Route 1: The Atlantic Coast Route – Key West, Florida to Fort Kent, Maine

Hey All:

Get ready for the ultimate East Coast USA road trip adventure! The Route 1 Atlantic Coast driving route will take you over 2,000 miles from the tropical shores of Key West, Florida up to the rugged coasts of Fort Kent, Maine.

This isn’t just a coastal drive – it’s a journey into history, nature, and the diverse cultures. Get ready to experience everything from those sunny beaches and charming New England towns and all the coastal scenery.

Starting in Tropical Key West

Okay…we are going to start off this road trip in Key West, Florida. Key West has some beautiful blue waters and palm trees that line the streets. Don’t forget to get a photo at the iconic buoy marking the southernmost point before we cruise north. Key West has a laid-back, beachy feel. There are even street performers at Mallory Square and sunset celebrations that are out of this world.

Driving Through Florida’s Coastal Cities and Beaches

As we start leaving out of the Keys, the scenery in Central and Northern Florida gets really lush. Some great stops along this stretch include the nightlife and art scene of Miami, the historic streets of St. Augustine (the oldest city in the U.S.), and the family-friendly beaches around Daytona and Jacksonville.

Don’t miss the opportunity for an airboat ride through the Everglades!  Pretty awesome ride.  Make sure to explore the Kennedy Space Center, and check out the awesome oceanfront districts of places like West Palm Beach.

The Carolinas: Beaches and Boardwalks

Now you get to cruise up the coast into the Carolinas.  This stretch is packed with some beautiful beaches, family-friendly attractions, and plenty of accommodating spots to park your RV and soak it all in.

South Carolina is home to Myrtle Beach, which has a boardwalk lined with arcades, restaurants, and amusement park rides right on the oceanfront.  Myrtle Beach has over 200 RV parks and campgrounds in the area, making it an RV-friendly home base.

Some top RV resort picks include:

Ocean Lakes Family Campground – Largest RV park on the beach with tons of amenities

Pirateland Campground – Themed outdoor water parks and mini golf courses

Myrtle Beach Travel Park – Right on the boardwalk with beach access

As you cross into North Carolina, the Outer Banks have endless beaches with forests, historic lighthouses, and just some awesome beauty. This 200-mile of islands has plenty of spots to camp with your RV right on the sand.

Click HERE to watch the video below (or click on the picture) that will show the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina.

Don’t miss RV camping at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, you can stay just a few steps from the beach and the famous black-and-white striped lighthouse. Or camp at Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge for some natural settings with a lot of birds and wildlife.

Other scenic RV campgrounds include:

Currituck Beach Lighthouse – Walk to Currituck Beach and the historic lighthouse

Camp Hatteras RV Resort – Oceanfront RV resort with pool, hot tub and restaurant

Roanoke Island Campgrounds – Walk to the Roanoke Island Festival Park

The Carolinas offer a great mix of RV camping and exploring the coast. If you’re looking for beach towns and boardwalks. Just pack your beach chairs and get ready to enjoy that laid-back island lifestyle!

Virginia’s Historic Seaboard

Wow, this Virginia’s stretch of the Atlantic Coast route is a history buff’s paradise. It takes you through some of the most significant sites of America’s colonial past. It’s also an incredibly RV-friendly area with lots of campgrounds and they are surrounded by the historic towns and coastline.

Click HERE (or click on the picture below) to watch my video on West Virginia.

We will start your Virginia travels in Williamsburg, one of the country’s largest living history museums and a must see! You can park your RV at Campground RV Resort and explore Colonial Williamsburg’s. It has been recreated with 18th-century streets and buildings and sometimes people standing on some of the street corners dressed in 18th-century costumes.

Down the road is Yorktown, where the Revolutionary War ended with the British surrender in 1781. Be sure to tour the Yorktown Battlefield and see the Victory Monument. You can stay at the waterfront Yorktown Beach Campground nearby.

Another can’t-miss is the Jamestown Settlement living museum, showing the first permanent English settlement in the Americas from 1607. Cabin Creek RV Resort puts you just minutes away.

If you want a scenic Virginia Beach experience, spend some time in Virginia Beach itself. This resort town has a great boardwalk, great restaurants, and wide stretches of sandy shoreline. RVers can stay right on the beach at Holiday Trav-L-Park.

Other top-rated RV campgrounds in coastal Virginia include:

American Heritage RV Park (Williamsburg)

First Landing State Park (Virginia Beach)

Chesapeake Bay RV Resort Campground

Chippokes Plantation State Park

Virginia is an RV traveler’s dream with its historic attractions mixed with beautiful beach camping. So pack up the RV, fire up that camping playlist, and get ready to walk through living history!

The Urban Beat of the Northeast

Now this portion of the Atlantic Coast route takes you along the iconic U.S. Route 1 highway.  You will be going through some of the most historic cities of the Northeast. From Washington DC to New York.  You can explore some big cities here.

In Washington D.C.Route 1 takes you right into the city’s iconic landmarks and monuments. Spend some time at the National Mall, Smithsonian museums, the White House. The route easily takes you through the city’s neighborhoods like Capitol Hill and Georgetown.

Continuing north on Route 1, you’ll go through Philadelphia. This city has lots of opportunities to walk the streets and visit Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Elfreth’s Alley, and the Rittenhouse Square area. Route 1 takes you right into the middle of Philadelphia’s Old City.

Route 1 takes you through the streets of Manhattan.  You won’t be able to take your eyes off of all the skyscrapers.  Make sure you check out Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, and Little Italy.

New England’s Charm

Your Atlantic Coast journey will take you into New England. Route 1 now starts winding along a path that has some beautiful seascapes and historic towns.

In Connecticut, Route 1 runs along the shoreline through villages like Mystic, known for its restored 19th-century seafaring village and museum. Further on, you’ll hit the beginning of the Boston Post Road Historic Corridor in Madison – one of the oldest routes in America dating back to colonial times.

Now in Massachusetts, you can head to Cape Code, which is on Route 1 also.. This little island has miles of beaches, dunes and lighthouses. 

The coastal drive continues into Rhode Island.  Route 1 passes through the city of Newport that has some very old mansions. Don’t miss following the route along the scenic Ocean Drive.

Then it’s on to the Maine coastline. Route 1 merges with Coastal Route 1 here, with some really pretty sea views, lighthouses, lobster shacks, and check out the fishing village Kennebunkport. You’ll want to take your time driving this stretch and explore Acadia National Park.

The End of the Line in Fort Kent, Maine

Well your Atlantic Coast road trip comes to an end in Fort Kent, Maine, which is right on the Canadian border.  Fort Kent has really beautiful forests, mountains, and river valleys. It’s a perfect place to stop after driving the entire Eastern Seaboard coastline.

So follow Route 1 and enjoy all the coastal villages, and nature that make up the New England states. From Connecticut to Maine, this region was built around this historic road and offers a cool journey into America’s roots.

Route 66 vs. Route 1: Two Iconic American Road Trips

Even if Route 66 gets its fame for a popular American road trip, the Atlantic Coast’s Route 1 is every bit as significant and scenic. 

Route 66 started in 1926 as one of the original U.S. highways connecting Chicago to the West Coast. Over the decades, it earned its reputation as the “Main Street of America” and “Mother Road” by fostering roadside Americana like classic diners, motels, and kitschy attractions along its 2,400-mile journey through the heartland.

Driving Route 66 still has a  sense of nostalgia as it winds through retro towns and landscapes from prairies to deserts to the Pacific Coast. It’s the road trip experience for those seeking a taste of Route 66’s glory days and the American West.

Now the Atlantic’s Route 1 is more of a coastal drive and was established in the 1920s as well. Starting in Key West, Florida, this 2,369 mile route follows the Eastern Seaboard up through 15 states all the way to the Canadian border in Fort Kent, Maine.

Where Route 66 is more Western and car related, Route 1 is more of a living museum. The towns, lighthouses, and cultural sites you’ll see, gives you a glimpse into the past.

Both of these routes give you a look into different sides of America. Route 66 has the open road and a feeling of the Wild West, while Route 1 shows you more of what happened in our nation’s past.

Whether you choose to get your kicks on Route 66 or experience the history of Route 1, it’s all up to you and what adventure you are looking for. The only question is, which one will you conquer first?

Overall journey on your Atlantic Coast Adventure

Driving the Atlantic Coast Route is like reading a living history book of the United States. Each state along the way tells its own story, from Florida to Virginia to the cliffs of Maine. This journey isn’t just about seeing different places; it’s about the history and natural beauty of the eastern seaboard of the United States.

Okay, all—-there you have it—a road trip along the Atlantic Coast that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a beach lover, a history buff, or just someone who loves a good road trip, this route will have unforgettable experiences and sights. Pack your bags and hit the road for an Atlantic adventure that’s sure to be exciting!

Head to my Merch Store to get your RVerTV souvenirs.

Thanks a lot and “See You Soon”

~~~Russ

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