Driving from Massachusetts to Orlando

Jan 16th, 2008, 12:21 PM
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Driving from Massachusetts to Orlando

I am planning to drive from Worcester, Massachusetts, to Orlando, but want to avoid New York City. Would someone please let me know how to avoid NYC? Thank you.
RoadHog2 is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 12:27 PM
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Masspike to I-84 at Sturbridge.
I-84 to Brewster, NY.
I-684 to I-287 in White Plains.
Cross Tappan Zee Bridge on I-287 to Garden State Parkway.
Garden State Parkway to NJ Turnpike at Woodbridge.
I-95 to I-4 at Daytona Beach.
I-4 to Orlando.

You have avoided NYC AND you have avoided the congestion on I-95 from New Haven to I-287. But there is a lot of other congestion until south of Richmond.
Ackislander is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 12:43 PM
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I would take it a step further and avoid Westchester and the Tappan Zee by continuing on 84 through Brewster across the Beacon Bridge in Newburgh where you'll get on I-87S to the Garden State Pkwy.
Loki is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 01:02 PM
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Ackislander has the route I use on frequent trips down I95.

There are various mini-detours around Washington, DC. I usually just avoid rush hour and stay on I95.

The other trick is to avoid rush hours in Boston, Hartford, NY and DC areas. You can travel on weekend. Or if you leave at about 6 AM you avoid rush hours. 11 AM also does it, but I am an early morning person, so prefer the earlier departure.

Other general hint is to get a toll transponder (EZPass, FastLane). This will really cut time on GS Parkway and NJ Turnpike.
gail is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 01:03 PM
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Sorry - just reread post and sazw you are leaving from Worcester. In that case, you could leave an hour later.
gail is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 01:24 PM
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Definitely agree with Ackislander's route - took me 3 hours on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend to get to Philly from hartford (5.5 hours is typical with traffic) . Also, definitely get the Fast Lane transponder. Saves a lot of time in these states. I believe NJ still has the lanes that you can go 55 (may be higher) thru with Fast Lane? Leaving Worchester at 7 puts you in Hartford around 8:30 which is generally past Rush Hour, depending on weather. When are you doing your drive? What day of week are you planning on doing this drive?
tchoiniere is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 02:07 PM
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Recommend -- urge -- you also figure out how to avoid Washington by leaving I-95 at Baltimore -- take I-97 to 5 to 301 and rejoin I-95 north of Richmond. Get a good map and check it out. Rush hour in Washington is 7 to 10 and 2 to 7, worse on Fridays, bad on holiday weekends. The stretch around the southern loop of the Beltway and on down south to Quantico can be a parking lot nightmare.
Jan 17th, 2008, 03:39 AM
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We drive to Richmond from Cape Cod four or five times a year and have had plenty of time to drive lots of different routes.

The problem with 301 as a route around Washington is that south of 50, it crawls through endless suburbs, one traffic light at a time. Strip mall after strip mall makes you lose the time you gain by the more direct routing. Also the 301 bridge over the Potomac (?) is ancient, high, and terrifying to many drivers. But there is a good bbq restaurant on the left with a giant pig, not too long after you cross the bridge!

We have had good luck going around Washington on 495 WEST of the city lately, but getting stuck behind one accident can spoil your whole schedule. Watch for the electronic warning signs on 95 before the 495 junction. All this assumes that you don't hit Washington at rush hour.

Another reasonably pleasant way to get through this area is to take 895 in Baltimore through the Harbor Tunnel, which will connect you to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, avoiding a lot of truck traffic. The B-W Parkway joins I-95/495 at Greenbelt, MD, but there have been a lot of construction delays south of there on I-95.

You can continue on the BWP as 295 where it becomes the Anacostia Freeway and then I-295, rejoining I-95 at the bridge, but we were once dumped onto city streets in Anacostia by following a Google map, and it was a bit scary.

There is no perfect way to make this trip.
Ackislander is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 08:23 AM
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It's true that 301 is not a limited-access highway. But I have been caught more than once or twice on the Lorton corridor all the way to Richmond at 15 MPH, and a trip that should have taken 1 1/2 hrs. took 4, so the 301 alternative -- which we've timed as adding about 1/2 hr a traffic-less trip on I-95 -- would have been a godsend.

Timing is always important, but the probability of some hang-up on I-95, and particularly the Wilson bridge-Springfield-Lorton area, is so high so often -- both long rush hours, and both Friday and Sunday afternoon southbound -- that we're willing to put up with some of the stoplights on 301. FWIW, they are further apart than, say, on the Rte. 1 equivalent near many cities, and often the timing works.

In addition, I'd say only about 1/3 of the distance from Richmond back to I-95 is really carved up with those strip malls -- the rest is more spread out and not unpleasant. You can risk I-95 around Washington Sunday morning, maybe early Saturday morning, after 8 pm weekdays, or middle-of-the night! You can also try solid mid-day (11 - 2), but it's still likely to be busy then although less bumper-to-bumper. Accidents will cause major messes.

If you have satellite radio, by all means tune into their traffic alerts. Otherwise, try to find out which local radio frequencies have traffic-reporting stations -- not just for DC but maybe all the cities.

As for the "Nice Bridge" (that's it's name), it never bothered me, have been on much higher bridges (Sunshine Skyway over Tampa Bay comes to mind, as does Tappan Zee) -- "nice" view of the river shores.
Jan 17th, 2008, 09:47 AM
Original Poster
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Thanks to everyone for their comments. Much appreciated.

RoadHog2 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 10:40 AM
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Cassandra is right about 301. You can often save time that way even with the lights. If you have the time to sightsee along the way, I would suggest stopping at Stratford Hall - the plantation birth place of Robert E. Lee and also the national park and George Washington's birthplace. Both are about a 20 mile detour on Rt. 3 which intersects 301 about 10 miles south of the bridge. They are worth a few hours if you have the time.
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