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December 09, 2019, 01:28:23 pm
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  Road Trip advice - Southern USA 9th-23rd December
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Author Topic: Road Trip advice - Southern USA 9th-23rd December  (Read 416 times)
afleitch
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« on: June 19, 2019, 04:36:53 pm »

Off to the States again to see Michael's brother perform, so we have a week in the Orlando area already planned out with his family. However we have a free week before we fly out of Orlando and hope to do a bit of traveling. Michael likes to drive...a lot.

Our first thought is New Orleans, and Michael's dad is in Dallas so that might be a destination too. Anyone have any recommendations for a route or places to stop?
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L.D. Smith
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« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2019, 04:48:34 pm »

North Carolina & Tennessee.

And hit Atlanta too.
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« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2019, 05:22:55 pm »

Savannah, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, etc. See if you can make to the eastern shore of MD or Delaware.

Mobile, Biloxi, New Orleans and then Galveston, maybe.
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« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2019, 05:34:03 pm »

I just did a road trip through Asheville/Gatlinburg/NE GA.
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« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2019, 06:27:38 pm »

HCP has the right suggestion.  Go up the Atlantic coast and focus on Savannah and Charleston.  You'll have great food, lots of historical sights, comfortable weather, and I think both cities do quite a bit for the Christmas season. 

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Ninja0428
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« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2019, 06:33:02 pm »

I honestly don't think you need to go all along the Atlantic coast. Going through a bunch of beach towns is exactly that, beach town after beach town. If possible, (which it should be with that amount of time) go to some of those kinds of places but also head up towards the mountains in NC/TN and maybe even Atlanta too for a trip with much more variety.
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ilikeverin
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« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2019, 08:11:51 pm »

Definitely, Atlanta, Charleston, Savannah. Maybe Knoxville or Nashville, too, as a place to start from?  Orlando is not great, but at least you'll be there with nice weather.  Pop over to Cape Canaveral while you're there!
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« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2019, 08:16:50 pm »

Unless he truly is a road warrior, I don't suggest trying to go from Orlando to Dallas and back. That's at minimum a day and a half solid driving with no stops other than a hotel and meals each way. Unless you're saving a lot by doing a round trip versus two one-way trips, you may want to consider flying back from a different city if you're doing a road trip. A road trip from Orlando to Dallas and flying back home from Dallas (or at worst, back to Orlando to catch the other flight) is something you may want to consider.
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Smiling John
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« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2019, 08:19:22 pm »

I did a road trip from New Orleans to Charleston once. It depends on what you're interested in; if you head towards Orleans you should check out Jefferson Davis' house in Biloxi, and maybe hit up Selma while you're at it (I'm big on history so I really enjoyed both of those places). If you go east, Stone Mountain and Fort Sumter are great places to visit. I also prefer the climate in the southeast (Savannah is a really nice city, too).
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dead0man
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« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2019, 11:13:47 pm »

Off to the States again to see Michael's brother perform, so we have a week in the Orlando area already planned out with his family. However we have a free week before we fly out of Orlando and hope to do a bit of traveling. Michael likes to drive...a lot.

Our first thought is New Orleans, and Michael's dad is in Dallas so that might be a destination too. Anyone have any recommendations for a route or places to stop?
kind of along the way....the beaches between, say, Port St Joe to Mobile Bay are some of the best beaches in the world.  Espcecially if you go to a more secluded spot and stay away from where all the people are.  This was easy to do 20 years ago, not sure about today.  For some reason the beaches on the other side of Mobile have dirty water and sh**tty sand, but the beaches to the east have white sand and clear (seaonally) water.
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JA
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« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2019, 12:28:37 am »

There are lots of great suggestions here, but I'll add that if you're interested in history, then my (former) hometown of St. Augustine is hard to beat!
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Blairite
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« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2019, 02:47:33 am »

You could just stick to Florida. Orlando, Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Key West, Sanibel, and so on. I would strongly reccomend flying for anything further north than Charleston and further west than New Orleans. If you go towards New Orleans, you could stop in the Route 30A communities in Walton County, FL, and towards Savannah/Charleston, you could stop in Fort Lauderdale. December north of Charleston will be miserable, and even New Orleans can be cold. Also, try flying out of a different airport than you arrive in to minimize time on the road.
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« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2019, 12:12:48 am »

If you're willing to go up the coast a ways and fly out of a different airport, I remember Colonial Williamsburg being more interesting and less theme-parky than you might expect. Also, Birmingham has a surprisingly good art museum (in addition to tons of Civil Rights history, of course).
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AN63093
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« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2019, 09:57:15 am »
« Edited: June 21, 2019, 10:08:52 am by AN63093 »

Ernest has the right idea- I would first figure out if you can fly out of a different city, or add a short flight back to Orlando.  If you have to drive back to Orlando, that is going to limit your options considerably and you'll end up spending more time on the road than you will actually seeing stuff.  The South is not like New England- you just can't get from one side to another in an afternoon.  If this isn't something that can be changed, it might be worth just sticking to FL or going maybe as far as Savannah.

If you can get more flexible flights, then there are basically 3 "routes" in the South that are worth seeing.  With a week, you're only going to have time to do one.

1. Gulf Coast route.  You would go west from FL, tracking mainly I-10, and then finish somewhere in TX (perhaps Dallas, as you mentioned).  The best places to see would be Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, and then add a beach town of your choice (Galveston, Biloxi, Panama City etc).  I wouldn't add more than 1 because they are all fairly interchangeable and a place like NOLA is worth more than just a night/hotel stop.

2. Interior South route.  You would go up I-75 into GA, do Atlanta, then make your way up to the Appalachians and then you have a choice of mountain sights (Asheville, Smokies, Blue Ridge Parkway, Boone, Gatlinburg etc), and then head west and end in Nashville.  Of those, Asheville is probably the one you're gonna get recommended to go to the most (and it is worth seeing).  Probably don't have enough time to add Memphis once you head west.

3. Coastal South route.  Basically you would track I-95 north.  Savannah, Charleston, Raleigh-Durham, and then you have a choice (not gonna be enough time to do both), you could continue north and do central VA (Richmond, Charlottesville) and maybe even touch some of Northern VA and DC.  This could be convenient for flying out since Dulles is a large hub.  The second option, if you want to do beach stuff, is head east once you're north of Raleigh and do coastal VA/NC- here you would do the Outer Banks (some of the best beaches in the US IMO and possibly my favorite place on the East Coast) and then maybe Williamsburg/Jamestown.  Not really worth seeing VA Beach if you're gonna do the Outer Banks (though you'll drive through the area and I could recommend places to stop for lunch etc).


These are the big 3 routes to see most of the South.. there's lots of other things that are worth seeing in the South, but you just don't have enough time with only a week.  For example, to route 2 (interior South), you could continue up and do KY, you could circle back down and do northern AL and Chattanooga or go west to Memphis.  With route 3 (coastal), you could easily add a few days in the DC area or you could go up from VA Beach across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (one of my favorite bridges in the country) and then do eastern shore MD, maybe end in Annapolis or Baltimore.  Route 1 (Gulf Coast) you could add San Antonio and/or Austin once you got to TX- both are worth more than a day.


I would suggest first figuring out what types of things you want to do.  If you love the beach, I would suggest Route 3, because I think the Outer Banks are superior to the Gulf Coast, though I'm sure some Gulf Coast people will tell you otherwise, LOL.  If you love mountain stuff, then obviously you have to do route 2.  If you wanna party and get sh-tfaced, then the natural choice is New Orleans and route 1.  

Would be happy to answer questions and offer further suggestions.
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afleitch
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« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2019, 10:04:47 am »

Thanks everyone for the reccomendations Smiley I'm playing about with maps and itineraries. As long as I visit enough Sonny's BBQ to put on ten pounds I'll be happy. Don't judge me Wink
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AN63093
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« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2019, 10:21:45 am »

Oh one other thing- you could also try and do a "mix" of the 3 routes I mentioned, though keep in mind that you will not be able to see the entire route and the end points (so no TX, Virginia, Nashville, etc). 

The best way to do a mix would probably be to go up I-95, do Savannah and Charleston, then head northwest, do one mountain sight (Asheville is probably going to be your closest/best option), then head south to Atlanta.  If possible, fly out of Atlanta, but if you had to, you could drive all the way to Orlando and I suppose it wouldn't be terrible.

You would get a little of all 3 here- large cities, mountains, and coast.
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Del Tachi
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« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2019, 01:36:32 pm »

Definitely see Charleston and Savannah, Atlanta too.
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« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2019, 01:43:54 pm »

I haven't been to much of the South (only Memphis, Nashville and several parts of Florida), but Savannah, GA and Charleston, SC always seemed the coolest to me.  My girlfriend, while acknowledging its flaws, loves New Orleans, too.
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Ninja0428
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« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2019, 04:09:27 pm »

I will say that having been to both Savannah and Charleston multiple times, you aren't going to want to spend 2 weeks in them.
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« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2019, 05:52:09 pm »

Thanks everyone for the reccomendations Smiley I'm playing about with maps and itineraries. As long as I visit enough Sonny's BBQ to put on ten pounds I'll be happy. Don't judge me Wink

If you want real barbecue then you need to head north to South Carolina and get some proper mustard-based sauce to go with your pulled pork. If you must, there will usually be other sauces available to slather on your pulled pork.
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