Category Archives: Alternate Routes

Fall Foliage Along I-95 From Virginia to Maine – Part Two: New Jersey to Massachusetts

October is a special treat for I-95 travelers in the Northeast. That’s when fall foliage colors are at their peak all along the I-95 corridor… From Northern Virginia to Maine. This three-part series showcases fall foliage road-trips along I-95 state-by state. Let’s check out New Jersey to Massachusetts…

Cool crisp autumn days usher in the breathtaking colors of New Jersey’s fall foliage. New Jersey’s state parks and forests provide endless opportunities to experience the brilliant transformation of the leaves. New Jersey’s Millstone Valley Scenic Byway, an official “America’s Byway“ has some of the most picturesque autumn foliage scenes. Millstone Valley Scenic Byway is approximately 28 miles long. You should allow about one hour (without stopping) or 2-3 days to visit attractions along the way.  Located in the narrow Millstone River Valley in north central New Jersey, the Millstone Valley Scenic Byway offers you a glimpse into the past where well-preserved pieces of the canal era, the revolutionary war era, and early Dutch and American heritage live on.

While New York’s portion of I-95 traverses thru mostly urban areas, if you head north on I-87 you’ll discover some of the best panoramic fall foliage views anywhere. Peak fall foliage can be seen along I-87 “The Adirondack Northway” northward from New York City thru Newburgh, Kingston,  Hudson and  Albany.

Almost all of Connecticut is showing peak fall foliage colors in late October. While I-95 in Connecticut is much like New York in that it traverses thru urban areas. The Merritt Parkway, CT Route 169, I-84 and I-91 offer remarkable fall foliage views.

For northbound I-95 travelers, the Merritt Parkway begins approximately 6 miles from I-95, exit 21 (I-287). Take I-287 north to the Hutchinson River Parkway east to the Merritt Parkway east. From there, the Merritt Parkway is approximately 37 miles long. For southbound I-95 travelers, the Merritt Parkway begins approximately 2.5 miles from I-95, exit 38 (Milford Parkway). Take the Milford Parkway north to the Merritt Parkway west. From there, the Merritt Parkway is approximately 37 miles long. You should allow about one hour (without stopping) to drive this route.

Connecticut State Route 169 is designated as an official America’s Byway. The byway begins approximately 19 miles from I-95, exit 76 (I-395) in East Lyme, Connecticut. Take I-395 north to exit 83A. From there, Connecticut State Route 169 is approximately 32 miles long. You should allow about one hour (without stopping), or one full day to visit attractions along this route.

While Rhode Island is small, there’s no shortage of fall colors here and this state shows its brightest colors in late October. Western and northern Rhode Island are heavily wooded and are exploding with color this time of year. Get of I-95 just about anywhere and you won’t be disappointed.  Blackstone Valley region including Pawtucket are great places to start. Check out Roger Williams Park and Zoo in Providence;  Blithewold Mansion, Gardens, and Arboretum in Bristol and at Colt State Park on the eastern shore of Narragansett Bay.

Like Connecticut, just about all of Massachusetts is in the midst of peak color in late October. I-90, I-91, and I-84 offer great panoramic vistas without wandering off an exit.  What’s cool about viewing fall colors from the Interstate? The experience is totally different in either direction. Drive one way on I-90, I-91 or I-84, turn around and head back and you’ll see a whole new perspective right before your eyes! You can also easily spend several days exploring small towns and villages directly off the Interstate exits along the way.

Try the Massachusetts North Shore Loop for a fall foliage roadtrip from a seaside perspective. Back in the 18th and 19th centuries, the coastal towns along Massachusetts’ North Shore were home to the production of magnificent wooden ships that set sail for ports in Asia and Africa, and returning great wealth to the area. Many of the majestic homes and buildings constructed during that era, still stand against the backdrop of some of the most beautiful coastline on the Atlantic. Add a brilliant fall foliage background to an already picture perfect setting and you have memories to last a lifetime. The North Shore Loop passes thru Salem, Beverly, Gloucester, Rockport, and Newburyport.

In case you missed it, visit Part One of our fall foliage series: New Hampshire and Maine.

Check out this handy fall foliage map to find peak colors in your area.


For more I-95 information, visit www.i95exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to I-95, America’s Interstate Main Street. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Maine to Florida!

Traveling another route? Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-4 Exit Guide, I-5 Exit Guide,  I-10 Exit Guide , and I-75 Exit Guide.

The Jacksonville Alternative

The Jacksonville Alternative | I-95 Exit GuideAbout This Route:

Florida I-295 (Jacksonville) – Florida’s I-295 bypasses the Jacksonville, FL metropolitan area. The route is a multi-land divided Interstate highway that passes through primarily suburban areas surrounding greater Jacksonville. The route traverses the 3.2 mile long Buckman Bridge, which crosses the St. Johns River.

Southbound Details:

From Florida I-95 Exit 362 (I-295, FL 9A) take I-295 south to the junction of I-10. (14 miles)

1) Fom the junction of I-10, continue on I-295 south to Orange Park. (11 miles)
2) From Orange Park, continue south on I-295 over the Buckman Bridge. (5 miles)
3) Continue on I-295 south to I-95 exit 337. (5 miles)

Trip Totals:

Total distance for this alternate route is 35 miles. Total distance if using I-95 is 25 miles.

Along The Way:

  • Orange Park, Florida – Orange Park is a town in Clay County, Florida with a population was 9,243 (2004 census). The name reflects the hope of its founders for a fruit-growing industry, but their crops were destroyed in the Great Freeze of 1894-95. Despite recovery elsewhere, the crops never came back to Orange Park.
  • Buckman Bridge – The Buckman Bridge is a 3.2 mile bridge that carries I-295 traffic over the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida. It was named for Henry Holland Buckman, a prominent legislator and attorney who was instrumental in establishing a state road system. Downtown Jacksonville and Naval Air Station Jacksonville are visible from the bridge to the north. On a clear day, the Georgia-Pacific paper mill in Palatka can be seen to the south of the bridge.

The Richmond-Petersburg Alternative

The Richmond-Petersburg Alternative | I-95 Exit GuideAbout This Route:
Virginia I-295 (Richmond – Petersburg) – Virginia’s I-295 bypasses the Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia metropolitan areas. The route is a multi-lane divided Interstate highway that passes through primarily rural areas. The route crosses the James River via the 4680′ long, visually spectacular Virina-Elon Bridge, connecting Eastern Henrico County and Chesterfield County (near Hopewell).

Southbound Details:
From Virginia I-95 Exit 84 (I-295 to I-64, Norfolk) take I-295 south to Mechanicsville. (6 Miles)

  1. Fom Mechanicsville, continue on I-295 south into the junction of I-64. (9 miles)
  2. From the junction of I-64, continue south on I-295 to Hopewell. (13 miles)
  3. From Hopewell, continue on I-295 south to Petersburg and I-95 exit 46. (15 miles)

Trip Totals:
Total distance for this alternate route is 43 miles. Total distance if using I-95 is 38 miles.

Along The Way:

  • Mechanicsville, Virginia – Mechanicsville is an unincorporated area in Hanover County, Virginia, with a population was 30,464 (2000 census). I-295, exit 37 (US Route 360) is the primary commercial connector to Mechanicsville. The area is home to Wal-Mart, several fast food restaurants including Arby’s, Cracker Barrel, Shoney’s, Taco Bell and Wendy’s. Several gas stations are located here as well. Mechanicsville is also associated with several major battles and numerous minor skirmishes during the American Civil War.
  • Hopewell, Virginia – Hopewell is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The population was 22,354 (2000 census). It is in Tri-Cities area of the Richmond-Petersburg region. I-295, exits 15 and 9 are the primary commercial connectors to Hopewell. Both exits are home to dozens of restaurants including Burger King, Checker’s, Denny’s, Friendly’s, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and Waffle House. Lodging includes Comfort Inn, Days Inn, Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn Express, and Howard Johnson.

The Baltimore-Washington Alternative

The Baltimore-Washington Alternative | I-95 Exit GuideAbout This Route:
US Route 301 (Delaware – Maryland – Virginia) : US Route 301 bypasses the Baltimore-Washington, DC metropolitan area. The route is primarily a multi-lane highway, with some limited-access, Interstate design sections. The highway passes through rural and urban areas including several cities and towns. Portions of this route may be congested during peak periods, so expect occasional delays.

Southbound Details:
1) From Delaware I-95 Exit 1 (DE896, Newark, Middleton) take DE896 south to Middleton. (15 miles)
2) From Middleton, take US 301 south into Maryland, over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge (toll) to Annapolis. (68 miles)
3) From Annapolis, continue south on US 301 thru Waldorf to LaPlata. (47 miles)
4) From LaPlata, continue south on US 301, over the Governor Nice Memorial Bridge (toll) into Virginia and on to Bowling Green. (45 miles)
5) From Bowling Green, continue south on VA 207 to I-95 exit 104. (11 miles)

Trip Totals:
Total miles for this alternate route is 186 miles. Total miles if using I-95 is 188 miles.

Along The Way:

  • Middletown, Delaware – Middletown is known as one of the fastest growing places in Delaware. U.S. Route 301 is lined with restaurants including the Waffle House, Bob Evans, Sunrise Bagel, Applebees, Ruby Tuesdays, McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, Nino’s Pizza, Quizno’s and Arby’s. Also Italian restaurants; Caruso’s Bistro and La Piazza. Middletown also has restaurants such as Middletown Pizza and Middletown Diner. Grocery stores such as Acme and Super G have joined the ever-growing Middletown retail lineup. The newest additions to Middletown include Hampton Inn, Starbucks, and Lowe’s. Growth along U.S. Route 301 in Middletown is fast-paced and could be defined as sprawl development, separate from the traditional core of Middletown and automobile oriented.
  • Annapolis, Maryland – Annapolis is the capital of the State of Maryland and the county seat of Anne Arundel County. It is a city with a population of 36,217 according to the 2004 census estimate. The city is part of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area, It is situated at the mouth of the Severn River which flows into the Chesapeake Bay, 26 miles south of Baltimore and about 22 miles east of Washington D.C. It is also home to the United States Naval Academy and St. John’s College.
  • LaPlata, Maryland – La Plata is largely a residential community, with much of the population working for the Charles County government. Others commute to Waldorf or the Washington, D.C. area, including to Andrews Air Force Base. The town is experiencing a transformation into a thriving business and commercial center, thanks to development of office buildings and the town’s recent reconstruction. Wal-Mart and Target are located here, with other major retail developments planned. Restaurants run the spectrum from fast food to upscale fare, including one of the Washington, D.C., region’s top-rated restaurants. A road connecting LaPlata’s Washington Avenue with St. Charles Parkway in the adjacent large city Waldorf and paralleling U.S. Route 301 is being constructed in stages and when finished it should relieve local traffic on busy Route 301.

I-84/Garden State Parkway Alternative

I-84 Garden State Parkway | I-95 Exit GuideAbout This Route:
I-95 thru Rhode Island, Southern Connecticut and New York City is not something most seasoned I-95 drivers look forward to… but there is an alternative. The route described below is not without issues, but they are far less stressful thank taking I-95 directly. The Connecticut/Tappan Zee alternative is entirely multi-lane divided Interstate highways that pass through smaller cities and rural areas.

Southbound Details:
From Massachusetts I-495 Exit 25 take I-290 west to Worcester.

  1. Fom Worcester, continue on I-290 west into the junction of I-90 west.
  2. Take I-90 west to the junction of I-84.
  3. Take I-84 west thru Hartford, Connecticut to New York State and the junction of and I-684.
  4. Take I-684 south to I-287
  5. Take I-287 west, over the Tappan Zee Bridge to the Garden State Parkway
  6. Take the Garden State Parkway south to The New Jersey Turnpike where you rejoin I-95

Trip Totals:
Total distance for this alternate route is 237 miles. Total distance if using I-95 is 255 miles.

The Boston Alternative

The Boston Alternative | I-95 Exit GuideAbout This Route:

Massachusetts I-495 (Boston) – Massachusetts’ I-495 bypasses the Boston, MA metropolitan area. The route is a multi-land divided Interstate highway that passes through primarily suburban areas surrounding greater Boston. The highway forms an arc approximately 30 miles from Boston.

Southbound Details:

  1. From Massachusetts I-95 Exit 59 (I-495) take I-495 south to the junction of I-93. (25 miles)
  2. From the junction of I-93, continue on I-495 south to the junction of MA Route 2. (21 miles)
  3. From the junction of MA Route 2, continue south on I-495 to the junction of I-90. (20 miles)
  4. From the junction of I-90, continue south on I-495 to the junction of I-95. (26 miles

Trip Totals:

Total distance for this alternate route is 92 miles. Total distance if using I-95 is 76 miles.

Along The Way:

  • Lowell, Massachusetts – Lowell is a city of 105,167 (2000 census) in Middlesex County, Massachusetts. It is the fourth largest city in the state. Attractions include “Canal Walk”, walking trails along the 5.6 miles of canals of Lowell. “Lowell Dracut Tyngsboro State Forest”, Hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing trails in an urban state forest, and “Vandenberg Esplanade “, featuring alking, biking, swimming, and picnicking park along the banks of the Merrimack River.
  • Marlborough, Massachusetts – Marlborough is a city of 36,255 (2000 census) in Middlesex County, Massachusetts. The construction of Interstates 495 and 290 and the Massachusetts Turnpike has enabled Marlborough to begin its third century on the cutting edge of a new industry: high technology and specialized electronics. Today, thousands flock here to work at Fidelity Investments, Raytheon, Hewlett-Packard, and the many other electronics and computer firms that provide the strong business community in the city. Because of the city’s central location with easy access to major highways and the pro-business, pro-development policies of the city government, the population of Marlborough has more than doubled in the last 25 years to over 36,000 residents.
  • Foxboro, Massachusetts – Foxboro is a town of 16,246 (2000 census) in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, approximately 30 miles (48 km) southwest of Boston and 20 miles (32 km) northeast of Providence, Rhode Island. The town is best known as the site of Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots of the National Football League and the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer.