Get Outdoors in the Northeast & Mid-Atlantic

There’s never been a better time to embrace a fresh start surrounded by Mother Nature. So let’s get out there! We rounded up some of our favorite outdoor adventures in the Western U.S., Southeastern U.S. and Northeastern U.S., from lesser-known national parks to otherworldly destinations that are closer than you think — all within driving distance to Independent Collection’s unique hotels and resorts. 

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Perhaps you prefer your outdoor adventures with a side of history. If that sounds like you, then buckle up for a road trip through America’s landmark cities across the northeast.

Annapolis — Annapolis Waterfront Hotel

Maryland’s capital city has charmed international visitors for over four centuries with beautiful Chesapeake Bay views, unique architecture and an impressive history.

Take for example Fort McHenry (40 min.), which played important roles in many American wars including the War of 1812, when Francis Scott Key was inspired to write “The Star-Spangled Banner”. 

In the heart of Annapolis’ busy city center, you’ll find a green oasis at the William Paca Garden (3 min.) Wander the manicured parterres lined with heirloom roses, then head to the William Paca House for a tour of the restored 18th-century estate once owned by William Paca, one of Maryland’s four Signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Of course, a trip to Annapolis would be incomplete without a day on the water. Head onto the sparkling Chesapeake Bay and try your hand at sailing, or join a charter to learn the art of crabbing. Don’t be dissuaded by the sunrise start time — a bucket of juicy, Maryland blue crab awaits you! 

When you’ve worked up an appetite, head to one of Annapolis’ famous, waterfront seafood shacks like Pusser’s (5 min. walk) for perfectly fried crab cakes sprinkled with Maryland’s signature Old Bay seasoning.

Boston — The Envoy Hotel, The Whitney Hotel, The Boxer Hotel

Home to three Independent Collection hotels — The Envoy, The Whitney, and The Boxer — Boston has a surprising number of urban green space, bike baths and waterfront walkways weaving through its picturesque streets. 

One such location is Castle Island, a historic site dating back to the early 1700s. No, you won’t find a castle on Castle Island (10-15 min.) But you will find buttery lobster rolls and fried clams at Sully’s, a family-owned, quintessential New England seafood shack. Take your lunch to-go and stroll Harborwalk until you find the perfect place to plop, or laze away the day watching planes take off from nearby Logan Airport

On the mainland, take time to explore the beautiful Gardner Museum (10-13 min.), an architectural marvel modeled after the Renaissance palaces of Venice. While much of the museum’s impressively varied art is showcased indoors, the crown jewel is the courtyard, a magnificent garden filled with ancient sculptures, statues, and carefully tended landscapes that will dazzle even the most knowledgeable botanists. The Boston Public Garden (5 min.), the first public botanical garden in America, is another peaceful retreat to wander.

New York City 

Whether you’re staying at Hotel 48LEX in Manhattan or Brooklyn’s NU Hotel, you won’t be far from NYC’s world-class dining, cultural arts, and yes, outdoor parks! 

Central Park and the popular High Line get much (deserved) attention, but we like to seek out the lesser-known spots for outdoor R&R. Take for example Christopher Park (15-20 min.) Once a tobacco farm in the 1600s, Christopher Park played a significant role in the historic 1969 Stonewall Uprising thanks in part to its proximity to the Stonewall Inn. Walk through this small city park – now a national monument – and absorb the energy of this important landmark.

For a nature-filled escape from the city, aboard a ferry and head to Governors Island, a 172-acre island in the heart of New York Harbor. This place really has everything: historical buildings; wide, open spaces for biking, yoga, and outdoor activities; artists-in-residence programs with public art and cultural events; local food and drink vendors; diverse wildlife with over 200 species of birds; cozy hammocks; AND New York’s longest slide! Whatever you’re in the mood for, you won’t be disappointed with an afternoon spent on Governors Island. 

Philadelphia — The Rittenhouse 

There are plenty of outdoor historical sites to take in at Philadelphia, where the luxurious Rittenhouse hotel resides. After all, the City of Brotherly Love is where America’s Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed! 

Fuel up with an epic Philly cheesesteak from a local Ninth Street spot, then say hello to the famous Liberty Bell (10 min.) before venturing to Valley Forge (30 min.), a national historic park with 3,500 acres of monuments, meadows, and significant sites dating back to the Revolutionary War, including George Washington’s headquarters. 

After an up-close look at America’s history, relax in the Rittenhouse Square (1 min.), a popular town square that dates back to the late 17th century. Stroll through the tree-lined paths, read a book under the sun, or kick up your feet after a delicious lunch. 

Another great place for R&R is Spruce Street Harbor Park (15 min.) Considered one of the best urban beaches in the U.S., this seasonal spot has a floating restaurant, craft beer garden, colorful hammocks, and outdoor games like shuffleboard and bocce.

Washington, D.C. — Capitol Hill Hotel & The St. Gregory Hotel

An obvious first stop for history buffs is Washington, D.C., where national monuments and historic sites are as plentiful as politicians. 

The National Mall (5 min.) and Washington Monument (7 min.) are certainly must-sees. For a different historic encounter, make your way to the C&O Canal (5 min. from The St. Gregory Hotel; 15 min. from Capitol Hill Hotel) to see one of the largest civil engineering projects in US history. There, travelers can also hike the famous Billy Goat trail in Great Falls Park and learn of the canal’s history as a Native American gathering site. 

Art lovers should also plan to stroll the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden (10 min.) to view works by world-famous artists including Joan Miró, Louise Bourgeois, Roy Lichtenstein, and many more. 

There’s plenty to do along the Potomac River, too. The Key Bridge Boat House (10 min.) offers a range of water activities like kid-friendly kayaking and canoeing, guided paddle board tours, and sunrise yoga on the docks.

For a peaceful day away from the city, head to Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens (15-20 min.), where 500-year-old lotuses rise from the ponds, beavers build their dams, and slow-moving turtles bask in the sun. 

Wherever you dare to travel, Independent Collection offers a unique hotel or resort to call your home away from home. Explore our portfolio of one-of-a-kind hotels and resorts here.

View other outdoor adventures in the Western U.S. and Southern U.S.