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  1. Default New York to New Orleans in 4 Days: Help!

    Hey everyone this is my first post in this forum and my first attempt at a long roadtrip. I'm going into my last year of school at Tulane University in New Orleans and I finally got myself a car and I really want to explore the country on the limited time I have on my way down to school. I know its a very brief trip and we'd only get a taste of everyplace we'd stop but it's better than nothing. I'll be driving down with my girlfriend and we've been tossing some ideas around and I was hoping I could get some help from some people here...

    We were thinking of taking more of a coastal route rather than a more direct route which would take us through Tennessee. Rather I was looking at stopping in Virginia one night, Charleston, South Carolina the next and Atlanta the third night and arriving in New Orleans the fourth night.

    I have someone to stay with in Atlanta but as far as Virginia and Charleston I'm pretty clueless. For VA, we were thinking of staying in Virginia Beach but we're both not spring breaker partying kind of people. We're looking for more alternative things to do or something nature oriented, if we went to the beach I'd like it to be something more secluded but not a resort. We don't have much money but we can't camp because we'll have all our school belongings with us. I don't know if VA beach is a good or bad place for us or maybe there would be a smaller beach town that isn't so resort-y as this seems to be.

    For Charleston, I've only seen pictures and shows on TV and it looks like a must-go-to place that I haven't been to yet. I was interested in seeing historic Charleston and hopefully finding a nice beach there as well that isn't crowded with lots of tourists.

    So in sum:
    Is Virginia Beach is worth going to or if there is something along the coast there that might be better? Or where are some less touristy places within that that maybe have something to do with nature?

    What are some things to do in Charleston? Where is a nice more secluded beach?

    Does anyone have any recommendations for things to do along the route (I bought Roadfood so I'm looking into that) but maybe some things to see or good views?

    What is a good place to look for cheap hotels or motels or any recommendations because if though we might like to, camping isn't an option because we wil have all of our bags and belongings with us and are worried about their safety and also securing a goodnight's sleep because the trip will be so fast paced.

    I know that I don't really know what I'm talking about much and that I should research more on my own but I've been very pressed for time this summer and I'm looking to leave on August 23rd. I appreciate and all help or suggestions anyone could give and look forward to hearing them.

    Thanks so much!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default So many questions!

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    But at least you've come to (what we consider) the right place. First, some generalities. Yes, your trip is brief and you will only get a taste of the places you'll be passing through, but if you know that ahead of time, you won't be disappointed at what you can see or trying to pack in too much. Just enjoy what you can. You seem to have a preference for beaches and great cities. As a rule of thumb, I'd try to do the beaches as breaks during the day's driving and the cities in the evening, once you're settled for the night. That should let you better budget your time between enjoyment and travelling. As far as places to stay that would offer some security for your car and its contents, I think you should be looking at the medium-priced motel chains like Day's Inn, Comfort Inn and the like that have 24 hour desk staff, and ask if you can park somewhere where they can at least see the car from the desk. So - on to some more specific things to see and do along the way...

    If you aren't already planning on doing so, turn south immediately after crossing the Delaware Memorial Bridge and come down the Delmarva Peninsula rather than trying to fight your way through Baltimore and Washington on I-95. This will let you spend some time on the undeveloped Delaware shoreline, or in its smaller, less honky-tonk beaches. Farther south, another great nature stop on the coast is Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge before crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel into the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area.

    Now, I don't think that Virginia Beach is really what you're after on this trip, at least from your descriptions. That area is heavily populated and, as Virginia's only beach front, is very built up. Since your first day, if you stop here, is by far your shortest at only about 350 miles, I think you'd be better off to continue on down the coast a bit to the northern reaches of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, around Kitty Hawk or Manteo. The beach is undeveloped starting just south of Manteo, and Manteo itself is on Roanoke Island, site of the first English settlement in the New World. I don't think you have time to continue down the Outer Banks to Okracoke and then take the ferry over to Cedar Island, so you'll have to head inland from Manteo, but you would have time to meander down US-17 and poke into some of the small towns on the way to Charleston rather than just rushing down I-95. I would bypass Myrtle Beach, SC using SC-9/SC-905/US-701 however, to save some time. The object on this second day's drive should probably to get you into Charleston with enough time to stroll the city streets, particularly between Waterfront Park and downtown. This is one place where you might want to splurge a bit and see if you can find a charming Bed and Breakfast in the downtown area.

    I don't know a lot about the area between Charleston and Atlanta. The one place I have stopped is Eatonton, birthplace of the author of the Br'er Rabbit tales and site of a unique Indian effigy mound. Between Atlanta and New Orleans two places I'd recommend are FDR's Little White House in Warm Springs, GA and Alabama's first capital Old Cahawba outside Selma.


  3. Default Thanks so much!

    Thanks a lot for all the advice. There are some really great suggestions in there. We're definitely looking at staying Kitty Hawk that first night and it seems much nicer and right up our alley. I've been using Triptik on AAA to chart the trip and I'm a little confused about what you said to do in South Carolina in order to skip Myrtle Beach. We weren't planning on stopping over there but is there a lot of traffic? When I input the routes it said that it would add more time to our trip to go around there than staying on 17. Can you please clarify that for me, it'd be very helpful. Thanks again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France

    Default Further South?

    Myrtle Beach is a very popular beach destination for families and, I could be wrong, but I don't believe there is another beach town as popular as this one. From what I recall, highway 17 is not necessarily a heavily traveled route but it is not a fast one either. Charleston's resorts and B&Bs can be quite expensive. If I were you, I'd make the trekk south to Savannah. You can find real inexpensive motels down there (chains or Mom & Pop) and since people go there mostly to visit the city itself (architecture & history, guided tours, restaurants, movie locations), the beaches are pretty quiet. I don't like crowded beaches either and I always was pleased with North Beach at Tybee Island. There is a public parking lot with meters where you'll inevitably run into some tourists. However, it is possible find a free parking space in the streets. Just watch for the signs and read them carefully. Also, Savannah is a fun city to hang out and not as dangerous as many will tell you. If you avoid certain areas at night, you'll be fine. It is a wonderful city with luscious vegetation, southern charm and hospitality, parks and squares, historical buildings and a lot of character.

    Have a safe trip!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The Best Road Is Not Necessarily The Shortest

    There is longer and then there is longer. The way I suggested as an alternative to driving through Myrtle Beach is 10 miles longer (180 miles vs 170) and might take 20 minutes longer according to most software routines. But, I think that it would be a better drive, particularly if you've had your fill of beach for the moment. The algorithms that are directing you down US-17 between Little River and Georgetown, SC assume that you will average 45 mph over that stretch. As Gen points out, while US-17 is not the beachfront road, it is the 'main drag' and will have a number of stop lights, shopping centers, and the like; so it is going to be slow going. Even if you do save a few minutes, it won't be the kind of drive that you will remember fondly as one of the better stretches of your RoadTrip. Let me also take this opportunity to offer a shortcut that I hadn't noticed previously. Rather than take SC-9 and SC-905. SC-90 offers a more direct route from Little River to Conway, SC and US-701.


  6. #6

    Default nice beach near Myrtle's Beach

    just a little note- a little way down from Myrtle Beach is Huntington Beach State Park ( go pass Murell's Inlet- which by the way has some really good food). It's relatively quiet and there's alligators laying around and a ruined castle. nice and clean too. Someone had suggested it to me on my trip this year and it turned out to be a gem of a tip!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Which one is this?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikphire View Post
    It's relatively quiet and there's alligators laying around and a ruined castle. nice and clean too.
    It is always great to hear from you -- you have a knack for finding those "special" places. Do you know the name of this castle? I know about the one built by Ed Leedskalnin (Coral Castle near Homestead) and the one built near Ona, (Solomon's Castle) but I am not familiar with this one.



  8. #8

    Default Atalaya Castle

    It's called the Atalaya castle. It's a moorish castle that is on the grounds of Huntington Beach State Park. It's basically an abandoned castle, bare rooms, bricks peeking through the plaster, at certain times of the day, you get magnificent light effects through the windows. beautiful place. incidentally, I think they also do weddings there- that would be spectacular!

    and thank you very much for the compliment :) but I can't take credit- someone else mentioned it when I was looking for places to go on my trip last year ;)

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