We are planning our first US road trip in August/September, starting and ending in NYC.
The plan so far is as below:
Day 1 (21st August) - Flight into JFK, afternoon in NYC
Day 2 - NYC
Day 3 - NYC
Day 4 - Hire car from EWR and drive to Skyline drive for 1st night, possibly stopping in DC for a very brief sightsee/lunch
Day 5 - Drive BRP to approx. Fancy Gap
Day 6 - Drive BRP to Asheville
Day 7 - Drive to Nantahala for White Water Rafting
Day 8 - Drive to Nashville
Day 9 - Nashville
Day 10 - Nashville
Day 11 - Drive to Memphis
Day 12 - Memphis
Day 13 - Drive to Chicago
Day 14 - Chicago
Day 15 - Drive to Niagara
Day 16 - See Niagara/drive to Finger Lakes early evening
Day 17 - Finger Lakes
Day 18 - Drive back to EWR to drop off car and return flight is 10pm.
Based on this itinerary, is there anything glaringly obvious that is a no-go? Judging by route planners, there shouldn't be more than 8 hours solid driving in any one day, and there are 2 of us to share the driving, although obviously the Blue Ridge Parkway will be a slow leisurely drive.
Any suggestions on recommended routes (or routes to avoid!) from Nantahala to Nashville, Nashville to Memphis, Memphis to Chicago and Chicago to Niagara would be greatly appreciated. I know the latter two will be all day drives, so drives with some nice rest stops would be best, but not at the detriment of too much time, although the first two we would be looking for the most scenic with more leisurely stops as we will have more time.
Also, any suggestions of anywhere to rent a car from cheaper than EWR that will allow us to return it there would be appreciated. We will be staying in Manhattan however want to weigh up cost/time of having to drive through New York if we pick the car up there. The one thing we have realised is that our return day is Labor Day, which is why we have such a late flight and will allow most of the day to get there - so don't really want to be messing around travelling the return end, so would rather drop off the car at Newark.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts/suggestions. Thank you.