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  1. #1

    Default Toronto to Myrtle Beach


    We are planning a road trip from Toronto to North Myrtle Beach this August. I am hoping I can get some help in planning this trip.

    We, Dad, Mom, and two kids (9 and 5) will leave Toronto on Thursday Aug 9th and hope to be in Myrtle Beach by Saturday Aug 11th. We would prefer to leave by 3:00 pm (after work). However, if we have to, we will leave early in the morning and take that day as vacation. We would like to be in Myrtle Beach by about 5pm, but no later than 9pm.

    We will stay in Myrtle Beach for two weeks and will start our return journey on Saturday Aug 24th around noon (or can be on the road by 8am). We would like to be back home in Toronto by Monday night.

    We would love to visit following sites on either our way their or back:

    Washington DC
    Hershey, PA
    Skyline Drive
    Blue Ridge Parkway
    Not sure if we would have time to add anything else on this list, but suggestions are welcome. Kids enjoy interactive museums and factory tours.

    It would be ideal to drive few hours in the morning (starting 7am or so) and then stopping for few hours by 11am and doing some sightseeing and then getting back on the road by 4pm and stopping by 9pm for the night.

    I would also appreciate suggestions for day trips from Myrtle Beach. Since we will be there for two weeks, It would be nice to take couple of day trips away from the beach. I was thinking Charleston, but maybe too far for a day trip?


  2. #2

    Default Day trip suggestion

    Hello jacksonjohn83,

    If the weather at the time is favorable (read: no low clouds which are fog at higher elevations), either the Skyline Drive (SD) or the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) would be fine additions to your trip down to South Carolina. Be advised of the fee to use the SD, required since it's within the Shenandoah National Park, and the absence of fees to get on the BRP.

    Without myself taking on the task of mapping (but by all means I encourage you to employ the mapping functions within RTA!), I can envision Hershey, PA and Washington, DC as stop-overs either going or coming. I will caution you about the DC area traffic congestion, particularly severe when trying to leave the District at evening rush-hour(s) on a weekday, so planning your departure to avoid, for example, continuing south on a weekday afternoon at 4pm would be in your interest, as by 9pm you might be lucky to reach Fredericksburg or Richmond, VA.

    For a day-trip from Myrtle Beach, have a look at Wilmington, NC, an hour's drive north, depending on where in MB you're departing from. Along the Cape Fear River waterfront in downtown Wilmington is the battleship North Carolina a World War II dreadnaught, offering tours (fee charged) daily. South of Wilmington, past Carolina Beach, lies Fort Fisher, a Civil War emplacement of crucial importance inasmuch as it defended the Confederacy's last seaport until falling in early 1865. A branch of the NC Aquarium is located near Fort Fisher, too. At Fort Fisher, a State of NC ferry boat transports cars and their passengers across the lower Cape Fear River on a 45 minute run which kids seem to enjoy greatly, taking you back to the Myrtle Beach side, at Southport, NC. From Southport, either on the same trip or another day's excursion, a passenger ferry runs the 20 minutes to Bald Head Island, known for its "no cars" policies, and catering (I believe--check ahead) to day-trippers, who can rent bicycles or golf carts to tour the island. Between Southport and the NC-SC line, Calabash, NC offers "Calabash style" fried seafood, including "popcorn shrimp" in family-style largely alcohol-free seating areas. My own kids could eat their weight in fried shrimp when they were 9 and 15, and supper at Calabash was a special treat.

    Have fun planning and taking your US RoadTrip!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Toronto to Myrtle Beach via fastest route is a full 2 day drive without sightseeing. Any sightseeing and/or detours you want to take will require a 3rd day. I'd recommend you take Thursday as a vacation day and get back on the road early that Saturday morning.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default More on the Subjects

    I agree with glc on the time required for the drives down and back - two full days worth. if you can spare a third day in either direction, then you can plan to spend that day in either Washington or Hershey, but probably not both.

    On the other hand, if your are constrained to do one of the 950-1000 mile drives in two days (or a shade more spread over three days as you describe your schedule for the drive down) then that drive can be devoted largely to a scenic route with a few quick stops in state and local parks for such necessary things as meal breaks and a bit of exercise. One such scenic route would start by leaving the Buffalo area on US-219 south. Stay on that all the down through Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia. At Leadsville WV start a little stair-stepping to the southeast via US-33, I-81, and I-64 to join the Blue Ridge Parkway at Alton VA. Enjoy that for about 70 miles (more will really start to eat up your available time) and then use US-501/US-29 down to Greensboro NC and I-73/US-74/I-95/US-501 to finish up the trip to Myrtle Beach. Large portions of that drive traverse national forests and piedmont farmlands and so makes the best use of your limited driving time on the way down.

    Then on the way back north you can, as noted, maybe leave a day early from the coast and fit in one or two of your desired stops while sticking mainly to the I-95/US-15/I-390 route home. Other possibilities on that route include Gettysburg, Corning Glass Works, the sailplane museum in Elmira, and Letchworth State Park.

    As for day trips out of Myrtle Beach, I agree with Foy that Wilmington, Charleston and Florence delineate about what is reasonable to attempt. I would strongly recommend Charleston and the ferry ride out to Fort Sumter and a visit to Patriot's Point. Happily the ferry leaves from Patriot's Point making it easy to combine the two. You might also enjoy a visit to one of the old plantations along Ashley River Road, but that would require a second day(trip). Another possibility is one of our lesser-known national parks, Congaree Swamp in central South Carolina.


  5. #5


    Thank you Foy, GLC, and AZBuck for all the details, it is very much appreciated. I am going to take some time to digest this and will come back with more questions. We should be able to set 3 full days for each of the drive there and back.

    Since I have driven on Pacific Coast Highway between L.A and San Fran several times in both directions, I can use that as an example to ask a question. To me, it is better to drive from San Fran to L.A on PCH due to ease in making stops at vista point then the other way around. Similarly, Is it better to drive on Blue Ridge and Skyline drive north bound or south bound? Are there any caveats I should know.

    With regards to I-95, I have only read bad things about this highway in terms of traffic (on this forum). For drive between Myrtle Beach and DC, would it be better to take I-85 part of the way from Durham to (just before) Richmond? Sole purpose of this would be to avoid traffic.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I can't answer for Blue Ridge Parkway, but I can about Skyline. The views are on both sides, and there seem to be equal amounts of turnouts on both sides of the road. When we went through there (Saturday morning 8 am to about 1 pm last July) there was hardly any traffic on the road -- only bicyclists at first, but we got ahead of them. So crossing the road to do a viewpoint on the opposite side of the highway was never an issue.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I don't think there's any compelling reason to drive the BRP and Skyline in one direction over the other.

    The traffic south of Richmond on I-95 really isn't THAT bad unless it's a holiday weekend. If you want to make it from MB to DC in one day, I'd take I-95. The traffic around Raleigh and Durham is no picnic either.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Two Comments, Then

    I've driven the Blue Ridge in both directions and don't remember one way being more scenic or more convenient. Unlike the Pacific Coast Highway, where all the attractions are to your west and it make sense to drive southbound, the sights and pull-offs from the Blue Ridge are on both sides. Also, I tend to remember traffic on the Blue Ridge as being generally lighter and definitely slower, making crossing the road much easier.

    For a route between Myrtle Beach and DC, that will somewhat depend on how much time you have for that leg. If you need to get into the city of Washington, and you get a late start from the Beach, and you want to do the drive in a single day, then I-95 is really your only choice. It's not a bad road. It's just that it is the main transportation corridor for the east coast and it does carry more than a fair amount of truck traffic. If you can get an early start from Myrtle Beach, and/or can pull up south of DC, and/or don't mind a fairly long day in the saddle, then you can look at a nice, relaxed, scenic drive up the Piedmont, but I wouldn't necessarily use I-85. I've had great success using some of the four-lane US highways for which the South is well known. In this case, a route built around US-501/SC-38 up to Rockingham NC, then US-220/I-73 to Greensboro, US-29 up through Virginia, and finishing up on US-15/I-66 into DC would be a good alternative, but would add about 2 hours to the drive time. If you can spare even more time for the drive to DC (this would take closer to a day and half), you can take a coastal plain route that uses US-117/US-13/US-17 (and some smaller connecting roads). As noted, both of those alternatives would avoid I-95's traffic, but both would take longer, and would have you dealing with occasional town/city traffic, so the choice is yours.


  9. #9


    Thanks again for all the replies.

    US-219 route sounds amazing. However, my wife will have an issue with that as her idea of a road trip is to get on a plain. So, since I have convinced her on a 3 day trip each way, I have to give her some interstate travel to show that we are moving fast towards our destination.

    Based on above comments from Dona and AZBuck, I would like to do the trip south with Skyline and Blue Ridge first and way back via DC.

    Thinking out loud....

    Day 1: (wife day)
    What if we leave early morning on Thursday (7am) towards Harrisburg, PA via I-90, 390, US/NY-15 with a short stop in Corning or Elmira (let the kids decide). Google and MS Streets & Trips maps say this would be about 470 miles from Aurora, ON.

    US/NY-15? I am worried about this in terms of speed. Can we do 470 miles and a stop in Elmira in one day?

    Day 2: (My day)
    I want to drive part of Skyline and part of Blue Ridge. If I can get a short hike, that would be great. What I really want to do is a tubing on James river. I read one of the sticky thread from this forum and found several place which offer tubing on James river at different locations; Scottsville (end of skyline dr), Lynchburg (half way on Blue Ridge), and Buchanan (between Lexington and Roanoke).

    One idea is to drive from Harrisburg to Front Royal and do the the Skyline and then head for Scottsville (almost an hour away) and do the tubing and then drive south on Blue Ridige from Pine River (56) to Lexington and call it a day.

    Second idea is to drive the Skyline and part of Blue Ridge and join I-81 using 56 (at Vesuvius) and drive to Buchanan and do the tubing. After tubing, either drive back to Lexington or Roanoke and call it a day.

    With 1st option, I have to drive 40+ miles out of way each way to include tubing. With second options, if for some reason we are running late, we may not be able to do
    tubing as the last tour starts at 4pm and one has to be there 30 minutes prior to it.

    Day 3:
    Lexington/Roanoke to North Myrtle Beach. I have to find something to do that day (another museum or maybe a historic place or some sort of architectural spot).

    Any thoughts?


  10. #10

    Default Scottsville, VA, on the James

    Hello again friend,

    Driving from the southern end of the Skyline Drive at I-64, to Scottsville, and then along VA 56 back to the mountains is, quite frankly, a terrible idea. The ride back towards Lexington is particularly lousy with curves. You're liable to have a car full of carsick people who'll be seriously mad at you if you do this.

    Far, far better to jump on I-81, a nice drive in and of itself, and run down to Buchanan if tubing the James is a must.

    As to Day 3, the NC State Zoo is just outside of Asheboro, just south of Greensboro, along the US 220/I-73/I-74 corridor, and is a large "natural habitat" zoo with very few bars/fences to be found. Perhaps another 2.5 to 3.0 hours to North Myrtle from there?


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