Baltimore and Philadelphia. The Jersey Shore, including spectacular Cape May, is a perennial favorite, as is Ocean City, Maryland. The craft beer scene in Maryland is worth a trip of its own! But what if you really want to get away? Go somewhere a little further out? We’ve collected a list of places to check out the next time you’re in the mood for a road trip.
The Great Outdoors in the Mid-Atlantic Region
The Mid-Atlantic region sits in the beautiful Appalachian Mountain chain. That means lots of opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, white water rafting, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, rock climbing and other outdoor activities.
Fayetteville, WV / New River Gorge – One of the 10 coolest small towns in the U.S., according to Budget Travel Magazine, Fayetteville is close to the famous New River Gorge and its more famous bridge. Bridge Day, held every October, shuts down traffic around the bridge to allow bungee jumping and other normally forbidden activities. Whitewater rafting, hiking, rock climbing and more are available in the area too.
Canaan Valley, West Virginia – A national natural landmark, Canaan Valley is located in eastern West Virginia, an easy drive from Baltimore, Washington, Pittsburgh, Alexandria and Philadelphia. Canaan Valley includes ski areas, resorts and Blackwater Falls State Park.
Poconos – Once a standard honeymoon destination, the Poconos encompasses four counties in Pennsylvania. Home to more than 150 lakes, resorts, recreation areas and picturesque villages and towns, the Poconos region truly has something for everyone to do. Make sure to check out the beauty of Bushkill Falls, the Niagara of Pennsylvania, while in the area!
Chincoteague Island / Assateague Island National Seashore — Chincoteague Island is Virginia’s only resort island, Chincoteague is within easy reach from all major cities in the Mid-Atlantic region. Chincoteague is also the gateway to the Assateague Island National Seashore. Wild horses are one of the major tourist draws to these laid-back resort areas, free of high-rises, traffic and the hassles of big city life.
Luray Caverns – Located on the edge of Shenandoah National Park, the Luray Caverns are the largest collection of caverns in the eastern United States. In addition to the geological wonders you can explore, the cavern attraction is home to a classic car museum, an antique toy museum and a museum of the history of the Shenandoah Valley, one of the first frontier areas of the United States.
Mid-Atlantic Region Historic Sites
Both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars were fought through parts of the Mid-Atlantic region. Historic battlefields and other sites make perfect day trips for history buffs and can easily be incorporated into longer road trips. Gettysburg and Valley Forge are both in Pennsylvania; Harper’s Ferry is in southern West Virginia, easily accessible from Baltimore and the D.C. Metro Area.
The early settlements of Jamestown and Roanoke are historic sites as well. Jamestown, which is the first English settlement in North America, has undergone a lot of restoration in recent decades. Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson, and Mt. Vernon, home of George Washington, are both open to tourists and have amazing grounds and gardens. Of course, Colonial Williamsburg is a great family trip!
Hershey Park – It’s a chocolate lover’s paradise! But Hershey Park is home to lots more fun than eating chocolate. Roller coasters, water park attractions, family rides and special rides for the little ones guarantee days of fun. Shows, concerts and interaction with Hershey’s characters pair with fun and food for a great family adventure. They offer group pricing, so get a group together from your high-rise or HOA and hit the road!
Amish Country – Whether you’re in the market for handcrafted furniture, handmade quilts, hearty Pennsylvania Dutch food and baked goods or just a drive through some of the most peaceful scenery in the Mid-Atlantic region, Amish Country delivers. Buggy rides can be fun for the family!
New Hope, PA – Situated in lovely Bucks County, New Hope offers a range of dining, B&B, quaint hotels and antique shopping. It’s a popular getaway from Philadelphia and Bucks County itself is home to lots of fairs, festivals, craft breweries, wineries, outdoor activities and museums.
No matter where you are in the beautiful Mid-Atlantic area, a variety of road trip options are just down the road! What are you waiting for?