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  1. Default October Moving from D.C to Springfield, MO with a toddler


    Beginning October, my husband, two year old and I will be moving from near Washington D.C to Springfield, MO. I see there are three different main routes, I-64, I-70 and I-81, which one is best to take?

    We are taking two vehicles, and planning to start driving around 6am every morning traveling about 7 hours each day (not including breaks), depending on how our toddler is doing. We anticipate needing to stop every two hours for a break. For breaks, we plan to eat from a cooler, and pull of into a rest area off the highway.

    A pretty drive would be nice, but the most concern is getting from point A to point B with the least amount of sitting in traffic. We also want to avoid any sketchy areas so any city recommendations to stay in/avoid are also appreciated.

    Thanks in advance for the feedback and your time!

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm not sure exactly what you're thinking about in terms of routes (I-81 is a north/south route that doesn't go anywhere near Missouri?) but purely for scenery, I generally prefer I-64 to I-70. I suppose the exact details on how to get to those routes would depend upon where in the DC area you're starting from.

    Once you're out of DC, there's also not many places you'd be likely to run into many problems for traffic. St. Louis would be the most likely spot, but you can avoid most potential issues by using I-255 to bypass downtown. You've got some mid-sized cities like Indianapolis, Columbus, or Louisville where you might see some issues if you hit rush hour, but don't usually have big problems otherwise.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    My software shows this as the fastest route:

    Leave the DC area by best route for you towards Hagerstown MD. Take I-70 to Hancock, then I-68 to the end, I-79 north back to I-70. Take it to St. Louis, then I-44.

    Take the north bypass around Columbus, the south bypass around Indianapolis, and I-270 around St. Louis. Try not to hit any of those cities in rush hour.

    Generally, the most affordable places to stay without any hassles are at hotels at the Interstate exits away from any large cities.

    If you are willing to drive 8 hours a day not including stops, you can make this drive in 2 days. The halfway point is Richmond IN, which has several reasonably priced hotels to choose from.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default I Think We Have a Winner

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Given your list of requirements and desires for this trip, frequent breaks from driving, scenic, and avoiding city traffic, I think the clear winner among the three basic routes you list is a combination of the middle one, "I-64", and the southern one, "I-81" (although you'll never see I-81) Such a route avoids Columbus, Indianapolis and St. Louis while taking you through scenic parts of Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri.

    In this hybrid suggestion you'd leave the DC area on I-270/I-70 west to Hancock MD where you switch over to I-68 west. Follow that to Morgantown WV and I-79 south. At Charleston WV take I-64 west. Note that there will be a short stretch of I-77 linking I-79 and I-64. Continue on I-64 to Lexington KY. You will have to leave I-64 and go 'through' Lexington, but it's all on four-lane divided highway: Exit I-64 onto US-68 west to KY-4 north/west around the city center to US-60 west. Just after leaving Lexington, you'll want to get on the Bluegrass Parkway west to Elizabethtown. There use I-65 south for a short stretch and take the Western Kentucky Parkway west. Near Nortonville the Western Kentucky Parkway joins I-69 south which subsequently joins I-24 west. At Paducah, leave I-24 for US-60 west and follow that the rest of the way to Springfield.

    The above route is within a few dozen miles of the shortest possible route and is just a much more pleasant drive. At just under 1,100 miles it could be done in two days. With plenty of stops, say every two to three hours, you should still be able to make it in two days, but that would require much closer to 10 hours a day actually 'in the saddle' rather than the seven you are envisioning. I think you and the toddler would be happier making two overnight stops, but it's your call. If you stop just once, Lexington KY is roughly half way. If you make two stops, then Charleston WV and Central City KY would be more like it.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 09-24-2021 at 06:40 PM. Reason: Updated/Corrected two-night-stop locations

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Central Missouri


    Welcome to RTA, and an early welcome to Missouri!

    My husband and I traveled to DC about 3 years ago and came to central MO by the following route (click here to be taken to our description of this route): We took one route over to I-81, then took I-64 almost the entire way to St Louis. This avoided a LOT of cities, as the ones along I-64 are smaller cities. Maybe the biggest city along I-64 is Louisville. From St Louis, you'd get on I-44 and take that all the way in to Springfield. (We took I-70 from St Louis as we were headed into Columbia, MO.)

    There were two reasons we chose I-64. First, we'd driven most of the length of I-70 over the years, a few times. I wanted to see something else! We hadn't traveled through WV or KY very much, over the years, and this was our opportunity. Now I want to go back! The other reason was to see if there was less commercial truck traffic. That answer was a big LOTS LESS.

    Again, welcome to MO. We just moved here to MO (Click here for the road trip report) over the summer (from SoCal) and live about 90 miles from Springfield. They *just* opened a Costco there (hubby and I still have our membership) and there's a lot of other things that Springfield has to offer.

    Last edited by DonnaR57; 09-24-2021 at 06:57 AM. Reason: added links to two older posts

  6. Default

    To “Avoid sitting in traffic” I highly recommend the WAZE app. It has gotten me around several traffic backups due to accidents or construction. It works by monitoring the movements of other drivers using WAZE. I’ve had it direct me off the interstate, down back roads, and back into free-flowing traffic past the congestion. If it doesn’t redirect you, then there simply isn’t a way around! Like similar apps, it highlights the roadmap to show how far ahead the congestion continues.

    This app was wonderful when the expressway was closed ahead and all traffic was forced to exit. Instead of being stuck in stop and go traffic in the detour, WAZE led me through smaller backroads and got me back on the interstate a couple exits before where all that traffic got back on. I had the interstate practically to myself for several miles!

    Of course, you’re not supposed to be looking at your phone while driving.

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