[I'm posting this same post in forums: Road Trips, Washington DC, Boston, New York, Shenandoah National Park, Newport, New Haven, Delaware and Wildwood. This way you can get an overview of our plans. If you want you can just answer the parts that have to do with this forum.]
We are planning a East Coast roadtrip for June. I have a draft plan for now and many open questions. I'm hoping someone here could help us.
First some information about us, to help you to help us. We are a couple (29&31) from Finland. We are interested in history, arts, nature and getting a glance of the local life. We are targeting a budget of about 300$ per day. We don't mind roughing it a bit sometimes and are ready for adventure and looking for new experiences.
We don't mind driving, actually enjoy it since we don't have a car at home. So even long drives are ok, but we prefer more scenery routes than big highways. So scenic route suggestions would be welcome.
We also like to eat, so recommendations for outstanding and relatively cheap places to eat would be great. With relatively cheap I'm thinking about <10$ for breakfast, <20$ for lunch and <40$ for dinner per person. We are not picky with what kind of food we eat (as long as it's good), but seafood is unfortunately out of question because of allergies.
So here's our draft plan:
June 12-16th NYC
Reserved Chelsea Star hotel, will try to find something better in Priceline. Planning to visit at least MET, top of the rock, coney island and brooklyn museum. Also taking staten island ferry around sunset time, trying to get a local "guide" through the big apple greeter programme, going to a broadway show and jazz at lincoln center. Otherwise we just plan on walking around the different areas and seeing what interesting comes up. Any comments on this?
June 16th NYC - New Haven - Newport
Will rent a car before noon. Planning on renting the car from Jersey city, since it's cheaper there, and it would be convenient for returning the car. We are planning to first drive to New Haven to visit Yale University. Any hints on roads we should take? Or what would be best time to drive? Wouldn't want to get stuck in the traffic. After Yale we plan to head for Newport. Anything interesting we could visit between these? In Newport we have reserved a room in Marshall Slocum Inn. We plan to walk the Cliff Walk in the evening before it gets dark. We are thinking if we should also visit some of the mansions in addition to seeing them from the walk. Waht do you think?
Thursday June 17th Newport - Plymouth - Boston
We are planning to visit the Plymouth Plantasion on the way to Boston. In Boston we are staying overnight at Sheraton Boston (Priceline) and are interested in whale watching cruise, Harvard University and Freedom walk. Anything else we should do? We plan to park our car overnight at Braintree metro station and take the metro to the center. Is this ok?
Friday June 18th Boston - ?
After spending the day in Boston, we plan to head south. We want to either go to Amish country near Lancaster or head towards Washington DC. (We should to be in DC latest around 2pm on Saturday). Any comments on should we go to the Amish country for the night and morning, or skip it to have more time in DC?We were also thinking how bad the traffic is? What time should we leave Boston in order not to hit too much traffic? Would it be better to leave later, say after 6 or 7, even if this means driving late? If we decide to skip Amish country, which would be a good place for overnight stop on the way from Boston to DC? preferably no more than 3 hours from DC.
Saturday June 19th ? - DC
We have tour for Capitol at 3pm. Before or after this we want to visit the Library of Congress (we are big book nerds). If we arrive to DC early enough, I would also like to visit the zoo, mainly to see the pandas and the gomodo dragons. We also hope to make it to one of the museums in the evening (Natural history or American history, since they are open until 7:30). After the museum we plan to eat somewhere before hitting the monuments. And if we still have any energy after this, we could go out somewhere, preferably to a place with live jazz? We are staying at Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill (Priceline). Planning to park the car at Union Station.
Sunday June 20th DC - Shenandoah
At 9:30 we have tickets for the Washington Monument. After this we plan either to visit a museum or join the DC by Foot walking tour. For lunch we plan to try out the cafeteria in the museum of American Indian, and maybe also check some exhibits in this museum. After lunch we would still have time for one more museum. This would mean making it into 2-3 museums during our time in DC (not counting the american indian). Our top options now are American History, Natural history, African Art, Air and space, and the National gallery of art. Which ones would be your favorites and why? In the afternoon we plan to head for the Skyline Drive. Any opinions about the Luray Caverns, are they worth a visit? For the night we are camping at the Loft Mountain Campground, and plannning to do some hiking before sunset.
Monday June 21st Shenandoah - ?? - Wildwood
This day is still very much open. We have tickets for the 7:45pm ferry from Lewis to Cape May. So first in the morning (after a morning hike) we drive until the end of the Skyline drive, but then we have at least two options. We could drive to Annapolis, then to Ocean City and up the coast to Lewis. Another option is drive to Hampton and from there across the bridge and up towards Lewis. Which option sounds better and why? Or is there a third option that would be even better? What should we see on the way? We would love to see some nice scenery and enjoy the sea. For the night, we have reserved the Blue Palms hotel in Wildwood. (This can still be changed, in case there are better options.)
Tuesday June 22nd Wildwood - NYC
Planning to spend the morning by the beach and boardwalk, then drive back to Jersey City to return the car. Anything on the way we should visit or see? Hoping to be back in NYC latest by 4pm. Got a good deal for the Salisbury hotel for the night.
Wednesday June 23rd NYC
Last day of the US part of our vacation, flying to Iceland in the evening.
We would really appreciate all help you can give!