The ultimate guide to the must-see attractions along I-95
These are the top attractions in every state that I-95 passes through.
So, you're hitting up I-95, one of America's oldest highways, and wanna know what to do and see along the way. Well, you've come to the right place! I-95 is the main highway that travels up and down the East Coast of America, pretty parallel to the Atlantic Ocaean, so you're never really too far away from the beach on an I-95 road trip. Some of the major cities you'll pass through include Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Richmond, Savannah, Jacksonville, and Miami. Ready to hit the road? Here's some of the top attractions to see along I-95, from Florida to Maine.
Starting in southern Florida, just outside Miami you'll stumble upon Coral Castle in Homestead. Built by an eccentric heartbroken little person, entirely by hand, Coral Castle is full of mystery and wonder, and definitely an essential roadside attraction just off I-95. From there, hop back in the car and cruise to South Beach, one of the swankiest beaches along the East Coast. But, South Beach is way more than than playing in the waves and chilling in cabanas, the people-watching is second-to-none, and walking around the Art Deco district will transport you back in time. Or, if you want a relaxing and refreshing day, but also want to avoid the crowds, then hit up the Venetian Pool. For the kids there's always Monkey Jungle, a 30-acre semi-natural habitat wildlife park that's right in downtown Miami.
Once you've had your fill of the city, head up to Butterfly World in nearby Coconut Creek, is the largest butterfly park in the world. Then head over to Titusville to get a bus tour of the Kennedy Space Center and if you have time, hit up the United States Astronaut Hall Of Fame, while you're in the area. From Titusville, it's just a short drive to St. Augustine, America's oldest city, founded in 1565. Here you'll find one of the best preserved historic districts in the country, not to mention loads of great little restaurants and bars. From Castillo De San Marcos (which is a stunning fortress that's believed to be very haunted) to Fort Matanzas National Monument and the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, there's also plenty of historic places to explore here. Then, before leaving the Sunshine State, hit up Jacksonville Beach to soak up a little bit more sun and walk the boardwalk. And if you want to visit some cute furry friends, the Catty Shack Ranch is a fantastic place to see lions and tigers and other big cats.
First up in the Peach State is the Smallest Church in America (or so it claims) in South Newport, built in 1949 this is a great little roadside stop, and a good place to stretch your legs before heading to Savannah, Georgia. Savannah is one of America's most gorgeous cities. It's off the highway and seems like it's covered in Spanish moss as far as the eye can see. There's plenty of great places to eat and drink, and the downtown is also one of the largest historic downtowns in America. If you're just driving through, but want to get a taste of Savannah, head over to Forsyth Park for a walk around this iconic and drop-dead gorgeous public park, and then visit Bonaventure Cemetery (one of America's most beautiful historic graveyards). If you have time to visit Tybee Island Lighthouse and Museum, you should definitely make the quick detour from Savannah. Tybee is a beautiful island, and a very popular destination for Midwesterners to road trip to during the summer months.
You're not in Georgia too long while traveling on I-95, so without further ado we come to South Carolina! First stop is South Carolina State Museum in Columbia. This amazing museum is housed in a massive former textile mill, and features four floors with over 70,000 exhibits. Then for something completely different travel just under an hour to the UFO Welcome Center in Bowman. Stretch your legs at Santee State Park or drive a little longer to Woods Bay State Park. Then, about an hour away you'll reach South Of The Border, which is perhaps I-95's most iconic kitschy tourist destination. It's a very weird roadside theme park, that's very cheesy, but the kids will probably have a blast. Plus, you've undoubtedly seen the signs for South of the Border for about 2-3 hours, so it's worth pulling over just to see what all the buzz is about.
Once you cross the border to North Carolina, you can pull over for a couple hours (or more) at the Airborne & Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville. This is a fantastic military history museum, it's beautifully-laid out and features loads of exhibits chronicling the fascinating achievements made over the years in regards to airborne and special operations. Or, if you're more into Bigfoots than B-52 Bombers, a couple hours north is the Cryptozoology & Paranormal Museum in Littleton, where you can learn all about creatures like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. Just before leaving North Carolina check out the U.S. Army Women's Museum in Fort Lee.
Once you reach Virginia, head over to Richmond to visit the historic Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden . This is a perfect place for families or anyone who loves botanical gardens and butterfly exhibits. While in the state capitol you can check out the 54-acre public park Belle Isle. Next, hit up Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park. It's one of the best memorial parks around commemorating the Civil War. There's loads to do in Fredericksburg as well, if you're a history buff. You can see Mary Washington House, the Kirkland Monument and grab a delicious coffe at Hyperion Espresso in downtown Fredericksburg.
District of Columbia
There's absolutely way too many things to do in D.C. to list them all here in this general overview of the best attractions along I-95. But, here are the can't miss places to visit in the nation's capital: The White House, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and the United States Capitol.
Next up, the beautiful state of Maryland! There's a pretty trippy statue at National Harbor in Maryland called The Awakening. It looks like a massive giant is trying to come out of the ground. Very cool photo op. Also, Baltimore is a great place to immerse yourself in culture. There's the American Visionary Art Museum, the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum (there are a couple others, in different states, but this is his Baltimore home), and the Tattoo Museum, where you can learn about the art of tattooing and even walk away with a tattoo of your own!
Just 3 short miles north of Wilmington, Delaware, is Brandywine Creek State Park. There are 19th century stone walls that divide the park up. Don't miss the tulip poplar forest and nature center when you visit. It's a great place to stretch your legs on this short stretch of Delaware.
Hands-down, one of America's best gardens in all of America is just off I-95, Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square. You will not be disappointed with a quick trip, basically any time of year. Next up is Philadelphia, and if you have time it's totally worth spending an afternoon walking around Independence National Historical Park, seeing Independence Hall and a few other Philly gems like the The Mutter Museum (if you're into macabre medicinal history).
Like, Delaware, not a whole heck of a lot that's must-see along I-95, but the Bamboo Forest in New Brunswick is pretty close to the highway and a really pretty place to walk around and get out of the car for a spell. Then, just 20 minutes later you'll come to the World's Largest Lightbulb in Iselin, a pretty cool photo-op.
Once you head into New York, check out the The Cloisters Museum & Gardens, it's like stepping into Medieval Europe, but in New York, definitely a surreal experience that shouldn't be missed. Again, like D.C. there are just way too many incredible sights to see in New York City, especially if you're just passing through. But, if you happen to have a day or two to spare on your I-95 road trip, here are a few of the essential NYC sights: Central Park, the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art.
In Connecticut, if you've got $30 to spare and want a pretty place to walk around for a couple hours, pull over at the New Haven Lighthouse. Not only is there a picturesque lighthouse to see here (obviously), but there's also a beach and park to explore. Afterwards if you have time for a little detour Gillette Castle State Park is just off I-95 and it feels like you're walking around the ruins of a Medieval fortress. If you get hungry pull over at Mystic Seaport and head to Mystic Pizza (there's also an 80s movie based on this town...and this pizza joint!).
Once you hit Rhode Island be sure to spend some time at Newport, an absolutely gorgeous coastal city. But, if you can only do one thing, then definitely visit the Breakers, it's like America's version of Downton Abbey. In fact, there's a whole neighborhood of decadence to explore.
Once you hop over the state line to Massachusetts, hit up Fall River's Battleship Cove and see the world's largest collection of U.S. naval warships. Get back on I-95 and pop back over to Rhode Island to see the The Big Blue Bug in Providence, another weird roadside photo op. After that it's just under an hour north on 95 to Boston, where there are tons of places to visit, including: The New England Aquarium, hands-down one of America's best aquariums and get a bite to eat at Faneuil Hall Marketplace (be warned there are LOADS of delicious food vendors in this historic hall, so best to do a walk through and then make a decision on whether you want pizza, clam chowder or a lobstah roll). Before leaving Massachusetts, pull over at the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) in Somerville to indulge in some of the worst cultural output our nation has ever been unfortunate enough to witness.
The New Hampshire stretch of I-95 is also pretty short, but along the route are a couple cool places worth stopping at. First, Memorial to a Witch in Hampton, NH. It's just a simple unmarked stone monument dedicated to Eunice "Goody" Cole, AKA "the witch of Hampton", who was accused of witchcraft in 1656, then that ruling was overturned in 1938. For lighter fare, there's Water Country in Portsmouth, which is totally worth a few hours of fun, especially if you're traveling with kids in summer.
Once you hit Maine, you've in the last stretch of I-95, but with over 300 miles of I-95, you've still got several hours aboard the interstate. You hop on the intestate where Portsmouth, NH meets Kittery, ME, which is a shopping outlet mecca with Tanger Outlet Center Kittery and Kittery Premium Outlets. A great spot to end your trip is Old Orchard Beach and Palace Playland, which is the only New England amusement park that's directly on the beach. Then you've got Portland (visit the Old Port district to get a taste of New England, the vibe here is very 19th century), and then you're driving along the Kennebec River once you go past Augusta and Waterville. Stephen King's House in Bangor is a very weird roadside photo op, but be respectful and enjoy the horror icon's home from the street. 95 ends at the Houlton–Woodstock Border Crossing, and the road continues on into Canada, where you can cross the border into New Brunswick. And there you have it! Pat yourself on the back, because you just visited all of the major attractions along I-95!
In the mood for a West Coast trip...Roadtrippers, a great resource for anyone interested in travel.
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