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  1. Default NJ to Orlando and back

    I am driving from NNJ to Orlando . Have to start on 12/15/11 afternoon and reach Orlando by 12/16/11 late evening. I would like to have advice on the best possible route to use and what would be the ideal place to break for the night. Also would like to have advice on my return trip where I intend spending a couple of nights on the way.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Not Going to Happen

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Sorry, but northern New Jersey to Orlando is 1000+ miles along one of the most congested highways and through some of the worst traffic in America. That's two FULL days of driving, not an evening and a day. You simply need to make more time for the drive.


  3. #3

    Default Risky business

    Hello kaul,

    You've got a tough assignment. Using Bergen, NJ as your NNJ starting point, I get just under 1,100 miles to Orlando. Mapquest estimates this to be on the order of 18 hours. Assuming you're looking at 5pm to start and 11pm to arrive, you've got 30 hours and will need to be on the move for 20 or more of them. The 61 mph inherent in Mapquest's figure will be tough to maintain, too, where you've got rush hour traffic in NNJ and the 24/7 traffic in the Baltimore/DC area. I suppose it's do-able, but it's going to be very difficult. Especially on the first day, you might not be able to average > 55mph on a beginning of the day to end of the day basis. You can probably average 61-64 mph on Day Two, from beginning to end of day. Averaging > 65 mph generally requires running 80-85 mph between stops, and even if you're willing to do that, I-95 traffic and the law enforcement people won't allow it.

    The halfway point is around central/southern NC, say, Fayetteville or Lumberton. I'd be inclined to short the first day and make my second day a longer one since once you're south of Richmond, VA you're pretty much done with cities until you reach Savannah and Jacksonville, meaning the average travel pace will be increased (and much of SC and GA have posted 70 mph speed limits on I-95).

    Oh, and I-95 is the only way to go which makes sense to me. Mapquest offers a US 301 + I-95 but at least down this way (I'm in NC) you don't want any part of US 301, "the old highway".

    Staying on I-95 and shorting the first day by around 100 miles would leave you stopping between Emporia, VA and Roanoke Rapids, NC the first night.


  4. Default

    I know its not practical for one but we are 3 drivers, doesn't that change things a bit.

  5. Default

    Thanks for that detailed response.
    Is there a way to avoid Baltimore/DC part of I- 95.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Not Really

    Actually, having multiple drivers slows you down, and doesn't help all that much. There is simply no way to get useful sleep or rest in a passenger car. Take a look at the back of the big rigs sometime. They're practically mini-motels on wheels. Compare that to the cramped confines of the typical sedan - it's just not the same. And each and every stop will take longer as there are three of you going to the bathroom...and the chances of you all being 'synched up' and not needing MORE bathroom breaks are just about nil. Every meal break will take longer. It will take longer for you all to be settled in and ready to sleep in the evening and up and ready to go in the morning. I can just about guarantee that at least one of you will 'not be a morning person' and cause a late start on the second day.

    Similarly, there are two possible ways to avoid Baltimore/Washington/Richmond. One is to use DE-1/US-13 down the Delmarva Peninsula to Norfolk and then US-58 to rejoin I-95 at Emporia, VA. The other is to use I-78 across New Jersey and into Pennsylvania, then I-81 south along the Shenandoah Valley to southern Virginia, I-77 to Columbia, SC and I-28 back to I-95. But both of those routes add enough miles that they take even longer than I-95.


  7. Default

    Thanks for your inputs.
    We have decided to leave on 12/14/11 at about 4 PM and will hope to be in Orlando by 4 Pm on 12/16/11.
    Can you therefore suggest where we should break for 2 nights. Highly appreciate your feedback. Can we add a bit of sight seeing on the way ?

    we will be in orlando till Chrismas and want to come back to NNJ by new years eve, so could you suggest altenate route way back with couple of days break.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Good Choice

    ...and thank you for taking our advice. It should make for a much better trip. With the extra time, I'd suggest that you take the I-78/I-81/I-77/I-26/I-95/I-4 route mentioned previously. It's a much more scenic and relaxing route than I-95. I wouldn't plan on any stops your first evening. Just try to beat the rush hour traffic and get on the road. It will be dark soon enough. A good first evening's effort will put you around Martinsburg, WV or Winchester, VA. Both those towns have plenty of lodging options.

    The next day will have you driving down the Shenandoah Valley and depending on how early a start you get you can consider stops in Shenandoah National Park and/or the picturesque town of Lexington, maybe take a short side trip on a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway, visit one of the many NASCAR racing shops in the Charlotte area, or enjoy some backwoods in Congaree Swamp National Monument. You will need to make it to the junction of I-26/I-95 before calling it a day.

    You'll still have a bit of work ahead of you on day 3, but if time permits take a look at Jekyll Island State Park or Cumberland Island National Seashore.

    For an alternate return, take a look at US-17 up into Tidewater Virginia and then taking the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel onto the Delmarva Peninsula. You can even think about taking the Cape May - Lewes Ferry over to the southern tip of New Jersey and heading north through the Pine Barrens to get home.


  9. #9

    Default What he said...........


    Good thinking on the add-a-day. For me, all adding drivers guarantees is that you've got 3 sleep-deprived people vs one or two.

    The "western hook" down the Shenandoah Valley is a beautiful route which parallels the Blue Ridge Mountains from the WV-VA border to I-77 and then takes you through them as you turn south at Wytheville, VA (but on a wide, controlled curve radius and grade % modern Interstate). The segment from the foot of the Blue Ridge to Statesville, NC is pretty nice, too, passing among the foothills of the Blue Ridge with plenty more mountain views to the west.

    If you're a fan of old TV shows, Mount Airy, NC is the real-life town called "Mount Pilot" on the Andy Griffith Show. Mount Airy has in recent years wholly embraced and promoted tourism related to Andy Griffith with characters in costume playing checkers on the sidewalk, haircuts at Floyd's Barber Shop, and diners flocking to Snappy Lunch. Be aware you've got to arrive before too long after noon in order to get one of the house specialties at Snappy Lunch--the fried pork chop sandwich. They start the day with a set number of pork chops to cook, and when they're gone, they're gone until the next day. You'll notice Mount Airy is just a very short side-trip off of I-77 south.

    I especially favor the suggestion to more closely follow the coast on the return trip. I haven't been along US 17 below the NC-SC line in ages, however. Last time I did, the entire Grand Strand (greater Myrtle Beach/Georgetown) wasn't my cup of tea (congested, slow) and I'd want more info on how the drive is through other cities before taking that route. Through NC, US 17 and US 13 lead up to the Tidewater section of VA (Norfolk, Virginia Beach, etc) and US 13 becomes the Coast Road across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and then takes you to the vicinity of the Lewes-Cape May Ferry. I've never taken that ferry, but relatives have, and it's reportedly a great cruise. Reservations strongly suggested.

    An alternative to US 17 south of NC might be coming up I-95 to about Florence, SC, thence US 76/74 to Wilmington, NC. From Wilmington, one can closely follow the NC coast via US 17. NC 24 and NC 58, and US 70 to Cedar Island, NC. At Cedar Island, the NC Ferry System runs a large vessel taking travelers on a 2.5 hour cruise to Ocracoke Island, where another, shorter ferry connects to Hatteras Island, then connected by the Bonner Bridge to the Nags Head/Kitty Hawk/Kill Devil Hills beaches and to Tidewater VA via US 158 and NC + VA 168. Reservations suggested for the Cedar Island/Ocracoke Ferry. Sights along that route include the Wilmington waterfront, the Battleship USS North Carolina, State parks at Fort Macon and Browns Beach, Fort Macon itself, Ocracoke, Hatteras, and Bodie Island lighthouses, Jockey's Ridge (tallest sand dune on the East Coast) and the Wright Brother's Memorial Park in Kill Devil Hills.

    From Tidewater VA on up the Delmarva Peninsula, one can stop as long as desired on the South Island of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (close-up views of Naval and commercial shipping passing within a quarter-mile of the island) and at some wildlife viewing points on the north end of the span, and Chincoteague Island + Assateague National Wildlife Refuge are only 10 miles east of US 13.

    Glad to see you can add more time to your trip down. It's the only logical move.

    Safe travels!


  10. Default

    Thanks guys , you are awesome.
    My young adult daughter, studying fashion and photography, is joining me on my way back and I was wondering if we should do NASCAR shops in Charlotte/ Blue ridge parkway/ Shenandoah Valley on the way back. As we have some time to spare and enjoy or you think the ride is going to be steep . or you would still advise taking coast route back.

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