Welcome to Eastern USA
Flanked by megacities New York City and Chicago, landscaped with dune-backed beaches, smoky mountains and gator swamps, and steeped in musical roots, the East rolls out a sweet trip.
Brimming with 8.4 million people, the megalopolis of New York looms like an alien mother ship over the East, offering a mind-blowing array of culture, cuisine and entertainment. Cloud-poking Chicago, power-brokering Washington, DC and fiery, Latin-infused Miami rise up close on its heels as other one-of-a-kind cityscapes. Look deeper to find the captivating old quarters of New Orleans, reborn from waterlogged ashes, and raw-edged Detroit, where young DIY devotees are flocking to transform the abandoned city.
Beaches & Back Roads
The East Coast is where America gets its beach on, from the wild dunes and whale-rich waters of Cape Cod to the taffy-shop-lined boardwalks of Ocean City or the coral reefs of the Florida Keys. Inland, nature puts on a show in the swampy Florida Everglades, wolf-howling Boundary Waters, mist-tipped Appalachian Mountains and New England’s forests, which blaze red, orange and yellow each autumn. Slowpoke byways unfurl throughout so you can soak up the landscapes, from historic Civil War battlefields to kitschy roadside attractions.
Good eatin’ reaches epic proportions here: hulking steamed lobsters with melted butter in Maine’s seafood shacks, bagels and lox in Manhattan’s delis, saucy barbecue ribs in Memphis’ roadhouses, butter-smothered biscuits in North Carolina’s diners, hot-spiced gumbo in New Orleans’ cafes…and for dessert, thick slices of berry pie in the region's supper clubs. You’ll certainly work up a thirst – which you can slake with the region’s sweet white wines, microbrewed beers and home-grown bourbon.
The museums here are the nation’s greatest hits – the Smithsonian, housing everything but the kitchen sink; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a city-state of treasures; and the Art Institute of Chicago, hanging Impressionists by the roomful. Explore the roots of the blues, jazz, and rock and roll at musical meccas such as Memphis' Sun Studio, where Elvis got his groove on; Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, for artifacts like Jimi Hendrix’ Stratocaster; and the juke joints of Clarksdale, where blues slide guitar first pierced the air. For sky-high designs, Chicago and New York are drawing boards for the modern era’s great architects.