Road Trip Advice - South Carolina to Boston

<p>I will drive my d home from Columbia, SC to the Boston area the first week of May or so.</p>

<p>I am seeking advice - in order to avoid traffic, is it advisable to head up to Route 81 to route 84 to Boston?</p>

<p>Or does it not make that much difference if one hugs the coast and takes Route 95 north?</p>

<p>in my opinion, I would avoid 95 at all costs.......in fact, I would venture a guess that even if the mileage is greater, the 81 route will still be faster.......others may want to chime in.....</p>

<p>Avoid 95...unless you are a big fan of traffic congestion and problems. GO WEST young man...and then north. Don't even go over the Tappanzee.</p>

<p>I appreciate all the votes for Route 81 - any suggestions for good places to stay along the way, best way to break up the trip?</p>

<p>I've made that drive many times....but from NC to CT....so a little closer!! BUT there are lots of ways to break up the trip. Stop in the DC area overnight (that's a good breaking point). You could go to someplace like Annapolis which would be a nice break...and good shopping for your daughter if she's into that!!</p>

<p>Or stop at the Jersey shore...it's so pretty at that time of the year.</p>

<p>Or stop in Phili.</p>

<p>We've done all three and all were fun.</p>

<p>I hate 81 - seems much more dangerous than 95. I drive both quite often, and even with the traffic, I'd choose 95.</p>

<p>It all depends on which section of 95 you're talking about. The section from NY to Boston is awful...and personally I would avoid it if possible. Further south, 95 is often fine.</p>

<p>So thumper1, would you take 95 to some point and then head west?</p>

<p>What is your preferred route?</p>

<p>Thumper,
DC, Annapolis, the Jersey Shore, Philly?
How do you stop any of those places if you are on I-81?</p>

<p>H and I frequently drive from Boston to Atlanta. His route is Ma Pike to 84 to 81 to 77 to 85. We leave Boston early morning 5-6 am and arrive in Atlanta by midnight. H prefers 81 to 95 (he thinks 81 is more predictable - traffic-wise, although longer in mileage, he thinks it is faster)and by taking a close look at our travel time, it looks like bathrooms breaks are optional as well:) I guess if you are going to Columbia, then 77 will take you there from Charlotte, right? We once stopped around Staunton, VA. That seemed to be a nice stopping point.</p>

<p>I assume OP is planning on taking I-77 to I-81 all the way up to I-84,and then heading east. </p>

<p>Looks like an interesting route through the middle to western part of some southeastern states. Should be beautiful in May. You'll go through Roanoke VA. I've never been there....but maybe others on this site will know more about it.</p>

<p>I have been to Harrisburg PA, which you'll also go through and is about 9 hours from Columbia....near PA Dutch area. A number of interesting things to do in that part of PA. Near Hershey. Can no longer tour the real chocolate factory, but the "faux" tour is kind of fun, and I love the candy kiss street lights on the main street in Hershey! If you can splurge, the Hotel Hershey is a lovely resort.</p>

<p>Let's see - last summer when we made a similar trip:
We drove first to the DC area to visit son and H's aunt.
Then we drove to Lancaster, PA to visit with an invisible friend from another online forum, and to pick up my D who was working in the area.
Then we drove to NJ, and stayed with Teammom.
Then we drove to CT and stayed with Thumper1 and visited with VeryHappy, while seeing other S!</p>

<p>What a fun trip! Such good memories.</p>

<p>But coming home, we avoided DC - a much better trip, driving-wise! 78 -> 81. Traffic was lighter, drive was easier. We like to drive all day (with books on CD), and stop infrequently. I think we stopped somewhere around Winchester. If you want to take longer to get home, take some time in PA - see Amish country, go to Hershey Park.</p>

<p>
[quote]
We once stopped around Staunton, VA. That seemed to be a nice stopping point

[/quote]
</p>

<p>This is where D and I have stopped as well. They have a quaint little German restaurant that we like to eat at there. I can't remember the name, but I'm sure anybody in Staunton could tell you where it is. </p>

<p>The only objection I have to 81 is you really have to watch for deer.</p>

<p>I've done it both ways from Charleston to Boston many times. Recently, it's been 95 stopping to get daughter at college in Phila. I've had good luck, but it's really hard to avoid all the rush hours from Richmond to NYC. Plus, it's awkward trying to plan where to stop for the night.</p>

<p>From Columbia, I would do 77 to 81 to 84 every time. The only advice would be to decide by dinner time how far you want to push it driving at night and call ahead to make a reservation. We like to drive late after niddner and it's gotten dicey finding vacancies in southern PA by 10 or 11 at night.</p>

<p>If you are stopping at the NJ shore, DC , Annapolis or Phili, clearly you will have to head east to do so...then cut over to the Phili area to head north as Binx describes!</p>

<p>Fendrock, I live near Boston and my parents live near Columbia, SC. My parents have made this trip at LEAST once a year, and we have made it several times as well. I strongly recommend the 77 to 81 to 84 idea. Avoid 95, Washington, Baltimore, Philly and especially NYC at all costs. 81 through Virginia is actually very scenic - mountains in the South, then the Shenandoah Valley and farmland. </p>

<p>My dad usually makes the trip in 2 days, breaking it up by stopping in northern VA or just over the line into PA. There are several nice Hampton Inns in the area. I know they have stayed at a Hampton in Winchester VA, and in Chambersburg PA several times.</p>

<p>It's a long drive, if you try to stop for something fun/interesting you will either have to make a fairly short stop (a couple of hours) or you'll be driving for 3 days instead of 2. One suggestion - Luray Caverns in northern VA isn't too far from 81. Also Hershey isn't too far away either, but there isn't much to see there unless you go to HersheyPark, which is a nice amusement park.</p>

<p>Thanks everyone, it looks like there is a majority vote in favor of 77 to 81 to 84 and it is relief to hear that there are even some scenic bits along the way.</p>

<p>Currently I am thinking we will try to drive three or so hours the first day (the day we pack up her dorm room), then will take two days to get the rest of the way home.</p>

<p>I do not have a lot of experience with long drives, so I will not want to drive more than 8 or so hours a day (and my d has even less experience, so I'm not sure how well she will tolerate it).</p>

<p>I definitely plan to have some podcasts and books on tape in the car.</p>

<p>A spring drive on 81 will be beautiful in Virginia and okay the rest of the way north. The stretch of 77 once you are north of the Winston-Salem area is very pretty as it goes into the foothills, and 81 from where you pick it up off I-77 to Roanoke is very rural--still has exits for gas and fast food though. Once you are in central Virginia there are a number of historic towns that are no more than a couple of miles off the exits. You could stop in Lexington or Staunton to walk around a bit in historic little college towns. Winchester, father north, is also pretty once you get to the old part. If you are at all interested in Civil War history, the whole Shenandoah Valley will intrigue you. There is a battlefield and state historic site/museum directly off 81 in fat. brown hitsoric-site signs will alert you to this and others.</p>

<p>Goof luck with the trip. I have driven the I-77/I-81 route more than a dozen times (not from SC, but from the Charlotte area). It is long but traffic rarely gets tied up in the awful way that 95 can--it's true there are trucks but it just doesn't feel as bad as the coastal route. (We do our 600-mile trip in one day--it takes about ten hours--not so bad in daylight. We take 78 to get to and from 81--see if that works better for you than 84--depends on where you are going.)</p>

<p>Avoid 95 at all costs. S will be going to school near DC and we have friends in NC. There is always traffic and congestion on 95. I strongly recommend the alternate route on 81 etc. We have been to Luray Caverns. I highly recommend it.</p>