Drive of a Lifetime From Maine to Key West
PHOTO: One of the great drives in the U.S., I-95 from Maine to Miami.(Courtesy Thinkstock)
Some people might get their kicks on Route 66, but there’s plenty to see for those whose road trip takes them down the Eastern Seaboard.
Whether you choose to start in Maine and end in Miami (or vice versa), there are some can’t miss sites along the I-95 corridor while driving your Enterprise Rent-a-Car.
Maine. The Palace Playland is New England’s only beachside amusement park, and the spot to rev up for the trip ahead, especially if that visit includes a dip in the chilly waters of Old Orchard Beach. Before heading out of state, stock up on essential travel gear (at a discount) at the Tanger and Kittery Premium Outlets in Kittery, just over the border from New Hampshire’s quirky seacoast town of Portsmouth.
Massachusetts. Where to begin? As you head south, Massachusetts has enough sites to warrant weeks of vacation and exploration (Museum of Bad Art, we’re looking at you!), but if you need to narrow it down, Boston is a must. With Faneuil Hall, the New England Aquarium, and more Revolutionary War history than you can shake a stick at, there’s plenty to entertain and educate families and singles alike.
Rhode Island. It’s time to put your glad rags on as you head into Rhode Island and a visit to Newport and the Breakers, which some say is the United States’ version of Downton Abbey. The Gilded Age comes to life as you stroll along the Cliff Walk. Further on, make a pilgrimage to Mystic Pizza and pay homage to the eatery which inspired an ‘80s coming-of-age movie and marked Matt Damon’s film debut.
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New York City. Need we say more? Take a break from driving and take a bite of the Big Apple. Museums, shows, shopping, food, it’s all here.
Pennsylvania. Take in more of America’s rich history with a stop in Philly. The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall check the boxes for history buffs while the Mutter Museum takes visitors into a world of macabre medicinal displays. And don’t forget the cheesesteaks. Pat or Geno’s –you be the judge.
Maryland. Quoth the raven, nevermore. Stops at Baltimore’s Edgar Allen Poe Museum and the National Harbor are musts. Be sure to have your photo taken at the Awakening, a statue that appears to be a giant coming up out of the ground.
Washington, DC. The nation’s capital is another must stop, especially for families who can use this opportunity to combine fun and a few civics lessons, including Schoolhouse Rock’s “I’m Just a Bill” if they’re lucky. The Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, the Vietnam Memorial, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the White House, the U.S. Capitol and free admission to the Smithsonian museums are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all there is to see and do.
Virginia. Sitting on the banks of the James River, Richmond is a thriving city that has managed to retain its charm with walkable neighborhoods, restaurants to make foodies swoon and some pretty amazing history thrown in for good measure. Explore the Fan and wander up and down Strawberry Street before heading over to Belle Island for an afternoon dip in the river. Be aware that Belle Island is accessible only by a suspension pedestrian and bike bridge, or if the water is low, by boulder hopping.
South of the Border. Pedro says, “Don’t miss this.” This iconic bit of kitsch sits on the North Carolina/South Carolina border and is worth a visit if for no other reason than to see for yourself what the signs you’ve been passing for the past 180 miles are talking about. Take your picture with Pedro, and revel in the greatness.
Georgia. Savannah is one of the grand Southern cities, where Spanish moss blankets centuries- old live oaks, bubbling fountains cool the city’s numerous parks and the pace is ever so slightly slower, practically demanding that you sit outside and sip a cocktail as the world buzzes on around you. Stay for an afternoon, or several days but by all means stay. While you’re there don’t miss Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room for some of the best chicken and biscuits to be had, but be aware they don’t take reservations and the line starts early and gets long.
Florida. I-95 takes you down the length of the Sunshine State, offering plenty of chances for sun and fun. End your trip in Miami, renowned for its heady nightlife and Cuban flair. And if you believe that no road trip can be complete without more quirky attractions, visit the Coral Castle, a stone megalith built by a heartbroken (and eccentric) man who claimed supernatural powers.
More by Kristina Rundquist
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