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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Liverpool, England
    Posts
    25

    Default East Coast Road Trip with baby!!??

    Hi,

    Me, my partner and our 10 month old son our travelling to the USA to visit family in 5 weeks time.

    Our trip requires us to fly into Washington DC, stay with family there for a week, then head south to Charleston SC and spend the week there.

    So! before we had our son, we used to road trip in the USA at every opportunity! So we have put a side 14 days to drive down the east coast!

    Questions -

    • Any one done this or part of this road trip?
    • Anyone done it with a young child?
    • Are we taking on too much?


    Proposed Route -

    D.C - Virgina Beach - Outer Banks - Willmington - Myrtle Beach - Charlston!

    All advice and tips will be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    I'm sure that many of our experienced road trippers have done that route. It's on our list for this coming summer -- should be passing through that area (south to north) in a few weeks -- so I will let others comment about it.

    My husband and I traveled with our two for many years, from the time they were babies. One jokes that she "grew up in the back of Dad's van", and the other says (quite seriously) that Dad trained her to have a good strong bladder since he didn't like to stop a lot along the way! They're both now grown, married, and love to road trip themselves when possible. That said....

    You will probably find it much more comfortable to change baby's diapers (nappies) in the backseat of the car. While restaurants are becoming more accommodating with baby changing facilities in the women's restrooms, not all of them do and definitely not in American rest areas. Bring a pad or a towel.

    The airline will probably ask you to bring a baby car seat, right? Best for baby to have the one s/he's comfortable with. Also bring the other comfort items, and if you're not sure if a given food item is available in the US, just ask.

    Babies generally sleep a lot in the car. However, then when they get to the motel at night, they might not want to do that. Motels generally DO have a crib or a playpen for baby to sleep in; otherwise, consider picking up a porta-crib at Wal-Mart or Target when you first get in, or borrow one from a stateside family member.

    Are you taking on too much? I don't think so, but that's me.


    Donna

  3. Default

    So are you saying 1 week in DC, 2 weeks along the way, and another full week in Charleston? Or just two weeks total, one in DC and one everywhere else (mostly Charleston)?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Liverpool, England
    Posts
    25

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mayelli View Post
    So are you saying 1 week in DC, 2 weeks along the way, and another full week in Charleston? Or just two weeks total, one in DC and one everywhere else (mostly Charleston)?
    1 Week at the start with family and 1 at the end. Leaves us 2 weeks in the middle for our trip.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Liverpool, England
    Posts
    25

    Default

    Thanks for the advice Donna!

  6. Default

    4 weeks total is plenty of time for this trip. In fact, you could see a few other places if you wanted to. The actual driving time is less than 15 hrs for what you have planned. Do you really love beaches? For me personally, spending 3 weeks at the beach would be a bit much (I'd consider exchanging a few of the beaches for some time in the Blue Ridge Mountains or Nashville), but if lots of beach time is your ideal trip, then you'll probably be happy with it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Liverpool, England
    Posts
    25

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mayelli View Post
    4 weeks total is plenty of time for this trip. In fact, you could see a few other places if you wanted to. The actual driving time is less than 15 hrs for what you have planned. Do you really love beaches? For me personally, spending 3 weeks at the beach would be a bit much (I'd consider exchanging a few of the beaches for some time in the Blue Ridge Mountains or Nashville), but if lots of beach time is your ideal trip, then you'll probably be happy with it.
    Believe me I would love nothing more than blue ridge mountains and Nashville!! But common sense tells me if we stick to the coast it will be a bit more baby friendly. Does this make sense??

  8. #8

    Default Beach babes(ies)

    buckolfc,

    It's increasingly hard to recall what our sons, now 29 and 25, used to be like at 10-11 months, but aside from some brief frolic in calm waters at the coast, I rather doubt they'd have known much of a difference in setting. Ours pretty much nursed or took naps 24/7 at that age.

    Excepting places on calm bodies of water (the Bayfront of Virginia Beach and the sounds in NC obviously come to mind), there's a dearth of calm water at least along the NC part of your planned route. The oceanfront surf at Virginia Beach and through all of the Outer Banks (OBX) tends to be rough and surprisingly cold, right through the summer. And it's not as though there are numerous nice, sandy beaches on the sound side of the OBX, either. You'll find some here and there below Oregon Inlet, but again, fairly well-scattered.

    Travel tips I'd offer for the coastal route would include: If you're not stopping overnight in Va Beach, plan your arrival to pass through the Tidewater area for mid-day to early afternoon, and take the I-664 Monitor-Merrimac Bridge Tunnel over the James River to reach I-64 to VA 168 instead of remaining on I-64 from Williamsburg/Richmond to VA 168. You'll see I-664 and I-64 form a loop, and you'll do yourself a favor by avoiding the northern/eastern segments if you can. If you do plan to stay in the VB area, consider an overnight at Williamsburg, where Water Country USA has some toddler-friendly pools, or stop by there for an afternoon, then fight the traffic through the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel to VB. If you're planning to stay there, look at the Virginia Beach Resort Hotel and Convention Center, located on the Bay (and one of the only hotels directly on the Bay). There are some good restaurants within a short walk or a short drive and again, the Bay water is warm and calm by late June/early July.

    Avoid heading down VA and NC 168 to US 158 to Southern Shores on a weekend day, as they are "change over days" at the thousands of weeklong rental houses in that area. The result is that access or retreat from or back to Tidewater, VA and the Interstate system looks like the road to Woodstock, NY in August 1969--a parking lot. Ditto the main drag and side streets in the Nags Head to Corolla area on change over days. My relatives who live there simply stay at home on Saturdays and Sundays in June-July-August.

    By all means see the most of the OBX by using the NC Ferry system to hop over to Ocracoke Island and again from Ocracoke to Cedar Island. Be aware of these ferries being very heavily used on Friday-Sunday, and be further advised of the need for reservations for any day's trip from Ocracoke to Cedar Island.

    Excepting driving down Bogue Banks along NC 58 from Atlantic Beach/Fort Macon to Emerald Isle, the great majority of the rest of the trip down the NC coast is well inland from the shore, so side-trips to see it and play along it will be required.

    The surf is generally more gentle and friendly along the Myrtle Beach "Grand Strand" so perhaps that's a place to consider spending some time with the little one.

    I can't help you much beyond Myrtle Beach, only to say US 17 remains inland all the way to Savannah.

    Have fun planning and taking your Tidewater/Carolina Coast RoadTrip!

    Foy

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Liverpool, England
    Posts
    25

    Default

    Foy,

    Some great advice thanks!

    You mention the NC ferry system, this is something I have looked at and as with all road trips we need to be flexible. I hope to be at Ocracoke on the Thursday but I do not want to book the ferry yet, in case something changes.
    • Would booking a reservation 24/48 hours before travel be possible?
    • What is the best website to use?
    • Finally is it possible to do the Hatteras -Ocracoke then Ocracoke - Cedar, in one day??


    Again, thank you for the great advice!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    This is the official site, and the only one you can use to make reservations that I'm aware of.

    Look at the schedules, and use your judgment whether a "same day" is possible.

    I would go ahead and make a reservation now - you can cancel up till 4 pm on the day prior for a refund or reschedule.

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