Road Trip Detour
March 18, 2010 7:16 AM   Subscribe

Looking for things to do on road trip from New York to Virginia, tomorrow.

We're traveling tomorrow from New York to Williamsburg, VA with three small kids. Can anyone recommend a good kid friendly place to stop for a break (maybe an hour or two) along the way? Being very close to Rt. 95 would be a plus. Thanks!
posted by dshargel to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Baltimore is about halfway. The Inner Harbor is a great place to spend some time as is Fort McHenry
posted by Saucy Intruder at 7:37 AM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

The big elephant on the Jersey Shore?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:51 AM on March 18, 2010

Once you get in the Washington DC vicinity Great Falls National Park is pretty easy to get to from the Beltway and an awesome place to get out and stretch/picnic for both littles and bigs. They were closed due to flooding last weekend, but weather should be great tomorrow. There's a a concession stand at the visitor's center (pretty basic, but IIRC they had hot dogs and nachos and stuff like that), but I don't know if it's open yet for the season. And there's not really a restaurant between the Beltway exit and the park, so if the concession stand isn't open, you want to eat, and you are not bringing your own pic-a-nic basket, you could plan to grab a fast-food pic-a-nic to go at one of the interstate exits between Baltimore and DC.
posted by drlith at 8:25 AM on March 18, 2010

If you want something clos to the i-95, get off at exit 80 MD 543 Riverside. There is a McDonalds, Ruby Tuesday's, Waffle House, Pizza Hut, Cracker Barrel, Burger King & Arby's right off the freeway (go left when you exit the freeway, there is nothing to the right for several miles). There's also a grocery store (Shop Rite) with a salad bar & hot food options)

The Riverside Pizzeria (the other end of the shopping center) has awesome crab cakes (don't get the platter just get the broiled crab cake).

A good plan would be to get something to go from any of the eateries. A very short distance away at 1119 Belcamp Garth (belcamp, md 21017 for your GPS) is a recreation facility with some safe running around room for the kids and a picnic area to eat at. (plus bathrooms! although I'm not sure if they're open on Fridays)

If you want a playground for the kids, there's one next to the pool on Church Creek Road right before the turn at Belcamp Garth. There are also benches. The pool is not open so no access to a public restroom.
posted by jaimystery at 8:56 AM on March 18, 2010

Check out the Great Falls in Paterson, NJ. Little known and only 20 mins from GWB and you may not want to stop that soon. 80 foot fall with huge volume of H2O. Impressive. Google it.
posted by jmf2525 at 8:59 AM on March 18, 2010

I don't want to point out the obvious but the National Mall is on your way.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:48 AM on March 18, 2010

I'd actually avoid DC unless you want to risk being stuck in traffic for several hours on end! Remember that DC, Baltimore, Richmond, and the NJ Turnpike each jam up during rush hour! There's almost no good way to time this trip to avoid hitting traffic on all 4.

If you're set on DC though, the mall's very nice. If you just want to drive through, there are very good views of the Capitol and Washington Monument from 395. (Sidenote: Google's NYC -> Williamsburg directions seem a bit wonky today, and currently advise you to cut straight through the city, which I'd avoid.)

Like others have said, Baltimore's Inner Harbor is a great stopping-off point, as it has tons of things to do, is roughly halfway from NYC to Williamsburg, and is not terribly far from 95.

If you don't stop in Baltimore, the Maryland House is 95's nicest rest area. (Nothing terribly special -- just a bit nicer and cleaner than the rest!) . Although your experience with kids will vary, I used to be able to do the NYC -> Williamsburg commute with only a single stop here.

Otherwise, there are actually a decent number of attractions to see in Richmond (although Richmond is only an hour from Williamsburg, so that might not make much sense).

If you want to shake up your route a bit, you can shunpike your way through Pennsylvania, adding about 30 minutes, skipping the Baltimore and NJ Turnpike traffic, and saving about $18 in tolls. This route can also take you through Lancaster, PA if you want to maintain your vacation's anachronistic theme! It's also a more pleasant drive than 95 and the Turnpike (anything is).

If you want to go even further out of your way, you could conceivably arrange your route to go through Charlottesville, which has TONS of stuff to do, and is one of the most visually appealing cities on the east coast (although C-ville could be a vacation in itself, particularly with the amazing National Parks nearby)

Oh, and be sure to grab a sandwich at the Cheese Shop in Williamsburg. Make sure they add some of their amazing house dressing.

(I lived in Williamsburg for 4 years and did this commute rather frequently. If you have any questions, let me know.)
posted by schmod at 10:16 AM on March 18, 2010

How old are the kids? How do you all feel about tanks and great big guns? The U.S. Army Ordnance Museum in Aberdeen, Maryland is maybe 6 miles from I-95 and has a vast field of tanks and artillery of many nations and eras (WW I to the 1970s maybe?). Also I saw a woodchuck dive into a Pzkw-IV.

The small museum building includes an exhibit of the Davy Crockett nuclear recoilless rifle, one of the most stupidest weapon systems evah!

It's on a live Army base, so you'll need to sign in with photo ID for admission.
posted by Jasper Fnorde at 10:51 AM on March 18, 2010

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