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Touring from Washington

Sydney
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Touring from Washington

I've had some great advice from TA people and have decided to head to Washington in November and take the rail to Philadelphia for a couple of days. My husband and I love touring holidays so thought we'd like to rent a car out of Philly and tour some of the suggested historical sites. So, we're thinking of the following but would love some input (we're keen on the historical aspects of this part of the US):

2 nights in Philly

Hire a car and drive to Gettysburg. 2 nights

Drive to Harpers Ferry for 1 night

Drive to Staunton for 2 nights

Drive to Williamsburg for 3 nights

Drive to Washington airport and drop the car.

Back home to Oz.

A couple of extra questions:

Is this long enough to see this area well enough? Should we stay for longer periods in certain areas or less time than we're thinking? Have we missed some areas that we shouldn't miss? Is it easy driving out of Phily and will it be difficult driving to Washington airport (we're always daunted driving in and around the citys).

Thanks for your help with this and apologies that it's such a long post!!!

Washington DC...
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1. Re: Touring from Washington

If you are coming from the south, Williamsburg, then get your flight home from Dulles. Easy to drive to from the south. And no real city driving involved.

Bethesda MD
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2. Re: Touring from Washington

Philadelphia airport and Center City areas are pretty easy to navigate. Get GPS (bundled with your rental or otherwise) if you're anxious.

I think one day will suffice for Gettysburg. So 2 nights only if that means arriving late (are you planning on Valley Forge en route?) and leaving appx. 36 hours later. Drive Skyline Drive between Harper's Ferry and Staunton. Charlottesville/Monticello and Richmond are worthwhile stops between Staunton and Williamsburg. I'd cut time from Gettysburg or Staunton if necessary to make room for them.

You may want to play around with rental rate options and Philly parking fees and Amtrak fares DC-Philly: I suspect that all things considered, it'll cost less to rent and return in DC than to incur a drop-off charge and two rail tickets, even though that means you'll have the car for longer and need to park in Philly.

Fairfax County...
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3. Re: Touring from Washington

Will your US trip begin and end in Washington? If that is the case, your only choice will be either Dulles (IAD) or Baltimore International (BWI), as Reagan Airport is for domestic flights only. IAD will be better.

If your Washington trip is still a side trip from your trip to Dallas, then you may consider Reagan Airport (DCA) on your inbound flight if it is not much more money. DCA will enable you to go downtown with the least amount of time and hassle.

near Washington DC
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4. Re: Touring from Washington

I love your itinerary! You're a history minded person like myself. Here are my comments:

- You don't need a car for downtown Philly. Spend 1-2 days here.

- If you are driving between cities, stop in Baltimore at Fort McHenry for a few hours.

- You'll need several days in DC. Include a trip to Mount Vernon.

- Visit Monticello when in Staunton.

- You're close to Richmond. I'd spend a day there.

- Harpers Ferry is a delight but there is nothing going on at night there. If you like a very quiet B&B, you may like to spend a night there.

- Gettysburg is a must! I'd spend 1-2 days here.

- Williamsburg? The historical part is one day. I don't know if you plan the amusement park and water park there. I'm assuming not. This is where I'd insert the Richmond day. It is an hour drive between Richmond and Williamsburg. Also stop at the several battlefields outside Richmond. My favorite is Cold Harbor. I'd also say spend a day in Jamestown outside Williamsburg. You could use Williamsburg as home base for these three trips.

Have a great trip!

Washington DC...
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5. Re: Touring from Washington

"Williamsburg? The historical part is one day."

That's fine if all you do is walk along Duke of Glouster street. But if you buy a ticket and tour some of the many building open for tours, it can easily take several days. The Governor's Palace and gardens is easily a couple of hours all on its own. And if you have any interest in antiques, there is a wonderful museum. And then close by are Jamestown and Yorktown. A whole boatload of American history is a small area. And Busch Gardens theme park is one of the nicest in the USA.

6. Re: Touring from Washington

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