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  1. Default Chicagoland to Florida

    We are leaving for Sarasota mid-day on April 9th from a north burb of Chicago. We are traveling with our 3 year old twin sons and are planning a mid-day arrival in Sarasota on 11th. Most of the routes I have researched have us going via Indiana however my parents recommended heading straight south on 57 through southern Illinois into Kentucky and veering toward the southeast at that point.

    Does anyone have route advice? Do we go through Indiana or Illinois?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Little Difference

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Using I-65 through Indiana to Nashville vs taking I-57/I-24 through Illinois makes a difference of only 40 miles to your total distance driven, with the I-65 route being shorter. The one advantage to the I-57/I-24 route is that it avoids both Indianapolis and Louisville, and so might be a bit more relaxing and shouldn't take that much longer. Either way, you're looking at a good 2½ to 3 days to make the drive.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    My mapping program says 57/24/75 is fastest. It's over 20 hours with no stops whatsoever, so I wouldn't plan on getting to Sarasota till the evening of the 11th. Taking that way also keeps you out of the mess on 80/94 south and east of Chicago.

  4. Default The Only Way to Go...

    I don't care what anyone's GPS tells them. I'm just west of Chicago, and I've driven that route 4 times in the past 20 years, with the last time being last year, and have talked to many old-timers who drive down to Florida every winter, and we all agree that there's no better way to go than 65-24-75. I-57 takes you out of the way, and we've never hit traffic going through Indy and Louisville.

    I would recommend new tires before you go, it's well worth it. I just had a new set installed because we're heading down to Texas soon. I'm concerned about safety, and it took a LOT of stress off me. A blowout is bad news at 80 mph. Or at least have your tires inspected the day before you leave.

    We're doing the 3-day road trip too, but only because we're taking my mom with us, and she won't be able to be in the car 13 hours in one day. Otherwise we'd do 13 hours the first day, and 6 hours the next day.

    On your second day, drive as far as possible. Don't make a reservation that evening, just drive as far as you can. You'll know when it's time to stop. Then you'll have less hours in the car on the 3rd day.

    And research hotels on your route, so you know where to stop before you get there. There's nothing worse than driving from hotel to hotel checking rates, etc.

    Good luck.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I lived in a western Chicago suburb for over 20 years and made many trips to Florida, and to me I-57 was a better drive. I posted from both personal experience and a mapping program.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default needless bickering

    I really wouldn't worry about it. I just took the trip down from near Rockford to St. Pete over the weekend and took went straight south through Illinois via I-57, but after Nashville I continued down through Alabama on I-65/US-231. I'm planning to go back via I-75 and eventually back up through Indiana.

    Basically, the difference between taking I-65 and I-57 is about 30 miles over a 1300 mile trip. Something as small as road construction or a traffic backup can make either longer or shorter on any given day. Pick the route you want that looks more appealing, and don't worry about it!

    Remember when you're traveling with kids that you'll need to stop more often so they can work out their energy. We left around 4 on Friday, drove until about 11, drove from 9am-10pm Saturday, and didn't arrive until about 7 on Sunday (a full report is coming, I promise). We didn't really make any major stops, just a few small ones here and there at parks and restaurants. If anyone tells you they can make the trip in 19 hours, including a computer program, don't believe them.

  7. Default

    I am doing the same trip in July and have 2 kids, 3 if you count my wife. Are there any intresting places to stop and see driving down to Marco Island Fl. from chicago? I am thinking about 3 day to get down there, taking our time.

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