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  1. Default Key West-Chicago in 2 days

    Need to get to Chicago in 2 max 3 days. Are the smoky mountains worth driving through or to dangerous.
    Will drive by myself. How should I split the trip if i drive through the mountains in 2 days or in 3 days? Will be driving with SUV.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    Key West to Chicago will likely be a 3-day= drive. Since it is 1530+ miles, with the first 100+ miles over a 2-lane highway, that's more than we ever recommend for a 2-day drive (especially alone).

    Your first night could be Gainesville, FL, at just under 500 miles. That would give you time to ramble along in the Keys. Your next stop, at just under 600 miles, would be in Nashville. Nashville to Chicago would also be just under 500 miles. This assumes you are using I-75 to I-24 to I-57.

    Smoky Mountains aren't dangerous, but if you are trying to do them on a tight schedule, they're a bit out of the way.


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Too much for 2 days already.

    Just to emphasis the point made by Donna, this is a trip that will require a minimum 2 overnight stops before even considering major sightseeing detours.

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

    Default A Day Just to Get Out of Florida

    This is at least a three day drive no matter how you slice it. But that being said, the Great Smoky Mountains aren't that big a detour, and going through them will make the overall route a bit more enjoyable as well. Your first day will be spent just getting up to northern Florida (550 miles from Key West!) via US-1, FL-821, I-95, the Florida Turnpike, and I-75. Plan on spending your first night somewhere around the junction of I-75 and I-10.

    The second day would see you continuing up I-75 to Atlanta where you'd take the I-285 beltway around the east side of the city to I-85, than branch off on I-985 at Suwanee. I-985 becomes US-23 which you'd follow all the way up to Dillsboro NC and US-441 through Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Sevierville and a short stretch on TN-66 to hook up with I-40. Actually your second overnight should be roughly in this area, so you should be in good shape to enjoy sunrise, sunset, or both in the mountains.

    Your final day would see you use I-40/I-640 to rejoin I-75 up to Lexington KY, use I-64 for a jog over to Louisville, and finish up on I-65 into the Chicago area. Even with three days, you'll have to keep up a steady pace in order to make the trip. You luck out in that the Smokies fall so neatly at your second overnight stay when you should be out of the car and decompressing anyway. That lets you space out your three driving days evenly and makes the best use of your time.

    AZBuck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Bypass the Tpk through Miami.

    Pick up the Turnpike at Florida City and follow the Homestead Ext to I-75. This will make sure you bypass the Miami metropolitan area. The Sawgrass Expressway back onto the FL - Ronald Reagan - turnpike.

    Though my preference through this region is US 441.

    Lifey

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    Welcome to RTA!

    Key West to Chicago will likely be a 3-day= drive. Since it is 1530+ miles, with the first 100+ miles over a 2-lane highway, that's more than we ever recommend for a 2-day drive (especially alone).

    Your first night could be Gainesville, FL, at just under 500 miles. That would give you time to ramble along in the Keys. Your next stop, at just under 600 miles, would be in Nashville. Nashville to Chicago would also be just under 500 miles. This assumes you are using I-75 to I-24 to I-57.

    Smoky Mountains aren't dangerous, but if you are trying to do them on a tight schedule, they're a bit out of the way.


    Donna
    Thank you for the advice!

    Pascal

  7. Default

    AZBuck,

    Thank you very much. I will most probably go with that route. any hotels you can recommend in the smoky mountains?

    Pascal

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default The RTA Search Tool

    First of all, I'd probably make a reservation in Sevierville TN for that second night. That would let me spend the evening in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and then after sunset I could continue on a short way and bed down for the night without worrying about finding a place with a vacancy. Using the RoadTrip America search tool (under the "Hotels and Cars" tab above) I found the Riverview Inn, which had everything I look for in a motel for a simple overnight while on the road: lots of reviews with an aggregate good rating, near or on the main road - in this case US-441, free WiFi, and a pretty decent price. Your requirements may vary, for example the Riverview does not offer free breakfast which I don't much care about, but that search tool is as good as any I've found anywhere else for finding what you're looking for.

    AZBuck

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