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  1. Default Driving from Cape Canaveral to Homestead, FL at night in December

    We have a pretty tight schedule and I would really appreciate some help with our proposed itinerary.

    We will be arriving back in Port Canaveral from a 3-day cruise to the Bahamas at 7am on 26 Dec. Our plan is to visit Kennedy Space Centre after disembarking (we will have a hire car which we will probably park at the Port while we are on the cruise). We want to spend the day at KSC. After leaving KSC we intend to drive south towards Homestead where I would like us to spend the next 2 nights. I figure that Homestead will be a good base to expore the Everglades and the Keys before flying out of Miami on 28 Dec in the late afternoon.

    My question is how long will it take to drive from KSC at Cape Canaveral to Homestead? We plan on taking the most direct toll roads and by-passing the centre of Miami. I have estimated that it will take around 4 hours. If we leave KSC at 5pm, I was hoping to arrive in Homestead by about 9pm. It will be winter and we will be driving at night (and it will be a long day!) but the roads look like mulit-lane highways and my husband and I can share the drive.

    I would greatly appreciate comments/suggestions on whether people think this is an achievable plan? I am not familiar with the roads in the US so I am not sure if the roads we will take (mainly the I95 and Route 91) will be fast roads. I guess we can stop before Homestead and continue driving in the morning but I would really prefer, if possible, to reach Homestead in one go.

    Many thanks in advance for your help with this!

    Liz

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    8,845

    Default

    Welcome!

    4 hours sounds about right. The speed limit most of the way will be 70 mph and it will all be expressway/tollway. Take I-95 south to just south of Fort Pierce, and use Exit 129 (FL-70) to cross over to the Turnpike. Take that to just south of Boca Raton then take the Sawgrass Expressway (FL-869) South at Exit 71. At Sunrise, there will be an interchange with I-75, continue on the main line which will become I-75 South. At Exit 5, take FL-821 Turnpike south to Homestead.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,009

    Default Within Reach

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Your estimate of 4 hours from KSC to Homestead is pretty good. The vast majority of the roads you'll need to use between the two are motorway quality, and the 4 hours should easily allow for stops to pay the tolls and get gas if needed. If you want to stop for dinner as well, you may need to be on the road a bit longer, but not excessively so. You would switch over from I-95 (free) to Florida's Turnpike (toll) at Fort Pierce, and to FL-821 (toll expressway around Miami) at Miramar. In cases like this where there is the choice between a free route and a toll route in a congested urban setting, I usually opt for the toll route as well and enjoy the road rather than endure the traffic.

    AZBuck

  4. Default

    Thanks you all for your helpful feedback. I have found this forum a wonderful source of useful guidance and information.

    It looks like we should be able to get to Homestead as planned, which is good news. I just hope all of the exits and changes from one road to the next are clearly signposted or we could get lost! We will opt for toll roads where necessary on this occassion just to keep the trip as direct and fast as possible. By the way, I did not take stopping for dinner into account. I am wondering if you have motorway services along the route where travellers can easily stop for a meal on the road?

    Liz

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    12,475

    Default

    Come on! We're the nation that invented Fast Food! Of course we do!

    You should have no problem finding a place to eat by the highway. The tollways may have specific service islands with a food court (Its been way too long since I was on the FL Turnpike to remember exactly), or the vast majority of exits off the Interstate will have several easy on/easy off food options. Generally you'll find signs right at the exit telling you what restaurants are near by.

  6. Default

    Of course, silly me!!!!

    Thanks so much for all of the great help and advice! We are really looking forward to our holiday in the US at the end of the year!

    Liz

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    8,845

    Default

    When you get off at Fort Pierce, the short stretch of FL-70 between I-95 and the Turnpike is loaded with services - fast food, restaurants, hotels, and gas stations. There are some more if you turn east instead of west at the exit. That is almost at the halfway point, so that's where I recommend you have dinner and take a break.

    Buck, did you miss my recommendation for 869? That eliminates even more congestion.

  8. Default

    Thanks for that advice.

    Just another question - it may be covered in other forum topics, but I may as well ask - what about tolls? Is it possible to pay cash or is it all electronic tolling? If so, do we need to arrange for an electronic tag from the car hire company, or can we buy one which will cover us for a limited number of days? We will be doing some driving earlier in our holiday out west but I do not think we will be using tollroads there. We will be driving in Orlando before our cruise but I assume that we can manage without using tollroads there. We may only have a need for tollroads for this one trip. What should we do?

    Liz

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    8,845

    Default

    Those questions should be answered here.

    All Turnpike tolls are now collected electronically between the U.S. 1 (Exit 1) and County Line Road (Exit 47) interchanges in Miami-Dade County; no cash or credit cards are accepted. Motorists must use either SunPass or TOLL-BY-PLATE, and everyone will have the benefit of paying tolls without having to stop.

    For customers without SunPass, the alternative is TOLL-BY-PLATE, a collection system that takes a photo of a vehicle’s license plate as it travels under tolling equipment installed overhead and mails a bill for the tolls incurred over a 30-day period, plus a $2.50 administrative charge per invoice, to the registered owner of the vehicle.

    For those traveling in a rental vehicle, there is an easy and convenient way to pay tolls without stopping. Most rental car companies have programs that allow their customers to charge the tolls to the credit card being used to rent the vehicle. Motorists should check with their rental car company for details. For information about participating rental car companies, go to www.SunPass.com/rentalcar.

    Travelers will still be able to pay cash on all other segments of Florida’s Turnpike, from its northern point at I-75 in Wildwood to its junction with I-95 in north Miami-Dade, and on all of its expansion projects in Central and West Central Florida.

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