Route 1 enters into Florida with little fan fair and
no town for a few miles. A small town emerges finally;
Hillard, and it is the only town you see until you get
Finally-you are in Florida! From now on, it is going
to be hard to stay on course. Route 1 follows the
coastline, but A1A follows it closer. Be aware that
traffic on US 1 will be slow; A1A will be slower.
Jacksonville is still inland several miles; you won’t
actually be close to the Atlantic coast until St.
Once you get to Daytona, you will be next to the
beaches for a long, long stretch. Don’t expect traffic
to move at any great speed.
If your plans include Orlando, you will want to take
I-4 from Daytona into Orlando. Otherwise, continue
down US 1 as it hugs the magnificent wide beaches
through Titusville, Merritt Island and Melbourne.
You’ve traveled so far-stop and walk a few of the
glorious public beaches all along the coast. Jensen,
Juno and Jupiter beaches are incredible and there are
rarely any people there! As you go further south, this
will no longer be the case.
Ft. Lauderdale Beach is long, but not very wide, but
you’ll see plenty of tiny bikinis and drunken college
students. Fear not; they are all friendly and there
are many things to do in Ft. Lauderdale, including a
great IMAX theater and Riverwalk.
Between Ft. Lauderdale and South Beach are many
beaches; one blends into another. The only sign you’ll
see on the beach itself is “no glass bottles” and in
Hallover State Park, “Be aware that you may see nude
To get out to South Beach, you must take I-195 or
I-395 in Miami. A nice side trip is to go out to
Biscayne National Park and go snorkeling, or go west
to Everglades National Park and see more alligators
than you ever dreamed possible. It is possible, and
enjoyable to do both of these parks in one long day.
From Miami, continue south on US 1 all the way to Key
Largo, the entrance to the incredible Keys!
It will take several hours to pass through Georgia on
US Route 1, yet it only passes through one large city,
Augusta, at the very northern end of the state, and
ends at Folkston a very small town, on the southern
It is a rural route, passing through many small towns
and villages and large plantations with large fields
that produce enormous quantities of cotton, winter
wheat, corn, soybeans and peanuts. Georgia proudly
produces more peanuts than any other state in the
country, and Vadalia, Georgia produces the sweet and
coveted Vadalia onions in the spring.
US Route 1 has remained inland since Connecticut, but
in Waycross, Georgia, it begins an easterly route to
the Florida coast, where it will remain until its end
in Key West. For now, enjoy the beautiful rich, red
clay and large fields that make up Georgia.
If you were inclined to take a side trip while in
Georgia, Savannah is a beautiful old city that is well
worth the time. Take US Route 16 West in Oak Park; it
will bring you into Savannah and the beautiful area of
Tybee Island. There are a multitude of things to do in
Savannah, including visiting the “Garden of Good and
Evil” and numerous tours around this beautiful coastal
Okay, it’s almost the final leg of your trip south on
Route 1-a few miles an you will be in Florida-and you
thought Georgia was a long state!
Hiking in Maine
There are many opportunities to take side hiking trips
from Route 1 in Maine and see parts of Maine that few
see. Many parts of Route 1 in Maine are designated as
Scenic Byways and many of them offer hiking trails.
Even if you opt to just walk a stretch of rocky
coastline, you are seeing parts of Maine that few
Cobscook Bay, northwest of Machias, Maine is an
incredibly beautiful spot that is almost ignored by
visitors to Maine.
The tides here are amazing; the low tide is really low
and when the tide turns, you’d better be running for
The tides this far north are fast and wild and you had
better be prepared, whether you are beachcombing or
Winter Harbor and Corea exist on a lovely and quiet
peninsula west of Bar Harbor and parts of the
peninsula are part of Acadia National Park.
Even if you aren’t into geology, the rock formations
here are sure to grab your attention. Schoodic Point
is an amazing place; plan a long picnic here and make
sure your camera battery is fully charged.
Acadia National Park has some of the finest
non-mountain hiking in Maine. Yes, you can hike up
Cadillac Mountain, but it’s just not the same as
taking on Katahdin in Baxter State Park.
In August, you’re bound to find plenty of wild
blueberries along the trails. In September, the
weather is still lovely and the blueberry plants
change into a bright red.
US Route 1, the easternmost continuous highway in the
United States, begins in Ft. Kent, Maine at the
Clair-Ft. Kent Bridge.
It follows the Canadian border down to Calais and then
heads southwest, along the scenic Maine coastline.
Many towns and villages have a scenic route,
designated route A1A that runs closer to the ocean’s
The rocky shores of the eastern Maine coast gradually
offer a few small beaches between Calais and Rockport,
most notably Sand Beach in Acadia National Park.
Regardless of the season, the Atlantic Ocean off the
coast off Maine is always icy cold and not known for
Acadia National Park is a wildly beautiful place with
everything a National Park should have: wild surf,
rocky cliffs, carriage roads to walk or ride bikes on,
a mountain can be climbed in car and incredible vistas
of islands just off shore.
Rockland, Camden and Boothbay Harbor are all right on
Route 1 and are a Mecca for antique hunters, kayakers,
golfers, birders, sailing and small town festivities;
not to mention a great place to have a real “lobstah
Freeport is Maine’s outlet shopping heaven. L.L. Bean
opened his shop here in Freeport many years ago and
it’s grown to enormous proportions. All major stores
have an outlet here in Freeport, taking advantage of
L.L. Bean’s draw.
Once you are below Casco Bay, the beaches abound.
Beautiful white sands that stretch for miles can be
found in Kennebunk and Kennebunkport-home of the
Bush’s compound, Walker’s Point. Ogunquit Beach, Moody
Beach and Wells beach are all lovely beaches and are
generally not crowded.
The most famous of the beaches is Old Orchard Beach,
knows by the natives as simply OOB. Kids, young and
old love OOB’s boardwalk, food and rides and the seven
mile wide beach.
You’re not far from the New Hampshire coast here; a
bridge over the Portsmouth River and you’re there.
New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut
US Route 1 from Portsmouth New Hampshire to Seabrook,
New Hampshire is inland from ocean access. To go to
Rye Beach or Hampton Beach, you must take A1A.
In just a few miles you enter Massachusetts at Hampton
Falls. From there to Newburyport, which is a ten
minute drive, you are as close to the ocean and you
will be until Providence, Rhode Island.
You will drive right through Boston on US 1; be
prepared. Boston is one of the hardest cities to get
around in! Be sure and have a Boston city map in your
hands as you attempt this city!
Of course you can circumvent the city by picking up
I-95 in Wakefield and getting back on US1 in
From Boston to Providence US1 runs parallel with I-95.
In Providence, US 1 heads south and follows the
coastline; if you want to see the ultra-rich mansions
in Newport, take route 138 after Allentown.
From Jerusalem you will cover many miles of a
designated Scenic Byway that follows the beautiful
coastline. To see Misquamicut State Beach, take 1A at
General Stanton’s Monument. Route 1A will bring you
back to US1 at the Connecticut border.
If terrific views of the Atlantic call to you, US 1
runs parallel to the coast through Connecticut. There
are numerous short road trips that will take you to
the many bays, points and beaches here. You will pass
through three main cities; New London, New Haven and
New York – New Jersey – Pennsylvania – Maryland – Virginia
Driving US 1 through New York City won’t take much of
your gas, but it might take a great deal of time in
the City’s stop and go traffic.
You will only be in New York for about twenty miles;
as soon as you cross the Hudson River on the George
Washington Bridge, you are in New Jersey.
You should have spectacular views of New York City
from the George Washington Bridge as well as from Fort
Lee, New Jersey.
US 1 joins US 9 in Ft. Lee through Newark and
Elizabeth, before separating in Iselin, where US 1
goes straight south, and inland, to New Brunswick and
down to Trenton. After crossing the Pennsylvania
River, you are in Morrisville, Pennsylvania.
US 1 continues south through many miles of
Pennsylvania to Maryland, bypassing Delaware by only a
few miles. US Route 1 goes right through Baltimore and
leads right into Washington D.C., very close to the
If you don’t like interstate driving, this would be a
good alternative to get into the City. As you cross
the Potomac River in Washington, you will come into
Staying parallel to I-95, US Route 1 will take you
through Fredericksburg and Richmond, before splitting
off to parallel I-85 in Petersburg to the border of
If you’d like to take a spectacular side trip, take
I-64 from Richmond out to Norfolk and Newport News.
Virginia Beach offers spectacular beaches and the
Chesapeake Bay Bridge can be exciting for its length
and that there is a tunnel as well as a bridge.
North and South Carolina
US 1 slices North Carolina down the middle as it makes
its way from Wise, just over the northern border, to
Rockingham, ten miles from the South Caroline border.
Route 1 travels through many small towns, like Colon,
Lemon Springs, Whispering Pines and Niagara before the
Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve and Fort
Bragg. The terrain here is gently rolling green hills.
A few more small towns before Rockingham and then you
cross the State border of South Carolina.
Scenery abounds on Route 1 in South Carolina between
Cheraw and Columbia, including the Carolina Sandhills
National Wildlife Reserve.
Forested hills through this region offer wonderful
scenic views and there are a few picnic areas where
you can enjoy a break from the driving. As in North
Carolina, US Route 1 bisects the South Carolina
through the middle.
From Columbia, in the center of the State, to Augusta,
just over the Georgia border, lie more small towns and
gently rolling hills.
Just north of Graniteville lies the Sumter National
Forest, a historically important location, especially
during the Civil War. US Route 1 leads you through
Augusta, Georgia, home of the Augusta National Golf
Course, where famous golfers play the Masters every
If you’re dying to see beautiful Hilton Head Island,
take Route 25 from Columbia and join I-95 south to the
exit to Hilton Head. It is quite a long way, but for a
golfer, it’s time well spent!
US Route 1 is a very special place south of Portland,
Maine. It is special everywhere, but exceptional here.
Route 1 from Portland south is almost completely
covered by white sand beaches; there are several
beautiful State Parks: Two Lights State Park in Cape
Elizabeth, Crescent Beach State Park just below Cape
Elizabeth and Ferry Beach State Park in Saco, not to
mention the incredible beaches of Cape Porpoise,
Wells, York and Kittery.
Eastern Maine is noted for its rocky coastline, where
the surf crashes against the rocks, sending spray into
the cold Maine air. Central Coastal Maine is noted for
its beautiful bays and ports, where sailboats wait in
port for the next wind; but southern Maine is known
for its beautiful beaches and high-priced real estate.
The Bush family’s ancestral fortress is here in
Kennebunkport and it is possible to see the huge
compound from Route 1. You can’t get there from here,
but you can see it. Coastal Route 1 and A1A is slow
traveling, but it is a hoot to see some on the
mansions, smell the sea roses and the salt in the air.
In Old Orchard, there is an unwritten law that you
have to walk the boardwalk, have your fortune told and
ride one of the rickety rides before dipping your feet
into water that never sees 35 degrees!
Any clam or lobster roll is bound to be overpriced but
absolutely delicious and there is a Maine guarantee
that you will have sand in your underwear for at least
The Florida Keys
There is no way not to be awed when visiting the
Florida Keys. The Keys are like nowhere else on earth
in their beauty, peculiarity, their congeniality and
their personality. It seems as though my body and mind
instantly relax as I drive through Key Largo; just
knowing I am going further down into the heaven called
Route 1 is the only road from Key Largo to Key West
and it is awesome. It passes through small villages,
small hummocks of mangrove trees, intermixed with tiny
Fisherman, in shorts, cast for mangrove snapper and
yellowtail, while boats with flat-bottoms and guides
work their way through the flats in search of the
Everywhere, the water is a different and beautiful
color: green, turquoise, sapphire, and beige.
On the left is the Atlantic Ocean, shallow and various
shades of blue; on the right is Florida Bay and then
the Gulf of Mexico; murky yet beautiful in shades of
green, beige and tan. Islands dot the landscape in the
Gulf, as do boats seeking pleasure or fish, or both.
The drive to Key West could not ever be described as
bad. It is beautiful; something new around every bend
or over every bridge, especially the seven-mile
Pelicans, ungainly yet graceful, glide beside your car
as you speed along the highway. Islamorada and
Marathon are the only places that slow traffic down on
the way to Key West.
Just north of Marathon is a place where you can swim
with the dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center.
Key West finally emerges. It is a bustling place with
lots of people, lots of shops and lots of restaurants.
Take a deep breath and plunge in!
US Route 1
It begins in Fort Kent, Maine and ends at Key West,
Florida, a total of 2,390 miles, and is the most
easterly continuous highway of the Federal Highway
System – US Route 1.
US Route 1 was designated as a national highway in
1926, with parts renumbered from other routes, and is
the most visually diverse highway in the country.
In less than 2,400 miles, a driver can go from below
zero temperatures and snow, to cherry blossoms in
Washington DC to swimming in 78 degree water in South
Miami Beach to visiting Hemingway’s favorite hangouts
in Key West.
If one were to drive continuously, they could make the
trip in 34 hours. Imagine going from a freezing cold,
windy Maine winter to a Florida Keys beach chair
comfortably, while never leaving the ground!
It seems impossible to believe that a person can go
from a jeans, turtleneck shirt, winter coat, mittens
and boots to a bathing suit in just a few hours, but
air travel was created for just that reason.
Packing a bag to go to Florida from Maine in the
winter means packing light; packing to go from Florida
to Maine in January means just the opposite.
Who needs LL Bean boots when you live in Florida? You
only need them if you are traveling by car, via US
Route 1 and might want to sample the trails along the
There are many opportunities along the way to get off
onto some hiking trails and enjoys areas of the
country that others ride by in the cars.
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