US 1 to-dos
August 2, 2006 7:16 AM   Subscribe

What is there to do on US Route 1?

In mid-September, I will be driving between Fredericksburg, VA and Port Canaveral, FL. The good news is that I have 3 or 4 days to do the trip in, and absolutely no hard schedule to keep (other than actually getting to Port Canaveral on the last morning). Because I actually want to see things in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, instead of taking I-95 down (I will have to take it back up for speed’s sake), I would like to take US 1 as much as possible.

Along the way, what would you recommend as far as:

-Locally owned and operated diners
-Places to stop at along the road (food, attractions, stands…)
-Non-chain restaurants
-cool things to see
-nasty things to avoid
-*BIG* Shopping
-*little* Shopping
-unique (and hopefully reasonably priced / cheap=good :-) non-chain motels/lodging
-and generally any other must-see, must do things.

...and why.

Please limit responses to things actually on or within 2 miles of US Route 1.

Thanks in advance!
posted by sandra_s to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
hey sandra s...are you familiar at all with route 1?

please ignore me if you've already investigated this: i'd be surprised that you could take route 1 from VA to FL in 3-4 days, given normal sleeping/driving patterns.

it's ~800 miles, but i want to make sure you are aware that route 1 is very much not a highway through most of the trip (i think). it will be towns, traffic lights, and 30-40 mph speed limits.

given your desire to stop and see things, sleep, eat, and keep your driving to say, 10 hours a day, I'm not sure you could make it there on the morning of the fourth day.

anyway maybe you've already done the math, or maybe someone will correct my experience on route 1 is limited to MD, VA, and FL (hence my descriptions of it above are route 1 in these places, not the whole way). I've never been on it in between, but I assumed it was similar the whole way up and down
posted by poppo at 7:34 AM on August 2, 2006

Do not stay at any motels (even chain motels) along U.S. 1 in Jacksonville. In fact, there's not much to see, except downtown, within the city limits, except for "big" shopping at the Avenues Mall (U.S. 1 at Southside Boulevard/I-95). You could also head into San Marco for "little" shopping (coming southbound on the Main Street Bridge, get off at Hendricks Avenue, go right/south on it, and then turn right at Atlantic Boulevard, and you'll be right in San Marco Square; you can then take Atlantic east back to U.S. 1/Philips Highway).

U.S. 1 will, however, take you to St. Augustine, which you really must see if you haven't. It's the oldest European settlement in the United States (and second oldest on the continent, after St. John's, Newfoundland), and has a lot of tourist-trap things, but also a lot of neat little stores and a very old fort, the Castillo de San Marcos. There's also the Alligator Farm. Just head along the business route that splits from U.S. 1 around SR 16.
posted by oaf at 7:50 AM on August 2, 2006

When I say there's not much to see in Jacksonville, I mean there's not much along U.S. 1. There's plenty to see and do in Jacksonville, but almost none of it is along Philips Highway, unless you like buying cars.
posted by oaf at 7:52 AM on August 2, 2006

Try searching I remember seeing an article in the paper in the last year or so about the demise of Rt 1 since I-95 was built.
posted by COD at 8:00 AM on August 2, 2006

As a native St. Augustinian, I'll second oaf's suggestion. We've got a beautiful downtown area, great, uncrowded beaches, and lots of good food, literally 1 mile east of US-1. Just turn left at King Street, and you're there!

Also, if you're passing through on a Wednesday night, by any chance, you should stop in to Schooner's, just north of town. Fried chicken that will set your soul on fire, but they only make it on Wednesdays.
posted by saladin at 10:05 AM on August 2, 2006

IIRC, US Route 1 will take you across the river from West Columbia/Cayce to downtown Columbia, SC, right up Gervais Street past the State House, whose construction was interrupted by the US Civil War, when the structure was damaged by gen-yoo-wine artillery fire from across the Congaree River on 2/17/1865 (the night a third of the town burned). Around the south side of the State House/State Office Complex grounds. half a block down South Main Street, is (or used to be) a nice little neuvo-yanqui Mexican place called Tio's that makes great, if thermonuclear, salsa verde. The portions are pretty big, so I hope you ate light at the previous meal.
posted by pax digita at 10:20 AM on August 2, 2006 [1 favorite]

When I say there's not much to see in Jacksonville, I mean there's not much along U.S. 1. There's plenty to see and do in Jacksonville, but almost none of it is along Philips Highway, unless you like buying cars

There's more than just car dealerships along U.S. 1 in Jacksonville, there are the stip joints and hourly motels as well. Plus the oddly named Chopstick Charlie's, a restaurant I've always been too scared to go to, with it's giant stereo-racist drawing of a chinese person on the sign.

As far as places that I'd reccomend along US 1 in Jacksonville are;

The Burrito Gallery in downtown Jacksonville, they make a mean chicken curry burrito.

The Sol Cafe in north Jacksonville has some pretty good Cuban food.

The Jacksonville Zoo has a really good large cat exhibit.

Oh and seriously don't stay in a motel anywhere near US 1 in Jacksonville, puch through to St Augustine.
posted by nulledge at 10:45 AM on August 2, 2006

Expect to see a lot of small-town cops follow you, attempting to ticket you for the slightest infraction.

My family and I drove to D.C., taking (mostly) I-95, but to avoid a patch of construction, we took US-1 for a while, and for the entire ten miles or so we were on it, we were followed by a local cop.

This was in Florida, near the top of the state.

I laughed at him though, since I was tracking the speed limit and using my cruise control to attempt to get better mileage.

I'd also like to Nth St. Augustine. We stopped and enjoyed the (touristy) Fountain of Youth, and then drove around in the residential areas looking to see what was for sale.
posted by tomierna at 10:53 AM on August 2, 2006

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