As we didn't travel much while still working, not going far from the east coast, with Pa., being the furthest North, and Tn. being the furthest west. Our once in a lifetime trip occurs every spring thru fall. We do 1 section of the country every year, only backtracking to see our parents each year.
First - Why only do this trip once? It sounds like you might be retired and if so, plan to do some each year in different sections of the country! We've been full-timing for 16 years and still have not seen it all!! Secondly, we would also recommend that if you're making this a summer trip, can you possibly leave at least in mid-summer and consider going north first and returning south in Sept/October or even November to avoid some heat? Lastly, if you're 62 or older, definitely get the National Park's Golden Age Passport. It will save you a LOT of money on entrance fees and 1/2 price on camping fees.
Here is a national historic park website that might help you get started:
I would suggest a day or two in DC. Greenbelt Campground is just north. You can stay there and take the Metro into DC. NYC is well worth the time if you have it. A trip to the 911 memorial is a memorable experience. Saratoga Battlefield NP The turning point of the American Revolution, beautiful and we live just around the corner. We have room for an RV on our 10 acres. firstname.lastname@example.org. Back to the coast through Vermont and NH into Maine up to Acadia NP. Absolutely breathtaking and great Lobstah.
Just take it slow and enjoy the trip
We've been fulltiming for 6 years although we only get to travel 6 mos of the year due to budget constraints. We park host for 6 months. Visit as many of the national parks or national seashores as you can, really beautiful. We just did that trip last summer and believe me, it's a big, big trip. We saw so many beautiful sights, New Orleans, Biloxi, anywhere on the FL gulf coast, all the forts along the east coast and learning about the civil war battles, Savannah, Charleston, Outer Banks (Kitty Hawk),DC, Gettysburg, Pocano's in PA, & Niagra Falls. In other years we've visited Yosemite, Mesa Verde, Arches NP, Yellowstone, Mt Rushmore, Mt Ranier, Mt St Helens, there's so much to see and so little time to do it. We had to cut out Maine and further north, just too many miles. We plan to fly back to DC and rent a car to see that part of the country in a few years, won't take the rv that far again unless we can take a year to do it. As others have said get your golden age pass, join Passport America and set aside emergency funds for repairs. We got 2 flat tires from the very rough PA turnpike. Good luck & happy travels.
Here's what I've been doing in the 7 yrs since I retired. My grandson loves travelling with us so I decided we would pick a favorite part of the country every summer when school was out and that would give us the better part of two months to travel. First summer we went to Strasburg Pa. to see the huge train museums, then Niagara Falls, and Disney Orlando. Next summer was Yellowstone and the Tetons followed the next year by the Grand Canyon. Next year was Cape Canaveral, Disney Orlando again, Universal Studios, Virginia Beach, and Navarre Beach Florida. In 2010 we made a huge trip out west starting at Pike's Peak, then Nevada to see the Extra Terestrial Hwy, Mammoth Lakes California, Yosemite, Golden Gate, the Redwoods, Mt. St. Helens and Alberta Canada. Last summer we made it to Philly, Boston, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. As you can see by the locales, we didn't spend a great deal of time in any one place and I wouldn't make the same trip again. This summer I'll probably pick one stop and then site seeing from that location as a base. Good luck with whatever you decide. You won't regret it as long as you have fun where ever you go.
I read your note and enjoyed thinking about it for a couple of days. Here are my thoughts; when you are visiting the east coast you will be visiting a number of large cities. Use tour buses, trolleys, or on off buses. You want to see the "big spots" and they take you to them, tell you where to get the great pics and allow you to get off and visit the places. I know you will get lots of ideas of specific places to visit so here are a couple of more ideas. Visit Savannah or Charleston to see a southern city. So cool. Then of course, Washinton DC, Philadelphia, NYC, Boston and Chicago. Each of those cities have great public tourist transportation, so stay outside and use the public transportation. easy breezy.. Niagra falls will take you past the Adirondack Mt. in NYS, and then the fingerlakes. After the Falls, Cleveland to see Rock and Roll hall of fame. This is such an amazing country, enjoy the trip.