Aerial View of Dover, Delaware during Autumn at Dusk

7 Small Towns in Mid-Atlantic to Visit for a Weekend Getaway

The term Mid-Atlantic refers to a cluster of states located on the east coast of the United States. While many travelers may not think of states like New Jersey or West Virginia when planning their trips, this is unfortunate because each of the seven Mid-Atlantic states offers an exciting time to all who visit. West Virginia and Virginia have hidden resort communities, including Berkeley Springs, Chincoteague, and White Sulphur Springs, that make for a restful time away from the city. Delaware houses fantastic natural parks, including stunning nature sites lining the shores of the Delaware River. Despite their reputations of being bustling cities, New Jersey and New York contain quiet townships like Clinton, Princeton, and Lake George. 

The best places for a weekend getaway possess a blend of relaxing activities, beautiful nature walks, exciting sightseeing, and delicious dining. Fortunately, the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. is one of the best locations to have a balanced weekend away from home. The restful springs of West Virginia, the wooded nature trails of New York and New Jersey, and small-town dining in Delaware will give tourists an unforgettable time and help them leave their worries behind.

Clinton, New Jersey

Colorful downtown stores in Clinton New Jersey, via Andrew F. Kazmierski /
Colorful downtown stores in Clinton New Jersey, via Andrew F. Kazmierski /

Clinton is a unique town in Northern New Jersey, owing to its open spaces, breathtaking waterways, and historic landmarks. While the community's official founding only goes back to its establishment in 1865, it began long before this time. The region in and around Clinton once served as a crossroads for the Lenelenape tribe, who created the Lenape Path or the Lower Minisink Trail today. Despite becoming more industrialized in the later parts of the 20th century, the town remains connected to its roots as a rural farming village, with Round Valley Farm located just a few minutes from town. Round Valley Farm is the perfect place to pick and buy blueberries when they are in season. 

The areas around Beaver Brook and Spruce Run Reservoir are lovely, thanks to the parks and recreation areas like Gebhardt Field and Dunham Park. Spruce Run Reservoir also has a recreational space and campground across the water from Clinton Township. Visitors can rent campsites between April and October and enjoy modern comforts such as showers and electricity while immersed in the wilderness. The campgrounds are also close to all the wonderful outdoor activities of the recreational space, including swimming in the reservoir and cycling and hiking. 

However, for those hoping to visit Clinton in the winter, there's still plenty to check out and enjoy. The Red Mill Museum Village is a historically preserved location, with the Red Mill, built in 1810, being the main attraction. Guests traveling to this site during the holiday season can enjoy a photo shoot with Santa at the Red Mill. For tourists hoping to stay in town for a few days, the TownePlace Suites by Marriot is a comfortable and welcoming resting spot. This location has spacious bedrooms, a complimentary hot and cold breakfast buffet, and a fire pit, which guests are welcome to enjoy. 

Lake George, New York

The Northern End of Lake George and Tongue Mountain Range is seen from a lookout on Black Mountain in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.
The Northern End of Lake George and Tongue Mountain Range is seen from a lookout on Black Mountain in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. 

The town of Lake George gets its name from the massive lake along its border that bears the same name and is commonly called the Queen of America's Lakes. This is for good reason since Lake George is 32 miles and reaches a depth of 196 feet at its deepest spots. The lake is a favorite spot for water sports and swimming in the summer, with the beach located at Shepherds Park being a favorite place to visit in town for tourists and locals alike. It is best known for its clean sandy shoreline and clear waters, which are perfect for swimming and beachcombing. It is only open between June and Labor Day, making it an idyllic spot to spend a weekend getaway when the kids are out of school, 

Visitors planning a trip in the winter should be fine, though, since Lake George is well-equipped for the cold months. Just under 20 minutes out of town is Hickory Ski Center, located in the nearby mountains, which is best for fall and winter activities. The ski center is only open when there is sufficient snow, but the rides down slopes like The Hare and Windfall make the wait well worth it. For those planning a trip in autumn, Hickory Ski Center also has spectacular trails through the wilderness of Pine Mountain, one of the Three Sister Peaks of New York. 

Those desiring to stay close to town won't feel disappointed, either. Aside from the shoreline of Lake George, the community has several other nature sites, including Prospect Mountain Hiking Trail and Charles R. Wood Park. There are also some excellent indoor spots like the Fort William Henry Museum, where visitors can choose a guided tour of the old fort that served as a protective fort during the French and Indian War. History lovers who plan to stay for a few days may enjoy the nearby Fort William Henry Hotel, which has different price ranges, from budget rooms to luxury accommodations. 

Dover, Delaware

Legislative Hall in Dover, Delaware. Editorial credit: Nagel Photography /
Legislative Hall in Dover, Delaware. Editorial credit: Nagel Photography /

Dover is the capital of Delaware and one of the most historically significant cities in the state since it served as a defensive post during the Revolutionary War. The town commemorates its legacy in the town square, known locally as the "Green," with a memorial site dedicated to Ceasar Rodney, a Revolutionary War hero. The area around the Green is also full of historic buildings, including Biggs Museum of American Art and The Old State House. 

The Biggs Museum of American Art hosts several events annually, with the Art Bites series and the Wyeth Inspired Watercolor and Art event. Although art enthusiasts can enjoy the displays via online virtual tours, nothing quite beats exploring art in person. The Old State House dates back to 1713 and was the state capital building until 1933. Today, it is a well-preserved historic landmark where people can book a tour to explore and learn more about its past. Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village is a culturally important location where locals gather to celebrate festivities and special events. People can tour the rustic location and learn all about farming, one of the state's most important industries, or plan their special day, whether it is their wedding or family reunion. 

The Agricultural Museum is close to Silver Lake, one of the largest bodies of water in town. The lake is gorgeous, but the best spots to visit are The Overlook on Silver Lake and Silver Lake Park. Both places exhibit the lake's pristine and untouched nature and are lovely spots for a picnic or a small hike. One of the cutest and coziest places to stay in town is the State Street Inn, where each of the room's color schemes intends to bring out the type of vibe desired by their guests. The blue room focuses on enhancing tranquility with its chic bedspread and wallpaper, while the red room presents a regal, formal environment. 

Hershey, Pennsylvania

The main gateway entrance to Hersheypark, a family theme park situated in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Editorial credit: George Sheldon /
The main gateway entrance to Hersheypark, a family theme park situated in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Editorial credit: George Sheldon /

While not an officially incorporated township of Pennsylvania, Hershey is one of the most well-known locations in the state. The region owes its name to Milton Hershey, a wealthy philanthropist who founded the Hershey Chocolate Company. Later, this led to the creation of a theme park named Hershey Park, located near one of the company's first chocolate factories. The factory, which is affectionately called Hershey's Chocolate World, is home to the famous chocolate tours, which allow guests to walk through the processing areas and get a glimpse of the chocolate creation process. Although the location hosted public tours since 1910, the site changed significantly since those early days, and today, visitors can enjoy hands-on experiences, including creating their very own candy and watching the manufacturing process. 

However, the chocolate experience is only part of what this lovely community contains since it's also home to Hershey Park. Hershey Park is an exciting, family-friendly theme park with rides like The Comet, Sidewinder, and a water park. While many of these experiences are roller coasters, the park also has a zoo and less exhilarating rides for those who dislike fast or steep rides. Not far from the theme park is Hershey Gardens, a lovely place built in 1937 by Milton Hershey to display and celebrate roses and other flowers. Hotel Hershey is the perfect place for visitors to plan a stay, especially if they plan to visit Hershey Park and the factory since it is close to both locations. It is also just a few minutes from Hershey Gardens, making it a convenient spot with stunning bedrooms that include recreational activities, in-room refrigerators, and coffee makers. 

Havre de Grace, Maryland

Aerial view of Havre de Grace, Maryland, in autumn. Image credit Wirestock Creators via Shutterstock.
Aerial view of Havre de Grace, Maryland, in autumn. Image credit Wirestock Creators via Shutterstock.

Havre de Grace in western Maryland is a beautiful coastal town located along the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay. As a town situated along the coast of a prominent bay, Havre de Grace has a blend of beautiful shoreline beaches, wooded regions, and small-town shopping. Folks who enjoy sailing and boating should drop by the Havre de Grace Marina and the Marina at Log Pond. The same company owns both locations, and while they cater to boat owners seeking repairs and a place to dock their ships, they also rent vessels. Although they only rent kayaks and other smaller ships, they are still perfect for exploring the shoreline and sightseeing the local wildlife. 

Another coastal place worth checking out is Cocord Point Lighthouse, an 1827 structure built to guide the many seafarers back to shore safely. Today, it is under the loving care of the Friends of the Concord Point Lighthouse and still gives visitors one of the most amazing views of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. Havre de Grace is also home to several hiking and nature trails, like North Park Loop Trail, also known as Joe K's Trail. This 1.3-mile trail grants trekkers splendid views of wooded regions of town and is pet and wheelchair friendly, making it ideal for all.

The Vandiver Inn is just a few minutes from the beach and a lovely spot for romantic couples looking for a few quiet days. In fact, it is one of the town's most popular locations for weddings, with its luxurious charm and boutique hotel vibe. The Vandiver's main attraction is The O'Neil Room. This room provides guests with a spacious bedroom with a walk-in shower, fireplace, king-sized bed, and porch. The hotel is in a central location, with many nearby eateries and restaurants, including Bomboy's Homemade Ice Cream and La Cucina, where people can buy delicious sandwiches and pizzas. 

Chincoteague, Virginia

Wild ponies in the Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge.
Wild ponies in the Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge.

Chincoteague, Virginia, is a lovely island in Chincoteague Bay in the eastern parts of the state. Chincoteague's European history began in 1650 after a land grant with settlers arriving primarily from England. However, the native tribes were aware of this island, and its modern name, Chincoteague, comes from a native word meaning "Beautiful land across the water." This name describes this sanctuary very well to this day, with no skyscrapers, jammed streets, or noisy industrial sounds permeating the area. Instead, Chincoteague is the ideal landscape for those hoping to escape city life to a more secluded natural sanctuary. 

The island contains a couple of parks, local monuments, charming beaches, and hiking trails. The Chincoteague Island Waterman's Memorial is one of the most popular starting points for island exploration. This memorial is a cross and plaque commemorating the many sailors who helped shape and create the town. Daisey's Island Cruises isn't far from the monument and is an exciting way to tour the island's scenic coastlines. They host small boat rides that take tourists on an immersive experience throughout Chincoteague Bay and the coastline. The Island Nature Trail near the island's center is an ideal way to survey the site's waterways and wooded regions. This 1.4-mile loop typically takes less than a half hour to complete and is simple enough for children to enjoy and quickly complete. 

After a hike around nature, consider stopping by the Captain Timothy Hill House, a refurbished log cabin from the early 1800s. Although, many experts suspect the foundation might go back to the earliest settlers in the 1600s. With so much to see and experience, Chincoteague is an excellent place to spend the weekend, with the Island Resort providing a wonderful place to rest and recuperate every night. Their comfortable and welcoming hotels also boast a fully-equipped gym and private balconies. They have double beds, queen beds, and king-sized bedrooms, all of which are smoke-free and provide great views of the water and sunsets. 

Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

Entrance to the Berkeley Springs State Park.
Entrance to the Berkeley Springs State Park.

Berkeley Springs is a northeastern town of West Virginia located near the border of Maryland and approximately 2 hours east of Morgantown. Its name comes from the many mineral-rich springs in the region, which native tribes used for medicinal and healing purposes before the arrival of Europeans. The community's legacy as a restful, rejuvenating location persists today, with many resorts and spas in and around its borders. The oldest Roman and Main bathhouses and George Washington's Bathtub are the most notable of these spas. 

The Old Roman and Main bathhouses are samples of the town's earliest attempts to capture the medicinal benefits of the local springs. As their name suggests, the bathhouses built in 1815 attempt to capture the classical Roman design found in England's town of Bath. Renovations and improvements of the site took place over the years, making the spas safe for visitors to enjoy and experience today. Not far away is George Washington's Bath, where the first president reportedly bathed when visiting Berkeley Springs. 

The local Beehive Cafe is a cute place to start or finish a day of travel around West Virginia. The atmosphere is relaxing and uplifting, and they serve wonderful traditional American cuisine alongside their herbal coffee. As a resort town, Berkeley Springs has several lovely hotels and bed and breakfasts in its borders. Mendallhall 1884 Inn Bed and Breakfast is a historic inn situated near Berkeley Spring's main attractions, like food shops and bathhouses. Each room seeks to capture the design and style of the late 1800s, giving guests a warm place to lay their heads while providing a unique and immersive experience.

Weekend getaways are some of the best types of vacations. They're ideal for travelers of all ages, from retirees looking to explore the U.S., young couples hoping for a romantic time away, or parents wishing to give their kids a memorable experience. The Mid-Atlantic States are a great place to begin explorations of the country since these states played important roles in the nation's founding and still house some of the oldest sites in North America. 

These states are also home to mountain ranges like the Appalachian Mountains, vast shorelines like the Jersey Shore, and large lakes, including some of the Great Lakes. Visitors to the Mid-Atlantic will enjoy a blend of refined foods, luxurious accommodations, and exhilarating outdoor activities such as climbing and hiking mountains. 

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