3 Easy Tricks for the Best Washington DC to NYC Road Trip

Driving up I-95 from Washington, DC to NYC can be boring with a capital “B.” You need to have the best road-trip playlist to survive that drive. You also need to have a full tank of gas, strategic coffee and rest stops, and have great snacks within arm’s reach.

So, let’s begin.

Washington DC to NYC

Road Trip Playlist

To build a great road-trip playlist, you need to get creative. You can’t have just one artist or one sound on your stereo. No, you have to mix it up.

I was raised on blue grass, country, hip hop, R&B, pop, classical and rock n’ roll. If you didn’t like one song, you were bound to like the next. At least that was my father’s hope as he captivated us (held us captive? You decide.) in the car with him. We had no say in what was on the radio while he drove.

Washington DC to NYC

Up until the day I went to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN, I never really appreciated that country twang my dad played for us though. It was at the Opry, hearing the live music, played by musicians both young and old that I learned to enjoy the energy that country music can bring to your soul.

Now, as I build my own music mix before we head out on a Washington, DC to NYC road trip, I slip a little country music into the playlist for my kids. Admittedly, they hear a lot of it on the radio these days as more country musicians go mainstream. It sure makes it easy to impress these boys that I know the words to the songs.

Added bonus: blasting a little Carrie Underwood and Jake Owen with the windows rolled down as you speed down the highway singing at the top of your lungs is one of the best ways to stay awake too.

New York Road Trip

Owen’s new single, “Down to the Honkytonk” is pleasing crowds across the country on his current tour. Naturally, the boys and I have started rotating in Owen’s songs to our road-trip playlist, along with our favorite show tunes, bluegrass and rock n’ roll bands on our way up to Philadelphia, NYC, and when we are looking for more things to do in Maine.

But enough about playlists…

Washington DC to NYC Road Trip Tips: Grab the best road trip playlist tips, road trip snacks, great rest stops along I-95 and ways to survive this journey, whether it is your first or 50th trip up the East Coast. #washingtondc #nyc #roadtriptips

Fuel Up on Gas Before Your Road Trip

After you get your playlist in order, you need to fuel up on gas at your local Marathon station. Thankfully, we have one just down the road, making it easy to leave home with a full tank, which means less stops (and whining) along the way.

Better yet, Marathon has plenty of snacks you can grab if you left them all on the dining room table (guilty!). When the kids get bored, you can pull over and download a few car games from their mobile site too.

License Plate Bingo anyone?

TIP: Marathon’s website, MilesHaveMeaning.com, is filled with great road trip games, links to printables for the kids, recipes, planning tools and even playlists if you need a little extra help prepping for your next trip.  

Washington DC to NYC

Best Rest Stop on I-95N

As someone who has been driving 95 up and down the East Coast for the majority of my life, I have gotten to know the rest stops from Bar Harbor, ME to Savannah, GA very well. Living outside of D.C. in Maryland, I can tell you that there is ONE good rest stop in the middle of the East Coast.

Let’s make it official– Delaware House is the best rest stop and for just one reason.


Delaware House is the only rest stop with a Starbucks between Virginia and Delaware if you are desperate for your Triple Venti Caramel Frappuccino. Even better, it is a stand-alone Starbucks. This means you can either drive-thru or pop out, have the kids use the restroom while you grab your coffee and be on your way without the major distractions of the larger rest stop that is part of this complex.

Yes, there is a Starbucks inside of Delaware House, but it is always slammed. Go to the standalone Starbucks in the middle of the parking lot. It’s a lot harder to lose your kids here too.

Washington DC to NYC

Road-Trip Snacks

You could stop every few hours for snacks and beverages, or you could save a little cash by packing your own. We are big fans of doing a combo of both.

I have one picky eater who would only eat chips and cereal all day if I allowed it. I always have fresh fruit, vegetables, sandwiches and nuts on hand in the car for the kids to eat.

Sometimes we are in remote locations. It’s hard to find a place to stop and eat. These snacks have saved us all from a case of the “crazy hungry monster” going on a rampage. (My youngest and I both have this monster living inside of us).

So, while I do let the boys grab a special snack at the gas station along the way, packing food allows us to stay on budget and keeps the “crazy” at bay.

Now that you know the best way to do a Washington DC to NYC road trip, you need to start planning your own getaway. 

This post is part of a paid partnership with Marathon. As always, my opinions are my own. When they aren’t you will be the first to know.

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2 thoughts on “3 Easy Tricks for the Best Washington DC to NYC Road Trip”

  1. Nikki at Calculated Traveller

    Hi Keryn! This was a very simple, to-the-point article, and it was great! Playlists are extremely important and can definitely make the difference between a good road trip and a mediocre one. If I, or someone I know ever plans on taking this particular route, I’ll keep that Delaware House Starbucks in mind and hope it’s not busy when I get there! Thanks for the tips!

  2. Kavleen Kaur

    good job… useful article

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