If you enjoy a scenic journey through mountains, forests, picturesque towns and historic cities, a trip from Atlanta to New York is a great way to explore some of the best areas of the eastern United States.

The journey from Atlanta to New York on the 860 mile route takes at least 13 hours non-stop. The drive along Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most beautiful roads in the United States, but it will take a few days.

So fill up your snacks, refuel and go on one of the most amazing routes you can take.

What is the distance between New York and Atlanta and how long does it take to get there?

The fastest route from Atlanta to New York City is about 860 miles, and the driving time is about 13 hours.

Although this is possible for both experienced drivers and those who can share their daytime driving experience in one session, we recommend a minimum of two days. With breaks, food and fuel you can easily be on the road for more than 15 hours.

Route Distance Driving time
Direct route
(via I-85 and I-95)
870 miles 1:00 p.m.
(Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive)
1,200 miles 26 hours

But if you wanted to get to New York as soon as possible, you really should have left. The trip from Atlanta to New York is truly an extraordinary journey.

It is mandatory to travel through the historic cities of Washington and Philadelphia and study the culture of Charlotte, Baltimore and Princeton. Add a few detours to places like Lancaster County or Natural Bridge State Park, and your trip can easily take a week and you’ll always feel like you’re in a hurry.

If you’re planning your return journey, it’s best to take a scenic route.

Long distance photo of Hwy 85 with red and green trees along the highway and skyline in downtown Atlanta, Georgia on a sunny morning
Start your journey by following the I-85 from Atlanta on your way to New York.

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com

Best route from Atlanta to New York

There are two excellent connections between Atlanta and New York. Both offer a lot of places where you can stop to see things. If you have the time and don’t work on a tight schedule, this road trip will blow you away.

Direct path

The direct route is also the quickest way to get from Atlanta to New York. This road leads along the I-85 and the I-95. After a journey of 860 miles you reach New York in about 13 minutes without stopping.

If you have a fixed schedule and need to divide the trip between several people, this trip can be done in one day, although we do not recommend this.

This route runs through Charlotte, where you can learn more about North Carolina. Then comes Washington, the great American capital, where you can visit the White House.

Then it’s Baltimore, then Philadelphia. If you have time, you can make your rounds and go to Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Environmental highway

The scenic drive from Atlanta to New York City follows not one but two of the most breathtaking roads – the famous Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive.

Drive from Atlanta through the Chattahuce and Nantahala National Forests to Cherokee, at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains.

If you found the trip here spectacular (and it was), you’ll be really happy. The 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway to Waynesboro, Virginia, runs along the top of a mountain range and offers breathtaking views of the wooded mountains along the way.

From there, Skyline Drive extends 105 miles north and south along the Blue Ridge in Shenandoa National Park and is the only public road running through the park. It takes about three to four hours to walk the entire length of the park with its breathtaking scenery.

Once in Washington, D.C., continue to the Big Apple by taking the same route through Baltimore, Philadelphia and Princeton.

Best ports of call between Atlanta and New York

Like we said, you’re gonna want to end this trip in a few days. Because it is a relatively long journey, it is ideal for travellers who enjoy a longer journey and everything that comes with it. Here are a few stations worth considering:

Follow Blue Ridge on highway.

Blue Ridge Parkway, which crosses mountains and forests along the Lynne Cove viaduct in North Carolina.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most breathtaking roads you’ve ever taken (picture: Lynn Cove viaduct in North Carolina).

Anthony Heflin/Shutterstock.com

If you choose the scenic route, the Blue Ridge Parkway has a lot to offer. A round trip takes a few days, which gives you enough time to see all the sights and cities along the way.

The Humpback Rocks Visitor Centre is a good starting point for your trip. You can visit the open agricultural museum, including an excursion and some examples of farm life in the Appalachian Mountains.

The Blue Ridge Music Center is also a major attraction. Here you can visit a museum that explores the heritage of the Blue Ridge Parkway and its surroundings. There is also an outdoor concert hall where you can enjoy music all day long.

Before you hit the road, you should spend the night in Asheville and explore a picturesque town. To make the most of the night, spend the night in the heart of the chic Foundry Hotel, in the historic district of The Block.

Parking is a bit uncomfortable on a neighboring property with a steep hill that you can climb on the way back, but if you only spend the night, it means you are in the center of town.

Study of the history of Washington

From White House visits and Capitol Hill studies to concerts and cultural events, there is much to see and do in Washington.

Walking from the Library of Congress to the Lincoln Memorial, you will see more historical monuments, important monuments, museums and cultural sites than many people have seen in their lifetime.

The Smithsonian Castle in Washington with a very clear night sky in the background.
Smithsonian Castle is one of the many cultural attractions in the National Mall in Washington, DC.

Leonid Andronov/Shutterstock.com

You can stroll through the halls of the many free museums of the Smithsonian, explore the history of the city in a double-decker bus, or take a cruise on the incredible Anakostia and Potomaca Rivers.

To make your stay as pleasant as possible, the Jefferson Hotel is just a 10-minute walk from the White House and in the heart of the action. It is the perfect place to spend a few days exploring the amazing history that surrounds you.

What to see on a trip from Atlanta to New York

There is no shortage of great places worth visiting on this trip. These are just a few of the places where you can stop on your trip from Atlanta to New York.

  1. Great Smokey Mountains National Park – The most visited national park in the United States and one of my favorites with its beautiful rolling forests and clear morning fog.
  2. Shenandoa National Park – This park offers a rich fauna, interesting mountainous terrain and many waterfalls to enjoy and photograph. If you are looking for an adventure in the wilderness, this is the perfect place to explore.
  3. Virginia Transportation Museum, Roanoke – Hop aboard old steam locomotives and discover steam, diesel and electric locomotives.
  4. Nascar Hall of Fame – If you are staying at Charlotte’s, the Nascar Hall of Fame is a nice place to visit. It is an interactive attraction that celebrates the history and legacy of NASCAR.
  5. Washington, DC, – The American capital needs no introduction. It has numerous historic buildings, world-famous museums, breathtaking parks and an endless list of places of interest.
  6. Baltimore – This city is a vibrant centre for food and culture, so underestimated that it is even better to visit without the hustle and bustle.
  7. Fort McHenry National Monument – was built between 1798 and 1803 to control the entrance to the harbor. It is one of the most famous historical sites in America. Fort McHenry is venerated as the place that inspired the national anthem.
  8. Philadelphia – The place where the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776, full of history and one of the best places to take a little tour of the city.
  9. Princeton, New Jersey – Princeton, the world’s most famous university, is a picturesque city with houses in European style and a unique charm.
  10. Ripley believe it or not! Museum, Atlantic City – This unique attraction in Atlantic City is a collection of strange and bizarre objects from all over the world. The only place you can see a spider of scissors and knives is in the world’s smallest production car or on a roulette table of more than 14,000 jellies.

Best time to travel by car from Atlanta to New York

Cherry blossoms reflecting the early spring water in Central Park with the skyline of Manhattan, New York.
Spring is an ideal time to travel from Atlanta to New York City and enjoy the flowers on the road and in Central Park itself.

John A. Anderson/Shutterstock.com

When it comes to visiting New York City, most sites, attractions and things are open year round, so each season can be a good time to visit in its own way.

This is an ideal time to travel from Atlanta to New York from March to June. Spring in New York City is blessed with warm and pleasant weather, and the hustle and bustle is relatively low compared to the busier summer months.

In spring, you can shop at the open markets, visit Central Park, the incredible Botanical Garden, Hailin, or participate in major events such as the St. Patrick’s Day parade, Easter parade, the Ninth Avenue International Food Festival, or an art exhibition in Washington’s open-air square.

The National Parks and the entire length of the Blue Ridge Parkway are ideal for spring, and you will encounter fewer groups of riding enthusiasts who can get very excited if you try to enjoy the view in comfort.

In addition, a trip to New York for the festivities in November and December is a good option. In autumn and early winter you can attend many events and attractions, such as the elegant Fifth Avenue and the skating rink.

Keep in mind that winters in New York City and on your way to Atlanta can be harsh, especially if you’re planning a scenic trip to the mountains.

Although the Blue Ridge Parkway remains open during most winters, an unexpected blizzard can both hamper traffic and force the road.

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