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  1. Default Upstate NY To Charleston, SC

    Hello All,

    Newbie here to road tripping. My family is doing a trip to Charleston, SC from Albany, NY in June. We are leaving on a Friday evening around 4pm and plan on driving to roughly midnight. What I am struggling with is the route to take. Typically I would take 95 south in the off hours. However, since we are leaving late afternoon on a Friday, I am assuming 95 from NYC metro to DC could be ugly on a summer weekend. Can anyone suggest a good alternate route? Our goal is to make it somewhere in VA for a nights rest. One suggestion for me was to take 87 South to 287 in NJ to RT 78 west to I-81 south in PA. I was told that would bring me somewhere south of Baltimore. Please feel free to offer some suggestions...


  2. Default

    The direct route using mainly the dreaded I-95 is about 900 miles.

    If it was me, and I didn't have enough time for the scenic roads such as the Blue Ridge Parkway, then... Albany > I-88 > Binghamton > I-81 > just before Wytheville > I-77 > Columbia > I-26 > Charleston. That's about 1000 miles but more scenic and less stressful.

    On that route, Scranton is about 200 miles from Albany, then comes Harrisburg at about 320 miles. There are also the usual clusters of chain motels at intermediate exits for smaller towns.

    That's just one idea and doubtless other posters will have other suggestions for you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Quote Originally Posted by sidewater View Post
    One suggestion for me was to take 87 South to 287 in NJ to RT 78 west to I-81 south in PA. I was told that would bring me somewhere south of Baltimore.
    I wouldn't recommend this option, because if you're going all the way down to I-287, you're already getting into the NYC Metro.

    I'd recommend taking the same general route that John recommended, with the exception that it could be faster for you to take I-87 to I-84 to Scranton, rather than using I-88, depending upon your location in the Albany area and desire to avoid the tolls of the Thurway.

    I'd agree that I-81 all the way down to I-77/I-26 is going to make for your easiest and most stress free drive.

    Otherwise, you could take US-15 from Harrisburg through Gettysburg to Frederick and then I-270 and the Beltway back to I-95 - although that obviously had you heading right back into the DC area where you've got plenty of potential for problems.

    No matter which way you go, you're not going to be able to get to Virginia that first night. Hagerstown or Frederick -depending upon your route - is really as far as you should look at getting that first night, even that will likely have you on the road until past midnight.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Your Objectives are Stressing You Out

    The first thing to note is that, when properly planned, RoadTrips can be the least stressful way to travel since almost all of the decisions on what to do and how to do it are up to you. If you choose to add to your stress by driving at the height of traffic periods, in congested areas, and late into the night, those are your choices and you seem to be making all of them. I suspect that those decisions are based on a plan to get to Charleston in less than a day and a half, because there is no other reason to go the way you're going or trying to press on as far as you plan to on the first evening. But the fact is that you can't safely make it to Charleston in a day and a half no matter what some on-line mapping software may tell you or what you think you can do. At nearly a thousand miles, no matter which way you go, this trip requires a full two days of driving. That means that if you don't leave until late in the afternoon on Friday (along with all the other vacation bound travelers) you can't be in Charleston until sometime Sunday.

    If you accept the facts of this trip, then the route that John suggested would be the way to go. It sure beats trying to drive through New York, the Philadelphia suburbs, Baltimore, Washington, and Richmond - all at the start of a summer weekend when the roads are clogged with other people trying to get away. But rather than push on until you're exhausted Friday night, plan on no more than a few hours to get a good beginning to your trip. I'd suggest the far side of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre so that you have clear sailing first thing on Saturday morning. Then your second overnight would be around Charlotte NC, leaving you a relaxed 3-4 hour drive on Sunday morning to get to Charleston.

    If you endanger yourselves by trying to drive too many miles in too few hours in order to get to Charleston by Saturday night, the best you can hope for is to arrive exhausted and waste most of Sunday recuperating anyway. The alternative is to have a relaxed drive ant a reasonable pace through scenic areas and basically be ready to start your actual vacation at just about the same time. With a lot less stress.


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