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  1. Default Winter Park, FL to Boston

    Hey guys!

    Me and my husband travel with our dogs all the time and we are excited to go to Boston this fall. The longest trip we've taken with them was from Winter Park, FL to Ohio, with only one stop in Charlotte, so this time it will be a little more challenging because it's further and there will be more stops along the way.

    I'm seeking advice especially regarding what times to leave the cities (we are early risers, so we don't mind hitting the road at 5 or 6am) and if using Waze or apple maps on this route will help with traffic or I should just try to plan the roads in advance (I'm scared of I-95 after seeing so many bad comments about it, lol!)

    Here's the itinerary so far:

    Day 1 - Winter Park to Charlotte (we have done this one before, long stretch but doable in a day)
    Day 2 - Charlotte to Washington (never done this one, any advice?)
    we will spend 3 nights in washington
    Day 5 - Washington to Boston (we are planning on driving all day for this one, making it in around 9 hours with stops, is it possible?)
    we will spend 4 nights in boston
    Day 9 - Boston to Catskills (any advice here?)
    we'll be spending 2 nights in catskills
    Day 11 - Catskills to Philadelphia - the idea here is drive to NY first, have breakfast or brunch there, play with the dogs in central park and then head to Philadelphia, any advice?
    we'll be spending 2 nights in Philly
    Day 13 - Philadelphia to Richmond - this is where it gets tricky. From what I saw in the foruns, it's a terrible stretch. What do you think it's the best course of action here?
    We'll be spending 2 nights in Richmond
    Day 15 - Richmond to Savannah - also a long stretch, any advice appreciated
    We'll be spending 3 nights in Savannah
    Day 18 - Savannah to Winter park

    Apart from Charlotte we are trying to spend at least 2 nights in each city to see a little and get some rest - some cities that we want to see more of we are spending 3 or 4 nights.

    Waiting anxiously for your tips! Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,768

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Is there a reason you're going to Charlotte as your first stop? The distance is doable, but it's kind of a big detour, especially when all you really have time for is for it to be a rest stop. Fayetteville, NC would be about the same distance the first day, but should shave at least an hour or two off of your drive onto DC the next day.

    Actually, I might suggest reworking your plans rather significantly. You're planning to explore the DC to Boston corridor, so you're going to deal with traffic - that can't be avoided, but your current plan really has you backtracking into the belly of the beast, multiple times.

    For example, Philly to Richmond is a terrible stretch - in large part because means going through DC. If you want to see all 3 places, hit them all in a row so you can bypass some of that traffic one direction or the other. For example, go to Charlotte, continue up I-81, maybe hit the Catskills on the way to Boston, and then just grit your teeth and grind your way down I-95 through NYC, Philly, DC, and Richmond rather than trying to hit DC on your way north and then double back right down through it.

    Or alternatively, you could at least hit Richmond on the way to DC, which would give you the chance to go from Philly, down the Delaware Coast towards Norfolk on the way south to keep from having to drive that section of I-95 a second time.

    I will also say that trying to drive into Manhattan to spend a couple of hours in Central Park feels like a lot of energy for a pretty little payoff. I'm not saying it couldn't be done, but I'd think about that one carefully and decide if it is really worth it to you.

    So basically, there's nothing here that seems impossible, but I think you could make a few tweeks to improve the use of your time, and avoid wasting at least a few hours sitting in traffic.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    10,192

    Default Why Use I-95 at All?

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I used to live on the NH/ME coast just north of Boston while most of the rest of my family lived in either Wilmington DE or Washington DC, so I am quite familiar with the horrors of the BosWash Corridor. Since you plan to spend time in Washington and I-95 between Florida and DC isn't all that bad (and you've done it before) I won't offer suggestions regarding that route, But between Washington and Boston it looks like you have plenty of time and a desire to avoid The Corridor even though I-95 is the direct connection between those two cites. I totally agree.

    The solution is to skip I-95 all together! You can leave the DC area on I-270 to the northwest, or at right angles to I-95. That gets you out of The Corridor ASAP. Continue to I-81 up to Fredericksburg PA and switch over to i-78 east. Around Bedminster NJ take I-287 north. This is beltway of sorts around NYC and you'd stay on it until just after you cross into New York State and there change to I-87 north. At Newburg, head east on I-84 and take that into central MA and the Mass Pike (I-90) into Boston.

    The 'cost' for missing Baltimore and its Harbor Tunnel (toll), the MD Tpk (toll), the DE Tpk (toll), the Delaware Memorial Bridge (toll), the NJ Tpk (toll), the George Washington Bridge (toll) and NYC itself is a grand total of 130 miles. But at 560 miles it's still quite doable in a day. It's also far less mentally taxing than driving up The Corridor.

    By the same token the section of your return drive between Philadelphia and Richmond, which I agree (see above) is a terrible stretch, can be done without relying on I-95 through Baltimore and Washington. From Philly, use I-95 only down to just south of Wilmington DE and there switch over to US-13 and/or DE-1 (toll) all the way down through the Delmarva peninsula to the mouth of Chesapeake Bay and use the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel to cross over to the Norfolk side where I-64 provides a direct link to Richmond. Again, this costs just a hundred miles of extra driving, but it will be much, much more relaxing.

    Now, I know that you would never get my suggested routes from a mapping program, and that you'll have to feed your GPS multiple waypoints to make it follow these paths, but your major concerns seem to be with driving in the BosWash Corridor, and these routes eliminate those concerns. You'll also get the chance to see some roads and sights you haven't seen before. So have a look at the routes and what's along them that might be of interest.

    AZbuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 07-06-2022 at 11:35 AM. Reason: Flaky Connection

  4. Default

    Thank you so much Michael, you have given me lots to think about!

    Up until Washington I don't think we are changing anything, but I'm def considering now staying in Norfolk instead of Richmond and maybe not going to NYC - I've been many times, but never driving, so I imagine traffic in and out of the city must be horrible but I guess since I never saw it I wasn't thinking about it.

    Thank you so much!!

  5. Default

    This is amazing Buck, thanks! I'm gonna write everything down and follow it all, sounds great! I like the idea of a more relaxing drive so with what you said and what Michael pointed out, Norfolk is starting to sound better as a stop.

    Question: do you think if we leave DC really early in the morning we will get better traffic heading to Boston? Or it doesn't matter?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    10,192

    Default Probably

    It is far more likely than not that getting out of town before the morning rush hour would help considerably, but "before the morning rush hour" means before 6:00 am in the DC area. As to other parts along the BosWash Corridor, when I was driving it on a regular basis I was working the graveyard shift in a hospital so I would typically depart around 11:00 pm, drive through the night, and arrive at my destination before 7:00 am. And I still hated going through NYC enough to take the route I described. Seriously, I wouldn't drive I-95 in that area at any time of 'day' for any amount of money.

    AZBuck

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    10,192

    Default For a Few Miles More...

    I took another look at the route I proposed from DC up to Boston, and if you do decide to skip the NYC area all together, there is a better option than what I first offered. Rather than switching to I-78 at Fredericksburg PA, stay on I-81 up to the Scranton area and take I-84 east from there. This is all of three(!!) miles longer than my first route, but avoids the NYC metro area completely.

    AZbuck

  8. Default

    Oh ok, so: Continue to I-81 up to Fredericksburg PA and change to I-87 east in the Scranton area? And then take that into central MA and the Mass Pike (I-90) into Boston?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    10,192

    Default I-84

    It's I-84 east from Scranton rather than I-87 (which doesn't go near Scranton).

    AZBuck

  10. Default

    Ok, perfect, thanks!

    This has been really helpful! The trip is gonna begin on October 7th I think, so I have some time to think about stuff!

    Thank you so much!

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