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  1. Default Road Trip Virgin: East Coast from England, UK ?!?!?! HELP !

    Hi guys,

    I'm new to these forums..and what some might call a road-trip newbie :p !!!

    I'm a 22yr old student from England who spent a year in California at UCSB on Exchange... As such, I made several friends on the West Coast... I've been on several monster road trips with these friends...ranging from Santa Barbara to Canada, LA to Vegas, and Santa Barbara to Glacier National Park in Montanna...

    This coming christmas I have three weeks off university, and am planning on going to New York for New Years eve to see some of these friends... I've never been to the East Coast and really can't wait....

    The only problem is that these friends are all now in full time jobs so i'll essentially be on my own for a good few weeks... So I've decided to plan a road trip of the East Coast... And this is where I need your help...

    I'll essentially book a car myself, and drive on my own...

    Where are some good places to go/see? I'll be starting and ending up in New York, and would love to see the niagra falls, possibly florida... Would that be possible? Whils on the west coast, I loved going to places like sequoia, yellowstone, san rafael national parks... Are there any places like these you would recommend?

    Are there any good books you recommend also?

    And how much do you think i should set aside for this? I've backpacked befroe, so was literally going to bring my tent, and some clothes... the idea being i can stop at camp sites and hostels an keep it cheap... Any opinions on this?

    I'll no doubt have LOADS of furtherquestions to ask... But any advice you could offer would be superb !!

    Thanks in advance !!! :D

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default One Skeletal Idea

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Well, that will be getting pretty cold, and as much as I love New England, unless you have considerable experience with driving on snow and ice, it's not somewhere I would send you in winter. So Florida and Niagara are both within reach with three weeks from New York, even with two weeks should your friends actually break free for a few days to show you around that City. Since everything you've mentioned that you like about RoadTripping involves seeing natural wonders rather than urban landscapes, I'll concentrate on such features in my recommendations.

    The main thing I'd tell you to do is to take two different routes going south and coming north. I think in your case, I'd do this trip in an anti-clockwise direction, going to Niagara Falls first, then heading down the Appalachian Mountains on I-81 or on roads roughly parallel to it such as the Blue Ridge Parkway and stopping at places like Letchworth State Park in New York and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park along the Tennessee/North Carolina border. On the way back north, stick to the coast on highways like US-17 and US-13. Visit some genteel southern cities like Savannah and Charleston, Get over to the Outer Banks, Come up the Delmarva Peninsula.

    If you use the Search function to look for the locales I've listed, you'll find dozens of threads that give more specific advice for things to see and do around each of the venues I've listed that should whet your appetite even more. Have fun planning and tripping.

    AZBuck

  3. Default

    Thanks for the prompt reply AZBuck !!! Awesome stuff...

    I've just looked up some of those places you mentioned...and they all look superb. And definitly plaes i'd love to go and see... !!

    I'm now also looking into the possibility of driving upto Washington DC also. As well as being a fan of huge rural landscapes...i'd also like to fit a bit of culture into my trip, and see a few big cities... (in the past i've been to LA, Vancouver, Settle, an Diego, San Fran...). I'd love to see the memorials at washington, the white house etc, as well as a few museums maybe...

    SO... are there any other places you would recommend I plan on visiting? Some *must see* locals of the East Coast... ?!?!

    And finally...what should my final destination in Florida be... Somewhere visually appealing, and also within realistic drivingdistance?

    Thanks again for your help !!! Your a legend ! :tmb:

  4. #4

    Default Florida

    Can't think of a better place to head for than the Florida Keys. The weather will still be fantastic at that time of the year, it'llcertainly meet your 'visually appealing' requirement and you can camp within sight and earshot of the ocean at one of Florida's State Parks.

    You may want to read my topic on my visit to the Florida area in November for a couple of other ideas.

    considerable experience with driving on snow and ice
    The OP is from the UK. It's likely they'll have driven a fair bit in snow and ice :)
    Last edited by UKCraig; 06-29-2007 at 08:07 AM. Reason: Added link to other Florida topic

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    9,358

    Default The Odd Comment

    Washington could easily be fit into either your inland or coast leg. I think I might be tempted to see it when heading south (the inland leg I previously described) because it is slightly more accessible from the west than north/south. You'll note that on the northbound leg I recommended, I had you avoiding Richmond/Washington/Baltimore for the much quieter roads of the Eastern Shores of Virginia and Maryland. I've already listed what I consider the best areas of the east coast. One tip - for the Outer Banks, do the whole thing. Take the ferry from Cedar Island to Ocracoke and drive all the way up to Manteo. In December, you will have this 80 mile stretch of gorgeous Atlantic coast almost to yourself. I would not, however, try to get to the Florida Keys at this time of year, especially given your time constraints. December is when everyone, especially retirees, goes to Florida, and it's over 500 miles one way from northern Florida to Key West along some very heavily traveled roads. You'll get your taste of the Atlantic coast later, so for some place a little quieter, more unique, and closer, head instead for Cedar Key on the Gulf coast.

    AZBuck

  6. #6

    Default He knows more than me

    If you're unsure whether to listen to me or AZBuck, take a look at his location and the number of posts he's made here. He probably knows just a little better than I do ;)

  7. Default

    Thanks for the excellent advice AZBuck and UKCraig...

    I knew this forum would be the best place to seek advice on the matter...

    Have been working my way through a few books lately and can't wait till it all happens... Though i feel i should invest in a new sleeping bag since its gonna be COLD that time of year... :D

    Anyways guys... I have three more questions I'm hoping you can answer... (told you i'm a very inquisitive person...)

    With regards to Florida.. I've recently been reading about the florida swamps (in general, not one specific swamp)... You know, hovercrafts/boats, crocs etc. I'm just wondering if you think it would be at all posible to spend a few hours of one of my days on some form of swamp tour... Very odd question i know, but i'm a biologist at uni and have already expressed my interest in natural environemts... Plus swamps are something we definitly don;t have in the UK... :(

    Secondly, as you know... I'm hoping to stay in a variety of hostels and campsites... Are there any specific permits or documents I will need in order to stay at the various campsites ?

    And finally... What is a realistic time scale for this trip... As in, about how long does it take to drive to Florida from NY.... Very abstract question i know since i need to factor in breaks etc.... but some raw idea would be most appreciated.... I don;t want to try attempt something too ambitious for my first solo voyage... :P

    Thanks in advance again for all your excellent input !! You rock !


    EDIT: Though of ANOTHER question... Do any of you know of any specific restriction with egards to hiring a car..as in is there an age limit etc? And will i need any form of visa or documentation to cross state boundaries? .. :D
    Last edited by fondantcookie; 07-02-2007 at 04:31 PM.

  8. #8

    Default

    As a native New Yorker, I have made the road trip to Florida many times. Last time I went, I drove from West Palm Beach (southern Florida) to NYC in about 24 hours. I've heard people do it in less time, but I wouldn't suggest speeding as I know many people who have received tickets, especially in Virginia.

    Also, if you're looking for another city to visit on the east coast with some cultural value, I definitely recommend Philadelphia. It's only 2 hours from NY and is a great city that is easy to navigate through.

    I've also been to Washington, D.C. and will be heading to Baltimore, MD at the end of this month.

    If you have any specific questions about Philadelphia or Washington, please let me know! :)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    9,358

    Default Answers

    Quote Originally Posted by fondantcookie
    I'm just wondering if you think it would be at all possible to spend a few hours of one of my days on some form of swamp tour...
    You're going to be passing by one of America's great swamps even before you get to Florida. This is the Okefenokee, which offers a number of guided tours and the opportunity to explore the swamp by canoe or motor boat (with a very small motor), but not by airboats which would scare the wildlife. These tours operate from all the Refuge's visitor centers, with the largest number at the Refuge Headquarters at the East Entrance off GA-121 south of Homeland, GA.


    Quote Originally Posted by fondantcookie
    Are there any specific permits or documents I will need in order to stay at the various campsites ?
    Nope - just show up and check in wherever appropriate. You'll typically get a receipt and a camp site assignment. That's it.


    Quote Originally Posted by fondantcookie
    how long does it take to drive to Florida from NY
    Roughly two days for the drive. Add to that any and all time for what you want to see along the way. Note also that this only gets you to northern Florida. If you want to get to Miami or Key West, add another day.


    Quote Originally Posted by fondantcookie
    And will i need any form of visa or documentation to cross state boundaries?
    The only time you'll even have to slow down are those few cases where you're on a turnpike and have to stop to pay a toll. Otherwise, if it weren't for the signs welcoming you to each new state, I doubt you'd notice that you were crossing a state line.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 07-02-2007 at 06:37 PM.

  10. Default

    That advice was awesome everyone so thanks again !!

    As i said, i'm now reading a few books before i plan anything solid... As my plans progress i'll keep you posted and hopefully you'll be able to tell me how it looks, and give any input etc...

    In the meantime though, i'm wondering if there are any decent maps you could recommend? I'm assuming i'll need a map of each state i drive thorugh.... so are there any particular brands or specific maps you can recommend to me?

    I'd like to get some large maps quite soon, lay them out and then start planning a route using those.. Though obviously i'd use a GPS when i'm out there... (i'm a bit of a nerd who loves loking at maps though...)

    Also, just to add... Cape Canaveral Air Force Station/Kennedy Space Center is one of my other must see sites in Florida... Am thinking of spending 3 (maybe 4) days in Florida so wil hopefully have enough time to fit everything in!!

    Anyways, off to work now... but once again, thanks in advance.

    I'll get buying some maps as soon as i hear from you, and after seeing what my dad recommends (since he's big on the roadtrips himself !)!

    Cheers again :D


    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    You're going to be passing by one of America's great swamps even before you get to Florida. This is the Okefenokee, which offers a number of guided tours and the opportunity to explore the swamp by canoe or motor boat (with a very small motor), but not by airboats which would scare the wildlife. These tours operate from all the Refuge's visitor centers, with the largest number at the Refuge Headquarters at the East Entrance off GA-121 south of Homeland, GA.
    WOW !!! Cheers AZ !!! Looks awesome, and definitly added to my must see list...

    Can't believe i'm already planning this and its 6 months away... Ahh well, more planning should in theory lead to less miss-haps and an overall smoother ride !

    Thanks

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