U.S. Highway 1 is 2,390 miles long (3,846 km) and follows the eastern coastline of the United States of America. The north end is in Fort Kent, Maine and the south end is in Key West, Florida.
The north end of U.S. Highway 1 has always been in Fort Kent, Maine and in 1926 ended in Miami, Florida. In 1938, the ending was extended to Key West, Florida. It is also the longest north-south highway in the United States. Although a good part of the route hugs the Atlantic coastline, a large part is quite distant from the coast. US 1 was built to provide quick travel before the Interstate system was built. Now that Interstates are the primary mode of quick transportation, most of US 1 within city limits is regulated by stoplights. Plan on a much slower trip than a run down I-95, but one in which you drive past city greens and quaint shops on some stretches. If you take this route, your aim should be to have a relaxing, medium-speed drive.
The Northeast Corridor between Boston and Norfolk (Virginia) largely coincides with the From Plymouth to Hampton Roads historical tour, and the Washington–Rochambeau Revolutionary Route. For the southern coast, see From St. Augustine to Hampton Roads.
It is possible to drive U.S. 1 in either direction. The mile markers in Florida begin in Key West at zero and go northward and in Fort Kent, Maine there is a sign that proclaims on one side it is the beginning and on the other side that it is the end. You might want to pick one or more states and travel the route through those states.
From north to south:
There are 529 miles of highway in Maine, the second longest stretch and only 4 miles shorter than the mileage in Florida. Traveling south in Maine some of the cities and towns you will see are: Fort Kent, Madawaska, Grand Isle, Caribou, Ellsworth, Bucksport, Belfast, Camden, Rockport, Rockland, Waldoboro, Newcastle, Wiscasset, Bath, Brunswick, Freeport, Yarmouth, Portland, Saco, Biddeford, Kennebunk, Ogunquit and Kittery. US 1 ends at W Main St at the foot of the Clair Fort Kent Bridge. The road becomes ME-161 for the next 30 mi (48 km) to Allagash, Maine. The Clair Fort Kent Bridge takes traffic over the St John River into Clair, New Brunswick from the end of US Hwy 1 in Fort Kent.
Traveling from Salisbury at the New Hampshire border southward one passes through the North Shore towns of Newburyport, Newbury, Rowley, Ipswich, Topsfield, Danvers, Peabody, and Saugus. The portion from Topsfield northward is predominantly a local road, while the portion from Danvers south is a commuter highway into Boston with a large amount of commercial activity.
Here the route enters Boston, passing through Malden, Revere, Chelsea, Charlestown, downtown Boston, the South End, Dorchester, and Quincy. An alternate route (which carries Route 1 signage but actually is not part of the route) goes through Boston’s Longwood, Mission Hill, Jamaica Plain, Chestnut Hill and West Roxbury neighborhoods along with the suburb of Dedham, before meeting up with the regular route in Westwood. This alternate route is a more scenic drive along Boston’s famed Emerald Necklace, before becoming a divided commercial highway in West Roxbury, while the official route is a freeway that is concurrent with Interstate 93 and (at its southern end) Route 128.
Continuing south you'll follow what was known as "the Old Boston Post Road" and pass through Westwood, Norwood, Sharon, Walpole, Foxborough, Wrentham, Plainville, North Attleborough, and Attleboro to the Rhode Island border.
From Pawtucket at the northern border of the state, Route 1 travels through Providence, Cranston, Warwick, East Greenwich, North Kingstown, South Kingstown, Narragansett, Wakefield, Charlestown and Westerly.
Crossing into the state over the Pawcatuck River, Route 1 travels west along the coastline and heads through several historic cities such as New London, New Haven, Bridgeport, Fairfield, and Stamford and passes many charming village greens in between.
Route 1 enters New York at Port Chester and passes through Rye, Mamaroneck, Larchmont, New Rochelle and Pelham in Westchester County where it is known as the Boston Post Road. From there the road passes through the Bronx and a short stretch of Upper Manhattan before leaving on the George Washington Bridge to New Jersey. It is a very busy road with lots of trucks and pollution in much of this area, but it is also one of the main commercial streets for some stretches, such as in New Rochelle, where as Main Street it goes right through the historic and still vibrant Downtown and is lined by shops and restaurants.
From Fort Lee at the eastern border of the state, Route 1 travels through Palisades Park, Ridgefield, Fairview, North Bergen, Jersey City, Kearny, Newark, Elizabeth, Linden, Rahway, Woodbridge Township, Edison Township, New Brunswick, North Brunswick Township, South Brunswick Township, Plainsboro Township, West Windsor Township, Lawrence Township, and finally Trenton, before crossing the Delaware River and entering Pennsylvania. Portions of the route are also concurrent with Route 9. Route 1 is a superhighway in much of Jersey City, Kearny, Newark and Elizabeth and uses the Pulaski Skyway for 3 1/2 miles of that stretch, but much of the stretch south of New Brunswick, which goes past car-centered shopping centers, rather than through downtowns, remains a legacy highway with occasional traffic lights.
Route 1 crosses the Mason-Dixon Line just northeast of Rising Sun and then heads roughly south west through Conowingo, Bel Air, Kingsville, Baltimore, Elkridge, Laurel, College Park, Hyattsville before entering the District of Columbia.
The highway enters the District of Columbia along Rhode Island Avenue and turns left onto 6th Street. A right on Constitution Avenue brings the traveller along the edge of the National Mall. Route 1 turns left onto 14th Street in front of the Washington Monument, although it is illegal for drivers to turn left at this intersection (instead, one must turn left onto 15th Street, left again at the second traffic light onto Jefferson Place, then right onto 14th Street). From there Route 1 passes the Jefferson Memorial and crosses the Potomac River into Virginia.
Immediately upon entering Virginia, Route 1 heads through Arlington and Alexandria, then south to historic Fredericksburg and then to Downtown Richmond. South of Richmond, Route 1 traverses Petersburg before crossing into North Carolina.
Just south of Alexandria, Route 1 passes very close to Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington.
In North Carolina, US 1 runs along I-85 through Henderson. It then proceeds toward Raleigh becoming Capital Blvd. It then latches on to the I-440 Beltline around the western side of Raleigh and continues as a freeway south of Raleigh through Cary. It is a freeway south of Cary though Sanford and to Southern Pines. The section from Southern Pines to Rockingham has been widened to four lanes. It continues south along the geological fall line to South Carolina.
Two lanes for much of its length in South Carolina, US 1 here is farther from the interstates and remains an important route in its own right. Tracing the ancient coastline of the Cretaceous period, Hwy 1 connects many of the state's oldest inland settlements and is the primary means of access from the sparsely populated sandhills region to both Columbia and the NC capital of Raleigh. Route 1 enters the state north of Wallace and passes through Cheraw and Camden, there widening to four lanes and running approximately parallel to I-20 into Columbia. As Gervais St., Highway 1 is a primary street in Columbia's central business district and passes directly in front of the statehouse. Leaving the capital, US 1 continues west roughly along the route of I-20 through Batesburg-Leesville and Aiken, entering Georgia at Augusta.
From South Carolina, US 1 goes from Augusta south through Wadley, Swainsboro, Oak Park, And Lyons. It continues through Santa Claus And Baxley before continuing through Waycross and Homeland.
If you travel south through Florida on U.S. Highway 1, some of the towns or cities you will pass by include: Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Palm Coast, Ormond Beach, Holly Hill, Daytona Beach, Port Orange, New Smyrna Beach, Edgewater, Titusville, Cocoa, Rockledge, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Grant, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, Stuart, Hobe Sound, Jupiter, North Palm Beach, Riviera Beach, West Palm Beach, Lake Worth Beach, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Dania, Hollywood, Hallandale, North Miami Beach, North Miami, Miami, Coral Gables, South Miami, Kendall, Perrine, Homestead, Key Largo and the rest of the Florida Keys to Key West, where it ends at an intersection of Whitehead & Fleming St in front of the Judge Jefferson Browne Courtroom Complex in old town Key West. The highway is 533 miles long through the state of Florida.
US-1 travels through the big cities of Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Miami on the Atlantic Seaboard. Within Boston, Chelsea and Dorchester do have some crime, although both areas are rapidly gentrifying. However, you may want to be cautious in parts of North Philadelphia which Highway 1 traverses. If you do plan to stop in the City that Never Sleeps, though, you'll still want to exercise caution because driving in New York City is not necessarily a "smart" option due to crowded streets.
US-1 also travels through the Florida Keys. Most of US-1 in the Keys is a two-lane street heading north and south. Though there are rails alongside each lane on the bridges, take care because some South Floridians are considered to be "reckless" drivers.
Fort Kent and Key West are the termini of the highway, but US-1 goes through many large cities, many of which are found in the Drive section of this article.
- Worcester (Massachusetts) is the second largest city in Massachusetts, about 30 or so miles from Boston.
- Yonkers is one of New York City's largest suburbs, behind Newark (New Jersey); it is the largest suburb of NYC within the state of New York.
- Wilmington is 30 miles south of Philadelphia with a population of almost 71,000 residents. This is the largest city in Delaware, and was formed in 1638 - 44 years before Philadelphia.
- Virginia Beach and Norfolk are the two largest cities in Virginia, which make a great side-trip from Richmond.
- Savannah is a major port city in northeast Georgia, accessed from Interstate 95.
- Orlando can be accessed from Florida's East Coast with ease, from Daytona Beach via I-4, to Miami, from the Florida Turnpike.
- From Plymouth to Hampton Roads is an itinerary along the Atlantic coast of the United States, showcasing the nation's early history, from the first Anglo-American settlements in the 17th century to the American Civil War, which ended in 1865.
- Interstate 10 begins at its junction with I-95 and US Hwy 1 in Jacksonville, Florida and goes 2,460 mi (3,960 km) west towards Los Angeles, California through the Florida Panhandle, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, southern New Mexico, Arizona and Southern California. It replaces or parallels much of the Old Spanish Auto Trail (US Hwy 90 and old US Hwy 80), known to by the Old Highway 66 of the south, between Jacksonville and Casa Grande, Arizona. The original Old Spanish Auto Trail spanned from St Augustine, Florida to San Diego, California. Therefore, the section of US Highway 1 between Jacksonville and St Augustine replaces the Old Spanish Auto Trail while Interstate 8 replaces the Old Spanish Auto Trail (old US Highway 80) between Casa Grande and San Diego.
- The Lincoln Highway is a historic, and first, trans-continental highway that starts at Times Square in New York City and runs approximately 3,142 mi (5,057 km) west through the states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and California; to Lincoln Park in San Francisco, California. It was made up of different roads linked together to create the first organized trans-continental auto trail in a time when the automobile was becoming more affordable, with more people traveling longer distances by car. A section of US Hwy 1 and 1-9 in New Jersey is on the Historic Lincoln Highway between Newark and Philadelphia. Between Philadelphia and Granger Junction in Western Wyoming it closely follows the present US Highway 30. It follows Interstate 80 through Wyoming, Utah and California while US Hwy 50 replaces the old Lincoln Highway across Nevada.
- Presidents of the United States There have been 45 individuals who have served as presidents of the United States between 1789 and today (including two non-consecutive terms for Grover Cleveland). This article discusses sights and destinations all over the world related to the (former) presidents of the United States. Many of these sights and destinations are lined up along the eastern seaboard, some of which are accessible from US Highway 1 or off of US Highway 1 along a different road.
- The Underground Railroad is a network of disparate historical routes used by African-American slaves to escape the slave holding southern states to reach freedom in the northern states and to Canada. Today many of the "stations" along the "railroads" serve as museums and memorials to the former slaves' journey north. Historically the "stations" served as a "pit-stops" and hiding places for escaped slaves on the run to avoid capture. A number of these sites identified, nearest to US Hwy 1, are in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and New Brunswick.
- The American Civil War from 1861 to 1865 was the most destructive armed conflict in the history of North America, with more than 600,000 deaths in total. The United States still bears scars from this conflict, in which the slaveholding southern states formed the Confederate States of America, attempting to secede from the Union, and the North fought to defeat the secession. There are a number of old Civil War battlefield sites and other significant historic sites along US Highway 1. Some of which may require a detour of several miles east or west along another road from US Highway 1.
|Routes through U.S. Highway 1
|Miami ← Key Largo ←
|→ Big Pine Key → Ends in Key West
|Fort Pierce ← West Palm Beach ←
|→ Fort Lauderdale → Ends in Miami
|Jct E ← becomes ← (US 1 ends in Fort Kent) ←
|→ Frenchville → Houlton
|Woodstock ← becomes ← ←
|→ Houlton → Oakfield → Bangor