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Houston to New York road trip advice.

Northampton, United...
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Houston to New York road trip advice.

My wife and I are planning our next U.S. road trip and it is looking like fly in to Houston mid July 2014 and fly back to the U.K. from New York in Mid August 2014.

We want to include New Orleans, Nashville, and the Blue Ridge Parkway, some Cajun country, some bluegrass country (my wife is a composer), some of the traditional "South", and Washington. We have 'tripped around California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah before, as well as visiting various other U.S. cities but this is our first time in the South. We've been to NYC a few times so know where we are going when we get there.

Neither of us are beach people, we much prefer a bit of history, good scenic routes, and some local culture. We normally plan for no more than three hours driving a day but will extend this if we just need to get from A to B on the Interstate rather than the route being the star of that days journey. We try and make the trip part of the experience rather than just a way of getting from A to B.

I have a couple of questions and would be grateful for any advice offered:

1) Is four weeks long enough for that trip?

2) Other than the places mentioned above, does anybody have any "must see" things to visit?

3) Any other hints and tips for the trip?

4) Is there a recognised road trip route between the areas that I have mentioned as I couldn't find one?

Thanks in advance for any advice and guidance.

Atlanta, Georgia
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1. Re: Houston to New York road trip advice.

Travel in the south will be hot and humid in July. It does bother some people but as a native of Atlanta it does not bother me.

Some other suggestions for your road trip-

From NOLA head to Natchez and Vicksburg for antebellum plantations, Civil war military national park, MS River and great food.

From Vicksburg then head to Memphis for Beale Street, Civil Rights, and Elvis Presley's Graceland.

From Memphis head to Nashville for country music, live music venues and some history.

From Nashville head to the Great Smoky Mts. NP. We like the small town of Townsend, TN. Drive the Cades Cove Loop Rd. then head over the Newfoundland Gap to Asheville and up thru the Blue Ridge Mountains.

From there you can stop in Charlottsville for history and then make your way thru MD and southern PA. In southern PA stop at the Gettysburg Civil War national park, Eisenhower's home and the Amish country near Lancaster.

What your are missing on this route-

Two of the great old southern cities- Charleston and Savannah. They are along the coast of GA and SC about two hours from each other and offer southern antebellum plantations, history, Civil War forts, great museums and great food.

Good luck and let us know if you have other questions!!

Northampton, United...
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2. Re: Houston to New York road trip advice.

Thanks for the advice, i'll look them up and plot them into my route map.

I'm guessing that you think that four weeks is long enough for the trip?

Lewes, United...
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3. Re: Houston to New York road trip advice.

Hi MrGin

While I've not done half of your route yet myself, I'd say that 4 weeks, especially as you said you don't want time for a beach stay anywhere, should be fine. We have folk on this forum wishing to do your route in just 2 weeks! However, I have also assumed that, as you know NYC, you'd only stay up to 3 nights there of your time.

Just a few other general comments. With a one way car rental trip over on the east, you will have to pay a drop off fee for the rental car. We can make suggestions on this forum of rental companies to keep that down to around US$250 plus tax. As you will be going to Washington, DC, you might want to drop the car there and take the train to NYC after that to avoid the increasingly heavy traffic as you approach NYC.

SWT

Edited: 9:43 am, November 18, 2013
Marina, California
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4. Re: Houston to New York road trip advice.

4 weeks for a one-way trip should be enough time. It's a lot of driving though.

There are three National Parkways along your route which you could take: Natchez Trace Parkway from Natchez, MS to Nashville, TN; Blue Ridge Parkway from Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Shenandoah National Park; and the Skyline Drive from Shenandoah National Park to near Washington, DC. These routes would make a good drive for you in the summer and offer quite a bit of natural landscape to see across the Deep South and the Appalachians. You could also, of course, take side trips around to see sites not on the parkways.

I would suggest visiting a beach while on your trip as well, just because it's going to be so hot. The closest good beach to New Orleans is Gulf Shores, Alabama, but there are good beaches all through Florida as you go east from there.

Regarding bluegrass music, I don't know that there's much point in going well off the route to see anything for this, as bluegrass music is everywhere in the country. Even Tucson has an annual bluegrass festival. Nashville would really be the best place to check it out, I think. There's live music every night of the year there, even Christmas Day, at a number of venues around the city. People know Nashville for country music, but it gets bands touring from all over the country regularly and has a great local music scene of all genres, but definitely more geared toward country and roots, like bluegrass.

Regarding Cajun Country, I would suggest you concentrate on Lafayette, New Iberia and Breaux Bridge. The Tabasco pepper sauce factory is just south of New Iberia and worth the side trip. Spend at least three days in New Orleans though. Great city and the same as Nashville, where there's live music every night of the year, both on the more touristy Bourbon Street, and the less known Frenchman Street.

Good luck in your planning. Hope that helps.

Atlanta, Georgia
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5. Re: Houston to New York road trip advice.

Clarksdale, MS between Vicksburg, MS and Memphis, TN is known for its blues music. They have several lives music venues, Morgan Freeman's bar and restaurant, blues museum and even a blues festival.

Northampton, United...
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6. Re: Houston to New York road trip advice.

@SussexWorldTraveller - Is the one way drop off fee a certainty? I have done a few one way trips in the States but not had to pay one yet.

Lewes, United...
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7. Re: Houston to New York road trip advice.

Yes, unless you're exceptionally lucky. You said you'd 'done' the west. It's easy to get fee free one ways in AZ, NV, CA area, not so much over on the east coast at all. Plus you're route isn't a popular one, so that doesn't help.

SWT

Marina, California
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8. Re: Houston to New York road trip advice.

Car rental companies sometimes run specials, where you pick up in Florida and drop off in the Northeast or Midwest for a relatively low ($15-20 per day) rate. However, the deal typically limits you to 7 days at a maximum. I did this this past May, driving from Tampa to Louisville. But it's rare, as they don't need cars in New York City for the winter, they need them in Florida. So you may want to try pricing out this trip in reverse, if that's still an option for you.

Houston, TX
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9. Re: Houston to New York road trip advice.

Re the Natchez Trace Parkway, Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive--while each does give you an opportunity to appreciate some beautiful scenery of the respective parts of the country, I would suggest picking one, or, if you are thinking about driving all three, you choose particular sections of each, rather than plan to drive the entire length of each. We find that, with these drives, there really can be too much of a good thing. Speed limits are low and the scenery, while lovely, does become repetitive. Skyline Drive is very curvy which can be a problem for some people.

If you decide to include Gettysburg, I would suggest booking a private tour with a guide through the park website. The guide takes you through the battlefield, in your car. While there is a bus tour that goes through the military park, we really enjoyed having a private guide. Since we are from Texas, he made sure to include stops or drive pasts of things Texas related. Even if you see the film and view the cyclorama, having a guide to explain exactly how the three day battle unfolded really helped us understand what had happened. There is also a CD guide you can purchase to drive through on your own.

Aubrey, Texas
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10. Re: Houston to New York road trip advice.

In Memphis we went to BB King's on Beale St. intending to eventually move on to some other venues. The music was so good that we stayed there all night. Good food, too. The music was blues and a bit of country thrown in.

The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville features traditional country singers and acts with usually a touch of modern country thrown in. You never know who will turn up to sing.

Floyd Country Store in Floyd, VA has a jamboree on Friday nights. Bluegrass mainly. Located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway.