East Coast (mostly) feasibility question
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Jan 30, 2012 5:53 AM Last Post By: mairoo2010
Jan 24, 2012 7:37 AM
East Coast (mostly) feasibility questionHi,
I'm planning a trip (our first) to the US this summer (June to early August) with my partner and our 2-and-a-half-year-old daughter. We have about 6 weeks.
Our basic idea is an exploration of the East Coast, but we live in China and so the number of airports we can fly to is limited. The only East Coast airport that is an option seems to be Newark. Our plan is to stay and rent somewhere for a week at the start to relax, travel for four weeks and then stay and rent somewhere else for a further week at the end.
My latest idea is as follows:
- fly to San Francisco
- spend a week on the North Coast, renting a house or something
- spend a few days in SF
- fly to the East Coast (where? I'd love to visit New Orleans, but is that going to make the distances too long for the time available?)
- travel up the East Coast (car hire) visiting areas of interest
- stop in DC and then make our way to New York and on to Boston
- spend a week in New England (Cape Cod?) before returning to NY and flying out of Newark
We want to see a range of things during our travels. Cities and culture, yes, but also countryside and beaches (obviously lots of long strenuous hiking is out). We can't drive for more than a few hours at a time and would rather not be travelling every day - driving and then staying somewhere for 3/4 nights before moving on is preferable.
Please let me know if you have any ideas or input. I know I'm being quite vague in many areas, but I'm interested in finding out how feasible people think this sort of itinerary will be and whether anyone has any ideas about routes, particularly in terms of the East Coast.
Many thanks in advance for any ideas or suggestions!
Jan 24, 2012 7:46 AM
1If I have the numbers right, you have a little less than 4 weeks for the east coast.
Fly to Charleston. Head up to the Outer Banks, then to DC via Williamsburg. Alternatively, you could head inland toward the mountains, to Asheville, up the Blue Ridge Parkway to Charlottesville, then DC.
After that, NYC and Boston. You may decide to stop in Newport, RI in before Boston.
For your second week, I'd suggest somewhere in Maine, or into the mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont.
Jan 24, 2012 7:50 AM
Jan 24, 2012 7:56 AM
Jan 24, 2012 4:54 PM
4Thanks for the swiftness of your replies!
bzookaj - your calculations are right. Thanks for the suggestions. Sounds like it would be possible - would we have enough time to do one of those routes without having to drive long distances or having to drive every day?
laketraveller - I had thought of doing more flying like you suggest, but I think we'd rather travel a bit more slowly. Unless that's not possible considering the distances...I find it hard to work out how far we can go in the time!
tiltedflipcurves - you're right, we could do two round trips, but too much flying is not the best idea with our toddler, especially as the flight from China is 11-13 hours, depending on destination. The number of airports we can fly direct to is pretty limited...SF, Seattle, Chicago, Newark, LA. and not all of those are decent airlines (a long-haul Air China flight would be horrible, by all accounts!)
Thanks for any further ideas or responses!
Jan 24, 2012 5:03 PM
5My flight on United Airlines to Beijing and return from Hong Kong were through San Francisco International Airport. You will be flying on domestic airlines within the USA. You could return by a domestic airline to San Francisco International before returning to China. Air China flies out of Los Angeles International Airport. Some Chinese nationals from Guangzhou flew to Taiwan, then took China Air to Anchorage International Airport (I was returning from Nepal on that flight.) I have also returned from Europe to the Newark, New Jersey, International Airport and transferred to a domestic airline. A flight from Newark west to China would more likely stop to refuel before continuing across the Pacific Ocean.
San Francisco has a large population of Cantonese-speaking peoples, and two districts where they congregate -- downtown near Grant Avenue, and out in the Richmond District near Clement Avenue. Berkeley, across the San Francisco Bay, also has a large Chinese student population at the university. Bus transportation is excellent in San Francisco; the BART train takes you to the international airport and to Berkeley. If you rent a car, you can cross the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin County and drive up Highway #1 along the Pacific Ocean coastline to see a redwood forest at Muir Woods, Stinson Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, Bodega Bay, the Russian River, turn east on Highway #116 past Guerneville, to Sonoma County's wine region and Highway #101, turn south through Santa Rosa back to San Francisco. Sonoma County is known for its wines and wine tasting (be careful not to drink alcohol and drive, because police will stop you). It is beautiful, green countryside with sheep ranches and dairies alongside the highway. You will also see colorful wildflowers in June. Stop in Sausalito (north of the Golden Gate Bridge) either for breakfast or for dinner at the end of your excursion.
South of San Francisco, along Highway #101, is Silicon Valley which is home to Google, Apple Corporation, and Facebook, plus Stanford University. You would need to have a rental car for this excursion.
Edited by: trekker502
Jan 24, 2012 5:07 PM
Jan 24, 2012 9:32 PM
7I think your itinerary sounds great. America is huge, so concentrating on doing a smaller area in a slower fashion will be easier on you with your child. Starting with a week in house in CA with a few days in SF is good. SF is a great city, and your time won't be too rushed. Napa and Sonoma may be easy to include if you're into wine. The longest drives on the East Coast from what I can tell are from EWR to Washington DC which will be 4-5 hours, and New York to Boston which will be roughly 4 hours. You can stop in Philly on your way from Newark to DC (and grab a cheesesteak from Pat's...oooh, my mouth is watering), which will break up your journey (and clog your arteries).
Of course, if this is the itinerary you wanted, it would be better to fly from SFO to one of the Washington DC airports so you wouldn't have to backtrack as other people have mentioned
Jan 25, 2012 4:59 AM
8OP, I think you're using "East Coast" to refer to the Atlantic coast south of D.C. Technically you're correct of course, but in the vernacular East Coast tends to imply the Boston-NY-DC corridor. For examples, see #7 and compare the Big East and Atlantic Coast collegiate sports conferences. As is baked into #1, driving up from New Orleans or Florida to DC means a lot of distance between worthwhile stops, so it's generally advised to start further north, like North Carolina. You may find more and cheaper flights into Charlottesville than Charleston, and remember to check the Southwest Airlines website.
Saving the beach for last and driving one-way north is optimal for weather (puts you on the beach at the hottest, most humid time), but the tradeoff is that the beaches near the Boston-NY-DC corridor are more crowded and expensive than, e.g., southern North Carolina's Brunswick Islands.
With a toddler, I'd look for a beach with relatively mild waves and warm-enough temperature. The Cape has that if you avoid its east-facing outer edge. So do the Brunswick Islands. But that may rule out Maine, which I'd otherwise have suggested.
Jan 25, 2012 5:59 AM
Jan 30, 2012 5:53 AM
10Thanks for the further replies. #5 - great to hear of your experiences with flying to / from China. United Airlines is what I am looking at currently. We're not actually Chinese, though, so the information about Cantonese communities is interesting but not necessarily what we're looking for!
#8 - thank you for clarifying the terminology! I had wondered why #7 - whose reply was much appreciated - seemed to be focusing on the northern part of what I'd considered the East Coast. Starting Savannah/Charleston certainly sounds interesting.
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