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7 Beautiful Mid-Atlantic States (with Map & Photos)

Nestled away in the northeast of the United States, between the Great Lakes to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Mid-Atlantic states usually include Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia – as well as the nation’s capital of Washington, D.C., which is its own federal district.

Mid Atlantic  States map

While this beautiful part of the country is home to world-famous cities such as New York and Washington D.C., it also boasts some fantastic nature; the Appalachian and Adirondacks mountain ranges cut through it, while Niagara Falls in between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie is simply one of the most majestic natural sights in the world.

While its long coastline is full of great towns, cities, and beaches for you to check out, history too abounds; the Mid-Atlantic states are home to some of the oldest settlements in the States, with lots of Civil War monuments and museums on show.

Delaware

Delaware© dreamstime

One of the smallest states in the country, Delaware shares the Delmarva Peninsula with both Maryland and Virginia, while also bordering Pennsylvania and New Jersey in the north. Despite its small size, the state is home to lots of fantastic beaches and seaside parks, with Reheboth, Dewey, and Bethany beaches among the most popular.

Surprisingly diverse in terms of what it has to offer, Delaware is cut in two by the C&D Canal which runs through it. This separates the rural, more laidback southern part of the state from the urban and industrialized northern realms, which lie near to Philadelphia in New Jersey.

While much of the state besides Wilmington is quite rural, there are some lovely cities for you to visit; Dover and Lewes both boast lots of interesting historical sights. The main draw, however, is its spectacular coastline, which is home to lots of lovely beaches and seaside towns. Numerous craft breweries also attract visitors to its shores.

Maryland

Maryland© dreamstime

Home to mountains and sea, lakes, and countryside – as well as thriving cities and charming towns – it’s no wonder that Maryland is known as ‘America in Miniature.’

With so many diverse landscapes, you can be hiking along the scenic Appalachian Trail one minute, gazing in awe at the Great Falls the next, and finish the day camping beneath the stars in the wonderful Catoctin Mountain Park. In addition to this, you can also go rock climbing, skiing or swimming in the mountains and lakes at Deep Creek Lake. Chesapeake Bay, one of the largest estuaries in the world, dominates the geography of the state; its scenic coastline provides brilliant boating and fishing opportunities.

The large cities of Annapolis, Baltimore, and Salisbury attract the most visitors with their wide range of historic sights and cultural landmarks. The Civil War site of Antietam Battlefield is well worth a visit, as is St. Mary’s City – one of the first British settlements on the continent.

New Jersey

New Jersey© dreamstime

The most densely populated state in the whole of the U.S., New Jersey is a land of contrasts. The large metropolitan areas that spread out from New York in the north and Philadelphia in the west seem a world away from the famous Jersey Shore; lying next to the Atlantic Ocean, this area is home to a myriad of beautiful white-sand beaches.

While the expansive forests and wild areas of the Pine Barrens cover much of New Jersey’s territory, the state is actually nicknamed ‘The Garden State’ due to its fertile river valleys, and the Appalachian Mountains can also be found in its northern regions. Thanks to its ever-changing geography, New Jersey offers loads of great outdoor activities. Lake Hopatcong and Island Beach State Park are perfect for swimming, sailing or fishing, while the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area boasts brilliant hiking, camping, and river rafting.

Away from its marvelous nature and dazzling shoreline, New Jersey also has some great cities. Atlantic City’s resorts, casinos, and beaches attract crowds of visitors, as do Jersey City’s Historic Downtown and Waterfront areas and Newark’s lively arts and culture scenes. To top it all off, Princeton boasts one of the nation’s most prestigious universities, and there is a very youthful and energetic feel to the college town’s streets.

New York

New York© dreamstime

Famous the world round, the city of New York is an intoxicating place to visit. Energy pulsates through its streets, and each neighborhood has its own attractions to offer. The Empire State Building, Times Square, Central Park, and Statue of Liberty are among its most impressive sights. Venture further afield, however, and you’ll quickly find there is much more to the state of the same name than just the Big Apple.

While New York City borders the Atlantic, the rest of the state is home to the majestic Adirondack High Peaks in the north. Lake Ontario and Lake Erie in the west have the breathtaking Niagara Falls nestled between them. In addition to this, you’ll also find lots of lovely wineries and stunning scenery around the Finger Lakes, which also provide loads of great watersport activities. The rugged and wild Catskills and the breathtakingly beautiful Thousands Islands each attract lots of holidaymakers every year.

While New York City understandably dominates most visitors’ travel itineraries with its huge variety of cultural, entertainment, fine dining, and nightlife options, other cities in the state – such as Buffalo and Rochester – are also well worth stopping by for their wealth of museums, galleries, and cultural landmarks.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania© dreamstime

While much of Pennsylvania consists of endless farmland and beautiful countryside, the marvelous Poconos and Endless mountain ranges pass through the state. Its scenic Lake Erie coastline is dotted with fine beaches and seaside towns for you to explore, as well as lots of great watersports for you to enjoy.

Philadelphia – the largest city in the state – is the main draw among visitors to Pennsylvania, and many people also come to visit the Gettysburg National Military Park, which was once the setting of the most famous and important battle in the Civil War. Pittsburgh too is an interesting place to visit; ‘The Steel City’ boasts lots of beautiful architecture, historical sights, and world-class museums.

While traveling around the state, you’ll come across numerous Amish communities and former industrial towns, such as at Steamtown National Historic Site. The state parks of Raccoon Creek and Ricketts Glen are particularly worth checking out for the fantastic nature contained within.

Virginia

Virginia© dreamstime

With the Appalachian Mountains in the west, a gorgeous coastline bordering the Atlantic Ocean in the east, and vast swathes of farmland lying in between, Virginia certainly is home to a diverse array of landscapes.

As such, there is lots of lovely scenery to soak in; the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park are particularly popular among hikers, cyclists, and campers. Scattered around its rolling countryside, rural areas, and scenic coastline are a number of great cities for you to check out. Richmond – the state capital – and Virginia Beach are the pick of the bunch.

As one of the 13 original colonies, Virginia also has lots of interesting and impressive historical sights on show; both Charlottesville and Williamsburg sport many fine colonial buildings. In addition to this, Fredericksburg boasts memorials, museums, and battlefields from the American Civil War.

West Virginia

West Virginia© dreamstime

As the whole of West Virginia lies entirely within the Appalachian mountain range, it is often fittingly referred to as the ‘Mountain State,’ and there certainly is lots of stunning natural scenery for you to enjoy.

With endless forests, gorges, and valleys cutting their way through the mountains, there are a plethora of great outdoor activities on offer. Hiking, mountain biking, and kayaking are all popular pastimes, as is skiing in the winter months. Some of the best destinations to head to for glorious natural sights are Blackwater Falls State Park and Monongahela National Forest.

Hidden among the Appalachians are some delightful mountain towns for you to visit, with Charleston – both the state capital and an important cultural center – the highlight of what’s on offer. Bluefield and Parkersburg are also well worth a visit for their scenic settings, with the former nestled away in the upper echelons of the East River Mountains, and the latter located at the point where the Ohio and Little Kanawha rivers meet.

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.© dreamstime

Home to many of the United States’ most important and impressive memorials, monuments and museums, Washington, D.C. is the nation’s capital; it’s here that you can find its three legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government.

As it is a federal district of its own, Washington, D.C. is not located in any state; it is instead nestled away in between Maryland and Virginia. While most of the city is a vibrant metropolis, there are some nice green spaces dotted about here and there, with just under a quarter of its landmass made up of parks and nature reserves. Of these, Rock Creek Park and Roosevelt Island are among the best places to head to if you’re after some beautiful nature; you’ll find plenty of lovely hiking trails hidden away in the forests.

The most popular place to visit in Washington, D.C. is undoubtedly the National Mall, which is home to such famous sights as the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and Jefferson Memorial, as well as fantastic museums like the National Air and Space Museum and the Holocaust Museum.

Capitol Hill is also a must-see when in the city. It’s here that you’ll find the iconic Capitol Building and the impressive Supreme Court. In addition to this, Washington, D.C. is a great place to simply wander around and admire all the old colonial-era buildings, or stop off and enjoy a meal at any one of its brilliant restaurants that serve up food from every corner of the globe.

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