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East Coast road trip from Boston to Washington DC

East Coast road trip from Boston to Washington DC

Apr 22nd, 2014, 01:31 PM
  #1  
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East Coast road trip from Boston to Washington DC

My husband, 14 year old son and 11 year old daughter and I are planning to be in Boston on August 16.From there we want to see some East coast highlights. We need to rent a car to drive to Cape cod (mid-week, thankfully). Do you have any suggestions as to which town to stay in? After that, I thought Newport, RI would be nice. Should we just cruise through it for the day or spend a night there? We definitely need to break up the long car ride after Newport and I have no idea where to stop before we get to Philadelphia. Does anyone know of any interesting stops along that route? Do we need more than one full day in Philadelphia? Also, we are trying to squeeze in Gettysburg before ending up in DC. But if you have any preferences for Gettysburg vs. Williamsburg for the ages of my kids, I would be interested in hearing that! I would actually love to do both!

Boston - 4 nights ( with side trips to NBA Hall of Fame and Concord/Lexington, as time allows). Rent car.
Cape Cod - 3 nights. Drive to Newport.
Newport, RI - Stay overnight or just drive through?? Drive toward Philadelphia.
Spend one night in a town along the route that might be interesting, maybe in Connecticut? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Philadelphia - 2 nights. Is one full day enough here?
Gettysburg - 1 night
Washington DC - 4 nights. Maybe head to Williamsburg for the day or overnight??

Thank you for any suggestions you can make about the itinerary!
richmich6 is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2014, 02:45 PM
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Newport to Philly is only about 5 hours...easily doable in a day. If you do want a stop in CT, you could do Mystic. I'm note a huge fan, but plenty of people love it.

Note for your Boston portion....the BBall Hall of Fame is about a 90 minute drive away. Also, parking at Boston hotels can very expensive. So I'd wait until the last minute to rent a car.
rizzo0904 is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2014, 03:15 PM
  #3  
 
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I would not stop between Newport and Philly unless you really want to (assuming you are spending a night in Newport and not just the day). If you are just spending the day in Newport you could spend the night in Mystic and the next am see the small aquarium or the Seaport/ship museum.

I think Williamsburg has a lot more to see/do than Gettysburg - but also think it needs more than 1 day.
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2014, 05:37 PM
  #4  
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@rizzo0904 - Is there public transport that could take us to Springfield and back in a day? Thank you for your suggestions to stay in Mystic. I hadn't considered it and will look into it if we don't stay in Newport.

@nytraveler - Do you think Williamsburg would be as interesting for the 14 year old? Maybe we could go straight through to DC and then do an overnight in Williamsburg as a side trip.
richmich6 is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2014, 05:55 PM
  #5  
 
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If you are considering Mystic instead of Newport, the Basketball Hall of Fame could be done on the way to Mystic instead of making it a day trip during your Boston stay. Mystic is approximately 90 minutes from Springfield.
ksullivan is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2014, 06:35 PM
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Williamsburg as a destination offers much more to do than Gettysburg for any age.

The issue is, however, that geographically it's an outlier and probably not worth an overnight from DC in August. It deserves a couple of days at a minimum. Much of what the area has to offer (Wmbg, Jamestown, Busch Gardens) is outdoors and August is very hot & humid (as will be Philadelphia and DC). If your visit happened to be a on weekend, you'd be facing beach traffic on I-95 for your trip.

There is plenty to do in DC for 4 days. If you are interested in colonial history, consider a day at Mount Vernon which is well worth a visit in its own right.
obxgirl is online now  
Apr 22nd, 2014, 06:36 PM
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If you go to the Mystic area for the Seaport and/or Aquarium, consider spending another day and go to the Native American Museum at Foxwoods Casino about 20 minutes from there. It also might be a good rainy day choice.
emalloy is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2014, 01:57 AM
  #8  
 
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There is a train from Boston to Springfield....takes just over two hours. I'm not sur about it's proximity to the hall of fame. So you may then need a taxi.

In Boston be sure to do a duck boat tour. It gives you a good overview and it's fun. There are also walking tours that depart from the public garden area.

I'm not familiar with the cape...we always went to NH for our beach stays. So I can't help with which town to base yourself out of.
rizzo0904 is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2014, 03:34 AM
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If you're set on seeing the NBA Hall of Fame (for the kids, I assume), what I might do is rent a car on your next-to-last day in Boston and drive to the HoF. Then drive back to Boston, stay overnight and then drive to Cape Cod. You should do some research on low-budget overnight parking in Boston for that last night when you have the car. I wouldn't take the train to Springfield. It can be done, but driving is a lot easier. Just take Interstate 90 (the Mass. Turnpike). Also, in the area, you could visit someplace like Northampton, a short drive up I-91.

There's another possibility: Rent the car and instead of spending your last night in Boston, stay in the Springfield area. Then drive to the Cape the next day -- probably about 2-3 hours.

It's hard to recommend a town on Cape Cod. Everyone has a favorite, according to interests,location, etc. You don't indicate interests. Chatham is centrally located and pretty. Falmouth is OK, and a shorter drive for you. However, I assume you know you're going in high season. Every place will be packed with tourists.

I would stay in Newport overnight. Take the mansion tours. When our kids were that age, they were pretty fascinated by the opulence. (Unless, maybe, you live in a mansion.)

Drive straight to Philadelphia from Newport. However, be aware that you'll be going through the NYC metro area. That's not so awful, but you will want to time your drive to avoid rush hour, especially on a Friday.

You'll easily fill a day in Philadelphia. I might skip G'burg. It's OK as a day trip, and the Civil War battlefield is interesting. But it's kind of out of the way for you, and you can get your history fill in W'burg.
vincenzo32951 is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2014, 08:08 AM
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If you have only one day from DC I would definitely do Mount Vernon vs Williamsburg.

The latter area really needs 3 or 4 days to see - including Colonial Wmsbrg, several nearby plantations, the Yorktown Battlefield and Info Center (great exhibits and movies and inside - a real boon in August there) as well as the Busch Garden amusement park.

You can easily see Mt Vernon in one day since it is in the DC suburbs.
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2014, 06:52 PM
  #11  
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Thank you @vincenzo for your thorough analysis! I think you answered the gist of what I was trying to figure out! You mentioned Williamsburg and, yes, we do want to get our fill of history. I would consider skipping Cape Cod and just getting to Newport for one overnight.

@nytraveler wow, I didn't realize Williamsburg was that big. I have heard that Mt Vernon is a good site to visit and we will try to make it there too. driving south earlier and spending more time in Williamsburg.

Any opinions about skipping Cape Cod? Or maybe going for a few hours before driving on to Newport? Or is that ridiculous? I'm open to various scenarios after we get to Boston and I'd appreciate hearing what you would recommend.
richmich6 is offline  
Apr 24th, 2014, 02:37 AM
  #12  
 
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If you want beach time, go to cape cod. If you frequent beaches at home, skip it.

I agree with the above comment about getting a car on your last day and hitting the bball hof before the cape.
rizzo0904 is offline  
Apr 24th, 2014, 03:41 AM
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I would guess that the kids would have more fun at the National Seashore on Cape Cod than touring mansions in Newport. One way to do that is to take the ferry from Boston to Provincetown, (you might even see whales along the way) then rent bicycles and bike to the National seashore or take one of the dune buggy trips from Ptown. You could then return to Boston and get your rental car for the rest of the trip.

You know your kids likes/dislikes, but they will be exposed to lots of history in Boston, DC, Williamsburg (I find the National Historic site in nearby Jamestown more interesting for kids) etc.

In Boston the Museum of Science is fantastic and the Aquarium is great too if you want some diversion from history.
emalloy is offline  
Apr 24th, 2014, 03:46 AM
  #14  
 
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posted too soon.

Are you planning to do open jaw, into Boston and out from DC? If so, consider the cost of parking, drop off fees and car rental. You really don't need or want a car in Boston or DC as public transportation is very good in both areas and parking is expensive and not all that convenient.

Give the kids a great experience.
emalloy is offline  
Apr 24th, 2014, 11:07 AM
  #15  
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we live in Southern California near the beach and, yes, my husband is of the mind that "you've seen one beach, you've seen them all." I like the idea of ferry to Provincetown for a day visit, just to have seen CC, as I hear it's very different from our beaches. Part of the appeal too is to get away from the heat.

The Bball Hall of Fame is throwing me because it's in the opposite direction from where we are headed. But it's a must because of my 14 year old son! I'm going to check out driving distances from Boston to Springfield and then on to Newport so we don't have to worry about parking fees in Boston.

This is coming together and I appreciate everyone's input!!
richmich6 is offline  
Apr 24th, 2014, 11:18 AM
  #16  
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we live in Southern California near the beach and, yes, my husband is of the mind that "you've seen one beach, you've seen them all." I like the idea of ferry to Provincetown for a day visit, just to have seen CC, as I hear it's very different from our beaches. Part of the appeal too is to get away from the heat.

The Bball Hall of Fame is throwing me because it's in the opposite direction from where we are headed. But it's a must because of my 14 year old son! I'm going to check out driving distances from Boston to Springfield and then on to Newport so we don't have to worry about parking fees in Boston.

This is coming together and I appreciate everyone's input!!
richmich6 is offline  
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