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Top 4 Road Trips from the New York Area - Vacations on a Budget on the Eastern Coast

Updated on May 25, 2018
Catherine Stolfi profile image

Catherine is an independent research consultant at NASA Langley with degrees in English, Biology, and Environmental Science (M.S.).

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An affordable vacation that’s more than just a trip, it’s an experience

Those of us that live on the east coast have an amazing array of cities and destinations only a short drive away. With Spring Break coming up and summer just around the bend, a road trip can be a great affordable option for your annual vacation. Road trips range from a 2-hour trip to Atlantic City to a 16-hour drive to Miami, Florida. You’ll save money on flights and/or travel by simply carpooling to your destination. Not to mention, there are amazing roadside stops along the way to make memories and get those great Instagram photos. There’s nothing like being in a new state every few hours to make you seem like an avid traveler.

Boston, MA

Just a short trip away, Boston can be accessed by traveling north of NYC through Connecticut or you can head out to eastern Long Island to catch a ferry over the Sound. The ferry ride can be a nice break from all that driving; catch a drink in the back of the ferry at the bar or feel the sea wind in your hair outside on the decks. Boston’s 300 year-old history brings visitors to this city; the Boston tea-party, Boston Massacre of 1770 and Faneuil Hall. You can see an old warship used in the battle of 1812 and visit the Bunker Hill Monument. The Freedom Trail of Boston is a 2.5 mile red-brick walking trail that leads you to 16 nationally significant historic sites, such as a unique collection of museums, churches, burying grounds and parks. The landmarks even include the local pubs around the city where Sam Adams and the Sons of Liberty planned Boston’s Revolutionary acts. You can also visiting the Cheers bar where everyone knows your name.

See the Harvard Museum of Natural History, the biggest of Boston's many art museums, the Museum of Fine Arts, the 24-acre Public Garden and the New England Holocaust Memorial. Don’t leave Boston without catching a ball game at the countries famous Fenway Park. Just be sure to keep the Yankees hat at home while in this historical city that’s home to long time rivals, the Boston Red Sox.

Trip Time: 3 hours

Virginia Beach, VA

Virginia Beach is known for its summer nightlife and beaches. It’s a great place for thrill seekers, those looking for relaxation, and visitors ready for great nightlife. Beach Street is home to a boardwalk with a calendar listing of events running all through the year. Visit beachstreetusa.com for details. Thrill seekers can head over to Williamsburg, Busch Gardens and music lover’s can see a show at one of the many outdoor venues in and near Virginia beach. Verizon Wireless Virginia Amphitheater is the largest outdoor venue with the biggest acts to boost playing this spring and summer season. You can see a listing of acts at livenation.com.

Grab a bunch of your friends, book a hotel room on the beach and get ready to soak up the sun and enjoy some great nightlife in this coastal town.

Trip Time: 6 hours

Road Trip to Virginia Beach, VA from New York City
Road Trip to Virginia Beach, VA from New York City | Source

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The second-largest city in Canada and the largest city in the province of Quebec is Montreal; you can travel to another city in a different country in only a few hours drive. Culturally, it is a European like city. Montreal is known for its cultural festivals including the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival, the Montreal Jazz Festival, which features around 400 different shows, and the Montreal World Film Festival.

The Biodome of Montreal is part museum, part zoo and located at the old site of the Olympics held in Montreal in 1976. When you walk through the exhibits, you’re getting to experience four different ecosystems. Get ready for the heavy humidity of the tropical rainforest and the dry heat of the dessert as you walk through this huge exhibit. The Montreal Science Centre is also a great day spot located on the King Edward Pier by the water in the Old Port of Montreal.

This city is a great destination for those that have never traveled outside the country. It has an amazing European feel, as it is the second largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris. You can enjoy some amazing French cuisine in the main square of the city where there are a plethora of different restaurants. You will need a passport to cross the border as of the summer of 2008 to enter Canada and re-enter the states. Many retail venues and restaurants accept the American dollar, though. Currency exchange is also made very convenient in this city made for tourists.

Trip Time: 7 hours

Miami, Florida

Why should you travel 16 hours to go to Florida? It’s because of the things you’ll see along the way. Taking a road trip isn’t just about saving a few bucks but it’s about the experience along the trip. Go through Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia before entering the state of Florida. Side trips you can fit in include visiting Atlantic City in New Jersey, stopping off at Virginia Beach, and visiting our nation’s capital in Washington, D.C.

A classic roadside attraction is actually located in South Carolina called South of the Border. This mini attraction has a giant neon South of the Border sign welcoming you as you buy fireworks, shop and buy fireworks. Don’t forget to visit their mini amusement park before you head back out on the road.

Once in Florida, you pass through Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach before arriving at Miami. You can do a day at Universal Studios or Disney World in Orlando to visit the home of Walt’s Mickey Mouse while hitting the various beaches along the way.

Trip Time: 16 hours


For road trip itinerary suggestions go to RoadTripAmerica.com and create your own personal road trip and see suggested stops. The gas cost for your entire trip can be figured at AAA’s FuelCostCalculator.com. Simply type in your start and end destination and your vehicle type and plan the cost of your entire trip.

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