Southern Atlantic Coast
This splendid Southern Atlantic Coast Drive is a 1,900-kilometer trek starting in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina and ending in Key West, Florida, the southernmost point of the USA. The two-lane highway shuffles between urban hubs and sleepy beach communities, with long stretches of pristine coastal wilderness in between.
Begin in Boston, Massachusetts, and take in some local history before heading to Cape Cod to experience charming beachside towns, delicious local seafood and the unmistakable allure of New England architecture. New York City, the United States’ bustling metropolis, has so much to discover from the Statue of Liberty and SoHo shopping district to Broadway and Times Square. If the sun is shining, take a leisurely stroll through Central Park, and see the Natural History Museum on the West Side and the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the East Side.
Once you reach Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, visit the Liberty Bell, the symbol of American Independence. Find a peaceful spot to sit at Rittenhouse Square, one of the five original open-space parks planned in the late 17th century. Visitors often run the 72 steps before the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art to reenact the famous scene from the Oscar-winning film “Rocky,” where boxer Rocky Balboa victoriously runs the stairs. The city views from the top are definitely worth the trip.
On the New Jersey coast, Atlantic City has an historic beach and boardwalk that spans the waterfront. Sample saltwater taffy and other local favorites, then try your luck at some of the storied casinos. Ocean City, Maryland offers excellent views of 10 Mile Long Beach. Take a stroll, go for a swim or simply enjoy the coastal beauty. Just south is Virginia Beach, Virginia where you’ll find wonderful family vacation spots and great dolphin and whale watching.
Due south of the Mason-Dixon Line, the Atlantic Coast Road Trip passes many historical sites like Kitty Hawk on the outer banks of North Carolina, where the Wright Brothers first took flight in an airplane. The first shots of the Civil War were fired further south at Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston also has a vibrant culinary scene and lovely Southern architecture. Savannah, South Carolina is like a walk back in time with charming town squares, old-fashioned ice cream parlors and the unmistakable hospitality of the Old South.
Continue south to the east coast of Florida for the last leg of your journey. Highlights include Daytona Beach, the spot for NASCAR Daytona 500 racing fans. West Palm Beach is a celebrated coastal town with many must-see spots like Breakers Reef, a snorkeler’s paradise. In fashionable Miami Beach, you can enjoy everything from Art Deco architecture and sparkling beaches to Cuban culture and exciting nightlife.
Your last 150 miles from Miami to Key West, Florida promise to be more than memorable. Highway 1 continues through the string of the Florida Keys, ending in the artsy island of Key West, where you can see author Ernest Hemingway’s home, tour eclectic galleries, feast on fresh seafood and enjoy a Caribbean vibe. Close your trip with a sundown show at Mallory Square and a cocktail at Louie's Backyard.
What to bring: seaside gear, a cooler of cold drinks and fresh fruit, and a relaxed, laid back attitude.
Basic Route Information