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A History and Space Tour of the East Coast of America - Self-Drive Itinerary

6 Days down the eastern seaboard of the US probably does not give justice to the wealth of things to see, visit and do on this 1200 mile drive. So why not combine these stages with your own and discovery the diversity of the US from top to bottom.

  • New York NY
  • New York NY to Washington DC
  • Washington DC
  • Washington DC to New Bern NC
  • New Bern NC to Charleston SC
  • Charleston SC to Orlando FL

Distance: 1204 miles
Download: New York to Orlando self-drive itinerary

Day 1. New York NY

To begin your journey, spend one night in New York. New York is home to many famous historic monuments, but none more prominent than the Statue of Liberty. A gift from the French to the Americans, the statue represents the freedom of America and welcomes immigrants arriving from abroad.

The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum Complex is unlike most museums, as it calls its home aboard the aircraft carrier Intrepid. The Space Shuttle Pavilion is lucky enough to exhibit the space shuttle Enterprise, the prototype that paved the way for current space shuttle technology.

Collect your rental car or pick up your campervan in New York. If motor-homing allow at least one hour for pick up and time to familiarise yourself with your vehicle before you leave the depot.

Day 2. New York NY to Washington DC via Philadelphia PA

Depart this morning and take the I-78 W in Jersey City. Take the I-95 and NJ Turnpike S to N 15th Street in Philadelphia, taking just under two hours.

Philadelphia is home to Independence Hall, one of the most important buildings in American history. Both the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were adopted here. Entrance to the Hall is by tour guide only, so make sure to book some tickets.

Depart Philadelphia and take the I-676/US-30 E from S Penn Square and N Broad Street. Follow I-95, I-895 S and Baltimore-Washington Parkway to US-50/ New York Avenue NE in 2, Bladensburg. Take the US-50 W exit. Continue on New York Avenue NE to Washington DC.

Washington DC is the home of politics within American. It is a must to visit the iconic Lincoln Memorial, and see the monument built to honour the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Just across from the Lincoln Memorial, you will find the Washington Monument. This particular monument was built to commemorate the every first President, George Washington.

Distance: 236 miles, 4 hours 20 minutes.

Stay: Cherry Hill Park.

Day 3. Washington DC

This morning, visit the National Air and Space Museum. The museum is home to thousands of displays, including the first successful heavier-than-air flying machine, the 1903 Wright Flyer. The Planetarium is a great way to experience zooming through space from the comfort of your chair.

In the afternoon, head west towards Chantilly, which is just under an hour away. Here you will find the Udvar-Hazy Center, where you can do a number of things from touching a space suit, flying in a simulator and learning how humans made it to the moon.

Stay: Cherry Hill Park.

Day 4. Washington DC to New Bern NC

Depart this morning and take 14th Street NW to I-395 S. Take I-395 S to US-13 S/ NC-11 S in 3, Upper Conetoe. Take the NC-30 E, US-264 E and US-17 S to New Bern.

The Tryon Palace is firstly known as North Carolina’s first permanent state capital. However, you will soon discover the rich history behind this place, including the Governor’s Palace, North Carolina History Center, Historic Homes and Gardens. Walk inside the former home of Royal Governor William Tryon, or see where the first general assembly was held.

The historic buildings nearby have been preserved as a way to discover how people lived in the 18th century. Including three celebrated houses, there is also North Carolina’s first publicly-chartered school to explore.

Distance: 324 miles, 5 hours 10 minutes.

Stay: New Bern KOA Holiday.

Day 5. New Bern NC to Charleston SC

Depart this morning and take the Doctor M. L. K. Jr Boulevard and the US-17 BUS to US-17 S in 2, Pollocksville. Continue on US-17 S, then take the SC-31 and US-17 to Wentworth Street in Charleston.

Fort Sumter is a national monument, as it marks the place where the American Civil War began. After an increasingly tense time between the North and the South, the Confederates took over Fort Sumter after 34 hours. It is such a unique experience to learn about the Civil War from where it first began.

Note, Fort Sumter is an island, so you have to take a boat to reach there.

Distance: 263 miles, 5 hours 15 minutes.

Stay: James Island County Park.

Day 6. Charleston SC to Orlando FL

Depart this morning and take the I-95 S/ US-17 S in Jasper County. Follow the I-95 S and I-4 W to E Anderson Street in Orlando.

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is considered to be an educational theme park for space lovers. Take a bus tour behind the scenes, and see historic launch sites as well as the working space facilities. Check the events calendar to see if any launches are planned, and you could actually witness a real rocket blast off into space.

The American Space Museum and Space Walk of Fame is a great way to get a complete understanding of space exploration history. The museum pays tribute to all the astronauts and people behind the space shuttles, as well as the major launches.

Allow 60 minutes to return your campervan.

Distance: 379 miles, 5 hours 40 minutes.

Stay: Orlando SE/ Lake Whippoorwill KOA.


Disclaimer

DriveNow's suggested itineraries are made available to assist travellers create and build personalised journey plans. DriveNow does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of these itineraries and they are provided as is and as advisory only. You acknowledge that any reliance on or use of any itinerary shall be at your sole risk.

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