Atlantic coast road trip from New York to Miami

  • Post last modified:June 22, 2021
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A road trip is a great way to explore new countries, states, cities and other places you otherwise never would get the opportunity to explore. And the Atlantic coast road trip from New York to Miami is one of the most legendary drives to make.

Huge cities, historic charm, the best theme parks, endless beaches and much more is included on the Atlantic coast road trip itinerary. The spectacular Atlantic coast drive begins in the city that never sleeps and takes you all the way down to the endless beaches in Florida.

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New York to Miami road trip guide

You find all the stops on the itinerary marked out on the New York to Miami road trip map below.

  • Total distance: 1394 mi / 2243 km
  • Total driving time: 23.5 h

A. New York – The Atlantic coast road trip starts in the city that never sleeps

New York is a city everyone could find reasons to visit. The high and mighty skyscrapers, green parks, top class art and much more draw crowds year after year. The possibilities are endless in the city that never sleeps.

Brooklyn Bridge in New York is one of the most famous bridges in the world. From the bridge you have panoramic views over the Manhattan skyline and it’s a good place to take in the monuments that many of the skyscrapers are. So make sure that you put on your favorite walking shoes and walk the bridge before you begin the Atlantic coast road trip.

Cross Brooklyn Bridge and start the road trip
Brooklyn Bridge with view over Manhattan.

When you walk on Manhattan it’s hard not to be humble when the high skyscrapers tower over you. The impressive skyscrapers reflect different periods of time. Empire State Building and the Chrysler building are older buildings compared to the much newer and more modern One World Trade Center.

A fun thing to do before you take off on the New York to Miami road trip is to observe the city from the bird eye perspective. The view from the top of the Empire State Building or one of the other huge buildings is unforgettable.

Central Park is a lush oasis surrounded by the towering buildings in the very busy city. There you find peace even the busiest of days. And it’s the perfect place to make any final plans before you begin the Atlantic Coast road trip from New York to Miami.

Central Park making New York City green
Central Park, the green oasis in New York City.

B. Washington D.C. – Say hello to the president at the White House

  • Driving distance: 227 mi / 365 km
  • Driving time: 4.5 h

Washington D.C. is the second destination on the New York to Miami road trip itinerary. The capital of the US is characterized by wide avenues, green parks and impressive white buildings. And of course the most famous of them all is the White House.

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is one of the most famous addresses in the world. It’s the place of the primary workplace and official residence for the President of the United States. Although the White House is a very historic and beautiful building to visit on the Atlantic Coast road trip there is much more to explore just a stone’s throw away.

The National Mall is a landscaped park in the central part of Washington D.C. It’s full of monuments celebrating heroes from the past. The area stretch from Lincoln Memorial in the west to the United States Capitol in the east. In between you find the Washington Monument. And a little bit to the north the White House beautifully sits.

The White House captured from the National Mall
The White House beautifully captured from the National Mall.

So there is much to explore and the things to see are positioned compactly, meaning that walking is the best way to explore the area. The park is very elegant and pedestrian friendly. You can peacefully take in the monuments as you walk the park. Sightseeing doesn’t get more pleasant than that.

The Mall is not only the heart of the capital, but it’s also in many ways the heart of America. The National Mall is home to many of the country’s most impressive monuments and memorials. And most of the things to do are free, so it’s even a good place for keeping within your budget on the road trip from New York to Miami.

When you leave the National Mall and cross the Potomac River you enter the state of Virginia. On the Virginia side of the river you find Arlington National Cemetery. It’s the final resting place for more than 400,000 fallen war heroes. In the cemetery you also find the Tomb of the Fallen Soldier and the gravesite of John F. Kennedy.

Thomas Jefferson Memorial
Thomas Jefferson Memorial.

Read more: An evening walk in Washington, D.C >>

C. Wilmington, North Carolina – Slightly off the beaten track

  • Driving distance: 364 mi / 585 km
  • Driving time: 5.5 h

In a way Wilmington is the most interesting stop on the entire New York to Miami road trip. Of course the city doesn’t have the most buzzing nightlife, the best shopping opportunities or the most impressive monuments compared to other destinations on the Atlantic Coast road trip. But that it isn’t a big tourist destination in a way just makes the place more interesting.

Wilmington is a bit more unusual, which brings another kind of excitement. That great feeling to explore something new. And Wilmington has a lot to offer and should get more attention than the city does. However, we are happy to keep this destination somewhat exclusive and off the beaten path.

The historic district in Wilmington contains beautiful and memorable buildings, from mansions to museums. It spans over more than 200 blocks throughout the heart of Wilmington and is a great place to explore on the New York to Miami road trip. The extraordinary houses and tree lined streets are very pretty. We’re not very far south on the drive yet, but Wilmington certainly captures you with its Southern charm.

In the historic district you find different types of establishments blended into the unique and pleasant atmosphere. The stunning residential areas, shops, bars and restaurants blend nicely in together. In particular the Riverwalk that goes along Cape Fear River is a great place for a dinner and a drink. Along the neat walk you find plenty of dining options and watering holes for the best of times on the Atlantic Coast road trip.

D. Charleston, South Carolina – A historic stop on the road trip from New York to Miami

  • Driving distance: 176 mi / 283 km
  • Driving time: 3.5 h

Next stop of the Atlantic coast road trip from New York to Miami takes you deeper into the American South. Now we go from North to South Carolina.

When you arrive in Charleston in South Carolina you are already more than halfway to Miami from the road trip’s starting point in New York.

Back in the days the city’s name was Charles Town and not Charleston. When it was founded in 1670 the name Charles Town was decided to honor the English king at the time, Charles II.

But today it’s Charleston and the picturesque city with its beautiful location on Charleston Harbor, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean, makes visitors feel like they have come to exactly the right place. Charleston is year after year mentioned as one of America’s favorite cities.

Colorful buildings in Charleston.
Colorful buildings in picturesque Charleston.

An exploration of the historic landmarks in Charleston is a very rewarding thing to do on the Atlantic Coast road trip. These awe-inspiring landmarks include the beautiful buldings and streets in the historic district, the huge and more than 400 years old Angel Oak Tree and Fort Sumter where the first shots of the Civil War were fired

And the plantations in South Carolina offer a surreal glimpse of the storied past. Magnolia Plantation, Middleton Place, Drayton Hall Plantation and Boone Hall Plantation are all located in the Charleston area. When you visit you can walk the grounds and learn about the history of the plantations which also is an important chapter of the American history.

The Angel Oak Tree in Charleston
The more than 400 year old Angel Oak Tree in Charleston.

E. Savannah, Georgia – More history and southern charm on the Atlantic coast itinerary

  • Driving distance: 107 mi / 172 km
  • Driving time: 2 h

From one southern city to another. Savannah is another historic place to explore on the Atlantic Coast road trip itinerary.

Savannah in Georgia was established back in the year 1733 and is located on Savannah River, upriver from the Atlantic Ocean. The city is often named as one of the most picturesque cities in America. And it’s with all right that Savannah has won its reputation as a very beautiful city. The downtown area really is something special.

But times have not always been so great in Savannah. The location made the city very important strategically during the American Revolution and the Civil War. During the latter the Union General William Tecumseh Sherman entered the city after having burned Atlanta and many other towns down on his march to the Atlantic Ocean.

Luckily for Savannah, Sherman was too impressed by the city to burn it down. Instead of burning the city of Savannah down Sherman offered it as a Christmas gift to President Abraham Lincoln. That we appreciate very much today.

Today’s visitors come from near and far to enjoy the beauty of the Savannah Historic District. The architecture from the 18th and 19th centuries is very well accompanied by greenery. The roads and avenues are more often than not lined by characteristic trees.

Probably more than any other tree type the live oak is closely associated with Savannah. The trees planted out in the streets and squares provide necessary shade in the summer and beauty all year round. And of course the growing Spanish moss adds to the beauty in the historic city.

If but only if you want to leave Downtown Savannah while you’re in town you should take the car and drive out to Tybee Island. There you find a great sandy beach for some lazy beach days on the Atlantic coast road trip.

Tree lined street in Savannah so charming that it makes you come back for another trip
The tree lined streets in Savannah are amazing.

Read more: Visit Savannah, Georgia’s first city >>

F. Orlando, Florida – Theme park fun in the Sunshine State

  • Driving distance: 281 mi / 452 km
  • Driving time: 4.5 h

When you arrive to Orlando what you have experienced in Charleston and Savannah meets a real contrast. Orlando is not about history, but more about modern amusement.

Orlando faced a fundamental change in the 1960s when Walt Disney revealed his plans to create a Walt Disney World in Orlando. The location of the city in central Florida was perfect for a huge theme park.

The weather is good for outdoor activities more or less all year round. And the inland location makes it less exposed to hurricanes than coastal regions.

After the opening of Walt Disney World in 1971 more theme parks have arrived. Disney World, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and Sea World among others could keep you busy for weeks if not months when you visit on the road trip from NYC to Miami.

As the city has expanded shopping and dining venues have done the same. You have great shopping and dining opportunities while visiting “O-town”.

Walt Disney World in Orlando
Disney World in Orlando.

Read more: Amazing places to visit in Orlando >>

Finding a hotel in Orlando

The theme park capital is known for its great selection of hotels with Lake Buena Vista, International Drive and Kissimmee all great choices for where to stay in Orlando. Select your dates and search for your hotel on the map below, or press search to get all the hotels in Orlando listed.

Additional stops: From Orlando going south you can take the shortest route directly to Miami as on this Atlantic coast itinerary. Or, for more Florida fun on the way continue on the Orlando to Key West road trip itinerary which includes stops along the west coast of Florida in Clearwater, Sanibel Island and Naples.

G. Miami – Finishing off the Atlantic Coast road trip

  • Driving distance: 239 mi / 384 km
  • Driving time: 3.5 h

Well driven! You have reached the last stop on the Atlantic Coast road trip from New York. But don’t despair. Miami and its surroundings certainly offer more unique places to visit.

The Miami metropolitan area is one of the largest in the US. Its warm climate and the buzzing nightlife attract millions of visitors each year.

Top of the list to many visitors is to see Ocean Drive and South Beach.

Ocean Drive is probably the most iconic street in Miami. The street’s Art Deco architecture, fancy cars and lined palm trees are closely associated with the city. Ocean Drive is a buzzing place where something always is going on.

Next to the iconic street you find South Beach, a great place to get away from the buzz that surrounds Ocean Drive.

From Miami the Everglades is easily accessible. So to mix up city life you can go out there and explore the spectacular nature in the wetland ecosystem.

The environment in Everglades National Park is truly unique. And of course it’s very exciting to see real life alligators in the wild. Isn’t that also a pretty cool way to end the legendary Atlantic Coast road trip?

Road trip to Ocean Drive in Miami
Ocean Drive, Miami.

Road trip from New York to Miami FAQ

You find the answers to some frequently asked questions about the New York to Miami road trip below.

How long time do you need to make the New York to Miami road trip?

It’s recommended to have two weeks to fully enjoy the trip. With an estimated driving time of 23.5 h you will drive almost 2 hours a day if you have two weeks to make it. That gives you the time you need to explore the things along the way as you drive and the places where you stop for the night.

Should you make the road trip New York to Miami or Miami to New York?

It doesn’t matter if you decide to drive New York to Miami or if you make the road trip Miami to New York. So you can use this itinerary no matter which direction you go. However, be smart and check prices for borth options. Also, if you start in early summer it could be smart to go from Florida to New York to avoid the sometimes extreme summer heat down in the state of Florida.

How was the estimated driving time from New York to Miami calculated?

The estimated driving time was calculated with Google Maps by taking the shortest amount of time from point A to point B and rounding upwards to the next half hour. Stops between New York and Miami are not included in the driving time.

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