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  1. Default 25 days from NYC to NYC (+ possibility of a one-way flight) in July

    Hi everyone. We are currently in the first phase of exploring the route options for our road trip.

    About us
    • Arrival + departure from JFK airport New York - also possible to take a one-way flight to somewhere in the US
    • Family with older kids - no disney anymore.
    • Enjoy: mountains, nature and national parks with pictoresque little towns (Bar Harbor / Acadia N.P. style)
    • Last time we loved: Bryce N.P, Zion N.P., Highway One and Yosemite N.P. Now the Eastcoast, or Mideast.
    • One flight is possible, but +- max. 3 hour flight time (e.g. towards Kentucky / Texas / Florida or maybe Canada?)
    • Weather: we enjoy sun.
    • We visited California and Utah before and loved it.

    We found the following interesting locations we are currently thinking of visiting (but please change our mind of others would be more recommended
    • New York: never visited. Maybe at the end. Maybe at the beginning of the trip.
    • Niagara Falls: seems interesting.
    • Bar Harbor / Acadia N.P. seems pictoresque (I've been there before, the rest isn't)
    • Great Smoky Mountains N.P.
    • Washington D.C.

    The question is: should we take a one-way flight to somewhere, so we cross interesting sights? Should we go north (Canada/Maine/Vermont) or more south (North/South Carolina and Tennessee)? We are in the exploratory phase, so we would be interested in hearing someones perspective!

    Very appreciated. Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Have It All (Almost)

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    First, some very general observations. There is absolutely no need to fly somewhere internally in the US on this trip and then either rent a car for a one-way return to New York or return the car to its pick up point and then take a return flight to New York. Either of those options simply adds unnecessarily to the expense of the trip and wastes a lot of time in airports and on planes that could be better spent out and about. Secondly, If you're flying into New York and spending your fist few days there, then don't bother to get your rental car until you are ready to leave the city. Parking in New York is very hard to find and incredibly expensive when you do find it. Use public transport (subways/buses/taxis) to get about. Also, it is often significantly cheaper to pick up your rental from an in-town location, thus avoiding all the taxes levied on airport locations.

    It is also true that you can see much of the Eastern United States, including New England, the Appalachians, and the Atlantic Coast quite easily and at a relaxed pace within 3+ weeks. Given the stated places you want to see, I would direct you to a few discussions here. The first has a bunch of links to ideas for things to see in New England. The second covers several options for the Boston/Niagara/Washington triangle, while the third discusses two possible routes south from the Mid-Atlantic region. You could easily loop through New England, over to Niagara, down the Appalachians, and back up the coast to arrive back in New York for your flight home. You will, unfortunately, have to make choices. But they're only choices as to which of the many options best suit you.


  3. Default

    New York is fun for a few days, great eating, sightseeing and broadway shows if you're into that. Absolutely do not get a rental while in NYC, transportation is plentyful via taxi, subway or buses.

    Acadia NP is where my husband and I spent our honeymoon, so I have very fond memories. Hiking is beautiful, but what I call boulder hiking rather than on dirt a little harder for women with short legs!

    The Smoky Mountains are one of my favorite places. Gatlinburg, TN, is a cool little town with lots of shopping and restaurants and sits just outside the park, but you will experience a ton of traffic. There are lots of cabins and chalets in surrounding area which I would recommend rather than staying in town. The drive around Cades Cove is a must. It's a one-way 13 mile scenic loop, with historical stops and good hiking trails along the way. Not sure when you plan to visit, but one of the most spectacular hikes in the Smokies is Gregory Bald which begins in Cades Cove. People from all over the country come to see the flame azalea in bloom, usually in late June. It's a rainbow of colors. Just whe you think you've seen the most spectacular color, you see something even more beautiful.

    Good luck on the trip, sounds wonderful!
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 02-14-2012 at 09:17 AM. Reason: New Members may not post Off-site links

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    Hi, and Welcome to the The Great American RoadTrip Forum.

    It is good to see a new member share knowledge and experiences for the benefit of others. Feel free to jump in anytime when you feel you can add something to a discussion.


  5. Default

    Thank you all for your responses. We have been considering Great Smokey Mountains and Blue Ridge, but are in a doubt; as we hope to visit Boston, Watkins Glen, Niagara Falls and some quaint, small-scale New England towns. Our final schedule is 21 days. What would you recommend in this case? 1.) Skip Great Smokey Mountains and keep it more condensed (after Staunton up towards Niagara) or 2.) is this managable? 3.) complete different route.

    1 New York
    2 New York
    3 New York > Washington
    4 Washington
    5 Washington
    6 Washington > Staunton (Shenandoah N.P.)
    7 Staunton > Wytheville (or similar location)
    8 Wytheville > Gatlinburgh
    9 ???
    10 ???
    11 ??? > Niagara Falls
    12 Niagara Falls > Finger Lakes
    13 Finger Lakes
    14 Finger Lakes
    15 Finger Lakes > Green Mountains N.F.
    16 Green Mountains > Newburyport
    17 Newburyport
    18 Newburyport > Boston
    19 Boston
    20 Boston > [somewhere before New York]
    21 New York JFK

    Thank you again!

  6. Default

    Or this kind of route....

    1 New York
    2 New York
    3 New York > Washington
    4 Washington
    5 Washington
    6 Washington > Staunton (Shenandoah N.P.)
    7 Staunton (Shenandoah N.P.)
    8 Staunton > Amish Country
    9 Amish Country > Fingerlakes
    10 Finger Lakes
    11 Finger Lakes > Niagara Falls
    12 Niagara Falls > Adirondacks
    13 Adirondacks
    14 Adirondacks
    15 Adirondacks > White Mountains
    16 White Mountains
    17 White Mountains > Portland
    18 Portland > Boston
    19 Boston
    20 Boston > Bridgeport
    21 New York JFK

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default At This Point

    You have come up with two very generalized but very workable plan. Presumably the pace of these itineraries and the places that make them up appeal to you and your fellow travelers. There is no "best", there is only what works for you, and these two fairly similar plans seem to be it. Either one will result in a great RoadTrip vacation, not least because it's what you have chosen. So, I would forego the Great Smoky Mountains on this trip. Adding them would cost you several days at least and that would be time taken away from your other destinations, and time spent in the car rather than enjoying the places you're driving to. In short, you've done a great job at getting a basic plan together. Now is the time to start filling in the details, but more importantly, realizing that you've done about as well as you can do - and enjoying it.


  8. Default

    We prefer to sit max. 2-3 hours daily in the car, pref. less as we noted last time in the South-West that there is a lot to see along the way. In that perspective, I was thinking of even dropping Shenandoah N.P. and move towards Lancaster on day 6. On the other hand, some fellow travelers in my group read a blog of someone going from Washington downwards to Orlando in 16 days and taking the plane back. Any thoughts?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default My Preferences...

    ...don't matter. What does matter are yours. You've got a good plan that presumably was worked out amongst you and meets your desires. And that is what you should do. I will tell you that I also would opt for the plans you have chosen. I think that the northeastern United States has a lot more to offer in both terms of scenery as the Appalachian Mountains get closer and closer to the sea as you move north, thus bringing you within range of both of them, and in terms of history with most of the original colonial towns in that region, many of the more important Revolutionary and Civil War battles fought between Virginia and Boston, and ease of access since I don't think it's possible to drive more than 2-3 hours without hitting upon something worth seeing. I don't think that the Shenandoah Valley and the northern reaches of the Blue Ridge are outside the scope of this trip. I just don't think you'd get nearly as much enjoyment out of driving down to Orlando because of something someone wrote on a blog. If the things you've said are important to you really are, and if the plan you came up with fills your bill - then stick with your plan.


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