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Lonely Planet Eastern USA

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#1 best-selling guide to Eastern USA

Lonely Planet Eastern USA is your passport to all the most relevant and up-to-date advice on what to see, what to skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Hail a yellow cab in New York City, take in some honky-tonk in Nashville, or laze in the dunes of Cape Cod; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of the Eastern USA and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet Eastern USA Travel Guide:

  • Color maps and images throughout
  • Highlights and itineraries show you the simplest way to tailor your trip to your own personal needs and interests
  • Insider tips save you time and money, and help you get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots
  • Essential info at your fingertips - including hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, and prices
  • Honest reviews for all budgets - including eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, and hidden gems that most guidebooks miss
  • Cultural insights give you a richer and more rewarding travel experience - including customs, history, art, literature, cinema, music, architecture, politics, landscapes, road trips and scenic drives, outdoor activities, wildlife, cuisine and wine
  • Over 50 color maps
  • Covers New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New England, Washington DC, New Orleans, Florida, the Great Lakes, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and more

eBook Features: (Best viewed on tablet devices and smartphones)

  • Downloadable PDF and offline maps prevent roaming and data charges
  • Effortlessly navigate and jump between maps and reviews
  • Add notes to personalize your guidebook experience
  • Seamlessly flip between pages
  • Bookmarks and speedy search capabilities get you to key pages in a flash
  • Embedded links to recommendations' websites
  • Zoom-in maps and images
  • Inbuilt dictionary for quick referencing

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Eastern USA , our most comprehensive guide to Eastern USA, is perfect for those planning to both explore the top sights and take the road less traveled.

  • Looking for a guide focused on New York City, Washington DC, or Boston? Check out Lonely Planet's New York City guide, Washington, DC guide, or Boston guide for a comprehensive look at what each of these cities has to offer; or Lonely Planet's Pocket guides to these cities which are handy-sized guides focused on the can't-miss sights for a quick city visit.
  • Looking for more extensive coverage? Check out Lonely Planet's USA guide for a comprehensive look at all the country has to offer, or Best of USA, a photo-rich guide to the country's most popular attractions.

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet.

About Lonely Planet: Since 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel media company with guidebooks to every destination, an award-winning website, mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveler community. Lonely Planet covers must-see spots but also enables curious travelers to get off beaten paths to understand more of the culture of the places in which they find themselves.

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Road Trips & Scenic Drives

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There’s no better way to experience the region than on a classic four-wheeled journey. Dawdle in diners along the Lincoln Hwy. Marvel at mansions on the Natchez Trace. Climb through the Appalachians on the Blue Ridge Pkwy. Explore Hwy 1's beaches. Or swing into bluesy joints along the Great River Road.

See dazzling coastal scenery on Florida's Hwy 1.

Discover goofball roadside attractions on Route 66 and the Lincoln Hwy.

Watch dramatic sunsets over the Appalachian Mountains on the Blue Ridge Pkwy.

Listen to blues at a Memphis juke joint on the Great River Road, or crazy fiddling at a Galax mountain music hall on the Blue Ridge Pkwy.

Fork into Nashville's chicken and biscuits on the Natchez Trace, or New Orleans' famed Creole fare on the Great River Road.

Explore the Civil War super sight of Gettysburg on the Lincoln Hwy, or 450-year-old St Augustine on Florida Hwy 1.

Snaking through the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina, the parkway immerses road-trippers in glorious highlands scenery, with plenty of pull-offs for vista-gaping, hiking and Southern hospitality.

 

New York, New Jersey & Pennsylvania

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Where else could you visit an Amish family's farm, camp on a mountaintop, read the Declaration of Independence and view New York, New York from the 86th floor of an art-deco landmark – all in a few days? Even though this corner of the country is the most densely populated part of the US, it's full of places where jaded city dwellers escape to seek simple lives, where artists retreat for inspiration, and pretty houses line main streets in small towns set amid stunning scenery.

Urban adventures in NYC, historic and lively Philadelphia and river-rich Pittsburgh are a must. Miles and miles of glorious beaches are within reach, from glamorous Long Island to the Jersey Shore – the latter ranges from stately to kitschy. The mountain wilderness of the Adirondacks reaches skyward just a day's drive north of New York City, a journey that perfectly encapsulates this region's heady character.

AOct–Nov Autumn in NYC brings cool temps, festivals, the marathon and gearing up for holiday season.

 

New England

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The history of New England is the history of America. It's the Pilgrims who came ashore at Plymouth Rock and the minutemen who fought for American independence. It's hundreds of years of progressive thinkers who dared to dream and dared to do. Nowadays, New England is still at the cutting edge of culture, with top-notch art museums and music festivals.

For outdoor adventure, the region undulates with the rolling hills and rocky peaks of the ancient Appalachian Mountains. Plus, nearly 5000 miles of coastline make for unlimited opportunities for fishing, swimming, surfing and sailing. Those are surefire ways to work up an appetite. Fortunately, New England is a bounty of epicurean delights: pancakes drenched in maple syrup; just-picked fruit and sharp cheddar cheese; and – most importantly – sublimely fresh seafood that is the hallmark of this region.

AMay–Jun Uncrowded sights and lightly trodden trails. Whale-watching begins.

AJul–Aug Top tourist season with summer festivals and warmer ocean water. Highest prices on the coast and in other summer destinations.

 

Washington, DC & the Capital Region

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No matter your politics, it's hard not to fall for the nation's capital. Iconic monuments, vast (and free) museums and venerable restaurants serving global cuisines are just the beginning of the great DC experience. There's much to discover: leafy, cobblestoned neighborhoods, sprawling markets, heady multicultural nightspots and verdant parks – not to mention the corridors of power, where visionaries and demagogues alike still roam.

Beyond the Beltway, the diverse landscapes of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Delaware offer potent enticement to travel beyond the marble city. Craggy mountains, rushing rivers, vast nature reserves (including islands where wild horses run), sparkling beaches, historic villages and the magnificent Chesapeake Bay form the backdrop to memorable adventures: sailing, hiking, rafting, camping or just sitting on a pretty stretch of shoreline, planning the next seafood feast. It's a place where traditions run deep, from the nation's birthplace to Virginia's still-thriving bluegrass scene.

 

Eastern & Southern USA Cuisine

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Look at the photos of these dishes and tell us your mouth didn’t just water. Eating is serious business in the region, and locals’ time-honed, fiercely guarded recipes for barbecue sauce, fried chicken, apple pie and more are yours to seek out and yield to.

1. New York hot dog

The garlicky, all-beef frank is griddled to a crackling snap and dressed with spicy brown mustard, sauerkraut and onions.

2. Chicago deep-dish pizza

A hulking mass of crust rises three inches above the plate and cradles a molten pile of cheese and chunky tomato sauce.

3. Gumbo

The spicy soup/stew teems with oysters, shrimp and crab (or smoked meats if you’re inland).

4. Pie

The South prefers pecan, Florida likes key lime, the Midwest bakes sugar cream and the Northeast enjoys fruit between its crusts.

5. Southern-style barbecue

 

The South

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Beneath its hospitable exterior, the South has a feisty streak. It's a unique combination of 'Hey y'all' and 'Don't tell me what to do.' This dissonance makes the region a bit of a conundrum to outsiders, as well as a compelling place to visit. Well, that and the lyrical dialect, complicated political history and exuberant food. Nurtured by deep roots yet shaped by hardship, the South has a rich legacy in politics and culture. Icons like Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks and Bill Clinton, and novelists like William Faulkner, Eudora Welty and Flannery O'Connor are all Southern-born. So are barbecue and grits, bourbon and Coca-Cola, and bluegrass and the blues.

The cities are some of the country's most fascinating, from antebellum beauties like New Orleans and Savannah to New South powerhouses like Atlanta and Nashville. Natural treasures include golden beaches and forested mountain ranges. Tying it all together? That Southern hospitality.

ANov–Feb Winter is generally mild here, and Christmas is a capital-E Event.

 

Florida

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For countless visitors, Florida is a place of promises: of eternal youth, sun, relaxation, clear skies, space, success, escape, prosperity, and for the kids, a chance to meet much-loved Disney characters in person.

No other state in America is as built on tourism, and tourism here comes in a thousand facets: cartoon mice, Miami Vice, country fried oysters, Spanish villas, gators kicking footballs, gators prowling golf courses, and of course, the beach. So. Much. Beach.

Don't think Florida is all marketing, though. This is one of the most genuinely fascinating states in the country. It's as if someone shook the nation and tipped it over, filling this sun-bleached peninsula with immigrants, country boys, Jews, Cubans, military bases, shopping malls and a subtropical wilderness laced with crystal ponds and sugary sand.

AFeb–Apr Winter ends and high season begins, coinciding with spring break.

AJun–Aug The hot, humid wet months are peak season for northern Florida beaches and theme parks.

 

Great Lakes

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Don't be fooled by all the corn. Behind it lurks surfing beaches and Tibetan temples, car-free islands and the green-draped night-lights of the aurora borealis. The Midwest takes its knocks for being middle-of-nowhere boring; so consider the moose-filled national parks, urban five-ways and Hemingway, Dylan and Vonnegut sites to be its little secret.

Roll call for the Midwest's cities starts with Chicago, which unfurls what is arguably the country's mightiest skyline. Milwaukee keeps the beer-and-Harley flame burning, while Minneapolis shines a hipster beacon out over the fields. Detroit rocks, plain and simple.

The Great Lakes themselves are huge, like inland seas, offering beaches, dunes, resort towns and lighthouse-dotted scenery. Dairy farms and fruit orchards blanket the region, meaning fresh pie and ice cream await road-trippers. And when the Midwest does flatten out? There's always a goofball roadside attraction, like the Spam Museum or world's biggest ball of twine, to revive imaginations.

 

Directory A–Z

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For more accommodation reviews by Lonely Planet authors, check out http://lonelyplanet.com/hotels/. You’ll find independent reviews, as well as recommendations on the best places to stay. Best of all, you can book online.

For all but the cheapest places and the slowest seasons, reservations are advised. In high-season tourist hot spots, hotels can book up months ahead.

Rates listed are based on double occupancy for high season (generally May to September), and do not include taxes, which can add 10% to 15% or more. When booking, ask for the rate including taxes.

$ less than $100

$$ $100 to $250

$$$ more than $250

For New York City and Washington, DC, the rate is as follows:

$ less than $150

$$ $150 to $350

$$$ more than $350

Peak season is summer, generally May to September, when prices are highest.

Exceptions include Florida and the northern ski areas, when winter is the busiest and costliest time to visit.

 

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