east coast routes
We are going to be driving from portland oregon to the east coast and were wondering if anyone had figured out a good method of seeing the east coast. We want to go from Maine all the way to Florida and don't know if its better to hug the coast line or zig zag back and forth. We will be camping for most of the way. If anyone has any advice about good routes or any thing else let us know. This is our first big road trip. We've quit our jobs and are very anxious to get out there. We are planning on leaving at the end of september and arriving back to the west by thanksgiving. thanks
Wow, ambitious trip!
Your plans make me think of trying to take a drink out of a fire hydrant... you may find yourself overwhelmed (although maybe in a good way!). Are you planning to just drive straight through to get here, and focus on the East Coast, or are you planning to fit in sites across the USA on the way? That will obviously impact how much time you have here.
Also, consider what type of stuff you want to do & see. Are you looking to see historical sites, learn about individual places, shop your way around, hike/enjoy the outdoors? I'll tell you, here in New England, there is so much to see to give you an appreciation for our nation's heritage, since this is where it all began. MA of course has Boston, Lexington & Concord, Bunker Hill, the USS Constitution, Plimoth Plantation, and Provincetown (the tip of BEAUTIFUL Cape Cod), where the Pilgrims FIRST landed and drafted the Mayflower Compact (our first document of self-government). Boston itself is one of my favorite cities.
Weather-wise, you're coming in the Fall, which is a GREAT opportunity to see New England's foliage. In fact, if you time it right & have sufficient dumb luck, you could enjoy changing leaves all the way down from Maine to the Carolinas.
I would recommend camping your way from North to South as well, since the nights get rather chilly here on out. I'll caution you on Columbus Day Weekend in VT/NH... it's usually peak foliage and therefore ALWAYS loaded with tourists, so campsites could be a challenge without reservations. Do an internet search for campgrounds and make calls if you think you'll be up there then.
Generally, you may find yourself surprised by traffic & fast drivers. Also, there are toll roads EVERYWHERE (except CT and RI, thankfully).
I live in CT and highly recommend the coast - especially southeastern CT. (Once you get down I-95 toward New Haven and NYC, it is downright ugly.) But here in S.E. CT you can enjoy lovely beaches, Mystic Seaport and the aquarium, the USS Nautilus museum (first nuclear powered submarine and loads of other interesting info about the Silent Service), several vineyards and wineries, and more. Also in Groton is Fort Griswold, site of a Revolutionary War battle in which local Col. Ledyard surrendered to the overwhelming British troops, who promptly ran him through with his own sword and sparked a major revolt. Across the Thames River (pronounced "Thames" not "Tems") is New London, burned down in the Rev. War by our local friend Benedict Arnold as a show of loyalty to the British.
The Groton/New London area is halfway between Boston & New York (slightly closer to Boston). Lots of B&Bs, too. Two good camping areas here are Strawberry Park in Preston and Rocky Neck State Park in Niantic, right on the beach. I believe they are both open year-round.
Check out http://www.visitnewengland.com/
If you go thru NYC, you must go to Ground Zero for a somber visit. It will change you.
Sounds like a great trip. If it's just two of you, you can put together the unbeatable combination of planning to see particular things, and making spontaneous decisions for side trips along the way.
And, oh, one other factor to consider: how often do you want to set up and break down camp? It gets old after a while.
Sweens' posting is very comprehensive
But, there is another element for you to consider. Weather along the easter seaboard in October - November is iffy. October is usually (in our view) the nicest month to road trip, but we have hit significant weather in Massachusetts and snow a-plenty in Maine as early as October in past years. Plus this is prime end-of-season-hurricane-related-weather -- chance of rain is likely anywhere along the coast in this period.
The coastal routes are beautiful -- but tend to be slow (notice how many zigs and zags are on this route?) Seven weeks is a doable time frame, but only if you keep moving on fairly consistent pace. It would be easy to rack up 10,000 miles on such a journey and with a reasonable number of side trips the mileage could easily exceed 14,000 miles.
Given your $$ budget -- how many miles would you prefer to cover on this adventure?
For pre-roadside reading, you might consider getting a hold of Chris Moeller's book (who quit his job and went on roadtrip seeking the meaning of his life) -- <a href = "http://www.roadtripamerica.com/read/Chasing-Lightning.htm"> review is live this week</a>.
thanks for the advice
Thanks for the advice. We are planning to get across in a week. As far as how many miles we want to cover were not sure. We'll probablly just have to see how it goes. If we find we are zig zagging a ton and running out of cash we can skip places. We've really made no plans or reservations anywhere so we can go with the flow. thanks alot for all the good info we appritiate it. It's nice to be able to come and get idea's and ask questions. see ya on the road!