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Read on to learn more about the best winter weekend getaways on the East Coast.
Because the East Coast has such a diverse landscape, you can find almost anything to do during the winter. Whether you want a snowy or beachy winter weekend getaway, the East Coast offers it all! In this post, we’ve collected the best winter weekend getaways on the East Coast with the help of other expert travel bloggers!
15+ Awesome Winter Weekend Getaways on the East Coast
Thomas, West Virginia
Thomas is located in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia and is a hidden East Coast treasure. With Timberline Mountain and Canaan Valley Ski Resorts located in this area, you have access to some of the best skiing on the East Coast! Thomas itself is a cute, quaint town with friendly residents who love visitors. Take a break from the slopes and visit the main street, where you’ll find adorable cafes, art galleries, breweries, and live music.
If you’re wanting to experience more outdoor adventures, take a trip to Blackwater Falls State Park. During the winter season, the park operates a sledding hill for visitors along with cross country ski rentals for people to explore the trails! You can even stay at the Blackwater Falls State Park Lodge, which is only a 10-minute drive from Thomas. Another great place to stay, especially if you’re visiting for skiing, is the Canaan Valley Resort. Since Thomas is a smaller town, the best way to get there is by driving. With this area being one of the most beautiful parts of the state, the drive is extremely scenic and is in close proximity to some major cities on the east coast. Making a trip to West Virginia to see what it has to offer is well worth it!
Contributed by Katie of the Travel Strategy
Washington, DC is not only the nation’s capital, it is also a wonderful winter weekend getaway! From the bustling Holiday Markets to photographing the Monuments in the snow and exploring the vibrant neighborhoods; you will never run out of things to do in DC. The winter is a great time to visit because there are much fewer crowds and the “swampy” weather of the summer is long gone!
When you visit DC in the winter, you need to visit the free world-renowned Smithsonian museums (there are 18 Smithsonian Museums, Galleries, and Gardens in DC). After you’ve explored the iconic National Mall, check out the neighborhoods of DC. They have so much to offer any traveler from Adams Morgan in the NW to Eastern Market on Capitol Hill. If you have time, check out some of the incredible natural beauty surrounding the city including Rock Creek Park, Great Falls, and the Potomac River.
DC is a food destination as well with Michelin-starred restaurants all the way to delicious cheap eats from around the world. You must try some Ethiopian and Afghan food as they have the largest populations in DC outside of their countries. There are lots of great hotels in and around DC for all different types of travelers. I recommend the Hyatt House at the Wharf in Southwest DC. It is a great spot for families as it’s close downtown but also offers suites with kitchenettes and waterfront views.
Washington, DC is easily accessed by plane from Dulles International Airport or closer to the city at Reagan National Airport. It is a hub for Amtrak rail and bus lines as well. And it is also an easy road trip away from major US East Coast cities like New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia.
Contributed by Jennifer of Family Trip Guides
Philadelphia is hands down one of the best city winter getaways in the USA in the winter months. There’s plenty to do that caters to just about any taste, and it certainly is one of the best food destinations in the USA. Even though in winter, the skies might be grey, Philadelphia feels as lively as ever. A huge ice-skating rink opens up under the majestic City Hall building, crowds of tourists are scarcer and there’s just something magical about seeing those first flakes of freshly falling snow in Rittenhouse Square.
When in Philadelphia, a visit to Reading Terminal Market is a must, where the hustle and bustle of this huge food hall featuring some of the best eats in the city will make you forget about the cold outside. It would also be remiss not to visit some of the more historic sites in the city, such as the Liberty Bell and the Independence Hall where American Independence was born.
For those keen to explore further, the Eastern State Penitentiary is a fascinating visit. This former prison-turned museum is eerie and cold and the winter setting provides the perfect backdrop to a visit here.
Accessing Philadelphia is easily accessible via the Amtrak from other major East Coast cities and is also serviced by a major international airport so there’s really no excuse not to visit. Staying near Rittenhouse Square is a good idea as from here all the main attractions are pretty central (or cheap rideshare away).
Contributed by Emma of Emma Jane Explores
Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania
One of the best winter weekend getaways on America’s east coast is a trip to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. Located in the northeast region of the state, the Poconos is dotted with forested peaks, glacial lakes, and some of the most pristine natural landscapes in all of Pennsylvania.
In the Poconos, you’ll find excellent ski resorts like Blue Mountain and Montage Mountain. They offer thrilling skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing. Besides the family fun, these resorts also have high-end restaurants and lodges. If the cold and snow become too much, the region also has indoor water parks like Kalahari Resort and Great Wolf Lodge. It’s a perfect alternative to skiing when conditions are better on a water slide than the slopes. The area is also an excellent destination for winter hiking. One of the best places in the Poconos for hiking is Lake Wallenpaupack. It’s a massive man-made lake that’s wrapped in ribbons of trails that are also popular for snowmobiling and spotting wildlife.
The best option for accommodations is to book one of the many great Poconos cabin rentals. In the area, you’ll find homes with hot tubs, fireplaces, game rooms, and more to entertain guests after a day of enjoying the outdoor activities.
Contributed by Derek and Mike of Robe Trotting
New York City, New York
New York City is a prime destination any time of year, but it really shines during the winter. So it makes sense that it’s listed as one of our winter weekend getaways on the East Coast!
If you visit between November and the beginning of January, you will see all the famous holiday decorations on 5th Avenue, the many holiday markets, ice skating rinks, and the world-renowned Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.
If you time it just right and visit over New Year, you’ll be able to see the ball drop in Times Square, assuming you don’t mind waiting hours in the cold. After the New Year, the city still has plenty to offer. You can still ice skate, check out all the after-holiday sales, and stay cozy by cuddling up inside one of the popular winter globes around the city.
New York City has no shortage of indoor activities for tourists. You can visit popular sites, like the Empire State Building, One World Trade, and Top of the Rock.
NYC is famous for its theater scene, so see at least one Broadway show while you’re in town. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, consider seeing an off-broadway show at BAM or the Public Theater.
If theater isn’t your cup of tea, consider booking tickets to a comedy show. NYC is known for producing some of the best comics around, and if you’re lucky, you may see a famous comedy star at The Comedy Cellar or The Stand.
If it’s your first time visiting, stay in popular Times Square to get the full tourist experience. Book a room at the Marriott Marquee to get a room that boasts the perfect view of Times Square. With three local airports, plus giant bus, and train terminals, NYC is one of the most accessible cities in the United States. Go ahead, book your ticket to the Big Apple, you won’t regret it!
Contributed by Ally of Ally Travels
If you’re interested in finding the best winter weekend getaways on the East Coast of the United States, you need to check out Freeport, Maine. This small town on the coast is an excellent destination for people who love to relax on vacation, as well as those who enjoy winter activities.
The Freeport Outlets is a shopping center with outlet stores for brands like Vineyard Vines, Old Navy, Coach, and American Eagle. It’s also home to the flagship store of L.L. Bean. The Maine-based outdoor clothing company operates many outdoor excursions from this store that you can join throughout the year, with winter activities including snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
A great place to stay in town is called the Harraseeket Inn, within walking distance to the outlets and L.L. Bean. Many of the rooms in this hotel have their own wood-burning fireplaces and a never-ending supply of wood to burn within them. They also have a heated indoor pool open year-round, two restaurants on-site, and breakfast is included with every stay. Shop and then relax at your resort, or experience a guided winter sport, and only a 20-minute drive north of Portland or a 2-hour drive north of Boston, Freeport is a great place to head for a winter weekend getaway.
Contributed by Lyndsay of The Purposely Lost
Looking for more weekend getaways? Explore our list of East Coast weekend getaways.
Asheville, North Carolina
If you’re looking for cozy winter vibes in a hip, mountain town, then a weekend in Asheville, North Carolina, is the perfect winter getaway. Asheville is famous for its fantastic farm-to-table food, so no trip is complete without trying out some local fare. Fan favorites are the original Tupelo Honey, Curate, 9 Mile, and Rhubarb. While Asheville has all four seasons and gets some snow, it’s never so bad that you can’t still enjoy the natural beauty. If you’re a nature lover, take a drive on the iconic Blue Ridge Parkway and stop for easy roadside hikes and lookouts along the way. You can stop at the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center for maps and suggestions for the best winter hikes.
If you love art and history, then a visit to Asheville’s main highlight, The Biltmore Estate, is a must-do. This sprawling 8000-acre property is the largest privately-owned home in the US and has a spectacular garden, hiking paths, world-renowned art, and seasonal events. They’re are known for having an over-the-top display of lights and decorations every winter. When choosing where to stay in Asheville, most people prefer a hotel like the Haywood Park Hotel for its central location. The good thing is, Asheville isn’t big, so no matter where you stay, you’ll be close to everything.
Contributed by Christina of Live a Wilder Life
North Conway, New Hampshire
North Conway is one of the best places for a winter weekend getaway on the east coast! The New Hampshire mountain town is known as one of the top New England ski towns and has something for everyone, including snowshoeing, tubing, and a scenic drive. North Conway is located three hours north of Boston and has everything needed for a weekend getaway, including hotels, restaurants, and stores. It is the perfect base location for exploring the White Mountains in the winter!
North Conway is in the heart of the White Mountains and offers many fun things to do during the winter. There are five ski resorts nearby that have over 270 trails on 1,300 skiable acres. There are also hundreds of trails nearby for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. If you are looking for a winter hike, you can hike 1.3 miles to Diana’s Bath, which is a beautiful 75-foot waterfall, or 2.3 miles to Black Cap, which offers stunning views. North Conway has an activity for every outdoor enthusiast!
North Conway also has beautiful views that do not require skiing or hiking. The Kancamagus Highway is a 32-mile scenic byway that begins in Conway and travels through the White Mountains, offering mountain views and waterfalls. If you are looking to experience some of the best views in New Hampshire, you can take a SnowCoach tour to the tree line on Mount Washington. Mount Washington is the tallest mountain in the northeast and offers stunning views of the White Mountains. You will not be disappointed with the views from the Kancamagus Highway or Mount Washington!
No matter what you are looking to do, North Conway is the perfect place for a fun winter weekend getaway on the east coast!
Contributed by Nichole of Nichole the Nomad
December in Boston means shorter days and colder temperatures, but with every passing day grows more and more holiday cheer in the city. There’s plenty of fun to have during the winter in Boston! Especially this year, with everyone itching to get outside and active whenever they can. Before you give in to the cold and hibernate for the season, grab a friend and head downtown to try out some fun winter activities to do in Boston.
Go ice skating in Boston Common Frog Pond
A classic winter activity, ice skating is a popular event at Frog Pond in Boston Common each year. All skill levels are welcome at this rink, where you can bring your own skates or rent a pair.
Watch one of Boston’s Tree Lighting Ceremony
Just because things look a little different because of these uncertain times, it doesn’t mean they’re canceled! Grab your computer and tune in to one of Boston’s tree-lighting ceremonies featuring appearances by Santa, fun activities for the kids, and even some holiday caroling. These virtual tours will give you an up-close view of the night sky lit up by thousands of twinkling lights!
An incredible place to stay in Boston is the Liberty Hotel. This grandeur building actually has a rich history behind it, as it used to be the Charles Street Jail. This prison was established in 1851 and housed Boston’s most notorious criminals for 120 years! In 1973 the court ruled the jails’ living conditions inhumane but continued to let it operate until 1990. The 298 jail cells have been renovated into comfortable suites but decorated with authentic jail bars on the windows. A blend of history and high-style elegance, and a name dripping with irony, this hotel is the quintessential Boston experience.
Contributed by Abigail of A Lost Blonde
Winter Weekend Getaways on the East Coast That Beat the Cold
If you’re looking for winter weekend getaways that get you away from the cold and ice, this section of the post is for you! Check out these destinations that offer the sun and sand!
Miami is a great place to visit during winter if you are looking to run away from the icy cold weather. The temperatures range from 65 F – 75F and make it best to enjoy the beaches and warm waters.
There are so many things to do in Miami for everyone from water sports to museums to incredible food. Miami is also a melting pot of cultures and has an influence on food. Visit Little Havana, a neighborhood that would make you feel like in Cuba. And for those who want to party, there are options galore. If visiting in December, head over to the Design District, Wynwood for the art exhibits made by artists from across the world. When in Miami how can you miss playing or sunbathing at the beaches? From North Miami Beach to the South Miami beach, there is no dearth of beaches. Drive along Ocean Drive for some spectacular views of the beaches.
For a visit to Miami, consider staying at Residence Inn, Marriott Surfside, or Loews Miami Beach Hotel for a comfortable stay with great ocean views. Taking an evening cruise is the perfect way to end the day with the breeze flowing and breathtaking views of the Miami skyline. If visiting with kids, then the Miami Science Museum and Miami Children’s Museum are a must-visit with some interactive exhibits to explore. Miami Zoo and Miami Seaquarium are great options as well to spend the day.
Miami also makes a great central location for exciting trips to Key West and Everglades National Park. The road trip from Miami to Key West provides scenic vistas as you drive the Overseas Highway. So ditch your woolens and get your shorts and flip-flops ready for a fun trip to Miami.
Contributed by Neha of Travel Melodies
Beautiful, walkable, and home to one of the best food scenes in the country, the stunning city of Savannah, Georgia is one of the best winter getaways in the USA. With mild weather throughout the winter (the coldest month of the year, January, still sees average high temperatures of 61°F and only an average of 6 days of rain), you won’t need to pack a heavy coat to visit Savannah–just comfortable walking shoes.
While you’re there, be sure to wander through Savannah’s 22 historic town squares, visit Forsyth Park, check out River Street, tour some of the city’s historic houses of worship (the First African Baptist Church, Congregation Mickve Israel, and Basilica of St. John are particularly well-known), go shopping on Broughton Street and at City Market, check out the American Prohibition Museum, and tour a historic home or two.
A long weekend in Savannah gives you just enough time to sample a handful of the city’s best restaurants–consider splurging on a meal at the Olde Pink House or Elizabeth’s on 37th. Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room and The Collins Quarter are more casual but also extremely popular.
When it comes to where to stay, Savannah is full of excellent options, but I’m partial to the Foley House Inn, which is located right on Chippewa Square (aka the Forest Gump square), is absolutely beautiful, and also, in classic Savannah fashion, is reportedly haunted.
Contributed by Kate of Our Escape Clause
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina is a great destination all year round! Wintertime is one of the best seasons to visit if you want to escape the cold weather in the north and enjoy sunny days in the 50s and 60s.
As Charleston was founded in 1670 it has a rich history to explore. Take a walking tour of the historical center to learn about the city’s past and see some of the most well-known sights like Rainbow Row. Visit some of the historical houses and museums within the city. The Old Slave Mart Museum was one of my favorites. It focuses on the domestic slave trade in the US. There was a lot of shocking and intense information provided, but I think this is a cruel part of American history that was merely skimmed over in history books.
The plantations around Charleston are also good places to learn what life was like both for plantation owners and African Americans during slavery. Boone Plantation does a great job of showing you what it was like for both races.
Staying in the historic district is handy, but also a little pricier. Instead find a hotel, such as the Sleep Inn, in West Ashley. It’s only about a 10 – 15 minute drive to downtown Charleston, has all the amenities you need, and will save you some money.
It’s easy to get to Charleston. The city has a smaller international airport that offers services from major cities around the country. There is also an Amtrak station. With a lot of things to see and do and delicious southern food, you don’t want to miss Charleston!
Contributed by Elizabeth of The Fearless Foreigner
If you want to escape the cold of winter, heading to Florida is the perfect winter weekend getaway for you!
Located on the gulf coast, Clearwater Beach is an excellent destination to spend a weekend. The nearest airport is Tampa International. There are many domestic and international flights landing there every day. From the airport, it’s an easy 30-minute drive to get to the destination.
Clearwater beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the USA and you will love spending an afternoon (or 2) there. You can bring your own towel or rent one of the beach tents. You will find many restaurants, bars, and ice cream parlors on the promenade. Perfect for a quick snack or drink!
In the evening, head to Pier 60 for the sunset celebration. Alternatively, you can also opt for one of the sunset cruises.
If you are traveling with kids, make sure to go to Clearwater Aquarium. It’s home to Winter the dolphin and the staff organize all sorts of workshops. You can even touch stingrays! Kids usually love it!
In terms of accommodation, opt for one of the beachfront cottages or for a room at the stunning Shephard’s Beach Resort. On top of being a fantastic hotel, they also have DJs playing on Sundays. If you like the idea of dancing on the beach, it’s a great place to do so.
Contributed by Pauline of BeeLoved City
Looking for more weekend getaways? Explore our list of East Coast weekend getaways.
Amelia Island, Florida
Amelia Island is the perfect retreat in winter! Situated at the very top of Florida, this is a gorgeous island with that feel-good feel from the holidays of yesteryear. The balmy weather here is perfect in winter when the crowds from the summer have diminished.
Amelia Island is somewhere to really enjoy all the outdoor activities on offer, from cycling across it to playing golf. Most people come to this destination to revel in its beaches and winter is the perfect time to enjoy a walk along with them and with over 13 miles of sand, there’s plenty to explore. The Clinch State Park also has 1400 acres of parkland to enjoy. If the weather is looking temperamental then head to the state’s oldest lighthouse which was built in 1828 or visit the downtown area of the town for plenty of boutiques and little restaurants to enjoy. Some of the great family resorts in Florida are here on the island with the top pick being the Omni Amelia Island Resort which has a whole scattering of restaurants and lots of activities to keep everyone entertained.
Contributed by Nichola of Family Hotel Expert
Palm Coast, Florida
Palm Coast is a quintessential beach town on the East Coast of Florida. Contrary to the hustle and bustle of South Florida, Palm Coast is a quiet and peaceful best-kept secret small town with perpetual beach weather and endless outdoor activities, even in the winter. Plus, immersion into American history is only a thirty-minute drive into St. Augustine, Florida.
Palm Coast Florida is less than a two-hour drive from Orlando International Airport (MCO) and Jacksonville International Airport (JAX). Or, if you are on a road trip, take I-95 to Exit 289, and you can be on the beach in less than fifteen minutes.
Hammock Beach Resort is the star of Palm Coast for lodging. Book your stay for days of relaxation, pampering, beach time, golf, tennis, pool deck fun, and your choice of gourmet restaurants for your meals. You could spend your days at the resort and never get bored.
However, there’s more to Palm Coast than just the beach and pampering. Discover the excitement of cantering a horse down the coast or swimming with dolphins at Marineland. If you are into fishing, cast a line off the Flagler Beach Municipal Pier. There are 125 miles of biking trails in Palm Coast with your choice of terrain, from beaches to sidewalks with lush canopies or the more difficult and adventurous off-road trails for added exhilaration. For the birders of the family, the Palm Coast area boasts over 200 species of birds to discover. And, of course, there are endless watersports, even in winter, including boating, kayaking, stand-up paddle-boarding, bodyboarding, and surfing.
Contributed by Jenny of Traveling Party of Four
Saint Augustine, Florida
St Augustine is the perfect weekend winter getaway on the east coast thanks to having great weather in winter and having some great attractions to visit which fit perfectly into a weekend. Located near Jacksonville on the east coast of Florida, St Augustine is the oldest, continuously occupied, European-founded city in the continental USA. It also may have the most interesting history of anywhere in the USA. Founded in 1565 by the Spanish, it changed hands between the Spanish and the British until 1822. At this time, it became part of the United States. It was the capital of the Florida territory until 1824. This interesting history has left it with some great attractions and a stunning historic district which is perfect for your weekend exploration.
The Historic District has many museums and attractions that help you learn about the history of the area. The Colonial Quarter is a top choice as it’s like a big open-air museum with different sections for different periods of St Augustine’s past. The entry includes a tour which is like going back in time. Another top attraction is the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. This Spanish Fort dates back to the late 1600s. It is home to a museum and cannon firing.
The Historic District is also home to many charming restaurants, shops, and bars and you won’t get enough of them over your weekend. If you somehow tire of the Historic District, there are also great beaches nearby, an alligator farm, and the Fountain of Youth which has springs rumored to keep you young! A great place to stay in the St George Inn located in the Historic District. St Augustine is about a 50-minute drive from Jacksonville Airport.
Contributed by Sharon of the Baby Journey
Who is ready to plan their fun winter weekend getaways?!
As you can tell from this post, the East Coast offers a number of fun winter weekend getaways! Where will you go next?