US road trip around the south and east coast - also camping?

My boyfriend and I are planning a trip to the US this summer. We were thinking about taking a month to drive up the east coast (or down the east coast, depending on where we start). So here are some random questions.

I’m attending a friend’s wedding in the middle of June in Texas. One option we’ve been thinking about is to start in Texas, drive east to Virginia, and then start driving north. Maybe stop by a few places on the way. (New Orleans? Savannah?) But maybe summer isn’t the best time to be traveling around the south?

Would it make economical sense for us to buy camping supplies and mix in camping with staying at inns or B&Bs? I have no idea how much camping supplies will cost - I haven’t been camping since my Girl Scout days.

Any general recommendations on where to stop by or what to do? I ordered a New England travel guide but it’ll take at least a week to get here.

Why not drive to Gatlinburg TN and head north to Virgina on the Blue Ridge Parkway. There’s cheap camping and lots to see on the parkway itself, and there’s a ton of things to do and see at places that are only a short drive off the parkway, like Mount Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi. The parkway ends (or begins) at Skyline Drive in Virginia.

There are lots of state parks along the way with cabins one can rent. We stay in them often here in Miss. for holidays - it’s a good way for family to get together without being so much in each other’s hair (one family per cabin).

Hubby and I stayed in an absolutely gorgeous one in Georgia at Red Top Mountain.

Most of these will provide linens, dishes, etc. - it’s really comfortable, IMO.

The Outer Banks of NC have some beautiful places to camp.

Yeah I was thinking about cabins . . . although the cabin rates for Shenandoah are $90 for a single room with a double bed while it costs $15-20 for a camping site. I suppose my concern with camping is that once our trip is over we’ll have to abandon any supplies we’ve bought - certainly not worth dragging it all back to Korea with us. I suppose we could donate it or give it to a friend or something.

I think we’ll definitely take the Skyline Drive for starters. NC looks lovely as well.

I’ll second that this is a beautiful area, but I’ll warn you. If you meet a nice family who tells you about a “simple” hike up Mount Mitchell from the ranger station at the bottom… and you happen to be wearing a knee brace at the time… you may want to think twice. Yes, it was beautiful and my wife and kids loved it. Did I mention it was an unseasonably warm day, so when I got to the top I was holding my knee and sweating like a pig. What made me the most upset was as I was sitting there and the people who “hiked” the 50 yards or so from the parking lot at the top were sitting next to me just as worn out as I was and smiling knowingly. I really wanted a sign that said… “no really, see that tiny dot down there… that is where I walked from.”

Seriously, it is a gorgeous area and lots of easy hikes to waterfalls not far off the parkway. Just better if you hadn’t hurt your knee a few weeks earlier.

Good choice on the Parkway, I’ll recommend Linville Gorge (a ~1400’ deep wooded canyon) and The Biltmore Estate (the closest thing to a palace in the U.S.) to name but two attractions.

Where in Texas are you going to be?

Have you checked into RV rental? I imagine it would be kind of pricey, but compared to rental car + lodging it could end up being a pretty good deal. As for my recommendations, I have some places I’d like to see, and other places I’ve been to.

Wanna see:
Charleston, SC (will probably have to skip if you go through the Blue Ridge Mts instead
Asheville, NC
Myrtle Beach

Been there, recommend:
Washington, DC
Bar Harbor, ME

I dunno the exact location - they only told me the wedding was going to be in Texas. I think it’s either Houston or Austin, but I’m not sure.

Thanks for the tips guys. We’ve also thought about renting an RV but we’re also planning to spend some time in the cities so we’re not sure how practical it would be.

Let us know where in Texas you will be, and I or other Texas residing board members can give you specific suggestions of things to do. June in Texas will be hot, but not the oppressive heat and humidity of July and August. I love camping, but I’d rather eat shards of glass than go camping in the South during the summer (unless you find sweating and sticking to your sheets/bedroll to be especially restful). If your budget allows, stay in places with AC in the South, and start camping as you get further north and the nights get cooler.

I’ve been to Savannah, and it’s a beautiful, old southern city and under most circumstances I would, without hesitation, tell you to go. But…if Virginia is your goal before heading north, Savannah is way out of the way.

New Orleans is very doable, and from there you could head east to Mobile, and start heading north from there.

I second the suggestion for Maine. It is a magnificent state.

Washington DC is also on of my all time favorite places to go.

That’s why Og invented eBay. I’m pretty sure that you can also rent camping stuff, but then you have the logistics of getting it back to where you started. Maybe check places like REI to see if they’ll rent you at one place and let you return it at another.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is beautiful, but be aware the speed limit is 35 MPH, at least in VA. You might only want to plan only 50 miles or so on there if time is a factor. I81 is twice as fast and goes North/South through the valley West of Skyline Drive in VA and isn’t too bad on the scenery. You can also take Route 11 for small towns and more scenery, it mostly parallels I81 and Skyline Drive.

Virginia has the best state parks for camping. The cabins are nice, but they have minimum stays during the in-season. Many of the parks aren’t too far off the major interstate highways, but they’re far enough off them that you don’t see or hear them.

Back in the 90’s I spent a summer driving cross-country and back, camping most of the way. It’s a very cheap way to see the country (even factoring in the initial outlay for camping gear). There are enough state parks and public campgrounds scattered across the country that it’s not hard to do.

I didn’t even plan all the details of the trip in advance. I’d just get up in the morning and study my road atlas over breakfast for likely spots to stop in the evening. Sometimes my lack of research meant my campsite was dull or crappy, but often I’d stumble on random bits of coolness. Part of the fun was never quite knowing what the next day would bring.

Be prepared for the heat though. The only time I broke down and checked into a motel was after driving all day across west Texas. And one time in Louisiana it was so hot I wound up sleep on top of a cement picnic table to keep cool.

Be sure to avoid the interstates. Part of the fun is discovering unexpected things along the road while you’re driving. All you’ll discover on the interstate are chain restaurants and gas stations.

I-81 is not always a relaxing drive, though, thanks to the high density of 18-wheeler traffic. I’ve driven on it once in VA, and it felt like being a rabbit trying to keep up with a stampede of cattle. YMMV.

I81 has been better the last few times I’ve been on it, but yeah, YMMV.

Blue Ridge Parkway has nice campgrounds. At some of them the RV people camp far away from the tent people which is nice for tent people who like quiet.

PM me if you’ll be in Northeast Mississippi. AKA NeMiss. You’ll get catfish and tea from a mason jar. Or, if I’m in Birmingham that week you’ll get the Civil Rights Museum and the local sights.

^^ Now, I know hillbillies are strange, but surely y’all don’t eat catfish from a jar !!