Driving Miami to New York - first time in USA

Feb 6th, 2012, 04:32 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2012
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Driving Miami to New York - first time in USA

Hi All,

I am looking for help and guidance. All my holidays have only ever been All Inclusive to Europe so this is something very new for me! And am starting to seriously plan my trip.

What I want to do is fly in to Miami then drive to New York before flying home. Im looking at coming for 2 and a bit weeks to do this in. I would like to do all the normal 'tourist' things (Miami, Universal, Disney, Kennedy Space Centre, Washington, New York etc)

Does any one have any advice how many days I should spend in each town. Also I have no idea about how much motels on route would cost? It would be good to know so I can budget - what am I typically looking at per night? (it will be me and my partner so 2 adults and we would like to stay in 'decent' accommodation)

The plan is to come mid September this year and hire a car. I did look at hiring a RV and staying in that but that does look quite expensive (but without knowing how much I am looking at for accommodation if we were to drive I'm not sure which is the best idea?)

I just want to experience as much as I can but dont want to kill ourselves driving.

Any help any one can give me to start to plan my trip would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance, Lucy
L_Waterman is offline  
Feb 6th, 2012, 05:51 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Wise decision not to hire an RV on the East Coast.

You can do either a road trip or you can do the high spots.

A road trip involves changing location every night and spending most of your time seeing things from inside the car. It is best spent on secondary roads (1 and A1A in Florida, US 17 from Savannah tc Charleston to Washington, for example) rather than motorways. You will see a lot of the real America and can stop at all sorts of places, esp places to eat that you have never heard of.

If you do the high spots of the East Coast in the time you have, it would be 3 nights in Miami, four days in Orlando, then give up the car and fly to Washington. Three nights in Washington, train to New York, four more days in NYC, and essentially off to home.

Unless the road trip is the point of the holiday, it is useless to drive from Orland to Washington. It is a dreadful road through miserable countryside and heavy traffic.
Ackislander is offline  
Feb 6th, 2012, 06:06 AM
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The trip you are planning - Miami to New York with stops at Universal, Disney, Kennedy Space Center, Washington, DC covers some 2200 miles and will take you at least 31 hours of "actual drive time". Doing it in 2 (and a bit) weeks is pushing it. You may find yourself somewhat rushed and you definitely won't be able to "do and see everything". I personally think it's too aggressive. You might want to do the Florida portion this trip and save Washington and New York for your next vacation.

Miami, Disney, Universal and the Space Center are all within Florida and can easily be combined in "one trip" but you'll still have several hours of driving to get from one to the other. Miami to Disney/Universal is about a 4 to 5 hour drive. From Disney to the Space Center is just about an hour.

The longest leg of your trip will be getting from your last stop in Florida to Washington, DC (about 900 miles - perhaps two or three days of driving depending on YOUR stamina). You can easily drive between Washington, DC and New York (250 miles) in one day.

Nightly accommodations will vary greatly and depend on where you are staying and what type of accommodations you require. For budget purposes - at a basic chain motel/hotel which you'll find all along the highways between the places you want to visit (like Comfort Inn, Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Courtyard By Marriott, Red roof Inn, Motel 6 etc.) you can expect to pay anywhere from $75/night (if you are stopping in a small town) to $150/night if you are stopping near a larger city. Expect to pay between $150 and $200/night (maybe even up to double that) for the nights you'll spend in Miami, Disney, Washington and New York. These are only guidelines for the lower priced hotels, you can spend much more if you want more creature comforts.

How many days you should spend in each location is difficult to says, it all depends on what you want to do and see while you are there. I'd say you need a minimum of 3 to 4 nights in Miami, minimum 4 to 5 nights to see Disney World and Universal, 1 Night for Kennedy Space Center, minimum 3 to 4 nights in Washington, DC and another 4 to 4 nights in New York. Plus you'll need a minimum of 1 night (some people take 2 or even 3 to make this trip) "on the road" to get from your last stop Florida to reach Washington, DC. Remember, these are "minimum" stay recommendations - many people spend a week or even two visiting Disney/Universal and you can easily spend a week in each of Miami, Washington and New York and still not "see everything".
RoamsAround is online now  
Feb 6th, 2012, 07:47 AM
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Consider flying into Miami, renting a car to do the Florida sites you want to see then turning in the car and taking a train to Washington DC. In Washington, a car is not needed, use the Metro. Then take a train to New York and use the subway to explore the city. The drive from Miami to NY is brutal.
emalloy is offline  
Feb 6th, 2012, 08:38 AM
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If this is your only trip to the USA, then it can be done as outlined so well by the above posters.

If you travel frequently, and plan more than one trip here over time, and really want a road trip over back roads, I would do just the southern portion this time and the northern leg another trip. You could then perhaps include the Everglades, St. Augustine FL, Savannah GA and Charleston SC.

Or do NYC and drive via Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania countryside (Valley Forge and Gettysburg, etc.) to DC. I believe you would see more this way and get a better flavor for each area.
Khiori is offline  
Feb 6th, 2012, 11:11 AM
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emalloy is right. The #98 Silver Meteor leaves Orlando at about 1:30PM every day and arrives in Washington the next morning.
The adult coach fare is in the $150 range.
You would see a lot of countryside from the train before sunset.
Flying might be cheaper, but you wouldn't see the countryside and you'd have to pay for a hotel in Washington for an extra night.
tomfuller is offline  
Feb 6th, 2012, 11:59 AM
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For Savannah and Charleston you might want to take a look at my trip report; click on my name to find it.
Michael is offline  
Feb 6th, 2012, 12:02 PM
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You might want to invest in the Michelin Green Guide East Coast. The Green Guides are very good on things to see and often offer various itineraries depending on the amount of time available.
Michael is offline  
Feb 6th, 2012, 01:23 PM
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If you do end up considering the train, I would consider a roommette going from Miami if I wanted to go all the way to Washington. It's about about a 24 hour ride and while I'm happy as a clam for this duration in a roommette, I can't sleep in an upright or reclined coach seat for that long.

If you're like me, it's worth noting that the roommette is not cheap (although your meals are included). If you do go coach, you may want to consider taking the Silver Meteor as far north as Charleston or Savannah (travels this stretch mostly during the day, so you can see the scenery), spending a day or so in one of those to split up the journey, and then continuing north via the Palmetto daytime train.

If such a long time in a train seems unappealing, I'd recommend flying between Miami & DC. It's a long drive, generally quite dull on the interstates, perhaps more interesting on certain side roads but then again those will add a lot of time to your trip.

Best wishes, Daniel
Daniel_Williams is offline  
Feb 7th, 2012, 12:34 AM
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Just to pile on a dead horse, the distance from Orlando to Washington, DC is roughly the same as Paris to Warsaw or London to the boot of Italy.

It is worth flying, especially as you will have a drop off charge for the car and you won't want it after you arrive in Washington.
Ackislander is offline  
Feb 7th, 2012, 02:44 AM
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Couldn;t agree more.

You need to make a choice. I fyou want to do a road trip -stay south and see a bunch of smaller and typical places there. If you really want DC and NY - you can;t be wandering the back road from aOrland o - or you will never get there. Plus a car is worse then useless in DC and NYC - no place to park on the street, garages are expensive and you will have to use public transit to get around town anyway.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 7th, 2012, 06:39 AM
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Flying is certainly the way from Florida to DC for time's sake. I might also add that coming from UK, I have heard there are some rather expensive car rental charges. Amtrak won't be any cheaper, and can be arduous--it isn't your French national train system--late and long.
Unless you are a real amusement park junkie (nothing wrong with that, says Seinfeld!!), Disney and Universal may be a lot.
I think you need to divide up "days" in the big places, and then see how much time you actually have.
You might really start out in NYC and end in Florida--using public transport in the Northeast, and then what you need for Florida.
Again, as someone else said if you travel often, you might want to spit this trip. Either Washington, NYC or Florida may be the outlier.
BUT that said, it certainly "can" be done, but you may need to pare something down one place or another.
Gretchen is online now  
Feb 7th, 2012, 11:53 AM
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it is useless to drive from Orland to Washington. It is a dreadful road through miserable countryside and heavy traffic.

I disagree with this statement in particular.

If you are not planning on stopping to see anything along the way, this road is anything but "dreadful" since it remains in excellent repair and the speed limit for the most part is 70 MPH which includes all of the Florida portion; the majority of the Georgia portion, all of the South Carolina portion, etc.

The traffic is not any heavier than anywhere else and depending on the time of day you start out it can be quite pleasant. The WORST portion is between Richmond, Va., and Washington, DC.

If you are short on time and again, don't want to stop to see places such as Savannah, Charleston, the Outer Banks, Williamsburg, etc., then yes, I would fly from Orlando directly to Washington
Dukey1 is offline  
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