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12-14 day Road Trip Northeast USA

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Jun 2nd, 2014, 04:49 AM
  #1
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Join Date: Jun 2014
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12-14 day Road Trip Northeast USA

Hi everybody,

We are a family of four from Uruguay, South America (two kids ages 7 and 12) and are planning a road trip to North East USA for about 12 to 14 days, first two weeks of July this year.

We have been making road trips (renting RV) for the last couple of years, getting excellent advice and ideas from forums and destination experts whose invaluable support helped us put together and enjoy two unforgettable RV road trips; first to the West (California,Nevada & Arizona) and last year to (Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota). We can not thank all of them enough.

We did not get a chance to plan ahead for this year's trip, just today we got the chance and decided to travel, thus I am asking for your advice and support to help me put it together.

Even though we will at JKF (New York) we do not plan to spend time in the city at this time, for we believe that would be a trip on itself for a different occasion.

Our main goals are to see some highlights of the North East / New England and enjoy time as a family.

We love National Parks, exploring the outdoors, caves, mountain and trail hiking , exploring historical and interesting places, driving through scenic routes, experiencing unique adventure activities like white water rafting or other, as well as visit on or two main amusement parks along the way.

We just sketched a possible loop which includes some main points as follows :

- Start form the NY/NJersey area towards Boston area

- continue to Portland (ME) area

- drive and explore scenic routes though New Hampshire and Vermont towards Montreal, QC

- continue to Niagara Falls

- through Pennsylvania to Washington DC

- back to New Jersey/NY. ( we know there is a Six Flags Great adventure in NJersey, which believe the kids my enjoy a lot )

We do not intend to spend too much time in the main cities, but enjoy the surroundings, drive by and just get a glimpse of the main spots and highlights.

We enjoy much more to discover small historical towns, appreciate the way of life of local communities and living some local experiences than touring the big cities.

Except Washington DC, which should be a highlight of the trip and we plan to spend a full couple of days to visit the main monuments and attractions (White House, Capitol Bldng, Washington Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Arlington)

Main Questions:

a) is this part of the country as RV friendly as the West, where it was very easy and friendly to drive around at any time of day, and find really nice RV parks all over the place.

b) If so, do you recommend to make this road trip in an RV? We do love the RV experience and the flexibility it gave us to move from one place to the next on our previous road trips.

c) Can we cross the border to Canada on a rented RV?

d) any suggestion on Quality RV rental in the NY/NJersey area ? We rented last year from Access RV (5 Star Certified renter) and the quality of the rental RV was amazing! Very different from the previous year and thus a very different travel experience.

The loop I described above is about 1600 miles, similar to our two previous road trips both in distance and length of time.

Would appreciate your recommendation on nicest routes to take, places to visit, not to miss towns or sites, not to miss activities, family fun and enjoyable places and activities in those areas, etc. etc. As well as your overall thought about this trip based on your own experience.

All inputs will be greatly appreciated and very helpful to put together this road trip.

Thanks a lot in advance for your support,

Eduardo
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Jun 2nd, 2014, 05:20 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
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I would not want to RV it in the area between NYC and Boston, although there are places for RVs in CT, you might want to look at the Mystic CT area for some maritime history and there are RV parks nearby. You do not want to take a RV into Boston, NYC or Washington DC, parking is very expensive and hard to find for a large vehicle and public transportation works well.

For the National Park experience, you might want to visit Cape Cod National Seashore in MA, and Acadia NP in ME. If you decide you really want the RV experience, look for RV parks in the areas for both and make a reservation as soon as you have your plans set.

If you decide to just rent a car and drive, look into lodging in the park areas and make reservations soon.

You also might consider using trains from NY to Boston. You could even stop in Mystic and spend a day or so there then take the train to Boston.

You would need to contact the rental company on if you could take your vehicle into Canada.

Perhaps use trains/planes/public transportation to Portland ME, rent the RV in Portland ME, do a loop up to Acadia NP, through NH, VT and maybe to Niagara Falls and back through Montreal and Quebec City to drop it off in Portland then rent a car or use public transportation to DC etc.
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Jun 2nd, 2014, 05:39 AM
  #3
J62
 
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I live in upstate NY and we see a LOT of RV's traversing the area. I know the states of MA and NY have many RV friendly state parks with lakes and hiking areas. Yes, you may want to avoid inner city driving, and there are also some roads (Parkways) in CT and NY area that do NOT allow RVs or trucks. A GPS system won't tell you what to avoid, so you will need to inform yourself in advance.

Other than that I think you can definitely enjoy an RV trip through the northeast. There are online RV centric forums that will probably be a better resource for planning that kind of trip.
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Jun 2nd, 2014, 11:02 AM
  #4
 
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Typically cars rented in the US are not allowed to go into Canada and I would assume it's the same with an RV.

And no - the NE area is not nearly as friendly for RVs - you just cannot take them into cities - there is NO place to put them. And there are many roads (some of the most scenic ones) called "parkways" - which ban anything larger than a passenger car - no trucks, buses, RVs or even SUVs with a small boat or whatever in tow.. (Often the RV would be wider than the lane and would t fit under old stone bridges).

I would definitely do a car instead - which will give you much greater flexibility. Also campgrounds very often fill up in advance - and it's very difficult to travel without reservations fairly far in advance.
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Jun 2nd, 2014, 11:49 AM
  #5
 
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a) The corridor between Washington and Boston is a busy one for traffic and less RV-friendly than the wide-open spaces of the American West. That doesn't mean it's impossible, but it would be more difficult, with heavy traffic and delays.

b) You might consider some sort of hybrid trip, where you pick up the RV someplace north of Boston and do the rest of your trip. Maine, NH, Vermont, rural Pennsylvania and upstate New York would be OK for RV traveling. An RV drive back south, through the NYC, NJ, Philadelphia area, would not be enjoyable for me.
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Jun 2nd, 2014, 02:47 PM
  #6
 
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New England is jammed-packed full the first two weeks of July and in many places (Maine) you are too late to book RV space. Going through the larger cities, as I'm sure you've realized, they are difficult to park etc. For a 12 day trip, especially leaving from NYC...an RV would seem quite an unnecessary burden to me. Rent a nice car, and with the money that you save stay in motor hotels and cabins. However, if you love RVs, and can't find one in NYC, you might just take the train to Connecticut or Boston and rent from there.

Portland Maine is a large urbanized city and will not give you the "flavor" of the state of maine. Look for something near Kennebunkport/Cape Porpoise , or the Sebago Lakes region.

12 days is nowhere near enough time to see everything you've listed. You are basically just driving by places and waving goodbye.
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Jun 3rd, 2014, 03:32 AM
  #7
 
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I agree with clarkgriswold. We live in NH and usually spend a week in a particular area of Maine. We have pulled a camper south as far as NC and north to PEI and Nova Scotia. We took one month for each direction. Since you are used to an RV, you know what to expect. I can see the advantage is never having to pack/unpack at a motel/hotel but the disadvantage is time spent hooking up to campground utilities.

There is so much to see and do in just New England, I would concentrate on fewer states and more time in specific areas instead of so much time on boring interstate highways.

NH alone would give you many days of hiking, kayaking, ziplining, etc. You have your choice of a groomed tourist spot such as the Flume or any number of hikes. We are not hikers but once visited Arethusa Falls. There are many hikes where you can end up at a waterfall or remote swimming area.

If you travel north to Portland ME you are missing what we consider the best part of Maine, the mid-coast area which would include Mt Battie in Camden and the wonderful Harpswells area. That said, I don't think there is any parking place for an RV in downtown Camden or a place like Boothbay Harbor. Check before you get there. The streets in many New England towns were built many years ago so they are narrow and winding.

In VT you can google search Vermont Swimming Holes for places that are fun to swim. There's a rocky river near Bristol VT what features a small waterfall and ledges from which older kids can jump into a deep pool. It's right near the road, too. We found it when we saw a lot of cars parked by the road.

Bath Maine has a wonderful 4th of July and Heritage Days celebration your kids might enjoy. Great parade. But VT also has some great parades. We are partial to places where the church ladies sell slices of homemade pie.

A good kayaking trip can be a half day paddle on a beautiful river with time out for a picnic lunch. There are also ski areas in New England that have alpine slides and mountain bike trails for fun. See list of places where you can go zip lining.

It will probably be difficult to find a 4th of July weekend place to camp because that is one of the most popular weekends in the summer. You might possibly find a cottage on a lake to rent for the week. The Lake Winnipesaukee area is very convenient to exploring NH's White Mountains.
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Jun 6th, 2014, 05:33 AM
  #8
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Hi folks,

Taking your advice and input we have though over and changed our itinerary, leaving out all together the leg to DC as well as the bigger cities and urbanized areas.

The loop would look now as follows:

1) Pick up RV at Sussex NJ in the morning and spend the day at 6 Flags Great Adventure (NJ) which our kids might enjoy. Unless there is a similar or better park along our later way, saving driving south to later drive north ( couple of hundred miles all together)

2) Through Lancaster (PA) just to visit and explore a little bit of the Amish way of life, and continue to Niagara Falls

3) Along Lake Ontario (Canada Side) towards Montreal Area.

4) Easy drive south through Vermont and New Hampshire (and maybe some of Maine time permitting). We read there are beautiful drives and destinations by Green Mountains and White Mountains. Have not work out which ones as of yet.

5) Drive back to sussex with some intermediate destinations.

We have 11 full days on the RV to make this drive.

Depending on how and where to stop and overnight, we only have a couple of longer drives (5 - 6 hours) and the rest will be below or about 2 hours average per day.
We do like to to spend night at different spots and enjoying different areas, outdoor activities, local ways of living, family fun activities, etc. And actually enjoy the road trip itself while driving through scenic routes, stopping over, barbecuing, etc.

Have not yet figure out the best sites and places to visit, and where to park to spend the nights.

Any recommendations for this new loop?
Recommended RV parks along this routes or near main areas?

Any nice fun family activity along this loop you can recommend? : outdoor activity, great hikes, whitewater rafting or other adventure activities, special local food places, theme park/adventure parks/water park/family fun park (rides, etc)

Depending on the recommended and chosen destination, we will try to make the loop around 1300-1500 miles round trip.

Thanks very much for your support, advice and ideas.
Eduardo
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Jun 6th, 2014, 10:33 AM
  #9
 
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This makes much more sense.

Mid to northern Maine has nice rugged coast, southern Maine has some nice beaches for swimming although the water tends to be cool.
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Jun 6th, 2014, 10:46 AM
  #10
 
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Typically cars rented in the US are not allowed to go into Canada and I would assume it's the same with an RV.

I have not had any trouble renting cars in the Boston area and driving them into Canada. What's not allowed is one-way cross-border rentals.

Of course, you should always ask the rental agency if they allow you to take the car (truck, RV, whatever) across the border. Some might not, but like I said, I have never had a problem.
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Jun 6th, 2014, 04:31 PM
  #11
 
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A few ideas:

It will be hard to find good whitewater rafting at that time of the year. The water runs best in spring and early summer, unless there's an extraordinary amount of rain.

Take a look at the Hawk Mountain sanctuary for hiking and wildlife observation. It's a little north of Lancaster.

Also in that general area: Hershey Park, a theme park and zoo.
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Jun 6th, 2014, 06:36 PM
  #12
 
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Your original plan included some of the New England Coast and now you seem to have eliminated it entirely. While there is nothing wrong certainly with a trip to Pennsylvania, NJ and Canada, many people (including me) think the 'best' part of the north east is the coast. Maine is incredibly beautiful and the coast, especially from Portland north to Acadia National Park, is unique. The coast south of Portland is also lovely, as is Cape Ann (north of Boston) and Cape Cod and the islands of Massachusetts. If I were coming to the North East USA from some other part of the country/world I would definitely want to concentrate on New England, especially the coast but also NH and Vermont, rather than NJ and Pennsylvania and NY.

However, if the RV is the most important criteria for the trip, I will say that might work out a bit better in the inland areas - not that you can't do the coast in an RV but some of the better RV places may be booked for the summer already.

Six Flags New England is just outside Springfield Mass.
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