Spring break road trip: where $50 of gas will get you

David Weissman
  • Places fuel-efficient travelers can reach for $50 of gas include Toronto, Boston and Outer Banks.
  • Places pickup truck drivers can reach for $50 of gas include Atlantic City, Philly and NYC.

With the weekend's snow scare in the past and temperatures expected to rise back up to 70 degrees in York County this week, residents can finally start taking their spring vacations.


While some may be heading to Harrisburg International, Baltimore-Washington International or Philadelphia International airports for a pricey trip to Orlando, San Diego or Cancun, a road trip can be a more economically feasible option.

Gas prices have risen in York during the past month from around $1.85 per gallon to $2.02 per gallon as of Monday morning, according to GasBuddy.com, but that figure is still much cheaper than last year's $2.50 per gallon. That means you can drive farther for less money this spring.

Gasbuddy spokeswoman Allison Mac, who was actually on a road trip herself, said gas prices haven't been this low nationally in March since 2004.

"We definitely anticipate more people are going to be packing up their cars and hitting the road," she said.

Mac said prices will continue to go up over the next few months, likely peaking around mid-May, but it will still be significantly cheaper than recent years.

Several factors can influence the fuel cost of one's trip, including your vehicle's fuel efficiency, traffic and where you're filling up (pro tip: prices are cheaper in nearby New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland). For the purpose of this article, we'll consider where you can travel round-trip for $50 of gas if you're driving a fuel-efficient car (a Toyota Prius gets 42 miles per gallon) or pickup truck (a Toyota Tundra gets 15 miles per gallon) at $2 per gallon.


Beaches: After a season of digging your car out from the snow and fighting over limited parking spaces, a sunny trip to see sand and water will surely be a popular choice for York County spring breakers.

In a fuel-efficient car, your options are vast, including Virginia Beach, Virginia (approx. 612 miles round-trip; $28-$32 in gas); Ocean City, Maryland (approx. 386 miles round-trip; $15-$20 in gas);and Outer Banks, North Carolina (approx. 812 miles round-trip; $38-$42 in gas).

In a pickup truck, your options include Chesapeake Beach, Maryland (approx. 212 miles round-trip; $28-32 in gas) and Ocean City, New Jersey (approx. 332 miles round-trip; $40-45 in gas).


Mountains: For those looking to use the warming weather for outdoor activities, a trip up the mountains for some biking or hiking (or skiing, if you're holding on to those last few flakes of snow) may be the choice.

A fuel-efficient car will get you to mountain ranges in Huntington, West Virginia (approx. 858 miles round-trip; $40-45 in gas) or the White Mountains in New Hampshire (approx. 886 miles round-trip; $40-45 in gas).

Mountain seekers driving pickup trucks can reach Blue Mountain in Palmerton, Carbon County (approx. 232 miles round-trip; $28-32 in gas) or Mountain Lakes, New Jersey (approx. 330 miles round-trip; $40-45 in gas).

Historical sites: York County residents looking to take a trip back through time or just learn more about America's history have plenty of cities within reach that promote such activities.

Boston (approx. 796 miles round-trip; $35-40 in gas), Richmond, Virginia (approx. 412 miles round-trip; $18-22 in gas) and Cincinnati (approx. 978 miles round-trip; $45-50 in gas) are all cities overflowing with historical museums and interactive adventures (you can throw tea overboard at the Boston Tea Party & Museums) that can be reached in fuel-efficient vehicles.

Gettysburg (approx. 60 miles round-trip; $5-10 in gas) and Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Maryland (approx.150 miles round-trip; $18-22 in gas) are a pair of options for pickup truck travelers.

Sports fans: The York Revolution are still over a month away from their home opener, so local sports fans who can't wait can use spring break to catch a hockey or basketball game elsewhere.

Hockey fans with fuel-efficient vehicles can travel across the border to see the Maple Leafs in Toronto (approx. 810 miles round-trip; $35-40 in gas) or Canadiens in Montreal (approx. 1,040 miles round-trip; $45-50 in gas). With the 76ers again limping toward the finish line, NBA fans looking for a playoff contender can catch a Cavs game in Cleveland (approx. 698 miles round-trip; $30-35 in gas) or Hornets game in Charlotte (approx. 998 miles round-trip; $45-50 in gas).

With the Flyers still in the playoff hunt, a trip to Philadelphia (approx. 200 miles; $22-28 in gas) is attractive for fans with pickup trucks. The city will also host several NCAA men's tournament games this weekend. Meanwhile, the Knicks aren't exactly playoff contenders, but Madison Square Garden in New York City (approx. 370 miles round-trip; $45-50 in gas) still makes a worthwhile sight for sports fanatics.

Other attractions: Fuel-efficient vehicle drivers can get as far west as Detroit (approx. 1,000 miles round-trip; $45-50 in gas), where Belle Isle Park has a zoo, aquarium and numerous campgrounds. Niagara Falls (approx. 660 miles round-trip; $28-32 in gas) is a well known tourist destination, while Raleigh, North Carolina (approx. 750 miles round-trip; $32-36 in gas) offers a pair of popular art and science museums.

Casino games are within reach for pickup truck travelers in Atlantic City, New Jersey (approx. 310 miles round-trip; $40-45 in gas), and State College (approx. 224 miles round-trip; $25-30) offers Penn State alums the chance to relive their college days.

— Reach David Weissman at dweissman@yorkdispatch.com.