New Haven is a city that sits on the North Pacific coast of the state of Connecticut. It is one of North America's oldest cities. Founded in the early seventeenth century, it's grown from the original eight streets to cover a total area of more than twenty square miles. New Haven's geographical position on the Long Island Sound made it an important trading port in the early days and the city is still a major port in the present day.
New Haven's rich history means it's full of interesting districts that are featured on the register of National Historic Landmarks. Take a stroll around the Quinnipiac River Historic District or the Trowbridge Square District and you can almost feel the past come to life. The city's ocean-front location also means that to get to a beach you won't have too far to go. Dover Beach, Long Wharf Park, Seabluff Beach, and the Silver Sands State Park are all within a short drive of the city center. That accessibility means they can get very busy when the weekend or a national holiday comes around. If you're not in the mood for sharing your personal space with the crowds, do something different instead.
Plan a three to five day RV road trip from New Haven to Savannah in Georgia and you'll soon find the solitude you're seeking. Leave New Haven on the I95 southbound and while there are many large cities on this route, they're easily avoided. As you motor through the six different states on your way to Savannah, you'll be able to camp out in a remote forest, hike through an uninhabited backcountry and enjoy some outdoor recreation in one of South Carolina's most scenic state parks.
When you set out along the I 95 on your road trip from New Haven to Savannah, it may initially seem that you're never going to get away from major urbanizations like Long Island and New York. Keep motoring for around three hours and you will eventually begin to notice a difference as you head south through New Jersey. As you're approaching Bordentown leave the I 95 in the direction of Mansfield following the US 206 and it'll take you deep into the heart of the Brendan T Byrne State Forest.
The Brendan T Byrne State Forest covers an area of almost forty-thousand acres with barely a building to be seen and very few people so it makes an ideal first retreat from the throngs of humanity. The campsites at the forest campground are surrounded by trees making them shady and private. Lebanon Lake is just a short trek from the campground and there's an extensive network of trails for hiking including one which will take you into the neighboring Bass River and Wharton State Forests. By the time you've explored some of them, you'll have totally forgotten that cities even exist.
As you're driving through Maryland make a stop in Baltimore to visit the Fort McHenry National Monument. The fort sits on top of a hill overlooking the Patapsco River and can be reached either by vehicle or a short boat ride. If you're driving there, stay on the I95 and it'll take you through the Fort McHenry Tunnel. Once you're through the tunnel follow the East Fort Avenue to the monument entrance. If you decided to take the boat, you'll find a parking facility near the water taxi jetty.
Fort McHenry is said to be the birthplace of the Stars and Stripes and morning and evening sees the ceremonial raising of the flag by the park rangers assisted by a chosen visitor. The rangers also give informative talks on the history of the flag and the Battle of Baltimore throughout the year though you are able to explore the fortification unguided and at your own pace.
As you continue your road trip from New Haven to Savannah, leave the I95 at junction 148 just south of Triangle in Virginia to head along Russell Road. It will lead you into the depths of the Prince William Forest Park to the isolated Chopawamsic Backcountry Area. There's no campground for RVs in the backcountry area but you'll find the forest's Turkey Ridge Campground or the Prince William Forest RV Campground convenient alternatives.
The Chopawamsic Backcountry Area extends over one-thousand five-hundred acres of just trees and streams with no vehicles, no buildings, and very few human beings. Head into the backcountry along the Chopawamsic Trail and you'll be in for a tranquil two-mile trek. The trail is marked so you don't need to worry about losing your way although it will feel as if you've left civilization a long, long, way behind. Before heading out into the Chopawamsic Backcountry Area you will need to obtain a free permit from the forest visitor center which is on Scenic Drive in Triangle.
Sometimes it's easier to connect with history and events of the past when you can see it come to life before your eyes. You won't need a time machine to make that happen while you're on your road trip from New Haven to Savannah. All you need to do is pull in at the Henricus Historical Park and you'll begin to experience life as it was right at the start of the seventeenth century. The park is located on Henricus Park Road in Chester, Virginia and is open to the public every day, apart from Mondays, from ten in the morning until five in the afternoon.
From the moment you enter the park, you'll be in a bygone age made more authentic by the costumed actors participating in the day-long reenactments. As well as the fort, there is a reconstructed Native American town where there are canoe-making and cookery workshops, a recreated hospital and a house where Pocahontas learned to speak English.
The Santee State Park sits on the shores of Lake Marion in South Carolina and is a tropical-style paradise perfect to pitch up at for a couple of days or even more. To get there, stay on the I 95 until you've crossed the Francis Marion Bridge and can join the Old Number 6 Highway that leads to State Park Road. The park has two campgrounds, the Cypress View Campground and the Lakeshore Campground. Most of the campsites are fitted with standard electric and water hook-ups. Make sure to reserve your spot before arriving.
Whatever outdoor recreation you enjoy participating in you can do it in Santee State Park. Motor out in your boat over Lake Marion, go kayaking through a semi-submerged forest, fish for catfish, hike the nature trails or go mountain biking. Spot the varied birdlife from the shores or take a two-hour boat ride through the swamps to see ospreys, alligators, and turtles. This state park is so idyllic, you'll quite probably want to pitch up there for a month and forget about the rest of the road trip.
Roll into Savannah in your rig and you could be forgiven for believing you'd arrived in another historical reenactment. Think antebellum mansions, trees hung with Spanish moss, green spaces with grandiose spurting fountains and natural retreats like the Skidaway State Park. It's a city that has retained the antiquated character of the deep south with cobbled streets, horse-drawn carriages and restaurants like the Pirate's House that have been serving customers since the mid-eighteenth century.
Savannah is a beautiful city with as much character as population and once you get to know it, one you'll probably never want to leave. Guaranteed, if you do go back to New Haven, you'll be visiting Savannah again soon.