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  1. Default Cross country trip need ideas and hints plz

    Hi all, next June, my family (husband, 3 teenagers) will travel from our home in North Central montana to New York City, then down to D.C. then down along the coast to DeLand Florida. Then we will head home, basically making a straight line from Florida back to Montana.
    My questions are what sights are there along the way both going and coming home? From the way the map looks, we will go down and see mount Rushmore then head straight across to New York. Any neat places to stop and see?
    Then we will head straight down the coast to Florida. Any good attractions? We are pretty open to most experiences.
    Any ideas and especially hints and suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We have never taken a cross country road trip to the east coast before.
    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    First thing I think I'd do during planning is to sit down with your three teenagers with a good US map. Start flagging things that catch interests. You want the teenagers invested in the trip, so they should have a say-so about what you see. They can also get online and do some research!

    You didn't mention how much time you have for this trip. If you've never planned one before, allow no more than 500-550 miles drive on a pure traveling day (no sightseeing stops) and allow plenty of time for the things you DO want to see.

    You also didn't mention how you plan to travel. Is this a vehicle/motel trip, RV, or camping trip?


  3. Default

    Central Florida has some fantastic crystal clear springs and rivers. They can be snorkeled, tubed, and kayaked. The visitors center at the border will have brochures of the springs. Also ask the people at the counter for advice.

    If you donít mind crossing over to the gulf coast, and if you want to see alligators, LOTS AND LOTS of alligators, head to Myakka State Park. In the touristy southern portion of the park, you might see a dozen alligators. If you get to the park when it opens you can get one of 30 daily permits for the wild northern section. First come, first served; no reservations!

    After a two mile hike, youíll end up at Deep Hole where you can get as close as you dare to over 100 huge alligators. Alternatively, you can paddle two hours to the hole. Itís pretty exciting watching these behemoths surface and swim past your kayak.

    If you head to the gulf coast, spend a day at Homosassa Springs State Park. It is a fantastic park featuring native Florida wildlife. There is an underwater observatory where you can watch fish and manatee swim by.

  4. Default

    Thank you traveling man and Donna!
    We are traveling by car. I haven't figured out how long the trip will take exactly but I'm giving us about 16-18 days to do this. This includes spending 2 days in New York, 2 days in D.c. and approximately 4 days in DeLand with family. I think I had figured on straight driving days 10 hours traveling, which depending on the state/road/ and speed limits average 700 miles per day. We have three drivers so we plan to share time. We want our main sight seeing time to be in New York and d.c but also want to stop and see things along the way if they are quick and easy attractions.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default That Won't Work

    Simply put, you've got ten solid days of driving ahead of you to make this trip comfortably, and more importantly: safely. Add in the eight days that you plan to spend in your three destinations and you literally have NO time left for ANY sight-seeing. The driving time estimates you get from computer-based mapping routines are pure fantasy. They do not allow for any stops: no meals, no fuel, no bathroom breaks, no traffic congestion, no nothing. They assume you'll be driving at or above the speed limit every second of every minute of every hour. Not going to happen. Period. With five people you'll be extremely lucky to cover 550 miles or so on any given day if you stick strictly to the (boring) Interstates. 700 miles on the best day you could imagine is simply out of the question. You either need to add significantly more time to this trip, cut out NYC/DC or Florida completely, prepare for a lot of "Are we there yet?" moans from the back seat, or some combination of all three.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 12-29-2019 at 12:30 PM.

  6. Default

    10 hours, 500 miles.

    Do you really think you’ll drive 10 hours at 70mph constantly? Figure 50mph and hope for 55.

    There will be accidents, traffic, construction, gas stops, food stops, more construction, bathroom stops, welcome centers, rain etc. and those stops tend to take more time every day you’re on the road. From the moment you merge onto the off ramp, the time keeps accumulating but the miles do not. Same goes for construction and traffic. Your avg mph immediately decreases. It could go down to 60, 55 or lower.

    Drive 70 but plan on averaging 50. You’ll avoid hurryupitis. If you find yourself making better time, consider it a bonus. The most dangerous things you can do is try to make up lost time by speeding or driving too many hours.

    This year I have traveled over 8000 miles on several road trips and aiming for 50mph relieves driving stress when all the above mentioned delays happen.

    Enjoy your trip.

  7. Default

    Youíll need eleven 500 mile driving days for your trip, with no stopping for sightseeing etc.

  8. Default

    Ok, all this is good to know. Also I was just informed of tolls on the main roads. I was encouraged to consider staying on secondary roads as much as possible.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Money is Time

    We're glad that you're taking our advice on being realistic about how many miles you can drive in a day into account. Many don't, to their regret. But also be aware that skipping toll roads and "staying on secondary roads as much as possible" is also going to significantly increase your driving time, pretty much everywhere from Chicago to New York to Washington. If you were to shunpike all of them, you'd have to add at least another day to your driving time.


  10. #10


    Toll roads are a fact of life along the east coast and across the top of the Midwest. What you may want to explore is getting an EZ Pass account set up so you arenít slowed down or end up where thereís only electronic collection and you will pay more if they read your license plate. Check out this website, Almost every state you will be in starting in Illinois to New York and down to Virginia uses EZ pass. You can buy it from any state and use it in all, just not sure if you can buy it online but I imagine thereís a way to do that.

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