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  1. Default New Plan - Head South in October.

    OK - So we've ditched the plan to brave the mountains in an RV in October and instead thinking we'll fly into Miami, then drive to Orlando and from there make our way West as far as Dallas. Is it worth going via Jacksonville? We would have around 10-12 days and definitely want to go to New Orleans, was originally thinking of adding Nashville but now maybe will head along the Gulf Coast and then up to Shreveport. From Dallas I though we would fly to Phoenix, and drive to LA via Flagstaff, the Grand Canyon NP and Vegas (about one week.) We would be using hotel/motel accommodation.
    Last edited by OzzieZoe; 05-23-2015 at 06:27 PM. Reason: Added link to previous RoadTrip plans

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If you fly from Dallas to Phoenix, you will have both additional airfare and an additional one way drop charge for the second car. It's only a 2 day drive from Dallas to Flagstaff.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Florida and the Keys.

    If you are flying into Miami, do not miss going down to the Keys and Key West. It is a lovely drive on the Over the Sea Highway. (My daughter took part in a relay run from Key Largo to Key West only last weekend.) The Everglade NP is also a fabulous place. The tour on the Pelican from Flamingo takes you well the Everglades to see the bird life etc. The ranger should be able to tell you the schedule. There are also several boardwalks which can take you to within feet of alligators. Then there is their Pine Forest - tallest tree is almost five feet tall. And all the vultures, near where the accommodation used to be. That was all destroyed by hurricane Wilma.

    Going up the east coast brings you to Ft Pierce, where you will see some wonderful murals on The Arcade building. Further along is the Kennedy Space Centre. If you are interested in space, this is very worthwhile visiting. Allow at least a full day, though the tickets are for two days.... for a reason.

    From Miami, I would take I-95 to north of Ft Lauderdale, and from there north interchange US1 with A1A to around Ormond Beach. A1A is east of the intercoastal canal and goes along the coast with places for access to the ocean. At Ormond Beach take scenic route 40 to Ocala. From Ocala to Tallahassee take US27 and altUS27. This is a very pleasant drive on divided roads at almost freeway speeds and through some lovely small towns. If you are interested there is the Quilt Museum in/near Chiefland.

    Tallahassee west take US90 along the gulf coast to New Orleans. Once again, this is a divided road through some lovely places and along the beach for much of the way, although you won't be driving on the beach side going west.

    Do you have maps of Florida, etc.?

    If I were you, I would leave the Grand Canyon till next year, so you can book in well ahead, just like Yellowstone. Why not stop at Dallas. Qantas fly direct to and from Dallas. It may not seem like a long way, but there is just so much to see along the way.


  4. Default

    Thanks, that's great advice. It seems like there is so much to see in the south-east that we could easily spend the whole three weeks between Miami and Dallas and fly home from there. (Especially if we add a visit to the Keys and 3 days at Universal studios in Orlando for our Potter-obsessed 10 year old.)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default More of Florida and the Keys.

    Zoe, my daughter lives in Florida, hence I spend a lot of time down that way. I know the south west is spectacular, and have been there several times, but we often overlook the less spectacular, but equally interesting parts of the eastern States.

    If you have a good look at maps (if you have any) you will see that scenic routes are marked with dotted lines.

    When I travel I take my RACV membership with me. It gives me access to tourism information and free maps from the AAA. I also purchase a Rand McNally atlas every trip, and each night hilitght the roads on which I have travelled. Makes a great souvenir of the trip. On top of that I normally collect a State issued map which is usually free at visitor centres. It is great having all three, as each time I find something on one map, which is not on the others.

    If you check out this thread, it is the last time I went down the Keys at a leisurely pace. It is towards the end of the thread.

    One thing I did not mention above, which you may be able to do from Miami is a day excursion to Naples and back. If you take the Tiamiami Track one way and Alligator Alley the other.

    Along the track you will come through the Big Cypress National Preserve, the habitat of the last of the highly endangered Florida Panther. They run walking tours from the Visitor Centre, and I believe they occasionally see a panther. Along that road there are also commercial places which run air boat tours into the Everglades, but not into the NP.

    Along Alligator Alley there are rest areas with viewing platforms to see Alligators in the water. I have seen them along there from time to time.

    Yeah! Florida has a lot to offer!


  6. Default

    Are you still renting an RV? RV campsites in the Keys are booked months in advance. Bahia Honda, Curry Hammock and Long Key are all great Florida State Parks with RV sites that are close to or directly on the water, especially Long Key. I have RV camped at all three, and each has its own charm. Even if they are sold out, keep checking because there are always cancellations. Private RV campgrounds will charge over $100 per night, thus the popularity of the State Parks.

    DO NOT drive an RV into Key West unless you are a glutton for punishment. I speak from experience with a 31 foot rig. If you do, know exactly where you are going and where you are going to park.

    If you go to Key West, consider a day trip to Dry Tortugas National Park. It is a 70 mile trip on a 100 foot catamaran and includes fantastic snorkeling and a tour of Fort Jefferson. The adventurous dry camp several nights, which is a fantastic experience.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-24-2015 at 10:43 AM. Reason: Preferred URL format used herein

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I would highly suggest going the car/motel route, too. A lot of folks think that it's a budget-minded thing to do, but it isn't. By the time you pay for renting the rig (3x the cost of renting a car, usually), and then you still have to pay for your camping accommodations (often only a little cheaper than a motel) and the gasoline that the rig guzzles down (around 5-10 mpg), it's cheaper to use a rental car and a motel. The only way an RV would be less expensive is for two couples to split the cost, but by the end of the trip, you may not be friends any more.

    Your 10-year-old will love Harry Potter World, which is in Universal's Islands of Adventure. In October, the crowds will be lessened. You could enjoy both of Universal's parks in 2 days, and do something else with that 3rd day (such as Sea World Orlando, or any one of the many parks in DisneyWorld Orlando). My husband is a big Harry Potter fan, and while we were there before they expanded, our favorite attraction was the one inside Hogwarts Castle, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. HE really loved the Dragon Challenge, an upside down rollercoaster, but I detested it. Now they've expanded so that you almost have to buy the 2-park pass if you want to ride Hogwarts Express between Hogsmeade (the older section in Islands of Adventure) and Diagon Alley (in Universal Studios). BTW, your daughter may want to taste both Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice. They do both in the Hogsmeade area, at a cart or at Three Broomsticks (a good place to catch a meal).


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default A good spotter is very important in Key West

    Quote Originally Posted by travelingman View Post
    DO NOT drive an RV into Key West unless you are a glutton for punishment. I speak from experience with a 31 foot rig. If you do, know exactly where you are going and where you are going to park.
    I, too have driven RVs in excess of 32-feet in the Keys -and Key West. There are more cramped and difficult places to drive such vehicles in the USA -- and while I agree that driving in Key West can be challenging -- it's really not THAT bad. Just gotta be mellow. The most challenging aspect is just getting into some of the RV "parking" spots found in the campgrounds. And once you are there -- it is an incredible walking area. The one thing that is pretty essential is having a good spotter to help you park your vehicle.

    And, yes, the state parks in Florida are really great.


  9. Default

    Thanks everyone - that's great advice. We are definitely NOT going to hire an RV for Florida to Texas. Just stick to motels and hotels. I'm hoping that there will be vacancies at that time of year so we can be fairly flexible and take each day as it comes. We love snorkeling so will definitely look into Dry Tortugas National Park. I am starting to get quite excited now.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default For children.

    I am starting to get quite excited now.
    So you should. It almost looks as if you can spend all your time in FL. I was not aware that you had a 10year old with you, so here are a few specifics for the younger traveller.

    The Kennedy Space Centre will be particularly interesting and educational for your 10 year old. The other things you might consider is to get her/him to write a journal, recording each night the most memorable parts of that day. Great to look back on. (My six year old grandson proudly read his journal to his class, after a visit to Britain.)

    And be sure that the 10 year old (and you) take part in the Junior Ranger program at each National Park you visit. This gives young folk a great understanding of the parks and some souvenirs to take home when they complete all the activities.

    And of course, we look forward to you posting a report of the trip, either while you are on the road or after you return, in our special RoadTrip Field Reports forum.


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