Last summer we took an East Coast road trip, from Montreal all the way to Miami. What an amazing trip it was! There is so much to see on East Coast road trips in the USA. The East Coast is chock full of cities with amazing history, charming towns, great food and some lovely scenery.

We think we planned one of the best East Coast road trips there is! There’s not much we didn’t do on our trip from Montreal to Miami. We did our East Coast road trip with kids, naturally, but if you’re travelling solo, as a couple or with friends this is still a great trip to take.

This post will help you plan your own East Coast road trip. Use the tools I have created to plan your itinerary and map out your route. Plus see what destinations we recommend the most!

 

East Coast Road Trip Itinerary, East Coast Road Trip Map

East Coast Road Trip Map

Here is the East Coast road trip map from our journey in this summer. You can customize this East Coast road map for your specific trip by making a copy of the Google Map below and saving it to “My Maps” in Google. This is an excellent tool for planning road trips!

Our East Coast Road Trip Itinerary

This is our East Coast road trip itinerary from the summer. It took us around six weeks to drive the entire length (almost!) of America’s East Coast. If you are in a hurry you could do all or part of this in two to three weeks. Use our itinerary as a base East Coast road trip planner. You can customize this East Coast road trip itinerary to meet your needs. Send me an email if you need help or East Coast road trip ideas for your journey.

Here’s our six-week East Coast road trip itinerary from Montreal to Miami:

  • Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont (2 nights)
  • Portland, Maine (2 nights)
  • Boston, Massachusetts (3 nights)
  • Cape Cod, Massachusetts  (3 nights)
  • Providence, Rhode Island (1 night)
  • Mystic, Connecticut (1 night)
  • New York City, New York (5 nights)
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2 nights)
  • Lancaster, Pennsylvania (2 nights)
  • Washington DC (5 nights)
  • Fayetteville, North Carolina (1 night)
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (1 night)
  • Charleston, South Carolina (1 night)
  • Savannah, Georgia (2 nights)
  • Jekyll Island, Georgia (2 nights)
  • Orlando, Florida (4 nights)
  • Miami/Fort Lauderdale (2 nights)

 

 

 

East Coast road trip itinerary template for you to download:

I have created a spreadsheet that you can download from Google Docs here. Use my East Coast road trip itinerary as a guide. You can customize this spreadsheet with the details of your East Coast road trip or just directly copy mine.

East Coast Road Trip Itinerary Template

 

East Coast Road Trip Destinations You Can't Miss!

East Coast Road Trip Destinations You Can’t Miss!

When you’re planning a road trip, you start with the places you really want to see and then fill in the gaps along the route with other destinations that look intriguing or break up the journey. Depending on how much time you have available for your road trip, you may have to pick and choose what to do. Here are the of the East Coast road trip attractions and destinations we loved the best!

 

Reuben & Hazel at Ben & Jerry's, Vermont, East Coast Road Trip

Free tasting at Ben & Jerrys, Vermont, East Coast Road Trip

Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour in Vermont

If you’re starting this far North, you have to stop and see some of Vermont’s covered bridges and take a tour of the Ben & Jerry’s Factory near Stowe. Free samples included!

Where to Stay: Smuggler’s Notch Resort – This is the most amazing resort for families. Check out all the amazing things they have on offer. Your kids will love spending a few days here!

 

Maine Coastline, Near Portland, East Coast Road Trip

Maine’s Rocky Coast

You’ll love Maine’s rocky coastline. Dotted with lighthouses to admire and lobster shacks to get a delicious dinner. Maine is beautiful in the summer and I would definitely recommend extending your East Coast road trip this far north if you can.

Where to Stay: Comfort Inn & Suites Scarborough – Portland is a surprisingly expensive city, especially in the summer. Save money by staying out in the suburbs. This was a great value hotel!

 

Boston from Above

Boston’s Historic City Center

If you don’t know anything about the early history of the US, take a historic tour in Boston. It’s the best place to begin your educational journey of America’s history. A historical trolley tour is a must! Besides it’s history, Boston is a super cool city with great food and interesting people. Squeeze in a trip to Salem and Plymouth Rock as you road trip to and from Boston. We recommend getting the Boston CityPASS to save money on all the museums and attractions in the city. It’s only $55 and $42 for kids. You can buy it online in advance here.

Where to Stay: Four Points by Sheraton Wakefield Boston  – Forget staying in downtown Boston. Parking and hotels are both very expensive so you’re better off staying outside the city. We picked Wakefield because it was an easy base for exploring both Boston and Salem. This Four Points is next to a great shopping complex with lots of restaurants including a Wahlburgers!
Kids Playing on Beach, Cape Cod, East Coast Road Trip

Lee doing Kung Fu on beach, Cape Cod, East Coast Road Trip

Cape Cod’s Beaches

If you’re road tripping the East Coast in the summer, swing by Cape Cod for a few days of beach time. The Cape is the Eastern most point of the United States and sandy & pebbled beaches stretch for miles along it’s coast.

Where to Stay: Hampton Inn and Suites Cape Cod – Cape Cod ain’t cheap, especially over summer weekends. This is an affordable option but you’ll need to book ahead in peak season.

 

Reuben and Hazel in Times Square, New York

Everything about New York City!

If there’s one city on the East Coast that you can not miss, it’s New York City. The Big Apple is probably the greatest city in the world. There is so much to do here so allow yourself at least five days to explore. See and do as much as you can or as much as your budget permits. We recommend using the New York CityPASS to access the attractions in NYC. You’ll save 40% on the actual cost of each of the attractions. You can buy it in advance online here.

Where to Stay: Hyatt Times Square – Right in the heart of Times Square this is a fabulous location that will let you walk to everything! They do have parking but it’s cheaper to use Park Whiz for the parking building on the same block.

 

Philadelphia Skyline at Sunset, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia’s History & Museums

Philadelphia was the first capital city of the United States and played an important role in the country’s history. Not only is it home to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, there are also many great museums in the city. The Please Touch Museum is especially good for kids! Again, we recommend the CityPASS for Philadelphia to save money on the attractions in the city. It’s $59 for adults and $39 for kids and includes an open top bus tour which is great for getting an insight into the history that occurred in Philadelphia. You can purchase it online here.

Where to Stay: Loews Hotel Philadelphia – This is a beautiful art deco hotel right in the heart of Philly. Again, use Park Whiz to skip the hotel’s expensive valet and self park down the street. You’ll be able to explore the city’s historic sites on foot with ease. As you can see the view from the rooms is SO good at sunset!



Amish Buggy and Horse, Lancaster Pennsylania, East Coast Road Trip

Amish Country in Lancaster

OK. It’s a little weird to travel to a place purely to peek at it’s people but Amish Country Pennsylvania is a must visit! It’s so unique and, even though it feels slightly voyeuristic, it is fascinating to see Amish people up close and witness their way of life. Ride the Strasburg Railroad, eat a home-cooked meal at Plain & Fancy restaurant (don’t miss the shoo fly pie!) and visit the Amish Farm & House.

Where to Stay: Courtyard Marriott Lancaster – Like any other Courtyard Marriott you’ll get a clean, comfy room. The location is excellent for exploring the county and it’s just down the road from the Discover Lancaster tourism office so be sure to stop in an pick up some maps & info.

 

The White House at Twilight, East Coast Road Trip

Monuments & Museums Washington DC

Washington DC is a major East Coast road trip attraction! Come for the museums, monuments and of course The White House. Best of all, almost everything to do in DC is free.

Where to Stay: Holiday Inn Rosslyn @ Key Bridge – This location is excellent. The hotel has free parking and is right across the Key Bridge from Washington DC’s sites so you can easily explore from here.

 

Flashpacker Family at Myrtle Beach, East Coast Road Trip

Southern Food, Myrtle Beach, East Coast Road Trip

Southern Feast in Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach is just another beach destination. The beach itself is nice enough if not overly developed. The real star of Myrtle Beach was the food at Simply Southern Smokehouse. Good ol’ fashioned Southern fare, served buffet style. It’s cheap and it’s good. It’s worth going for the peach cobbler alone.

Where to Stay: Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center – We chose to stay away from the beachfront because all the hotels there looked old and tacky. It was a great decision in the end as this Sheraton was very nice indeed. There is a small fee for parking but it’s only a couple of dollars.

 

 

Historic Homes in Savannah, East Coast Road Trip

Savannah Square, East Coast Road Trip

Historic & Charming Savannah

Savannah will steal your heart! The Spanish Moss covered trees, leafy squares and historic homes make this small town feel like it’s stuck in time. Taking a historic trolley tour is a great way to get an overview of Savannah’s past… and meet Forrest Gump.

Where to Stay: The Brice A Kimpton Hotel – This hotel is just WOW! It’s an old converted factory only a block from the river so walking distance to all of Savannah’s charming squares. The trolley tour we took stopped right at the hotel so it is very convenient!

 

Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Florida, East Coast Road Trip

Cape Canaveral’s Kennedy Space Center

Awe-inspiring, educational and literally out of this world. The Kennedy Space Center on Cape Canaveral is somewhere you should definitely plan on visiting as a day trip from Orlando or a stop along the coast on your way south.

Where to Stay: Radisson Resort at the Port – You can stay in the Cape Canaveral area of visit as a side trip from Orlando as it’s only about a one hour drive.

 

Riding the Tea Cups, Disneyworld Orlando, East Coast Road Trip

A Day at Disneyworld

You can’t come all the way to Florida and NOT visit Disneyworld. If you only visit one theme park, you may as well visit the best! A day at Disneyworld is expensive and exhausting but, for the kids or young at heart, it’s definitely worth braving the crowds, heat and prices. Huge Savings on Disney World Tickets, BUY NOW!

Where to Stay: Embassy Suites Orlando Lake Buena Vista South – Stay as close to the Disney gates as you can!


Save on Orlando's Best Theme Parks!

 

Planning an East Coast Road Trip?

Let me know if you need any assistance with your East Coast road trip itinerary, help choosing the best East Coast road trip destinations or deciding where to focus your time along the East Coast.

I have lots more posts about road tripping around America. If you want to extend your road trip around Florida, read this post. Or if you want more ideas for road trip routes, then read this post on my 5 favourite road trips.

 

Looking for a rental car for your road trip-

 

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East Coast Road Trip, East Coast Road Trip Map, East Coast Road Trip Itinerary

 

Top 10 Road Trip Essentials

Before you set off on your road trip, make sure you’ve got all the essential items at the ready.

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Now you’ve planned your East Coast road trip, get my companion guide to make the most of your road trip!

My East Coast Road Trip Guide Book will be available shortly!

This ebook will contain a detailed guide to each of the cities road trip including the top things to do and places to eat as well as tips on where to park and where to stay while you visit.

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Showing 56 comments
  • Elaine Schoch
    Reply

    Wow, you guys covered a lot of ground! It looks like a great itinerary and fun experience.

  • melody pittman
    Reply

    I want to do this very trip! You’ve done an awesome job of laying it all out! love it!

  • Kate
    Reply

    What an amazing adventure! I grew up on the east coast, so this was fun for me to see through your eyes…though I haven’t traveled much in the far NE—I’d love to visit Maine, Vermont & the Massachusetts coast. Next time you’ll have to spend more time in North Carolina!

  • Jen
    Reply

    You’re amazing!!!! I have been searching for hours to find an itinerary for just this trip…to no avail…then I found your site through Pininterst. There is literally no other itinerary that is this specific for a Fl to Maine trip. You’re a lifesaver! Thank you so much! The only other info I’d love if you’d want to share would be the budget estimates for this trip. Thank you again! Can’t wait to bookmark the site and read more.

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      Hi Jen! So glad you found us! We travelled during the summer and we did find New England a little pricey at this time of year. I have all my spending records on Trail Wallet so I’ll let you know what they were once I look at my phone. 🙂

  • louise
    Reply

    Hi! We live in Auckland, New Zealand and pretty much want to do this same trip with our 3 children (4,8 and 10) next year.
    How can I pick your brain for more information. Our biggest questions to start with is how to get around. Do we get an RV or do car and accommodation? Can I get a rough idea of your overall spend for this trip and lastly what months of the year did you do this in?

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      Hi Louise! I would definitely choose a car + hotels & Airbnbs over an RV. There are lots of big cities on this list which would make parking an RV a nightmare. Hotels in America can be had for pretty cheap. We generally booked them the night before we needed them, sometimes even the morning of! We used Priceline Express Deals to make sure we got a good deal. We did our trip in August/September which was perfect weather wise. When were you thinking? I track all my spending when we travel using an app called Trail Wallet. So useful. We budgeted $200 USD for everything excluding car and were pretty much bang on spending wise. You might need to increase that slightly as we have two small children and you have one extra plus they’re a little older. Let me know if you have any more questions!

      • louise
        Reply

        Great thanks Bethany. Yes our children probably eat a bit more than yours plus the extra child always makes accomodation a bit more pricey so we might need to look closer towards the 300 per day mark. When you say everything did that include attractions? Sounds like an RV is definitely not the thing for us. We want to go next year. Probably around June time

        • Bethaney Davies
          Reply

          Family accommodation is pretty good in America. Almost every hotel room we stayed in had either two queen beds or a king bed and a pull out sofa bed. You could definitely make it work. We generally stayed in hotels when were in one place for just a night or two. Another over three or four nights and we’d look for an Airbnb so we could spread out, have separate bedrooms, a living area etc. That figure includes attractions, parking, hotels, gas, food… everything! June would be a nice time to travel on the East Coast. The coastal towns in New England get VERY busy in the summer months. We paid $175 a night for a 2-star motel in Maine just because it was a Saturday night! Try and structure your itinerary so that you’re in the beach towns during the week to save money. How long have you got for your trip?

          • louise

            Thanks so much for all your help. I think we will take 5-6 weeks the same as you. We will fly out of Auckland so will have to work out how to navigate the one way car rental and the flights etc.
            Your help is really appreciated!

      • Varun Gudka
        Reply

        Hi, i’m taking my parents (both in their 70’s) on a east cost road trip this April. probably not as extensive as yours. i’m thinking Boston to DC.
        I read that you booked hotels the day before/morning of – why did you do that? Price reasons, flexibility in your movements or another reason?
        Thank you

        • Bethaney Davies
          Reply

          Hi Varun. That sounds like a great trip. Lots of history, museums etc on that stretch. Make sure you do some guided city tours or trolley tours to make the most of it!

          The reasons we book last minute is so we could be completely flexible on our journey. This is partly because we travel long term and didn’t have to finish by any point but also partly because I was doing the research to write this post! If you’re travelling for a shorter, set amount of time then I would suggest booking in advance as you don’t want to spend time thinking about where to go tomorrow, booking a place to stay etc.

          If you want to reply with your proposed itinerary I can critique it for you and give you some ideas or suggestions.

          I have a post here on using Priceline Express Deals to get cheap accommodation. This is how we booked ALL our last minute stays and it worked brilliantly. You can use it for advance bookings too though –

  • Meltem
    Reply

    We are planning the same trip this summer with 2 kids and your article is very useful. Thank you very much for sharing your experience with other travellers.

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      You’re welcome Meltem! Let me know if you have any questions.

  • Rob
    Reply

    Hi,

    We are thinking of coming over to New York in may of this year for our honeymoon and doing the east coast. The question I’ve got is what are the rental companies like dropping the car off in another state. Does it cost extra and how much extra? If you have any other tips that would be great!

    Thanks

    Rob

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      Hi Rob! Usually a one way rental costs an extra fee. Typically it’s around $300 but it depends on the car rental company and which states you’re in. Some states have an agreement that waives the one way fee, like between CA, NV and AZ. When you do a car rental quote, it should come up either in the fee breakdown or in the policy wording. Check a few of them before booking so you get the best price!

  • Kani
    Reply

    Hi! I was wondering how the drive back from Florida to Montreal was. And around how much did the whole thing cost? Thank you!

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      Hi Kani! Thanks for stopping by. We only drove one way. Afterwards we did a road trip around Florida and then continued on and drove across the Gulf Coast of the US, Texas and back to Utah. You could drive back up if you live in Montreal, taking a more inland route. Or rent a car for the trip and fly back instead. Up to you!

      Our budget for this trip was $200 USD per day for everything including accommodation, food, attractions and gas. We are a family of four. We had our own vehicle so if you planned on renting a car you would have to factor this into the budget. That said, you could definitely do this trip cheaper than we did by spending a few days less in NYC and avoiding New England in the summer as it’s very expensive there at this time of year.

      Let me know if you have any other questions!

      – Bethaney

  • Kirk
    Reply

    Hi Bethany. Intending on being in New Orleans/Florida mid December xmas in North Carolina and New York around new yrs . Fly back home to oz from there. Family of 4 with kids 15 and 21! Thinking trip to be around 3 weeks long. Saw your blog on east coast tour and looks very inviting. My only worry is the climate that time of yr and is it what u call ” peak season” . Would we expect big crowds and high pricing. Be interested in your comments. Thanks. Kirk from oz.

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      Hi Kirk. Christmas time on the East Coast wouldn’t be peak season as it’s the middle of winter. NYC and DC will be cold and potentially snowy. That may impact your driving. Further south, not such a big problem.

      We travelled at the end of summer last year and had no problem getting accommodation except in coastal Maine on a weekend. Heading down towards Florida you might strike people holidaying over the Xmas period. But remember that Americans get far less holiday time than us down under, even around Christmas and NY. There’s no boxing day holiday. This list of holidays in the US might help – http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/.

      • Kirk
        Reply

        Thanks Bethany. Useful info. We may leave car in Raleigh N/C and bus to NYC with stops along way if the weather is not good driving at that time of yr ! I’m sure buses do that route regularly. Do you have any thoughts on that ? Kirk.

        • Bethaney Davies
          Reply

          I’ve not used buses to get around America Kirk. I’m sure driving is fine on the I95 even in winter. America really is better with a car!

  • khai tran
    Reply

    Hey! I’m trying to go on a road trip for 7 days with 4 mid 20’s friends, Id appreciate any advice and recommendations on what to see on the east coast, much appreciated!!!

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      Everything on this itinerary! If you want to party, you might want to spend a bit more of your time in Miami or NYC. 7 days is not a lot of time for this itinerary. It took us about 6 weeks.

  • Bernard Arokiaraj
    Reply

    Hi Bethaney,
    Thank you for inspiring us. We just wrapped our first 2500 mile East Coast road trip with 3 kids. Your tips and suggestion was excellent. We started our journey from Massachusetts on August 16th,2016 , we used waze maps for directions. There is one problem with Waze, it states that it only has up map range of 1000 miles, however,we realized early on that its server was timing out. So, the journey was broken down into 500 miles -600 mile range. Please pick your points a head of time. We did our best to stay away from I-95 S. Waze puts on I_81S, this was a good road to travel. Our first stop was Orlando FL, luckily Floridians are back in school so the parks and roads seems to have a light traffic. We parked in Miami FL and took a Cruise to Bahamas. It was great!, we returned and drove to Key Largo to take a glass bottom boat cruise t to from John Pennenkamp Coral Reef State Park. This state park is great as it has 3 beaches on site where you can do Snorkeling and it is shallow. From Key Largo we drove to Coco Beach to visit Cape Canaveral, from this point onward we followed your road map. We stopped at NASA ( had a great time), Georgia (took the Old Savannah Trolley tour and stopped at Mrs.Wilkes for Lunch), Myrtle Beach SC( Stayed in La Quinta across from Broadway on the Beach ) and decided to stay an extra day, so stayed at the Sheraton Convention Center. From SC we drove up to Mount Laural NJ and stayed at the Holiday inn Express. This was our stopping point to visit Philadelphia. The distance between Mt.Laurel and Philadelphia is 16 miles. Hotel was very nice. Since we stayed only for one day we visited the Independence Hall, Liberty Bell and took the Big Bus tour. We stopped for Philly Cheesteak at Pats King of Steaks ( Sub was pre-made and was luke warm, so decided to go to Geno’s across the street ( Cheese Steak was delicious). Finding parking in this neighborhood was quite difficult. Again, Thank you for this blog, it came in handy through out through out our journey.

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      Hi Bernard! I’m glad to hear you had such an amazing trip along the East Coast. It’s always amazing for me to hear that people are following my travel advice and getting value from the info I provide. 🙂 I can’t wait to go back to the US and finish off the states we haven’t done. The ones in the middle mainly!

  • Kev
    Reply

    Hi, that’s an awesome trip and very informative, thank you.

    We live in the UK and done a West Coast USA road trip last year and it was the best trip we have ever had, I’m still buzzing about it now TBH. We are now wanting to do the Deep South as my girlfriend really wants to sample the good old American bars playing the music she loves. However, looking over itineraries online I’m just not feeling it and I think the East may be more appealing. Starting in NYC, heading up to Thousand Island Park, across to Niagara then back down to NYC – plus many stops along the way. We have 21 travelling days to play with.

    What do you think is best, East or South? Or have I just been spoilt with the awesome scenery of the West around Bryce, Zion, Grand Canyon and Yosemite, just to name a few – like I said, I’m still buzzing over that trip ha-ha!

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      Hi Kev! That is actually a really tough question! The East Coast is great but if your GF is into the music scene then it would be a tough call. The South is fab! We haven’t done a whole Deep South Road trip but we’ve kind of done bits of it in a couple of different road trips when criss-crossing from east to west and west to east.

      Why not combine a bit of both? With three weeks you could start in NYC, travel down to Philly/Amish Country, then to DC then start to cut across VA and down into Tennessee, Mississippi and then end in New Orleans. I think that would be great for 3 weeks. We absolutely LOVED Nashville and Memphis. New Orleans is something else completely. Might just be my favourite city in the US now!

      Let me know what you think! Happy to discuss further. 🙂

  • Tasha
    Reply

    Just found your website, and am so excited to read about your travels. I am planning a trip down the east coast and I love that you put your itinerary out there. I have been looking for something similar to this and love that your sharing your travel tips!

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      Thanks Tasha. Glad I could help! Let me know if you have any questions about your trip. 🙂

  • Sandi Weaver
    Reply

    Hey Bethany,
    Thank you for your information! We’re planning an East coast trip this summer. It’s mainly the 13 colonies & end in Disney World. All of this with our 13 yr old grandson & our kids coming & going. Coming from Or, the debate is1) fly to the east rent a car & drive/hotel. 2)rent a cruise America thing & stay in Koa type places. A lot of cities have bus tours. Such pro’s & cons! We can’t decide. HELP we gave 4-6 weeks.

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      Hi Sandi! What a great trip. Lucky grandson getting to tag along. I guess my question to you would be are you comfortable sharing a small space for that length of time? If you go for an RV, it’ll be tight quarters. Plus a lot harder to drive around the cities (and park) when you’re in places like Philadelphia, Boston, DC, New York etc. I would personally go for a car for this type of trip. Other road trips in the US would be great in an RV but there are so many cities on this one, you’d end up having to stay right on the outskirts to park your RV and probably have to catch public transport each day. 4 to 6 weeks is a great amount of time for this trip. We did it in 6 weeks by came all the way from Montreal so that did add a bit of extra time on there. You’ll have a great time! Feel free to ask any further questions.

  • David
    Reply

    This trip looks amazing! Do you have an estimate of overall cost? I couldn’t find that anywhere in the post. I’d need to adjust the trip based upon cost. Thanks!

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      Hi David. Our budget was $200 USD a day for our family of four which we kept to comfortably. We did have our own car though so if you’re renting you need to factor that into the budget. We didn’t do things as cheaply as one could though. You could definitely get it down to $150 a day and still be OK. Hope that helps!

  • kim
    Reply

    hi ! we will have 4 weeks (including coming from/returning to Oz)… any suggestions where we could cut back in time? but still see the best!!!
    Kim

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      Hi Kim! I think 4 weeks would be great from NYC to Orlando or Miami. Are you travelling with kids or without? You’ll probably need to stopover in LAX or SFO on the way so figure about 3 weeks of driving. What time of year?

    • Michael
      Reply

      Hi Kim, we just finished travelling from New York to Florida in 5 weeks and I would say it was just about enough time, although more would have been better. We did have a week in the Outer Banks (highly recommended) and a week in Orlando, which might save you time if you don’t intend to stop long anywhere.

      If you want to save time anywhere, I would suggest between NC and Florida, there are fewer sights there and you really don’t want to miss anything further north. Happy Travels

  • Michael Aldridge
    Reply

    Great guide, we actually just used it ourselves when we road tripped the east coast. Although we did a slightly shorter version from New York to Orlando, also we included the Outer Banks of NC as I used to live there once and wanted to revisit it. Although it did turn out to be one of our favourite locations on route. I am curious why you didn’t go that way, very few people seem to?

    Thank you again for writing this blog, it was so helpful in planning our trip.

  • Sveinn Óskar
    Reply

    Hi there! 🙂

    Thanks for this amazing itinerary. Me, my girlfriend, both 28 years old, and our son that will be 1 next june plan on doing Miami – New York.

    My first question is why you skip north carolina? I see that you drive from fayetteville straight to washington. Was this just because you have to skip something or is NC just not that interesting?

    We plan to do this in 1 month and I am trying to fit all the best places. We don’t like to travel to much since we have the baby with us. So 3-5 nights minimum each place. If you had to choose around 7 places what would you choose? 🙂 I know it’s a hard question.

    Also, would you recommend having a rental car for most of the time or can you also use public transportation?

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      Hi Sveinn! Thanks for your comment. We didn’t find anything along the route that we considered worth stopping off at in NC so decided just to power through. I’m sure there are good places to visit in NC but they weren’t along the I95 or were too much of a detour. We did this trip with our baby aged 15 months and son at age 5 so it’s definitely doable with small kids. There are some places where 3-5 nights is too long e.g. Lancaster or some of the other smaller towns and some where it’s not enough e.g. NYC! I would not miss NYC, DC, Savannah or Cape Canaveral. Philadelphia was great but you could easily be satisfied with the other two big cities. You could skip Jekyll Island or Myrtle Beach but we just used these as handy places to break up the drive. I would absolutely recommend travelling by rental car the whole way. Public transport is not great in the US and road tripping is by far the easiest way to travel with a baby. 🙂

  • littleleftie
    Reply

    That is a wonderful trip….but the East Coast actually involves Canada…how come you didn’t take time to explore IT??? We have driven that drive from the Maritimes down to Key West and believe me, it is a fantastic trip. However, we deliberately avoided NYC and Washington!!!

    Don’t forget to explore Atlantic Canada!!!!!!!

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      We spent 4.5 months in Canada on our travels. We started this part of our road trip from Montreal.

  • Rupali D
    Reply

    Hello. My Son is studying at University of Toledo, Ohio. I am planning a vacation with him in month of July. I would like to explore nearby places. I have 4 weeks with him…can you help me plan a trip. I have never been to East Coast. Thank you.

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      With a month, I think you New York to Miami would be best. Or vice versa. So fly to either of those cities and make a start there. If you need to drive from Toledo and back then you could go across to NYC and start there and then take an inland route back up to Toledo from Miami. Or actually you could just do the New England section plus NYC, DC, Lancaster and Philly. That might actually be better if ou’re starting from and returning to Toledo. Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any more questions.

      I have another NEw England road trip itinerary in this post –

  • Sanja, from Heidelberg, Germany
    Reply

    Hi there! Really enjoyed reading about your trip to East Coast 🙂 We are a family of 4, planning a 3-week visit to the USA and a trip along similar route in August. Apart from visiting friends for a few days in Frederick, MD and doing a week-long beach vacay around Delaware (and possibly visit to Kennedy Space Center), we are not fixed on any other places. Where would you recommend we fly to for the start of our trip and return from? Some say better to fly to Philly than NYC…Thanks for your advice.

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      Hi Sanja! How old are your kids? That might change my recommendation a little. NYC is amazing and if you haven’t been I would definitely include it in your trip. The drives are all pretty short in that part of the road trip. If you did want to skip NYC you could fly into Philadelphia or even DC. There is so much great stuff to do in DC with kids. We wish we’d had even longer there to be honest.

      Week one – The cities in some combination of NYC, Philly, DC. You could easily spend it all in DC especially if you are visiting friends in Maryland. Philly and DC with a side trip out to Lancaster would be good too. It’s probably smart to skip NYC with this short amount of time.
      Week two – Your beach trip to Delaware.
      Week three – You’d need at least one stop between your Delaware beach destination and Savannah or it’s a long drive down. Spend a few days in Savannah and then head down to Florida. You could stay at the Cocoa beach/St Augustine/Cape Canaveral area and visit the beach and Kennedy Space Center. Or you could stay in Orlando and visit the theme parks if your kids would like that and then do a day trip from there to Kennedy Space Center.

      Hope that helps!!!!

  • Nada
    Reply

    Hi Bethaney,

    So glad we found you on Pinterest!
    We have 20days on the east coast. Extra 4 days in NYC. This will be my first trip to the US with the kids. I have done NYC.

    Kids are 11-7 and 4 of them. I am will hire a car and start in Miami. I really want to make it to Montreal and head back to NYC last 4 days.

  • Andrew
    Reply

    I’d just like to add if you’re going to do an East Coast trip you definitely shouldn’t sleep on Baltimore. I lived on the East Coast my whole life. Between Upstate NY (Syracuse and Buffalo), DC, and now Baltimore. Baltimore doesn’t get the credit that it’s neighbors DC and Philly get but I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

    I suggest stopping off in Baltimore for at least a day as it’s between Philly and DC off of 95S on your way down. For hotels stay close to the inner harbor or the newer Harbor East area.

    Places to see:
    – Camden Yards, one of the best baseball parks in the country.
    – Fort McHenry, where the US held off the British navy in 1812 and inspired the Star Spangled Banner
    – Federal Hill, best views of the city. US again defended against the British at the hill in 1814. During the civil war, the North pointed cannons at the city to keep Maryland from joining the Confederacy.
    -Edgar Allen Poe’s grave
    – Inner Harbor, great people watching and can get a lunch/dinner cruise
    – National Aquarium, one of the best aquariums anywhere
    – Seafood! Some of the best seafood in the country, if not the world LP Steamers and Nick’s Seafood are my favorites.

    There’s a lot to see and do in Baltimore. It’s a significant historical city on the same level as Boston, Philly, DC in terms of importance to early US history.

    The people are great and very welcoming. The city gets a bad rap, but it’s very safe in the tourist areas. Just stay out of West Baltimore (west of the stadiums) and East Baltimore (north of Patterson Park).

  • Kelly
    Reply

    Bethaney – I have to say you are my hero! We travel quite a bit, albeit not nearly as much as you but we are both teachers and so make the most of our summers off. I am a planner, just like you and your spreadsheet for this trip is amazing!!! We just went on a 16 night California roadtrip last summer that went really well. We were a little nervous about traveling that long in a car with kids, but it was wonderful. With that trip under our belt, I now have started planning our east coast trip for summer 2018. I have gotten our trip down to about 4 weeks (starting in Maine and ending in Georgia), but am a little nervous about the budget. Our Cali trip averaged about 500 a day, which I didn’t think was too bad until I read that you did East Coast at 200 a day. We averaged about 250 for hotels and 250 for food/activities, amusement parks, souvenirs etc. So my goal is to get it closer to the 300 mark, but looking at some of the hotels you listed (especially NYC) I’m not seeing how you got it down so low, was it same day discounts perhaps? I’m such a planner that last minute makes me a little nervous, but perhaps it will be worth it??? Any thoughts on cost saving strategies would be greatly appreciated!

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      Hi Kelly! Thanks for your nice comment!!! We had no trouble getting hotels on Priceline Express Deals by booking last minute, usually the night before or the morning of, typically you save 25% to 40% using Express Deals. The reason we did this was so we could a) save money but also b) remain totally flexible in our travel plans. Our budget for accommodation was $100/night and we often spent around that or a bit less. You can still plan ahead and use Priceline Express Deals though! It is definitely worth trying if you want to shave a bit off your accommodation costs. I have a blog post on it here –

      We also used CityPass for attractions in the likes of Boston, NYC and Philly to save money on entrance fees. We almost always had breakfast in our hotel, travelled with bowls and spoons and a reusable grocery bag with snacks, cereal etc plus a cooler for milk. We mostly stuck to one meal eating out per day and one grocery store/takeaway meal which was almost always Wholefoods Salad bar or something cheap like Chipotle. Our kids are little so they don’t eat a heap or cost as much in admission fees for things so you’d have to factor that in if you were travelling with older kids or teens.

      Let me know if that helps!

  • Sara
    Reply

    Hi! This might have been said already…but what’s your advice for this trip with the little ones? We’re planning a similar trip this May with our two kids ages 3 and 10 months. What would you recommend skipping or highly suggest?
    Thanks!

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      Our kids were 5 years and 1.5 years when we did this exact trip so, for the itinerary, keep it the same and find kid-friendly things to do in the cities. My main advice for the actual road tripping with kids part is to not drive long journeys back to back days unless you have to, limit travel days to 400 miles or less, try and get your driving done early in the morning, pick hotels with pools if you’re travelling in summer and snacks & games for the car are a must!

  • Sahar
    Reply

    Hi Bethaney! Love your blog, so happy i found your post! we are planning an East Coast trip this summer and I am really confused about the stops! We will be 10 people, we will rent a large van (we rented a 12-seater last summer from Vegas to California). We will all have luggage the whole time. Thing is, ages range from 3 years old to 70! it’s hard to plan. We want to start in Boston, stay for 2 days, then New York another 2 or 3 days, Washington DC 1 day, and then we want to skip as fast as possible through the rest to spend the last days in Miami. The trip will be around 2 weeks. What is the best stop out of the last few stops to not make it a really long drive for the kids? We are 7 adults, a 13 year old, a 9 year old, and a 3 year old. We won’t go to Disney World though. I will start working on hotel options as well for each of the areas we will stay in. In Boston we have a condo and some will be at a hotel so no problem there. Any tips or recommendations are much appreciated! Thank you!

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      Hi Sahar! Sounds like a great trip. Washington DC to Miami is so far, over 1000 miles, 16+ hours of driving) and if you’re on a time crunch I would probably say just fly that leg and concentrate on Boston, NYC and DC for your travel by van. If you do plan to drive it though I would suggest stopping in Savannah as it’s the most interesting stop en route between the two. Savannah is a lovely town. If you can, break up the drive from Savannah to Miami by stopping off at the Kennedy Space Center for a couple of hours as it’s fascinating.

  • Tphuong
    Reply

    Hi, our family planning a road trip from Montreal to cape cod, MA. I am wondering if you can suggest any attractions a long the way as we will travel with 2 kids( 2.5 yo and 6 month old). Also any tips about road trip with young kids will be much appreciated.

    Thank you.

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      We did all that with our kids at 5 years and 18 months. It’s a good route because the drives are pretty short. Lots to do in Boston with kids. We liked Salem too but more for the history and the witchy stuff. Lots of lighthouses and beaches down the Maine coast and of course Cape Cod. Don’t miss the Ben & Jerry’s factory tour!

      Tips for road tripping with small kids:

      – Don’t drive more than 400 miles in a day. (Easy in New England area!) We found our baby could manage her first nap in the car but about an hour after that nap she could not sit in the car any longer at all and would just scream if we were in the car any longer.

      – Don’t do back to back days of long driving if you can avoid it. Try and stay places two nights to give kids a break from the big drives. (This can be hard if you’re driving across country or trying to get somewhere fast.)

      – On days where you are doing a lot of driving, pick a hotel with a pool as a reward and to let kids burn off energy.

      – Get up and do your driving first thing in the morning after a quick hotel breakfast.

      – Pack a “food bag” with cereal, snacks etc in a reusable grocery bag plus a cooler with milk, yoghurt etc so you can feed kids easily in the car or hotel room. Take a large ziploc bag and fill it with ice from hotel ice machine to keep your cooler snacks fresh. Snacks are a good way to break up the journey for little kids.

      – Bring coloring books, crayons, activity toys, ipads, music for the car. Make sure you interact with the kids and talk about what you’re seeing out the window, colors, the trees, point out any animals you pass etc. Play eye spy even if they don’t quite get it!

      – Don’t except the kids to want to go out to eat in evening if you’ve been driving during the day, they just won’t get back in the car! Instead plan on eating take out in the room and have one parent go pick it up or have it delivered.

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