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Road Trip East Coast USA

usa
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Road Trip East Coast USA

We are family of 5 (17,15,7) and planning to do a first time east coast road trip this June.

1) We could fly into boston and leave NYC or stay and leave from NYC

2) Want to do a few places in 3 weeks (19 nights)

Boston

NYC

Connecticut

Philidelphia

Washington

3) We like a mix of heritage, nature (ie national parks where there may be bear sightings), shopping and of course the usual tourist spots.

4) I am most confused about where to pick up and drop off the car. We could also take domestic flights but for a family of 5, it may not be cost efficient. Can someone kindly advise?

Charlotte, North...
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1. Re: Road Trip East Coast USA

I would consider not doing a full blown road trip. The destinations you listed are all urban destinations and a car will be more of a problem than a benefit in New York an Washington (probably Boston as well). Parking will be expensive in those cities. All of those cities are worth spending several days. If you can arrange one way rentals, so you drop the car off when you get to a city, and pick up a new one when you leave, that might save some money. Another idea is to make the road trip portion between 2 cities only. For example, pick up the car when you leave Boston, road trip through New England, drop the car off when you get to New York. One way car rentals can have added fees, so you would have to shop carefully.

I always rent cars at airports, because airports are easy to find. A GPS would minmize that issue, and it frequently costs more to rent at the airport.

The total distance from Boston to Washington is not that much. It can be driven nonstop in a day. Look into Amtrak and busses as well. They may not be much, or any, slower than flying.

Having said all that, I estimate a mid size car for 2 1/2 weeks will cost about $8-1000, parking at $25 per night for a total of $350, gas maybe $300, plus tolls, for a total cost of about $1800.

A 15 day pass on Amtrak is $449, for adults, and half price for 15 and under. That allows 8 segments, and would leave enough money left for a rental car for a few days in either New England or Virginia. The best way to do that would be to fly in to Boston and leave from Washington. The 15 days would start when you left Boston, and end when you got to Washington. You could make a driving trip in New England for the first week, and then still have time on the pass to get beck to Boston if you had to.

Cleveland
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2. Re: Road Trip East Coast USA

Read through relevant threads in this forum and relevant trip reports in the trip report "sticky" thread at the top of this forum.

The suggestion in post 1 to fly into Boston and out of Washington, renting cars locally for round trip road trips (thereby avoiding drop charges) is a good one.

In addition to Amtrak, you could bus between cities (Greyhound, Megabus, Bolt). If you book the buses sufficiently in advance, rates can be very low. Whether busing or training, make certain you understand the luggage rules.

Enterprise picks up and delivers customers if the service is required sufficiently in advance from local offices. Hertz also might do so. Non-airport office rates are lower, but office hours are also more limited.

If you want to see bears, Great Smoky Mountains National Park may be your best bet, but there are no guarantees. Search for "Smoky Mountains bears" in the search engine atop the forum.

Pennsylvania has no sales tax on clothes or footwear. King of Prussia Mall there is one of the very largest in the U.S. and very upscale. Other destinations to see by car from Philadelphia might include Longwood Gardens, Valley Forge, Gettysburg, and Lancaster County Amish Country.

Good planning!

usa
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3. Re: Road Trip East Coast USA

Many thanks for all your reponses. Unfortunately i bought tickets in and out of NYC already, so I will need to plan a road trip round trip NYC. At the moment, I am looking at driving as it is less of a hassle with all the kids. Obviously I will pick up the car in NYC after spending a few days in NYC. My current plan is this:

Day 1 to 4 NYC

Day 5 to 7 Pick up car in New Jersey (Jersey City?) , travel to New London CT

Day 8 to 11 Boston

Day 11 to 14 Philadelphia (where is good for stopover)

Day 14 to 17 DC

Day 17 to 18 NYC drop off car (Where is good for stopover)

Where is great smokey mountain national park good to fit into the itinerary? Is this doable? Appreciate all your advice.

Cleveland
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4. Re: Road Trip East Coast USA

Is budget not an issue? It will be very expensive for parking and, as Tet, the dean of this forum likes to point out, a major PIA to have a car in the likes of NYC and Washington, DC. With older kids, taking a bus or train on the east coast should be less hassle than driving.

If you want to see Great Smoky Mountains NP, consider eliminating Boston and Connecticut. You could bus or train to Washington, DC, renting cars as needed. You would rent a car from Washington to head south.

With only 18 days, consider staying either north or south of NYC IF you really want to see much outside the major cities. List the attractions you want to see and how much time you will spend there, then put together your itinerary.

Check out New River Gorge. Family rafting there is very good, probably the best east of the Mississippi, and much more memorable IMO than seeing a bear. Search "New River Jump Rock" in the above search engine.

If you eliminated Boston/Connecticut, you also could explore Baltimore (National Aquarium, Fort McHenry, B&O Railroad Museum), Annapolis (U.S. Naval Academy), Norfolk (Battleship Wisconsin, largest naval base in the world), Yorktown, Williamsburg, Mount Vernon, Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, Monticello, etc.

Charlotte, North...
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5. Re: Road Trip East Coast USA

You do not have to eliminate much, if anything. You are unlikely to get to see a bear on this trip without committing significant time and effort to getting the chance, and the chance is not a sure thing. Getting to the mokey Mountains will take about 3 days out of your trip, a day to get there, a day to be there, and a day to get back, with no guaranty of seeing a bear. You could make driving trip from Washington that included Shenandoah National Park, but again, no guaranty of seeing a bear (you probably will not see one).

Great Smokey Mountain National Park is in western North Carolina. Shenandoah National Park is in Virginia, about 1 1/2-2 hours from Washington.

6. Re: Road Trip East Coast USA

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