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East Coast USA

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Singapore
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East Coast USA

Hi, I would like to take my family to the East Coast to visit places like the Tower of Liberty, Niagara Falls, Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone Park, Florida disney etc. We plan to fly direct to New York and self-drive, have 3 weeks:

1. Could you help to suggest driving routes and stopovers e.g. which is the next bst stopover after New York....so that the route would finally leads us to the next state e.g. Toronto, where Singapore Airlines operates a return flight

2. Is Dec or June a better period to go to see all these places?

3. I heard maid-of-the-mist does not operate in Dec?

4. Is there any other wonders/highlights of the world that we should not miss in the East Coast?

Thank you in advance!

San Diego...
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1. Re: East Coast USA

While most of the attractions you listed are on the East Coast, Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone Park are closer to the West Coast of the US. Niagara Falls is in the East, but not near the Coast. It would be a long drive (8 hours) from New York City and having been there a few times, it's one of those things that is amazing to see, but only for about an hour, so it may not be worth it. If you're flying into New York, plan to see Florida and only have three weeks, you'll probably want to begin driving south right away. You'll pass through major cities like Philadelphia (where America declared its independence from Britain), Baltimore (famous for its aquarium and harbor), Washington DC (home to the government buildings and may fine museums) and into Virginia, where there is also a lot of history in cities like Richmond and Roanoke. After Richmond, Virginia, there are few large cities until you get to Atlanta, which is not a must-see. You will probably travel on Interstate 95 or Route 1 most of the time and there are also not many must-see attractions in North Carolina, South Carolina or Georgia although the city of Savannah, Georgia is a beautiful place. Once you get to Florida, stop in St. Augustine (the oldest city in US), Orlando for Disney and SeaWorld, and finally head all the way south to our area, Miami/Ft Lauderdale, where there are great beaches and a laid-back, tropical environment. If you want to keep going from Miami, another 3 hours and you're in Key West, the southernmost city in the US.

June will be a better time to go, with warmer weather. The Maid of the Mist cannot run in December, as there is ice in the water. It gets very cold in the northern half of the US from October through April.

Things to do? There are literally thousands, but I would:

See a baseball game (doesn't matter in which city, but Philadelphia and Baltimore have nice stadiums)

Go to the top of the Empire State Building in New York

Go to the Smithsonian in Washington DC

Drive across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel in Virginia and try Maryland Blue Crab at a restaurant

Go to Disneyworld

Spend a day at the South Florida beaches

See Key West (just to say you made it all the way to the end of the US!)

Have fun!

Fort Lauderdale, FL
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2. Re: East Coast USA

If you go to Washington, DC, you MUST take the trolley tour. It was the best money I ever spent in my life. The tour guides/drivers on the trolley make the tour interesting, but the best part is that you can get off and tour all the monuments, etc. for as long as you want because there are trolleys that come by every 20 minutes or so. When I was there, the cost was $14 for the day. I don't know what is is now, but it will definitely be worth the money!

Are you doing anything in New York City? To me, it's one of the most amazing cities and I love the energy and excitement that abounds there. Of course, seeing some really great Broadway Shows adds to the thrill of the city. You can get 1/2 prices tickets in Times Square to shows on the day you want to go. Or, you can always subscribe to playbill.com and they'll email you special offers.

There are so many wonderful places to visit that you'd really need a month or two or three to do it all :)

Singapore
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3. Re: East Coast USA

Hi Awfulcat and Abby,

Thank you very much for your suggestions. I will look into them and chart the next step. Looks like June is better so i will have more time to plan!

God bless you all....

Boston...
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4. Re: East Coast USA

You could potentially plan it all before January, but you'd have to do it fast. Crowds are generally lighter in the winter, so in some select areas (just like everywhere else in the world) you'll have to be conscientious about hordes of tourists and plan to avoid them.

You listed quite the splattering of attractions, not all of which are on the East Coast. I suggest researching all the areas of the east to see which ones appeal to you, than pick your favourites. I know that you could easily spend three weeks just in my area of expertise, the southern Appalachians, and I'm sure you could do that same in other areas, as well. Be sure not to overreach with your itinerary. Some like more on the go vacations, but unless that's your particular style of travel I'd lean you to picking two or three areas and getting the most out of them. I wouldn't definitively pick which places you want to fly in and out of until you decide which areas you want to visit.

First of all, I highly recommend that you get a good, detailed map so you can get adjusted to driving distances and see how various things you want to see are spread out. A general East Coast guidebook might be a good idea, as well.

There is a TON of stuff to see on the East Coast and I don't even have enough general knowledge to definitively give the various regions. I'll try, though, starting in the north. (Pull up Google Maps and follow along if you like.) First you have New England, then New York City (which is really a region just on its own). Then you've got the mid-Atlantic with Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Baltimore. Working your way down on the southern seaboard you hit spots like Richmond, Virginia Beach, the North Carolina barrier islands, Charleston, and Savannah. If you travel southward via the mountains you drive through Shenandoah National Park in the north, down through the Blue Ridge Mountains all the way to the Southern Appalachians, my area of expertise. I'll give a whole description of that area below. Atlanta isn't really it's own region, but it doesn't belong to the southern seaboard or southern Appalachians. Traveling south by either the coast or the mountains you eventually hit Florida, with Disney and the beaches.

Whew, that was a lot, and I'm sure I missed a ton of things! Each one of these areas will appeal to different people in different ways, so you will need to look into each one of them to see if they interest you.

In the Southern Appalachians you have four main areas: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the western North Carolina mountains and Asheville, the North Georgia mountains, and Chattanooga, Tennessee. You could easily spend two weeks in the Smokies, more than a week in West North Carolina, more than a week in Chattanooga, and a good week in the North Georgia mountains. However, you hardly have that much time and I doubt that you will only be visiting the Southern Appalachians. I'll focus in on Chattanooga and the Smokies since they are the areas I know most about.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the largest east of the Mississippi. It is the climax of the Appalachian mountain chain and is a world heritage site because of its remarkable biodiversity. Main activities include scenic driving and hiking the more than eight hundred miles of trail in the park although there are many other activities offered, as well. Because of its size you could easily spend a week or more in the Smokies and just touch on the highlights. Be sure to get off the beaten path. If you'd like more info about the Smokies, just post some questions on the Great Smoky Mountains Forum: tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g143031-Great_Smok…

Chattanooga is a mid sized city of a little less than 200,000 people and has recently gained regional attention because of it's massive revitalization. In the 1970's it was the most polluted city in the United States, and now it's got a new multi hundred million dollar riverfront and has been acclaimed by Plenty magazine as one of the top four eco-friendly destinations in the world. The city played a major role in the Trail of Tears (a forced removal of thousands of Native Americans), the Civil War, and the early tourism industry in the United States. Lately its location on the edge of the Cumberland Plateau has made it a mecca for outdoor sports. Some other top attractions include the Tennessee Aquarium (largest freshwater aquarium in the world), Rock City, and the Hunter Museum (largest collection of American art in the South). If you'd like more info, just post a thread on the Chattanooga Forum: tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g54946-Chattanooga…

Hope all this helps!

Kristian

Singapore
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5. Re: East Coast USA

Kristian,

Wow! That's quite a load of information to last me....thanks again!

Boston...
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6. Re: East Coast USA

You're welcome! Let us know if/when you need more advice.

7. Re: East Coast USA

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