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  1. #1

    Default Going from Miami to New York [via New Orleans?] in 14 days (August)

    Hi everybody.
    I have been looking around the posts on this forum, but I couldn't find any satisfying answers, so I'll try and hurl some questions at you :)

    The plan: Going to the USA for 21 days (August 16), 3 nights in Miami, 4 nights in New York and 14 days on the road between Miami and New York.

    About the travellers: Married couple from Gothenburg, Sweden (Europe), 28 years old, no kids, thinks they are still 25, likes dodgy bars and good people, good music, nature/scenery, cityscapes and beef jerky.
    Prior experience: Travelled 1600 miles SF->San Diego->Las Vegas->Yosemite->SF two years ago and had a blast (honeymoon).

    Now to the questions.
    The route is quite open. I know I'd like to go via Virginia Beach to Atlantic City and then to new york, but between Miami and Virginia Beach, it's quite open.

    I'm mapping out my route on google maps, and I'm starting to think that it might be possible for us to go via New Orleans to Atlanta and north.. But I really don't want the trip to be too stressful.
    There are no hotels booked or anything, except from Miami and New York, so the plan is to stay wherever we find interesting or neccesary.
    We would really like to be able to stay a few days here and there when we find a place we really like.
    So if we go via New Orleans, I'm afraid it might be too stressful to get back to NYC?

    Another plan is to just go via Atlanta -> Charlotte -> Virginia Beach, and a third option would be to skip the detour to Atlanta and drive closer to the coast up to Savannah, then a turn inwards to Columbia -> Charlotte -> Rocky Mount -> Virginia Beach.

    A fourth option would be to just drive the closest route directly to virginia beach, or maybe drive along the coast.

    What would you do? What would you recommend?

    And, not least important, what should we not miss out on our trip between Miami and New York?!
    Is there like: The largest ball of yarn in the world. A really large moose (or maybe a really tiny moose?). A great club or store or bar? A really cool hotel? A great show? Everything is of interest.

    Here's a few routes I've mapped out:
    (The pins aren't neccesarily stops, it's just pinpoints to map out the route)

    - Via New Orleans and Atlanta

    - Via Atlanta

    - Via Columbia -> Charlotte -> Rocky mount

    - Fastest route

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Some suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by kristoffer_zaar View Post
    I have been looking around the posts on this forum,
    ...and we really appreciate your diligence in trying to find those posts, and a very clever observation about the difference between asking for the "best" route and "what you would do".... Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! Obviously, all of those routes would work OK with your time time constraints. Since you asked what "I would do" and since I have been to New Orleans many times and haven't spent as much time in the Carolinas, If it were me I would focus my energies there.

    Here are some ideas to whet your appetite further (and I have asked one of our local experts to weigh in with his ideas).

    I've always loved the Keys and the Everglades -- they are going to be darn hot and muggy in August -- so perhaps a diagonal along US-41 with stops at the various pull-outs will suffice and make your way up to the Orlando area.

    Anne's tips for day trips in the Orlando area.
    Anne's tips for day trips in the Jacksonville area.

    Another must-see place for me is Wakulla Springs State Park -- otherworldly.

    One of our correspondents is an expert at finding "dodgy" yet-fun bars and he is planning a trip that could roughly parallel your adventure here.
    Another plan is to just go via Atlanta -> Charlotte -> Virginia Beach, and a third option would be to skip the detour to Atlanta and drive closer to the coast up to Savannah, then a turn inwards to Columbia -> Charlotte -> Rocky Mount -> Virginia Beach.
    Here are some ideas in this area:
    Here is one of Foy's excellent posts about the Southern Appalachian (aaa--puh--LAH--chun) culture...
    Another trip planning thread that sorta hugged the coast.
    UK Craig is currently on a world tour -- but this thread covers his Georgia and Tennesse adventures last summer -- some good resources for you here.
    A little more detail about visiting the Savannah area (this is actually in one of the other threads above -- but listed here for convenience)
    More ideas from a similar trip.
    Another superb post by Foy about the Virginia Beach area.

    Happy Planning!


  3. #3

    Default Thanks

    Thanks for all the great suggestions and info.

    Planning this trip will be much more fun than I expected.

    Anyone else keen on sharing some info, please do!

    Thanks again for this great resource!

  4. #4

    Default Sure, I'm always happy to chime in

    Hello kristoffer-

    Mark is too kind to me as he describes my clumsy efforts to write effectively, but I'll accept his compliments nevertheless. Thanks Boss!

    Any description of "what I'd do" is (obviously) related to personal likes and dislikes. Perhaps too often, I include my personal dislikes of heavy urban corridor traffic as a part of my recommendations, when the reality is I'm just not accustomed to dealing with it like so many people are. I will try to give you some information without bias in hopes it will help you make some decisions.

    A lot of people love New Orleans. My wife is one of them. I am not. I would particularly not trade N.O. and the extra time it would take to get over there and then back to the Virginia Beach area for that same time spent in the Southern Appalachians or along the Atlantic coast, which I admittedly love a great deal.

    Your fourth option, driving along the coast, deserves my attention, as that's what I'm most familiar with. The Atlantic Coast, from Miami all the way to NY, is unlike the Pacific Coast in that there are far fewer places to really see the ocean from the highway. The topography is completely flat, with few areas more than a few meters above sea level. The South Atlantic coast is a complex of estuaries, sounds, marshes, barrier islands, and dunes. Where there are places to see the ocean, much more often than not, they're heavily developed beach communities where your view of the ocean is between beachfront houses and hotels and it's frustrating to try to get anywhere due to stoplights and general congestion. That said, the stretch of Highway A1A between Ormond Beach, FL (immediately north of Daytona) up to Flagler is a nice 8 or 10 mile stretch much of which is right on the beach. And don't forget, you can drive your car ON the beach in parts of Daytona Beach, tides permitting (and with payment of a modest fee). And talk about dodgy bars, Daytona's got them by the dozen, especially around the main pier and just a few blocks inland from there.

    I'm not completely certain about near-to-the-beach driving in northernmost Florida, but I don't think there's much of it.

    In the whole of Georgia, I-95 runs just inland from the coast. It traverses some beautiful coastal salt marshes and there are a few places to get down to the sounds, the narrow bodies of water separating the mainland from the string of barrier islands which form the coast itself. In Georgia, most of the barrier islands are either uninhabited or very sparsely populated and not generally accessible by vehicle.

    The same situation (barrier islands and little access) exists for southernmost South Carolina (excepting Hilton Head), and at the Georgia-SC line, I-95 trends inland and is increasingly distant from the coast. From Savannah all the way through the remainder of SC, NC, and into the Virginia Beach, US 17 is known as "The Coast Highway". While it runs closer to the coast than I-95 does, there is still precious few places you see either the sounds or the ocean. There are some neat old fishing villages in SC, south of the megopolis of Myrtle Beach, where there are surely some dodgy bars.

    Myrtle Beach is a 60 mile long strand of high rise hotels, condo buildings, and tourist attractions.

    Wilmington, NC is nice. Just inland from the coast, Wilmington is a historic port city and features a nicely developed group of hotels, restaurants, bars, and Bed & Breakfasts along the Cape Fear River. I once spent a great weekend with my wife at "The Verandas" a B&B only 2 blocks from the river and 2 blocks from the developed waterfront (or as we say around here "within staggering distance"). The rooms and food at The Verandas were first-class. I hear we had fun along the waterfront.

    From around 40 miles north of Wilmington, even The Coast Highway, US 17 trends way inland due to the presence of much larger and wider sounds between the mainland and the barrier islands. Here you're approaching The Outer Banks.

    If I were to plot a course from Miami to NY via Virginia Beach and wanted to see some of the coast in between, here's what I'd do:

    I-95 to Daytona Beach. Drive on the beach a bit. A1A to Flagler, then back to I-95. St Augustine is very scenic and worth a stop. Up 95 past Jacksonville and on to Savannah, another very scenic port city. You might take in Hilton Head Island, in SC, just north of Savannah. HHI is a rather upscale developed barrier island.

    Then I'd take I-95 further up and cut east to Wilmington and visit there for an evening, avoiding the incredible congestion of Myrtle Beach. US 17 to New Bern, thence US 70 to Beaufort. You have the option of cutting east well south of New Bern and traversing the "Inner Banks" and driving the barrier island called Bogue Banks where Emerald Isle, Salter Path, and Atlantic Beach are located. This is a fairly heavily developed island, but primarily in the single story beach home sense. There are but a few Myrtle Beach-style high-rises. The northeast end of this takes you back across Bogue Sound to Beaufort, as well, via Morehead City.

    From Beaufort, the real coastal adventure begins: isolated beaches, dunes, and ferries of the Outer Banks. Excepting a few small villages, the entire distance between Ocracoke and Nag's Head is a National Seashore, , and all development is prohibited, meaning your drive includes many miles of marshes and sounds to the west and dunes and ocean beaches to the east (albeit with but a few places you can see the ocean through the dunes--but you are free to stop anywhere you'd like and walk over to the beaches). Take US 70 all the way to Atlantic, NC, where it ends and NC 12 begins and runs the remaining few miles to Cedar Island. Take the NC Dept of Transportation ferry to Ocracoke Island. It's a 2.5 hour ride, reservations highly recommended, and for certain motel reservations needed on Ocracoke, as it's a very small village on a small island. Howard's Pub is the very definition of a dodgy bar there on Ocracoke. Pay close attention to the accents of the locals--it's a brogue very closely matching Elizabethan English. From Ocracoke you hop the 45 minute ferry (reservations not needed or even taken, as it runs every hour or so) to Hatteras Island. The "corner" on HI is at Buxton, where Cape Hatteras and the famous lighthouse are. From Buxton, with only 2 villages along the way, NC 12 runs all the way to Oregon Inlet and its bridge connecting to the Nag's Head-Kitty Hawk-Kill Devil Hills heavily developed beaches. As you reach there, NC 12 joins US 158 Bypass, but just to the east is old NC 12, locally known as The Beach Road. There are still a precious few old bars, cafes, and retro motels on The Beach Road. Across the Beach Road from Avalon Pier is Awful Arthur's Oyster Bar, a locals and tourists favorite. Drinks, food, and live music abound and you can normally stroll the pier without paying a fee afterwards.

    From there, US 158 crosses the Currituck Sound and gives way to NC 168 towards Tidewater VA. There is no Tidewater on the map, as it's the regional term for 6 city area including VA Beach. It's also known as Hampton Roads. You'll connect to I-64 off of what has now become VA 168 (a new toll road between the NC-VA line and I-64), thence to I-264 if you want to go to the heavily-developed Oceanfront or on up one more exit to Northampton Blvd if you prefer the less developed Bayfront. Northampton Blvd is US 13 and is the highway which crosses the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (CBBT). Just east of where the CBBT leave the Va Beach side is Lynnhaven Inlet and just past there, on Shore Drive, is the Va Beach Conference Center and Resort. I like this because the beach is uncrowded there, the waters calm and warm, and the views of the US Navy and commercial shipping going through the CBBT are terrific. Sunsets over the water there. There are some great breakfast spots, bars, and restaurants very close by, some within "staggering distance".

    Take the CBBT/US 13 over to the Eastern Shore and on up through eastern VA, MD, and to Lewes, Delaware where you'll catch the 2 hour Cape May Ferry (and I think reservations are required on that one). A number of communities on the Eastern Shore are worthy of note, and they include Tangier Island, VA, and Crisfield and St Michael's, MD. Tangier is accessed by passenger ferry and is normally a day trip only. The other two are mainland fishing and crabbing towns with nicely developed accomodations, eateries, marinas, and plenty of bars within staggering distance from your motel or B&B. At Cape May, New Jersey, you've got the whole of the "Jersey Shore" before you, including Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Asbury Park, and the Stone Pony bar. It doesn't get any more American than that, does it? From there, there are a number of ways to get to NYC.

    I do have some ideas concerning more inland travel, say between Atlanta and Virginia Beach, but for now I'll give Mark's bandwidth a break and leave you with this to ponder. Let me know if you want the other material, won't you?

    Enjoy the planning and the trip!


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Excellent Ideas!

    ...but for now I'll give Mark's bandwidth a break...
    Text doesn't carry much of a usage load on our bandwidth and we have a spare Gbs to give today anyway....


  6. #6

    Default Wow..

    My new friend.

    Thank you for a superb post. It's amazing that you would write such an elaborate post just to help me. Although for future planners of this route, your post will be the only rescource they need, I'm sure.

    I've mapped out the route in Google Maps, and I have to say it looks pretty exciting!

    There's only a few things that worries me, and it's the reservation-parts..

    Quote Originally Posted by Foy View Post
    Take the NC Dept of Transportation ferry to Ocracoke Island. It's a 2.5 hour ride, reservations highly recommended, and for certain motel reservations needed on Ocracoke, as it's a very small village on a small island.
    Since we have no idea how long we will take to get to the Cedar Island area, it will be very difficult to book both ferry and hotel (far) in advance.

    What we might do is book the ferry at least a few days in advance. Say we could stay a few nights in the Bogue Sound area and call and reserve the ferry when we arrive there. As for a hotel/motel on Ocracoke, that could be tricky, especially if we try and find something (in our price range) just a few days in advance.. I heard that August is vacation-month in the US aswell.

    But as far as that goes, I can see us just doing it into a day trip, or spend a few hours there and then move on to Cape Hatteras National Seashore and drive until we find something.
    On the other hand.. These things usually works out. We'll probably be able to find something on Ocracoke if we feel we have to. Just switch on the ol' charm.. Meaning; "open the ol' wallet" :)

    What do you think? Do you have to book the ferry several weeks ahead, or will a day or two be sufficient? The same questions goes for the Cape May-Lewes-ferry.

    But at that point, driving north west and then into Philly would not be the end of the world.
    I would like to go via Ocracoke/Cape Hatteras though. Looks sweet!

    Quote Originally Posted by Foy View Post
    I do have some ideas concerning more inland travel, say between Atlanta and Virginia Beach, but for now I'll give Mark's bandwidth a break and leave you with this to ponder. Let me know if you want the other material, won't you?
    This I would be very interested in, but I really can't ask or expect you to do so.

    Thanks again, Fay. Very impressed here!

    Cheers for now,

  7. #7

    Default My pleasure


    It's a pleasure to assist, and due to my typing speed, not too much of an effort.

    I'll jump back in on inland travel in the next 2 days or so, but for now, a few comments on the coastal route:

    Travel time to Cedar Island: From Wilmington, through New Bern, Morehead City, and Beaufort, I would estimate 3-3.5 hours of driving time. Perhaps more if you take the Bogue Banks route and stop more frequently. From Atlantic Beach, where you'd return to the mainland from Bogue Banks, it should be around an hour's drive to Cedar Island.

    I just checked the NCDOT ferry schedule, available online at, and the Cedar Island-Ocracoke ferry runs 6 times a day at this time of year. I just called the toll-free phone number and was advised that reservations should be made "as far in advance as possible". When I asked if a day or two in advance would be enough, the reply was "probably not". What you might do is book some reservations as soon as you have a tentative itinerary, then change them (if you can) later. If you have difficulty booking a reservation, you can take a 3 ferry roundabout trip to Ocracoke by crossing the Neuse River near New Bern on the Minnesott Beach-Arapahoe ferry, then cross the Pamlico River via the Bayview-Aurora ferry, then US 264 a few miles east to Swan Quarter, where a 2.75 hour ferry ride to Ocracoke awaits you. The two river crossings are brief in duration and the schedules show frequent departures during the daytime. BUT, the same people at the reservations desk said the Swan Quarter route is only "sometimes" easier to book than the Cedar Island departure point. Finally, I would note that you could take the two river ferries and just follow US 264 east, through Englehard and Stumpy Point, to Mann's Harbor, where you rejoin civilization following a LONG desolate drive through marshes, pine forests, swamps, and tiny fishing villages. It is said about Stumpy Point, NC, " It's not at the end of the world, but you can see it from there". Having missed Ocracoke, you can still visit Cape Hatteras National Seashore and the lighthouse by driving south down NC 12 from the point where NC 12, US 64, and US 158 all merge, locally called Whalebone Junction. It's only about 50 miles to Buxton and the Cape from there. For that matter, you could set up a motel base camp in the Nag's Head area and do a day trip down to Ocracoke via the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry. If you do that, you've probably got time to go up NC 12 to its end at Corolla (cah-RALL-ah) and see the Currituck Lighthouse and visit the quaint but upscale town of Duck, NC.

    I don't have any recent info on the Cape May-Lewes Ferry and in fact have never personally taken it. My info comes from a relative who regularly rode that ferry some 6-8 years ago. Surely some online information is available.

    More later on some inland travel, also known as "the Barbeque Trail".

    Best wishes,


  8. #8


    Thanks again for your efforts!

    Quote Originally Posted by Foy View Post
    I just called the toll-free phone number and was advised that reservations should be made "as far in advance as possible". When I asked if a day or two in advance would be enough, the reply was "probably not".
    Somehow, at this point I wasn't surprised that you'd actually call to ask them! You're too helpful! :)

    Anyhow. That doesn't sound too promising. One of the premises for this trip is to not plan too much ahead. Just sketch out a few possible routes, a few points of intrest perhaps, and then drive and see what happens. I am really keen on the Cape Hatteras/Naags-head-area though, and even though we might take an inland route via, say Atlanta, we might head that way before going to Virginia Beach. Set up a base camp in Naags-head, as you suggested.

    Looking forward to your post about inland travel!


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Wow!

    Looking forward to your post about inland travel!

    Me, too! Great tips, Foy. Even though I had no plans to travel through there anytime soon, you sure make me wish I could!

  10. #10

    Default It's closing in

    Thanks for all the help so far!

    Oh, just realized: I have some questions of possible routes.

    Witch route would you prefer? Are they both easily doable in 14 days? (Google estimates both routes beeing ~1 day 7 hours driving time. Would that be about correct?)

    Inland tour versus Coastal adventure

    Another thought is to add a detour to atlanta on the coastal adventure. It'd add a couple of hours to the itenerary, but maybe it'd be worth it?
    Any good shopping in Atlanta?

    Cheers for now,
    Last edited by AZBuck; 08-11-2008 at 08:36 AM. Reason: Bumping is considered rude behaviour

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