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Travel Guide

East

History, culture and nature. Discover the American East Coast

If you want to see where it all started, where all the events that made USA a great nation took place, the great East Coast will show you. With its history-packed places, centers of power and the most vibrant cities, surrounded by diverse natural scenery, the states that gravitate around Washington DC are the ideal place to get to know America. This is a very eclectic region, where the Amish, African and Latin American immigrants, Islamic schools and hillbillies live together amongst rich businessmen, politicians and students of prestigious universities, creating a mix full of contradictions. 

Which states does it include?

District of Columbia
Virginia
Maryland
West Virginia
Kentucky
New Jersey
Delaware
New York
Pennsylvania

When to go?

Best times for the East Coast are late spring and summer, temperatures are great from north to the south. Beautiful foliage in the fall, really cold and iced winter.

Big cities like Washington, New York and Philadelphia combine with landscapes of unparalleled beauty and diversity. From the Adirondack and Shenandoah mountains to the plains covered in bluegrass, from the Eastern Shore to the vineyards of the Brandywine Valley and from the Ditch Country to the Appalachian Trail, the states of the East offer much more than you could imagine. You will see cherry blossoms in the capital, moonbows in Kentucky, flying cows in Delaware and, if you manage to find it, the Devil of New Jersey. You can defy gravity in West Virginia, get soaked under the Niagara Falls, learn all there is about the Constitution in Pennsylvania and do many, many other things. 

District of Columbia

A cosmopolitan city where you can find culture, great museums, politics and entertainment

What’s the head of Darth Vader doing on one of the towers of the Washington National Cathedral? And if that wasn’t enough, there is also a racoon and a man with an umbrella! If you think that the capital of a super-power such as the USA has to be all about boring government buildings, think again! Washington DC is, above all, a cosmopolitan city where you can find talents from all over the world, and history and national symbols galore. Built along the Potomac River on a part of land granted by Maryland, the Capitol City is located in the center of the 13 original states and it is the seat of all the organs of the american Government.
The symbolic place for the city and for the democracy itself, where Martin Luther King held his famous “I have a dream” speech, is the National Mall, the 3km-long field with a long stretch of water, dominated by the obelisk of the Washington Monument. From the Reflecting Pool you can see the typical white Washington buildings, the statue of Abraham Lincoln outside the Lincoln Memorial and several museum complexes. The Smithsonian Museums offer so many collections, all of them for free, that they can only display 1% at a time, from space shuttles to prestigious works of art, from archeological artefacts to giant squids. On the other side of the Mall lies the Capitol Hill, with the Capitol building and its emblematic white dome, the Supreme Court building and the prestigious Library of Congress, with 29 million books. At 1600 Pennsylvania street you can walk back and forth in front of the gates of the White House, where, in addition to tourists, you can find pacifists protesting and veterans saluting.
The motto of Washington is, of course, “Justitia Ombinus,” meaning justice for all. The residents of the city don’t really feel that way since, although they pay the taxes, they don’t have their own representative with the right of vote in the Congress and the often express their discontent with the slogan “Taxation without Representation.” 

See the suggested tours in this area:
8 days / 7 nights
Motorcycle tour
1.175
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620
9 days / 8 nights
Car tour
2.072

Virginia

From the America's founding fathers to the slaves riots, from Civil War to the modern political scandals

More than any other, Virginia is the state that simply oozes history from every corner. Just consider the fact that its name was chosen in honor of the “virgin” Queen Elisabeth I.
From the birth of the founding fathers to the slave uprising, from the Civil War to the modern political scandals, the “Old Dominion” offers plenty of historic sites of great interest. One example is the so-called “Historic Triangle,” formed by Yorktown, where the final battle of the American Revolutionary War took place, Williamsburg, the first capital of Virginia, and Jamestown, the first English settlement. In fact, Jamestown is known mostly for being the place where the colonist John Smith and the Indian princes Pocahontas fell in love, although the most romantic among you will probably be disappointed to learn that this love story was most likely made up by Smith himself. Not everyone knows that George Washington was also a Virginia native, born and raised. He spent his childhood here in a utopian town of Fredericksburg and, once his presidential term ended, he retired to his estate in Mount Vernon, where he was buried alongside his wife.
What place would be better to start the Watergate scandal if not the CIA seat and the Pentagon? If you want to pretend to be a secret informant for a day, you can hide in the parking lot of Rosslyn where the journalist of Washington Post, Bob Woodward, used to meet with Mark Felt, also known as the “Deep Throat.” In the nearby Arlington there is the famous military cemetery where you can find the grave of John F Kennedy, and the Marine Corps Memorial, dedicated to the soldiers who diet at Iwo Jima.
If all this history makes you uneasy, Virginia also offers extraordinary natural beauties just a few hours’ drive from the capital Richmond, such as the Shenandoah National Park, Roanoke, the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains and the Eastern Shore, with fishing villages and charming beaches where you can sit back, relax and watch some wild ponies running by. 

See the suggested tours in this area:
9 days / 8 nights
Car tour
2.072

Maryland

Old Line State

Maryland is often called the “Old Line State,” because it was one of the first colonies that stood up against the British govern, and this fact alone could be enough to give you a clue as to the fierce and stubborn character that can still be recognized in the residents of this state.
The typically Southern laid-back mood is mixed with the Northern pragmatism creating a truly unique identity. These facets are particularly notable in the city of Baltimore, boorish, smug and infamous, but not without its charms. Often called “Bawlmer,” from the verb “to bawl,” Baltimore was the ideal location for the TV show The Wire, which narrates rather amazingly the story of an impoverished social class, of the life on the docks and its most destitute aspects. Don’t let the show scare you, though, since in the recent years there have been significant requalification efforts throughout, especially in the Iner Harbor area. Here you will find the National Aquarium, with 16.500 marine species across seven floors, with a Louvre-like pyramid on top. In the capital city of Annapolis you can join a cruise along the scenic Chesapeake Bay, in fact, you will have to, because here everyone travels on boats, maybe because of the proximity of the prestigious American military marine academy! In City Dock, you can visit the place where Kunta Kinte of the Roots first arrived, inspiring the Pulitzer Award-winning book by his descendant, Alex Haley.
Not far from the big cities, the Eastern Shore offers a beautiful sight with enchanted coastal landscapes and small towns facing the bay, each of them formed along a single main street in the typical american style. Here you can try the famous Maryland blue crab and see an impromptu game of lacrosse, the state’s favorite sport.
The deep west of the state of Maryland is dominated by the Allegheny Mountains, which in the fall turn red, offering inspiring pictures much like those from New England

See the suggested tours in this area:
15 days / 14 nights
Car tour
3.114
8 days / 7 nights
Motorcycle tour
1.175
9 days / 8 nights
Bus tour
3.077
9 days / 8 nights
Car tour
2.072

West Virginia

A beautiful but little known state, to be discovered with Xplore!

Country roads take me home to the place I belong, West Virginia, mountain momma, take me home country roads”. That’s how John Denver paid tribute to West Virginia, showing to the world a state that is, frankly, not so often found in the spotlight. And it’s a shame, since the mountains State is actually one of the prettiest in the eastern United States, with verdant parks of the Monongahela National Forest, scenic roads of the Shenandoah Mountains and lively cities that show just how much West Virginia keeps culturally evolving. The times in which the miners fought ferociously against their bosses, organizing in unions, are definitely long gone, but the traditionally proud and fierce spirit still lives in their descendants.

As you can easily guess from the nickname, the crown jewel of the state are its mountains, interrupted by charming towns such as Morgantown and Harpers Ferry. From the latter starts the West Virginian part of the long Appalachian Trail, a 3475km hiking trail extending from Georgia all the way to Maine, so, get your backpack and your best walking shoes…would you dare to walk the whole length of it? No? Alternatively, if you want a chance to embrace the entire West Virginia in a single step, you can walk across the 263m-long New River Gorge Bridge for a truly breath-taking experience!
As you drive around the state, the radio in your car might experience some tuning troubles, and that’s probably going to be a sign you’re approaching the astronomic telescope in Green Bank, which holds the record for the largest mobile object in the world, and it is located in the only part of the country that is, strangely, devoid of any radio frequencies.
Speaking of weirdness, West Virginia is home of the amazing Mystery Hole, a house in which the laws of gravity as we know it don’t seem to apply, since everything in it is strangely tilted, including yourself!  

See the suggested tours in this area:
15 days / 14 nights
Car tour
3.114
8 days / 7 nights
Motorcycle tour
1.087
9 days / 8 nights
Bus tour
3.077

Kentucky

Land of Bluegrass, Abraham Lincoln, thoroughbred horses, bourbon and Corvette

Chicken bristle, Petroleum, Hippo and Monkey’s Brow…don’t be scared, these aren’t the ingredients for a voodoo recipe, but actual, albeit bizarre names of some of the towns in Kentucky, the “Bluegrass State.” The land of Abraham Lincoln, purebred horses, bourbon and Corvette, Kentucky is the ideal destination to experience a different kind of America, especially if you think of yourself as a free spirit and you love outdoor adventures.
The biggest city is Louisville, famous for the highest concentration of Victorian houses in the United States, for the drive-ins serving the best chili and, of course, the Colonel Sanders’ fast food chain, Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Delicacies aside, Louisville is also the birthplace of the great boxer Muhammad Ali, to whom the city dedicated a museum, and it is also the home of the famous Kentucky Derby, the most important horse show in the country. The tickets for a race that lasts just two minutes are usually sold out years in advance! If you want to see the purebred horses run freely, you should cross the Bluegrass Country, full of ponds, poplars and fields covered in little blue buds that gave the state its nickname.
In the gracious and sophisticated Lexington, considered to be the word capital of horses, it’s all about breeding the purebreds for millions of dollars: there are breeding farms, stables, training grounds and even a theme park! Kentucky holds another record: it produces 90% of all the bourbon whisky in the world, so if you decide to visit, you have to try mint julep, a bourbon-based cocktail with sugar syrup and mint, a favorite beverage in the entire Southeastern United States. Have you ever seen a moonbow? If you visit the Cumberland Falls Park, you will see one, thanks to the evening mist.
The best way to appreciate the Bluegrass State is to stay outdoors, hike, paddle and explore its wild beauty. In every corner of Kentucky you will be welcomed by locals with arms wide open, and the state motto “United we stand, divided we fall.” 

See the suggested tours in this area:
9 days / 8 nights
Bus tour
3.077
4 days / 3 nights
Bus tour
1.922
8 days / 7 nights
Car tour
1.556
13 days / 12 nights
Car tour
3.471

New Jersey

Gambling, beaches and a genuine part of the United States you probably don't know

New Jersey is one of the american states with the smallest overall area and its neighbors, New Yorkers, often make fun of it as a state that has nothing but larhe shopping malls and lots of traffic. In fact, New Jersey is one of the most densely populated states and its residents are known for a very open mentality – they were among the first ones in the nation to recognize the right of the same-sex marriage.
The homeland of Count Basie, Frank Sinatra and Bruce Springsteen, the “Garden State” is also known for gambling and for being the home to the New York’s third airport, Newark. But, that’s not all there is to New Jersey – there is also the prestigious Princeton University, over 200km of beaches and lovely landscapes of the Kittatinny Mountain.
The towns of Hoboken and Jersey City, considered almost parks of New York due to many New Yorkers moving there, definitely deserve a stop. The most famous tourist locations are located on the Jersey Shore, where you can try some exquisite fish and Sandy Hook offers a beautiful glimpse to the Big Apple skyline.
Did you know that some of New York’s most well-known symbols, such as Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, are actually located in New Jersey? A legend says that the southern part of the state, known as Pinelands, is inhabited by a strange creature called “Jersey Devil,” but this state is better known as the location of the famous TV show The Sopranos.
The main attraction of the area is Atlantic City, the city of casinos, of the world’s first jetty with an amusement park and as the inspiration for the famous game Monopoly. Atlantic City draws crowds with buildings such as the Borgata and the Harrah’s, hotels with concert venues and gambling halls, spas and world-famous restaurants. Outside of the casinos, there is the famous boardwalk, facing the ocean, where you can walk, ride a rickshaw or explore the numerous bars.
For a uniquely New Jersey experience, go to Cape May, the oldest beach resort in the United States, where you can enjoy both the sunrise and the sunset over the ocean!

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620
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Car tour
2.072
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3.114

Delaware

Famous for not being famous

Take a magnifying glass, point it to the East Coast of the United States, and there it will be, facing the Atlantic Ocean, tucked between New Jersey and Maryland, the “Small Wonder,” the State of Delaware, just a little bigger than the minuscule Rhode Island. Although so small, Delaware is known as the “First State,” because it was indeed the first to sign the Constitution on December 7th 1787, thus entering the Union. With its charming towns hidden in the greenery and small villages surrounded by the elegant mansions of the Brandywine Valley, Delaware seems a typically english state, with the pleasant and always relaxed vibe.

The true gem of the state are the long sandy beaches of the Atlantic Coast, offering summer locations for every taste and preference, from the refined Rehoboth Beach to the wild Dewey Beach, famous for its crazy night life. The capital city of Dover is known for tree-lined boulevards leading to various monuments and historic buildings such as the Old State House, the Capitol and the Parliament. In the south-eastern region of the city you will find the Dover Air Force Base, the largest American air base, where the airplanes bring home the remains of the soldiers who died overseas.
If you visit Dover in the fall, don’t miss the fun of the Pumpkin Chunking Competition during which young and old folks from all over the country compete in tossing the pumpkins using catapults, giant slings, pneumatic cannons and centrifuges. The pastoral life in Delaware reaches its heights with the mansions in the Brandywine Valley, transformed in the early 19th century in an American version of the Loire Valley by the French family of Dupont, which rose to prominence by manufacturing gun powder.
Today, in addition to being famous for “not being famous,” is known for its lack of sales taxes, which has led to the development of various companies, especially the credit card ones, as well as chicken farming – and the state mascot is, in fact, a blue hen!

See the suggested tours in this area:
8 days / 7 nights
Motorcycle tour
1.175
5 days / 4 nights
Car tour
620
14 days / 13 nights
Car tour
4.263
4 days / 3 nights
Bus tour
1.922

New York

From Manhattan to Niagara Falls and the beautiful countryside!

The State of New York has a bit of a “bipolar” identity, divided as it is between the Big Apple (which certainly does not require any introduction) and the rest of the state which, like the two sides of a coin, create a unique entity but are profoundly different. Precisely this diversity is the Knickerbocker State’s strongest asset, because on one side you have a city that never sleeps, with its museums, subway, theaters and New Yorkers, and on the other we have idyllic and wild landscapes extending all the way to the Canadian border.
Close to New York, the Long Island peninsula offers an escape from the frantic city life without having to travel too far, with beautiful beaches, increasingly appreciated vineyards and the gorgeous area of the Hamptons. Walking among the luxurious mansions on the shore or dining in the restigious restaurants in Southampton and its surroundings, you can even run into a celebrity or a VIP! If you prefer less crowded and more authentic places, the Hudson Valley and the Catskills Mountain region have a much more rural vibe, with crops and rich forests.
Definitely not famous for its natural beauties, Woodstock is a place where old and young hippies still live the ideal of free love and free thought, celebrated in the famous 1969 concert, which actually took place in Bethel, some 64km away. If you feel like sailing or trying some excellent wine, there’s no better place than the Finger Lakes, eleven lakes shaped like fingers.
The pristine Adirondack Park, at a two-hour drive from the state capital of Albany, extends across 6 million acres, encompassing the city, the rivers, mountains and lakes, such as Lake George and Lake Placid, where you can fish, hike or camp.
The State of New York shares with Canada two major natural attractions – the almost unknown Thousand Islands, 1800 islands of various sizes, and more famous and impressive Niagara Falls. Grab a raincoat and get on the Maid of the Mist or one of the observation decks for an unforgettable experience!

See the suggested tours in this area:
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1.632
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3.114
9 days / 8 nights
Bus tour
3.077

Pennsylvania

Pursue your happiness

Ever heard of the Groundhog Day? It’s the day when whole of America turns its eyes to a small town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, waiting for a weather report from a groundhog named Phil. If Phil, as he leaves his den, doesn’t get scared from his own shadow, it means the winter will be over soon, but if it’s the other way round, then it means you will have six more weeks of winter. Obviously, Pennsylvania has so much more to offer than just Phil’s previsions.
Along the “streets of Philadelphia,” America’s first capital city, you can see the places in which the newborn nation made its first steps, such as the Independence Hall in which the Declaration of Independence was signed on the 4th of July in 1776, or the square in which it was publicly read for the first time, announced by the tolls of the Liberty Bell. An obligatory stop in the city is the Museum of Art, if not for the magnificent collection of artworks, then for the staircase where one of the most iconic scenes from the cult movie Rocky was shot. If you decide to try the Silvester Stallone run, you can always restore your strength with a nice cheesesteak, a true Philly specialty. Those interested in American history should visit Valey Forge and Gettysburg – the latter was the site of a very important battle of the American War of Independence and the place where Lincoln made his famous Gettysburg speech.

Pennsylvania is also famous for its many Amish communities in the so-called Dutch Country, which attracts visitors from all over the world with a sober lifestyle based on religious laws and the refusal of modern technologies. For a different kind of inspiration, check out works by Frank Lloyd Wright, of whom the state is very proud, such as the hexagonal Kentuck Knob and the famous Fallingwater Residence, not far from Pittsburgh. If you manage to see past its steelworks, Pittsburgh offers a vibrant cultural scene, with prestigious historic buildings, art galleries and interesting museums, most notably the one dedicated exclusively to the king of pop-art, Andy Warhol

See the suggested tours in this area:
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Car tour
2.072
15 days / 14 nights
Car tour
3.114