Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1

    Default 80-Day Road Trip Across the U.S. (Aug-Oct 2016)

    Hello all!

    It has been over seven years since I've last posted here and I would just like to thank all the wonderful people who made recommendations and helped me and the hubby with our 22-day road trip back in 2007. (Yes, 2007! Time flies!) We've been on many more road trips since then but they have all been west of the Rockies and this will be our first time exploring the east side of the country. All suggestions are welcome! We love national parks and enjoy hiking. We like the big cities, we like small charming towns... and we're looking forward to some spectacular fall foliage, covered bridges and lighthouses.

    Here is our route in progress and we will have 5-6 weeks for the eastern portion of our trip:

    Cuyahoga Valley National Park
    Niagara Falls
    White Mountains
    Acadia National Park
    Boston/Cape Cod
    New York City
    Washington DC
    Shenandoah National Park
    Orlando/Miami/Key West
    Everglades National Park
    Blue Ridge Parkway
    Great Smoky Mountains
    Little Rock

    Is Congaree National Park worth a side trip? Hatteras Island?

    And what's up with all the toll roads? We've driven plenty out west and we just don't remember having to take any toll roads. Can these toll roads be avoided or is better to just go ahead and budget for them?

    Thank you all in advance for any suggestions and happy road tripping to those of you already out on the road!
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 05-31-2015 at 08:15 AM. Reason: Added link to previous trip

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Some toll roads can be bypassed with no major inconvenience, others you are pretty much locked in unless you are willing to drive farther and take more time. A good set of paper maps will give you the big picture.

    Note that quite a few of the eastern cities are a major pain with a car, and generally have decent public transportation.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Parking is an issue in the cities.

    As alluded to by glc, when in Boston, be sure to get accommodation out in the suburbs, near a railway line, and commute into and out of the city. Parking is extremely difficult in the city and very expensive. Other than the MassPike from Sturbridge to my destination in Newton and the crossing of the Hudson, I normally manage to avoid all toll roads when travelling to and from Boston.

    Similarly for NYC, you are best off parking your car in a long term parking garage in NJ, for the complete duration of your visit to the city. Chose one close to a railway, so that you can take the train into Central Station. In NYC parking is not difficult to find, it is virtually impossible, and when you do find it, it is horrendously expensive.

    The hotels in DC often have parking available. Once again, to go and see the sites parking is an issue. But the public transport is very good. The buses go to all the attractions.

    If you are prepared to pay for tolls, for convenience sake, I would recommend that you get an EZpass. You can apply for one online and have it sent to you. That way the tolls are considerably cheaper. The pass covers tolls from Chicago east through all the eastern States. But not in FL.


  4. #4


    Thanks for the info, Lifey and glc! With patience and research, we've been able to reroute our east coast itinerary avoiding toll roads and taking the longer scenic route. It has definitely added way more miles but we love being on the road so that's okay. The only portion where we just can't seem to avoid the toll roads is between Boston and New York. And as recommended, we'll stay somewhere in Jersey and take public transportation into Manhattan. Florida is another story. Looks like it's going to be a whole lot of driving in just one state but thankfully there's plenty to see there so we'll work on that later.

    Nevada question: We'll be driving US 50 across Nevada in the middle of August to get from Great Basin National Park to Lake Tahoe, would it be too hot at that time of year or not too bad since it's higher in elevation? I've read that it involves quite a few mountain passes over 400 miles. Just worried because it's a pretty long stretch of road with very few towns in between. Any recommendations would be appreciated. We've considered driving up to Twin Falls, to Boise, and then back down to the Tahoe area. Although that's a pretty big detour so not sure... so many places to see! Because if we're going that way anyway, we'd really love to see Fly Geyser. Starting to think this road trip is becoming too ambitious but we're going with it! :D

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Boston to New York - No Tolls

    Believe it or not, it is possible to go from Boston to New York without paying any tolls, and without taking a big hit in extra time or miles. At least it was several years back when I was traveling regularly between Maine and Delaware. The only trick (and advantage I had) was in getting out to the Worcester area west of Boston. There are a couple of possibilities from downtown Boston or wherever you stash your car for the duration of your stay. One would be to take MA-2 (relatively good quality road) out to around Littleton and then use I-495 and I-290 to just south of Worchester. That works well if you're starting from northwestern portions of the city. From western suburbs, US-20 through Marlborough then a short jog north on I-495 to I-290 is better. MA-9 runs essentially parallel to the Mass Pike and ties directly into I-290. All of those routes cost a little time, but only the first costs significant miles.

    From I-290 just south of Worchester, the rest of the trip is straightforward and toll free. Continue to the end of I-290 where it becomes I-395. At that point there is also a junction with US-20 and that's the road you want to take west from there. This is (or was) a pretty decent road with 50-60 mph speed limits and only one traffic light that I remember. It will take you to Sturbridge where you'll hop on I-84 for your entire drive through Connecticut. Just after crossing into New York, take I-684 south which connects up with the Hutchinson River Parkway at White Plains.

    The Hutchinson River requires a bit of warning. It is a parkway, not a freeway. It is four lanes, divided, with entrances and exits just like a freeway, but it is twistier than Interstate standards and exit and entrance ramps are shorter with shorter sight lines. Just get in the left hand lane and stay there. Depending on where you're going in New York City you'll have a few options, but I was always headed for the George Washington Bridge and so used the Cross-County and the Admiral Deegan Expressways. I even think that the GW Bridge is free westbound. The one road you want to avoid at almost any cost is the Cross-Bronx Expressway (I-95).

    Anyway, comparing the supposedly fastest (toll) route against even the most tortured combination of the above 'shunpikes' shows that at most you'd have to drive another 35 miles or so and spend another 40 minutes behind the wheel. I always found the savings in tolls and aggravation well worth it. It is worth noting, however, that since I was driving these roads, both the Connecticut Turnpike and the New England Thruway in New York (both I-95) have gone from being toll roads to free, so that the only toll road still left is the Mass Pike and the toll on that from Boston to Sturbridge is 'only' around $4.15.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Let me modify the suggestions from Boston to NYC just a bit - get off I-84 just east of Hartford and take the Charter Oak Bridge to I-91 south. I believe the exit is marked for CT-15/US-5. Take I-91 to Meriden then get on the Wilbur Cross Parkway, which is CT-15. This will become the Merritt Parkway and when you cross the NY state line it will be the Hutchinson. Then jump on I-287 to the Tappan Zee Bridge, it's free going north/west. This is much better than staying on the Hutch any farther south and fighting your way to the GW.

    Depending on exactly where in NJ you will be going, your 2 major toll-free options are the Palisades Parkway or I-287. 287 takes you around the western suburbs, the Palisades will dump you on I-95/I-80 at the west end of the GW Bridge. Find a suitable place in NJ to ditch the car and take public transportation into NYC.

    US-50 across NV is a great drive. Just fill your tank in Ely and try to make it to Fallon (260 miles). There is gas in Eureka and Austin, but it's expensive. Ely is the only town with a variety of lodging and eating choices between Great Basin and Fallon.

  7. Default

    Hello, I live in Florida and we also have tolls from Orlando to Miami. They can also be expensive but we do have EZPass. Just a note about Miami, it's very crowded and the beaches are not nice. I would suggest traveling down the west coast from Orlando-head towards Naples on 75 to Marco Island. From Marco Island-gorgeous public beaches- you can reach Everglades City-a bitty tiny town with several small privately owned motels, even condos. If I remember, it's about an hour drive to Everglades City from Marco Island. It's a big fishing spot-my boyfriend worked there for a year, so I visited it a lot. The mosquitos are very active. There are a couple of boat rental places where you can rent a boat and see the Everglades. There's also airboat tours. From Everglades City, you head south on 75 and you cross the state via Alligator Alley which takes you towards Ft. Lauderdale and Miami-which I would drive through and not even stop. There is a beautiful natural spring outside Orlando called Wekiva Springs. Beautiful cool water for hot August days. Florida is full of natural springs and some are just breathtaking-most of which have camping sites and/or cabins. There's also a speed boat that leaves from Ft. Meyers, also on the west coast, that goes directly to the keys. You can spend the night, leave your car behind, and return via boat. They have sales every now and again for a hundred bucks.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Hello, I live in Florida and we also have tolls from Orlando to Miami. They can also be expensive but we do have EZPass.
    Actually it's SunPass - the EZPass from the northeast does not work in Florida.

Similar Threads

  1. december 28th - january 18th 2016 road trip San Fran - Chicago- help??
    By Kirsty Evans in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 03-22-2015, 12:49 PM
  2. Dallas to Miami road trip, January 2016
    By sharmaq in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 03-05-2015, 07:44 AM
  3. 60 Day Trip - Across the US - Any experience or resources?
    By jesse_d in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 01-15-2015, 01:44 PM
  4. travel companion for a road trip across U.S. oct.-nov.
    By thibaud in forum Share the Gas
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 10-06-2010, 03:38 PM
  5. X-Country late Aug-early Oct '04
    By Wrigley in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 12-05-2003, 09:19 PM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name