With Escape Campervan depots in New York City and Miami, you’re perfectly set up for this east coast adventure. We’ll provide our highlights and leave it to the travel blogs and Top Ten Lists to give you the full rundown. Like many Interstates in the US, I-95 will take you the most direct (read: fastest), least attractive route possible. Make sure you tap the brakes on occasion and check out some of these side trips most people are sure to miss. We’ll start our East Coast Tour itinerary at the New York City Escape Depot and head south.
Distance: 1,500+ miles (2,414+ km)
Time: 10+ days
Once you’ve crossed into North Carolina heading south, you’ve entered southern barbeque country. You’ll encounter many different variations and differing preparation techniques, including the type of meat used (pork, beef, chicken), tomato-based (or not), quantity of vinegar (or not), mustard-based or ketchup, dry or wet-rub, slow cooked or seared, wood-smoked or charcoal, etc, etc, etc.
Which is best? We’ll let your own taste buds be the ultimate judge. That said, make sure you stop off at least once a day over the next couple hundred miles and become a connoisseur of this regionally delicious cuisine.
A few of our favorites:
Google “Outer Banks + Hwy 12” in North Carolina and you’ll find a highway you simply have to drive. You can thank us later.
Outer Banks of North Carolina. Check surfline.com for the latest updates.
Nashville, Tennessee, the country music capital of the world, isn’t that far off your designated route heading and is definitely worth the side trip–especially if you’re looking to check out some good, cheap (free, quite often) up-and-coming singers and songwriters.
Head downtown to Broadway Street and check out old standbys like Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Legends, The Stage, The Ryman, and many others all within walking distance of each other. If you’re looking for salt-of-the-earth bluegrass, run, don’t walk, to The Station Inn.
As long as you’ve made it to Nashville, you might as well drive another two hours east and check out Memphis, Tennessee. Located dangerously close to the shores of the mighty Mississippi, this old blues town (and home to Graceland), is sure to be a 2-3 day stopover once you cruise down Beale Street for the first time. Get some dry rub ribs, catch a show at BB King’s original blues club and wander Beale feeling like you just found a new home.
Best ribs in Memphis: The Rendezvous is by far the most famous, but for our money, Blues City Café is far FAR superior. Get a rack and some bbq shrimp for us.
Once you’ve wound your way through the “Old South,” you’re certain to get culture shock once you head into Florida. You won’t find any write-ups from Escape touting the wonderland that is Disney World or Universal Studios, but what we will tell you about are a couple of the best drives in America that shouldn’t be missed.
The largest subtropical wilderness area in North America, this place makes the top of many Escapee to do lists. The park protects the largest habitat in the world of rare and endangered species like the manatee, the Florida panther and the American crocodile. We’ve still yet to see a panther, but we have high hopes for a sighting one day.
Park the car for a day and take one of the many tours offered by professional game watching guides. You can’t really go wrong with any of them, but one we’ve heard a lot about is captainjacksairboattours.com
Make sure you head east/west on I-73 for a few miles west of the Everglades National Park. Known as Alligator Alley, this is a world-class drive by any standard.
1700 islands create the archipelago, and 42 bridges connect them along this 113-mile (181 km) part of US Highway 1. The epic trip starts just south of Miami and dead ends at the world famous community of Key West. Take your time along this stretch of the road trip because it doesn’t get any better than this!
Bring Bug Spray!!!! Mosquitos and sand fleas or gnats (known locally as “No-See-Ums”) are vicious down there and they’ve ruined more than one Escapees’ adventure. Mocking up a way to put screens over the car windows during overnight stays is another alternative.
You’ll never run short of drinking options in the Keys. One of the best-known—both good and bad—is No Name Bar on No Name Key. Check it out and chuck a buck on the ceiling for us.