Best way to travel between DC and NY city

Need some travel options. My daughter is graduating from college in June and the family (6 people, including her) will be flying to Washington, DC for the ceremonies. We will stay a few days there, then want to head over to NY City for a few days and make this a family vacation.

I’m guessing we really don’t want to rent a car round trip from DC to NY and back, as it would be fairly useless in the city. We could:
[ul]
[li]Fly into DC and home from NY; rent a car for one day, one way to get between cities.[/li][li]Take Amtrack from DC to NY (is that even possible?)[/li][li]Take Megabus or equivalent between cities (not a top choice)[/li][li]Some other, better solution that I haven’t listed[/li][/ul]

What say you? How should we handle the logistics?

Bonus - where should we stay in each city? Prefer mid range hotels, B&B’s, and the like but could be open to other accomodations.

There is an Acela express route from Union Station in DC to New York City. Some of my colleagues take it on nearly a daily basis for long stretches of time and I think most of them are pretty happy with it.

I would not go with the car, as you said you will not be using it for anything in New York, and you’d probably have to rent at least a minivan to move 6 people and their luggage. It’s not a terribly long drive as the crow flies, but you have annoying traffic on both ends which can really add time/frustration to the trip.

The train is what I would go for, there are several Amtrak options daily. The express costs more, but is super convenient. And it’s a short enough distance that even the regular train is not unbearable. It also deposits you directly into the heart of midtown Manhattan so you don’t need to add a layer of airport transport to your logistics.

Amtrak between DC and NYC is one if the busiest routes in the system. It is the perfect way to travel between these two cities, as it links in to public transit on both sides (DC metro & NYC subway). It’s also very comfortable with outlets & wifi at every seat, and the Quiet Car, no kids under 12 or cell phone conversations allowed. Glorious. There are multiple standard trains every hour, as well as Acela high-speed service.

Acela is the best way to go. Free wifi and comfy seats.

ETA: And DC’s Union Station is quite beautiful. Unfortunately the other end is Penn Station which is a pit. But you can walk over to Grand Central Terminal and pretend you got off the train there. :slight_smile:

I would take the train or one of the Chinatown buses that run between the two cites. The buses are cheaper, and some of them are pretty nice with wi-fi and nice seats (others are death traps that flip over on 95, so do your research).

Just to add - the train is pretty expensive, so it would probably be worthwhile to fly into DC, take the train to NY, then fly home from NY.

The bus can be very cheap. I’ve never taken it so I can’t vouch for it, though.

If you go by train (I recommend it), be sure to get tickets at least two weeks in advance. The super saver fares are vastly cheaper than regular (as in, half the price or less).

Save your sanity and buy an Amtrak ticket.

I’m not sure anyone has suggested the train yet. I used to go from Princeton/Trenton to DC, and the train is a big winner. While you can get to Reagan in DC on the subway, airports in NY are far away, and the train stations are right downtown. And the trains are very comfortable.
I haven’t looked at a schedule in years, but I wouldn’t be surprised that given the time needed to get to the airport, check in, and security, the train is close to as fast as the plane if not faster.

I, for one, don’t see a car as being “useless” in NYC. If you want to travel to some of the outlying areas in New Jersey or Long Island, a car is actually much more useful than public transit,in my experience. Also, as I said on here in an earlier posting, I liked to to go to City Island and I found that the fastest way to get there from where I was staying New Jersey was to drive.

Even in New York City having your vehicle can provide you with a great deal of flexibility as using the Westside Highway/Riverside Drive and the FDR and then driving into the center of Manhattan can be faster than using the subway, bus or even taking a cab. While parking can be difficult and expensive, if you have a vehicle and you are ready to leave, you can do so. Take it from a guy who has had to wait longer for a New Jersey Transit train than it would have taken me to have driven the distance, a car can be a blessing.

It’s a matter of choice, I suppose.

This. And, (I think) if you leave at the top of the hour (4, 5, 6, etc) there are fewer stops.

Normally I would agree, but since we’re only going to be in the city a couple of days I think we’ll be hard pressed to do all we want to do locally. Perhaps we’ll do the more outlying stuff on a future trip.

I’m getting the feeling that the train may be a good option…

Plus it has a horn that goes choo-choo. Airplanes don’t go choo-choo.

Built by Daniel Burnham of White City fame. One of the best looking buildings in DC.

A bus ticket is $25* and for all the wi-fi and cushioned seats, it’s still a bush ride AND it’ll take 4-5 hrs.

A train ticket runs $50* and is probably as comfortable a mode of transportation as you could get but it’ll take 3.5 hrs.

A flight will probably cost up to $100* and offers all the comforts and ease that air travel promises with a flight time of ~90 mins not counting whatever time you spend going through security and/or checking bags.

Train is a no-brainer here.

*one-way prices.

You do want to buy your train tickets early, though (especially for the Acela.) Amtrak will jack up fares if you go last minute.

I’ve ridden the train on the East Coast corridor a number of times. It’s very comfortable and decently priced…

…but delays have been known to happen. I’m talking about delays of 3 or more hours. So be warned.

Its the Loooong way around, but its an opportunity that doesn’t present itself for you that often. Have you thought about a leisurely drive through Delaware and taking the Cape May Ferry to Cape May? Then, lunch at 410 Bank Street and a leisurely Parkway drive northbound.

I don’t remember train tickets being inexpensive at all. When we lived in NY we starting renting a car to come to the DC area. My wife and son just took a bus, and the trip was certainly longer, but much cheaper. Leo would want me to tell you that the wifi was a sham; it never worked. It comes down to whether you want cheapness or convenience. Driving could be an option if you stay in Queens; there are hotels near the 7 train with parking lots.