Hidden-Gem Vacation Spots in the Eastern United States

The eastern United States holds so many hidden gems that are waiting for you to visit. Explore three of the best cities you can find when you head toward the Atlantic Coast.

Ready to explore a few more U.S. cities fantastic for a summer retreat? Today, we’ve got a handful of different locations that are all located in the eastern half of the U.S. Each city has something very special about it that makes it worth a visit.

We’ll start off with a city in a region that can get so snowy. You might not believe that during the summer, as they have some of the best private surf and swimming spots in the country! We’ll also explore the states of Maryland and North Carolina to see what they have to offer.

Marquette, Michigan


Nestled in the Upper Peninsula (UP) of the great state of Michigan is Marquette, a city of about 21,335 residents. This beautiful town neighbors with Canada, and you can certainly hear it in the accents of the UP natives.

Marquette packs a punch considering it covers a small 19.45 square miles. As the largest city in the UP, the “Yoopers” who live there enjoy four distinct seasons. Summers are hot and humid, and winters can get extremely cold.

As the third-snowiest location in the contiguous United States, Marquette’s seasons are influenced by the town’s proximity to Lake Superior. Snow produced by the lake effect causes long and chilly winters.

Unsurprisingly, Yoopers tend to be very adventurous. Their seasons can be so extreme that folks who live there love to take advantage of unique activities like cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing in the winter and surfing in the summer on Lake Superior.


In the late 19th century, many Americans began to realize Marquette is one of the country’s best-kept secrets when it comes to the most amazing summer vacation spots. Since then, more people have discovered the area, but it is still relatively private and quaint.

As intense as the seasons here may seem, its closeness to Lake Superior makes Marquette much more temperate than the inland regions of Michigan. It takes a special type of person to enjoy all the varieties of weather that Marquette has to offer!

Marquette is also home to Northern Michigan University. This is often confused with Marquette University, which is located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The around 8,000 students who attend NMU are part of the small town’s wonderful culture.

In 2012, CBS MoneyWatch listed Marquette as one of the 10 best places for Americans to retire!

Asheville, North Carolina


Next on the list is Asheville, North Carolina, which is a beautiful city in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The historic architecture and thriving arts scene are just a small part of what makes Asheville such an enchanting place, one well worth a visit if you find yourself on the East Coast.

About 92,870 people currently call Asheville home. It offers a respite from the heat of most of the South, as it has a much higher elevation. The summers here are not brutal by any means, especially compared to the eastern parts of the state. It’s a great place for a summer vacation!

Asheville offers lots of music festivals to the residents and many tourists who love to visit the area. They also have plenty of nightclubs in which you can get your music fix even if you can’t make a festival.

Street performances and outdoor entertainment are also a big part of Asheville culture. If you love the arts, you have to give this city a visit.

Columbia, Maryland


The last city we’ll explore today is Columbia, a city in central Maryland. Technically, the town of about 103,467 residents is known as a “census-designated place” in Howard County. Columbia averages temperatures in the high eighties in the summer, which makes it a great place to get some sun without the unbearable heat that more popular destinations offer.

Whereas Marquette is a town for adventure and outdoor exploration, Columbia is a town known for its fantastic nightlife and dynamic art community. There is also a lot of history in Columbia. Dorsey Hall, for example, is a well-preserved building that was once home to one of the first families in Howard County. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Columbia also offers an amazing variety of parks. The Columbia Association puts special emphasis on building and maintaining parks and recreational facilities. Currently, Columbia boasts 23 outdoor swimming pools, six indoor swimming pools, multiple ice and roller skating rinks, a sports park, miniature golf parks, skateboard parks, batting cages, two water slides, three athletic clubs, and several picnic areas.

Columbia also has a 24/7 Supreme Sports Club that offers facilities in which residents and tourists can play tennis, basketball, and volleyball. They even offer courts for squash, pickleball, and racquetball. Of course, anyone looking to go for a simple jog or to do some sprints can hit one of the many running tracks offered in these facilities.

There are also three popular lakes in Columbia that are perfect for all your water-based activities like fishing, boating, and sailing.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for an East Coast road trip now!

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