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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Trondheim, Norway, Norway

    Default Boston - DC - Nashville - Miami in may 2014

    My family (girlfriend 24, and my parents 60+), is traveling from Norway to New York next spring. We have booked flights to New York May 4th, and back from Miami may 19.

    I have tried to make some plans, and would be really happy for any suggestions and help from you on this forum.

    Day 1-4
    New York

    Day 4
    Check out of the hotel and pick up a car in New York and drive to Boston, visiting some friends of us.

    Day 5

    Day 6
    Early drive from Boston to Washington DC. Take a walk in DC and see the most important. 7 hours driving.

    Day 7
    Drive from Washington, Skyline Drive. Maybe to Gatlinburg, too far? 7 hours driving.

    Day 8
    Gatlinburg, day off.

    Day 9
    Drive to Nashville. 3-4 hours driving.

    Day 10
    Nashville, day off.

    Day 11
    Drive to Graceland, and towards Atlanta after a visit on Graceland. 7-8 hours driving.

    Day 12
    Atlanta - Savannah. 3-4 hours driving.

    Day 13
    Savannah, day off or maybe drive to Orlando in the evening?

    Day 14
    Savannah or Orlando.

    Day 15

    Day 16
    Orlando/Miami. Flight leaving at 21.30 in the evening.

    Thanks for suggestions!
    Last edited by larskj; 09-17-2013 at 06:08 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default 20 pounds of stuff in a 10 pound bag

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think you've got a case where you are underestimating how big the US is, as many, if not most of your travel days are really too much, and your drive times are just not realistic.

    Boston to DC is a pretty solid 8 hours, and that's if you're lucky enough to avoid any major traffic - on the busiest travel corridor of the entire country. At best, it will be a long, tiring day on the road that will leave you very little time to see anything at all in Washington. If you want to actually do more than drive by the monuments, and perhaps quickly browse one or two of the Smithsonian's world class (and free) museums, you should plan at bare minimum a full day here. It is also worth noting that Boston and DC are both cities that are tough to navigate by car, and you might be best using trains to get from NY to Boston to DC, and then pick up your car when leaving DC.

    Washington to Gatlinburg is 500 miles, that's a good 8-9 hours if you stick to the freeways. You could do that in a full day on the road, but there is no way you will have time for scenic detours onto Skyline Drive or the Blue Ridge Parkway. Both of those scenic drives involve maximum speed limits of 45 mph, and you'd actually need at least 3-4 days if you wanted to drive them all the way to Tennessee.

    Nashville to Atlanta via Memphis is 600 miles - which will take you more than 10 hours, before you stop at Graceland or anywhere else. That doesn't leave you any time to actually see Graceland, Memphis, or Atlanta.

    Savannah to Orlando is nearly 300 miles, and at close to 5 hours of driving, is more than what you'd call an "evening" on the road.

    Basically, you've got a trip where pretty much everything you are planning is doable, but it will take you longer than you're planning, and you won't really have time to see many of the places you're planning to stop. I also suspect that going at this fast of a pace won't be very comfortable or enjoyable for your parents. You do have some off-days built in to your trip, and if you shuffle things around, you should be able to have a very nice trip, although even there, I think you might want to cut out a couple of destinations - perhaps Nashville and Memphis as they are quite a long ways removed from the other things you want to see.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Trondheim, Norway, Norway


    First of all, thank´s for answering this post.

    I think you have made me realize that we have to change our flight home from may 19 to may 23.

    We are most interested in small towns after visiting NY and Boston, so Washington DC will just be a quick stop this time I think.Same for Atlanta, this is just a place to stop and find a motel, not visit the city.

    About the Skyline Drive or the Blue Ridge Parkway my plan was to go the Skyline Drive and interstate rest of the trip to Gatlinburg. Mountains and views is a thing we see every day here in Norway :) And as I have read, the Skyline Drive is the shortest and maybe the best way for us this time? Correct me if i´m wrong, it´s not easy when i´ve never been there before and just read on the internet.

    I have also looked at the possibility of skipping Memphis and drive from Nashville to Savannah.

    Another question, if we change our flight to may 23, should we take the way south from Memphis to New Orleans via Natchez Trace Parkway, and then east to Orlando/Florida, or Memphis - Atlanta - Savannah - Orlando/Florida? Which road is most interesting after driving from Washington DC to Memphis?


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If you are mainly interested in small towns, why are you even going to go near Washington DC and Atlanta? There are plenty of motels at a lot of Interstate highway exits that are nowhere near big cities, and they will often be considerably less expensive than city hotels.

    If you are going to drive from Boston toward Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway, the last thing I'd want to do is go right back down I-95 through the most congested corridor in the country. I would take I-90 to I-84 to Scranton PA, then I-81. You will be able to make it to Winchester VA in one day, that's very near the beginning of the Skyline Drive.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I have to agree with GLC, if you want to focus on small towns after NY and Boston, then why are you building a trip that focuses exclusively on cities? I would also agree that if you're not going to spend any time in Washington, then it's certainly not worth the headache of spending all day driving down I-95 through what is usually horrifically bad traffic.

    If you really want to focus on scenic drives and small towns, then I would take the time to do Skyline and BRP - and also visit Shenandoah and Smokey Mountain National Parks on either side. You might also skip Nashville, and then head down through the Carolinas towards the coast, heading to Charleston before Savannah. That would let you go at a slower pace, and actually stop to explore some of the small towns along the way.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Trondheim, Norway, Norway


    So, our flight back to Norway from Fort Lauderdale is now rebooked to may 23.

    I´ve looked at two alternative routes and would like your opinion on both routes.
    Both routes has the same estimated time on road, and we start our driving from Boston may 8, after 5 days in Boston and NYC.

    From Niagara Falls to Gatlinburg I would like some advice on interesting roads. We can re-arrange and make an extra day for the trip from Niagara Falls to Gatlinburg, or any other parts of the road trip.

    Day 1 Boston - Niagara Falls
    Day 2 Niagara Falls
    Day 3 Niagara Falls to Ohio/West Virginia. Where to stop?
    Day 4 Drive to Gatlinburg
    Day 5 Gatlinburg
    Day 6 Gatlingburg to Nashville
    Day 7 Nashville
    Day 8 Drive to Memphis and Graceland, start towards Atlanta.
    Day 9 Atlanta - Savannah
    Day 10 Savannah
    Day 11 Savannah - Orlando
    Day 12 Orlando
    Day 13 Florida
    Day 14 Florida
    Day 15 Fort Lauderdale

    Day 1 Boston - Winchester
    Day 2 Winchester - Skyline Drive - Gatlinburg
    Day 3 Gatlinburg
    Day 4 Gatlinburg to Nashville
    Day 5 Nashville
    Day 6 Nashville to Graceland
    Day 7 Graceland
    Day 8 Graceland to Savannah. Sleepover near Atlanta.
    Day 9 Atlanta - Savannah
    Day 10 Savannah
    Day 11 Savannah - Orlando
    Day 12 Orlando
    Day 13 Florida
    Day 14 Florida
    Day 15 Fort Lauderdale

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Small town America.

    With your interest in small towns there are a couple of scenic routes between Boston and Niagara Falls, which will take you through a plethora of small towns. Many of these reflect the early European settlement of the Unites States.

    In Massachusetts route 9 west of Worcester to Ware; and US 20 - Jacob's Ladder Scenic Byway - from Westfield to W Becket. Both of these are easily accessed by diverting off the MassPike (I-90). In NY there is US 20 west of Albany, from Westmere to.... well as far as you want or time will allow. I would take it at least to I-81. This route in particular is full of history of early European settlement.

    These slower roads will probably not get you to Niagara Falls on day 1. You could spend a night in either Syracuse or Rochester, and take I-90 direct to Niagara early on day 2. That should still give you ample time to explore the falls and some of the side attractions.


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