Roadtrip from Chicago to Texas Coast
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Nov 30, 2012 5:58 PM Last Post By: tilos
Nov 28, 2012 3:58 AM
Chicago (2 days) I like to see the building and she wants to shop
Memphis or Nashville ? (1 night)
New Orleans ( how much time would you need?)
Houston or the Texas coastline (we want some sun and beaches)
( we will fly back to chicago and home)
Is there any scenic roads and is there any sites that we can't miss?
Nov 28, 2012 5:14 AM
Also consider an architecture boat tour.
Neither is good for "sun and beaches," I wouldn't go for the architecture, and you can shop in either.
Do you have any musical preferences? Are you into history? Into nightlife?
Nov 28, 2012 5:39 AM
2My wife and I drove from San Diego to Washington, DC three years ago and made the highlight of the trip Louisiana. It's almost like leaving the U.S. since the culture is so different. I highly recommend New Orleans for 2-3 days plus another couple of days to explore the bayous and/or plantations. If you visit the areas west of New Orleans (near Lafayette) you really get a sense of the heavy French influence.
As an aside, if you really like architecture, don't miss Oak Park in Chicago to see some excellent Frank Lloyd Wright houses.
If you want more specifics on Louisiana, let me know.
Nov 28, 2012 1:05 PM
3Why do you want to go to a Texas beach? They are nasty, nasty, nasty.
First, the water will be 80-85 degrees, so it kind of feels like being in a warm bath. Second, the water is brown, from all the silt that runs off the Mississippi. Third, there are three seasons for the beaches in Texas: tar ball season (esp. near Galveston), dead decomposing Sargasso seaweed season (smells like sulpher), and portuguese man-o-war season (known to some as "blue bottles"). Every year growing up I was dragged to Galveston or Corpus Christi and it was almost always one of the three.
Note: There is one exception--if you go all the way South to Brownsville, the southern tip of South Padre Island is quite pleasant. But it still isn't as nice as North Carolina beaches and it's a good 6 hour drive from Houston.
Might I suggest North Carolina instead? The water off the coast of North Carolina is blue. The waves are huge, and the beaches get increasingly pretty the further afield you go (think outer banks). No tar balls or dead sargasso seaweed in sight. Some people like South Carolina beaches, though I can't recommend Hilton Head (if I want brown water, I'll go to a TX beach).
Nov 28, 2012 2:20 PM
Nov 28, 2012 3:07 PM
5Sorry, I didn't think of the Florida panhandle because I haven't visited it. Based on your use of the word "beautiful," it must be better than a TX beach.
Nov 28, 2012 3:16 PM
6Chicago to Memphis to Nashville to Emerald Isle, NC is only a few additional hours of driving then Chicago to Galveston. Plus you'll pass through the Smokey Mountains and can stop off in Asheville. You could then return your rental car in Raleigh and fly home. (Google Maps link )
Note one-way car rentals are expensive no matter how you do it. If you go to Texas, you will have to back track to Houston IAH.
ETA: I noticed your original post mentioned ending in Houston. Is there a particular reason you want to go to Houston in June? It's usually around 100 degrees at that point. There are good places to eat and drink, and fun neighborhoods to wander around, but June really isn't a good time for that. You are better off staying further north.
Nov 28, 2012 4:34 PM
7Wow thank you for all the feedback. Im new to this forum, but im really impressed.
Our stay in Chicago might be 3 days.
I think we will then drive to Nashville not memphis, to take the Natchez Trace Parkway (is it busy in the summer? and how long does it take to drive it?)
New Orleans/Louisiana, it might sound crazy, but if you know any romantic spots, then please let me know.
@Tilos, thank you for the tips on Texas beaches, it does not sound very nice and it is not what we want. is it really only 6 hours drive to NC? othervise i have been looking at the florida panhandle. but i need to look into that.
On all of my trips i have been a huge fan of nature and the national parks. is there any to recomend near this rute?
ps. @Tilos, im a huge fan of moutains and so going through the smokey mountains sound like something for me, not sure about my girlfriend. :)
pps. in houston i wanted to see the city and nasa. and If its warm, we could find a place with a pool. ( but for now, texas is of the rute)
thank you all for your help so far
Nov 28, 2012 5:12 PM
8I think that for this trip you need to pick between (1) Appalachians and NC Atlantic coast or (2) New Orleans, Natchez trace, and Florida Panhandle. Trying to fit in both at a reasonable pace along with Chicago and Nashville would take considerably more than two weeks. Yer choice but I'd pick Door #2. You can work in some mountains in Kentucky. Old Louisville's worth a short detour off I-65, BTW.
Nov 30, 2012 5:58 PM
9#8 gives you two solid options. With regard to driving times in North Carolina, the nicer the beach, the further the drive. Emerald Isle was always our compromise beach--it is off the mainland and has nice sand, but is connected by a bridge so it isn't a pain to get there.
I think you misunderstood my 6-hour remark--that is the distance from Houston to the nearest decent beach (the South end of South Padre Island). It is a 23 hour drive from Chicago to the NC coast. If you stopped in Asheville to take in the mountain scenery, it would be a 6-7 hour drive depending on which beach you went to.
Don't forget to build in time for returning the car at a major airport. RDU is about 3 hours from Emerald Isle. I don't know where you could return the car for Florida (Tallahassee?)
Feel free to PM me if your plans change and you end up in Houston.
Edited by: tilos
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