The Cheapest Way to Drive from NYC to DC

Frugal Road Trip: NYC to DC Washington #RoadTrip #TraveltoNYC #FrugalRoadTrip #SaveMoney

A frugal trip NYC to DC can save you money. Traveling from New York City to Washington DC is pricey. There are many toll fees if you travel on Interstate 95 via the New Jersey Turnpike and through Delaware. There is an alternative route to take that minimizes the toll fees that you need to pay.  

Frugal Road Trip: NYC to DC Washington, DC photo By Brandon Mowinkel #RoadTrip #TraveltoNYC #FrugalRoadTrip #SaveMoney
Frugal Road Trip: NYC to DC – Washington, DC photo by Brandon Mowinkel


Directions for Frugal Trip NYC to DC

Take this road trip route to save big money by avoiding tolls. Follow these directions on your next trip to our nation’s capital, Washington DC from New York City.

  1. Cross the Hudson River from Lower Manhattan to Jersey City via the Holland Tunnel. This is Interstate 78 West. There is no toll fee leaving NYC. Toll fees are charged entering New York City. 
  2. In New Jersey, continue on Interstate 78 towards Phillipsburg, Pennsylvania. There is a $1 toll fee as you cross from New Jersey into Pennsylvania.
  3. Continue driving on I-78 West to Allentown, Pennsylvania.  
  4. In Allentown, take US 222 South to Reading.
  5. Once you arrive in Reading, continue on US 222 South into Lancaster.
  6. Then in Lancaster, take US 30 West to York, Pennsylvania.
  7. Next in York, take Interstate 83 South to Maryland.
  8. In Maryland, continue on Interstate 83 South until you reach the Baltimore Beltway (I-695). Traffic will steadily pick up as approach the Baltimore Beltway.
  9. At the Baltimore Beltway, take I-695 South towards Washington DC and Virginia.
  10. On the Baltimore Beltway, take Interstate 95 South to Washington DC and Virginia. Traffic continues to pick up steadily.
  11. Continue on I-95 South until you reach I-495, the Capital Beltway Outer Loop.
  12. When you reach I-495, travel east to stay on I-95 South and continue on to Richmond. Travel west to destinations in Northern Virginia.  


Toll Fees Into NYC

You will pay a toll to cross the Holland Tunnel, Lincoln Tunnel, or the George Washington Bridge from New Jersey into New York City. There are no toll fees assessed as you travel out of New York City into New Jersey, on the Holland Tunnel, Lincoln Tunnel, and George Washington Bridge. Check the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey website for toll fee information. If you use the New Jersey Turnpike, there are toll fees assessed based on the distance you travel.         

Frugal Road Trip NYC to DC Washington, Dc photo Srikanta H. U #FrugalRoadTrip #SaveMoney #TraveltoWashingDC #WhiteHouse #WashingtonDCTravel
Frugal Road Trip: NYC to DC – White House, Washington, DC (photo – Srikanta H. U)

Additional Information:

Interstate 95 South when traveling from New York City to Washington DC you have access to numerous rest areas along I-95. These rest areas have gasoline, various food options, coffee, and bathroom facilities with easy access from I-95.

Using the alternative route listed above, we found only one rest area on I-78 in New Jersey. The rest area had picnic benches but no food, coffee, or bathroom facilities. Along the way, there were options for food, coffee, and gasoline in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. However, the closer to Newark, New Jersey the harder it seemed to locate food and gasoline that was easily accessible from I-78. If you need food, gasoline, or a bathroom break, it is best to stop on I-78 closer to the Pennsylvania state line, Pennsylvania, or Maryland if that is possible.    

The number of miles from New York City to Washington DC is close whether you travel I-95 or use the alternative route through Pennsylvania. The travel time is similar for both routes, keep in mind that the Baltimore/Washington DC areas have large number of vehicles on the road from very early in the day and into late at night.

This alternative route for travel between New York City and Washington DC will save you money. The travel route via Pennsylvania avoids most tolls except the toll on I-78 West into Pennsylvania for $1.

Travel Via New Jersey Turnpike

If you cross the Hudson River using the Lincoln Tunnel from Midtown Manhattan or the George Washington Bridge from the Bronx into New Jersey there is no toll fee. If you travel on the New Jersey Turnpike (I-95 South) you will be assessed a toll fee until you exit to I-78 West to Phillipsburg, Pennsylvania. You save money in tolls if you travel through Pennsylvania. If you try the route via Pennsylvania let us know how you make out.        

For information about avoiding toll fees while driving from Washington DC to New York City, read our post – Frugal Road Trip: DC to NYC. And if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us in the comments below. We always want to help you out.  

Thanks for stopping by.

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