7 Easy East Coast Weekend Getaways
It doesn’t take much to escape the city grind — in just a few hours, freeways, trains, and planes can transport you miles away, and get you back in time for work on Monday morning. And when you’re craving island beaches, crisp mountain air, or just an escape from the monotony of the work week, all it takes is a little planning ahead — no long holiday weekend or PTO needed.
So why waste the weekend with a Netflix binge, when you could spend it in a cabana on the iconic pink-sand beaches of Bermuda or the ski slopes near Burlington, Vermont? No matter your taste — from exploring crystal caves to wine tasting — there’s an easy east-coast weekend trip for you.
To get you started, we’ve done the research for a diverse range of east-coast getaways.
For the ultimate change of scenery — think hammocks strung over turquoise waters, underground caves, and an island vibe — there’s nothing like a trip to the island of Bermuda. And thanks to two-and-a-half hour daily flights from New York and Boston, an island escape is more than doable.
The island’s swathes of pink sand are one-of-a-kind, so rent a scooter or hop in a taxi to hit Bermuda’s best — big names include Elbow Beach, Horseshoe Bay Beach, and Tobacco Bay Beach. When you’ve had your fill of seaside fun, explore the other side of the island. Bermuda is home to dramatic underground caves (don’t miss Crystal and Fantasy Caves) and Blue Hole Park, where walking trails traverse coastal cliffs, caverns, and lagoons. Active visitors can walk, run, or bike a section of the 18-mile Bermuda Railway Trail or check out the island’s shoreline by kayak.
When it comes to dining options, a fish sandwich and a Dark ’n’ Stormy at Blackbeard's Hideout in St. George’s is a must. For a night of fine dining, head to the capital city of Hamilton for an upscale seafood dinner at Barracuda Grill or taste your way through celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson’s soul and seafood inspired menu at Marcus’.
Atlantic City, New Jersey
The “Las Vegas of the east” doesn’t disappoint those looking for a weekend of glitz and glamour. In recent years, Atlantic City has undergone redevelopment plans to cater to a more high-end clientele — while the city’s wide beaches, iconic boardwalk, and casinos continue to draw travelers.
The NJ Transit transports travelers from Philadelphia in an hour-and-a-half, while New Yorkers can get there in three hours via Amtrak and NJ Transit. Drive times from both cities are even less, and the Atlantic City International Airport is there for those coming from further afield.
Visitors can spend the day gambling at Borgata or the Hard Rock before enjoying some tax-free retail therapy. If gambling isn’t your thing, head to the coast, where the city’s legendary beach awaits. After some time spent sunbathing, surfing, kayaking, or windsurfing, explore the adjacent boardwalk.
When hunger strikes, you can experience the tried-and-true fame of Dock’s Oyster House, a family-owned business that opened in 1897, or visit celebrity chef Bobby Flay’s, Bobby Flay Steak and peruse the extensive wine list.
One of the best things about Atlantic City is it’s array of luxury, yet affordable, hotels. Book a stay at Ocean Casino Resort, with its multiple pools and five-star ranking, or the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, which is home to endless entertainment, nightlife, and dining.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
In the summer, it’s hard to top Cape Cod, home of picturesque lighthouses, seafood shacks, and beautiful beaches. But even in the winter months, the town’s mild weather, plentiful golf courses, and breweries and wineries, welcome visitors.
From Boston, the trip is just over an hour by car or two-and-a-half hours via CapeFLYER, the weekend passenger train service. If you’re coming from New York City, you might want to take a long weekend as the drive to the Cape from the city can take over five hours each way. But the shift in landscape and pace is well worth the trip.
From April to October, head out to sea with Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises to spot migrating humpback whales. Or take a leisurely hike along the Cape Cod National Seashore, a 40-mile stretch of unspoiled sandy beach that is home to historic lighthouses, monuments, and dunes. Golfers will have 27 public courses and 15 private facilities to choose from, while art buffs will be blown away by the galleries found in every town and village on Cape Cod. After you’ve explored the Cape, hop on a ferry from Hyannis Harbor to visit the nearby islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
The historic (and visually stunning) Captain Linnell House has a series of intimate dining rooms that deliver romance and elegance. Or, for a laid-back meal, head to the Lobster Pot, a Cape Cod landmark that serves up seafood classics with bay views.
For a true Cape Cod experience, stay at the Honeysuckle Hill Inn, a quaint bed-and-breakfast near the popular Sandy Neck Beach. Those looking to be part of history, can stay at The Inn at Cape Cod, a private mansion turned boutique hotel that’s almost 200 years old and sits adjacent to 100 acres of nature reserve.
Long Island, New York
For New Yorkers, Long Island makes for an easy escape. Far beyond the frequented boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens the island forks — with the Hamptons to the south and Long Island Wine Country to the north.
From the city, it’s around a two-hour drive, but most New Yorkers hop on the Hampton Jitney or take the Long Island Railroad (both around two hours each way). For an even shorter travel day, booking a charter flight through Fly The Whale will get you to the Hamptons in around 45 minutes.
Once you’ve settled, get ready to explore. The Hamptons are full of fabulous parties and stunning beaches (don’t miss Southampton’s Cooper’s Beach), but after a day lounging, you’ll want to expand your horizons and take a ferry to the North Fork. There, you can enjoy views of the Long Island Sound while sipping on wines from local vineyards — don’t miss the goods at Corey Creek or Croteaux. If you have a free evening, make time to watch a show at Suffolk Theater, a 1933 Art Deco-style theater.
When hunger calls, swing by the Upper East Side export, TBar, for offerings like fresh sushi and a 40-ounce black angus porterhouse. Visit the North Fork’s Caci to dine on authentic northern Italian cuisine in a restored turn-of-the-century farmstead.
A stay at the Inn at Windmill Lane in Amagansett is pure luxury. You’ll experience five-star service and amenities paired with the charm of a bed-and-breakfast. Bay Breeze Inn in Jamesport on the North Fork has views of Peconic Bay and is just steps from the beach.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
You can get to Toronto from the east coast’s major cities — New York; Boston; Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; and Baltimore — in less than two hours. And no need to worry about lengthy transfers — each city has direct flights, some for around $150.
The Canadian city sits along Lake Ontario’s northwestern shore. To get your bearings, rent a bike and cruise along the Waterfront Trail (also called Goodman Trail). From here, you’ll pass Ontario Place and the Harbourfront Centre. If biking isn’t your thing, head to the pedestrian-only Distillery Historic District. Set in quaint 19th century buildings that once housed a large whiskey distillery, you’ll find hip restaurants, bars, and boutiques, alongside an array of galleries and theatres.
Grab a drink and some calamari at beachfront Sunnyside Pavilion Cafe on Lake Ontario, or indulge in an evening of fine, French dining at Auberge du Pommier. After drinks out on the town, head back to your luxurious room at The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto or the Hotel Fairmont Royal York.
This coastal town in southern Maine is as east-coast idyllic as it gets. The town has long, sandy beaches, a lighthouse from 1833, and quaint lobster-fishing villages. The town is two-and-a-half hours from Boston by car, and just over a five-hour drive from New York City. From Boston’s South Station, the Amtrak Downeaster takes travelers to Wells Maine, while the Portland International Jetport is a short 30 miles away.
You can rent a kayak or boat to get out on the water, or try your hand at surfing with a rental from Aquaholics Surf Shop. Make sure to visit and walk along the iconic Goose Rocks Beach and the less-visited Arundel Beach. You can take a boat to Goat Island, home of the active Goat Island Lighthouse from 1833 or visit the Seashore Trolley Museum, the world's oldest and largest museum of mass transit vehicles.
To experience a true Kennebunkport dining tradition, book a table at Alisson’s Restaurant, which has been serving American pub grub for over 40 years. You won’t want to pass up Rococo Artisan Ice Cream, a quaint ice cream parlor that makes their ice creams onsite using cream and milk from a local, family-owned farm.
The sprawling Nonantum Resort is a family resort with Kennebunkport-style accommodations, award-winning dining, and on-site activities for the entire family. For an unparalleled location, look no further than The Tides Beach Club, the only waterfront hotel on Goose Rocks Beach.
If you need to escape the city heat, consider a weekend trip to northwestern Vermont. The city of Burlington is just over three hours by car from Boston, and has direct, one-and-a-half hour flights to New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.
The city is biker friendly and the Lake Champlain Bikeway circles around the entirety of Lake Champlain. When you’ve worked up an appetite do a tour of the Ben & Jerry’s factory tour and reward yourself with copious amounts of ice cream. In the winter, explore the nearby ski resorts of Smugglers' Notch Resort and Stowe Mountain Resort (both under an hour’s drive away) from your Burlington homebase.
Book a meal at chef Eric Warnstedt’s acclaimed restaurant, Hen of the Wood. The ingredients are almost always sourced locally, and an entire page of the menu is dedicated to Vermont cheeses. For a casual evening fueled by pizza and beer, head to American Flatbread for thin wood-fired crust topped with organic toppings. Pair your meal with a beer from the Zero Gravity Brewpub.
For lodging, not much compares to Hotel Vermont, an independent hotel in the heart of downtown.
Charleston, South Carolina
In Charleston, you’ll find yourself in the picturesque world of cobblestone streets, pastel antebellum houses, and waterfront promenades. This otherworldly escape is an easy, two-hour flight from New York City and two-and-a-half from Boston.
Spend the day exploring the elegant French Quarter, Charleston’s original walled city, where you’ll find the iconic, 19th-century City Market. Here, you can pick up unique clothing, crafts, and artwork, before spending the afternoon discovering the city’s museums — we recommend the Confederate Museum and the Old Slave Mart Museum. On a sunny day, head to Waterfront Park on the Cooper River or take a ferry across the water to Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired.
For a night of fine, southern dining, head to Peninsula Grill where you can choose to sit at the champagne bar for lite bites (think: oysters, caviar, and lobster) or post up in the posh dining room for the full menu with southern sides like garlic braised butterbeans and speck ham and hoop cheddar grits. For a quick bite, head to Rodney Scott's BBQ from James Beard-winning pitmaster Rodney Scott. Order a hearty ribeye or pulled pork sandwich and pair it with collards and cornbread.
Book your stay at The Spectator Hotel, where the glittering chandeliers and plush velvet furnishings will make you feel like you’ve been transported to the Roaring ‘20s. The on-property, speakeasy-style bar, The Bar, adds to the hotel’s charm with its hand-crafted cocktail list and Prohibition-era-inspired interior.
For a dramatic change in weather and culture, head south. Miami’s renowned nightlife, beaches, and food are mere hours from most major east coast cities by plane — less than three from Baltimore and just over three from New York City.
Upon arrival, breathe in the warm, perpetually sunny climate and head to the beach. The scenic Haulover Beach has beautiful landscaped dunes, picnic areas, and ideal surf conditions, while Lummus Park Beach is a must for sunbathers and those looking for a lazy day of people watching.
When you’ve soaked up enough sun, grab some lunch at Versailles Restaurant Cuban Cuisine in Little Havana. It’s a true Miami establishment and the go-to spot for Cuban food. For seafood, don’t miss Joe's Stone Crab in Miami Beach, and for chic, waterfront dining with a Peruvian flare, head to La Mar by Gaston Acurio.
When it comes to lodging, you’ll want to be in the center of the action. The W Miami or the boutique Hotel Beaux Arts are in downtown Miami, while The Setai Miami Beach is perfectly located on South Beach.