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  1. Default Our first road trip in the US: NYC to Charlotte, NC, in 4 or 5 days

    Hi all,

    my wife and I (from Norway) plan a trip to the US early in May this year. Our plan so far is to fly to NYC, stay there 3-4 days, rent a car and drive south for 4 or 5 days. Looking at the map, it seems Charlotte, NC, may be a good place to aim for, according to google maps, travelling from NYC to Charlotte (via Washington DC and a detour to Williamsburg) should take approx. 13 hours. This would make 3-4 hours driving per day, with plenty of time for sightseeing (and/or detours, if we find any nice places off the route we should visit).

    So, apart from the mentioned Washington DC and Williamsburg (and of course NYC where we'll spend the first 3-4 days), what places do you suggest we visit on this trip? Since this is our first US trip together, we're looking for pretty standard things, like historic sites, nice scenery etc. Also, if the weather is nice, would it be possible to go for a swim, e.g. somewhere near Williamsburg, at this time of the year (early May)?

    Another question: We will book our hotel in NYC in advance, but prefer to have as much freedom as possible when driving. Will it be easy to find places to stay along the road at this time of the year, without booking in advance? Thinking of cheap places like Motel 6 etc. What should we expect to pay per night for a double room?

    Best regards from Norway,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default A Sampler

    Velkommen! Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    It would seem that history, scenery, and some seashore would be high on your list of places to visit. So without adding too much to your driving, let me suggest a few additional venues to add to your itinerary. I'd just drive direct from New York to Washington, leaving NYC well after rush hour and aiming to get through Baltimore and arrive in DC well before rush hour there, say 10:00 to 3:30 if everything goes well. Alternatively, you could take a slightly more relaxing approach and go south from around Elkton MD on MD-213 through Chestertown to the Eastern Shore of Maryland and spend the evening and the next morning in Annapolis, the colonial town that became the capital of the state and the site of the US Naval Academy, and is a great walking town, before heading into DC. For your stay in the Washington area I would strongly suggest that you stay outside the city near one of the subway (Metro) lines and use that as your transportation into and out of the city. Nearly all of the sights in Washington are on or within easy walking distance of the National Mall, while parking is limited and expensive.

    After Washington, use US-17 down to Williamsburg, it's simply more scenic and less hectic than I-95/I-64. On your way (at the southern terminus of the George Washington Memorial Parkway) is Mount Vernon, worth the stop of you're interested. Then when you're done at Williamsburg, head for Jamestown, the site of the first successful English settlement in America and take the small local ferry over to Surry VA, then VA-10 southeast to US-460 east, hooking around the southern edge of the Norfolk metropolitan area. Going this route gets you to the ocean (Virginia Beach) without having to fight your way through several bottlenecks associated with the James River. If time permits, you might want to continue down to the very northern end of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, around Manteo, for more beach, a visit to Kitty Hawk (site of the Wright Brothers' first flight) and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site (site of an earlier, failed English colony).

    Depending on where you end up on the coast, you would use either US-58, US-158 or US-64 to head inland to Raleigh/Durham, then I-85 to Charlotte. There are a couple of Revolutionary War battlefields along that route including Alamance and Guilford Court House if you're interested.

    Very generally, you can expect to pay around $60 for a good mid-level motel room, and maybe $40 for a budget room. Remember to factor in the quality of any 'free' breakfast included with the room and the number of people that get fed. My own experiences tend to make me opt for something just a cut above the cheapest rooms available. I think they're by far the better value in terms of amenities and (my own particular criterion) quiet. You should have no trouble at all finding rooms on the fly, but do a bit of homework before you hit the road so that you know the general quality of the various motel chains.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 03-04-2012 at 08:24 PM.

  3. Default

    If you like history, I'd recommend checking out the many historic sites in Fredericksburg, VA as well as perhaps Montpelier (James Madison's former home) in VA.

    At the beginning of May, the ocean will still be COLD. The most I'd want to do is dip my toes in it, though some very hardy people might consider swimming.

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