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US East Coast

Caerphilly, United...
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US East Coast

Next year our holiday will be spent driving from Florida to New York in June. The flight is booked, into Miami and out of JFK, everything else is still in the planning stage. We know the car hire will cost more picking it up from one city and dropping it at another and this has been budgeted for.

So what I'd be very grateful for is some route planning advice. We have 16 nights and know we want to spend the last 3 in NY, and want to see Miami, the Keys and the Everglades in Florida, plus Savannah and Charleston - but as yet have noo fixed plans. We won't be stopping in DC as we've been there several times.

At the moment I'm thinking we should start in Miami, but not hire the car until we leave to go south (thinking of the horrors of city parking) is this the best option, is a car needed in Miami?

Any advice is very gratefully received.

Melbourne, Australia
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1. Re: US East Coast

I haven't been to the south of Florida, so can't comment about driving there. St Augustine is great though, so worth a stop on your drive north. It's 13 years since I did the drive in reverse, so I can't remember details, but hopefully I can give you some ideas.

You have a couple of options for the rest of the trip. There's the coastal route via Cape Hatteras, which I really enjoyed. Kitty Hawk is home to the Wright Brothers memorial & there are a few lighthouses along the way.

There's also the Skyline Drive through the Shenandoah NP, with a stopover in Charlottesville to visit Monticello. If you haven't already visited, Gettysburg is worth a detour. If you are interested in crafts, the Amish areas around Lancaster PA are also good. However, they are quite touristy so you need to get a map to visit the farm stalls & quilt shops away from the bus tour stops.

You will need to check distances to see what you can fit into your itinerary & how long you can stop in each place.

Lewes, United...
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2. Re: US East Coast

Julie

Unfortunately, you've picked a bad time to post your question on this forum as I know several of the regulars are currently otherwise engaged, no doubt having a whale of a time, at their Utah meet up. Maybe by mid week you'll get some more responses!

As I've not driven this route in one go, and have a few missing chunks, I'm reluctant to add too many suggestions of my own, as I may have missed the best bits. What I do know is that it's a great drive.

Ellen has given you some great suggestions, but have a look at a map and see how far away from the coast you wish to stray. Here are just a few comments, as my 10cents:

To see the cities of Savannah and Charleston, you'd stick to the coast. We loved both those places, and I'd suggest, if you have the time, to allow at least 2, perhaps 3 days in each place so you can explore the centre, visit a few of the historic houses, perhaps try a plantation,and the small museums.

There are small islands along the GA coast too that are laid back and charming. Further north, as Ellen has commented, there's the more rugged and bleak coast and capes. The whole Outer Banks area is very attractive and there are interesting drives over long bridges or sea tunnels.

If you like big cities, Philadelphia has a lot to offer, too.

Inland, but realistically well away from the coast, there's the northern bits of the Blue Ridge Parkway and as mentioned Skyline drive, and bits of the Appalachian Trail that you might wish to consider for a contrast to the coast. You've already listed what you're interested in in FL.

I'd suggest you post on some of the specific forums of places of interest and see what the locals come up with. They will mention places we've omitted, and provide more insight into places we've mentioned to give you a better view of whether they're of interest to you, or not.

Have a great trip,

SWT

Caerphilly, United...
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3. Re: US East Coast

Many thanks both - I think I have quite a bit of route planning to do!

I'll keep an eye on this post over the next week and also take the advice or visiting the specific forums for the towns/areas that we're interested in visiting

Once again many thanks

Cleveland
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4. Re: US East Coast

The Kennedy Space Center, the Canaveral National Seashore, and the nearby pier at Cocoa Beach are favorites of mine, but I haven't visited in years. Canaveral National Seashore is an excellent place to see the natural, undeveloped wonder of the central Florida coastal area. Weather admittedly will determine your enjoyment of much of Florida, especially in June.

http://www.nps.gov/cana/index.htm

http://www.cocoabeachpier.com/

Are you planning to spend time in the Orlando area?

As Sussex mentioned, there are inland attractions away from the coast, such as the Biltmore Estate near Asheville in North Carolina. However, you don't have much unbudgeted time, and you would have to skip the North Carolina and Virginia coasts if you took I-26 from Charleston to make a detour into a very different part of the U.S.

What have you seen in the Washington, D.C. area? Have you ever been to the Williamsburg area, Mount Vernon, Appomattox, Monticello, or the Harper's Ferry/Antietam area (2012 is the sesquicentennial anniversary of the bloodiest and one of the most momentous days in American history)? Baltimore offers one of the nation's best railroad museums, an excellent aquarium, and a fun harbor area.

http://thedistrict.com/sightseeing/day-trips/

http://www.nps.gov/ancm/index.htm

Do you like art?

http://www.groundsforsculpture.org/

Tet, the roadtrip destination expert, recently stayed in Jersey City while visiting New York City and has touted that decision. See posts 10, 15 in this link, but he also has posted after his trip and was extremely pleased with his stay in Jersey City, reporting very convenient trips into Manhattan, if I remember correctly.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g1-i12567-k4749404…

Good planning!

Caerphilly, United...
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5. Re: US East Coast

Yes I realise that June is one of the wettest months in Florida, but unfortunately we're limited when we can take time from work so would rather dodge the storms rather than not visit at all :-) No we don't have any plans to visit the Orlando area, but we're very aware that this visit will only give us a flavour of what Florida has to offer, and although our first visit I'm sure it won't be our last.

In DC I've really only seen the main monuments and museums, most of them twice as I've been with my ex-husband and again with my current partner (who had never been before) - so our decision on to plan it into this trip was more a case of not staying in the city, but I'll definitely be looking at some of your recommendations when planning the route.

Many thanks for your help and advice

queensland
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6. Re: US East Coast

Hi Julie, Hope you do not mind me coming in on your thread and if you do I understand but hope you wouldn't mind answering a question for me. My husband and I are thinking of doing the same trip as you in about 2 weeks from New York to Miami We were thinking of buying a car for this trip but as we are only here for a month or so it probably would not be viable. We thought it would be far too expensie t hire a car in one city and drop it off in another. Have you booked your car yet and if so do you mind me asking how much it worked out to per day and what the drop off fee is and who you went with. we have heard of ridiculous one way drop off fees of $1,000. We would only hire a car if we could get a good price. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Lewes, United...
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7. Re: US East Coast

missyperu

Yes, you really should start a new topic, to ask your question as it really relates to car rental, rather than seemingly seeking similar route advice, which is what Julie is after.

However, to respond to your query: Except for certain States where it is forbidden, car rental companies usually charge a one way drop off fee for finishing a rental contract at a different place. Depending on how far apart the locations are, and the company, the norm for this fee is $250 or $500. $1000 is most unusual. Who has quoted you this much?

For a month, buying a car makes no sense at all, and, in any case - for reasons that I won't go into here - the complexities for non US residents makes it totally unrealistic. One month car rentals need not be too expensive, but to get the better deals, it often makes sense to speak to the people you're getting a quote from, as it's long enough that there's room to negotiate. Always shop around.

That said, many US visitors from Oz find a company called traveljigsaw, which quotes in AUD, as good value and reliable. I've never used them as I'm not from Oz, but have used the UK based sister company happily.

If you wish more help with your trip, please start a new topic. Others with plenty of knowledge and experience will be happy to help more.

SWT

Caerphilly, United...
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8. Re: US East Coast

To answer the question, it's costing us about $350 - $400 to drop the car in New York and we're booking it with Hertz, who are our preferred hire car company. We've used others but find Hertz has been the one that's suited us best

Dallas, Texas
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9. Re: US East Coast

I second the suggestion to visit Williamsburg in Virginia. It is not far from the coast. Two other sites nearby are Jamestown and Yorktown.

Lewes, United...
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10. Re: US East Coast

Julie - just out of curiosity, as I've just realised nowhere on this topic is it mentioned, how long have you rented the car from Hertz for? What category of vehicle have you booked to get that price? Also, did you use the .com or the .co.uk website for your booking? As you've clearly said Hertz is your preferred rental company, then obviously you've used them before and are a satisfied customer, or you have personal circumstances that permit you to get a preferential rate, which is great for you.

SWT