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  1. Default First 'roadtrip' ever - Northeast Feb 2015

    Hi Guys,

    Marking my 30th with my first trip to the US 6-22nd Feb with my girlfriend. Flying in and out of JFK. Upon arrival, spending first four nights in NYC. Yet to plan itinerary between 10-22nd.

    Still getting to grips with the scale of the place. How far/where 'realistically' can we travel to in the remaining twelve days? Should I just keep it strictly North-East (NYC, Niagra, Boston...?) or do we have time to travel a little further south to experience some blues? If so, how far? Keen to experience a 'roadtrip' but don't want to feel like Im rushing....

    Any suggestions, tips etc. would be most welcome.

    Many thanks in advance,
    Matt
    (A complete US/roadtrip novice)

  2. Default

    Your first concern is the weather. At that time of year roads in the north can be subject to hazardous winter conditions.

    How wedded are you that that time or year and/or that area? I'd suggest keeping south and avoiding mountains in winter - or using rail transport which is convenient for the Boston-New York City-Philadelphia-Washington DC route (sometimes called the Northeast Corridor).

    As for planning, nothing beats studying maps (online or printed as you prefer). Get a feel for where the places that interest you most are, where the mountains are, what the climate is like in various areas at the time of year you plan to visit, where the roads run, and above all the distances involved. This takes time, but that's time well spent.

    As well as cities, you might like to research the superb national parks in the USA (and perhaps Canada). They are truly magnificent places.

    Driving in the USA and Canada is generally easy and relaxing, except IMHO busy freeways with multiple lanes in big cities. Opinions differ regarding daily mileage. FWIW I wouldn't want to drive more than 300 miles in a day but other people are happy with 500. Most people are agreed though that on a holiday each long distance driving day should be balanced with at least one day with only local driving. There are some areas of the USA where driving could be fairly restricted with a bit of thought.

    Perhaps you'd like to post again in this thread as your plans develop.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default North vs South.

    Hi Matt, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    Congratulations on your upcoming milestone. You are in for a treat!

    In February, the northeast will be still very cold, so unless you are really looking for snow (depending on where you live), the northeast may not be the best choice for a roadtrip.

    It certainly would be possible (and in my books preferable) to travel a little further south to experience some blues.

    You could include a visit to DC and its many monuments and attractions, especially the Smithsonian. If you were interested in including DC, my suggestion is that you do not rent a car until you leave DC, taking the train from NYC to DC. Both cities have excellent public transport, parking is expensive and hard to find.

    Lifey

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default The Farther South the Better

    As others have pointed out, the Northeast is not at its most 'visitor-friendly' self in February. Much the same could be said about the mid-Atlantic (including Washington, DC) as well. You probably shouldn't expect outdoor weather much farther north than the Carolinas. You might luck out and get it, but don't expect it. With that in mind, I would second Lifey's suggestion that you plan on using public transportation (subways mostly) in New York and Washington and not even hire a car until you're ready to continue south out of DC. I'd also suggest sticking to the coast (a route described here). Note that the mountainous western route is not recommended at this time of year. Take your time southbound, but keep an eye on the weather and be ready to start your return trip via I-95 before the weather turns against you. If the weather is bad enough, it will even affect train travel on the Northeast Corridor, another thing to keep in mind.

    AZBuck

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