Friday, February 04, 2011

Best Drive: Carolinas to Maine

Hello Road Trip USA !

I have been living in Mexico for the past 3 years and have enjoyed traveling here but it made me realize that I am missing out on traveling around my home country.

I will be home (NC) for the summer and have decided that I want to take a road trip to Maine. I am looking for any advice you can provide for someone who is new to road tripping. I do drive from Mexico to NC each summer and back again at the end but I don't stop for fun so I am curious what kinds of fun stuff I can find on this drive to Maine.




Hello Dee --

Many thanks for writing in to Road Trip USA, and I hope I can point you toward some fun things to see and do between North Carolina and Maine.

It would help for me to know where in NC you are starting, but I'll suggest a little of everything, just to cover all the bases. In Road Trip USA I have two main routes along the eastern USA, which I also cover in detail a pair of smaller (and more recently updated!) books.

One route follows the Atlantic Coast, trying to stay as close as possible to the ocean, from the Outer Banks up to NYC (beyond which it gets pretty well buried beneath I-95). The Outer Banks and Eastern Shore of Maryland are excellent places to explore -- I love Ocracoke NC, and St Michaels MD. If you like tacky summer tourism, Ocean City MD is also fun, with a great big lively boardwalk, but I think I prefer Rehoboth Beach, which is a little less overwhelming.

Also good to explore are the towns of the "Jersey Shore". Cape May is very quaint and historic (lots of Victorian B&Bs), while nearby Wildwood is a raucuous summer party town -- with lots of great neon signs and beachfront amusement parks.

The alternative route is very different -- and it runs from the far west end of NC, following the hiker's Appalachian Trail, from the Great Smokies all the way to the top of Mount Katahdin in "Down East" Maine. You could spend a lifetime getting to know all the many varied communities, towns, parks , historic sights and scenes along here. Besides famous places (or should I say drives..), like the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive, one of my favorite stops on this route is Harpers Ferry, a well-preserved historic town rising on hills about the junction of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers.

And Harpers Ferry is just west of Wash DC, which is actually a very interesting city to explore, whether or not you take an interest in national politics.

Just north of here are the Civil War battlefields of Antietam and Gettysburg, amidst the scenic "Pennsylvania Dutch Country", where you'll also find the HQ and main factory of motorcycle-maker Harley Davidson. If you like cities, within an hour of here you can tour through Philadelphia and NYC -- though both pf these are probably easier to enjoy if you leave the car and take a train into downtown.

In many ways, the best part of the trip is north of here, passing through quaint New England towns of western CT and Massachusetts, then winding up through Vermont (be sure to follow Route 100, which is be-you-tiful!), then across the stunning White Mountains of New Hampshire and on into western Maine. Gorgeous.

So there are a couple of possibilities -- and if you check out my books or Road trip USA website , you'll find more details on 100s more places to enjoy along your way.

Hope you have a great trip, Happy Trails, y que vaya con Dios!

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA


Jamie --

Thank you so much for your help. I am very excited about this trip!! This is great help!!



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