Hereafter you will find an epic itinerary for the East Coast including powerful cities like NY, Washington D.C. and Miami but also paradise-like beaches and the swampy Everglades.
East Coast in 33 days!
May 2016: Hello, Bonjour and Hey from a five weeks travel route along the astonishing East Coast. You can find some ideas here which itinerary fits you best and what you would like to discover along this route. Prepare yourself for awesome sunsets in the Blue Ridge Parkway, antebellum-residences in the South and never-ending, turquoise water experiences. A short Cruise around the Bahamas really makes this road trip a top-notch adventure.
- Length – 33 days / 32 nights
- Total mileage – ca. 1.955 miles, however you will most likely drive much more due to some excursions in the Shenandoah National Park
- Vehicle – 2WD SUV sufficient
- Road conditions – well tared
- Accommodation – Airbnb, Hostel, Motel / Hotel
- Highlights – Brooklyn Bridge, Charleston and Key West (optional the Bahamas!)
If you have five weeks of vacation and you are looking for an outstanding experience combining powerful cities as well as relaxing beach days – this East Coast tour is a perfect fit for you. Of course, this itinerary can be easily shortened if needed; as starting and ending points can vary depending on your free time. In the States, the hotel booking works really well through the portal Hotwire, where you can choose a motel or hotel category and will be surprised with one of four possibilities given in each category. This could save you some money.
NY – Baltimore drive about 180miles; 3hr
Day 1 – 4: Stay about 3 days in bustling NY to walk along the Highline Park, explore the Chelsea Market, admire the massive Brooklyn Bridge, enjoy the view from Rockefeller Center, stroll in Central Park, pause at the Memorial of the World Trade Center or just indulge yourself in the endless possibilities of shopping. City Rooms NYC Chelsea is a great place to stay with fair prices and a perfect location to explore everything in the City. The NJ Transit will bring you to the Newark Airport where you can pick up your rental car. On your way to Baltimore, you can stop at the outlet mall „The Mills at Jersey garden“ to get some good deals before you check-in in your hostel. The HI Baltimore hostel is a good option for one night.
Baltimore – D.C. drive about 40miles; 1hr
Day 5 – 7: During the morning, you could walk around and examine the boats by the harbor or the World Trade Center Baltimore. After breakfast, you can then head towards D.C. and spend two nights in the city to see the White House, the Capitol or the Washington Monument. You will find different museums such as the National Museum of American History or the National Air & Space Museum, where you can learn a lot about the former history and culture.
D.C. – Gwynn Island drive about 160miles; 3hr
Day 8 – 10: After all the sightseeing, Gwynn Island is a great option to rest for a couple of days at the beach in a river house. Airbnb is a good option here. You are now on island time and can relax the next few days at the beach, take a jet ski to explore the water or walk around this lovely island.
Gwynn Island – Charlottesville drive about 150miles; 2hr 30min
Day 11 – 12: Charlottesville is your „City“ door towards the Blue Ridge Mountains. You can first wander through the town and its well know UVA – University of Virginia, admire Monticello, an architectural master piece by Thomas Jefferson, before you head towards the Shenandoah National Park to drive along the Skyline Park. Plenty of parking bays will give you the possibility to enjoy the gorgeous view across the rolling hills, entering the Blue Ridge Parkway. You can also go hiking e.g. towards the Turk mountain, which is a short trail that you will find on your way driving south towards the Blue Ridge Mountains Entrance.
Charlottesville – Charlotte drive about 280miles; 4hr 30min
Day 13 – 15: You are going south! You can either drive directly from Charlottesville or take a detour to drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains again; here you should calculate additional 90min for your journey. After plenty of cities and hiking tours, Charlotte offers some new sportive adventures for a whole day in the US National Whitewater Center, where you can rent mountain bikes, jump from a 100ft tower, climb a high rope course, rent an SUP to explore the river or enjoy a rafting tour in the white water. However, the „Queen City“ offers also great museums and especially very tasty barbecues. Plenty of Airbnb’s are available here.
Charlotte – Charleston drive about 210miles; 3hr 15min
Day 16 – 18: Charleston is a lovely little city at the Oceanside, full of historical buildings from the antebellum era. Give yourself three nights to explore the historic district, the Battery & White Point gardens or join the informative Tommy Dew Tour through the city center. You can enjoy delicious food at SNOB or Raw 167. During evening hours „The Pavilion“ is a great rooftop bar, which offers you a fantastic view of Charleston. Of course, you shouldn’t miss one of the famous Charleston Tea plantation, wander through Dayton Hall, which is a former slave plantation or relish the Folly Beach view. For nature-lovers, the Angel Oak is a must-see, a 400 year old, huge oak tree.
Charleston – Savannah drive about 110miles; 2hr
Day 19 – 20: Gorgeous, historical little city of Savannah will take away your heart. Not only the splendid promenade along the river is worth a view but also the cute bars and restaurants offer delicious food. If you would like to enjoy the Wassaw National Wildlife Refuge, you should book a boat ticket weeks before. Outside the city, Wormsloe plantation is breathtaking, offering great trails to walk around this place for a whole day while admiring the views on the plains and the salty moor.
Savannah – Cocoa Beach drive about 300miles, 4hr30min
Day 21: On your way to Cocoa Beach, you will come across the town of St. Augustine that is worth to visit. Ponce de Leon is a dormitory nowadays and reminds me on the Spanish Alhambra. From here, it is not far until you will reach Cocoa Beach where you can easily take an Airbnb.
Cocoa Beach – Fort Lauderdale drive about 180miles; 2hr 45min
Day 22 – 23: Enjoy the beach side of the city or take a glimpse at the glory of it – „Las Olas“, where you will see many astonishing yachts. You can also rent a bike to explore more of the city and enjoy a good lunch at the beach promenade. Be sure you take an Airbnb with a pool, always a good idea when in Florida.
Fort Lauderdale – Homestead drive about 65miles; 1hr 15min
Day 24: Off to new adventures in the Everglades! At the Miccosukee Indian Village you can start your Airboat tour through the swamps and be fascinated by the landscape as well as the alligators. Afterwards will still be time for a 2 hours tour through Shark Valley with a little tram, here you will find more alligators, birds or even deer. For the more adventurous, you can participate in a guided short walk through the marshland, where alligators live. Take an Airbnb with pool to enjoy this overnight stay.
Homestead – Sugarloaf Key drive about 120miles; 2hr30min
Day 25: Sugarloaf Key is a hidden gem where you can kayak and explore the turquoise ocean. Key West is close by so that you don’t have to miss out on any fabulous sailing cruise, tasty lime pie, the famous Mile 0 or Duvall Street for shopping. Airbnb is fine here.
Sugarloaf Key – Miami drive about 150miles; 3hr
Day 26 – 28: Before you will enter the Latino influenced city of Miami, stop at Bahia Honda Beach to relax in the sand, you might long for this peaceful place once you arrive in the buzzing city of Miami. You definitely shouldn’t miss out Ocean Drive and South Beach where the craziness gets to its top in „Latino City“. If you opt for the cultural side of Miami, the Biltmore hotel or Vizcaya villa are great escapes. The latter is the oldest villa of Florida, build by John Deering beginning of 1900 and is surrounded by beautiful gardens. You can choose here between plenty of Airbnb’s.
Miami – Miami Airport drive about 10miles; 15min
Day 29 – 33: If you have never done a cruise, book one here online and go to the Bahamas, it is a fun journey and Norwegian sky a nice option! You can drop your car at the Miami Airport (MIA) and a shuttle will take you to the Cruising departure start. Party time! One great cruise option is the four days cruise to Grand Bahamas, where you will be able to wander around Freeport and its beaches. Nassau would be the next stop, which is even more beautiful than Freeport, especially if you hang out at Paradise Island. The last stop would bring you to Great Stirrup Cay with its’ stunning turquoise oceanfront – a perfect finish for your trip. Your last day will be in Miami harbour from here you can take a shuttle to Miami Airport. Bye bye, salut and see y’all ∞
If you have any questions, contact me or check out my advices for the east coast on Instagram.