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  1. Default Florida or Bust (from Montreal)

    Hi there,

    I hope some experts can weigh-in and give me some suggestions for planning my route.

    I'm a mom of three girls (22, 19, 15) and a dog (11). Over the years we've road tripped a fair bit across Canada, and once down to Myrtle Beach, but I've never taken them on the Great Canadian Road Trip to Florida. This is our moment. I've taken the I-75 from Toronto many times as a kid, but not as a "mature" adult, and never from Toronto.

    So, we have rented a vanlife van that sleeps four and we leave Montreal on May 3rd to arrive in Jensen Beach Florida on May 5th. We are hoping to sleep in the van (very comfy) and stop along the way for two nights. I'd love to avoid NYC, Washington etc. even if it adds a few hours. We would like as scenic and relaxed a trip as possible.

    My questions are simple. What route would you suggest there and back. Where should we stop over (so that we front load the trip a little). Do you have suggestions where we could camp/park our van for those two nights.

    Thanks very much for any help you can offer.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,225

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Avoiding the NYC-DC corridor is always a good idea, and the best way to do that, generally speaking is to head for I-81. In your case, I'd get on I-81 right at the US border (via ON-401) and take it all the way to Southern Virginia. I-77/I-26 will take you through the Carolinas to I-95 down to Florida.

    For stopping points, I'd be looking at southern Pennsylvania, someplace around Chambersburg, and then again near Orangeburg, South Carolina. Because the distance you're looking at is pretty much 3 full days, you really can't front load the trip too much more than that, without having to push the limits of safety.

  3. Default

    Hi again,

    This was exactly the information I was looking for.

    Thank you kindly for sharing your expertise!

  4. Default

    Are you able to suggest some stops on the way back, so once again the driving is heaviest on the first day?

    Thank you kindly.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,433

    Default Short Stops

    Some time ago we put together lists of places along the Interstates (including I-81) where you can get off the highway for very little cost in miles, time or money. They would be just the sort of stops that you're looking for to share some outdoor time with your girls, and give the dog a chance to stretch its legs as well. If you want to stick to a three-day each way schedule, you really don't have time for large detours or major stops.

    AZBuck

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,225

    Default

    As noted, you're looking at 3 pretty full days, so your stops really wouldn't be too different going back, even if you try to "front load" the miles. I'd say the north edge of Columbia, SC and Harrisburg PA would be your best bet.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,433

    Default Second That

    While you might be able to get a little bit farther than Columbia on the first day, you really can't get much farther than that. There is a surprising lack of motels near the major interchanges between Columbia and Rock Hill, Trying to go all the way to Rock Hill would push you to 600 miles which is too much on the first day of a multi-day RoadTrip. Also, pushing farther north on the first day would just set you up to have to drive through Charlotte NC the next morning at rush hour. Splitting up the remaining miles roughly equally would put your second overnight stop on your return trip around Harrisburg PA.

    AZBuck

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,687

    Default

    OK, so I'm confused. Are you looking for places to stay overnight and stay in your van rental, or in a motel?

    If you're looking to stay in your van, then you might like to look for state park campgrounds that are near to the cities mentioned as overnight possibilities. The problem, however, is that these are rarely "right next to the freeway" (81). Usually, you have to go 10-20 miles off the highway.

    In the Chambersburg, PA area, you could head east on US-30, about 15 miles, over to the Caledonia State Park. It's beautiful up there! Orangeburg isn't quite so easy. There isn't really much until Colleton State Park south of St George, SC, about 40+ miles southeast of Orangeburg.


    Donna

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