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Driving from NJ to FL -- any alternate route suggestions to avoid 95?

Driving from NJ to FL -- any alternate route suggestions to avoid 95?

Old Jan 21st, 2003, 08:23 AM
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Driving from NJ to FL -- any alternate route suggestions to avoid 95?

In a few weeks we will be driving from NJ to Richmond VA and the on to the east cost of Florida. I have done searches here to look at past posts, but have had some trouble finding up to date and useful information.

Can you suggest any better routes than 95, either to avoid construction or to make it more scenic without adding too much extra time to the drive?

On the way home we are thinking of stopping in Savannah and somewhere along the NC coast; we have never been to either place. Any suggestions ? Are stores and restaurants open this time of year in the Outer Banks?

Thanks for any advice you can share.
Old Jan 21st, 2003, 09:08 PM
Jerry Sanders
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Take I-80 West out until the end. Get on 101 South. Follow until I-10 East. When you get to Florida, make a right.
Old Jan 22nd, 2003, 05:39 AM
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From NJTP take 13S to 301S to Richmond.
Richond take I64E to 17S.
Old Jan 22nd, 2003, 05:51 AM
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What's wrong with I95? By the time you monkey around with an alternate, less direct route you'll be making worse time than if you just stuck it out. A lot of it depends on when you leave. Try to avoid major cities during rush hour and you should cruise straight through, barring a little construction traffic here and there.
Old Jan 23rd, 2003, 07:57 AM
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I, too, hate 95. If you didn't have to stop in Richmond, I'd say take the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel to Norfolk through the Eastern Shore. You could even take the Cape May-Lewes Ferry. We used to live in Norfolk, and would go that route to go north instead of going through DC on 95 and found it much more pleasant. Parts of 17 are four lane and nice in North Carolina, but you would probably lose a lot of time. Good luck.
Old Jan 23rd, 2003, 08:47 AM
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you could take the auto train (from lorton Va, approx. 1 hour from richmond), down to samford (near orlando) or the cape-may lewes ferry to delaware as described above. 95 does suck, but the alternatives aren't much better.
Old Jan 23rd, 2003, 10:02 AM
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You are right that 95 can be a nightmare... but even though the Carolinas and Georgia on some busy days. Check on 85 South ... it might take you too west but my cousin drove to NC from RI on it without traffic. RE: the Outer Banks,,,, they are pretty far out from 95..and I don't imagine there would be all that much to do there in the cold weather. Savannah is a good choice and not far from 95.. IN NC, Wilmington is a sort of semi-Savannhah.. on the coast,historic district and some shops and decent resturants.
Old Jan 24th, 2003, 06:15 PM
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Old Jan 31st, 2003, 06:28 PM
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Old Feb 1st, 2003, 05:06 AM
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One of my "pet peeve" topics. Somewhere in the last year or so, I posted detailed instructions about avoiding the DC area on I-95, which is worth doing at all costs. You could trying search on "I-95" but "mm" has it, basically -- check a map and do what it takes to get to and stay on 301 until you are near Richmond.

I-95 from Richmond to "South of the Border" between NC and SC isn't bad. But once you are into SC, it goes down to 2 lanes each way, which isn't a problem UNLESS it IS, as with an accident or a major southward migration on a weekend, esp. on or near spring break or a major holiday or the bikers' weekend (find out when that is). From Florence to the turn-off for I-5 it can be miserable beyond description, or occasionally a breeze -- hard to know ahead of time.

Unfortunately, from Florence to Jacksonville you just have no decent parallel routes without going way inland via Atlanta. (Wandering around the coast on something like 17 or whatever's there would take you weeks.) Best you can do is try to time your transit between Florence and Jacksonville for midweek, and get the earliest start you can.

For some reason, going north isn't nearly as bad. And the side trip to Savannah is a wonderful thing to do, and I highly recommend it. Eat at the Pink House. In NC, you could consider Wilmington -- another coastal city with deep history (unlike many southern cities, both Savannah and Wilmington are as proud of their Revolutionary history as they are of their Civil War history), but it's true that the Outer Banks would add at least another full day to your itinerary. (And sorry, but I don't think that Elizabeth City for itself is worth the detour.)

If you are willing to make the Outer Banks detour, I strongly recommend taking the Ocracoke ferry from outside New Bern, spending a little time there, and then working your way up the banks to Kitty Hawk/Kill Devil Hills. But be very aware of the distances here -- the total drive between Ocracoke and Kitty Hawk, with no stops, could be as much as 3 hrs. not including waiting time for the Hatteras ferry. And that's not counting the time, 1 1/2-2 hrs., from I-95 out to New Bern and back from Kitty Hawk (although you can also drive straight north to Newport News area from Elizabeth City and get to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and avoid I-95 north altogether).

Have a good trip.
Old Feb 1st, 2003, 05:12 AM
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A PS: To get schedules and info on Ocracoke and Hatteras ferries, try: http://www.hatteras-nc.com/ferry/

Also: FYI The time from I-95 to Cedar Island-Ocracoke ferry slip plus waiting time for the ferry plus the 1 1/2 hr. ferry ride to Ocracoke could add up to a whole morning, but not an unpleasant one.

Also: yes, the Outer Banks are "open" this time of year, although very sparsely re: touristy entertainment (no water slides!). There are year-rounders out there, and they need groceries and places to eat. All but a few of the hotels/motels are year round, or just closed in January.
Old Mar 13th, 2003, 07:22 PM
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Old Mar 13th, 2003, 07:55 PM
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The worst part of Rte 95 is from NJ down past Wash DC to the VA area and just beyond. Take Rte 80 West past the Water gap and hop on Rte 81 South. I can't recall where the best place is to rejoin Rte 95 but my parents make this drive every winter. They took the upper portion of Rte 95 once and swear they will never travel that route again.
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Old Mar 14th, 2003, 05:33 AM
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That would be I-81 south to exit #81 just before Wytheville. Pick up I-77 and take it through NC into Columbia, SC. In Columbia, take I-26E to I95. That point is about 170 miles from the GA line. It's much better than the I-95 hassle.
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