Underrated East Coast Cities to Visit in the U.S.

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Underrated East Coast Cities to Visit in the U.S.

 Are you looking for a new travel adventure on the East Coast of the United States? While New York City may be the first destination that comes to mind, there are plenty of other incredible cities that often go overlooked. From historic towns to coastal gems, these underrated cities have something unique to offer every traveler. In this article, we will explore 11 underrated East Coast cities that are definitely worth a visit.


1. Newport, Rhode Island


If you're seeking a blend of history and coastal beauty, Newport, Rhode Island should be on your list. This charming town was once the playground for Gilded Age business moguls and their families. Today, it boasts opulent mansions from the romantic eras past and picturesque coastal cottages. Take a stroll through the idyllic town center, reminiscent of novels like "Summer I Turned Pretty" and "The Great Gatsby." Newport is easily accessible from Providence or Boston, making it a convenient stop during your East Coast adventure.


Things to Do in Newport


  • The Newport Mansions/The Cliff Walk: Explore the series of 19th and early 20th-century mansions that showcase the lavish lifestyles of the Gilded Age. Don't miss the Vanderbilt Family's mansion and other historic residences.
  • The Tennis Hall of Fame: Visit the small museum located in the center of town, dedicated to the history of tennis. Discover famous tennis players and historic memorabilia, making it a must-visit for tennis enthusiasts and newbies alike.

2. Baltimore, Maryland


Known as the "Charm City," Baltimore is a vibrant and creative destination that often flies under the radar. With its growing food scene and appearances in popular films and television shows like "The Wire," Baltimore is gaining recognition as a top tourist spot. It's a laid-back sibling to its neighbor, Washington D.C., attracting artistic creators and travelers with a love for culture and art.


Things to Do in Baltimore


  • An Orioles Baseball Game: Immerse yourself in the city's sports culture by catching a game at the famed Camden Yards.
  • American Visionary Art Museum: Explore this innovative museum that showcases "outsider art." It's a unique and highly-rated attraction that pushes the boundaries of traditional art.


3. St. Augustine, Florida


Step into history in St. Augustine, the oldest city in America. Its Spanish colonial heritage and seaside ambiance make it a captivating destination on the East Coast. Whether you're a thrill-seeker, fitness enthusiast, or history junkie, St. Augustine has something for everyone. From surf and swim activities to ghost tours, this city offers a diverse range of experiences.


Things to Do in St. Augustine


  • Ghost Tours: Embark on a spooky adventure and learn about the city's haunted history. The St. Augustine Lighthouse Haunted Tour is a must-do for those seeking a thrilling experience.
  • Get Boozy: Indulge in a liquor tasting at the Saint Augustine Distillery, where you can sample rum, gin, vodka, and even wine.


4. Washington, D.C.


Washington, D.C. may be known for its politics, but it offers so much more than just government buildings. This cosmopolitan city is a melting pot of art, food, and diverse experiences. While iconic landmarks like the Smithsonian Museums and the White House are must-see attractions, don't overlook the under-the-radar experiences that make D.C. truly special.


Things to Do in Washington, D.C.


  • Anything Presidential: Pay a visit to the White House or any of the presidential monuments to experience the most iconic sites in D.C.
  • Under-Visited Monuments: Explore the Martin Luther King Jr. monument and lesser-known war memorials that often receive less foot traffic. Consider booking a monuments tour or using GPS My City's self-guided walking tour to discover these hidden gems.


5. Charlotte, North Carolina


While not located on the coast, Charlotte is often referred to as the Queen City of the East Coast. This modern city seamlessly blends industry with historic Southern charm. Charlotte's food scene, craft breweries, and vibrant coffee culture make it an exciting destination for foodies and beverage enthusiasts.


Things to Do in Charlotte


  • Have a Beer (or two): Take a tour with Charlotte Brew Tours and indulge in the city's thriving craft beer scene.
  • Gem Hounding: Venture outside the city and try gem mining at former commercial mines in the mountains. Emerald Hollow Mine in Hiddenite is a great spot to dig, pan, and sluice for precious gems.


6. Fort Lauderdale, Florida


If you're seeking a more relaxed alternative to the hustle and bustle of big cities, Fort Lauderdale is the perfect getaway. This coastal gem offers beautiful beaches, a creative culinary scene, and a blend of Caribbean, Latin American, and American flavors. Whether you're looking to soak up the sun or explore cultural attractions, Fort Lauderdale has it all.


Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale


  • Beach Hopping: Book a resort with private beach access to enjoy the sandy shores without the crowds. The W Fort Lauderdale is a great option offering beach-side amenities.
  • The Bonnet House & Gardens: Visit the Florida home of a famous 1920s artist, now transformed into a museum that preserves the history of the house and its surrounding environment.


7. Salem, Massachusetts


Salem, Massachusetts may be a small town, but it packs a powerful punch when it comes to history and culture. While it's most famous for its supernatural tales, Salem is also an artist hub and home to a thriving community of small, indie businesses. Explore this vibrant town and immerse yourself in its unique atmosphere.


Things to Do in Salem


  • Witch Everything: Dive into the supernatural culture of Salem by visiting the Salem Witch Museum and taking haunted walking tours.
  • The Peabody Essex Museum: Located in downtown Salem, this modern museum traces its roots back to some of the oldest museums in America. Discover impressive exhibits that showcase the world's narratives.


8. Savannah, Georgia


Prepare to be enchanted by the southern charm of Savannah, Georgia. This quaint city is adorned with Spanish moss, colorful colonial architecture, and rich history. Explore its historic sites, art museums, and picturesque walks, and you'll soon find yourself longing to return for more.


Things to Do in Savannah


  • Dine at The Olde Pink House: Experience Southern cuisine in this 18th-century mansion-turned-restaurant. Don't forget to capture Instagram-worthy photos of this picturesque spot.
  • Pin Point Heritage Museum: Delve into the history and culture of the Gullah-Geechee people, a unique diasporic community of descendants of enslaved Africans who worked on Savannah's trade plantations.


9. Boston, Massachusetts


Boston, a city renowned for its prestigious universities and rich history, offers a plethora of attractions for visitors. Follow the famed Freedom Trail and explore the city's historical sites while indulging in fresh seafood and immersing yourself in the local sports culture.


Things to Do in Boston


  • Quincy Market: Visit this popular spot on the Freedom Trail to taste iconic Boston bites such as Boston cream pie, lobster rolls, and clam chowder.
  • Historic House Museums: Venture off the beaten path and discover beautifully preserved historic houses like the Loring Greenough House, the Forbes House, or the Shirley Eustis House.


10. Charleston, South Carolina


Charleston, South Carolina, offers a delightful blend of relaxation and activity. Its colorful streets, cobblestone paths, and horse-drawn carriages will transport you back in time. Immerse yourself in history, visit historic sites, and savor Southern sweet tea at one of the charming caf├ęs.


Things to Do in Charleston


  • Visit Rainbow Row: Take a stroll along this iconic row of colorfully painted historic houses.
  • Interactive Ghost Tour: Dive deeper into Charleston's supernatural side by embarking on an interactive ghost tour, where participants are encouraged to make contact with the other side.


11. Portland, Maine


Portland, Maine, is often overshadowed by its West Coast counterpart, but it has its own unique charm. This laid-back and artistic city is renowned for its food scene and craft beer culture. With its mild weather and easy access to the water, Portland is a hidden gem waiting to be explored.


Things to Do in Portland


  • Eat at Duck Fat: Indulge in the culinary delights of Duck Fat, an "upscale fry shop" featured on various food shows.
  • The International Cryptozoology Museum: Visit the world's only museum dedicated to mysterious creatures like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster.

These 11 underrated East Coast cities offer an array of experiences and attractions that rival the fame of New York City. Whether you're seeking history, art, food, or coastal beauty, these cities have something to satisfy every traveler's wanderlust. So, step off the beaten path and embark on an unforgettable adventure along the East Coast of the United States.

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