Our East Coast Vanlife road trip driving from Florida to Canada and back offered the perfect mixture of incredible landscape scenery with beautiful coastline, beaches, salt marshes, grassland, forests, mountains and rugged alpine areas. We absolutely loved this trip and fell in love with the East Coast and all its different areas.
We had a total of seven months, from May to November to travel which included a 3-month work contract in New York City already set for the Summer, so we placed our itinerary around that. We looked for a variety of activities along the way and since we are more interested in outdoor adventures and art versus historic events and touristy places, we chose our route, areas, and cities accordingly.
Since van life is not as popular on the East Coast as it is on the West Coast, it was pretty easy to find overnight parking without any hassle. And there are many 24h fitness studios (that’s Planet Fitness for us) where we were able to shower at. Of course, there are also plenty of campgrounds available for those who prefer to stay and shower at campsites or State Parks, as well.
On this road trip, we were primarily boondocking (free dry camping) where we slept in our van while being parked in city parking lots, at a friend’s driveway, on the side of a street, at trailheads, in forests, and anywhere possible on public land. We also stayed at a couple of campgrounds and at several small farms, a winery, and a brewery through the Harvest Hosts program which offers overnight stays for RVers and self-contained Vanlifers at over 600 participating farms, wineries, breweries, distilleries, museums for a $79 annual membership fee. For more info go to: http://harvesthosts.refr.cc/wandergreen
During our time in New York City we stayed at an Airbnb for 3 months that offered a lower fee due to renting it for a longer term. We also stayed at a couple of hotels, motels and Inns along the way when we needed a strong internet connection for work or when we needed a hot shower, or when the nights got freezing cold up in the mountains.
These were the highlights, towns and areas we visited on our trip in the order of our route:
-Orlando, FL -Savannah, GA -Charleston, SC -Raleigh, NC -Cedar Island, NC (from there we took the ferry to the outer banks) -Ocracoke, NC (from there too another ferry to Cape Hatteras) -Hatteras, NC -Nags Head, NC -Virginia Beach, VA -First Landing State Park, VA -Assateague Island, VA -Rehoboth Beach, DE -Lewes, DE (from there we took the ferry to Cape May) -Cape May, NJ -Belmar, NJ -Asbury Park, NJ -Sea Bright, NJ -Highlands, NJ -Sandy Hook, NJ -New York, NY -Jersey City, NJ -Harlem, Queens, Brooklyn, NY -Harriman State Park, NY (trail running and hiking) -Newburgh, NY -New Paltz, NY (bike trail over the Hudson) -Poughkeepsie, NY -Kingston, NY -Beacon, NY (visit at Dia Beacon modern art museum) -Rinebeck, NY -Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY: https://www.eomega.org/ -Newport, RI -Cliff Walk in Newport, RI: http://www.cliffwalk.com/ -Cape Cod, MA -North Falmouth, MA -Chatham Marconi Maritime Center, Chatham, MA: https://www.chathammarconi.org/ -Provincetown, MA (where we went whale watching on a boat out of Provincetown) -Boston, MA -Lyon Woods, MA (for trail running) -Salem, MA: Salem Witch Trials Memorial and Punto Urban Art Museum, Salem: http://puntourbanartmuseum.org/ -Newbury Port, MA -Portsmouth, NH -Portland, ME -Buxton, ME -Gorham, ME -Brunswick, ME -Sebascodegan Island, ME -Camden, ME -Bar Harbor, ME -Acadia National Park, ME -Bangor, ME -White Mountain National Forest, NH -Bartlett, NH -Franconia, NH -Hiking Franconia Ridge Loop, NH: https://www.hikingproject.com/trail/7002742/franconia-ridge-loop -Montpelier, VT -Waterbury, VT -Stowe, VT -Burlington, VT -Green Mountain National Forest, VT -Adirondack Mountains, NY (hiking up to Hurricane Mountain) -Keene, NY -Saranac Lake, NY -Ithaca, NY -Robert H. Treman State Park, NY (hiking and viewing the waterfalls) -Buffalo, NY -Niagara Falls, NY -Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada -Pittsburgh, PA, riding our bikes through Pittsburgh and along the waterfront on the Three Rivers Heritage Trail: https://friendsoftheriverfront.org/three-rivers-heritage-trail/ -Asheville, NC -Hot Springs, NC, enjoying a private hot tub at the Hot Springs Resort and Spa: https://www.nchotsprings.com/spa-services/ -Gainesville, FL
Our final leg of our East Coast Road Trip brings us all the way from Canada back to Florida. This video covers our trip from the Adirondack Mountains where we enjoyed some stunning views on our hike up to Hurricane Mountain, from there to Buffalo, NY, and over the Canadian border where we had some amazing views of the majestic Niagara Falls. From there we made our way back to Buffalo and drove South to Pittsburgh, where we had a lot of fun exploring the city by bicycle. From Pittsburgh, we drove South and after getting some sleep somewhere at a rest stop we made our way to Asheville, NC. Since our plans of backpacking and hiking in the Smoky Mountains got drowned in the rain, we visited Hot Springs, NC instead, where we enjoyed a private clothing-optional bath in a natural spring-fed tub at the riverfront. After spending the night boondocking outside of Hot Springs, we finally made our way back to Florida where we had started our trip 7 months before then.
The highlights of our trip from Canada to Florida: -Buffalo, NY and viewing the Niagara Falls from the Canadian side -Hiking Hurricane Mountain in the Adirondacks in upstate NY: https://www.adk.org/hurricane-mountain/ -Riding our bikes through Pittsburgh and along the waterfront on the Three Rivers Heritage Trail: https://friendsoftheriverfront.org/three-rivers-heritage-trail/ -Asheville, NC -Hot Springs Resort and Spa in Hot Springs, NC: https://www.nchotsprings.com/spa-services/ While in the Adirondack Mountains, we stayed at the beautiful Inspirational Heights Airbnb in Keene, NY for a couple of nights and were spoiled with gorgeous views, a fireplace, and a delicious homemade organic breakfast with vegan options. This Airbnb is only a 10min drive from the Hurricane Mountain South Trailhead. This is the link to the Airbnb if you are interested (no, we are not sponsored by them, we just loved it and can highly recommend it): https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/39124319?source_impression_id=p3_1593283410_vJcNhhl%2Bt2so6BTh&guests=1&adults=1
We loved our road trip along the coast of Maine and fell in love with the rugged nature and stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and its various inlets along the Coast.
Experiencing the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain and hiking parts of Acadia National Park is one of our favorite memories.
During this part of our trip, we had the opportunity to view the world’s first solar greenhouse and interview the owners at Little River Flower Farm in Buxton, ME where we also stayed for a couple of days in a beautiful little Airbnb cottage on the organic flower and vegetable farm.