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  1. Default Montreal to Orlando - Itinerary Help

    Hello All,

    We're driving down to Orlando at the end of April and I admittedly know nothing about what I'm getting into.
    I've drafted an itinerary but I don't know if the places I'm stopping are the best/safest choices.

    We've decided the best way to factor in some inevitable delays (as we have a 2 year old & a 4 month old) we will take 4 days to drive down.
    I've split each leg into ~6 hours of driving:

    Leg 1: Montreal to Scranton, PA
    Leg 2: Scranton to Roanoke, VA
    Leg 3: Roanoke to Savannah, GA
    Leg 4: Savannah to Orlando, FL

    The return is where I need a little more help due to budget.

    Leg 1: Orlando to Charleston, SC*
    Leg 2: Charleston* to Richmond, VA
    Leg 3: Richmond to New York, NY
    Leg 4: New York to Montreal

    *We wanted to stay an extra night in NYC to have a full day to do a little sightseeing but Charleston is really eating into the budget.

    #1 Did I do any good in planning the trip? If not, what should I change?
    #2 If yes, where is a good substitute to stop instead of Charleston?
    I'd like somewhere with a nice southern style restaurant that's not too far out of our way & a safe place for ignorant vacationers.
    I initially chose Charleston as it's a vacation destination and I've heard it's a nice place but the same is said of Savannah; which is much
    more affordable.
    #3 If I can afford an hour is there anything you recommend I check out at an of the stops?
    Especially Savannah as we will be leaving later in the day as it's the shortest leg of the journey.

  2. #2

    Default

    No need to stay in Charleston proper. Consider staying in one of the suburban communities such as Summerville or Goose Creek, both of which will free you of traffic congestion upon your departure. There is a large public parking garage in the old town section of Charleston. Enjoy the dining in this walking town.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,325

    Default Some Hopefuylly Useful Suggestions

    Well first of all let me commend you on you planning to only try to drive roughly 400 miles each day. That will leave plenty of time for stops along the way to tend to your infant and let your toddler get some fresh air and exercise. Besides those stops along the major highways, you might also want to consider some other scenic and enjoyable routes between the Northeast and Florida.

    For now, I'll assume that you're looking at the most direct Interstate routing between your stated stopping points. But even then there are a couple of spots where mapping routines won't necessarily be sending you the 'best' way. One of those is on your first leg down to Scranton. The standard routing would be down I-87 to Newburgh NY and then I-84 west to the Scranton area, using I-380 to make the connection to I-81 south. Instead you should look at leaving I-87 at Albany, using I-90 to connect to I-88, and taking that down to I-81 at Binghamton. This is quite scenic and bypasses a good portion of I-87 which is a toll road.

    As landmariner pointed out, there are less expensive alternatives to Charleston, particularly since it is not on the direct route home, requiring a modest detour off I-95 northbound using US-17 into the city and I-26 out. But if you go into the city in the afternoon and see what you want, e.g. Patriot's Point and Fort Sumter (reached by ferry), or the historic city market, or one of the old plantations along the Ashley River Road, then North Charleston or Summerville should offer more affordable lodging options nearby. In Savannah, I'd recommend that you stroll around some of the squares around which the city is built and for which it is justly famous.

    As for good southern food, I wish I could remember the name of the place my wife and I ate outside Charleston, but it was literally a restaurant that only operated one day a week in a little crossroads town. It had some of the best barbecued pork we've ever had. But we only heard about it by word of mouth. There are many such hole-in-the-wall eateries throughout the south, but I'd say Savannah and Charleston, where you'll have a chance to get off the Interstate, for a bit are your best bet of finding something.

    AZBuck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    12,990

    Default

    As far as good southern food, you'd be hard pressed to find better than the soul food at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room in Savannah. It requires some time, but it is worth it!

  5. Default Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    I'll assume that you're looking at the most direct Interstate routing between your stated stopping points. But even then there are a couple of spots where mapping routines won't necessarily be sending you the 'best' way. One of those is on your first leg down to Scranton. The standard routing would be down I-87 to Newburgh NY and then I-84 west to the Scranton area, using I-380 to make the connection to I-81 south. Instead you should look at leaving I-87 at Albany, using I-90 to connect to I-88, and taking that down to I-81 at Binghamton. This is quite scenic and bypasses a good portion of I-87 which is a toll road.
    Thanks for the help and suggestions; I am glad to see no one has said the itinerary needs any major changes.
    I was actually planning to get to Scranton via the 401 west from Montréal then take the I-81S straight down.
    Do you advise against that?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,325

    Default Thanks Yourself

    I'm not too old a dog to learn new tricks and I actually like your routing to Scranton better than either of the two I mentioned. All three are right around 400 miles/6 hours (plus stops) but the routing up the St. Lawrence and then down through central New York actually is at least as scenic as the other two, an has a couple of other advantages as well. First there are no tolls. Also the border crossing isn't as busy as the A-15/I-87 one. Still it averages about 400,000 cars/day, so don't be surprised at a bit of a delay. And finally, the only large metropolitan area is Syracuse (which you can bypass using I-481 around the city to the east.

    AZBuck

  7. Default

    Thanks for the suggestions & it's an honor hearing you like my route better.
    Seeing the knowledge you've imparted to other on this site, it is high praise.
    Leaving tomorrow, starting to feel the anxiety of "the unknown".

    Thanks again.

  8. Default

    I can confirm the I-81 is a great route!
    Lovely scenery and barely any traffic.
    The border crossing at 1000 islands was empty & other than going through Charlotte & Jacksonville the entire drive was very pleasent.
    The I-81S & I-77S down from Salem was by far my favourite stretch; the mountains were gorgeous! Going to forget about Richmond & New York and use the same route going north.

    I definitely recommend this route to all snowbirds and other Florida bound Road-trippers from the Toronto-Montreal corridor!!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,325

    Default Thanks Again

    Thanks for the report and recommendation. Yes, I-81 down through the Great Valley in particular is one of our favorite Interstates (I-70 over the San Rafael Swell is another).

    BTW - I meant to ask you - Are you any relation to the physicist/keyboardist?

    AZBuck

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,505

    Default

    Here's another vote for the Great Valley route being a favorite. We took it between I-40 and I-80, except for the 105 miles of Skyline Drive in VA, and really enjoyed I-81. Hubby had driven it when he drove commercially, and always liked it when his deliveries would take him via that stretch of freeway. San Rafael Swell and the Glenwood Canyon areas of I-70 are still our favorite stretch of freeway (but not one that hubby's company allowed them to drive, because of the elevation and the fuel usage, unless they had a real need.)


    Donna

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