Advice for safe/cheap/fun roundtrip: Ohio to Florida panhandle?
Hi! I am planning my first road trip. We'll be two women traveling from Ohio to the Florida panhandle in December. The goal is pure fun and adventure for people who have very little money. It appears to be a trip that should take less than 15 hours one way. I'm hoping for any suggestions and advice you might have for such a trip- best route, what kind of weather to expect, places to stay along the way (Since it'll be warmer down south, campgrounds should be no problem, right?) Also, are there places to stay in the panhandle itself that would be safe from women travelers but also not ridiculously expensive? I don't know much about the panhandle but I'm thinking it would be expensive because of tourism. Thanks for anything you can tell us!
December is the off-season for tourism in Florida's Panhandle, so you will find lodging prices down there will be quite reasonable. Campgrounds are also a good option. Most folks would find the Gulf water temperature a bit too cool for swimming, but certainly the December weather can be very agreeable for sun-bathing or just hanging out on the beach. Daytime highs are in the 60's and 70's, lows in the 30's and 40's (sometimes warmer).
You didn't mention the part of Ohio where you'll begin your trip. In general, most routes from Ohio to the Florida Panhandle converge on Birmingham, AL, where you'll take I-65 south to Montgomery. From that point, your final destination will determine the last leg of your route.
The Panhandle is also a mecca for seafood lovers....hope you get a chance to indulge!
Happy to see you back
It has been too long since you've been active on this forum. Glad to see you back and in fine form!
Thanks for the kind words, Mark.
I bought a new home this summer, which as you can imagine has pretty much dominated my time.
I have a question for fellow road-trippers which I'll post in another thread.
Having fun on OH to FL trip without going crazy
My first piece of advice is to stay OFF I-75/95. There are loads of alternate roads, all looking like the Interstate, but not having the traffic, especially trucks. Check them out.
Depending on what you want to see - Mariana, FL is very central in the Panhandle, just north of the I-10. Small, nice town with Campgrounds, inexpensive motels. Corp of Engineers offers some BEAUTIFUL, very cheap, campgrounds all the way from Ohio. The Gulf sand in PH is like sugar, and if you hit the right timing you can experience it glowing at night. Literally. Live Oak, east of Tallahassee is another nice town, placing you close to Atlantic beaches, Space Coast though a little off the PH area. Unfortunately, other than Tallahassee, you aren't in the prettist part of the state. To find the rolling hills, Pine forests, etc., you need to go a little more inland and stay north of Ocala. Too far off your route, I would think. Food? Try Key Lime Pie, Gulf Oysters, Shrimp, so much more. Leave your diet at home. DO NOT drive through Cincinnati on I-75 or the Bypass. Will take you HOURS. I cut over at Dayton to 70, then pickup I-65. Much easier driving. Trust me, a little research can save you time, money and stress. Have a nice time. Buckle your seat belts.