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  1. Default Christmas Trip NY to Key West

    Hi, I need some help actually alot of help in planning our trip from Woodside, NY to Key West for Christmas. We are planning on leaving the 23rd Dec arriving in Key West in time for Christmas dinner and then being home for Jan 2nd/3rd. I mapquested it and its 1440 Miles around 23 hours of driving. There are 2 of us going so we can split the drive and long hauls are ok with us both as we recently went from NY to Cleveland there and back in 2 days, which was 16 hours and 1000 miles. We where thinking of staying overnight in Savannah as I've heard its really pretty and then continuing on the next day. What is the best route to take, i'm nervous about weather conditions also as it is winter time and peak travel time with people travelling home for Christmas so any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default not likely

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Despite what a computer program that doesn't have to consider real world conditions will tell you, there is no chance that you will complete this trip in 23 hours.

    Once you factor in stops for food and fuel, and possible weather delays, if you make it in under 26-27 hours you'll be doing expectionally well. Also don't discount the fact that you'll be driving during the christmas travel rush along the busiest travel corridors in the US, and its almost certain that you'll see some traffic delays.

    In any case, trying to do this in 2 days is really too much. New York to Cleveland is 450 miles, so doing that one way in a day is relatively easy. Driving to Savannah in one day would be more than 800 miles, so you'd have to drive almost as far in one day as you did in 2 on your last trip. Anyone who has driven that kind of distance on one day knows that it is very tough, tiring, and doesn't leave you with much energy left in the tank for another long hard day of driving.

    I'd be looking at making it to about Fayetteville, NC on day one, spend a second night somewhere in the Space Coast/Port St. Lucie areas, and finish up your trip to Key West on Christmas morning.

    I'm sure your family would much rather see you arrive a little later in the day, after a safe trip where you've gotten enough rest, then arriving late on christmas eve where you are exhausted and have put your own safety at risk by trying to do too much.

  3. #3

    Default That's tough sledding

    Hello Jenniferduffy,

    There's consensus here that over something like 500-600 miles/day represents "a bridge too far" and it's unwise/unsafe to plan materially more distant daily travel.

    I assume your point of departure is Woodside, Queens, and not the Woodside, NY out in Erie Co, correct?

    Aside from the distances involved, one must expect Dec 23rd to be a travel day of the highest possible congestion/volume for every moment of the day excepting possibly something like midnight to 3 am or so. I must think the chances of getting below Washington, DC early enough in the day to avoid much of the Northeast Corridor rush is very close to zero.

    Having driven from my NC home to Florida in recent times, and having relatives who regularly visit their son at Ft Stewart, GA (Savannah area) I can assure you you're not finished with heavy traffic once you clear DC, either. In fact, I would expect a typical I-95 Holiday horror show every step of the way: 80 mph-50mph-30mph-stopped dead in the water, thence 80mph again. Repeat all the way from DC through Florida.

    RoadTripping is wonderful, as are the Holidays in the Keys. Your trip is likely to be longer in time and rather more difficult than you may be expecting. Allowing the third day is a must in my view.


  4. Default Advice Appreciated

    Thanks Foy and Midwest Michael for the advice. I'm not from here although so I wasn't sure what really to expect. After reading both your advices I was thinking of doing the following:

    Leave early Dec 22nd aiming for Rocky Mt or thereabouts 463 miles

    Dec 23rd Rocky Mt to Jacksonville 490 miles

    Dec 24th Jacksonville to Key West 494 miles

    According to Yahoo Maps that's in and around the 500 Miles a day split between 2 drivers. As we are not meeting anyone and not stuck to deadlines unless our own if we find it is to tiring we can always take an extra day.

    Do you think this is more possible and is there a better route other than the I-95. What you think??

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Makes Much More Sense

    Thank you for heeding the advice you've been given. You now have a much safer, and much more enjoyable, trip ahead of you. Be sure to put some of your new found time to good use on the road and check out some of the many parks and other sites near your route. Speaking of which, an alternative to I-95 which only adds a couple of hundred miles to your trip would be to head west from New York on I-78 and then down I-81 to southwest Virginia, then south on I-77 to Columbia, SC and finally use I-26 to rejoin I-95. That should help you avoid some of the worst traffic around Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington and Richmond.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If you take Buck's route, your first stop would be in the Roanoke - Blacksburg - Wytheville VA area, and you should still be able to make Jacksonville the second night. This route actually adds only about 120 miles. I'd recommend it - both from a traffic standpoint and the scenery is better in my opinion.

  7. #7

    Default Distance vs congestion, and weather

    While I am generally not in favor of adding material distance to avoid weather, I'll do it in a New York minute to avoid congestion, especially such as that likely to be experienced on I-95 during the Holidays. I heartily second (third?) the recommendation to swing west as described herein.

    The sole caveat to that advice is, in fact, weather. Excepting the rare snow-bearing coastal low (nor'easters such as the one developing today, in fact), the I-95 corridor is considerably lower in elevation than I-81 and I-77 in VA and NC and is rather less likely to see snow/ice. While I would not stress about it, I'd be looking at up-to-the-minute forecasts for the I-78/81/77 section of the alternate route and I'd recognize the segment from about Lexington, VA (at the upper end of the Shenandoah Valley) to about Statesville, NC (along I-77) traverses the either a higher section of the Valley and Ridge, the Blue Ridge itself, or the Foothills, and snow/ice is somewhat more likely there. I'd also be aware of the "escape routes" should that occur. Escape routes would include jumping over to I-70 and skirting west of the Baltimore/DC area to US 29, or jumping directly to US 29 anywhere from northern Virginia on south to Roanoke, and US 220 south from Roanoke to Greensboro, NC. I think that way you mitigate weather risks, have a rather less hectic trip, and enjoy some really great scenery in VA and NC (and PA and MD, for that matter).

    Oh, and I'd recommend getting the earliest possible starts. If you really get out quickly (say, on the road by 6-6:30 am, at first light, you'll have a good 2-3 hours of milder traffic to deal with, leaving NYC excepted.

    Have fun planning and taking your RoadTrip!


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    The Great Midwest, Illinois to be precise

    Default Get Some Carolina BBQ

    Going through North Carolina, if you see a bbq place, pull over and check it out.

    Be careful, I-95 can get quite crowded over the holidays.

    The 100 miles of US-1 in the Keys is the longest 100 miles I've ever driven. There is so much to see, even without stopping, you'll arrive in Key West quite tired.

    You also might want to stop in Islamorada and look around. We especially like the Lorelei with the wonderful sunsets.

  9. Default Again many thanks

    Sincerest thanks for all your advice, I am really looking forward to the trip now. We are planning on stopping on Islamorada even if its only for a night as we are hoping to go to the Everglades, this is going to be a Christmas to remember. If anyone has any recommendations of must stop locations, restaurants etc i'd welcome it.

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