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  1. #1

    Default Atlanta GA to NJ and back

    My husband and I are pondering taking our just turned 10-yr-old son on a road trip to NJ in late June to see Springsteen in concert. Do any of you all have suggestions for a great road trip from Atlanta to NJ and back? The only time I've been up to the northeast was 15 years ago, to Maine and back, and that was before marriage and kids - so I could really use some help planning a family-friendly trip.

    Thanks in advance!

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

    Default A starting point

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Driving to Jersey to see Springsteen, now that is a great trip idea. I love it.

    As far as other things to do while on your trip, a lot of that will depend upon what you are interested in and how much time you have.

    My first recommendation would be to spend some time in DC, there are plenty of things to do and see there that even a 10 year old would enjoy.

    Otherwise, if your family is more into nature, you could either spend some time driving up the Blue Ridge Parkway.

    Or if history is your cup of tea, there are many civil war sites that you could stop at along the way.

    That should at least get you started. Have fun!

  3. #3

    Default A starting point

    Hi Midwest Michael, here's a little more detail about my much-too-vague first posting (and thanks for your reply!).

    It looks like the trip from Atlanta to NJ is about 880 miles. Having never done that length of car trip with a youngster, I'm looking for realistic suggestions from other parents about how long this will take, and how much to drive each day without driving our 10 year old son nuts. Is doing this drive in 2 days reasonable? I don't know yet if I can take the time off work to turn this into more of a vacation and spend extra days in DC, Virginia, Maryland, etc. So for now, I'm looking at this as more of a road trip with NJ as the destination.

    It looks like there are basically two ways to go (A) 85 to 95 and then up through DC, Baltimore, Philly or (B) 85 to 77 to 81 and up along the Appalachians. Probably (B) is a lot prettier (is this true?). Does (B) take longer than (A) - or the other way around? If we go with (A), and it turns out I can take more time off work, we would be able to see the sights in DC. If we only have 2 days, we can at least eat crab in Maryland. How about if we go with (B) - what could we add to the trip in that case? Any great small towns to spend a night in?

    I love to eat at local places and avoid fast food. Any suggestions for eating our way up to NJ? Fifteen years ago when we drove up to Maine and back, most of what I remember about Maine was all the different ways we ate lobster and blueberries.

    Besides food, we enjoy history (Williamsburg is on the list if we end up being able to turn this into an extended vacation), nature, and hanging out in small towns soaking up local culture.

    Mom of 1

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Option C

    There is another possibility besides the two that you name, and it is one that might appeal to a 10 year old boy. You would take I-85 to Emporia, VA, and then cut across southern Virginia on US-58 to the Norfolk area where you would hook up with US-13 north through the Delmarva Peninsula. You would then use US-113, MD-90, and DE-1 to Lewes, DE and take the ferry over to Cape May, NJ. Whether this route make logistical sense depends on where you're going in New Jersey. But for a hypothetical trip from Atlanta to Trenton, I-85 and I-95 is around 825 miles while the route I have outlined is about 860 miles, not much difference. The "C" option would let you show your son the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, NASA's Wallops Island Flight Facility, and enjoy a ride on an ocean going ferry.

    Just another option


  5. Default Atlanta GA to NJ and back

    I would agree with AZ Buck. I think that is an interesting route. As long as you have the time. The ferry gives you a driving break & a chance to get out of the car & stretch your legs. Food is available on the ferry. But you do have to get the schedule & get there on time or you will lose valuable time. I have done that route up Rt 113 several times (not lately) and I like it. But once I did "just" miss the ferrry so depending on the season & schedules it can be a long wait for the next ferry. You can drive it by going up to the Delaware Bridge & NJ Turnpike ((Rt 95) but I was rushing too much to enjoy it at that point.

    I have also been to Chincoteague & they have a nature preserve there with wild ponies. It is interesting. They also have many motels & restaurants there.
    The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is also real neat for all but especially a 10 yr old boy.

    Where in NJ is Springsteen East Rutherford by the Meadowlands or at the shore? I live in NJ. If East Rutherford then take Garden State Parkway to NJ Turnpike (Rt 95).

  6. #6

    Default option C looks absolutely great

    diddelydi, Springsteen is performing in Holmdel, at the PNC Ampitheatre. Not far from Asbury Park, but further inland.

    Option C looks great! Just checked this out on a map. I think this would appeal to everyone, not just my son. We love both the mountains and the shore, and the suggested side trips sound like winners. (Plus, for the foodie in the family.....mmmmm....seafood in a little beachside joint....mmmmm)

    Any idea how much time we should allow for this route? diddelydi, how long did this route take when you did it? Maybe we can meander more slowly up this route and then come back more quickly down 95?

    So glad I found this forum. Thanks for the great ideas!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default C More

    Mom, since Option C appeals, here are some more thoughts. It's going to take a good 2 days to do this, and what I think might be best is to cover some miles on the first day and dawdle on the second. When you start out, you'll be on Interstates for the most part and covering miles that are relatively near to home and that you can get to on day trips later at your convenience. Best would be to get to the Norfolk area on day 1, but that's 565 miles or so, which might be at the outer edge of what some would find comfortable. If you can do that, then you'll 'only' have about 300 miles to cover the second day. It also puts you in position to cross the Bridge-Tunnel in early morning light and spend a little more time in an area you may not get back to for a while.

    A few words about the Delaware shore. The towns from Bethany Beach to Fenwick Island tend to be more family oriented and quieter while Dewey and Rehobeth Beach tend to attract a younger and more boisterous crowd. If you'd like to spend some time on the beach, then I'd recommend Delaware Seashore State Park between Bethany and Dewey. If you end up with some time to kill before catching the ferry, Lewes has it's quaint and historic aspects and would be worth at least a walking tour.


  8. #8

    Default C more

    Yes, I was starting to think along similar lines. I'm checking to see if I can switch some vacation days around and take 5 days off for this trip. If I can do that, then what I'm thinking is leave Monday night after work and drive 150 miles to Greenville, SC. Then Tuesday, drive 425 miles to Norfolk, VA.

    That leaves Wed, Thur, Fri for dawdling through Delmarva area. Maybe side trip to Colonial Williamsburg on Wed, up to Chincoteague on Thur, up to Bethany Beach on Fri. Then Saturday, up the Jersey Coast. The Springsteen concert is 8 pm in Holmdel, which is nearish Asbury Park.

    For 5 days off work, that means driving madly back to Atlanta Sunday and Monday. What would be the fastest way to get back in two days?

    Thanks so much, AZ Buck.

  9. #9

    Default Motels near Holmdel NJ

    Since you live in NJ....looking at the map, Holmdel (where the Springsteen concert is) doesn't seem to be near anything in particular. Any suggestions for where we should try for a motel? We would need something for one night not too far from Holmdel, so that we don't have to face a long drive back to the motel after the concert ends. Maybe something in the direction of I-95, so we can hop on that interstate and head back south the next day.

    Also, on a summertime weekend, about how long will it take to go up the Jersey coast from Cape May to near Holmdel? Can we meander up through the beach towns, or are we talking traffic gridlock on a weekend through places like Wildwood? How will the Garden State Parkway be going north on a Saturday? Ideally I'd like to spend some of Saturday early afternoon in Wildwood, since the boardwalk sounds like a hoot, and then drive up towards Holmdel. Would we have enough time to do that, considering the concert is at 8 pm and we need to check into a motel at some point before we go to the concert?

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