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  1. #1

    Default Chicago to Washington D.C.

    Hi there!

    I am brand new to this forum. My name ist Christoph, I am from Germany and my wife and I
    want to make a roadtrip from Chicago to Washington D.C. from Sept. 24. und Oct. 8th. We don't
    know anything between these spots, but I think it might be a very interesting area. We like to
    hike, to do visit culture things, as museums, interested in nature and relaxing a couple of days at the beach
    (If possible at that time of year!).

    There are allmost no information or travel guides of these areas, so I hope You all could give me some information.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,920

    Default Some Appetizers

    Willkommen! Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I'm a bit surprised that you couldn't find much information on the area that you'll be driving through since it's a major commercial and tourist corridor. But that actually works out to your advantage, because you've come to real people with real experience who can get you away from all the trucks and vacationers. You don't say for certain, but I'm assuming you want a mix of city and country experiences and that you'd like to spend at least some time in both Chicago and Washington. With two weeks, all that is possible, including some time at the beach.

    So, the first thing I'd recommend is that you get your culture/museums in the cities. Chicago and particularly Washington are both home to some wonderful centers including (in Chicago) The Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Science and Industry, The Field Museum , and Adler Planetarium, just to show the range available. There's also a beach of sorts for walking along. In Washington, most of the best museums fall under the umbrella of the Smithsonian Institution, while many of our nation's monuments and government buildings are along the National Mall. Clearly, you will not lack for cultural opportunities.

    But it's on the RoadTrip in between those two cities where you'll get the best chance at hiking and nature. If/when you map out the route between Chicago and Washington. most software will tell you to take I-80/I-76/I-70. Don't do it. Those are all Interstates (Autobahns), and mostly toll roads, and devoid of the opportunity to just go at your own pace and stop at random places that pique your interest. They are made to connect cities, not take you to scenic sights in between. Instead I'd recommend that you use the US Highway system and state roads to head southeast through Indiana to the Ohio River, follow that for awhile, then cross the Appalachian Mountains to the Potomac River and thence into Washington. You can get creative here, but one (just one) possible routing would go: US-35 (starts near Michigan City IN east of Chicago) to the Ohio River near Cincinnati, then US-52 along the Ohio River to Huntington WV followed by US-60 to Lexington VA. That would put you in position to drive north on the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive to front Royal VA and finally US-50 into the Washington area.

    Besides letting you drive through some of America's smaller towns at a relaxed pace, a routing such as the above would take you past the Wright Brothers's National Museum, the US Air Force Museum, Shenandoah National Park, the Appalachian Trail, and a host of smaller venues.

    While in Washington, I would also suggest at least one excursion, which can be either a day trip (ending up back in Washington) or an overnight journey. That would be to take US-50 east out of DC across the Chesapeake Bay to Annapolis, a charming town in its own right as well as the home of the United States Naval Academy, and on to Rehoboth Beach DE which bills itself and the Nations' Summer Capital due to its proximity to Washington.

    As I noted at the beginning, the above is just one possibility for a RoadTrip from Chicago to Washington. There are others. With two weeks at your disposal for this trip, you certainly have time to get off the main highways and explore a bit. Just let us know if this appeals to you, what you like, what you don't like, and what we may have left out, and we can offer other suggestions as well.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 02-01-2020 at 03:33 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,902

    Default

    You can expect the daily high temperatures at Rehoboth Beach to be around 70F and daily low temperatures around 50F at that time of year. The water will probably be too cold to swim comfortably. The Boardwalk is open year round, but expect a lot of businesses to be closed for the season or only open on weekends. I would not expect it to be very crowded.

  4. #4

    Default

    Thanks for the fast help! Belive it or not. I have several travel guides called "East coast USA" and for example, for the state of Kentucky it has only 4 (!!!) pages of information.

    - - - Updated - - -

    50 till 70? That's not to much, but just would like to relax at the beach. So I don't think it matters if we go for example south of Virginia beach?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,638

    Default

    October really is just too late in the year to expect beach weather anywhere near Washington DC. You probably need to be looking at being at least as far as South Carolina to have a good chance at having that kind of weather.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,902

    Default

    You can certainly relax at the beach in Delaware, but don't expect to swim or sit on the beach in bathing suits. Warmer days are certainly possible, but cooler days are also possible. Expect the water temperature to be in the mid 60's F.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,920

    Default On Average...

    By late September or early October, the ocean water temperature at Rehoboth Beach is usually around 20ēC. If you're used to swimming in the North Sea, that might feel comfortable to you. On the other hand, going somewhat farther south, for example Virginia Beach, doesn't get you water that is very much warmer, maybe 21-22ēC. The reason for that is that the entire southeastern United States is washed by the northward-flowing Gulf Stream which turns out to sea south of the mid-Atlantic region. To get really warm water, you'd have to go south of Cape Hatteras NC, and that, I think, might be just a bit too far for the scope of your current trip.

    AZBuck

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Clue4fun View Post

    - - - Updated - - -

    50 till 70? That's not to much, but just would like to relax at the beach. So I don't think it matters if we go for example south of Virginia beach?
    I would not head down to Virginia Beach unless you wanted to visit Historic Williamsburg on the way. It is not worth the traffic you would deal with on I-95. Going to Rehobeth or even a little further down the road a larger more commercial area Ocean City Maryland gives you a taste of the mid-Atlantic beaches. If it’s a nice day you can still enjoy sitting in the beach. Plus, the idea of stopping at Annapolis on the way over is good, not to mention going over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge which is about five miles long and high!

  9. Default

    Let me suggest an alternate route. Spend an extra 90 minutes and take I-65 to I-70 so you can take in the National Museum of the United States Air Force near Dayton Ohio. Located on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, it is enormous and virtually impossible to see in just one day. This FREE museum has everything from WWI biplanes to ICBMs to several presidential Air Force Ones to the B1 and B2. It even has the B29 that dropped the Atomic Bomb on Nagasaki.

    https://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/

    Click on an exhibit area for video tour
    https://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Vi...seum-Exhibits/

    And you’re on vacation right? And you love hiking right? So from Dayton, take another little detour to Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio. You’ll see unique and fascinating landscapes like nowhere else. You can’t see it all in a day, but you can see a lot. Two days of hiking would give you the best experience. Well worth a slight detour to experience. Be careful, lots of cliffs.

    Here’s a video. Sorry, but it just doesn’t do justice to the majesty of this place. Wait ‘till you experience it yourself. And what’s great is this place is even BETTER in the rain!!! The stream becomes an awesome raging river and there are waterfalls everywhere. So don’t bypass it if it rains. Dress accordingly for the experience of a lifetime.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fOT2SgmNWEw
    Last edited by travelingman; 02-02-2020 at 08:05 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    5,427

    Default Beaches...

    ...everyone thinks of the ocean when one says "beaches", but there is a beach just about 40 or 50 miles east of Chicago. It's the Indiana Dunes State Park. Nearby is the Indiana Dunes National Park. Both parks are located on Lake Michigan. Now, in late September, the water will not be comfortable enough for a dip. Whether the sun is warm enough to be able to just sit on the beach will depend a lot on the weather patterns.


    Donna

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