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  • Writer's pictureSam Hageman

Road Trip: The Continental US, Part Two the East Coast.

Updated: Jul 31, 2021

15,000 miles, 48 states, 42 tanks of gas, 34 days, 2 cars, 1 engagement.

May 31, 2017:

(9) Portland Light House & Fort Williams Park, Maine.

It was finally time to leave Acadia National Park that morning. So, we packed up & headed out to go 3.25 hours south to the Portland Lighthouse.

The Portland Lighthouse & Fort Williams Park are free & along the Atlantic Coast. Dogs are allowed on leash everywhere & there is a small area in Fort Williams that allows for unleashed dog, but dogs are not allowed in the buildings. We were able to walk around the cliff side loop & rocky beach. There are portions of Battery Keyes Fort that remain on the over 90 acres of land. Clearly, we did not explore everywhere, but overall it was a nice stop along the coast. Note there are no trash receptacles, so anything carried in must be carried out.

(10) Freedom Trail, Boston, Massachusetts

We then drove 2.5 hours south to Boston to visit some historical parts along the Freedom Trail & visit some old stomping grounds for Garrett, because he lived in Boston for a year. The Freedom Trail in Boston has 16 historical sites. The trail is dog friendly & is free for anyone, except any buildings. We first stopped at the USS Constitution in the Harbor, then we walked over to the Bunker Hill Monument, & then headed to some of our favorite spots. We tried to hit Bravo (the best pizza in Boston), but sadly the location by Garrett’s old apartment had been closed & we did not have time to drive to the other location to make it out of town on time. We then drove by Garrett’s old apartment & old place of employment. By the time we finished in Boston it was getting later, so we decided to skip our planned stop at Plymouth Rock & head to Rhode Island.

(11) Beavertail State Park, Rhode Island

We drove 1.5 hours to Beavertail State Park in Rhode Island during the final hour of sunlight but were surprised by the amount of fog that surrounded us when we arrived. It made the park eerie & hard to navigate, but also beautiful. The light from the lighthouse cut through the fog & we saw very little of the rocky shore. We hiked along the rocky shoreline but were unable to see out into the ocean due to the fogs continual thickening. Dogs are allowed on leash but cannot go on the beach. The park also offers hiking trails & a lighthouse right on the coast. It was a beautiful foggy time on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

(12) Hidden Acres Family Campground, Connecticut

We then headed to our campsite for the night in Connecticut 1.25 hours south at Hidden Acres Family Campground. This is a private campground with some long-term trailers, but also spots to rent per night. The campground is right on a river, so it was quite buggy. When we arrived, the owner came out to let us buy some firewood so we could cook dinner & directed us to our site. However, once we arrived at our site it started to rain. We were able to set up the tent just in time, but we were forced to cook in the tent on the propane stove very carefully to eat that night.

June 1, 2017:

The next morning, we planned to do laundry at the campground (as they stated they had laundry units to use), but little did we know none of the dryers worked…this made for a very problematic morning as we already had to clean off the rain to pack the tent. Garrett & I were very annoyed & had to skip walking around Yale University campus due to our delayed morning. So we headed straight to New York City. Although if you want to go to Yale, dogs are allowed on leash around the entire campus, aside from buildings.

When I Finally saw the Balto Statue in 2019

(13) New York City & Central Park

We drove the 2.5 hours to Central Park in New York to visit the Balto Statue. Although we both had been to New York, I had never seen the Balto statue & it was a bucket list stop for me…well the morning showed us exactly how this day was going to go. It is already hard to find parking in New York, even without limitations. We looked for two hours for a parking garage that allowed cars with a 6ft clearance…which DOES NOT exist in New York City apparently (being from the Midwest we didn’t think clearance would be a problem). Aside from the frustration with parking in New York City, the traffic was also awful for a weekday. So, after an hour or so we stopped trying & headed out of town to our next stop.

(14) Washington Crossing State Park, New Jersey

Due to all the delays in the day we had to change our original plans for New Jersey. So instead of hitting the highest point in New Jersey & hiking at High Point State Park, we headed to the historical Washington Crossing State Park in New Jersey an hour away. The park is dog friendly & we were able to hike the trail to see where Washington crossed the Delaware River to change the Revolutionary War. The parks also offer over 500 acres of park to explore on both sides of the Delaware River between Pennsylvania & New Jersey (although they are two separate parks). However once again the day struck again when we lost my tri-pod at this park (however we had not realized until we were well on our way to the next stop).

(15) Independence National Historic Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Due to the delays in the day, we skipped Valley Forge National Historical Park in Pennsylvania & instead headed straight to Independence National Historic Park an hour away. Dogs are allowed all around Independence National Historic Park, except in the buildings. We were able to see the Liberty Bell from outside & Independence Hall, then walked around Philadelphia a bit.

We found a restaurant to eat outside with Dexter, enjoying our meal & watching the sunset in the city. Then we headed to our LaQuinta Hotel for the night. Finally, we were able to do our laundry with no problems. Something we loved about LaQuinta’s is t they generally have extra amenities available like coin laundry to make road trips easier. They also were dog friendly & did not charge (although this has changed since).

June 2, 2017:

(16) Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware

The next day was a lot better. We headed 2.25 hours to Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware where we found an ocean beach like a sandy Lake Michigan beach (you would be surprised how rare these types of beaches are on the ocean compared to the Great Lakes). The beach was nice & it was sunny. We spent an hour hanging out on the beach, running along the shore, & enjoying the Atlantic Ocean. Dogs are allowed on leash in designated areas, but not in buildings or picnic areas. The park offers tons of sandy shoreline along the ocean & a lighthouse.

(17) Annapolis Harbor, Maryland

We drove two hours to Annapolis Harbor in Maryland to watch the boats & walk around. Dogs are allowed on leash at the harbor & there is a park called Quiet Waters Park nearby that offers trails & a dog beach/park for off leash time (although we skipped the park). We hung out watching boats & eating some lunch at the harbor until we headed to our next stop.

(18) National Mall, Washington DC

We drove 45 minutes to our Nation’s Capital, Washington DC, to walk around the National Mall. The National Mall offers plenty of iconic memorials you can walk around, including the Lincoln Memorial, Franklin Roosevelt Memorial, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, World War II Memorial, the Washington Monument, & much more. Dogs can walk around almost every area of the National Mall but pay attention to signs that may limit certain areas to dogs. We walked around & saw almost all the historic sites in the main loop of the National Mall but skipped heading to the White House gates.

(19) Harpers Ferry National Historic Park, West Virginia

We took a little longer than planned at the National Mall, so we raced 1.25 hours to Harpers Ferry National Historic Park in West Virginia to hit sunset. We arrived right on time to see the sunset on the Shenandoah River. We were not able to hike but were able to walk around the historic battle fields & little town. Had we had time we would have tried to go to the Blue Ridge Mountain Scenic sites & hiked the Appalachian trail through the area. Dogs were allowed on leash everywhere.

(20) Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

We drove 1.5 hours to our campground Big Meadows at Shenandoah National Park at dusk. A warning to all, be very careful driving at dusk in this area as there are many twists & turns with the road & full of deer crossing the road. We set up camp in the dark & hit the hay right away.

June 3, 2017:

We went to a few overlooks on our way out of Shenandoah after sleeping in a bit longer than planned. There were a few places we wished we could have hit in Shenandoah; Waterfalls; Mt Marshall; Hazel Mountain; Little Stony Man Cliffs; Dark Hollow Falls; Timber Hollow Overlook; Buck Hollow Overlook; & Old Rag Mountain. Dogs are allowed leashed in most places except; on Fox Hollow Trail (mile 4.6); Traces Trail (mile 22.02); Stony Man Trail (mile 41.7); Limberlost Trail (milepost 43); Old Rag Ridge Trail; Ragged Run Trail; Old Rag Saddle Trail (above Old Rag Shelter); Dark Hollow Falls Trail (mile 50.7); Story of the Forest Trail (milepost 51); Bearfence Mountain Trail (mile 56.4); & Frazier Discovery Trail (mile 79.5). Overall we definitely will try to come back as it’s a beautiful park, but we just did not have the time to properly explore the area.

(21) High Bridge State Park, Virginia

We drove 3 hours to High Bridge State Park in Virginia. High Bridge is a 31 mile long bring above the trees. There is no shade & it can get very hot in the sun. Dogs are allowed leashed everywhere there, however have your dog wear shoes if you are going mid-day on a sunny/hot day as the metal nails will burn their pads. We did not stay long as it was super-hot & Dexter was panting heavily. We only hiked a small portion of the trail, but it was a cool place to stop.

(22) 100 Years of Flight Monument, North Carolina

We drove 3.75 hours & originally were planning to hit the Wright Brother National Memorial, but we were running behind (a common trend on the trip) & arrived too late to enter. So, we stopped at the 100 Years of Flight Monument (which ironically is at a rest stop in North Carolina not far from the Wright Brothers National Memorial).

(23) Pettigrew State Park, North Carolina

After our quick stop we headed to our campsite 1.25 hours south to Pettigrew State Park. We had great weather that night which allowed us to relax at camp & eat our dinner without sweating a ton. There is really no shade at the campsites, but we thankfully were no effected due to the cooler weather we had. Also, the lack of shade made it amazing for star gazing that night through the top of the tent. The park also has come hiking trails & forest to explore, but it is mostly a camping spot. The campsites were spacious, wood was available right at the front, & the restroom facilities also had a dish washing station on the side. We had no electricity at our site, but the star view made up for that.

June 4, 2017:

(24) Fort Moultrie National Monument, South Carolina

The next morning, we headed 5 hours south to Fort Moultrie National Monument in South Carolina. The park is open from 9AM to 5PM & dogs are allowed on leash everywhere in the park. However, dogs cannot go on the boat to Fort Sumter & are not allowed in the buildings. We were able to walk the trails to see Fort Sumter from the shores of the Atlantic Ocean & walk outside of Fort Moultrie.

(25) Jekyll Island State Park, Georgia

We then headed to Jekyll Island State Park in Georgia, which was 5 hours south. There are hiking trails & dog friendly beaches on Jekyll Island, but it was super-hot & humid that day. We crossed the bridge over to the Island to head to camp at sunset & headed to our campsite. The campground has permanent sites/full-timers who live/visit there, along with visitor sites. There was wifi, electricity, bathhouses, a store, & laundry, however they also charge a pet fee. It was a little odd to have long term people next to short term people, but honestly, we didn’t pay much attention as we were all dying from the heat. We attempted to sleep that night, but honestly barely slept due to sweating ridiculously (even after showering).

June 5, 2017:

We finished our rough night on Jekyll Island & left SUPER early that morning. We felt gross but didn’t even try showering again as we would just become grosser due to the heat & humidity & just wanted to leave.

(26) Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville, Florida:

We headed 1.5 hours south to Jacksonville, Florida to hit the Atlantic Ocean one last time before heading inland. We drove around & found access to Atlantic Beach. Dogs are allowed on the beach on leash, so we were able to run around the beach with Dexter.

I think after our night at Jekyll we all wanted to take a nice splash in the water. We hit the beach early enough that barely anyone was around & the humidity was low. So, we all went swimming (feeling way cleaner after) & enjoyed the morning on the beach.

(27) Cheaha State Park/Talladega National Forest, Alabama:

Sadly, after our great morning we discovered that the night of camping we had planned in Alabama was going to be full of rain while we drove the 7.25 hours there. However, Cheaha State Park has a hotel that is dog friendly & had extra rooms available. So, we paid a little extra to sleep in the hotel to avoid the rain & spent the night on top of the Mountains.


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