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  1. Default Mini Road Trip From Miami and Back

    Hi all,

    Like so many I am planning a road trip starting from Miami. I do not have experience with road trips so please be patient with me. Just for your information I am planning a mini roadtrip, to get some experience with it before I will be going for a longer road trip next year. What is the basic information:

    1. I will have 7 days to drive from Miami a road trip and back again
    2. I love to see nature, hills etc. But also like active things like Jetski etc. I am not really into theme parks, unless they are very special.
    3. I will be leaving from Miami (airport of course)
    4. Everything will be in the month November
    5. Miami does not have my real interest anymore because I have been there a couple of times already. So going to Miami beach would be boring. Also since I am from an island with nice beaches I don't think visiting a beach would be anything special for me unless its like a waterfall or spring you can swim in. I would like something different. I rather mingle with the local people.
    6. Car rental already arranged.
    7. I do not mind driving a long time, but would love some stops and breaks in between the road trip which I think that is what a road trip is all about. Not driving from A to B en from B to C and back again. Then I should take a plane or train.

    I was thinking about driving to the Big Bend, but not sure about anything yet and hoping some of you could provide me with some tips and information. What would be great stops. Shortly said I am having trouble pinpointing where to go to. I have used serveral online webpages for road trips but sometimes there is too much information and sometimes to little

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Is there a reason you are starting this trip from Miami? It just sounds like Florida is pretty much the exact opposite of the kind of place you want to go, and by starting in Miami, you either have to visit Florida, or spend 2 full days of your trip getting out of the state, and then driving back through it to fly home.

    Big Bend National Park really isn't possible as a roadtrip. You'd need at least 3 hard days of driving each way to get there from Miami, so you're entire week would be spent in the car. There are some places you can go in the Southeast - Perhaps places like the Smoky Mountains - although November is getting late in the year, and you will start having the possibility of winter weather, especially if you are traveling near the end of the month.

    Any other specific places that you've found interesting? Is it possible for you to fly into another city, or take an internal flight from Miami to elsewhere in the country? That would seem like it might open up a lot more options closer to what I think you might want.

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Is there a reason you are starting this trip from Miami? It just sounds like Florida is pretty much the exact opposite of the kind of place you want to go, and by starting in Miami, you either have to visit Florida, or spend 2 full days of your trip getting out of the state, and then driving back through it to fly home.

    Big Bend National Park really isn't possible as a roadtrip. You'd need at least 3 hard days of driving each way to get there from Miami, so you're entire week would be spent in the car. There are some places you can go in the Southeast - Perhaps places like the Smoky Mountains - although November is getting late in the year, and you will start having the possibility of winter weather, especially if you are traveling near the end of the month.

    Any other specific places that you've found interesting? Is it possible for you to fly into another city, or take an internal flight from Miami to elsewhere in the country? That would seem like it might open up a lot more options closer to what I think you might want.
    Hi Michael,

    Thank very much for your quick reply and warm welcome. You are correct to state Miami is a strange spot to start a road trip indeed. Reason is because my all airplanes from my island only go to Miami. I did not know Big Bend would be so far away, because according to googlemaps it would be a 8 hour drive to get there if you drive it in one shot. Perhaps we are not talking about the same spot? I am talking about area Panacea, FL. According to googlemaps the Great Smokey Mountains is even further then the Big Bend.

    You are right to state I might get winter weather. I need to be back on the November 13th if that makes any difference? Other places I find interesting I find hard to say I noticed there is very little in the state of Florida. Perhaps there are alternatives that I don't know about. Flying to other placing is sadly enough not possible because of the budget I have. I'll save the flying for the next road trip I am planning.

    My wish seems to be quite complex, but I hope something in range of what I would like to do is possible. Perhaps I would be surprised with things I did not think of or could not find. Otherwise I will have to adjust my wishes.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Keeping It Reasonable

    There is a very understandable tenancy for people to overestimate how far they can get in their first RoadTrips and/or how much they'll enjoy being behind the wheel rather than experiencing and enjoying the sights along the way. That seems to be the case here, as it would take almost the entire week you have available to you just to make the drive to Big Bend National Park and back to Miami. In addition, most of the drive across Texas would not really fulfill your stated desire to see hills and water.

    A better choice, I think, would be to loop trough some of the southeastern states while not trying to rack up so many miles. Something like a loop up the west coast of Florida and into the southern reaches of the Appalachians and then over to east so that you can return to Miami via the Atlantic coast (or the other way around.) Such a loop could take you to the Everglades, the Gulf Coast (say Cedar Key), Atlanta, the Great Smoky Mountains, Charleston, Cumberland Island, Okefenokee Swamp, and Cape Kennedy. And you can get to all those places in only a few more miles than a one-way drive to Big Bend, leaving you time to actually visit them.

    AZBuck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    209

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lerac
    I did not know Big Bend would be so far away, because according to googlemaps it would be a 8 hour drive to get there if you drive it in one shot. Perhaps we are not talking about the same spot? I am talking about area Panacea, FL.
    The area you are talking about is known as the Big Bend of Florida,


    Full Article at Wikipedia

    not Big Bend National Park in Texas, which is the first place I thought of when I read “Big Bend”.

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    There is a very understandable tenancy for people to overestimate how far they can get in their first RoadTrips and/or how much they'll enjoy being behind the wheel rather than experiencing and enjoying the sights along the way. That seems to be the case here, as it would take almost the entire week you have available to you just to make the drive to Big Bend National Park and back to Miami. In addition, most of the drive across Texas would not really fulfill your stated desire to see hills and water.

    A better choice, I think, would be to loop trough some of the southeastern states while not trying to rack up so many miles. Something like a loop up the west coast of Florida and into the southern reaches of the Appalachians and then over to east so that you can return to Miami via the Atlantic coast (or the other way around.) Such a loop could take you to the Everglades, the Gulf Coast (say Cedar Key), Atlanta, the Great Smoky Mountains, Charleston, Cumberland Island, Okefenokee Swamp, and Cape Kennedy. And you can get to all those places in only a few more miles than a one-way drive to Big Bend, leaving you time to actually visit them.

    AZBuck
    AZBuck thank you for your great advice. You would be very much right that I would be overestimating how much I could drive if I would go to "Big Bend National Park" in Texas. Perhaps I was not very clear of what location I was talking about. I believe the name "Big Bend" is very confusing. Since I am not very well known with the names and places in US, I could be unclear. I am very sorry if I was unclear.

    To be more specific I was talking about the big green area right next to Tallahassee also known as "Big Bend Scenic Byway" where route 319 is. I think you are talking about the Big Bend in Texas and I am talking about the Big Bend (Scenic Route) in Florida. I also do not think I could make it to Texas and back in just one week.

    I love your idea of going to the "Great Smokey Mountains", like also Michael posted, and "Appalachians". I was afraid this already would be to far away but it seems to be possible to go there without killing myself driving. Your route description look very interesting and I would like to take a closer look at it.

    I was already thinking about going up from the west coast of Florida and then at a certain point (after visiting for example "Great Smokey Mountains") back to the East coast of Florida and back to Miami. The south coast of Florida does interest me less but I am not excluding it completely because perhaps people here can convince me it would be a real deal breaker not going there. A swamp with alligators are less interesting for me then a mountain for instance. Visiting small towns, go to local baseball or football game, historic place or scenic routes avoiding toll routes are what I would love to see and doing some walking etc.... Of course visiting a big city could be fun also depending on what the city has to offer. I don't know I am clear enough but I just would like to see something different then most tourists visiting theme parks would see. That is also the reason I am doing a road trip. It would like to make it our own personal experience, having lots of fun driving towards a goal and back.

    I am happy to read that the "Great Smokey Mountains" do not seem to be out of reach. I do wonder if it is a good time since the winter is coming to go and drive over there. I have no idea how safe it is. Perhaps someone could inform me what would be a great route to drive more or less. Perhaps along the route there are things I could do or see that I don't know about.

    Thank you so much for your input already. Any advice or tips are welcome at this point. Tank you for taking the time helping me with my first experience.

  7. Default

    Howard, you are completely right, it is my mistake of not being clear enough. I also tried to clarify this indeed. Thank your for your correction. I stand corrected :)
    Last edited by lerac; 08-22-2013 at 06:59 PM. Reason: forgot name

  8. Default

    Hi all,

    Past few days I have been looking around on the web what to do and what route too take. I think I a m getting lost a little bit this way. Noticed also I could not find many things to do with my strict wishes, so I am lowering the bar and I am now open for any suggestions. Planning a route is one thing but finding things to do along the route is even harder. So I was thinking about turning the thing around. Instead of planning a route find things that are great to do along the route, find things that are great to do in Florida and neighboring states and create the route based on the things I would like to do.

    That was a great idea but now I am lost in the options of course and this is where your help would be very much appreciated. Perhaps I can get a couple of suggestions of things I really should visit or see in Florida or neighboring states (would love something outside Florida also). It could be the biggest shopping mall ever or perhaps Kennedy Space Center as suggested before. Although amusement parks do not have my first interest, perhaps I am missing out on something that I don't know about even if it is a amusement park. Going to diner show or comedy show sound also like fun. I am just having a hard time pin pointing the places to go to and combine this with the road trip. Keep in mind I love some nice scenery while driving and see mountains but if this means a long boring trip without anything to do it could become boring I think.

    Hope I am not confusing everybody with this too much. Just was wondering if people could give me some good suggestions. First couple of days I will be shopping in Miami so doing something in Miami the fourth day does not have my preference unless it is a too good to miss opportunity.

    Your help would be very much appreciated.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    The Orlando area in Florida is full of theme parks. Disney is probably the most well-known, with four parks, two water parks and the Downtown Disney area as well. Many people feel that the Disney parks are special, that they set the standards for the rest of the parks to follow, and I happen to be one person who feels that way. You could spend a day at every Disney theme park and not see everything.

    The other theme parks in Orlando include Universal Studios' Orlando, Universal Studios Islands of Adventure, Sea World, and a couple of smaller ones. Medieval Times, which is a dinner and a show, is in Kissimmee (close to Orlando).

    As you have found out, you can plan a road trip in one of two ways: use a route and see what's along it, or find out what's to see and plan your route around it. Sometimes, a road trip is a combination of the two (it is for us).

    Probably your first couple of decisions to make, regarding your trip, involve the driving itself. Do you want to drive a longer way to see something that is of interest? Or, given the 7 days, do you want to stay closer to the Miami "base" and see what Florida has to offer? It's your trip....


    Donna

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    The Orlando area in Florida is full of theme parks. Disney is probably the most well-known, with four parks, two water parks and the Downtown Disney area as well. Many people feel that the Disney parks are special, that they set the standards for the rest of the parks to follow, and I happen to be one person who feels that way. You could spend a day at every Disney theme park and not see everything.

    The other theme parks in Orlando include Universal Studios' Orlando, Universal Studios Islands of Adventure, Sea World, and a couple of smaller ones. Medieval Times, which is a dinner and a show, is in Kissimmee (close to Orlando).

    As you have found out, you can plan a road trip in one of two ways: use a route and see what's along it, or find out what's to see and plan your route around it. Sometimes, a road trip is a combination of the two (it is for us).

    Probably your first couple of decisions to make, regarding your trip, involve the driving itself. Do you want to drive a longer way to see something that is of interest? Or, given the 7 days, do you want to stay closer to the Miami "base" and see what Florida has to offer? It's your trip....


    Donna
    Hi Donna,

    Thank you very much for your input. Indeed the Orlando area is full of theme parks and things to do. In the past I already visited Universal Studio's and Wet n' Wild. Been doing some elaborate investigations and came up with several idea's.

    If I would make a decision regarding my trip I would pick the option of drive a longer way to see something that is of interest. I prefer not to stay close to "Miami Base". As a matter affect I will be going outside the state of Florida also.

    At this moment I selected a few things in a list that are possible driving upwards towards Smokey Mountains. Things like:
    - Bike tour
    - Aquarium
    - CNN tour
    - Butterfly Rainforest
    - Drive Inn Movie
    - Horse back riding
    - Airboat ride
    - Perhaps theme park but still in doubt of this

    I found a lot more but these are just examples of things I like to do. The drive Inn movie and CNN tour are my favorites up till now. I seem to get the hang of it and getting to know where and how to look. In one screen googlemaps and in the other websites with things to do in Florida and the states around it, but perhaps people here have more suggestions.

    If I would give people advice on finding stuff to plan a road trip, it would be look on googlemaps for the biggest cities or towns and than google for things to do in that city. Giving you great idea's. Once you find things that are fun to do you can start looking the for the best or cheapest one or of course or the ones that are on the route you would like to drive. Still got some work to do, although I think planning the route would not be so hard after I know the things I would like to do. Keeping in mind how time I will can or willing to drive will be the hardest. Also planning of having a backup plan in case of unforeseen circumstances like rain or something else. This I will do once I planned the route and things to do.

    Seems I have a lot of work ahead of me. Of course I am still open for any suggestions fellow roadtripamirica.com members could give me.

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