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  1. #1

    Default Taking a Scenic Trip From Baltimore/DC to Savannah

    My boyfriend and I are planning a weeklong road trip down South, from our home in Baltimore down to Savannah, Ga. Two important rules:
    1) Wed like to avoid highways (for the most part) and check out some pretty local scenery.
    2) Were trying to keep it cheap, so the plan is to camp for 2 nights on the way down, stay in a B&B when we get there, then camp for 2 nights on the way back.
    Can you help me come up with routes, places (cities, towns, beaches, restaurants, bars, roadside food shacks) to see on the way, national/state parks where we can camp? The boy has never been to the South, and Ive never been the driver in charge on a road trip, so wed both like to soak up local flavor on the way down but are basically clueless how to get there and how to see the best the region has to offer. We dont mind meandering a bit, but not too far off our destination, and though we're pretty adventurous we would prefer to stay away from dangerous or unfriendly areas.

  2. #2

    Default Routing suggestions

    Hello ahowar-

    I'll throw a dart or two at this one.

    On the way down, look at escaping the urban clutches of DC/Balto by going out I-66 to US 29, thence down 29 to Culpeper, where you'll pick up US 15 south. You could also hop over to US 15 via VA 3 and VA 20 from Fredericksburg if that works better for you.

    US 15 is mostly 2-lane and winds through a very nice, entirely rural section of central VA, with many beautiful farms, small mountains, and small towns. Take a very short side trip through the campus of Hampden-Sydney College along the way--it's just a mile off of the highway just south of Farmville. You could camp at the Occaneechi State Park at Clarksville, VA, where US 15 crosses Kerr Lake.

    From Clarksville, US 15 passes through Oxford, then Durham and Chapel Hill, NC. If you've an interest in sights there, in an obviously more urban environment, they're there for the taking. From south of Chapel Hill, the rural character returns as US 15 continues south through central NC. If I were going to make a two night trip out of it, I'd look to the area around the Santee-Cooper Lakes, SC for camping night two. US 15 passes through the NC-SC Sandhills region and the towns of Laurinburg, Bennettsville, Society Hill, and Sumter en route to intersecting I-95 at the Santee-Cooper Lakes area.

    But, I might prefer to save an additional night for the trip back, where I'd look at running up US 17 out of Savannah, skirt the heavily developed beaches at Myrtle Beach, and run the ferries and bridges up the Outer Banks. I'd book a reservation for the North Carolina DOT's Cedar Island-Ocracoke ferry and overnight on Ocracoke Island. I'm pretty sure there's a campground or perhaps more than one on Ocracoke. Check the Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout National Seashore websites for info on Federal campgrounds there. A guidebook, noted below, should help, as well. Then I'd take the the Ocracoke-Hatteras ferry, see the lighthouse at Buxton, thence up through the heavily-developed Nags Head area, blast through Tidewater VA (Norfolk-Portsmouth-VaBeach,etc) and take the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel to Kiptopeake State Park on the Eastern Shore, near the north end of the CBBT. That puts you within about 200 miles of Balto, where you'd cross the Bay Bridge to get there.

    I'd ROUGHLY estimate a full day's travel from Savannah to Ocracoke. The Cedar Island-Ocracoke ferry alone takes about 2.5 hours, and reservations for the ferry and for accomodations on Ocracoke are highly recommended. The Ocracoke-Hatteras ferry is only about 45 minutes, and from there, the drive time alone up to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel will be about 3 hours. It will be in your interest to avoid transiting Tidewater at rush hour, then again, being from Balto, perhaps you're used to urban traffic. It drives me just about crazy, so I mention it a lot here. The CBBT crossing allows a stop on one of the artificial islands to take in the view, and I highly recommend it. From the toll plaza, you're only around 20 miles from Kiptopeake SP on the other side. I recall once having reserved a campsite at another VA State Park, so I'd look into that, as well. Kiptopeake is a popular place. If you can't get in there, there's a commercial campground next to the town of Cape Charles, VA (Cherrystone campground?) and that's < 10 miles up the Eastern Shore from Kiptopeake.

    I'd consult Woodall's or some other campground guidebook for specifics of campgrounds, reservation info, etc. As to places to eat, gee, there are thousands of BBQ shacks, fish camps, and the like.

    Happy planning and traveling,

    Last edited by Foy; 06-03-2008 at 07:53 AM. Reason: Clarification, additions

  3. #3

    Default Thank you!!

    Thanks so much! This is amazing. Exactly what I needed and I figure we'll be able to find the real southern roadside food this way...because I doubt it exists off of 95.
    Any ideas on where to stay in Savannah that's not too insanely expensive but is not a Holiday Inn?

  4. #4

    Default Never been to Savannah


    Notaclue where to stay in Savannah, as I've never been there, only passed by on I-95.

    If NC barbeque and "southern cooking" in general is on your list, and if you'll be passing by during "eating hours", look up "Mama Dip's" in Chapel Hill. Although I've never been there, she gets written up regularly in the area newspapers and has appeared on national TV as an authentic old southern-style cook. Allen & Son BBQ in Chapel Hill gets good write-ups, as well, but I've never been there. Further down US 15, from below Pittsboro, NC and all the way down to I-95, be aware of any place called "fish camp" as these are generally authentic seafood restaurants serving fried fish, shrimp, cole slaw, hushpuppies, and iced tea. Most do not serve alcohol of any sort. On the return trip, you'll pass by Calabash, NC, on the NC-SC border. Calabash is famous for fried seafood dinners. Up towards Nag's Head, there is (or used to be) a burger stand called "Dune Burger" on the "Beach Road" right at Whalebone Junction, where NC 12 meets the US 158 Bypass. They serve(d?) old-fashioned large burgers and fries. A little farther up, in Kitty Hawk or Kill Devil Hills, is Awful Arthur's Oyster Bar, a Nag's Head area favorite and right by the beach, again on the old beach road. Finally, up in Tidewater VA, there's Bubba's Crab House about 2 miles east of where US 13 leaves for the Eastern Shore. Bubba's is off of Shore Drive (the last exit before the toll plaza for the CBBT) on the waters of Lynnhaven Inlet. Also close by to there is Chic's Oyster Bar, a rollicking local's hangout just up the creek from Bubba's. Either spot would be a great place to stop before a late afternoon/early evening crossing of the CBBT.


  5. #5

    Default yum

    I'm already salivating. Can't wait!
    Thanks again!

  6. #6

    Default Glad to be of assistance

    I look forward to reading your trip report once it's all done. Kindly post one so many can see the high and low points of your Road Trip.



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