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  1. Default Summer road trip- need help!

    My husband and I live in Maine and we are planning a trip to take our two 10yo kids (1 boy, 1 girl) to Ocean City, Maryland this summer. We are planning on staying a couple days in the area, visiting Ripley's Believe it or not, and some other fun things. When we leave, we wanted to drive about halfway home and stop somewhere and try to do one more fun thing/attraction. Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
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    10,104

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    Could you please tell us roughly where in Maine you are?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    10,095

    Default Non-Commercial Fun

    I've driven between Maine and Delaware perhaps a 100 times or so, and there are ways to avoid New York City if you'd like. Depending on where in Maine you live, half-way would be roughly in the neighborhood of the Hudson River north of NYC. Now there may be a few commercial 'fun' spots in that area, but you'll have just come from one and this stop, to break up your homeward journey, might be better spent just relaxing. The kids are young enough that they might prefer to just run around in a large scenic park, and old enough that they might like to take in a little history (the site MAY be open by this summer), or even visit the U.S. Military Academy (West Point).

    AZbuck

  4. Default

    Thank you! We are nearby Bangor,ME. I definitely want to avoid NYC at all costs. What route would you take?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Tucson, AZ
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    10,095

    Default Route and Other Suggestions

    OK, the route... Here's the thing you have to be aware of: Interstate Highways are designed to connect large concentrations of people. So, for example, if you were to follow the route an on-line mapping routine would give you, you'd end up driving through the Philadelphia/Trenton suburbs (toll for the NJ Tpk or free if you drive straight through those two cities) as well as right through the heart of Newark, NYC, New Haven, Hartford and the satellite cities around Boston.

    On the other hand, avoiding all those cities means you'll have to use a fair bit of non-Interstate roads which will mean slower, if less nerve-wracking, driving. I will always choose the road less traveled myself, but your judgement on how to balance those two basic driving options will, of course, be up to you. One more thing before I get into a possible route and attraction(s), I'm going to strongly suggest that rather than look for a single attraction near your overnight stop, you look for two, one about the mid-point of your first day's drive and the other about the mid-point of your second day's drive. That would help break up those driving days and not leave you trying to entertain two worn out ten-year-olds.

    So...route. You can certainly take DE-1 (toll) north to the Delaware Memorial Bridge (toll) and connect to I-95 north, the NJ Turnpike (toll). OR you could also start with a bit of an adventure by taking the Cape May Lewes Ferry across the mouth of Delaware Bay, then use US-9 north, US-40 west, US-322 west, NJ-54 north and US-206 north to the Trenton area. South of Trenton US-206 connects with I-195 which you'd take west to I-295 north around Trenton and then get back on US-206 north. US-206 will tie into I-287 north in Somerville NJ and I-287 is a beltway around New York City.

    I know this all sounds complicated, but if you look at it on-line, or better yet on a paper map, it should be clear how these directions will all work. Now comes the hard part but the part that will make this something more than just getting around New York. As you enter New York State on I-287 watch for the signs for I-87/NY-17 and follow those. Take Exit 15A off I-87 to stay on NY-17. After passing through Sloatsburg watch for a right turn at a light towards 7 Lakes Dr, Harriman St Pk, and Bear Mtn. Take that right. It will bring you out on the other side of the park to US-6 and the Bear Mountain Bridge across the Hudson. The bridge also carries US-202 which you'll now follow for a bit until you stay left to get on the Bear Mountain Parkway which after bypassing Peekskill will put you back on US-202 east. Stay on US-202 to I-84 east and Hartford, the Mass Pike and I-290/I-495 around Boston to I-95 into Maine. Again, I know the above is daunting, even after I've removed some personal 'shortcuts'. But do give it a look.

    Now for my other recommendation that you break up each day's drive with a stop to just let off steam while the adults relax. Roughly halfway through the first day Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park might make a good stop. Overnight in west-central Connecticut and then a decent halfway stop on the second day might be Hampton Beach NH.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 03-05-2021 at 11:33 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    10,104

    Default

    For this trip, if you don't have an EZ-Pass, I'd get one! No matter which way you go, if you expect to make this drive using 2 days each way you will be paying a lot of tolls.

    https://ezpassmaineturnpike.com/EZPass/

    Note I said 2 days each way - Bangor to Ocean City is too far to do in one day. I would look at taking different routes each way and stopping somewhere interesting on each route for an overnight. You are looking at traveling the heaviest used corridor in the country, roughly Boston to Richmond VA.

  7. #7

    Default

    It is a bit more out of the way but I find it a more relaxing drive to avoid some of the bottleneck cities. I drove a similar route on the way to Acadia NP from Maryland a few years ago with stops in Newport, RI and the Boston-area along the way. So after years of crushing commutes into Washington, D.C., one of my retirement goals was to avoid traffic. So on my journey up to Maine, the "circle route" was my choice. It is a little bit longer as just under 900 miles but those are the trade-offs sometimes.

    Bangor-OceanCity.jpg

    Regardless, you will want to avoid summer traffic on weekends to the beach (Fri/Sat) and from the beach (Sat/Sun) or risk suffering the consequences, especially stretches between Newark and Washington, D.C. or Newark and the beaches.

    A slightly different drive on the return would be up the coastal highway to the Delaware-NJ ferry and then hooking around NYC on the outer band interstates. The return trip using the ferry is so you can book your ferry ride in-advance and have more control and certainty in meeting your appointment on-time. The Lewes, DE to Cape May, NJ ferry.
    OC-Bangor.jpg

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    So...route. You can certainly take DE-1 (toll) north to the Delaware Memorial Bridge (toll) and connect to I-95 north, the NJ Turnpike (toll). OR you could also start with a bit of an adventure by taking the Cape May Lewes Ferry across the mouth of Delaware Bay, then use US-9 north, US-40 west, US-322 west, NJ-54 north and US-206 north to the Trenton area. South of Trenton US-206 connects with I-195 which you'd take west to I-295 north around Trenton and then get back on US-206 north. US-206 will tie into I-287 north in Somerville NJ and I-287 is a beltway around New York City.

    I know this all sounds complicated, but if you look at it on-line, or better yet on a paper map, it should be clear how these directions will all work. Now comes the hard part but the part that will make this something more than just getting around New York. As you enter New York State on I-287 watch for the signs for I-87/NY-17 and follow those. Take Exit 15A off I-87 to stay on NY-17. After passing through Sloatsburg watch for a right turn at a light towards 7 Lakes Dr, Harriman St Pk, and Bear Mtn. Take that right. It will bring you out on the other side of the park to US-6 and the Bear Mountain Bridge across the Hudson. The bridge also carries US-202 which you'll now follow for a bit until you stay left to get on the Bear Mountain Parkway which after bypassing Peekskill will put you back on US-202 east. Stay on US-202 to I-84 east and Hartford, the Mass Pike and I-290/I-495 around Boston to I-95 into Maine. Again, I know the above is daunting, even after I've removed some personal 'shortcuts'. But do give it a look.

    AZBuck
    A couple small other options that make for less road changes or possibly faster travel as needed.

    If you did the route above described across the Delaware Memorial Bridge, instead of connecting to the NJ Turnpike with toll, you can also connect to I-295 without toll. The two parallel each other (sometimes closer than others, with a couple exits that would allow a switch if one was clogged) up to about Exit 7 or the Turnpike. If you took 295 here, you could follow it all the way to the 206 North past Trenton as suggested to I-287.

    If you took the ferry option, you could pick up the Garden State Parkway (or use 9 as suggested) and go to the Atlantic City Expressway west to hit the mentioned junction of 206/NJ 54, then up 206 from there (to add a few more miles of non-stop route over the 40/54 routing).

    You could also stay on the GSP all the way up to NJ 440 west which becomes I-287 (though this will definitely have more traffic as you get further north, but not quite like being in NYC proper, and the southern areas may vary widely in the summer depending on traffic to the NJ shore towns and what day you are travelling through).

    For the northern leg, the non-scenic option (if you aren't planning to go into/through Harriman as a stop) would be once 287 crosses into NY and you hit I-87 North (NY Thruway), just stay on that to Exit 17 (Newburgh), then onto I-84 east and follow the routing suggested there thru CT/MA/NH to ME.

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