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  1. Default Road Trip from New Jersey to Florida

    Hi. I am planning a road trip with my husband and 14 year old daughter. We leave after our jobs on Friday July 7th around 5pm and need to be back home by Sunday July 23rd. I have recently been diagnosed with two auto immune diseases that will get worse in time with chronic pain and there are a few things I need to do before I can't do them anymore. Among my must-do's there are other things we want to see and do in states like GA, Carolinas..etc

    Must Do's:
    Universal to do the new half of Harry Potter
    Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg VA
    Daughter wants Georgia peaches but not sure what else to do in GA
    Washington DC to see the Capital, White House and visit the Smithsonian. I know, it's big the Smithsonian, so we shall choose the secton we want the most to see.

    Other things:
    Crazy road side attractions that come along the way.

    This is where I need help. How do I obtain this goal. My thinking is to drive all the way down to Florida first, I know I will have to stop half way in Carolina's so should get to FL by late Saturday the 8th. Visit Universal on the 9th and start driving back up on the 10th. Then hit all the other attractions. The problem is not knowing the distance between all I want to do in the amount of vacation time I have. I would love on the way back one day drive time, one day attraction time if possible.

    Again, I know it's crazy but can anyone help? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Let's start with the basics. "New Jersey" to Orlando is about 1100 miles, that's 2 full days on the road. There simply is no way that you can leave on Friday night and expect to safely get there on Saturday night. Professional drivers are limited by law from driving more than about 600 miles in a day, and any time spent sitting in a passenger seat counts the same as time in the drivers seat - so having 2 drivers does not help. Of course, that 600 miles assumes that the only thing you are doing is driving that day - it does not leave time for any extra roadside stops and it certainly does not mean you can work all day friday and expect to have the energy to get in the car and then "start the clock" and begin a full days worth of driving.

    If you attempted such a dangerous drive and did make it without hurting yourself or someone else, it wouldn't matter much anyway, because you would all be so exhausted when you arrive in Orlando that there is just no way you'd be in any position to enjoy a Theme Park the following day - and the fatigue will continue effecting you for days afterwards.

    Rather than racing down one way and then working your way back up, it would make far more sense to break up both drives anyway. If you can't leave until Friday night anyway, then perhaps DC would be a good first stop, since that is a reasonable distance away to travel in an evening. That would also potentially give you the option of taking different routes down and on the way back, and certainly is going to make it a lot easier to plan a trip where you are mostly driving one day, and mostly exploring the next.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    When I get to this point in trip-planning, I open a map, open Google Maps (for *distances only*, not for travel times!), and have a notebook. I sketch out each day, planning no more than 550 miles on one full day's worth of travel, less if we're going to stop someplace and look around for an hour or two. With this approach, I can start to see if we're trying to do too much in too little time, etc.

    MWMichael is correct in what he says, and his suggestion of stopping in DC for your first stop is just perfect. Do be aware that being a tourist in DC or in a theme park on a weekend means more crowds.

    The Smithsonian is actually many, many museums taking up blocks. Some will take an hour to see, and some have days worth of stuff to see. Among the more popular are the Air and Space Museum, the American History Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Art Gallery. Walking the National Mall takes time. Finding a place to park can be insane -- friends of mine recommended leaving your car at a Metro station in VA or MD and taking the Metro commuter train in, because the parking that you might find will either be very very short term or very very expensive. They also told me to allow a lot of time on the Beltway, as it is too often a parking lot with speed limit signs that mean nothing.



    Donna

  4. Default

    I agree..leave Friday night to DC then do some tourists things in DC on Saturday and Sunday. Then Monday drive to Busch Gardens VA since its only 3 hours from DC and spend Monday in Busch Gardens. Tuesday then drive down to Orlando Fl which is 11 hours away and either visit Universal on Wednesday or if we take our time to see some sights from VA to FL, we go to universal on Thursday..That is only the first week and still have a whole other week to drive around..

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default No, It's Not

    Quote Originally Posted by ladymychel
    ...then drive down to Orlando Fl which is 11 hours away...
    No. It's nearly 800 miles from the Historic Triangle of Virginia to Orlando. That's a full day and a half of driving. I realize that in the total fantasy world of computer-based routing, you will get 'estimates' of eleven to twelve hours for that, but such programs assume that: you'll always be driving at or above the speed limit; you'll never see traffic, construction, or a single stop light; you'll never have to stop for gas, or for food, or to change drivers, or to even go to the bathroom; and most importantly - you'll never get tired. None of those are going to happen. Michael told you earlier that "[p]rofessional drivers are limited by law from driving more than about 600 miles in a day". If they do the will lose their license because of how unsafe it is. You are not better than the professionals. You may not have a professional license to lose, but that doesn't mean you are less at risk for causing injury or worse to yourselves, your daughter, or anyone and everyone who will be forced to share the road wth you. We cannot emphasize this enough. You cannot safely drive from Virginia to Orlando in a single day.

    AZBuck

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default Seriously!

    I'm a bit baffled that after being told just how dangerous it is to try and get from NJ to Orlando in less than 2 full days that you would even consider driving 800 miles in a single day. The idea that you could make that drive in a single day, much less be in any shape to visit a theme park the following day is no better than your original plan.

    For that matter, driving "only 3 hours" and then visiting Busch gardens the same day is going to certainly limit the amount of time you'd actually have at that theme park.

    Your planning really seems to be going against everything you said you originally hoped to do with this trip, especially in regards to actually seeing things along the way, because you seem quite intent on getting to Florida faster than is possible. Wouldn't enjoying the drive in both directions​ make a whole lot more sense?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    If getting to Florida is the most important thing, then I'd plan 2 days to get there, on Saturday and Sunday. Harry Potter World will take a day, maybe two. Turn around, take a couple of days to drive to Norfolk. Spend 2 or 3 days seeing Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg. Drive to DC. Take two or three days in DC. DC to home can be a half day.

    You do have TIME on your side, but please use some of it to keep yourselves -- and others on the road -- safe.


    Donna

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