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  1. #1

    Default First Time Road Trippers! Boston to New Orleans - advice and tips?!

    Hey Everyone, my boyfriend and I are flying over from London to New York in April, then getting the train to Boston, where we pick up our hire car. We have then have 2 weeks to drive down to New Orleans for our return flight. We're SO excited! its been a dream of mine forever to see the East Coast so can't believe we're finally going to do it.

    We haven't planned our route really, we're hoping to take in Philadelphia, Washinton, Carolina & Alabama before we get the New Orleans and I would really love to see Virginia Beach, Memphis and Ohio if possible, but I'm a bit dumb when it comes to working out the route! Do people think this is doable?!

    Also - I had a slight worry about parking, especially when we're in a city?! We live in London currently and its pretty impossible to park the car anywhere and I wondered if this was going to be a problem in the cities like Washington etc? We're planning on staying in motels and guesthouses when we get there - is this easy enough?

    Finally - does anyone have any experience/advice for this route and any tips for interesting places to visit/routes to take? It would be really great if anyone could point me in the right direction!

    Thanks so much.
    Rebecca :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    7,955

    Default Differences and Similarities Between Our Countries

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    First off, your 'wish list' is a bit all over the map and while you could certainly get to all the places you have enumerated in two weeks, you'd be spending most of your time in the car rather than exploring and experiencing the places you'll be driving to and through. So my first suggestion is to just forget about Ohio and Memphis on this trip and concentrate on following the coast. I'd wait until you're ready to leave New York before renting your car. It is a hassle to try to park in the city and the metropolitan transportation system - subways, busses and taxis - is excellent, but about £1.50-£2.50 per ride on public transport. For Washington, I'd suggest that you stay outside the city near a Metro terminal and plan on taking that in/out of the city. Pretty much everything you'll want to see is on or within walking distance of the National Mall. Then you can start your drive down the East Coast to at least Savannah, or down into Florida if theme parks or the Kennedy Space Center appeal to you. Finish up by following the Gulf Coast to New Orleans checking out Mobile Bay and the Gulf Islands National Seashore.

    We don't really have a lot of guesthouses in the sense that you do in the British Isles. Our Bed and Breakfast establishments tend to be more of the upscale boutique inn variety. Still they are a welcome and romantic change of pace from the standard motel room, if not an economic alternative. You will need to make reservations if you plan to stay in some. Motels, on the other hand, are nearly ubiquitous and even at the height of travel season you can find an available room just about everywhere without a reservation. One of the exceptions being, sad to say, on the beach in the summer.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,556

    Default The East Coast

    Hello Rebecca,

    Just a few additions to AZ Buck's excellent observations and links:

    In Washington, DC, staying outside and "Metro-ing in" is certainly more economical than an in-city hotel. I just spent a single overnight at a very nice hotel, did so on account of being at an on-site wedding, and the valet parking fee (there was NO self-parking offered) was $38/day on top of $218/day for the hotel.

    You can depart from DC to the east on US 50 through Annapolis (a wonderful harbor town and the state capitol of Maryland), cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge (some 200' above the northern part of the Bay), and head down the Delmarva Peninsula enroute to Virginia Beach. Along the way are Chincoteague, VA, alongside of Assateague National Seashore, with miles of protected cycle lane bicycling, extensive boardwalk walking/birding through the salt marshes, and an oceanfront beach you can drive your car right to the edge of.

    Some 70 miles south is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel where US 13 crosses the mouth of the Bay. Immediately to the east of the Virginia Beach end of the CBBT is a single high-rise hotel facing the Bay known as the Virginia Beach Conference Center and Resort (which overlooks the substantial military and commercial shipping in and out of Norfolk). Just another 5-6 miles east is the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, with around 4 miles of high-rise oceanfront hotels and wide parallel pedestrian and bicycle boardwalks.

    The northern Outer Banks from Nags Head to Corolla and accessed by NC 12 and US 158 are heavily developed but entirely enjoyable. From Corolla to the Virginia state line the highway is actually the beach, and a 4WD vehicle can readily drive along the 12 mile stretch for a personally operated wild horse tour. Jeep tours are offered at Corolla for those without 4WD vehicles.

    Rather more rustic, and wholly lacking in high-rises, are the NC Outer Banks south of Nags Head. The Bonner Bridge brings you across Oregon Inlet, but state-operated ferries are required to reach Ocracoke Island and from Ocracoke back to the mainland. The Ocracoke to the mainland line gets crowded and reservations are recommended.

    I would easily estimate the Corolla to Ocracoke length of the Outer Banks is the longest segment of the Atlantic Coast, north of Florida, along which one can drive and have the ocean in sight or just over some dunes from the highway.

    Over in Alabama, be aware of the expected arrival of some 175,000 racing fans to the Talladega Superspeedway for the NASCAR race on Sunday, 17 April. You may actually want to take in the race yourselves. One needn't be a fan to enjoy the spectacle, and trust me, it's a spectacle. It's a slice of Americana one simply can't get anywhere else. Just to the east of Talladega Speedway lies Cheaha Mountain, a long ridge atop of which runs the 25-30 mile Talladega Scenic Drive, a short but nice parkway with pull-outs ever so often. Cheaha Mountain and adjacent ridges are the southernmost extent of the Appalachian Mountains.

    Welcome in advance to the Right Coast. Have fun planning and taking your RoadTrip!

    Foy

  4. #4

    Default Excited Now!

    Wow. I can't thank you guys enough for your in depth help and advice, we really are first timers to all of this so its fantastic to get advice from people who know the area as well as you both do.
    AZBuck, I think you're right about leaving Ohio & Memphis out this time - a good excuse to come back! We're not so keen on the theme park side of things so we probably won't visit Florida, but thanks so much for your advice RE: the motel's - thats exactly what we were hoping, that we can just 'rock up and find a room'! Great advice regarding using the metro in Washington - Foy, I can't believe how expensive it was to keep the car at the hotel!! We will definately be using the metro option.

    Wow -Foy, your descriptions have made me feel even more excited about our trip- its sounds magnificent! We had never even thought of hiring bikes and using the cycle lane but this is such a great tip - it sounds amazing.

    Thanks again to you both - will be printing these replies off and taking them with us!
    Rebecca

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