The Best Time to Visit East Coast USA

Brooklyn Bridge and Manhatten skyline, New York
Brooklyn Bridge, New York

The East Coast by season

The climate of the USA’s eastern seaboard varies considerably, with the northern states enjoying warm summers and snowy winters, and the tropical climate of the southern states bringing long, hot summers and mild winters. With such variation, and to help you choose the best time to travel, we’ve broken the year down into four seasons.

Spring in Charleston
Spring - May brings warm, mild days and cool nights to the east coast, so it’s a lovely time to visit the Carolinas before the humidity sets in. Outdoorsy cities such as Savannah and Charleston are especially attractive as the flowers bloom, while the walking trails around Atlanta and in the Appalachian Mountains should appeal to hikers. In New England, the snows have melted and the rivers are in full flow, while New York is bright, leafy and sunny.

Go for:

St Patricks Day: on 17th March, Savannah hosts one of the country’s largest green-themed events, with a parade, street parties and the ‘Greening of the Fountain’ in Forsyth Park.

Baseball: the baseball season begins in April, so it’s a great time to catch a game at New York’s Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

A whale tip breaching out of the water near Boston
Summer – August

Summer on the east coast can only mean one thing: beaches. Although the Florida Keys and Miami’s South Beach might be the most popular sandy spots, don’t forget the seaside cities of Bar Harbor and Newport, Rhode Island too. Temperatures hover around 33°C in Florida and a milder 26°C in Boston, so it’s a great time to get outside and enjoy long summer evenings with al fresco dining.

Go for:

Fourth of July: celebrate Independence Day in Washington DC, where a hugely popular fireworks display is held on the National Mall.

Whale watching: humpback whales head to the east coast USA’s nutrient-rich waters in the summer months. Spot them in Boston, Virginia Beach and Long Island.

Autumn in the Appalachian Mountains
Autumn - November

Autumn on the east coast is all about the forests of New England, where the warm reds and golds of the trees draw visitors from far and wide. For the best views, head to New Hampshire’s White Mountains and Acadia National Park in Maine. You don’t however need to go far – the parks in Boston and New York look lovely at this time too. Meanwhile, mild temperatures in the south make autumn a good time to explore the coastline around Florida and Atlanta.

Go for:

Halloween: witches, ghosts and vampires can be found countrywide on 31st October, but head to Florida’s theme parks for spooky parties and family-friendly parades.

Thanksgiving and shopping: visit New York in late November for the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade followed by the amazing Black Friday Sales. 

Central Park in winter

December - February

As winter envelopes the east coast, the northern states will experience often heavy snowfall, especially in the mountains. It may be cold, but this is a great time for skiing, with plenty of resorts open across Vermont and New York State. In Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, the days remain pleasant with plenty of sun, although nights can be chilly. Christmas is a lovely time to visit the region with twinkling lights and decorations adding a magical feel to the east coast’s cities, especially New York City.

Go for:

Ice skating: pop-up ice rinks are found all over the northern east coast. New York’s Rockefeller Center is the most famous, but you’ll also find rinks in Washington DC and Boston.

New Year: a great place to celebrate New Year is in Philadelphia, where the extravagant Mummers Parade is held on January 1st.

Top The East Coast Journeys

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Round the World Expert Lucy Vernon

Most people just think of New York on the East Coast but I recommend Virginia for its colonial towns soaked in history as well as the beautiful Atlantic coastline.

- Lucy Vernon, Expert
View from Empire State Building
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