Atlantic Coast road trip from New York to Miami

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Glide away on this New York to Miami road trip along the Atlantic Coast, touring colorful cities, uncovering stirring monuments and inspecting oak-fringed plantations — all while enjoying that famous southern hospitality. Then, at the drive’s end, reward yourself by kicking back on Florida‘s seemingly endless stretches of soft white sand.

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Map showing the scenic route from NYC to Miami
Click for interactive mode.
  • Total distance: 1530 mi / 2462 km
  • Total driving time: 26 h 30 min

1. New York, NY

Stretch your legs before taking off on your Atlantic Coast road trip — there’s no better place for sightseeing than New York City. Walk Brooklyn Bridge, admire tall skyscrapers and make final plans in Central Park.

Walk Brooklyn Bridge

One of the world’s most famous bridges, Brooklyn Bridge spans East River, connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn. Not only an engineering feat, it also allows you to soak up some of the most iconic views of the Manhattan skyline at your very own pace. Just put on a good pair of walking shoes and cross Brooklyn Bridge by foot.

Brooklyn Bridge spanning East River across the backdrop of Manhattan's imposing skyline
See Manhattan rise behind Brooklyn Bridge.

Climb a humbling Manhattan skyscraper

Manhattan’s skyscrapers reflect different periods of time: The historic 1931 Empire State Building and 1939 Rockefeller Center were built during the Great Depression, while shiny One World Trade Center radiates 21st-century vibes.

For the best view in town, climb them. Each of these three giants has an observation deck, and the bird’s-eye perspective from the top of Manhattan is simply breathtaking.

Review your itinerary in Central Park

A lush oasis surrounded by towering buildings and a constant buzz, Central Park is the most visited urban park in the USA and possibly also the most filmed movie location in the world. Still, Central Park lets you to escape from it all and find peace even on the busiest of days. Grasp the opportunity to sit down and make any final adjustments to your Atlantic Coast itinerary before heading south.

More info: Where to stay in NYC

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

2. Washington D.C.

  • Driving distance: 226 mi / 364 km
  • Driving time: 4 h 45 min

Say hello to the capital of the USA, characterized by its wide avenues, green parks and stately bright buildings and monuments. And, of course, the most famous of them all is the White House.

Admire that familiar White House

The place of the primary workplace and official residence for the President of the United States, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is one of the most famous addresses in the world. Stop by and marvel at the Neoclassical power center, which you probably have seen in thousands of images and movies; then there’s much more to explore just a stone’s throw away in the National Mall.

The White House and its green garden in Washington D.C.
THAT White House, Washington D.C.

Uncover the National Mall‘s significance

Making up the heart of Washington D.C., the National Mall is a landscaped park full of monuments celebrating heroes from the past. The loaded area stretches from Lincoln Memorial in the west to the United States Capitol in the east, with the Washington Monument in between and the White House to its north.

Thanks to the National Mall’s compactness, walking is the best way to explore it. And without an entrance fee, it’s also one of the best free things to do on a New York to Miami road trip.

Thomas Jefferson Memorial on the Tidal Basin in the National Mall in Washington, D.C. after dark
Pay a visit to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.

3. Outer Banks, NC

  • Driving distance: 269 mi / 433 km
  • Driving time: 4 h 30 min

Detour off Interstate 95 to immerse yourself in the North Carolina coastline. The Outer Banks features seemingly endless stretches of pristine beaches and some surprisingly fascinating pieces of human history.

Tick off secluded lighthouses

Protruding into the air from the serene Outer Banks, five lighthouses call for your attention: Currituck Beach Lighthouse, Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse (tiny), Bodie Island Lighthouse, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and Ocracoke Lighthouse. Snap photos of them as you leisurely cruise along North Carolina Highway 12 that brilliantly makes most of the Outer Bank’s 125 miles (201 km) of stunning coastline easily accessible.

Wooden boardwalk leading to black-and-white-striped Bodie Island Lighthouse, North Carolina, at sunset
Enjoy a sunset at Bodie Island Lighthouse.

Marvel at the Wright Brothers National Memorial

Most remarkably, the Outer Banks is where the first human flight ever was made. Here, in Kill Devil Hills, the Wright brothers took the first-ever powered, sustained and controlled airplane ride in 1903.

Go to the Wright Brothers National Memorial to celebrate the huge feat, exactly where it happened. Markers on the ground show the locations and lengths of each of the first four flights, making it easier to visualize those pivotal moments — you’ll feel almost like you where there in the early 1900s.

More info: Where to stay in the Outer Banks

Stone markers visualizing the first flights at Wrights Brothers National Memorial
Be amazed by these Kitty Hawk markers.

4. Wilmington, NC

  • Driving distance: 239 mi / 385 km
  • Driving time: 4 h 15 min

You don’t hear a lot about Wilmington, North Carolina. But with a delightful riverwalk framed by historic buildings, it’s un undeniably great place to power up on your way from New York City to Miami.

Stroll Wilmington’s Historic District

Spanning more than 200 blocks, Wilmington’s Historic District contains all from history-steeped mansions to restaurants to watering holes to shops. While visitors tend to gravitate towards the soothing waterfront, a highly atmospheric place to refuel, be sure to allow some time for the nearby Bellamy Mansion. Completed in 1861, the stately mansion and museum guarded by Corinthian columns is filled with fascinating stories.

Relax on the Wilmington’s beaches

Just craving a beautiful beach to unfurl a towel? Your closest option is Wrightsville Beach, an effortless 15-minute drive from Wilmington Historic District. Other appealing candidates for lazy time under the North Carolina sun, both accessible within 30 minutes’ drive, are Carolina Beach and Kure Beach.

Waves lapping the shore of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, during golden sunset
See waves lap the shore of Wrightsville Beach.

5. Charleston, SC

  • Driving distance: 173 mi / 278 km
  • Driving time: 3 h 15 min

History buffs need to be on leash in Charleston, founded in 1670 as Charles Town in honor of the English king at the time, Charles II. Feel how the centuries come together as you delve into what year after year ranks as one of America’s favorite cities.

Savor The Battery

A seawall and promenade at the southern part of the Charleston peninsula, The Battery brims both with history and photo opportunities. Imagine tree-lined streets with colorful antebellum homes enjoying the mild breeze of the Charleston Harbor. Offshore, Fort Sumter is where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. Added to the streetscape in 1990, the Pineapple Fountain — which, just like it sounds, looks like a pineapple — promises engagement on your social media profiles.

Pastel-colored row houses in Charleston, South Carolina
Stroll amid colorful Charleston buildings.

Visit South Carolina plantations

South Carolina’s plantations offer overwhelming glimpses into the past. A prime example, the Magnolia Plantation was founded already in 1676 by the Drayton family, having survived the centuries and witnessed the history unfold. Visit to roam the history-laden grounds, hear captivating stories and admire the well-kept garden.

Other renowned plantations in the area are Middleton Place, Drayton Hall Plantation and Boone Hall Plantation. Unsurprisingly, Hollywood has used the plantations in South Carolina for various movies, including the Patriot and the Notebook.

The thick branches of the Angel Oak Tree in Charleston, SC, forming a breathtakingly wide canopy
Snap a photo of Charleston’s Angel Oak Tree.

6. Savannah, GA

  • Driving distance: 108 mi / 174 km
  • Driving time: 2 h

At the southern end of the Lowcountry, Savannah entices visitors with its romantic atmosphere. Succumb to magnificent streets and squares framed by moss-draped live oaks and homes dating back to the 1700s and 1800s.

Fall in love with Savannah Historic District

Step into the original, pre-Civil War area of Savannah, where history awaits in every corner. Especially be sure to visit 30-acre Forsyth Park, complete with oaks dripping in Spanish moss, laughter-filled playgrounds and an 1858 fountain inspired by the fountains of Place de la Concorde in Paris. Down by the Savannah River, the waterfront encompassing former cotton warehouses offers a lively setting for evening dinner and drinks.

Spread out a towel on a historic beach

If, but only if, you want to leave Downtown Savannah while you’re there, drive the 18 miles (29 km) out to Tybee Island. Here, you find beautiful wide beaches and, of course, some great American history. Check out Tybee Island Light Station, Fort Screven and, on neighboring Cockspur Island, Fort Pulaski National Monument.

Tybee Pier shooting out into the Atlantic Ocean from the beach on Tybee Island
Find solitude on Tybee Island.

7. Orlando, FL

  • Driving distance: 280 mi / 451 km
  • Driving time: 4 h 15 min

Welcome to America’s undisputed theme park capital. Whether you’re a theme park enthusiast or not, Orlando’s massive entertainment complexes filled with thrilling rides and iconic characters are bound to impress.

Laugh your way through world-famous theme parks

Get to the heart of your childhood dreams at Disney World, where five different theme parks — Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, EPCOT and Magic Kingdom — entertain visitors of all ages. Massive Disney World, covering an area comparable to two Manhattans, is synonymous with Orlando.

But Universal Orlando Resort answers up brilliantly with its Universal Studios and Island of Adventure theme parks (a third one is in the works too). Step into your favorite TV shows and movies, ranging from The Simpsons to Harry Potter, through mind-bending attractions stimulating all your senses.

The Cinderella Castle shooting up towards the sky in Disney World's Magic Kingdom theme park
The one and only Disney World, Orlando.

Target the moon at Kennedy Space Center

Visiting Kennedy Space Center, you get the chance to learn everything there is to know about human space flight, from the early days of space exploration to current-day advancements. Save any questions for the daily Astronaut Encounter, where a retired NASA astronaut enters the scene to teach and inspire.

Note: The space center is located in Cape Canaveral, an hour’s drive past Orlando on the route to Miami.

More info: Where to stay in Orlando

Globe depicting NASA's logo at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida
Welcome to NASA.
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Want more? Going south from Orlando, you can take the shortest route directly to Miami as on this Atlantic Coast itinerary. Or, for more Florida fun along the way, continue on the Orlando to Key West road trip itinerary, which includes stops down Florida’s laid-back west coast.

8. Miami, FL

  • Driving distance: 235 mi / 378 km
  • Driving time: 3 h 30 min

Lower your windows as you approach Miami; South Florida offers warm temperatures year round. On top of the balmy climate, the glistening beaches, buzzing nightlife and bitey alligators are other big draws.

Live your best life on Ocean Drive

If you already have a picture of Miami in your head, it’s probably of Ocean Drive. This palm-lined street, running along the dreamy white sands of South Beach, is defined by its fancy Art Deco hotels, bars and restaurants, boasting an unparalleled density of extravagant cars. Absorb the celebratory atmosphere while you leisurely walk down the street; then, before the sun gets the better of you, cool off in the Atlantic Ocean.

Art Deco-style Avalon Hotel on Ocean Drive in Miami, FL
Celebrate on Ocean Drive.

Take in spectacular Everglades

From Miami, you can easily access the world-famous Everglades wetland, covering a large part of South Florida. Take a day trip to immerse yourself its diverse ecosystems, where the untamedness is undeniable. Stroll alligator-lined tracks (but keep a safe distance), such as the short but sweet Anhinga Trail, or sign up for an airboat tour to venture deeper into the natural wonder than your own two feet can take you.

Where to stay in Miami

It might feel like all roads lead to Ocean Drive. But if you prefer it quieter, avoid the partying South Beach neighborhood at all cost.

An alligator crowd basking in the sun in Everglades National Park
Goggle at alligators in the Everglades.

Key West next? If you want to conquer the southernmost tip of the continental USA, continue with the Miami to Key West road trip itinerary (adding just three hours, one way, to your total driving time).

Road trip from New York to Miami FAQ

How long is the New York to Miami road trip?

This ultimate NYC to Miami road trip is 1,530 miles (2,462 km), taking 26.5 hours. Add extra time for the stops you make along the way.

Can you take a quicker New York to Florida road trip?

If you’re short on time, consider a quicker (but less scenic) route from New York to Miami. Simply stick to Interstate 95 to cover 1,279 miles in 19.5 hours.

Where should I stop between New York and Miami?

The Atlantic Coast is loaded with memorable destinations. Pay a visit to Washington D.C., Outer Banks, Wilmington, Charleston, Savannah and Orlando and Miami.

What states do you pass from New York to Florida?

This road trip includes 10 states — New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida — plus Washington D.C.

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

For the best experience, set aside 10 days or more for your New York to Miami road trip. However, if you’re content with only catching glimpses of each destination along the way, a week or even less can be sufficient.

Keep planning your Florida trip

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