Are you planning a trip to America’s east coast?
The best way to explore this unique area is definitely by car.
Making a road trip out of your vacation will allow you to see so many cities and towns along the coast that you otherwise wouldn’t get to see.
From Washington D.C. to Savannah, Georgia, check out 18 fun places to stop on a New York to Florida drive.
DAY 1: NEW YORK TO BALTIMORE
1. New York, NY
New York is a great place to start your east coast road trip.
But remember to allocate enough time to explore this incredible city.
After all, it’s considered by many to be one of the greatest cities in the world.
And there is so much to see and do in the Big Apple!
Hit up Times Square for some shopping and then make your way over to nearby Broadway for a show.
Take the ferry to Ellis Island and see the Statue of Liberty in all her glory.
And then head on over to Brooklyn and experience a quieter yet trendy NYC borough
Be sure to snap a pic with the Brooklyn Bridge – the best views are from Brooklyn Bridge Park.
- Best Places to See: Times Square, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge
2. Philadelphia, PA
En route to Washington D.C. (your day 1 destination), be sure to make a pit stop in Philadelphia.
Philly is the largest city in the state of Pennsylvania and is of great historical importance.
The city is home to both the Liberty Bell and the Declaration of Independence, so if you’re a history buff (especially if you love American revolutionary history), you’ll adore exploring this US city.
In addition to the area’s historical significance, there are many cultural institutions to explore.
These include the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Franklin Institute, the Rodin Museum, and the Barnes Foundation.
Also, be sure to head to the Reading Terminal Market for a bite to eat or some souvenir shopping.
- Best Places to See: Liberty Bell, Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Franklin Institute
- Distance: 94.6 mi (152.2 km) via I-95 S
- Duration: 1 h 46 min drive from New York
3. Wilmington, DE
Less than 45 minutes from Philadelphia and you’ll arrive in Wilmington, Delaware.
Believe it or not, Wilmington is an urban hub known for its banking industry.
It has the largest downtown core in the entire state.
In addition to business and innovation, Wilmington is also a cultural hub, with plenty of top-notch restaurants, museums, and performance centres.
Some of the best rated restaurants include Indochine, Cape Fear Seafood Company, and Pinpoint Restaurant.
Meanwhile, be sure to stop by the Delaware Art Museum, Nemours Estate, the Delaware Children’s Museum, and The Delaware Contemporary.
Further, the state of Delaware has no sales tax which makes Wilmington a great place to shop because everything you purchase will be tax free!
- Best Places to See: Brandywine Zoo, Delaware Art Museum, Brandywine Park
- Distance: 32.2 mi (51.8 km) via I-95 S
- Duration: 42 min drive from Philadelphia
4. Baltimore, MD
Baltimore is a vibrant, diverse city in Maryland.
It is the state’s largest city and is a major economic hub in the region.
Specifically, Baltimore is known for its trendy and picturesque Inner Harbor, distinct neighborhoods, rich history, and top-notch museums.
The harbor area is a must visit, with its many boutique shops, local crab shacks, and family-friendly attractions (both the National Aquarium and the USS Constellation warship are found here).
In addition, no trip to Baltimore would be complete without exploring Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine.
For those that don’t know, Baltimore (or more specifically Fort McHenry) is the birthplace of the American national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner.
Other attractions include The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore Art Museum, B&O Railroad Museum, and the Maryland Science Center.
- Best Places to See: National Aquarium, Inner Harbor, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore Museum of Art
- Distance: 69.5 mi (111.8 km) via I-95 S
- Duration: 1 h 15 min drive from Wilmington
DAY 2: BALTIMORE TO RICHMOND
5. National Cryptologic Museum
Day 1 of your New York to Florida road trip is complete!
After spending the night in Baltimore, it’s time to hit the road.
Within half an hour you’ll come across the National Cryptologic Museum.
This is your first recommended stop on your second day of driving.
The National Cryptologic Museum is located in Annapolis Junction, Maryland.
It is a museum dedicated to cryptologic history in the United States, with a specific focus on the National Security Agency (NSA).
The museum is the first of its kind to be affiliated with any organization in the US Intelligence community and is located a mere two blocks away from NSA headquarters in Maryland.
The museum has all kinds of exhibitions and artifacts on display, including an 18th century cipher device.
- Location: 8290 Colony Seven Rd, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701
- Distance: 17.5 mi (28.2 km) via MD-295 S
- Duration: 25 min drive from Baltimore
6. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Who doesn’t love space?
If you’ve always been fascinated by astronauts, extraterrestrials, and the galaxy, then you have to stop at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Lucky for you, this important institution is only an 18 minute drive from the National Cryptologic Museum and is on the way as you slowly make your way to Florida.
The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is one of the biggest NASA space research labs in the United States.
It is also the first flight centre to open, having been established in 1959.
As part of the facility, there is a visitor center that is open to the public throughout the week.
The center features displays of spacecraft and technologies that were developed there.
For example, you can view the Hubble Space Telescope here.
- Location: 8800 Greenbelt Rd, Greenbelt, MD 20771
- Distance: 12.7 mi (20.4 km) via Baltimore-Washington Pkwy and Soil Conservation Rd
- Duration: 18 min drive from National Cryptologic Museum
7. Washington, DC
Stopping in Washington DC is a must while driving to Florida.
There is plenty of fun to be had in the nation’s capital.
The city is known for its neoclassical architecture, examples of which include the United States Capitol and the White House.
If politics and government interest you, be sure to book a tour of these esteemed sites.
Other must-see historical attractions include the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Vietnam War Memorial, and Arlington National Cemetery.
Be sure to explore at least one if not all of the Smithsonian Museums.
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is a favorite.
You can also visit the National Archives and see the Declaration of Independence in person.
The Kennedy Performing Arts Center is also a sight to behold.
- Best Places to See: Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, United State Capitol, Smithsonian Museums
- Distance: 13.9 mi (22.4 km) via Baltimore-Washington Pkwy and New York Ave NE
- Duration: 25 min drive from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
8. Richmond, VA
Under two hours from the country’s capital and you’ll find yourself in Richmond, Virginia.
Richmond is one of the oldest cities in the United States, and thus has plenty of historical significance.
It was the place where Patrick Henry, a Founding Father, famously said “Give me liberty or give me death” in 1775.
It was also home to the White House of the Confederacy during the Civil War.
In addition to history, Virginia has lots of beautiful parks and gardens worth exploring.
These include Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and Belle Isle.
Finally, be sure to take a stroll around the Court End neighborhood, a region known for its Federal-style mansions.
- Best Places to See: Virginia State Capitol, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
- Distance: 108.7 mi (175 km) via I-95 S
- Duration: 1 h 46 min drive from Washington
DAY 3: RICHMOND TO MYRTLE BEACH
9. Raleigh, NC
Let the third day of your road trip commence!
If you stayed in Richmond overnight, then it will only be a 2 and a half hour drive until you reach your next destination: Raleigh, North Carolina.
Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina and is famous for its many universities and scholarly institutions.
Together with the nearby cities of Durham and Chapel Hill, the area is regarded as the Research Triangle.
Attractions in Raleigh include the North Carolina Museum of Art, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and the Marbles Kids Museum.
The North Carolina State Capitol is also a sight to behold as it was constructed in a 19th century Greek Revival style of architecture.
- Best Places to See: Pullen Park, North Carolina Museum of Art, North Carolina State Capitol
- Distance: 155.2 mi (249.8 km) via I-85 S
- Duration: 2 h 31 min drive from Richmond
10. Fayetteville, NC
Are you fascinated by the American military?
Then be sure to stop by Fayetteville, North Carolina on your road trip from New York to Florida.
Roughly one hour from Raleigh is where you’ll find Fayetteville.
This North Carolina city is known for being the home of Fort Bragg, which is where the 82nd Airborne and the United States Army Special Operations Command is located.
There is an Airborne and Special Operations Museum open to the public that houses exhibits on the history of the American army, as well as a motion simulator.
Other attractions include Fantasy Lake Water Park, Cape Fear Botanical Garden, which has a children’s garden, and the Museum of Cape Fear Historical Complex.
- Best Places to See: Fantasy Lake Water Park, Cape Fear Botanical Garden, J. Bayard Clark Park
- Distance: 64.5 mi (103.8 km) via I-40 E and I-95 S
- Duration: 1 h 2 min drive from Raleigh
11. Myrtle Beach, SC
Stop for the day in the scenic resort town of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
This vacation destination is a popular spot year round, but especially so in the winter and spring when people from all over the country flock to the area for its sunny skies and sandy beaches.
It is the largest city along what is referred to as the Grand Strand (a 60-mile string of beaches along the Atlantic Coast).
Myrtle Beach State Park is home to many public beaches.
There are also lots of beach boardwalks and promenades where visitors can shop, eat, and relax all at once.
Family-friendly attractions are everywhere, from the old-fashioned Family King Amusement Park to the SkyWeel Myrtle Beach (one of the tallest ferris wheels in the United States).
If it’s some fun in the sun you’re after, you’ll love Myrtle Beach!
- Best Places to See: Ripley’s Aquarium, Broadway at the Beach, SkyWheel Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach State Park
- Distance: 16.2 mi (26.1 km) via I-95 S
- Duration: 2 h 7 min drive from Fayetteville
DAY 4: MYRTLE BEACH TO SAVANNAH
12. Charleston, SC
It’s day four of your New York to Florida drive, and today’s itinerary is focused on just two cities.
The first is Charleston, South Carolina, located roughly 2 hours south of Myrtle Beach.
This port city was founded in 1670, making it one of the country’s most historic.
It is famous for its cobblestone streets, pastel, Antebellum-style houses, and horse-drawn carriage rides.
Take a walk through the French Quarter or Battery district to see examples of pre American Civil War architecture.
As Charleston is a port city, there are lots of beautiful spots to take in along the water.
Visit Waterfront Park, the Battery Promenade, and Fort Sumter National Monument.
Take a short drive and visit Boone Hall Plantation (a historic plantation that now serves as an event venue).
- Best Places to See: Boone Hall Plantation, Fort Sumter National Monument, Rainbow Row
- Distance: 98.3 mi (158.2 km) via US-17 S
- Duration: 1 h 59 min drive from Myrtle Beach
13. Savannah, GA
Right near the border of South Carolina lies the city of Savannah, Georgia.
Also located on the Atlantic coast, this city has a similar vibe to Charleston.
Like Charleston, it is known across the country for its Antebellum architecture, horse-drawn carriages, and pristine parks.
The Savannah Historic District is one of the prettiest, so you’ll love snapping pics there.
For the quintessential southern look, take a stroll beneath the moss-covered oak trees in Forsyth Park.
Savannah has many museums and historic sites, such as Wormsloe Historic Site, Mercer Williams House Museum, Telfair Museums, and the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters.
Meanwhile, other attractions include Old Fort Jackson and the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.
- Best Places to See: Savannah Historic District, Forsyth Park, Wormsloe Historic Site
- Distance: 107.9 mi (173.6 km) via US-17 S and I-95 S
- Duration: 1 h 54 min drive from Charleston
DAY 5: SAVANNAH TO ORLANDO, FL
14. Brunswick, GA
It’s the final day of your road trip so after a lovely night in Savannah, it’s time to hit the road.
The first pitstop along the final stretch of your journey to Orlando is none other than Brunswick, Georgia.
Brunswick is a small, quaint city on Georgia’s southeast coast.
This southern locale has many stunning Victorian-era buildings in its historic district, as well as an oak tree that dates back centuries.
The oak tree has been nicknamed Lover’s Oak.
Brunswick is a gateway to the four barrier islands that make up the Golden Isles.
Each of these islands is as picturesque as the last and has their own set of unique attractions.
For example, St. Simons Island is home to Fort Frederica National Monument, while Sea Island is famous for its many luxury resorts and golf courses.
- Best Places to See: Blythe Island Regional Park, Emerald Princess Casino, Mary Ross Waterfront Park
- Distance: 79.0 mi (127.1 km) via I-95 S
- Duration: 1 h 13 min drive from Savannah
15. Jacksonville, FL
You’ve made it to Florida!
Your first stop in the Sunshine State is the north Florida city of Jacksonville.
Jacksonville is a sizeable coastal city with lots of museums, cultural attractions, and of course, beautiful beaches!
Jacksonville Beach and Neptune Beach are two of the most popular in the area.
They are open to the public, with swimming and surfing both common activities.
Other top notch attractions in Jacksonville include Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and the Kingsley Plantation.
It’s also worth taking a drive slightly north of Jacksonville’s city center to visit Amelia Island.
Amelia Island is a picturesque spot right on the water, and is home to some of the country’s best golf courses, as well as Fernandina Beach.
- Best Places to See: Amelia Island, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens
- Distance: 69.8 mi (112.3 km) via I-95 S
- Duration: 1 h 3 min drive from Brunswick
16. Daytona Beach, FL
Hit the beach in Daytona Beach, Florida.
This popular spring break destination is located along the state’s Atlantic coast and is mainly known for two things: for its warm, sandy beaches, and for being the home of the annual Daytona 500 Nascar Race.
If you love Nascar, lounging on the beach, or both, then Daytona Beach is definitely for you.
There are many public beaches, including Daytona Bach itself which has a vibrant pier.
There are also lots of rides and arcades along the beach boardwalk.
In the summertime, there are even outdoor beach concerts.
Aside from the beaches, Daytona Lagoon is another major attraction.
It is a water park that offers go-karting, laser tag, and plenty of water slides.
- Best Places to See: Tomoka State Park, Daytona Boardwalk Amusements, Daytona Beach Main Street Pier
- Distance: 89.1 mi (143.4 km) via I-95 S
- Duration: 1 h 26 min drive from Jacksonville
17. Ocala National Forest, FL
You are almost at Orlando, but before you arrive, take the time to stop in Ocala National Forest.
Ocala National Forest is located just one hour outside of Orlando and is one of the most mesmerizing natural regions in all of the United States.
It is famous for its sand pine scrub forest, as well as its many natural hot springs.
Juniper Springs, Alexander Springs, and Salt Springs all have recreation areas where you can swim or boat on the natural water.
There are also plenty of campgrounds and hiking trails for visitors to enjoy.
The Yearling Trail is one of the most popular, as it passes a sinkhole and the remains of multiple homesteads that date back to the 19th century.
To cool off and explore the Florida nature before you arrive in Orlando, we definitely recommend stopping in Ocala National Forest.
- Best Places to See: Lake Bryant, Mill Dam Lake, Ocklawaha Prairie Restoration Area
- Distance: 37.8 mi (60.8 km) via FL-40 W
- Duration: 47 min drive from Daytona Beach
18. Orlando, FL
Congratulations, you’ve made it to Orlando!
After your multi-day road trip, it’s finally time to settle down and enjoy all that Orlando has to offer.
In Orlando, you’ll find near constant sunshine, swaying palm trees, great outlet shopping, and of course, amusement parks!
Orlando is known for its many amusement parks, the biggest of which are Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando.
Whether you want to snap a pic with your favorite Frozen character or finally visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you can do it all in Orlando.
Other theme parks include SeaWorld Orlando, Gatorland, and Discovery Cove.
There are also various historic and cultural sites here like the Orlando Science Center, the Harry P Leu Gardens, and the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art.
- Best Places to See: Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Studios Florida, Discovery Cove, Gatorland
- Distance: 49.0 mi (78.9 km) via FL-429 S
- Duration: 58 min drive from Ocala National Forest
We hope we’ve shown you that the journey is half the fun, which is why driving from New York to Florida is well worth the trip!
From Baltimore to Charleston to Daytona Beach, there is so much to enjoy on every leg of this road trip.
More Florida road trips: