MA to FL on Thanksgiving Day

Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 12:25 PM
  #1  
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MA to FL on Thanksgiving Day

I'm planning on leaving on Thanksgiving day from the Boston metro area and going to Ormond Beach, FL. I was hoping to make it to one of the Carolina's and stay overnight and resume the next day. Any tips or advice from anyone that has done it before. My first really big road trip.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 12:56 PM
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South Hill, VA is pretty much 1/2way and would be an option for just an overnight. Use google maps (or similar) to plot your route. The best travel advice I could give is to top off your gas tank often, but as long as you are on the interstate you'll find open stations. There's a Cracker Barrel in South Hill if you want something close to a traditional turkey day meal. It's an easy drive. Enjoy your trip!
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 03:13 PM
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Hopefully on that holiday you will not have much traffic around the Cap Beltway for Washington or even worse, the stretch of 95 south of the Beltway to Fredericksburg which can otherwise be problematic.

The area around Emporia, Virginia, along 95 used to be notorious as a speed trap and the local police force would station themselves along the shoulders with the radar guns at the ready.

I would definitely use the I-295 bypass around the east side of Richmond rather than taking 95 though the city. Why? The road is wider for the most part, at least until you reach the I-66 junction and the speed limit is higher; it does add a few miles to the trip, however.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 04:17 PM
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South Hill, while a charming town, is a long way from your route.

The first advice is to believe Dukey and get below Washington, DC, preferably Fredericksburg, on the holiday. The traffic in Northern Virginia is always dreadful, but on Black Friday, shoppers at Potomac Mills will creat gridlock for fifteen miles in any direction.

I don't think I-95 through Richmond will be problematic on the holiday unless there is a wreck.

Emporia is still a speed trap, but it is a rare one on I-95. Mostly you get nailed in towns where you stop for gas or on highways that link interstates.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 04:34 PM
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Ack is right. Well, I'm not sure how charming it is, but it's off the wrong interstate. My apologies. Disregard.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 03:17 AM
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One year we drove NH to Aberdeen MD on Thanksgiving Day not leaving NH under early afternoon. Not a lot of traffic heading south. I agree with getting as far south as possible since there will be a lot of shopping traffic on Friday. If you aren't used to long drives, 8 hours is a long time for us. Concord NH to Jacksonville NC is something like 14 hours IF you don't mind a speeding ticket. ds and a friend used to make the trip.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 03:30 AM
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Since you say "I" - am I correct that you will be driving alone? I have made trip several times from north of Boston to NC in one day - with 2 drivers, and it still is an awful trip. I think that is too far alone. A few tips. Take the Tappan Zee Bridge, not GW Bridge - that means going thru Hartford and via Danbury area. Do not take I95 thru New England.

Get a toll transponder. And get south of Richmond on Day 1. You don't need to make it to NC, but Richmond area is notorious for having terrible traffic.

Consider bringing food. Highway rest areas will be open, but upon arrival at first night hotel in the evening on Thanksgiving you are unlikely to find anything open.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 04:56 AM
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This is the first I have ever heard of Richmond being notorious for having terrible traffic.....lol.

If you want to get south of Richmond but not drive all the way to NC, you can stop in Colonial Heights.

http://www.comfortsuites.com/hotel-c...virginia-VA041

I would NOT stop for the night in Petersburg.

If you want to get to NC, you could stay in Roanoke Rapids.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 05:27 AM
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My NYC friend who has done this pretty often stops in Darlington, SC. I know everyone with experience from Boston is saying further north in VA, but I offer this to you. I don't think there is a problem finding a place all along the interstate when you are ready to stop. As for food, there is always the 7/11 or Wendy's, at the very least.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 05:54 AM
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Did I MISS something here? Since when did driving ON Thanksgiving Day have anything whatsoever to do with shopping on the day afterward? Yes, I agree that the shopping traffic around Potomac Mills will be a beast but not on Thursday.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 06:25 AM
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"As for food, there is always the 7/11 or Wendy's, at the very least."

A lot of places do close on Thanksgiving Day. The gas stations are open, yes.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 06:31 AM
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I would definitely pack the car with some food and drink.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 08:19 AM
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Did I MISS something here? Since when did driving ON Thanksgiving Day have anything whatsoever to do with shopping on the day afterward? Yes, I agree that the shopping traffic around Potomac Mills will be a beast but not on Thursday.

Yes, you missed the part that the trip resumes on Friday-prime shopping day, making the where you spend the night important, very important.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 10:55 AM
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I do not know this from personal experience, but friends that have traveled during the last 5 years from upstate NY to Boston, Washington, DC & Philadelphia on Thanksgiving Day in order to avoid traffic, found that traffic was extremely heavy and often stopped. They would not do it again.

Maybe others can comment on this.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 11:24 AM
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All I can say is that last year we left Bucks County area on Wednesday late afternoon driving to Baltimore -- HORRIBLE traffic as expected. But on Thanksgiving Day we left Baltimore at about 9 or so and drove to Washington, DC, and it was absolutely eerie. Completely abandoned highway -- sometimes not another car in sight either way. I have never seen that Baltimore to DC area anything but bumper to bumper no matter what day of the week or time.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 01:24 PM
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Some good advice here re. bringing food/drinks, getting a transponder, and getting past Richmond the first day. I also would get an app like WAZE and check traffic on my route. If looks like traffic is not too bad, I would take the Merrit through CT and use GW bridge, as it is more direct than Tappan Zee, but not if there are problems on the Merrit or Hutchinson pays.

My experience is that Thanksgiving morning between 9 and noon can be very busy in the Boston area, but if you travel between noon and when it starts to get dark it is not so bad.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 02:08 PM
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Oh, you poor thing. Hate that awful ride. Do watch the deer on 95 in South Carolina and Ga. I hate driving at night through those states. SC has pot holes that are huge. Each state has a nice welcome center and they are well lit and patrolled even if you want to take a short catnap. Cracker Barrel will be open but last WaWa is in Va for decent to go food. We always take a few red bulls with us. We always try and make it to Santee, NC. You have four hours to Ormond Beach from Savannah, Ga. You know it is the car show weekend in Ormond/Daytona? Crazy busy and A1A will be cruise night Friday and Sat night. Fun times. Drive safe.
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