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Planning a trip from New York to Florida Keys on retirement

Planning a trip from New York to Florida Keys on retirement

Old Feb 17th, 2024, 08:06 AM
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The one thing about the train as my cousin who lives now in Florida but at one point was a snowbird is that someone's car will be offloaded first and someone's car will be offloaded last. If you are heading north and are the last car to be offloaded, you still have a long way to drive although it does save the wear and tear on the car as well as likely saving a night at a hotel along the way.
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Old Feb 17th, 2024, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Gretchen
And these might be snowbirds from NYC who don't drive a block any more but want their car in Florida for the six months they are there. And as you see from the many who have answered you there is an incredible amount to actually SEE along the coast.
Good point. This is good if you just want to “get there,” but your trip is about seeing and experiencing places.
There are many places we still have not visited or did it so long ago, it hardly counts anymore, but we have lived or worked somewhere on the East Coast most of our lives so will make a few suggestions.
Avoid 95 when possible.
Starting South of DC in Old town, Alexandria, the drive along the Potomac River towards Mount Vernon is really pretty. There are places to stop to view the river. I think the official Name is George Washington Parkway and it starts before DC, but the pretty part is the bit South.
Once you are South of Woodbridge, Virginia, Route 1 going to Fredericksburg is very pretty, used to be the route to Florida long before 95.

Places to consider stopping once South of DC, depending on your interests
Mount Vernon (also, if you have an interest in Frank Lloyd Wright, the Pope-Leighey House is very close, on Woodlawn Plantation)
Fredericksburg, lots of history, well worth a day’s visit
Richmond

Occoquan, an old river town, near Woodbridge, off 95, nice stop for lunch

Williamsburg, VA, a must, IMHO.
Cut East from Richmond. Stay over here for a night or two. Afterwards, head South and from Newport News cut back over to 95 across the James River. You could also take the ferry across the James River from Jamestown (Williamsburg), drive south to Smithfield (eat at Smithfield Inn) and back to 95. That would actually be my preference.

On down in South Carolina, go the coastal route to Myrtle Beach. The whole area around Myrtle Beach can be a zoo, especially during Spring Breaks for colleges, so time it and the driving times carefully. The beaches are worth it. Great food too.

***Plan on eating here: The Parson’s Table. It is a Restaurant in a church in Little River, SC.*** North of Myrtle Beach. even if you stay further South, it is worth the drive back up for dinner. We always plan around this!

Brookgreen Gardens. This is South of Myrtle Beach and is a gorgeous sculpture and plant garden, well worth a morning or afternoon.

Georgetown, further south, going on towards Charleston, really lovely waterfront, good stop for lunch and walk.

That brings you to Charleston, SC, stay for a couple of days.

Of course, there are many places off the main route, or to the West, rdepends on your interests and time. You could go West to Asheville to see the Biltmore and all the fantastic crafts places. Asheville is a jewel.

I love the whole idea of your trip and hope it is absolutely glorious.

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Old Feb 18th, 2024, 04:43 AM
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Motels are not the only places to stay any more. It is so easy to find b&b / other options. Even 'hotel' booking websites are now loaded with alternatives. I scour Google Maps to get a good sense of what's out there.

Unless I am misreading the OP, sounds to me like you are not stuck with places right off the interstate.
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Old Feb 18th, 2024, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Gretchen
And these might be snowbirds from NYC who don't drive a block any more but want their car in Florida for the six months they are there. And as you see from the many who have answered you there is an incredible amount to actually SEE along the coast.
Hi Gretchen,

Yes, there is a lot and I'm happy that we won't be on a set schedule so that we can take all in at our leisure - that is, at least until my wife gets fed-up with being in a car with me 24x7 (kidding).
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Old Feb 18th, 2024, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by shelemm
Motels are not the only places to stay any more. It is so easy to find b&b / other options. Even 'hotel' booking websites are now loaded with alternatives. I scour Google Maps to get a good sense of what's out there.

Unless I am misreading the OP, sounds to me like you are not stuck with places right off the interstate.
Hi shelemm,
You are correct, we will not be stuck with places off the interstate and will go wherever we feel like, as we feel like it (thinking right now that it will be really great both of us being retired). We'll peruse Google Maps as you suggested to get even more great ideas.
Thank you.
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Old Feb 18th, 2024, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Sassafrass
Good point. This is good if you just want to “get there,” but your trip is about seeing and experiencing places.
There are many places we still have not visited or did it so long ago, it hardly counts anymore, but we have lived or worked somewhere on the East Coast most of our lives so will make a few suggestions.
Avoid 95 when possible.
Starting South of DC in Old town, Alexandria, the drive along the Potomac River towards Mount Vernon is really pretty. There are places to stop to view the river. I think the official Name is George Washington Parkway and it starts before DC, but the pretty part is the bit South.
Once you are South of Woodbridge, Virginia, Route 1 going to Fredericksburg is very pretty, used to be the route to Florida long before 95.

Places to consider stopping once South of DC, depending on your interests
Mount Vernon (also, if you have an interest in Frank Lloyd Wright, the Pope-Leighey House is very close, on Woodlawn Plantation)
Fredericksburg, lots of history, well worth a day’s visit
Richmond

Occoquan, an old river town, near Woodbridge, off 95, nice stop for lunch

Williamsburg, VA, a must, IMHO.
Cut East from Richmond. Stay over here for a night or two. Afterwards, head South and from Newport News cut back over to 95 across the James River. You could also take the ferry across the James River from Jamestown (Williamsburg), drive south to Smithfield (eat at Smithfield Inn) and back to 95. That would actually be my preference.

On down in South Carolina, go the coastal route to Myrtle Beach. The whole area around Myrtle Beach can be a zoo, especially during Spring Breaks for colleges, so time it and the driving times carefully. The beaches are worth it. Great food too.

***Plan on eating here: The Parson’s Table. It is a Restaurant in a church in Little River, SC.*** North of Myrtle Beach. even if you stay further South, it is worth the drive back up for dinner. We always plan around this!

Brookgreen Gardens. This is South of Myrtle Beach and is a gorgeous sculpture and plant garden, well worth a morning or afternoon.

Georgetown, further south, going on towards Charleston, really lovely waterfront, good stop for lunch and walk.

That brings you to Charleston, SC, stay for a couple of days.

Of course, there are many places off the main route, or to the West, rdepends on your interests and time. You could go West to Asheville to see the Biltmore and all the fantastic crafts places. Asheville is a jewel.

I love the whole idea of your trip and hope it is absolutely glorious.
Hi Sassafrass,

Thank you for all of that really great information. We will definitely factor-in everything that you've said and thank you very much for the good wishes for our trip - really appreciate it.
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Old Feb 18th, 2024, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Gretchen
And these might be snowbirds from NYC who don't drive a block any more but want their car in Florida for the six months they are there. And as you see from the many who have answered you there is an incredible amount to actually SEE along the coast.
Gretchen,
Yes, there a lot, and it is always much better to hear it from those having insight than to try to dig through the masses of information on our own trying to separate the wheat from the chaff (so to speak).
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Old Feb 19th, 2024, 08:03 AM
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A gentle reminder: Florida and neighboring states are hot and humid in the summer, not to mention hurricane season. I would recommend spring.
Whatever choice you make, enjoy retirement and your travels.
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Old Feb 19th, 2024, 10:16 AM
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I did those trips with my parents, fond memories.
Now we fly to Florida and rent cars, too much of a drive for us now.
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Old Feb 21st, 2024, 08:39 AM
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I relooked at this thread and see that you are planning this trip for Spring/Summer 2025, With that info, if you are at all interested you might look into stopping at some of the Major League baseball stadiums and taking in a game along the way. My nephew once did this with his two kids and it was a very enjoyable trip if the scheduling works out. There is also minor league as well. In Savannah although I've never been there to do this, the Savannah Bananas are a big attraction.

Beyond that bear in mind that the Florida Keys and all of Southern Florida will be extremely hot and humid but if you can get out on the water, you will have a breeze.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2024, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by rncheryl
A gentle reminder: Florida and neighboring states are hot and humid in the summer, not to mention hurricane season. I would recommend spring.
Whatever choice you make, enjoy retirement and your travels.
Hi rncheryl,

Thank you, great advice. We'll keep it in mind and skip the excitement of a hurricane.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2024, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Madam397
I relooked at this thread and see that you are planning this trip for Spring/Summer 2025, With that info, if you are at all interested you might look into stopping at some of the Major League baseball stadiums and taking in a game along the way. My nephew once did this with his two kids and it was a very enjoyable trip if the scheduling works out. There is also minor league as well. In Savannah although I've never been there to do this, the Savannah Bananas are a big attraction.

Beyond that bear in mind that the Florida Keys and all of Southern Florida will be extremely hot and humid but if you can get out on the water, you will have a breeze.
Hi Madam397,

Hadn't thought about catching a game, but an interesting idea. The Savannah Bananas? Couldn't miss watching a team with that name - thanks.
And we'll keep the summertime warning in mind - we just might have to reschedule a little based upon yours and rcheryl1's warning.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2024, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by HappyTrvlr
I did those trips with my parents, fond memories.
Now we fly to Florida and rent cars, too much of a drive for us now.
Hi HappyTrvlr,

Yes, it will be a long drive for us as well, but I want my wife to have an opportunity to see all of the historical and other attractions the east coast has to offer
so, we'll give it a shot before we get much older - but I hope we don't divorce before it's over (kidding).
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