Explore some best fishing destinations in the Eastern US with this East Coast fishing road trip.
The East Coast offers a slew of versatile fishing opportunities, from the saltwater fishing of the Atlantic coastline to the glorious freshwater mecca that is Lake Champlain. With that in mind, we’ve designed a nine-stop road trip that we believe encompasses the most essential fishing destinations in the Eastern United states. We hope you’ll agree.
Hilton Head, South Carolina
Start your road trip in luxury on Hilton Head, a noted vacation spot in southern South Carolina. With plentiful beachfront and even more plentiful golfing opportunities, you might feel tempted to just kick back and relax for a while. When you’re ready to get down to business though, the fishing is outstanding. Whether you cast your lines into the inland waters for trout, red fish, and flounder or head out to sea in pursuit of sea bass, grouper, mahi mahi, kingfish, snapper, and even sharks, you’ll find plenty to love fishing at Hilton Head.
Charleston, South Carolina
South Carolina is the perfect place to start a fishing road trip. With numerous unbeatable fishing destinations to its name, and all of them located along the coast, the early parts of this trip will see short drives and plentiful time on the water. Less than two hours’ drive from Hilton Head, Charleston is one of our favorite East Coast fishing towns. With a glistening harbor, ample fishing charters providing access to stellar Atlantic fishing, and a spider web of rivers and streams leading to the ocean, Charleston keeps the fishing action alive both inshore and offshore. From marlin and tuna to barracuda and Spanish mackerel, the fish species in the waters inshore and offshore Charleston are plentiful.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Like Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach is known best as a spring break vacation destination, which makes it a great place to go if you end up having to take this road trip with people who aren’t as crazy about fishing as you are. Golf courses, great restaurants, beautiful beaches, and countless other tourist attractions can help keep the family busy for days. As for you, the fishing here is renowned as well, with plenty of charters just waiting to make your angling adventure a successful one. You’ll be mostly looking at similar species to what you saw at Hilton Head and in Charleston, from redfish to wahoo to sea trout.
Outer Banks, North Carolina
Get ready for the first long driving day of the road trip. North Carolina’s legendary Outer Banks are five or six hours from Myrtle Beach, but hopefully you’ll have the patience to handle the trek after a few quick consecutive spots in South Carolina. The Outer Banks, a chain of narrow barrier islands off the North Carolina coast. The fishing opportunities are mainly accessible by the fishing charters established on the islands. From the Outer Banks, you can head out to sea and catch pretty much any saltwater species the Atlantic Ocean may have to offer.
Montauk, New York
There’s a reason Montauk, located at the tip of Long Island, is the biggest commercial fishing hub in the state of New York. This town offers some of the best saltwater fishing in the world. These waters boast striped bass, flounder and tuna. It’s also a beautiful place, which explains why Montauk is frequently listed as one of the definitive fishing vacation spots.
The Chesapeake Bay is a massive body of water, covering 64,000 square miles and spanning numerous states. There are plenty of harbor towns dotted around the shores of the bay, and you can bet that all of them play host to charter boat captains who can show you all of the best fishing spots this sprawling body of water has to offer. Take advantage of their knowledge and use it to land striped bass, bluefish, croaker, and more.
Cape Cod, Massachussetts
It wouldn’t be an East Coast fishing expedition without a visit to Cape Cod. Charter a boat and fish for striped bass in the Atlantic waters directly off the Cape, or boat over to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket for exciting day trips and relaxing vacations. Both of these spots, with their access to nearby bluefish, tuna, haddock, cod, and more, are great fishing spots in and of themselves. Or, if you want a completely alternative type of fishing, try digging up clams on Cape Cod’s beaches for an authentic homemade batch of New England clam chowder.
Lake Winnepasaukee, New Hampshire
It’s time to head inland to Lake Winnipesaukee, a spring-fed body of water that will convince you immediately that New Hampshire is one of the most beautiful states in the union. Surrounded by forests and mountains, Lake Winnipesaukee is as scenic as any fishing destination on this list – and that’s saying something. It will also probably be your trip’s first sighting of freshwater species: salmon, largemouth and smallmouth bass, whitefish, yellow perch, and more can be caught in these beautiful waters.
Lake Champlain, Vermont
Lake Champlain is frequently ranked among the greatest fishing destinations in the country, whether the list is cataloging peerless bass fishing or ice fishing. It’s the kind of lake that every angler needs to fish at one point in his or her life, and by ending your trip here, you will hopefully give yourself a few days to savor it. Lake Champlain is a big body of water, and depending on where you are, the main event may be largemouth and smallmouth bass or rainbow and brown trout. Either way, there are plenty of fish to be caught here.