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  1. Default Moving trip: Cambridge (MA) to Orlando (FL), end of Nov.


    We are trying to plan a reasonable (and enjoyable as possible) road trip from the winter gloom of Cambridge, MA, to the sunny brightness of Orlando, FL.
    Our constraints are as follows:
    * Must leave last week of Nov. (probably around Nov. 21-23).
    * One baby (~10 months) in tow, so probably no more than 5 hours of driving total each day.
    * Max. duration should be no more than 4-5 days.
    * Would like to avoid Thanksgiving traffic (as much as possible).
    * No real limitation on $$ spent.
    * We will drive our own car (Nissan Sentra).

    * Would like to see some nice sites/attractions/towns along the road. We don't mind including small detours for that purpose. We haven't visited the states along the way before, so no specific preconceived preference.
    * Preferred routes, considering our time limitations, weather, etc. We're not interested in just blazing through (we still debate with the alternative of simply taking a flight and shipping the car).

    Thank you,


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    If you are going to limit yourself to driving no more than 5 hours a day, it's going to take you 4 to 5 days just taking the shortest route via Interstate highways.

    However, I would like to suggest an alternate to that, which is simply slogging your way down I-95 all the way, which can be a miserable drive all the way from Boston to Richmond. It would also eliminate the majority of the toll roads while only adding just over 100 miles to the trip and will be considerably more scenic. It will also have less heavy traffic.

    Take the Mass Pike to Sturbridge, then I-84 to Scranton, PA. Then take I-81 to Wytheville, VA, then I-77 to I-95. That will take you to I-4 to get to Orlando. My software says that this will have you on the road driving a total of 23 to 24 hours. You could certainly look for attractions along this route to get you off the road for a change of pace - nothing says that if you only want to drive 5 hours you have to leave at 9am and be off the road for the day at 2pm.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Reasonable and Enjoyable It Is, Then

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Inasmuch as you are going to be traveling in the week before Thanksgiving, one of the heaviest traffic times of the year, you certainly want to avoid some of the most traffic-clogged roads in the country. That would include the BosWash Corridor, basically I-95 through New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington. Fortunately you can do that and still keep to your limit of four to five hours of driving a day for four to five days. The trick is to head inland just a bit rather than hugging the coast. Start by taking the Mass Pike to Sturbridge and then getting on I-84. Stay on I-84 all the way to Scranton PA where you'll get on I-81 south to Wytheville VA and then use I-77 to Columbia SC and I-26 to finally rejoin I-95. At Daytona Beach get on I-4 to complete your journey.

    To make the trek in four days, you'd need to drive for a little over five hours a day. Stops for food, fuel and bathroom breaks would be extra. overnight stops would be around New Castle PA, Roanoke VA, and the I-26/I-95 junction. If you take five days, you only have to do a little over four hours of driving a day and overnights would be roughly: Milford PA, Winchester VA, Statesville NC, and Savannah GA. However you decide to go and however long you decide to take, you can give your child some fresh air and time out of the car by stopping at small parks near the highway such as these.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 10-18-2014 at 07:42 AM.

  4. Default

    Great suggestion, thank you glc and AZBuck!
    We were thinking about more inland places, but had no idea what would work best.

    What is your input about conditions weather-wise? We don't have a lot of experience with driving in more harsh winter conditions.

    Also, is the suggested route scenic (to a certain degree at least)?

    oh, and thanks for the parks list AZBuck - Great compilation.

    May return in a bit with a few more questions.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default I-84 and I-81

    These are two of the more scenic Interstates in the northeast. Once you clear Connecticut (Hartford, Waterbury, and Danbury) I-84 traverses the Hudson Valley and Poconos, while I-81 first crosses several valleys of the Appalachians before settling in to follow the Great Valley with the Appalachians off to your right (southbound) and the Blue Ridge off to your left. I'm a less familiar with I-77, but it runs on the Piedmont Plateau through woodlands and farming country down to Columbia before I-26 and I-95 finish up your trip on the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Once you get past Danbury, the only major metropolitan areas you'll have to worry about are Charlotte NC, Columbia SC and Jacksonville Fl - not bad for a drive of that length.

    It is far too early to predict what kind of weather you will actually encounter. Obviously temperatures should warm up as you head south, and November is a bit early in the fall/winter season to expect snow, even in Rhode Island and Connecticut. Still, you could be unfortunate enough to experience an early season storm. The best way to deal with any such eventuality is to watch the weather forecasts carefully starting three to four days before your departure. If it looks like bad weather is coming, you have the option of not driving while it is in progress (a day at most) and making the drive in four days instead of five. You can generally change, even cancel, motel reservations without penalty up to 24 hours before you're due to check in. Being flexible is your best defense against unsafe winter driving.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default A little tweak

    Whereas I would wholeheartedly agree with the route outlined above, there is a section of I-81 by Wilkes-Barre PA which is heavily congested and still has a lot of construction. I have found that taking I-84 to I-380 before you get to Scranton, and then I-80 to I-81 a good alternative. It adds but a few miles.

    I agree with Buck I-81 and I-84 are quite pleasant interstates to drive, with an interesting variety of scenery.


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