Hey everybody, my name is Austin, I am new to the forum here. First of all I can't believe I did not find this place sooner, it's great to have a forum with other road trip enthusiasts. I am a road trip rookie I guess you could say (even though I have made lots of trips to and from specific locations, sporting events. and nascar races) but I have never just done a flat out road trip. By comparison to most of you all, the road trip I am doing is fairly short and meager, but for me I am very excited about it.
Originally I was going to do a 2 week southern road trip, starting in Orlando (where I live) and then traveling up the coast to Southport, NC and then head up through the Shenandoah Valley and into West Virginia (where I grew up) and then finally over to Nashville and Memphis, down through Mississippi and New Orleans, and then back over through Mobile and the Florida panhandle. I did not have quite the time or money to make that happen so here is the road trip that I have come up with:
Southern Road Trip
Starting in Orlando and traveling up I-4 to Daytona Beach, meeting up with US - 1 and taking US - 1/A1A up through St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra Beach, and Fernandina Beach. At that point I am going to take a combination of I-95 and US 17 up through the Georgia coast and into Savannah. After visiting Savannah I planned on getting back on I-16, hit I-95 going into South Carolina, and then taking US 17 again going into Charleston. At that point I plan on taking US 17 up the South Carolina coast thourgh Myrtle Beach and into Southport and Wilmington, NC. In Wilmington I was going to take US 74 through the eastern piedmont and through Rockington heading towards Charlotte. After making a stop in Charlotte, Concord, and Mooresville (being the nascar fan that I am), get on I-85 and then hit US 74 until I-26 and then hit US 64 and take that through the Appalachians into Tennessee. I then plan on stopping in Madisonville to visit a friend and then take US 64 or US 27 into Chattanooga. In Chattanooga join up to US 27 and take US 27 down through Columbus and most of Georgia, hitting US 82 and then taking US 19 from Albany. Finally, I am going to take US 19 back into Florida through Marianna and Perry and then take State Road 50 back into Orlando to finish off the trip.
I am really looking forward to seeing the true south outside of the major cities and what you see off the interstates. I absolutely love old historic southern cities and I have always wanted to see Charleston and Savannah. Most of the time is just going to be spent traveling and just trying to take in the local sights and getting some good local food along the way. Here is kind of how I have planned the days:
Day 1 - Stop in St. Augustine or Ponte Vedra Beach
Day 2 - Stop in Savannah
Day 3 - Savannah
Day 4 - Stop in Charleston
Day 5 - Charleston
Day 6 - Stop in Wilmington(being from Florida Myrtle Beach doesn't entice me)
Day 7 - Stop somewhere in NC Piedmont
Day 8 - Stop in Charlotte
Day 9 - Stop in Madisonville
Day 10 - Stop somewhere in Georgia
Day 11 - Stop somewhere in south Georgia/north Florida
Day 12 - Arrive back in Florida
Obviously I have tried to leave some leeway in here, especially near the end of the trip (I could easily make it from Madisonville back to Orlando in 1 day but what's the fun in that). I am obviously going to stay with my friend in Madisonville and am looking at a combination of spending half the nights sleeping in my car and the other in low budget hotels (just so I can get a good shower). I am going to try to pack a cooler with most of my food but I also want a taste of some great southern food.
Here is what I have budgeted for this trip:
Gas: $250 (outside of cities I usually get about 35 miles/gallon)
Lodging: $300 (5 nights in hotels averaging $50 plus tax)
Food: $275 ($25 a day, not really intending on anything major last day)
I have a couple questions that hopefully some of you all can answer. First of all how does that budget and my schedule look? Am I kidding myself trying to cover that much ground (I don't intend on seeing absolutely everything) and do you think that money looks sufficient? I will have a credit and debit card so if I had to I do have emergency money, but the $1000 is what I am trying to budget.
The other questions I have are more about the trip itself. Are there any close by areas that I am missing that I must see? For the cities I am visiting what are some of the must see areas? I have never been to Savannah or Charleston so I really have no clue what to see. Obviously I do not have much money to visit so I am favoring the free or cheap sites and I won't be eating at any of the really famous restaurants, but I want to get a flavor and truly experience the cities, even if it just sitting at a park in some historic area. I am going in January because with it should be the off-season and hotels/attractions should have some discounts. So really any advice or must-see sites on my road trip in general would be a great help! I absolutely can not wait for it!