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  1. Default CT - FLA Roadtrip! Advice??

    Hello all.

    My boyfriend and I are planning a trip to Florida this summer. We live in Hamden, CT. We're hoping to spend about two weeks all together, but that amount of time can change depending on money, excitement, etc.

    We're going to stop at Virginia Beach and spend the night there to break up the drive a little bit. Both of us are used to long roadtrips though, so I'm not too worried about that.

    I think that we are going to camp for the most part, unless there's not a huge difference in price between a motel and a campground. We're definetly not picky about lodgings!

    We're just looking for some nice beaches and fun things to do - we're only eighteen, so it would also be nice it we could find some nightlife that wasn't strictly 21+.

    Also - my boyfriend is a chef, so we love to try out restuarants...any suggestions for where to eat?

    My family is going to be in Florida around the same time, and as a graduation present offered to pay for me and my boyfriend to come stay with them for three days, July 4th-6th, at Disney in Orlando.

    I really want to drive through the Keyes, and spend some time in Key West, but other than that I'm completely open to suggestions! We just want a fun trip, and want to be able to cut prices whenever possible. What's the best bargain fun in FLA? Any must-stop cities/cities to avoid?

    I'm also wondering how much $ a trip like this is going to cost - I'm afraid my estimates are going to end up wrong...

    Thanks so much for any advice you can offer!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Joplin MO
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    Default

    You can make it to VA Beach from Hamden in a long day on the road - as long as you take the fastest route and don't get jammed up trying to get around NYC and Philly. Take the Merritt Pkwy to 287, cross the Tappan Zee, then the Garden State Pkwy to the NJ Tpk. It's 435 miles, you will want to take US-13 down the Delmarva and across the bay bridge/tunnel. If you have an EZ-Pass, bring it.

    I have eaten at the Duck Inn in VA Beach - it's a very good seafood restaurant.

    VA Beach to Orlando is a bit of a stretch in 1 day even via fastest route. It's over 750 miles. You might want to think about breaking that up, maybe get off the beaten path a bit.

    A good rule of thumb is at least $100 per person per day.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    8,003

    Default Hug the Shore

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I agree with glc that trying to get to Florida from Virginia Beach in one fell swoop runs counter to your desire to have some quality beach time with your boyfriend. The nice thing about following the coast a little more closely than the average RoadTripper is that you'll end up taking some ferries. Consider driving to the southern tip of New Jersey, Cape May (a quaint Victorian town in its own right) and take the ferry over to Lewes, DE. Nearby Rehoboth and Dewey Beach cater to a younger crowd, so you should be able to find something entertaining. Continue south down US-13 and cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel to Virginia Beach. Then head down the Outer Banks of North Carolina finishing up with another ferry ride from Ocracoke over to Cedar Island. Next down the coast would be Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand, then Daytona Beach, etc. All of which will have things to do. If you do go to Key West, just be sure to leave at least twice the time for travel that you think is appropriate. You'll be on a narrow two-lane road with minimal passing opportunities during the height of tourist season. Also I think $200 for both of you per day might be a shade on the high side. If you mix up camping and motels, and limit your 'upscale' dining to the occasional foray to satisfy your boyfriend's professional curiosity, I think $150/day for both of you might be more of a ballpark figure.

    AZBuck

  4. #4
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    I question the ability to get from CT to VA Beach in 1 day taking the ferry. I thought of that before posting. That's going to be at least 8 hours plus waiting for the ferry plus the ferry itself. If you do that, I'd plan on spending a night maybe in Ocean City - then the next day go see Chincoteague on the way down to VA Beach.

    The Cape May ferry
    is an 80 minute trip, it runs from 7:30am to 6pm, roughly one every hour and a half, and in the summer, advance reservations are just about mandatory.

  5. #5

    Default The Duck Inn- RIP

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post

    I have eaten at the Duck Inn in VA Beach - it's a very good seafood restaurant.
    Although I go to Virginia Beach every chance I get and my family owns a Bayfront vacation home there, it's quite out of the way in terms of CT to FL travel. That said, the combination of the Cape May Ferry (CMF) and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (CBBT) is seductive. Be advised advanced reservations are strongly recommended for the CMF. Also be aware of the fact that a visitor-oriented rest-stop exists on the southernmost of the four artificial islands on the CBBT. There is a modest cafe, gift shop, restrooms, large parking area, and a long pier to walk out on. It's rare to spend time there without some sort of commercial or military shipping passing within about 150 yards of your location. On the immediate north end of the CBBT is Kiptopeake State Park, a great place for a camping stopover. Virginia allows advanced reservations for campsites and I believe it can be done online. There is a world of difference between the Eastern Shore (north side of the CBBT) and Tidewater (south side). The former is completely rural and the latter is completely urbanized.

    Ah yes, the old Duck Inn. The last meals were served there on August 14, 2005. The building is gone, and whenever (or, if ever) the condo market heats back up, a 6-story condo is planned. The location is 1/2 mile from my family's place, so our normal replacements for Duck Inn dinners would include Bubba's Crab House, directly across Shore Drive from the Duck Inn. Bubba's is probably best known for it's irascible owner, Dimitri, and for the uber-fresh fish he serves. I've been fishing along the CBBT and observed Dimitri snorkeling and spearfishing the rock islands, followed by being served fresh sheepshead (a delectable fish, not an actual sheep's head) at Bubba's that night--with a spear hole in the filet. Bubba's is on a heavily-travelled waterway and alfresco dining is possible and recommended. Lynnhaven Fish House is nearby just off Shore Drive and is an award-winning place, reservations strongly recommended. It's right on the Bay, with sunsets over the CBBT included, and it's on a large fishing pier, also. A bit to the west on Shore Drive, just past the CBBT and the Little Creek US Navy base, lies Captain Groovy's, proof positive that looks can deceive. Captain Groovy's is modestly located in a converted 7-11 and features some of the best seafood I've had in 53 years of living in and visiting the area. From 4-7 pm shellfish appetizers and domestic beers are 1/2 price. For breakfast, the ONLY place is Citrus, itself located in a converted 7/11, but back on the east side of the CBBT, near West Great Neck Rd and Shore Drive.

    Be advised you can take in the sights and dine in VB, then hurry west back to I-95 via US 58. It'll take you around 2 hours to get to Emporia, VA, about 12 miles N of the NC line. You could then run the SuperSlab on to FL.

    I ardently love the NC Outer Banks route suggested by AZBuck, but it's a real investment in time. There are two ferries: Hatteras-Ocracoke and Ocracoke-Cedar Island. The former is a 45 minute short hop (and very crowded, and no reservations taken, I believe). The latter is about a 2.5 hour ride, reservations taken and strongly suggested. From just past Cedar Island, keeping close to the coast enroute to US 17 near Sneads Ferry (the town, not another ferry ride), brings you lots and lots of urbanized areas, stoplights, and strip shopping centers. Wilmington and all the way south through Myrtle Beach (The Grand Strand) brings much, much more of the same. That said, you could bypass the worst of it (a term indicative of my personal bias against heavily-developed Jersey-style touristy beachfront communities) by turning west on US 76 at Wilmington and connecting with I-95 at Florence, SC. A routing suggestion might be to depart CT at 00:dark:30, get through Gotham City before dawn, down the Jersey Shore in the midmorning, and take a 2 hour break on the Cape May Ferry. A mid- late afternoon stopover at Chincoteague/Assateague (where great dining is found at Chincoteague) or even an overnight camp or motel there--reservations pretty much mandatory in season, and be sure to avoid altogether the annual Pony Swim and Roundup in late July). From there it's but 90 minutes to the CBBT and Kiptopeake. And, from there, a leisurely drive towards the Outer Banks would take 2 hours from the south end of the CBBT to Nag's Head. Another 2-3 hours would allow time for some stops between Oregon Inlet and Hatteras Village, including Buxton where the Cape Hatteras lighthouse is a must-see. Reservations at a campground on Ocracoke would complete the day and give you a nice early morning long ferry ride back to the mainland at Cedar Island. By bypassing the Grand Strand in SC, you'd end up well into southern SC, GA, or even northern FL at the end of day 3 and would have had enough Southeastern US coastal touring to last you a long time.

    Have fun planning and taking your RoadTrip!

    Foy
    Last edited by Foy; 03-28-2009 at 07:46 AM. Reason: Fat fingers typos

  6. #6
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    Sorry to hear about the Duck Inn closing down. To be honest, it was over 20 years ago when I ate there - the memory I have was my 13 year old stepdaughter trying a raw oyster. She hated it and the look on her face was priceless! To this day, she won't go near them, although she likes seafood in general.

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