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Old 07-21-2021, 02:35 PM   #1
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Best Route for East Coast SC to Maine

I'm planning to travel next month from Florida to Bar Harbor, ME. My first stop will be at Camp Pedro (South of the Border). From there does anyone have a suggestion for routes that avoid travel through the huge metros? And suggestions for overnight stops. I will have a 22' travel trailer. Thanks.
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Old 07-21-2021, 03:14 PM   #2
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I highly recommend NOT taking 95! It is a nightmare!
i don't know where you will be coming from in SC
Instead from Columbia SC take 77 N to 81 N
It is a very enjoyable route,...
We just returned to lower eastern SC from Pennsylvania, 26 to 77 to 81 is the best both ways.

On east side of Charlotte, Camping World Drag Race Track
campground, huge, so always has availability unless there is a
race, FHU $30.
East of Floyd Va. is Highland Haven (FHU) $35. (Airstream
park) off 81. Very nice park, great folks
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Old 07-21-2021, 03:18 PM   #3
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For an overnight, we like The RV Resort at Carolina Crossroads. Very clean and quiet. Easy on/off I-95 in Roanoke Rapids, NC.
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Old 07-21-2021, 03:35 PM   #4
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I'm not a fan of I-95 for a list of reasons but if you take that route exit just north of Fredericksburg VA onto 17 and head to Winchester VA where I suggest you catch I-81 through Pennsylvania.

Catching I-84 through Hartford to I-495 works for us as the shortest, but best traffic loading when visiting northern Maine from Virginia as quickly as possible. I-81 has a lot of truck traffic and cracked pavement sections in Pennsylvania and the drivers are considerably more courteous compared to NJ.

We've tried just about every other route option in and around the metropolitan corridor of DC to NY and discovered nothing of value. We really prefer other surface roads/routes through Vermont and New Hamshire to avoid Boston when time does not matter.

Stay sane, swing wide!
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Old 07-21-2021, 03:42 PM   #5
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Yes, you can cut over west from 95 to 81 and definitely avoid DC at all costs. I agree avoid Boston too. Staying west of 95 you can see some beautiful country using side roads and save your sanity.
Get some state maps, GPS likes to use highways only: we always refer to the paper maps for additional info on our route.
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Old 07-21-2021, 03:43 PM   #6
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If this is a pleasure cruise, you could simply head north on US 17 (the old Ocean Highway) then US 13 at Norfolk, cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (don’t forget to shut off your propane tanks), stay on US 13 to Llewes, Delaware, take the Cape May/Llewes Ferry to Cape May (big fun!).]

Then the Garden State Parkway to Perth Amboy, NJ where you pick up I287, which takes you around to the West of all the NYC/Newark mess. This will run you to the New York Thruway north until you hit I84 well north of The City and it takes you northeast to Maine.

We did it twice with our previous trailer (a 31’ Airstream Sovereign). It is shorter than I77/I81 but the average speed is 15 mph slower…

Very nice cruise through the old coastal towns.
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Old 07-21-2021, 03:57 PM   #7
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If you looking to get to Maine quickly while avoiding the high density areas, I recommend the following sequence: rtes 95 - 74 - 81 - 84 - 87 - 90 - 95 - 495 - 95. I've done this route many times after trying others that were longer and/or more annoying.

We travel from FL to ME each year to avoid the heat.

Suggestion: with many rv parks crowded, when you stop for lunch each day, estimate how far you think you will get and call ahead for reservations.
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Old 07-21-2021, 04:13 PM   #8
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If it was me, and I had lots of time to enjoy the trip vs. the destination, I would run Rt. 11 north (follows I-81 most of the way) all the way up to "Rouses Point" then cut down and over to Rt. 2 and follow it right into Bangor, or from Rouses Point NY, you could stay a little north of 2 on 105 through Newport NH and Rumford ME? Looks smaller and more rural just south of the Canadian border.

I've done Rt.11 from Bristol, TN up to Rouses Point, and it's GREAT road, lots of places to go, see, do, etc... And since most of the time you're running along I-81, if you want to by-pass a town, make-up sometime, etc.. you can hop on/off I-81 since there's an exit every 15-25 miles.

I live in VA and run I-81 all the time, if you're going to run I-81, you had better NOT HAVE a problem running with 18 wheelers, many truckers have also moved over from the I-95 corridor and over to the I-81/I-84 run.

Rt.11 is great road, lots of fun and a nice relaxing drive ;-)

Enjoy,

You'll thank me later ;-)
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Old 07-22-2021, 09:24 AM   #9
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When you make it into MA take the 495 loop stay off 95, its very busy, heavily affected by commuter traffic. But once you are north of Boston 95 is great. As you roll up into ME getting close to Bar harbor get off 95 and take rt 1 along the coast, your GPS might say its quicker, might not, but its not much different in time from sticking on 95 and its much nicer ride. Once in Bar Harbor, within Acadia national park, make sure to hike the Beehive trail adjacent to Sand Beach, its a once in a lifetime hike you'll never forget. IF your afraid of heights stay away.
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Old 07-22-2021, 09:31 AM   #10
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Get an EZ Pass before you go. Some tool stations don't have a staffed cash only booth and it's a real PIA to pay. EZ pass will also speed up your travels due to traffic back ups. With the pass you can actually go thru some of the booths at 60 mph.
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Old 07-22-2021, 09:57 AM   #11
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We snowbird from Florida to Boothbay Harbor, ME. (we are going to eventually stay in BBH, it's beautiful and not that cold/snowy in the winter, but I digress). 95 to 26 to 77 to 81 to 78 to 287 to 684 to 84 through Conn, then 495 to 95. We have a 22' Bambi, and stayed at private campsites, state campsites, Cabela's (Hamburg, PA), and Cracker Barrels along the way, depending on our mood. This year we stopped for 3 days in Shenandoah Valley, with no problem getting campsites in both the Blue Ridge Mountains and Sky Line drive.
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Old 07-22-2021, 10:01 AM   #12
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I haven't read all the above responses but I believe the best route is I-26N to I-77N to I-81 to I-88 to Albany, NY. Then NY7 to VT9 to NH9 to US202. No tolls pretty country and great campgrounds this time of year. I-88 was pretty bumpy when we went in October... Hopefully that is fixed. Other than that it was a beautiful toll & stress free ride! I-485 takes you around Charlotte.
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Old 07-22-2021, 10:02 AM   #13
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In a few weeks I'm heading up to Cape Cod from Cape May, NJ and I have similar concerns that many of posted. I'm very familiar with I95 and there are many challenging areas such as DC, Baltimore, Richmond to name a few. I am always willing to sacrifice expense, distance and time for a more enjoyable and safe journey but sometimes the alternates are just too far out of the way. For your journey, if already heading North on I95 your GPS will probably take you to NJ Tpke over the George Washington Bridge to the Cross Bronx Expressway continuing up I95 through Connecticut. I lived in the NY area my entire life and when towing I avoid this route at all costs. Make your way further North from the NJ Tpke to I287 (probably Garden State Parkway-no trucks north of a certain exit but trailers allowed the entire length), head East in I287 and pick up I95 again near the NY/Conn border. This is an alternate route that doesn't add too much time and distance.
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Old 07-22-2021, 10:24 AM   #14
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Hi

But I-95 is such a Wonderfull road .... how could you ever not want to travel on it

Like the others, I would vote for the route up I-81 and running through Albany. It looks longer on the map. If you add 4 hours in traffic at Richmond plus 4 hours at Washington / Baltimore plus 4 hours New Jersey / NYC .... it's not actually longer. ( Yes, been there / done that at each of those locations ).

Indeed I-81 can back up as well. It isn't quite as crazy going by here as it was 2 years back. I'm guessing that will change. Just slow down and accept it could be worse.

Bob
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Old 07-22-2021, 09:59 PM   #15
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Florida to Maine

Quote:
Originally Posted by ADMIRALPUSH View Post
I'm planning to travel next month from Florida to Bar Harbor, ME. My first stop will be at Camp Pedro (South of the Border). From there does anyone have a suggestion for routes that avoid travel through the huge metros? And suggestions for overnight stops. I will have a 22' travel trailer. Thanks.
Hi,
yes we just came to NY from FL and will be heading to Alexandria Bay soon. But we did stop a bit east on the coast in Millsboro DE (Masseys landing) Gong over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge was and adventure. Then we made our way to Rhinbeck NY a park called Interlake RV Park. Lovely wooded park, quiet place with lots of trees. I heard there is also one in New Paltz. Have a safe trip.
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Old 07-22-2021, 11:38 PM   #16
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Welcome to the forum.

The best basic tool for every long trip like this? A good large print spiral-bound Road Atlas:

https://www.amazon.com/Rand-McNally-...7019108&sr=8-2

No Internet, batteries or electricity required! Lasts forever, easy to mark up and add notes, can go into motel etc. rooms for advance planning, or into the john if reading on the throne is your want . . .

Some folks prefer the trucker's version which covers limitations like vehicle height, propane, and so forth:

https://www.amazon.com/Deluxe-Motor-...dp_ob_title_bk

Much more expensive, but a great one-stop resource for all kinds of crucial data.

FYI many earlier threads about avoiding the DC/NYC urban sprawl mess.

The Eastern Shore: https://www.google.com/search?q=The+...=airforums.com
Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel: https://www.google.com/search?q=Ches...=airforums.com
Garden State Parkway: https://www.google.com/search?q=Gard...=airforums.com

The second most important tool to bring along? Make sure that your Florida "EZ Pass" covers towing your trailer [incl. correct axle count], and is honored reciprocally in every other East Coast state, bridge, tunnel etc..

Have a great trip!

Peter
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Old 07-24-2021, 07:12 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post
Welcome to the forum.

The best basic tool for every long trip like this? A good large print spiral-bound Road Atlas:

https://www.amazon.com/Rand-McNally-...7019108&sr=8-2

No Internet, batteries or electricity required! Lasts forever, easy to mark up and add notes, can go into motel etc. rooms for advance planning, or into the john if reading on the throne is your want . . .

Some folks prefer the trucker's version which covers limitations like vehicle height, propane, and so forth:

https://www.amazon.com/Deluxe-Motor-...dp_ob_title_bk

Much more expensive, but a great one-stop resource for all kinds of crucial data.

FYI many earlier threads about avoiding the DC/NYC urban sprawl mess.

The Eastern Shore: https://www.google.com/search?q=The+...=airforums.com
Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel: https://www.google.com/search?q=Ches...=airforums.com
Garden State Parkway: https://www.google.com/search?q=Gard...=airforums.com

The second most important tool to bring along? Make sure that your Florida "EZ Pass" covers towing your trailer [incl. correct axle count], and is honored reciprocally in every other East Coast state, bridge, tunnel etc..

Have a great trip!

Peter
Hi

Also on the "avoid with an RV" list are the Merritt Parkway and the tunnels in the middle of Baltimore.....

Bob
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Old 07-28-2021, 10:05 AM   #18
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As many have said avoid I-95 at all cost, except north of Boston on a non weekend. Even I-81 has too many trucks as well as 80, 84, 287. The NY state Thruway 90 and 87, Mass Pike 90 until the Boston area, Northway 87 , I-91, I -89 and I-93 north of Concord, NH are fine and very scenic. They are good almost any day of the week. The best time to travel on the interestates are on the weekends when there are less trucks. Stick to state and US highways. More relaxing and scenic. We like US 17 and 13 from South Carolina to Norfolk, VA, then over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge up through the eastern shore of VA and MD. You do have to thread your way through the Philly/Wilmington Area on Interstates, so plan for a weekend or mid day during the week up to Allentown, then cross country to East STroudsburg to Milford, then 84 which then you can pick up the NY State Thruway north and other routes east or west. I-84 through Connecticut to Hartford can be very busy and not relaxing.
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Old 07-28-2021, 01:16 PM   #19
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To Maine

I agree with "SEE MORE'S post of 07/31/21.
A stop for the Chocolate Factory tour in Hershey PA, is a must. Also a visit to the Antique Automobile Museum 3 miles north of the Hershey Plant on Rte. 39.
We use that route often to visit friends and family in Maine.
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Old 07-28-2021, 03:55 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ADMIRALPUSH View Post
I'm planning to travel next month from Florida to Bar Harbor, ME. My first stop will be at Camp Pedro (South of the Border). From there does anyone have a suggestion for routes that avoid travel through the huge metros? And suggestions for overnight stops. I will have a 22' travel trailer. Thanks.
I did this drive last month; originating near Washington DC.

My observations -- I-81 was a dream, and through Pennsylvania. In New York, you may be tempted to take I-88 east from the end of I-81 to Albany -

I-88 from I-81 to Albany - AVOID this mistake. No really, avoid I-88 at all costs - it's in worse condition than even the Garden State Parkway. It's a highway originally of individual concrete pads (giving that traditional click-clak, click-clak tire noise) where it seems every separation joint has suffered a frost heave... Towing my airstream down a country washboard road would have been less torturous.

That being said, in Middleburg NY, there's a Harvest Host winery (the only winery in 50-some miles around) that's an absolute delight for an overnight.

The rest is simply -- The Massachusetts Turnpike, to 495 around Boston, back to 95 through New Hampshire and up to 295 in Maine to enable your stop-over at LL Bean HQ in Freeport. The final stint of I-95 in Maine is an absolute delight.
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