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Road trip to Florida from Dallas, Texas

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Nov 14th, 2009, 05:39 AM
  #1
VJ
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Road trip to Florida from Dallas, Texas

I'm planning to go on road trip with my family from Dallas, TX to Orlando or some coastal city of Florida for about 2 weeks starting on December 25th and returning on Jan 2nd, 2010. I need help to plan my trip. I'm new to this site and forum. I saw some real good and valuable suggestions. Hope you guys will help me to plan my trip. Why I'm going to Florida because I want to go some where away from cold weather.
My interest is in nature, site seeing, photography, but my kid may like to visit Disney world.
I like to visit New Orleans, LA and Mobile, AL on my way to Florida.
Any suggest will be appreciated.
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Nov 14th, 2009, 07:12 AM
  #2
cd
 
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I would make stops in New Orleans and then Pensacola then on a beautiful drive to the Cape San Blas/Indian Pass area. On past St George Island following the coast somewhere around St Pete Tampa area where you can cut over to Orlando. Lots of possibilities! Warmer in the Tampa area then the Panhandle but the coastline is a beautiful drive and the oysters are great!
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Nov 14th, 2009, 07:17 AM
  #3
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VJ, are you saying you want to be back in Dallas Jan 2, or start the drive home that day? Dallas to Orlando is a two day drive each way, and that is if you only stop for the night...it doesn't include stops in N.O. or Mobile to tour.

Of course if you stop in New Orleans, your touring would just be the French Quarter. How old is your child? Kids may not think that is in the least bit fun.

If you want warmth in FL, it is best you look no further north than the Clearwater/St Pete area, and even that can get occasional cold fronts, although not blue northers, like the Dallas area. Swimming would be borderline in that area, although there are a couple of pretty parks, Caladesi Island, and Ft Desoto, where you can get away from people and appreciate the natural beauty of the FL beaches. If you want real warmth you'll need to get even further south than that...just adding to your drive time.

Let us know about your return date though....you may not have time for anything more than the drive to Orlando, a couple days there, then the drive home if you want to be home the 2nd.
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Nov 14th, 2009, 07:44 AM
  #4
VJ
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Wow! So quick response, thanks CD & OO for your great valuable suggestions. I know I do not have whole lot days to explore this trip. It is about 10-11 days. Yes, I like be back to Dallas on or before Sunday the Jan 3, 2010.
My son is only 7 years old. I know he may not like N.O.
I'll be starting either on 24th or 25th early morning and wants to get back home by 01/01/2010.
Please help me to plan my trip including suggestions for simple economic place to stay, good ethnic food and all.
Thanks to y'all in advance..
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Nov 14th, 2009, 09:38 AM
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OO is right. It is a long drive. We have done it a couple of times (without a seven year old). Dallas to New Orleans is 8 hours. And, from New Orleans to Orlando another 10 hours, at least. Not sure if you can do it in one day. Any specific reason you would like to stop by in Mobile? In any event, this means a total of 4 to 6 nights in hotels you may not even want to stay in, plus about $200 to feed the car. I would think it could be almost as economical and certainly more pleasant for you to fly. In this instance, you could spend 2-3 days in Orlando and then head for the beach. There, you could rent a small condo for a week. Any accommodations a couple of blocks away from the beach should be less expensive. I’d settle for the Sarasota area and take a little one to Myaka state park to see the alligators. Myaka has cabins, should you decide to stay there one night. New Orleans area is more enjoyable in the spring. But, if you want to drive you may have only a couple of days in Orlando and may be one night left for the beach? Am I computing this right?
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Nov 14th, 2009, 10:09 AM
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You may want to look at a calender, Dec. 25th-Jan.1 is 7 days, a big difference from the 10-11 days you are thinking about. The 24th to the 3rd gives you the number of day you seem to want. Both your posts give conflicting info on dates and # of days you want to travel.Sorry if this doesn't help your route or stop-overs, but it may help you plan your trip.
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Nov 14th, 2009, 10:19 AM
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Can't help but thinking that there might be lots of things closed or with limited hours due to the holiday period?
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Nov 14th, 2009, 11:49 AM
  #8
VJ
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Well thanks to y'all for your valuable time and suggestions. Steve, I'm sorry that's a typo, actually as I stated before that I need to get back Dallas by Sunday the Jan 3. I do have exact 10 days from 25th to 3rd. I was thinking, if I start on 25th early morning then I'll be there @ Daytona on 27th evening with a break in the middle some where @ Mobile, AL (10 + 2 hrs + 8 + 2 hrs).
27, 28, 29 (3 nights there @ Daytona) then go to Orlando 30, 31,1 & 2 (4 nights) then 2nd early morning start back to Dallas with a break some where in the middle may be @ New Orleans.
Please correct me if I'm wrong. I started thing about Stephany's point, is this practically possible with a 7 yrs old kid?
Please advice.
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Nov 14th, 2009, 12:50 PM
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That is a lot of time in the car with a 7yo. Are you the only one doing the driving or do you have someone to share driving with? You also need to factor in time for meal and gas stops. I agree with Stephany, this looks like the kind of trip that makes more sense to fly. You could really maximize your time in Florida, and with a little planning, possibly even fly in to one airport and out of another to keep from having to backtrack.
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Nov 14th, 2009, 02:10 PM
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VJ,

This clarifies your ambitious schedule. You are not planning on any sightseeing in Mobile and New Orleans, right? The only other comment I would have is that the Daytona beach could be a little rough and in the 60s in late December. Orlando should be warmer; No way to predict the weather.

If you absolutely must be back in Dallas on January 3rd then I’d leave Orlando on Friday, the 1st, just to make sure. The traffic may be quite heavy during that weekend. You just never know. You could spend a night around Pensacola or Biloxi and then drive home via New Orleans should you decide to drive. Personally, I would hesitate to do a 2.5K mile trip with a child during the winter months unless I had 14 days or a flexible schedule. Here I am, in sunny Florida, dreaming of white Xmas.
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Nov 14th, 2009, 05:16 PM
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If you do decide to drive, make sure your car is in excellent condition.

There will be practically nothing open December 25 - a few restaurants and gas stations, but that is about all. If you have any trouble with your car, you probably will not be able to get it fixed until December 28 at the earliest.

For the return trip, more places will be open January 1-3, but it is still likely that you could not get any car trouble fixed until January 4.
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Nov 15th, 2009, 07:14 AM
  #12
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VJ, Daytona is just too far north for a winter vacation. It will be quite a bit cooler than the Tampa area, which is only a bit over an hour from Disney, depending on the traffic. Further, Daytona being on the Atlantic rather than the Gulf, will have much colder water!

You might look into flying, as suggested. We used to live in Dallas and took our kids to Destin each summer. Even Dallas to Destin (in the Panhandle) was a hard drive, but Grandma lived midway, breaking up our trip. Our son, now grown and still living in Dallas is now taking his kids there. The first night they make it to just outside of Mobile and that is driving all day. They spend the night in Daphne, AL. There is a very very nice Hampton Inn, right on Mobile Bay where he stays that one night on the road. We've stayed there as well when we were moving from Tampa back to TX--and were very pleasantly surprised by this Hampton. Do you really want 4 long days in the car...without the benefit of a relief driver? (It sounds as if you are planning to do this just yourself and your son).

Didn't I read that you can now fly Southwest out of Dallas to other states? (Wright Amendment used to prohibit that.) Southwest flights are inexpensive, they fly into both Orlando and Tampa. Just think--3 hours and you are there, ready to start having fun!

If you want to stick with driving, I would absolutely skip N.O....just do the drive and get it over with. You won't have very many days there. Stopping in N.O. would put you 3 nights on the road, not 2. Spend a few days in the Clearwater/St Pete area...or Sarasota (prettier and less than an hour south of St Pete) and a day or two in Disney.

Winters in the Tampa Bay area are usually pretty nice, glorious in fact, although there can be cold snaps. Look at the FL map and you'll see how much further north Daytona is...really not a good Dec/Jan destination.
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Nov 15th, 2009, 09:38 AM
  #13
 
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Yes, Southwest does fly from Texas to Florida and a round trip ticket is about $450 during the holidays. But only $190 until Dec 16 or after January 5th. Also, in early December the prices for hotels are much lower and Mickey may not have the endless lines one does experience during the holidays. Or, if you can fly out Dec. 25th and back on January 5th then each ticket would be only $274. But again, we do not know how many people are going or, if you do not like to fly?
If you are the only driver, I do not think it is wise to do plan this trip with only one stopover. Not at all.
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Nov 17th, 2009, 08:54 AM
  #14
VJ
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Thank you to y'all for your time and valuable suggestions.. After considering every one's suggestion, I think driving is not a good idea considering number of days I have in my hand though I do have my wife with me and she will share the driving with me still I think I have put off this idea for summer time.
Now I have to start over to plan this vacation. My options are still warmer weather. Any suggestions or ideas will be appreciated.
Thanks to all of you once again.
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Nov 17th, 2009, 10:20 AM
  #15
cd
 
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VJ, how about Port Aransas? It is warm with an average of 72 degrees and 6 1/2 hours from Dallas. Check it out at: http://www.portaransas.org/todo.html
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Nov 17th, 2009, 02:28 PM
  #16
 
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VJ,
Port Aransas sounds like the perfect distance. Back to Florida. I believe, most of us think that one stop is just pushing it and the Daytona beaches will be cold. To find warmer weather you would have to head SW (not NE). Traveling such long distances during major holidays can be challenging for reasons already stated here. Once we had our Christmas dinner at the Waffle house. Even the good old McDonalds was closed. We did not plan to stop in the middle of nowhere but heavy rains slowed us down considerably. This is why I think it is best to be flexible on the way to Orlando and back.
So, if your only option is to drive and if you have a max of 10 days you can still consider Florida, with two stops, making it easier on everybody. No matter how you look at it, you will – most likely - spend half of your time on the road. I see only two options. Do either Orlando or SW beaches but not both. It would only add more stress to your trip.
In Orlando, you could have 4 full days which is enough of time to see a couple of parks and time to rest around a swimming pool. If you leave the 25th I’d plan to be in Orlando on 27th in the afternoon. Go to one park very early on the 28th and another park on the 30th. Take it easy on the 29th and 31st. Expect very long lines in the DW; that day could be quite tiring. Sea World could be less so. If the child is not tired you can squeeze in a boat trip in Winter Park in between. Or, if the weather is glorious, yes, you can take a day trip to Daytona or Cocoa Beach, both about 1 hour. But, don't count on swimming. Start heading home on January 1.
Should you decide to skip Disney and choose SW beaches then head straight down to St. Pete or Sarasota. This will add a couple of hours to your driving time but once you get there you do not have to do anything.
I still think it is a long drive to negotiate in 10 days. I also think, that flying to South Florida for 5-6 nights instead could be less expensive (should that be of concern) providing you can find air tickets for about $350/each (possible?) because you will save on gas and hotels and park tickets (about $1,000 total). I so wish you had a good vacation in Florida. Sorry, for the book.
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Nov 17th, 2009, 06:39 PM
  #17
clz
 
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This suggestion isn't necessarily for the December timeframe as you are looking for warm weather but I wanted to mention that we took our kids (ages 7 and under) to New Orleans last Thanksgiving and they LOVED it. There are tons of things for kids to do-- aquarium, ferry ride, mardi gras museum, french quarter daytime/early evening, beignets, great children's museum. Obviously it's a different trip than partying on Bourbon St late into the night! but it was a fun family weekend. So don't discount it either as a trip itself or a stop on a future trip to Florida!
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Oct 9th, 2014, 02:41 PM
  #18
 
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Hi VJ,
I am also planning for the road trip from Austin, TX to Orlando Fl. The trip is for 10 days. How was your experience. Is it worth to go by road. I am going by my Honda CRV, along with my wife and two daughters 11 and 7 years old.

Thanks,
Ashish
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Oct 9th, 2014, 06:38 PM
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Hi acgupta, This thread is nearly 5 years old. Thing have probably changed since 2009.
Start a new thread for current answers to your questions.
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