Road Trip from New York to Florida Keys
Replies: 13 - Last Post: May 18, 2012 12:10 PM Last Post By: tiltedflipcurves
May 14, 2012 9:54 AM
For the 10 nights in between DC and Orlando we wanted to see:
shenandoah national park then
blue ridge mountains to greaty smoky mountains
If we take an RV we would leave it when we get to Orlando (would be spending most time at the Hard Rock hotel pool and Universal theme parks as we have done all of the disney ones previously), and then when we leave Orlando take a car to the Keys and then back to Miami airport at the end of the trip. If we hire a car we would probably just keep it the whole time and get hotels on the 10 night road trip portion. I know that one-way hire is more expensive, but I'm not sure we could face the drive back up after all of this, and would not have time to do it all. We have been to New York as a couple before and Orlando twice as a family. It would be our first US road trip.
So my first question is does look like an achievable, enjoyable and logical journey? I understand enjoyable is probably subjective, so we want a bit of history, some nice scenery, places to ride a bike/other activities, also just some nice food and soaking up a different place and culture. Is there anything in the vicinity that we have missed out or would be worth a slight detour for?
Secondly, are there any opinions on whether an RV or car would be better. Hotels would be more comfortable during those 10 nights, and would save packing/unpacking. A car would also be easier to park etc. However the RV feels more like a road trip adventure and gives us lots of flexibility - kids are voting for that option!.
All views and advice would be gratefully appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
May 14, 2012 10:41 AM
blue ridge mountains to greaty smoky mountains
Want you might be thinking is Blue Ridge Parkway.
Second, skip the RV. If you think one-way car rentals are expensive, wait until you see one-way RV rentals.
Further, RV parks are generally not near cities, and those in the parks can book up fast (these are two of the most visited parks in the country; the xSmokies, in fact, are number one by double second place.)
But if that's how you want to go, because you like the experience, then have at it.
Your route is not logical, mainly because of the detour from the xSmokies to xWilliamsburg. In case you are a visual person like myself, this is (roughly) your planned route. Seems quite insane now, doesn't it?
Given your interests, skip Williamsburg. The xSmokies are better scenery-wise, and xCharleston, xSavannah and xSt. Augustine will give you your fill of history.
So figure after you leave DC (which should have another day in it)
1 day xShenandoah
1 day driving to the xSmokies
2 days xSmokies
1 day to xCharleston
3 days xCharleston
1 day xSavannah
1 day xSt. Augustine
Yes, it is a bit rushed.
You don't have time to drive the entire xBlue Ridge Parkway. Jump on I-64 to I-81, turn to I-77, then pick it up from there.
If you are too rushed, drop xSavannah. It's similar to xCharleston, but more about ambling, so it takes more time to give up its charms.
May 14, 2012 11:04 AM
2First I have to say that was one of the most well thought out, comprehensive, intelligent first posts I've seen in a very long time.
It's a pleasure to respond and offer you some help.
I believe your journey is quite achievable. I don't know your family or kids, but I'm guessing it will also be a lot of fun.
Costs aside, keep in mind that while the concept of an RV vacation can (and often is) a lot of fun, families with older kids often need some space once in a while. Living in close quarters with no privacy could weigh on nerves after that much time. If you go the hotel route you can occasionally get two rooms and give everyone some much needed space. Plus, as you already mentioned, the car gives you flexibility and is less burdensome than the RV.
However, I also understand that the RV is an experience and you and the family might find that a fun, unique way to go.
The costs of an RV are very high.
Good luck and have a great trip.
May 14, 2012 11:15 AM
3Yes, I did mean to write Parkway thanks for catching that. Seeing the route on the map like that makes so much more sense thank you for taking the time to do that. I think we will skip Williamsburg as you have suggested, I hadn't realized it would be so much of a detour. We can play Charleston/Savannah by ear and see how we feel. I am leaning towards the car for the reasons you and I both listed, will just need to pack sensibly. Have you visited the Florida Keys and if so, could you give me your opinion on whether the drive there is worth it after Orlando (versus staying somewhere on the beach in Florida). After the driving and touring and theme parks, I suspect we will want some chill-out time during our last few days before a long flight home. Thanks again.
May 14, 2012 11:22 AM
4Laketraveller, thank you so much for your generous response, I really appreciate it. I think you are 100% right and that the vision of happy families in an RV may not closely match the reality after a few days of blocked toilets and smelly socks! We will all be craving some extra space. I do think we will go for the car option, but perhaps not book the middle-trip hotels in advance to still let us feel we are being adventurous by not having every single detail planned! Thanks again, we are all really looking forward to it, and think there is something in the trip for us all.
May 14, 2012 11:29 AM
5Let's just make one thing clear--you do not go to the Keys for the beaches.
You go to snorkel (xPennekamp on xKey Largo, xDry Tortugas, or xBiscayne "on" the mainland), relax the day away, and party (in xKey West).
You can stop just about anywhere along the coast north of xMiami and find good beaches.
xKey Largo is a good spot to relax, and there is easy access to the other keys and xEverglades.
May 14, 2012 11:38 AM
6Thanks, yes we were looking at Key Largo as a base. At that point in the trip we are really interested in relaxing and snorkelling, not partying so much although we will have a visit to Key West. I wanted to firm up all of the rest of the trip first and then choose our last spot for the final 4 nights; I am currently researching hotels on Key Largo so thanks for this feedback.
May 14, 2012 12:00 PM
7You should also research Islamorada in the Keys. That's my favorite group of islands. It's about 30 to 40 minutes south of Key Largo.
The good thing about that area is it offers easy access to both the north (Key Largo area and Everglades National Park) and the south (Key West) as day trips. Also, there are hotels in all budget ranges there.
May 14, 2012 12:18 PM
May 14, 2012 12:46 PM
9Agree with #1- and forget the RV.
Smokeys can be nuts in summer, try to visit park on weekdays, middle of week.
Consider avoiding Gatlingburg, its a mess.
Consider Byrson City, fun train to ride, cool small town, just off the Parkway. On the Parkway, consider Mt Pisbah Inn, stunning views and great section of the BRP. This place is old school and all meals, peaceful and rustic w/pool.
What about Asheville and the Biltmore?
In Charleston we found the Marriott Courtyard to be a great location, and nice pool too, as staying the B&B's with kids can be a sound issue.
Plan a day to visit the old estates and plantations outside of town too...
For fresh seafood, this area where the shrimpers and fishing boats come in is great too. Head to Mt Pleasant and Shems Creek.
Enjoy...its beautiful country everywhere.
Savavnah is okay, nice homes and streets but thats about it....
May 14, 2012 1:05 PM
Something fewer tourists do than should is rent a bicyle in xDC or xBethesda, bike to the C&O canal and Great Falls. Or make a loop out of that and the western end of the National Mall, where the monuments are concentrated. If you want more details on that, let me know.
May 15, 2012 4:52 AM
May 15, 2012 12:56 PM
May 18, 2012 12:10 PM
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