Top Five Weekend Destinations in the Northeastern United States

  • Gettysburg
  • Niagara Falls
  • Plymouth
  • Salem
  • White Mountains

Narrowing down the essential weekend trips in the northeast region of the US to just five is no easy task. For hundreds of years, English-speaking culture in America was confined to this corner of the continent, and it’s now rich with so much history that five weekend trips are hardly enough to take it all in. The destinations on this list are all either historically significant, breathtakingly gorgeous or both. They’re also less likely to be crowded with tourists than typical vacation spots like Times Square, Martha’s Vineyard or Washington DC.

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1. Gettysburg

While Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, may not be the most scenic destination on this list, it is certainly the most historically significant. It’s the site of a pivotal battle in the Civil War and the place where Abraham Lincoln delivered his seminal address to the divided nation. The places to see in Gettysburg can be comfortably taken in over the course of a weekend. Foremost on the list of must-see sites is the Gettysburg National Military Park. It contains memorials and artifacts related to the historical significance of the town. The surrounding landscape is quite beautiful and includes many campsites and horseback riding trails.

2. Niagara Falls

In upstate New York, Niagara Falls is famous for its incredible beauty and overwhelming sublimity. It also has a long history related to its status as an essential destination for pilgrimages through the northeast region of the US. Niagara Falls State Park is located on the border between Canada and New York state. It contains several of the largest and most powerful waterfalls in the world as well as walkway structures and observation towers for viewing the remarkable natural formations. Visitors can comfortably observe the wonders of Niagara Falls in a weekend, including its most important landmarks and man-made attractions.

3. Plymouth

Plymouth is a small town in Massachusetts that is remembered by Americans across the country every Thanksgiving for its status as the landing place of the Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower in the early 1600s. Plymouth Rock is a famous historical landmark that served as the Pilgrims’ navigation guide when landing their ship on the shore of Massachusetts. A full-scale replica of the Mayflower is usually docked at Pilgrim Memorial State Park, according to Plimouth Plantation. At Pilgrim Hall Museum, visitors to Plymouth have been contemplating the history of English colonization in Massachusetts since it opened in 1824, so the museum has a long, significant history in its own right.

4. Salem

The town of Salem, Massachusetts, is one of the most famous locations in the United States. It’s remembered all over the world for being the site of the infamous witch trials of New England’s Puritanical 1600s. Several people were executed on the grounds that they were practicing witchcraft during the course of this moral panic. Modern visitors to Salem can reflect on the differences and similarities between 17th century Puritans and modern Americans by visiting the Salem Witch Museum, which houses many fascinating exhibits related to the trials. While in Salem, visitors can also take guided tours through the Witch House, the Peabody Essex Museum and the House of the Seven Gables.

5. White Mountains

The White Mountains are part of one of the most scenic sections of the Appalachian mountains and a yearly destination for northeasterners across the region. With camping, hiking, boating, fishing and amusement parks, the White Mountains offer enough things to do for many return trips to this northeastern-most corner of the country.  To see the best fall colors in the White Mountains, consult this handy fall foliage tracker before your visit.

The northeastern United States is a beautiful and historically significant region. Many of the must-see attractions in this area are ideal for weekend trips to the northeast.