Thursday, August 19, 2010

East Coast road trip

Hi Jamie,

I purchased your Atlantic Coast, Road Trip USA book a couple months ago to start planning a road trip for the summer. I am originally from NJ, but have been living in Germany now for over a year. I will be visiting the States this summer for three weeks with my fiance (he's German and this will be his first time seeing the US, other than the tri-state area), but our road trip can only last about 6 or 7 days. We plan to do a road trip from NJ to Savannah, Georgia, with my mom (48) and my little brother (13).

I thought to drive down to Savannah the first day (using the interstate) then spend the whole next day in Savannah, then the next day in Charleston, possibly do a detour to check out Congaree National Park and then continue working our way up the Atlantic Coast route you mapped out, with stops in Myrtle Beach, driving along the Barrier Coast Strip (Kitty Hawk) starting from Ocracoke, Virginia Beach and finally taking the Lewes-Cape May Ferry back into NJ.

My question is, do you think 6-7 days is enough time? How would you work a road trip if you only had 6-7 days to do it?

Thank you so much!

Diana from Deutschland


Hello Diana from Deutschland --

(Or should I say, Guten tag!)

Thanks for writing in to Road Trip USA, and for buying my book -- I hope I can help you plan a great trip!

I think you've got a good plan for the return half of your trip, but I wonder whether you (and Mom and little brother) really want to do the entire NJ-Savannah haul in a single drive. That's a solid 12 hours of driving, on a very dull freeway (I-95 is as boring as roads get.). The one good thing about I-95 is an oddball tourist attraction, called "South of the Border," on the North/South Carolina border (this is home to the World's Largest Sombrero, and a reasonably cheap motel, and a humungous gift shop that may appeal to a 13-yr-old's sense of humor...)

If you want an insight into the crasser side of Americana, maybe break your long drive here on your way down, then appreciate the refined charms of Savannah all the more?

However you get there, I think you will love Savannah GA and Charleston SC -- these are two of the most attractive small cities in the USA; stay the night in each one, preferably within walking distance of the historic areas. I've found Wilmington NC to be surprisingly charming (at least if you compare it to Wilmington DE!), while Myrtle Beach is a bit overwhelmingly commercialized, to my eyes.

Both Ocracoke and Cape Hatteras are pretty special; the Kitty Hawk Wright Bros. monument is also great, but the beachfront development is pretty disturbing (the roadside is lined by factory stores...) If you like history, a trip to Manteo and the site of the Raleigh's Lost Colony is pretty intriguing, too.

If you get a chance to write me back, I'd be interested to hear what you think of Congaree Nat'l Park -- I've never been (to be honest, I hadn't even heard of it!) and wonder what it's like.

OK, hope that you and your extended family have a great tour of the Atlantic coast. Please do let me know how it goes!

Happy trails,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA


Hi Jamie --

Vielen Dank! Thanks a lot, and Congaree is very cool (well, very hot & sweaty, actually -- which is how a swamp should be!)

-- Diana


Post a Comment

<< Home