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  1. Default Washington D.C. to Shenandoah National Park to Blue Ridge Parkway(?)

    Hi everyone,

    My wife and I will be making our first trip to the US this May (she'll be on business and I'll be tagging along). We plan on doing a roadtrip from Washington D.C. (which is where we'll be based for 5 days) towards Shenandoah National Park and beyond.

    Our initial thinking is for the whole roadtrip to span around 6-7 days. After Shenandoah National Park, would it be advisable to travel further south onto the Blue Ridge Parkway and beyond, or would it be better to head eastwards towards Charlottesville, Fredericksburg and back to D.C.? If it's more worthwhile to travel the BRP, where would be a good ending point to turn around and head back to D.C.?

    We intend to make this a scenic and relaxing holiday by taking in as many natural views as possible.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks in advance!!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Depends...

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    As with most decisions about a RoadTrip, which almost by definition is highly customized, such things as where to go and what to see depends on a number of factors. You've got plenty of time and you've indicated that scenery and relaxation are prime objectives. So, let me just point out a few of the options that are available to you, and let you choose.

    First of all, I think you're right on target by considering traveling some distance down the Appalachians and then heading east before returning to Washington. Such loop trips allow you to be constantly experiencing new vistas, and keep the sense of exploration alive throughout the trip. But actually you have enough time to get a little farther south than you're currently contemplating, even as far as Great Smoky Mountains National Park. On the way down you can stop and stroll through such picturesque towns as Lexington and explore lesser known natural sites as the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. A side trip to Charlottesville to tour the World Heritage site, Monticello, might also be in order.

    However far south you go, and whatever you choose to see, I would then suggest that you look at a day's drive on some back roads heading for the coast around the Norfolk area. While there, take in a little American history in the Historic Triangle, and then cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel to the Delmarva Peninsula. Head north paralleling its Atlantic coastline to either Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge or Assateague Island National Seashore before crossing the peninsula to the Chesapeake Bay side and fishing villages such as Chrisfield, isolated and seldom visited islands such as Tangiers, and local museums such as the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Finally, you'd cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge over to Annapolis, another picturesque town that's great for a relaxed stroll and only an hour or two away from returning to Washington.


  3. #3

    Default It's hard to go wrong in Virginia in May

    Hello Aaron,

    Despite having lived in VA or NC all of my 57.5 years, I had never driven the Virginia section of BRP much south of Mile 0 at Rockfish Gap until a spur-of-the-moment 70 mile drive in late September 2012. We got on at Mile 16 and drove down to Peaks of Otter, Mile 86. It was entirely delightful, with many overlooks to the Shenandoah Valley to the west and to the Piedmont to the east. There is a staffed Visitor Center at the James River and it deserves a stop. There a footbridge takes you across the James to a restored canal lock from the 18th century. At Peaks of Otter, a shuttle bus can take you to the summit of Sharp Top, offering stellar 360 degree views.

    Weather may be a factor in May. It can get hot in the Piedmont then. I'd be much inclined to stay at higher, cooler elevation and run down to, say, Roanoke on the BRP. I'd then be much inclined to return to the DC area up I-81 through the Shenandoah Valley to I-66.

    Enjoy the planning and the RoadTrip!


  4. Default

    Thanks AZBuck for the comprehensive itinerary suggestions!
    Foy, thanks for your great tips as well :)

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