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Here are all the best eateries, roadside quirks, and sweet detours to take on your final east coast trip from Bar Harbor to Key Largo. Start your journey in one of the most unlikely locations on the East Coast: the Maine Desert. How did 40 acres (16 hectares) of sand dunes end up in the middle of the forest?    

Take a guided tour to learn how geology and poor farming practices created this world-class weirdness. While you’re there, check out the sand museum and excellent gift shop. Children can release their energies in the playground before getting back in the car and continuing their journey along the east coast. 

Maine: The Desert of Maine

Don’t leave Maine without stopping by Bob’s Clam Hut in Kittery for a butter sandwich garnished with local lobsters and served with their famous fries.   

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New Hampshire: Madame Sherri’s Castle

In shady fern forests near Chesterfield, the ruins of a 1920s summer home that once hosted Gatsby-themed parties create a dreamlike setting. Walk across a stone bridge and a man-made lake, imagine a luxurious home that once stood on a stone foundation, and imagine the ghosts of a bygone era at the arched remains of a curving staircase that rises to the end in the air. Want to travel back in time in a different way? Visit the American Classic Arcade Museum in Laconia for multiple rounds in Tetris, Space Invaders, Tron, or Pac-Man.    

Massachusetts: The Witch House of Salem

Between the House of Seven Gables and the House of Witches in Salem, Massachusetts was far ahead of the black house trend, as it had 350 years before the game. In the latter, you can go back to the 17th century to explore the architecture and furniture of the time at the home of Jonathan Corwin, the judge who investigated allegations of devilish activity during the Salem witches’ trials, eventually sending 19 people to the gallows. See documents from the problem itself and other interesting artefacts at the Salem Witch Museum.   

New York: Jell-O Museum

What happened to LeRoy’s Jell-O factory? Why did the inventor of the fun dessert sell his rights for just $ 450? AND WHY OH, WHY did someone ever test Jell-O for brain waves (“It’s all the same!”)? These are just a few of the fascinating questions that you can find answers to at the Jell-O Gallery in Leroy.    

Maryland: National Museum of Health and Medicine

 In addition to the Civil War sites of Antietam, wild ponies frolicking on Assateague Island, and tall ships in Baltimore’s historic inner harbour, Maryland has many unusual attractions.   

If you want something different, try the deadly artefacts at the National Museum of Health and Medicine, where you can get a closer look at the bullet that killed Lincoln.

Virginia: Hugh Mercer Apothecary

 Stop by Hugh Mercer’s Pharmacy if you’re driving through Fredericksburg to check out George Washington’s childhood locations. Learn how doctors during the Civil War treated their patients with artefacts and displays. From live leeches used to draw blood to herbal gardens in the backyard, vintage in-store clothing guides will make your last visit to the doctor feel like a spa treatment.  

North Carolina: North Carolina Maritime Museum

 Discover artefacts from Blackbeard’s pirate ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, next to the giant sperm whale heart at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort. And if you want to see more vibrant marine life, don’t miss the chance to drop by the SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium.  

South Carolina: Historic Charleston

South Carolina is unrivalled for the paranormal. Whether it’s a ghostly setting created by swaying strands of Spanish moss or the pre-war architecture of plantation houses, this haunted place is a great place to look for vivid legends.    

Georgia: Paris Market in Savannah

 Pop into Atlanta for delicious southern food and adorable giant pandas at the Atlanta Zoo. Then, head to Savannah to enjoy a hefty dose of southern charm and unique souvenirs at the Parisian market. You can feel like you’ve left the east coast as this gift shop was inspired by flea markets and bazaars from around the world.   

Florida: Hemingway’s House

Key West, a final stop where nothing is more romantic than ending a trip to the East Coast with a sunset champagne cruise. But before you leave, consider a trip to the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, where the legendary writer’s typewriter still sits on his desk. Immerse yourself in the atmosphere, pat one of the six-toed great-great-grandchildren of the author’s favourite cats, and conclude the final chapter of your coastal journey. 

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