new york to miami road trip

The Best New York To Miami Road Trip (7-Day Itinerary)

A New York to Miami road trip is one of the best ways to see the East Coast of America.

Driving to Miami from NYC is a big trip but it’s one that takes you to some of the best and most interesting spots in America. From the museums of Philly to the civil war battlefields of Fredericksburg and the vibrant Myrtle Beach, there are plenty of great places to see.

I’ve put together this itinerary for a road trip from New York to Miami to give you a rough idea of the route you can take and what you’ll see along the way. There’s also advice on driving, what to take with you, things you can do and a rough estimate of how much this all might cost.

Road trips are the best way to see a country as you can choose your own itinerary and stop where you want. This NYC to Miami road trip is no different and will allow you to see large parts of the Atlantic coast of America at your own leisure, and many that you wouldn’t normally see either!

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New York to Miami Road Trip

Quick New York to Miami Drive itinerary
Distance – 1,291 miles (2,077 km)
Time – 7 days
Day 1 – New York to Philadelphia: 94.5 miles (152 km)
Day 2 – Philadelphia to Washington D.C.: 153 miles (246 km)
Day 3 – Washington D.C. to Richmond: 109 miles (175 km)
Day 4 – Richmond to Myrtle Beach: 315 miles (506 km)
Day 5 – Myrtle Beach to Charleston: 98.4 miles (158 km)
Day 6 – Charleston to Jacksonville: 239 miles (384.6 km)
Day 7 – Jacksonville to Miami: 351 miles (564 km)

The distance from New York to Miami is 1,277.9 miles (1,976.1 km). It might not be one of the longest drives you can in America but it’s still a big drive nonetheless. If you were to drive from New York to Miami in one go, it would take around 20 hours!

The good thing is that there are plenty of interesting places to stop along the way, and although it’s a big drive, it won’t feel like a slog.

Before setting off

Before you do any road trip in America, it is important to have everything in order. You need to have a vehicle before you start. Without one, there simply won’t be a road trip! Depending on your numbers and where you plan on sleeping, you have two options.

Depending on how many of you are doing the trip, you can either rent a car or a campervan. If you want to stay in hostels, a car is a better option. Otherwise, a campervan is the better bet, particularly if there are 4 to 6 of you.

You can book these direct with certain companies, but my advice would be to look online. You can use a company such as Rentalcars.com to book your car or campervan.

If you’re starting from New York, click here to book your rental car. If you’re starting from Miami, click here to book your rental car.

Important info

Calle Ocho in Little Havana
Ivan Curra, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Driving in America can be a challenge because of the distances involved. It’s important to take breaks if you feel tired and ensure you’re car is adequately fuelled at all times. While you’re unlikely to go large distances without seeing a gas station, it still pays to try and keep your tank at least half full.

Obey the laws of the road at all times. This is especially true if you’re not American and not used to driving over there. Cars drive on the right, so if you’re from a country that drives on the left like me, that’s one of the most important things to remember and something that takes a little bit of time to get used to!

No road trip should be done at the expense of safety. This includes keeping yourself well fed and hydrated during your trip. Check out my road trip food ideas to ensure you’ve got all the food and drink you need during your trip.

Before doing any road trip in America, ensure that you have proper travel insurance! I use World Nomads to keep me safe on the road, it’s designed for backpackers and adventurous travellers.

You never know what can happen on the road. Keep yourself protected against all eventualities! Click here to get a quote!

Essential items to pack for a New York to Miami road trip

Before setting off, it’s important to ensure you have everything you need for your trip. You may want to check out my road trip packing list before you head off.

There are certain items you absolutely can not do without while you’re on the road.

This is especially true when driving in America. The distances between places are so large, that you need to make sure you have all the tools and safety equipment you need in case of an emergency. Even in a well-populated area, it helps to have your own equipment with you should you not be to find a mechanic to fix your car.

As this is a long drive, it may be worth considering subscribing to Audible so that you have something to listen to on the drive. This helps to make the trip more enjoyable and stops you from getting bored as you drive along the East Coast!

Below are a few items I recommend you take on your New York to Miami drive, to make it that little bit easier!

Why you should do a New York to Miami road trip

Lifeguard station at Miami Beach

This road trip is one of the best ways to see the East Coast of America. You’ll be able to take the majority of the eastern seaboard along the way.

It’s easy to think America is a homogenous country, but not only is it culturally diverse, but it’s also geographically diverse. The contrast between New York and Miami is incredible. 

From the cooler environs of New York and Philadelphia, you head down to the balmy heat of Florida and some of the best beaches in America.

Another great thing about a New York to Miami road trip is that you get to see some lesser-visited parts of the country.

Everyone knows about Florida, New York and the other big cities along the way, but there are plenty of interesting places to see in North and South Carolina and Georgia.

This is the great thing about road trips. You get to see a much wider part of the country than you would if you just went and visited instead.

It’s probably the best reason to do this road trip. To experience a different side of America, see what other travellers don’t see and have some fun too!

Where to stay on a New York to Miami drive

One of the best things about traveling in America is that there are no shortages of places to stay. This is especially true on this road trip as the East Coast is one of the most popular spots for vacations in the country.

Wherever you are on this trip, you will always be able to find somewhere to stay. Naturally, there will be more choices in places like New York, Philadelphia and Florida, but you won’t have difficulty finding accommodation elsewhere either.

Places to visit on a New York to Miami road trip

The great thing about this road trip is that there are so many places to see along the way. As well as a positive, it can be a negative as it’s hard to see all of them and not spend a month doing so!

That’s why I’ve listed five of the best places you should see during this trip. They include some big cities and other places you might not be familiar with.

I’ve left New York and Miami off the list because you’re going to visit those two cities either way. If you spend 3 days in Miami when the trip is over or a few days in New York before you start it, you’ll be able to see these two incredible cities.

Philadelphia

view of Philadelphia skyline across the Delaware river

Philadelphia is one of the most popular cities in America and part of the reason is that there’s so much to do there.

The city has a rich history, which is reflected by Independence Hall, which is where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed marking the start of the United States. You’ll also find the Liberty Bell, an icon of American Independence, across the street.

If you’re a fan of the Rocky movies, then a trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art is a must. The steps are featured prominently in the first film, and recreating the famous scene is a must while you’re in the city.

As well as this, you should check out the Reading Terminal, one of the largest urban markets in the country and try a staple of Philly, which is the cheesesteak. If you don’t eat meat like me, then try a veggie version instead.

Washington D.C.

washington dc at night with the white house in the centre of the image

Driving from New York to Miami means you will pass through the capital and it would be silly not to stop there and check it out.

America’s capital is a fascinating place and home to many great sights. The most obvious are the White House and the Houses of Congress. These are an absolute must-visit and will leave you in awe the first time you see them.

You’ll also find lots of fascinating museums in Washington D.C. too. There are so many it’s hard to know where to start, but any of the Smithsonian’s are worth checking out, as is the International Spy Museum which is an intriguing place to visit, to say the least.

You could easily spend a few days in Washington D.C seeing everything. But a day or a day and a half will allow you to see a lot of the capital and the many sights it has to offer.

Richmond

skyline of Richmond in the background with a river visible in the foreground

Richmond, Virginia is a good spot to visit during this road trip. The city is one of the oldest in the country and perhaps forgotten about as a great destination.

The city played an important part in the founding of the United States. One of the founding fathers, Patrick Henry, declared “Give me liberty or give me death” at St. John’s Church in 1775, one of the key moments that eventually led to the Revolutionary War a year later. 

The church is still standing today and is well worth visiting as it’s one of the most important historical sites in the country. As well as the church, you’ll find plenty of other fascinating things to do in Richmond.

You can visit the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Botanical Gardens, the Poe Museum dedicated to the author, Edgar Allen Poe and the American Civil War Museum, which is one of the most interesting places to visit during the trip.

Myrtle Beach

boardwalk at Myrtle Beach with a Ferris Wheel in neon light visible

Myrtle Beach can be found on South Carolina’s Atlantic Coast and is a perfect place to visit during this road trip.

What makes it such a great place to visit is the coastline, all 60 miles off it! If you want to relax by the beach for a while and take a break from the road, Myrtle Beach is a must-stop.

Myrtle Beach is a popular destination, which means there are plenty of things to do there. The shopping complex, Broadway at the Beach, is one such place, as is the iconic Skywheel, which provides a great view of the surrounding area if you go on it.

You can also visit the Family Kingdom Park, which is a lot of fun. Or you could take a slower pace and walk along the boardwalk and promenade, which is especially scenic at sunset!

Jacksonville

beach in Jacksonville

Here’s an interesting fact you might not know about Jacksonville: it’s the largest city by area in the continental United States.

It’s just one reason you should stop off there as you make your way towards the endpoint of the trip to Miami.

Jacksonville is one of the best places to visit in Florida. There’s just so much to do here. You can visit the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, head to the beach and enjoy the incredible Floridian weather, or do something cultural and check out the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens.

It’s the variety of things to do in the city and the fact it’s not the most well-visited spot in the trip that make Jacksonville a more than worthwhile stop on your New York to Miami road trip.

Things to do on a New York to Miami drive

Go to the beach

view from beach in Miami

One of the main reasons to do this road trip is that you’ll be heading down the East Coast where there are multiple beaches you can stop at.

If you’re doing the road trip in summer, then this means you can take advantage of the brilliant weather and excellent beaches. Things might be a little cooler closer to New York, but the further south you go, the better conditions, and the beaches will be.

As I mentioned above, Myrtle Beach in South Carolina is an excellent place to stop. Atlantic City, Virginia Beach and Folly Beach are other great places to take a breather from the road too.

Driving from New York to Miami is a long trip. So, taking a break every now and then at one of the plentiful beaches along the way is a must!

Visit Museums

museum in washington

Driving from New York to Miami will see you pass by dozens of fantastic museums, many of which are some of the best in America.

Washington D.C. has numerous museums as you’d expect being the capital, you could easily spend two days exploring them all, but there are plenty of others along this road trip. 

Philadelphia, Richmond, Charleston and Fredericksburg, for its civil war past all have fantastic museums. There are so many great museums on this route you could devote the whole road trip to seeing them all if you wanted.

If you’re a culture or history buff, then you’ll be in heaven!

Example New York to Miami road trip itinerary

This is an example itinerary and by no means the only route you should take, It is just a recommendation if you want to skip some places or take a quicker route, then you can!

You can also spend longer in certain places if you want. The itinerary doesn’t include multiple days in one city, as it’s catered to people on a tight schedule. But if you have a lot of time, then you can spend a few days in each place before moving on.

Day 1 – New York to Philadelphia

urban philadelphia

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Distance

94.5 miles (152 km)

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Time without stops

2 hours 5 minutes

 

The first leg of the road trip sees you go from New York to Philadelphia. It takes just under two hours to make the journey depending on traffic, so you have two choices.

You can either spend the majority of the day in New York before driving to Philadelphia or leave early and spend most of the day in Philly. What you do will likely depend on how much time you’ve already spent in New York.

If you’ve been there for a few days, then it’s probably best to head to Philadelphia so you can see as much as you want before leaving. You won’t be disappointed when you get to Philadelphia as there’s a lot to do there.

You can go to Independence Hall and see where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution was signed. There aren’t many more historical places than this in America! You can also check out the Liberty Bell too.

If you’re a film buff, then you’ll probably know that one of the most famous scenes from Rocky was filmed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The steps up to the museum saw Sylvester Stallone’s character run up them during training. Replicating that is a must while you’re in the city!

You should also check out the inside as it’s home to great pieces of art by the likes of van Gogh and Picasso!

Day 2 – Philadelphia to Washington D.C.

washington monument

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Distance

153 miles (246 km)

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Time without stops

2 hours 48 minutes

 

The second day of the road trip sees you make the drive from Philadelphia to the capital, Washington D.C., which takes around 2 hours and 45 minutes. Again, you’re left with a choice between spending more time in Philly or leaving early to spend more time in Washington.

As it’s the capital, there is no shortage of things to do in Washington D.C. You could easily spend three or more days there exploring everything. For the purpose of this itinerary, you only have a day, so if you had to narrow things down, this is what I’d do.

Seeing the White House and Congress is a must. While you might be able to go inside either of them, taking them in from the outside is a good substitute. One place you will be able to see is the Washington Monument and this is another place you have to visit, as is the Lincoln statue.

Washington is home to numerous museums, and you should try and visit some of them. Any of the Smithsonian museums will be fantastic and teach you a lot about America’s past. You’ll also be able to see the Vietnam memorial and the Martin Luther King memorial in the city too.

Day 3 – Washington D.C. to Richmond

buildings in richmond virginia

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Distance

109 miles (175 km)

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Time without stops

2 hours 21 minutes

 

The next part of the drive from NYC to Miami takes from Washington to Richmond. The drive takes around two and a half hours and brings you further down the coast into Virginia.

You can spend part of the day in Washington, but there is one place you should stop before you get to Richmond and that is Fredericksburg. This is especially true if you’re not American, as you’ll learn a lot about the country’s history by visiting.

Fredericksburg is home to four Civil War battlefields and an ideal place to learn more about one of the darkest bloodiest periods in American history. A guided tour of the battlefields is available which is worth doing if you’re interested in the history behind the battles. You can also visit the Fredericksburg National Cemetery, which is the final resting of thousands of Union soldiers.

Once you get to Richmond, you can learn more about the Civil War by visiting the American Civil War Museum. The museum is very detailed and a perfect place to brush up on the details of what took place.

As well as that you can visit St John’s Church, which played an important role in the founding of the United States, check out the cool Church Hill District and even see a big marble statue of Thomas Jefferson!

Day 4 – Richmond to Myrtle Beach

boardwalk at myrtle beach

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Distance

315 miles (506 km)

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Time without stops

5 hours 6 minutes

 

This is the longest leg of the trip so far and sees you go from Richmond in Virginia to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. Without stopping, this will take you five hours.

That means it leaves. little time to stop along the way, unless you’re happy to get to Myrtle Beach late in the day. If you do want to stop, you have a few options over where to go.

The fastest route is inland, but if you wanted to go along the coast for a bit, you could go to Virginia Beach and spend part of the day there. There are plenty of things to do in Raleigh too if you want somewhere different to stop. There are a lot of fascinating museums there if you’re a culture buff.

But if you want to spend the afternoon or the evening at the beach, then leaving early to get to Myrtle Beach is a good idea. There are lots of things to do there as well as relaxing at the beach. You can walk along the promenade, check out the Family Kingdom Park or amble around and enjoy the great weather!

Day 5 – Myrtle Beach to Charleston

rainbow row charleston

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Distance

98.4 miles (158 km)

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Time without stops

2 hours 20 minutes

 

This is a shorter trip than yesterday, as you make your way down the South Carolina coast from Myrtle Beach to South Carolina.

So, if you want to spend the morning in Myrtle Beach, or the majority of the day, you can without leaving a big drive at the end of the day. If you didn’t see much of Myrtle Beach yesterday, then this is a good option.

Otherwise, it might be worth hitting the road late morning or early afternoon. There aren’t many places to stop along the way, so if you drive straight there, this means you’ll have more time to explore Charleston.

Once you reach your destination, you’ll find an interesting city. Charleston has plenty of cultural sights to explore, especially in its historical district. This includes several museums, including the first one in America, the Charleston Museum, public parks and the South Carolina Aquarium.

You can also check out Charleston’s musical heritage, which influenced many musicians across the country. 

Day 6 – Charleston to Jacksonville

jacksonville at night

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Distance

239 miles (384.6 km)

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Time without stops

3 hours 48 minutes

 

This part of the drive sees you go from South Carolina to your final state, Florida, as you go from Charleston to Jacksonville. Without stopping, this would take around 3 hours and 45 minutes.

If you didn’t see much of Charleston yesterday, then it might be worth spending the morning looking around. Otherwise, you can jump in the car and make your way south.

This will see you go through Georgia and there are a few places you should stop, such as Savannah. It’s one of the oldest cities in the state and there are plenty of museums and cultural sights that reflect its importance during the Revolution and Civil War.

You can also make a detour for Oak Tree Lane, which as the name suggests, is a road that’s lined with oak trees and is one of the most photogenic spots in the country! A perfect place to get some photos!

The cobblestone streets and gorgeous old mansions make Savannah an attractive place to look around. It’s a good spot to stop for a few hours before you head on to Jacksonville.

After that, there aren’t too many places to stop, so it might be worth heading straight to Jacksonville. It’s a really interesting city and there are plenty of things to do here as well as hang out at the beach, such as visit museums and take in an NFL game if you visit during the season.

Day 7 – Jacksonville to Miami

Miami skyline

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Distance

351 miles (564 km)

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Time without stops

5 hours 2 minutes

 

The final leg of the trip sees you make the over five-hour drive from Jacksonville. This is quite a long drive and takes you past some of Florida’s best spots, so if you want to go a bit slower, and maybe do a Florida road trip of sorts, then that’s fine.

If you’re short on time, then it’s not a bad idea to get to Miami as quick as you can. The city is fantastic and you’re sure to have a great time exploring the beaches, Little Havana and much more. But if you want to take it slow, you’re not short of places to stop.

St Augustine is one and it’s one of the underrated places to see on a New York to Miami road trip. You can do a ghost tour of the old jail or just relax at the beach and soak in the glorious weather.

Daytona Beach is another potential stop, while you could make the detour inland to see Disneyworld or Universal Studios, but if you want to do this, it’s better if you spend 3 days in Orlando or more. As you’ll be able to do and see more than you will in one day. 

After that, there’s no shortage of places you can stop down the coast. Far too many to list here! One cool spot is Cape Canaveral, home of NASA. I remember visiting here as a kid and being blown away. If you have children this is a perfect place to stop and they will love exploring the site and seeing the Space Shuttles and various rockets housed at the Cape.

Otherwise, just making your way down the coast till you get to Miami is a good bet. You can stop off and have dinner at Boca Raton or Fort Lauderdale if you wish.

How much does a New York to Miami road trip cost?

busy street in new york

Road trips cost money, and this one is no exception.

No matter whether you follow my itinerary or do it quicker than I suggest, it’s going to slowly add up. 

Here’s a link to a fuel cost calculator, which will be useful for planning this trip. Using the fuel price data from a Google search for “gas prices Australia”, input the figure into the calculator and you’re set.

Using an average price of $4.o3 per gallon, your fuel expenses for the trip would cost $95.66. It’s important to remember that gas prices will fluctuate but this is a good price for a seven-day road trip. split between four, and even two, this won’t each of you much.

If we stipulate that food and drink cost around $35 a day, then you’re looking at a total of $245 for the whole trip. Again, these are rough estimates so they should be taken with a pinch of salt but they give you an idea of what you could end up spending.

If you then factor in renting a car for around $40 a day and staying in a hotel for seven nights at $80, then you’re looking at $280 and $560 respectively. Adding all this up, if you were on a two-person road trip, this would equal $590.

This is a good chunk of money, but if there are more of you then you will pay less per person. Also, if you do the road trip in a campervan, then you’ll save money on accommodation too.

It’s not the cheapest, but it’s extortionate either. These prices don’t factor in tours, entrance fees or other expenditures you may occur. They’re best used as a rough guide on what you could pay during the trip, not as a definitive guide on what you will pay.

Need a rental car?

I use Rentalcars.com whenever I need to rent a car. They offer the most comprehensive listings of rental cars on the web. Plus, their deals are often cheaper than if you went straight to the supplier!

Concluding thoughts

A New York to Miami road trip is one of the best you can do in America.

There’s so much to see on this route and you’ll see some of the most interesting sights in the country along the way. Traveling between two of the best cities in the country is a lot of fun and you’re sure to have lots of it if you do this drive.

Have you driven from New York to Miami? Did you enjoy the drive? Leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts!

Need travel insurance?

You can buy and claim online, even after you’ve left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.

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