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  1. Default NY to FL round trip, reasonably quick but not too boring?

    In February my wife and I will be driving from NY (CT shoreline actually) to Hernando, FL ('bout an hour north of Tampa) and return to retrieve some of my late father's possessions. We'll be towing a trailer for the northbound leg and maybe the southbound leg as well. Google gives a 20 hour drive time on 95 which is probably rather optimistic. However, we'd like to avoid 95 for the most part (especially around DC or other high traffic cities) if we can do it without too huge a time penalty. It's not a vacation trip and I can't afford too much time off from work but we don't want to be too rushed either. Also a different route for down and back would be nice but not necessary. We may stay with relatives on the central NJ shoreline along the way to split off a few hours if it makes sense.

    The last time I did this drive was with my parents 30 years ago, the classic "college visiting trip", on a NY-St. Louis-Daytona Beach-NY triangle... and I have vague memories a roundtrip 10 years before that, before the interstates went the whole distance.

    Two possibilities we've looked at are I-81 to I-77 to I-95, or through NJ down the GSP to Cape May and the ferry into Delaware and Maryland, then the bridge/tunnel to Norfolk before working somehow back to 95?

    Last edited by Dana_; 12-25-2007 at 03:05 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Looks good

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I have only a limited amount of experience in these areas, but on paper, I think both of the options you've listed would be pretty good plans.

    I haven't driven it but the option via the Ches. bay bridge/tunnel sounds like it would be a scenic one, and I think AZBuck has recommended that route, or a similar one as a bypass for the DC area before. The one thing that might be slightly problematic with that route is that dealing with a trailer on a ferry might be a little cumbersome, if not expensive. Since that route would also require a little more time on 2 lane roads, I think I would opt for the I-81, I-77 option for your trip with the trailer, and then use the Delaware option for your trailer-less trip.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Quick Means Inland

    The I-78/I-81/I-77/I-95 route avoids Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington and Richmond as well as the heavy traffic between them at the modest price of an additional 100 miles or so of driving. I-81 in particular is a far less hectic alternative to I-95, and saves on tolls through NJ, DE and MD. The 'Ocean Highway' is quite a bit less straight forward, and the Cape May - Lewes Ferry can be a bit problematic. Cost isn't that big a factor, but it would still cast you around $40-50 or so if you're towing a large trailer. The real problem is the extra time involved. It takes the ferry nearly an hour and a half to make the 17 mile crossing, plus the time spent boarding and disembarking. You can, instead, take the Jersey Turnpike to Wilmington and then use DE-1/US-13 down to the Bay Bridge/Tunnel and some combination of US-58 and US-258 to reconnect with I-95, But I wouldn't come this way unless you could devote three days to the journey, and preferably not be towing a trailer.


  4. Default

    I've done the "boring I-95" trip many times. I also recommend the Chesapeake Bridge/Tunnel route from Delaware/MD to Virginia Beach. Although it does cost like $15.

    Another crazy route might be all the way over to 81. Through the Shenandoah Valley is beautiful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Bridge-Tunnel

    I would recommend the Bridge-Tunnel especially if you were planning on being on the road before sunrise. The sunrise from that point of view is absolutely spectacular. Granted, you probably won't be able to just sit and watch it come up.

    Going this way will take Washington, DC out of the picture, but at times, the traffic near Virginia Beach and the surrounding area can be quite heavy, too.

    For a quicker route, I agree with Buck's suggestion of I-81. It is a heavily travelled route, but in hindsight, only rarely do I recall ever having to sit in traffic on that route over the past 10-15 years in the Summer, and the last time I was on it in February, I didn't have any problems at all.

  6. #6

    Default Ches Bay Bridge-Tunnel (CBBT)


    My in-laws have employed the GSP-Cape May Ferry-CBBT route from the Kingston, NY area down to our vacation home at Virginia Beach for years. They typically leave home well before dawn in order to miss the worst of NYC-Northern Jersey commuter traffic and they book a reserved departure on the ferry. The transit time, long as it is, gives them a welcome break from the highway. The CBBT is very nice regardless of time of day you cross, and there is a place to stop and get out and take in the view. The southernmost artificial island, where you emerge from the Thimble Shoals Tunnel, is about 3 miles from the Norfolk end, and there is a large parking area, cafe, gift shop, and fishing pier, all of which are open for a walk-around without additional charge. The one-way toll is either $12 or $15. Plus, you might get a good close look at a 1,100' long aircraft carrier passing over the tunnel. Take your binoculars and you'll use them at the ferry and the CBBT.

    From the Norfolk side, you can access I-64 within about 5 miles of the end of the CBBT. You'll want to take I-64 east until it ends at the I-64/I-264/I-664 junction near Bowers Hill. From there, pick up US 58 west to Suffolk, Franklin, and Emporia, where you'll get back on I-95, about 12 miles N of the VA-NC line. A slightly shorter alternative would be taking US 258 out of Franklin, VA to Murfreesboro, NC, thence US 158 to Weldon/Roanoke Rapids, NC, where you'd pick up I-95 about 12 miles below the state line. This alternative is all 2 lanes and there are 4 small towns, but the seaboard farm country is scenic and there's a cool old bridge crossing the Roanoke River at Weldon. It's the old US 301 crossing which was the main drag in the pre-I-95 days. From lots of recent experience, it's about as quick from the CBBT to I-95 at Roanoke Rapids via 258/158 as it is going all the way to Emporia on US 58. Some prefer the all 4 lane status of US 58, however. If you take US 58, beware of the perpetual speed trap on US 58 within the Emporia city limits. The last time I read a story about it, Emporia budgets some $750,000 annually from speeding ticket collections. It's very rare to pass through there and NOT see them working somebody over.

    Have a safe trip.


  7. Default

    Thanks all for the advice. I think the plane will be to drive to south NJ on a Friday night, which gets us four hours on our way, stay with relatives, then get up early and catch the first ferry on Saturday morning. Then the bridge/tunnel, bebop back over to 95 (thanks Foy). Rent the trailer in FL, then return via 81, with the option to go 95 instead if there's snow in the mountains. Laptop, 12V adapter, and cellular modem for up to date information and last minute hotel search / reservations based on progress. I'm not crazy 'bout long distance drives (I'd rather fly a small plane) but we're looking forward to this one.


  8. Default Trip

    For my honeymoon in 06 we drove NYC to FL.

    Lets see if I can remember....
    NYC to NJ to Capemay, Capemay on the ferry and from there you follow the peninsula. You are driving through cities in each state. Very fun. You cross the Chep. Bay bridge and stay in V Beach or drive through, leave on the turnpike thing they have, back on the peninsula. You are driving it the whole way, on the coast. You go through the NC Island thing, where Cape hatterias is and you have to go on the small boats & islands. That is the only part I am not sure how to answer about your tow. After the islands you are in NC and than keep going on the back roads. From there Between NC and FL you can stay on the that back route or jump onto 95 when your ready. We stayed until Georgia. It took I think 4 days. We stayed over night each day. We had no plans to rush rush. You could if you both drove. I was the driver alone. It was amazing. You cannot see anything like that on boring I95, which I have done many times. I have done I95 in 22 hours with 2 people. Same distance that you want. That is nonstop, just fillups.


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