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  1. Default Drive from Manchester, NH to Destin, Florida (I-81 or I-65)?

    Hey first post here, my friend is moving and I'm driving with him from Manchester, NH to Destin, FL, which is an hour east of Pensacola located on the pan-handle. We are leaving Sunday the 11th and I have to catch a plane Thursday morning. We are just looking for some help on what the best route(s) to take down there. We want to get there in a timely fashion, so we can go into New Orleans for a day, but we also want to experience the most scenic drive especially the portion going through Tennessee. We are thinking of going the I-81 way that google maps gives, but I have a friend who lives in Dayton, OH where we could spend the night so I was wondering what would everyone would suggest we go I-81 or heading to Dayton where we could spend a night then going I-65? If anyone has any other routes they want to suggest I would also appreciate it.

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

    Default time and backtracking

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    There really is never a single "best" route because you have to factor in all sorts of different variables, however, if I were you I would not detour to Dayton, and if you want to visit NOLA, then I'd drive there directly, then head back to Destin because that will save you some valuable time.

    What's working against you is that you don't have much time for this. You really need two overnight stops to safely cover the 1500 miles to Destin, and New Orleans is 250 miles from there, which really makes it too far to go as just a daytrip after you arrive.

    Dayton adds a couple hundred more miles, but the bigger issue is that its just doesn't work well distance wise for an overnight stop. Its nearly 900 miles from Manchester to Dayton, and then another 750 miles to Deston, and both of those drives are really just too far to safely do in a single day.

    If you took I-81/I-75/I-59 straight to new orleans, you'd be driving on a diagonal all the way, and save some miles vs going to Destin first. You be able to arrive in NOLA Tuesday evening, spend some time there, and then have a half day drive back to Florida, that you could do on Wednesday, giving you time to catch your plane on Thursday AM.

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