The Ultimate East Coast Travel Guide

"Road Trips" letters on a United States map

There’s nothing quite like planning a trip, except perhaps enjoying the souvenirs and photographs long after the getaway has ended. So, if you haven't pinpointed your next excursion yet, may we suggest a trip to the east coast? You’ll encounter breathtaking coastal views, incredible cityscapes, and eateries your senses will never forget! We’ve compiled the ultimate guide to planning an unforgettable east coast getaway. Get ready to plot your course through some of the nation’s finest stops and learn how you can memorialize some of your favorites.

Traveling to New York

This exciting stop along the eastern coastline may not take too much convincing on our part. Who wouldn’t love to spend a few days enjoying the excitement, culture, and sites of New York?

Planning a Big Apple adventure can feel a bit overwhelming for some. There are unlimited sites, activities, and museums to choose from and only so many days to accomplish them. It can leave you in a dizzying state. From nightlife in the big city to daytime tours, allow us to share our favorites.

Points of Interest:

1. Manhattan

It’s difficult not to fall in love with Manhattan. Often referred to as the financial and cultural capital of the world, it offers its visitors endless opportunities to create a lifetime of memories. Embrace your inner tourist and get ready to plan a whirlwind of a visit.

2. Broadway

If the glitz and glamour of the theatrical stage calls to you, then make your way to Midtown Manhattan’s Theater District. Spend an evening filled with lights, marquees, and incredible talent.

Hamilton playbill on Broadway in New York

If your schedule and travel budget allow, take in a show while you’re in New York. We highly recommend researching Broadway shows well in advance. Purchasing tickets early is wise, as many of the most sought-after stages are sold out months in advance. 

Suppose your trip will not include taking in a show, head down anyway and bathe yourself in the ambiance of the Theater District. The crowded streets lit by the bright lights of the billboards and marquees are an electrifying sight to see!

3. Empire State Building

A visit to New York should always include a stop at the beloved 102- story skyscraper. As you wait impatiently in line, winding through the twists and turns, you experience an exhilarating wave as you near the elevator doors. The rush of the shuttle transporting you to the top deck will fill you with anticipation. Then, as the doors open, you step out to cast your eyes upon the most incredible view of New York City.

4. Central Park

Bridge over the river in Central Park with bright colored trees in the background

While there is too much to cover in one visit to theCentral Park, we recommend you simply jump in feet first and explore the wonders of it. Central Park is by far one of the world's most visited parks. No matter what time of year you choose to travel, it always offers an array of spectacular options.

Enjoy a nature walk and take in the beauty of the vivid fall leaves or visit in the summer and pack a romantic picnic to enjoy on the lush grass. If your travels find you in Central Park during the winter, we highly recommend the park’s skating rink. You’ll feel like a character in a movie while snowflakes fall upon your face as you glide across the ice.

Additionally, the park is home to many additional famous areas, including:

  • Shakespeare Garden
  • Bethesda Fountain
  • Central Park Zoo
  • Hallett Nature Sanctuary
  • Belvedere Castle
  • The Loeb Boathouse and boat rentals
  • Central Park Carousel
  • Strawberry Fields John Lennon Memorial

5. Metropolitan Museum of Art

Starry night in the Metropolitan Museum of Art

You don't need to be an art connoisseur to appreciate the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Comprised of seventeen acres, the MET is the nation's largest art museum. If your travel itinerary permits, we recommend joining the millions of visitors who grace the MET’s halls in awe every year.

The MET contains collections of art ranging from paintings to sculptures by brilliant European creators. Gaze upon abstract expressionist paintings to modern works of art by American artists.

6. Grand Central Station

We've all seen the movies with love-struck characters running through the glorious open space of Grand Central Station. Regardless of how you feel about rom coms, you have to admit the station certainly makes a magnificent backdrop. 

  • Grab a Bite in Grand Central

Strolling Grand Central’s architectural marvel will reveal the tempting aroma of Central Market’s finest, including the delicacies from the Oyster Bar and cupcakes from Magnolia’s. 

While the food is splendid, there are little hidden treasures to explore. These unique tidbits add to Grand Central's appeal on our must-visit list.

  • Whispering Gallery

If you're a tourist who is unfamiliar with the Whispering Gallery, strolling by the area may leave you confused. But, if you're lucky enough, someone may share the secret with you.

Whispering gallery in New York, high curved walls in train station

The Whispering Gallery was designed with a decorative tile ceiling in a sizeable four-cornered space. Even over the hurried steps of commuters and chatter of nearby Oyster Bar diners, the slightest whisper can be heard clear as day.

When you’re there, position yourself facing one corner of the Gallery while another person stands facing the opposite corner. You can whisper into the wall and carry on a perfectly clear conversation. It’s an experience you have to try to believe.

  • Campbell Bar

Step into a forbidden part of history while you’re at Grand Central. In the 1920s, the Campbell Bar was known as Campbell Apartments. The office was used as a front for a local speakeasy. You can find the restored bar at the top of the Main Concourse’s marble stairwell via the Vanderbilt Ave entrance.

  • Secret Underground Passageways

For those with children or simply a child at heart, the sheer mention of secret passageways gives us a thrill of curiosity. Roughly twenty years ago, an underground passageway was opened to allow curious visitors access to underground tunnels.

Though the passageways are just a shortcut for locals to dodge the rainfall, visitors enjoy the chance to explore the hidden gems.

7. Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Family going to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty

Before you say farewell to Manhattan, it’s almost mandatory to catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. A peaceful ferry ride will transport you to Liberty Island if you wish to visit her up close and spend time walking the grounds.

One tour option includes an unforgettable stop at Ellis Island. You can soak in the history where more than 12 million immigrants once entered the United States. You’ll tour the Museum of Immigration and step into the unrestored hospital buildings for a glimpse of the newcomers’ experiences.

  • A Piece of Manhattan

There is never a shortage of souvenir shops in New York. Commemorating your visit to the array of spectacular attractions in Manhattan will not be hard. Yet, nothing will quite capture Manhattan’s essence in its entirety like an intricately designed wood map.

If you are fortunate enough to spend time exploring additional areas of New York, you may just find a gorgeous wood chart to remember it by. In addition, displays of unique lake art will help you reflect upon your stops at Lake Placid or the Great Sacandaga Lake.

Traveling to Maryland

As you make your way down the eastern coastal states, Maryland is a stop you must add to your itinerary. The scenic views might be reason enough to plan a visit. Often referred to as “America in miniature,” Maryland offers a little taste of everything. Its varied landscape pleases the waterfront lover and mountain enthusiast. Rich in culture and overflowing with history, you won’t be disappointed with your options. 

If nothing else, we encourage you to explore the never-ending list of stops along the Chesapeake Bay. From fresh crab cakes and live music by the water to the Civil War Trails, the Bay is full of memories to be made. Here are just a few of our favorites we know will pique your interest. 

Maryland Points of Interest:

1. Chesapeake Bay

Chesapeake Bay Clock

Ask anyone who lives in or loves Maryland, and they’ll fill your ear with the many adventures you can experience along the Chesapeake Bay. Full of captivating sights, sounds, and aromas, the Bay offers endless entertainment and sightseeing opportunities for all to enjoy. So, get ready to take a few notes because you certainly won’t want to miss these amazing spots.

2. Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse

Lighthouse in Maryland

If you plan your trip wisely, you may just catch one of the few public tours to the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse. As you travel by boat from Annapolis, you’ll take in the wonderous National Historic Landmark, which guards the South River entrance. The lighthouse is the only remaining active screw-pile in the Bay.

You don’t have to be a lighthouse lover to appreciate its beauty. With the wind on your face, approaching this magnificent structure helps you appreciate so many historic preservation efforts. 

3. Annapolis          

Known as the Sailing Capital of America, Annapolis boasts charm and entertainment every day of the week. Thousands are known to gather in this historic waterfront town to take in the excitement of both powerboat and sailboat shows for all ages. From races to docked boats, there is plenty to catch the eye.

4. Guided Tours

Annapolis offers an array of tours around their maritime town, by land or by water. Stroll through town with your colonial-dressed guide and take in the historic district sites. If your sea legs are up for an unforgettable treat, you can tour by:

  • yacht
    Top view of a boat with white waves behind it in the ocean
  • cruise
  • water taxi 

5. Annual Spring Festival

If you plan your east coast adventures in late March, you won’t be disappointed adding the Annapolis Oyster Roast and Sock Burning to your list of festivities. As an annual tradition since 1978, folks gather barefoot to welcome spring. The traditional ceremony hosts live music for the soul as people gather and burn their old winter socks.

6. Grab a Bite of Seafood

Plate of oysters in Maryland

There’s no excuse for missing an opportunity to enjoy a meal with a view at Cantler’s Riverside Inn. You can take the kids ‘round back to view the live tubs stocked with fish and crabs right off the boat. 

Built over the waters of Mill Creek, you’ll enjoy the unmistakably fresh flavors of seafood as you dine. Your eyes will light up at the site of your dish, but don’t forget to take in the scenic view around you as well. 

7. Smith Island

Settled 350 years ago by Captain John Smith, the island offers a true taste of culture. Hop on a bicycle and pedal around the island, or pile the family in a golf cart and head over to Smith Island Cake, home of the famous state dessert. Another favorite option is to spend some time enjoying nature while birdwatching.

We highly recommend visiting soon, as the island continues to change with the rising waters and erosion. You’ll create lasting memories that others may soon not have the chance to experience.

8. Oxford

Your Chesapeake Bay adventures would not be complete without a visit to one of Maryland’s oldest towns. A former powerhouse for international shipping, Oxford is still known for its array of waterfront attractions. From historic cathedrals to ferry rides, this seemingly quiet town is full of enchanting options. It wasn’t once voted Yachting magazine’s “world’s best waterfront town” for nothing! 

Remembering Your Visit to the Chesapeake Bay

Chesapeake Bay 3-D Nautical Wood Chart

We know you’re bound to fill your bags and pockets with incredible souvenirs along the way. Each trinket will forever hold a fond memory of your stops along the Bay. A handcrafted nautical wood map of Chesapeake Bay offers your home or office a unique reminder of your adventures in a decorative way. A 3-D wood map provides stunning detail of the Bay while highlighting various points of interest you may have experienced. 

Perhaps you’d prefer to display a desktop cork map rather than hang a wood map on the wall. With finely detailed etching, the stand-alone Bay cork board is the perfect reminder of your waterfront getaway. 

Chesapeake Bay Fun Facts

Did you know the Bay holds roughly eighteen trillion gallons of water? That's only about twenty-seven million Olympic-sized pools if you need a reference. 

Most people are surprised to hear that only about half of the Bay's water comes from the ocean. The remainder comes from the watershed, consisting of 64,000 square miles and spanning 524 miles. This range extends from Norfolk, VA, to Cooperstown, NY. 

Each day, an average of 51 billion gallons of water enters the Chesapeake Bay. That’s 100,000 rivers, creeks, and streams that feed it.

The majority of The Bay is relatively shallow. It is said that a six-foot-tall person can wade their way through over 700,000 acres and never be submerged. "The Hole" is the deepest part of the Bay at a depth of 170 feet.

Approximately 500 million pounds of seafood come from the Bay annually.

Traveling to Virginia

Since the Chesapeake Bay flows into Virginia, it’d be a shame not to make a few stops there as well.  Full of rich history, Virginia is known as “the birthplace of our nation.” You will love soaking up the culture and breathtaking scenery that surround you. Step back in time as you tour battlefields or visit the golden sands of Virginia Beach. We hope you’ll consider stopping by some of our favorite spots. 

Points of Interest:

1. Arlington

There are many sites to see in Virginia, but we highly recommend spending some time absorbing the beauty and history Arlington has to offer. There is much to choose from, so if you are pressed for time during your east coast travels, we'd like to suggest our top must-see locations, which include:    

Arlington national cemetery

The Cemetery spans over 600 acres. It is the resting place for our fallen members of the Armed Forces from as far back as the Civil War. The trails through the Cemetery are landscaped to perfection.

Many commemorative displays line the paths of the Cemetery. You'll be able to pay your respects at the Marine Corps War Memorial as well as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Many visitors have spent an entire day walking the Cemetery grounds, so plan your trip accordingly. 

  • Potomac Overlook Regional Park

The Potomac is one of the nation’s largest wooded parks, spanning more than seventy acres. Bordering the Potomac River, it is a site that will leave you in awe.

If you're traveling with the family, the park offers exciting activities for all ages. You can take part in: 

  • entertaining, educational programs
  • outdoor summer concerts
  • observe reptiles and birds being cared for and rehabilitated

Avid hikers will love the chance to hit the trails and explore the woods. You will be able to hike down to the shore by way of Donaldson Run. Then, continue and connect to Windy Run, hiking your way down to the Potomac River.

  • Arlington Farmer’s Market
Tables of flowers, vegetables, and fruit under tents at a farmers market

After you've worked up an appetite, make your way to one of Arlington’s nine farmer’s markets, depending on the day you're visiting. The aroma of fresh food fills the air as you make your way through the fantastic selection of vendors.

Take in the sights and enjoy the sounds of musicians as you taste fresh homemade jams and sweet pastries. Spend time admiring the art exhibits or take a stroll through the vendors’ displays of fresh flowers.

2. Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach

Whether your idea of a trip to the beach is a quiet afternoon or filled with the sights and sounds of families enjoying the sand and water, Virginia Beach can accommodate both. You'll find fourteen miles to choose from, connecting three beautiful beaches.

The picturesque coastline offers surfing and includes shopping and dining along its boardwalk. If you are a people watcher, have a seat on a boardwalk bench and take in the skaters and cyclists as they pass by.

3. Luray Caverns

The Caverns are one of the gorgeous sights Virginia has to offer. Discovered purely by accident back in 1878, they make up the most extensive cave system in the eastern portion of the U.S.

The National Natural Landmark is 164 feet underground. Your exploration through the cool 54-degree Luray Caverns will reveal:

  • stalagmites
  • stalactites
  • draperies
  • mirror pools
  • flowstones

You’ll also have a chance to feast your eyes upon the Great Stalacpipe Organ. This all-natural lithophone is made of stone and is the largest musical instrument found in the world. 

4. Busch Gardens

A famous spot in Virginia, Busch Gardens is almost a theme park in its own right. You’ll enjoy the European themes with a flare of southern Germany. Costumed dancers and live bands fill the Gardens and are sure to keep you entertained. 

Upside down rollercoaster at Busch Gardens

All ages are welcome, as you’ll find a variety of activities, including a roller coaster boasting seventy-four-foot drops. If you arrive around Halloween, the Garden will delight with its spooky decorations lurking at every turn.

Let’s not forget the notorious Bier Fest at the Gardens. As summer draws to an end, adults can enjoy over 200 types of craft beer and plenty of live entertainment.

5. Norfolk

Complete your Virginia visit with a stop in Norfolk. The early English settlement is home to the battleship Wisconsin and the oldest U.S. naval port.

Spend time enjoying the beauty of the Norfolk Botanical Garden. The largest in Virginia, it offers an extensive art collection, including the Moses Ezekiel Collection in Statuary Vista.

If your legs grow weary, hop onto a 19th-century tour of the harbor sites on a Mississippi riverboat.

Traveling to North Carolina

Your east coast getaway won’t be complete without a visit to the Carolinas. We know you’ll fall in love with North Carolina’s charm, architecture, and beaches, to name a few.

Points of Interest: 

1. The Biltmore

The exquisite Biltmore mansion is the nation's largest private house. With 178,926 square feet sitting upon a lush 8,000 acres of gardens, you’ll never want to leave this piece of heaven.

Biltmore hotel at Christmas

The 250-room marvel is designed in French Renaissance decor and overflowing with priceless antiques and furniture. Your knowledgeable guide will escort you through hallways of ornate works of art. Soak in the brilliance of each painting and sculpture as you roam the mansion. It is truly one of the most breathtaking stops the east coast has to offer.

2. USS Carolina

Commissioned in 1941, America’s first battleship to join the WWII fleet was the USS Carolina. It now serves as a National Historic Landmark and museum that every east coast traveler should visit.

A tour of the USS Carolina will take you up close and personal with the ship’s incredible weaponry. You'll find yourself in awe, strolling the battleship's main deck and catching a glimpse of its inner nooks and crannies.

3. Outer Banks

Beautiful orange and blue sunset on the coast of Outer Banks

An east coast adventure wouldn't be the same without a visit to the Outer Banks. Known for its wide-open shoreline of over one hundred miles, you'll enjoy a welcoming mixture of history and peaceful paradise.

4. Lighthouses

The Outer Banks offer two lighthouse beauties – Bodie Island Lighthouse and Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Cape Hatteras towers at 280 feet, the tallest in the nation.

If you're up for a bit of a trek through the grassy marsh and beyond the rolling dunes of sand, you can climb Bodie Island Lighthouse.

While you’re in the lighthouse, gaze out over the waters with the wind in your hair. Take in the fresh air and admire the wildlife. If the climb is not your cup of tea, enjoy the scenic view from the wooden dock instead.

5. Dare County Civil War Trail

Experience a piece of history as you wind along fifteen miles of the Civil War Trails. Along the way, you'll come upon historical monuments and markers, including:

  • The first amphibious landing of the Civil War
  • Freedman's Colony
  • The Battle of Chicamacomico Races 

6. Wright Brothers Memorial

Kitty Hawk features the commemorative landmark of the Wright Brothers and is a grand sight to admire. Feast your eyes on the sixty-foot granite structure on your way to the “Century of Flight” museum.

Large tower stone with the Write Brothers names on it

Traveling to South Carolina

Venture down to South Carolina for more charm, hospitality, and unmatched scenic beauty. From grand southern home tours to home-style cuisine, there’s something to satisfy every visitor here.

Points of Interest:

1. Myrtle Beach

Beach umbrellas lined up on a beach with a Ferris wheel in the background at Myrtle Beach

Experience South Carolina at its finest by visiting Myrtle Beach. This family-friendly spot offers a beautiful golf course, SkyWheel at the boardwalk, and Broadway at the Beach – a plethora of shops beyond any other retail venue in South Carolina.

Enjoy the sun on your face and your toes in the sand as you relax seaside with your family. The pristine water awaits you when you’re ready for a dip.

2. Charleston Historic District

Hop on a horse-drawn carriage tour and be delighted with the historical sights you'll encounter. Tours will guide you through more than 1,400 historic buildings that make up Charleston’s appeal. 

You’ll trot by magnificent antique shops and drool-worthy historic homes. You may even recognize one from the big screen.

3. Hilton Head

Round out your visit with a stop on Hilton Head Island. The island is full of memory-making activities, especially for families. Plan to stay a while and experience life’s simple pleasures on this relaxing island with

Man kayaking in clear ocean water towards a far island
  • bike rides
  • fishing
  • kayaking
  • swimming
  • hiking

Immerse yourself in the culture at one of the many art galleries and museums the island offers. Spend an afternoon enjoying a play at the theater or throw down a blanket for a concert under the stars. 

Memorable Souvenirs for Your East Coast Travels

Bathroom with wood maps and lake art to decorate

Traveling sparks joy and brings you to life. No matter how minute it may seem at the time, you are forming a lasting memory with each stop. The scent of drawn butter can whisk you away to your favorite seaside lobster bisque. The roar of a crowd can evoke flashbacks of boat racing onlookers.

What is a Wood Map?

A high-quality wood map is comprised of intricate detail and craftsmanship. Wood maps offer a lovingly handcrafted way to display the wonders of the world in an exquisite 3-D art form. A beautifully crafted wood map will forever grace your home with reminders of your travels.

How are Wood Chart Wood Maps and Lake Art Made?

The exceptional craftsmanship of a Wood Chart wood map sets us apart from others. We pour our hearts into each hand-placed wood map. Our passion for travel and attention to detail shine through our meticulous efforts in every piece we offer.

Top view of logs of wood

Made from stunning Baltic wood, our wood maps are carved with laser-cutters to create life-like contours with unmatched skill. Each body of water and lay of the land is crafted with distinction. As a result, our wood maps boast undeniable visual depth and delight the eye with hand-stained colors.

Your wood map will appear to wrap around the edges as the expertly designed frame helps create an appearance of overflow. Fit to the depth of each mapped area, you will not find a more refined piece of art to preserve your memories. Each wood map is hand-placed into a solid wood frame and protected with durable ultra-transparent acrylic.

Styles of Wood Maps

Wood maps are crafted in a variety of styles to meet every travel enthusiast’s taste. These wonderful displays of memorabilia may be found as:

  • wall art
    Narragansett Bay Cork Map
  • stand-alone cork boards
  • cribbage boards
  • clocks
  • serving trays

Just as souvenirs evoke fond memories of your adventures, so will the precision-cut wood maps that adorn your walls.

Who Are Wood Maps Best Suited For?

Wood maps are designed for all to enjoy. From educators and lake art lovers to travel enthusiasts, these magnificent creations are designed to be enjoyed by all who can appreciate them.

Personal Souvenirs

 

St. Thomas/ St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands 3-D Nautical Wood Chart

 

Wood maps are a beautiful way to cherish the memories you create from your own travels. Each work of art is crafted to complement the décor of your home or office space, sparking reflections of your visit each time you glance its way. Endless conversations will be sparked from the display of your wood map, as your guests are sure to inquire about your travels.

Collectors

A wood map commemorates a seasoned traveler’s explorations. A collection of high-end wood map wall art is an ideal way to display a sentimental souvenir to preserve the memory of each visit.

Sentimental Gifts

Gifting lake art or a wood map is a unique way to share your journey with a friend or family member. With a variety of styles available, your gifted wood map is sentimental. It offers a way for loved ones to share your experiences while providing their home with a decorative conversation piece.

Each time you glance at your finely crafted wood map, you’ll relive your travels and keep the memories alive.


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