US East Coast Road Trip Itinerary Suggestions

Aug 17th, 2018, 12:55 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 13
US East Coast Road Trip Itinerary Suggestions


Hi all! My husband and I planned a 2-week North East-Coast road trip and would like tips on which small towns to visit and what to see along the way.

We're flying to Washington DC roundtrip from Los Angeles. I already have the route roughly planned out (see https://imgur.com/a/kzyqSth) based on our areas of interest, and we are pretty much set on this general route, and trying to visit most of these places: DC > NYC > New England > Acadia National Park > Vermont > Maybe Montreal > Upstate NY > Shenandoah National Park > then back to DC. Although it's definitely not set in stone, it's our ideal route that checks off all the interesting stuff.

We are driving roughly 2000 miles with an absolute max allowance of 2,500 miles, over 13 days. Very fully aware that this is a fast-paced trip with lots of driving and ground to cover, and we don't expect to spend too much time in any one city or town. We've done trips like this in the past and enjoy the journey and process, more than lingering in any one place too long. We do want to pick a few places to spend extra time in, for sure.

Based on your experience and/or knowledge of the area, and based on what's below, what towns/places along this route do you recommend we visit? We've never been to the East Coast before, so it's all new.

A few pointed questions:

1. Which quaint coastal towns along our route do you recommend we visit?
2. New England is big. What's your advice on seeing the best, most historic parts of NE in about 2-4 days?
3. Is it worth tacking on 300 miles to visit Acadia National Park in Maine?
4. Most beautiful places to visit in Vermont? I know, I know...it's all beautiful.
5. We want to explore and see the best parts of upstate NY, what do you recommend?
6. Pennsylvania is huge. What cities should we see in PA?
7. Anything worth visiting Long Island for? East Hampton / South Hampton / Sag Harbor? Given all the other beautiful coast towns along our way....
8. We want to possibly visit Shenandoah National Park at the end of the trip since it's right by DC. Thoughts?
9. Probably the most important question: is there a way/route to drive back down from Upstate NY to Washington DC that is semi-interesting or scenic? And are there any cities you suggest stopping in on the way down? Depending on that, we may cut out visiting Shenandoah Nat'l Park.

These are some towns and places that I'm either interested in visiting, or other people have recommended that I'm bookmarking.

Major cities
DC
NYC

Small towns/places
Cape Cod
Rockport, MA
Newport, RI
Lake Champlain, TV
Lake Willoughby, VT
Saratoga, NY
Adirondack
Martha's Vineyard
Montauk

Interests: Really into small towns, the outdoors, forests, national parks, lakes, etc. We see tons of beaches in LA, we'd like to see a few but want to focus more on mountains, trees, lakes, parks, etc. Very into colonial architecture and history, quaint stuff, art shops, museums. Big on locals-only places, hole-in-the-wall, and mom-and-pop restaurants. I would say some bars and nightlife is fun, but wouldn't revolve our trip around that.

Thank you!!
balmytrees is offline  
Aug 17th, 2018, 01:46 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 15,908
When is this trip going to take place?
There is no town called "Lake Champlain VT" but it looks as though you would be taking a track across northern VT.
It looks like a very ambitious trip moving faster than I would want.
Vttraveler is offline  
Aug 17th, 2018, 04:14 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 266
Based on your interests, definitely visit Acadia National Park. It's stunning, and since you don't mind lots of driving, it's more than worth the visit. Stay for 2-3 days if possible.
Plenty of historic stuff to see in Boston..Freedom Trail, Museum of Fine Arts, Isabella Stewart Museum, Science Museum, Fenway Park (take the tour if you can), Duck tour, Beacon Hill, NOrth End (Little Italy)

On the way up from Boston area interesting and historic small towns: Newburyport, MA, (the downtown area oozes New England history)Portsmouth, NH, Ogunquit and York Maine for scenic coastal towns, Portland (Maine's largest city and foodie heaven), Bath (if you like shipbuilding history), visit the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, Camden (drive or hike up Mount Battie, or take a Windjammer cruise), Rockport, Rockland, ...you get the idea. Finish up in Acadia. You will see plenty of historic architecture and small towns.

Head west to the White Mountains area. Drive the Kangamagus Highway.

DC of course, is full of free and extensive museums, in addition to all the other historic stuff there.

Philly is great....Constitution Hall, etc. Lots to see there.

Can't speak to Montreal, and not VT really. I'm not sure exactly what you will actually be able to enjoy with this schedule, but I wish you happy travels.
Calabria62 is online now  
Aug 17th, 2018, 06:39 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 466
I think your plan is WAY too ambitious!!! We do a lot of driving vacations but would never drive that much in 2 weeks. There is no way that you could cover that much area without spending every minute in the car. NO, do not go all the way up to Acadia. If you go to Maine stick to the southern part or at the most don't go past mid coast Maine. Cape Cod is not a town it is many towns and it takes a long time to cover it. Martha's Vineyard requires a ferry and would take up quite a bit of time. Montauk is on the tip of Long Island. Again, would take a lot of time to get there. Montreal, no way! Lake Champlain, no way unless you skip the coast and go up through Vermont.

Looks like you need to rethink what you want to see. I live in southern NH and it is a very boring, traffic filled, 8 hour drive to DC (without hitting traffic). Are your flights booked into DC? If not could you fly into Boston, Providence or even NY then you could spend the 2 weeks visiting New England and New York? Then you could explore Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard for 3 days, go to Newport, go up the Maine coast to Acadia (which is gorgeous) cross over into NH (the White Mountains) and Vermont etc.

Just some ideas for thought. When are you planning this trip for?
Sberg is offline  
Aug 18th, 2018, 12:35 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 13
Thanks for all the advice! I appreciate the honesty. We already booked our flight to DC because it was most affordable. We leave next week –– it was a very spontaneous thing we planned! We certainly aren't visiting all of these places, I'm still narrowing it down. I have removed Montreal, Cape Cod and Long Island since posting this, decided to save the latter two for another summer trip where we can properly enjoy those beachy bourgeois parts! We're totally fine with all the driving, we just want to find the best towns to stop off in. The more options, the better, since that means we can optimize our route, and make the loop more efficient and not go out of the way for each destination. The only real problem I have is that the drive back to DC from Upstate NY (which is our last firm point of interest) is long and we have to do it anyway to catch our flight, so that eats into the trip a day or two. It's 500 miles / 8 hours back down, so we'd have to split it into 2 days of driving, which we accept will probably be the least interesting drive of the whole trip. The map suggests interstate 87 as the quickest route, which already sounds depressing. My goal is to find somewhere along that drive that is a worthwhile stop or to zig-zag between state highways that can take us somewhere better. Total drive is approximately 1,800 miles to circle around. Thanks again for your tips
balmytrees is offline  
Aug 18th, 2018, 12:35 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 13
Thank you! Bookmarked these all, those towns all sound incredible!
balmytrees is offline  
Aug 18th, 2018, 12:36 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 13
Originally Posted by Calabria62 View Post
Based on your interests, definitely visit Acadia National Park. It's stunning, and since you don't mind lots of driving, it's more than worth the visit. Stay for 2-3 days if possible.
Plenty of historic stuff to see in Boston..Freedom Trail, Museum of Fine Arts, Isabella Stewart Museum, Science Museum, Fenway Park (take the tour if you can), Duck tour, Beacon Hill, NOrth End (Little Italy)

On the way up from Boston area interesting and historic small towns: Newburyport, MA, (the downtown area oozes New England history)Portsmouth, NH, Ogunquit and York Maine for scenic coastal towns, Portland (Maine's largest city and foodie heaven), Bath (if you like shipbuilding history), visit the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, Camden (drive or hike up Mount Battie, or take a Windjammer cruise), Rockport, Rockland, ...you get the idea. Finish up in Acadia. You will see plenty of historic architecture and small towns.

Head west to the White Mountains area. Drive the Kangamagus Highway.

DC of course, is full of free and extensive museums, in addition to all the other historic stuff there.

Philly is great....Constitution Hall, etc. Lots to see there.

Can't speak to Montreal, and not VT really. I'm not sure exactly what you will actually be able to enjoy with this schedule, but I wish you happy travels.
Thank you! Bookmarked these all, those towns all sound incredible!
balmytrees is offline  
Aug 18th, 2018, 12:36 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 13
Originally Posted by Sberg View Post
I think your plan is WAY too ambitious!!! We do a lot of driving vacations but would never drive that much in 2 weeks. There is no way that you could cover that much area without spending every minute in the car. NO, do not go all the way up to Acadia. If you go to Maine stick to the southern part or at the most don't go past mid coast Maine. Cape Cod is not a town it is many towns and it takes a long time to cover it. Martha's Vineyard requires a ferry and would take up quite a bit of time. Montauk is on the tip of Long Island. Again, would take a lot of time to get there. Montreal, no way! Lake Champlain, no way unless you skip the coast and go up through Vermont.

Looks like you need to rethink what you want to see. I live in southern NH and it is a very boring, traffic filled, 8 hour drive to DC (without hitting traffic). Are your flights booked into DC? If not could you fly into Boston, Providence or even NY then you could spend the 2 weeks visiting New England and New York? Then you could explore Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard for 3 days, go to Newport, go up the Maine coast to Acadia (which is gorgeous) cross over into NH (the White Mountains) and Vermont etc.

Just some ideas for thought. When are you planning this trip for?
Thanks for all the advice! I appreciate the honesty. We already booked our flight to DC because it was most affordable. We leave next week it was a very spontaneous thing we planned! We certainly aren't visiting all of these places, I'm still narrowing it down. I have removed Montreal, Cape Cod and Long Island since posting this, decided to save the latter two for another summer trip where we can properly enjoy those beachy bourgeois parts! We're totally fine with all the driving, we just want to find the best towns to stop off in. The more options, the better, since that means we can optimize our route, and make the loop more efficient and not go out of the way for each destination. The only real problem I have is that the drive back to DC from Upstate NY (which is our last firm point of interest) is long and we have to do it anyway to catch our flight, so that eats into the trip a day or two. It's 500 miles / 8 hours back down, so we'd have to split it into 2 days of driving, which we accept will probably be the least interesting drive of the whole trip. The map suggests interstate 87 as the quickest route, which already sounds depressing. My goal is to find somewhere along that drive that is a worthwhile stop or to zig-zag between state highways that can take us somewhere better. Total drive is approximately 1,800 miles to circle around. Thanks again for your tips
balmytrees is offline  
Aug 18th, 2018, 02:14 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 24,512
Acadia is a jewel but requires several hours of driving thru very rural Maine. I agree with a lot of Calabria's suggestions but would suggest instead of Kancamagus Hwy to go further south on Rt 16 then west thru Tamworth and Center Sandwich then to Meredith NH. The Kanc is in national forest so no small towns. I think your route from Acadia across northern NH and VT is what we took a few years ago. Very rural. I remember following the Adroscoggin River for a long ways and this is an historic part of Maine's logging history. The northern towns of Gorham and Berlin are former mill towns. But that far north in NH and you are above the White Mountains and missing some great views. If you took the southern route thru Center Sandwich you can connect with I93 and either go north thru the mountains (very scenic) or go south to pick up I89 to VT. I89 is actually pretty. It would take a detour to visit Woodstock VT (not my favorite tourist town) and Norwich, home to King Arthur Flour company. Montpelier is the smallest state capital in the country. There's interesting buildings and unique quarry worker history/cemeteries nearby.

I would substitute more time in other places and skipping Cape Cod and MV. Portsmouth NH is home to Strawbery Banke historic area. South of Portland ME you have lots of sandy beaches. North of Portland tends to be rocky. We like to go I95 as far as Brunswick and then Rt 1 thru places like Camden, Bath, Wiscasset.

Burlington VT is a beautiful college town on the shores of Lake Champlain. Church Street is a fun pedestrian area.

Maybe, after visiting Adirondack area return to VT. If you skimmed the top of the state you could now go south thru farm country to Middlebury and then over to I91 to go thru western MA. Good interstate with the opportunity to visit some towns in western MA like Deerfield. Or from Middlebury continue south to Bennington and then over to Albany NY.

Check map for MD destination to see if you are near Frederick MD which has a great arts district. Google Community Bridge and be prepared to be amazed.

Basically the problem with the mileage/time is having to spend so much time on interstates when you want to visit small towns.
dfrostnh is offline  
Aug 18th, 2018, 06:47 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 466
Let us know how your trip goes. Have a good trip!
Sberg is offline  
Aug 18th, 2018, 07:57 AM
  #11  
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,257
If you do decide to stop in Saratoga be advised that horse racing runs through 9/3. Until then hotel prices in town are sky high.

If you want Saratoga info let me know and I can give you the lowdown.
J62 is offline  
Aug 18th, 2018, 08:01 AM
  #12  
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,257
If you do decide to stop in Saratoga be advised that horse racing runs through 9/3. Until then hotel prices in town are sky high.

If you want Saratoga info let me know and I can give you the lowdown.
J62 is offline  
Aug 18th, 2018, 08:40 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 25
Bring some proof of citizenship. ICE has been doing spot checks and is allowed to do so within 100 miles of borders and coastlines.
1IntrepidTraveler is offline  
Aug 18th, 2018, 01:42 PM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 13
Originally Posted by dfrostnh View Post
Acadia is a jewel but requires several hours of driving thru very rural Maine. I agree with a lot of Calabria's suggestions but would suggest instead of Kancamagus Hwy to go further south on Rt 16 then west thru Tamworth and Center Sandwich then to Meredith NH. The Kanc is in national forest so no small towns. I think your route from Acadia across northern NH and VT is what we took a few years ago. Very rural. I remember following the Adroscoggin River for a long ways and this is an historic part of Maine's logging history. The northern towns of Gorham and Berlin are former mill towns. But that far north in NH and you are above the White Mountains and missing some great views. If you took the southern route thru Center Sandwich you can connect with I93 and either go north thru the mountains (very scenic) or go south to pick up I89 to VT. I89 is actually pretty. It would take a detour to visit Woodstock VT (not my favorite tourist town) and Norwich, home to King Arthur Flour company. Montpelier is the smallest state capital in the country. There's interesting buildings and unique quarry worker history/cemeteries nearby.

I would substitute more time in other places and skipping Cape Cod and MV. Portsmouth NH is home to Strawbery Banke historic area. South of Portland ME you have lots of sandy beaches. North of Portland tends to be rocky. We like to go I95 as far as Brunswick and then Rt 1 thru places like Camden, Bath, Wiscasset.

Burlington VT is a beautiful college town on the shores of Lake Champlain. Church Street is a fun pedestrian area.

Maybe, after visiting Adirondack area return to VT. If you skimmed the top of the state you could now go south thru farm country to Middlebury and then over to I91 to go thru western MA. Good interstate with the opportunity to visit some towns in western MA like Deerfield. Or from Middlebury continue south to Bennington and then over to Albany NY.

Check map for MD destination to see if you are near Frederick MD which has a great arts district. Google Community Bridge and be prepared to be amazed.

Basically the problem with the mileage/time is having to spend so much time on interstates when you want to visit small towns.
Thanks so much! I'm going to read and re-read this a few times to properly digest it all. I appreciate the tip about going through White Mountains, I'll probably do one of your suggested routes, they sound fantastic! I think Burlington is high on our list since it's also by the Lake.
balmytrees is offline  
Aug 18th, 2018, 01:49 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 13
Originally Posted by Sberg View Post
Let us know how your trip goes. Have a good trip!
Will do, thanks again!
balmytrees is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
MarivicPL
United States
11
Jul 23rd, 2015 07:20 AM
daphee
United States
6
Jul 29th, 2014 11:38 AM
mrsmusthunt
United States
6
Sep 14th, 2012 03:52 AM
lincasanova
United States
9
Sep 8th, 2012 06:59 AM
scurry
United States
16
Feb 19th, 2005 04:46 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:19 PM.