Planes, Trains and Automobiles Can Take You to a Number of Choice Destinations

East Coast wanderlust is a thing. Get there by plane, train or automobile. School’s out, the mercury’s rising, and it’s time to plan the perfect summer getaway. The only question is: Where should you go? While you might have a few destinations already in mind, exploring some of America’s best cities is easy with this guide. While July is the most popular month for summer travel, don’t discount fall for the perfect family vacation getaway. A direct flight from Piedmont International Airport, a ride in a comfortable Amtrak car or hitting the road in the family van are easy, hassle-free ways to travel.

THE CITIES

New York City
How you should go: Plane
Why you should go: With more than a dozen daily direct flights to JFK, LGA and EWR, the Big Apple is less than two hours away. Museums, Broadway shows, concerts and a sampling of all of the world’s cuisine is at your disposal in the city that never sleeps.

Philadelphia
How you should go: Train
Why you should go: America’s first capital is steeped in history, culture and is one of the most diverse metropolitan cities in the U.S.

Washington, D.C.
How you should go:
Automobile
Why you should go: America’s capital is a birthplace of democracy, a vibrant city with fantastic history, culture an incredible food scene and so much more.

Charlotte, N.C.
How you should go: Train
Why you should go: As the city’s motto says, “Charlotte’s got a lot.” From world-class dining, a state-of-the-art light rail and an ever-changing landscape, the largest city in the state holds a piece of every visitor’s heart in its soul.

WHERE TO STAY

The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel
New York City

Home to Temple Court, a restaurant partly owned by celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, The Beekman is a luxury hotel in Lower Manhattan that offers guests access to a variety of amenities, historical attractions and dining. BeekmanHotel.com

Kimpton Palomar/Monaco
Philadelphia

A hospitality industry leader, both boutique hotels in downtown Philadelphia boast signature style and award-winning service. Kimpton.com

Holiday Inn Center City
Charlotte

This hotel features understated rooms with a rooftop pool and hot tub that showcase the Queen City’s skyline and beyond. It is home to Caffe Sienna, soon to be Forketta helmed by chef Luca Annunziata, with his award-winning Italian cuisine. HICharlotte.com

WHAT TO DO

U.S. National Whitewater Center
Charlotte

This nonprofit has nearly 40 miles of trails for hiking, biking and running. The Center’s 1,300 acres back up to the Catawba River. The USNWC’s free concerts, yoga and interactive outdoor seminars encourage guests to play, relax and learn outside. USNWC.org

Levine Museum of the New South
Charlotte

This history museum’s exhibits focus on life in the North Carolina Piedmont. The museum includes temporary and permanent exhibits on a range of Southern-related topics. MuseumOfTheNewSouth.org

National Museum of American Jewish History
Philadelphia
Founded in 1976, this museum focuses on Jewish history from the Colonial period to the present day. Don’t miss the permanent Only in America exhibit which features multimedia; original artifacts; and interactive experiences that feature Hall of Fame stories from Jonas Salk, Barbra Streisand and Greensboro’s Moses and Ceasar Cone. Special hotel rates are available for museum guests. NMAJH.org

Reading Terminal Market
Philadelphia

One of America’s largest and oldest public markets, housed since 1893, the Market offers an incredible selection of locally grown and exotic produce and locally sourced meats. ReadingTerminalMarket.com

Eastern State Penitentiary
Philadelphia

Once the most technologically advanced prison system in the nation, this 19th-century prison offers audio guide tours, interactive tours or self-guided programming. Terror Behind the Walls is an annual haunted house attraction that operates September through November and is the ultimate interactive attraction in the area. EasternState.org

White House Tour
Washington, D.C.

Part of the National Park Service, the White House can be one of the most memorable experiences of a lifetime. Tours of the most popular house in America and home to the president of the United States can be scheduled 90 to 21 days in advance. Contact your local congressman (Mark Walker-R, Ted Budd-R) to secure your reservation. Self-guided tours are available Tuesday through Saturday, free of charge. WhiteHouse.gov

Smorgasburg
New York City

The largest weekly open-air food market in America has more than 100 local vendors showcasing food from around the world. Saturdays on the Williamsburg waterfront and Sundays in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Smorgasburg.com
 

American Museum of Natural History
New York City

This pay-as-you-wish museum has more than 34 million objects in its permanent collections, including a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton and human origins exhibits. Forty-five museum halls, a giant-screen film auditorium, a permanent outer space show and more could keep you occupied for several days. Suggested donations range from $13 to $23. AMNH.com