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Trip to Florida, Georgia & South Carolina. Your feedback wanted!

Trip to Florida, Georgia & South Carolina. Your feedback wanted!

Jan 19th, 2011, 12:07 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 8
Trip to Florida, Georgia & South Carolina. Your feedback wanted!


End of March/beginning of April we want to travel to the US again. The first idea was to only visit Florida, but now I think it may be nice to combine Florida with a part of Georgia and South Carolina. We are traveling with 2 adults and 1 child (21 months). This is my preliminary idea:

26-Mar-11 Atlanta (arrival)
27-Mar-11 Atlanta
28-Mar-11 Great Smokey Mountains
29-Mar-11 Great Smokey Mountains
30-Mar-11 Drive to Charleston
31-Mar-11 Charleston
1-Apr-11 Boone Hall Plantation
2-Apr-11 Savannah
3-Apr-11 Okefenokee / Amelia Island?
4-Apr-11 St. augustine
5-Apr-11 Kennedy Space center
6-Apr-11 Orlando
7-Apr-11 Orlando
8-Apr-11 St. Pete's beach
9-Apr-11 Sanibel/Captiva
10-Apr-11 Sanibel/Captiva
11-Apr-11 Everglades
12-Apr-11 Everglades
13-Apr-11 The Keys
14-Apr-11 The Keys
15-Apr-11 The Keys
16-Apr-11 Miami
17-Apr-11 Miami (departure)

Initialy I planned the trip to be 2 days shorter (15 April departure), but I am not sure where to stay shorter or what to skipp. In the last week we want to relax a bit on the Beach. And, is one full day in Miami enough?

I am looking forward to your feedback. Thanks!
LordBonez is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 02:40 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,082
For Miami I assume you mean South Beach.

I dwhere you're coming from and how often you visit the US, but I think you'll need a vacation after moving around so much.
Myer is online now  
Jan 19th, 2011, 03:03 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
I agree with the above.

Way too much driving, not enough relaxing, vacationing.

Cut the itn in 1/2 and you'll have much better time, more relaxed vacation and see and experience much more.

Have a wonderful time whatever you decide to do.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 03:12 AM
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Posts: 12,885
You're looking at about 1750 miles of driving (2800 km), unpacking/packing almost on a daily basis....

not my idea of a vacation...
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 03:30 AM
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The Smokies will be very bleak at this time of year, with no leaves at higher elevations and possibly enough snow to make the roads unpleasant.

I would cut out that entire part of the loop.

You are not going to see Okeefenokee if you drive from Savannah to Amelia Island, and if you are going to the Everglades, you don't need to. The Everglades is better.

There is little to see on Amelia Island for the visitor who is passing through. It is a pleasant enough way to avoid Jacksonville (you take a small ferry) on the way to St Augustine, but it is mostly a destination. Add the time to Charleston or Savannah.

St Pete Beach OR Sanibel/Captiva, not both. I would bag Orlando, but assuming you are British, you can't really do that, can you? It is quite a detour to St Petersburg if you are driving from Orlando in the direction of Sanibel. While there, be sure to visit the Ding Darling nature reserve, especially for the Roseate spoonbills.

You won't need two days for the Everglades if you go to Ding Darling. You can drive through on your way to the Keys, stopping at Everglade City and Chokuluskee as well as the Turner (I think) River to see lots and lots of alligators. It's a long drive from Sanibel to the Keys, so you are going to want to find your first night's lodging on Key Largo.

Next day drive to Key West for the night, then return to Islamorada for the night. It is a modest drive to Miami from there.

Don't assume that Miami only means Miami Beach. Coral Gables and Coconut Grove have a lot to offer.

You will have a wonderful time, though you should take note of the fact that daytime temperatures in South Florida are going to be somewhere above, perhaps a lot above, 30 C. You will want to make sure you take plenty of water and have hats and sunscreen. There is little or no place to shop and eat (well, no place you would want to eat)on some stretches of this trip, so some snacks in the car might not be a bad idea, too.
Ackislander is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 03:58 AM
Join Date: Sep 2010
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IMO you have entirely NOT enough time devoted to places like Savannah and Charleston but you havel aso not said what you are particularly interested in other then your general stopping off points.

Believe it or not there actually are people who would tell you to skip BOTH those cities (they are somewhat similar) but I think you can make a lot better use of your time if you shorten the number of driving days.
Dukey1 is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 04:20 AM
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Posts: 3,342
Agree with everyone about too much driving and not enough vacationing. Also agree with adding more time to Charleston and Savannah. See if you can make some changes and I'll chime in again about Orlando, St. Augustine, Savannah and/or Charleston.

I couldn't see from your profile from where you live. Will driving on the right side of the road be a problem? Atlanta interstate highways are a rough introduction to American traffic on your first day here.

Vic's travels: http://my.flightmemory.com/vogilvie
Orlando_Vic is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 05:03 AM
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If you decide to take the advice of skipping the Smokey Mountains, consider flying to Charlotte rather than Atlanta if it's as convenient from your point of departure. It's almost 2 hours closer to Charleston than Atlanta.
Brian_in_Charlotte is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 06:47 AM
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I agree with Ackislander and Brian. I grew up near the Smokies and love them, but with so much else you want to see and traveling in March, I think you'd be better off adding the time to Charleston/Savannah. I was in the Smokies mid-March last year, and it was gloomy and just not at its best. The hiking trails were mushy and some parts of the park might still be closed for the winter.

And Vic is right - unless you're very used to driving in the States and in heavily trafficked areas, I would *not* start off by driving in Atlanta. Charlotte or flying straight to Charleston (if that's possible) would be better. I haven't driven in Charlotte, but was just in Charleston and don't think you'd have much trouble there.
jent103 is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 06:58 AM
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That's because we're so polite, lol! I agree with the too-loaded up schedule and the rec to look at flying into somewhere other than Atlanta. You can fly into Charleston but it's really expensive. Charlotte is your better option.
suewoo is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 09:26 AM
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Really agree about flying to Charlotte instead of Atlanta, even if you WERE going to the Smokies. Good advice to skip. It is only a 3.5 hour drive to Charleston (vs. about 6+ from the Smokies!). More time in Charleston, pass through Savannah for a day. And WOW, a LOT of driving in Florida. You might need to really look at the distances and driving times. You may be surprised at how far it is to say Captiva, and then the rest of FL.
Maybe come back with a new plan (if you want any of this advice)--and your interests. You'll have a bit of stopping with a baby in the car too.
Gretchen is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 09:39 AM
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We just returned from an overnight in Charleston on our way back from visiting MIL in Florida. It was our first time there and we enjoyed the city immensely for its history, architecture, shops, food and general ambiance. Seafood there is outstanding, we particularly enjoyed Hyman's at lunch. Our brief stay was much enhanced by staying at the Mills House Hotel in the historic district where we were able to get an absolute bargain rate of $89 per night that weekend at the touring desk at the SC welcome center off of I95. That is a fraction of the usual rate. Stay there if you can.
basingstoke2 is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 10:43 AM
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That is a bargain.

Sorry, but I steer people away from restaurants that hawk people on the street-the really good places don't have to do that. And Charleston is a town full of great restaurants. Come back soon and I'll send you to some non-touristy places to have supper.
suewoo is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 11:25 AM
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Thanks suewoo - perhaps they hawk people on the street (but when we were there, they did not - maybe it was too cold)but the fish was perfectly prepared and delicious. We tried to get into Husk but could not get a last minute reservation. We also had dinner at Amen. It was good, but not as good as Hyman's and also cost more. I will take you up on your offer. The one thing we learned on our all too brief trip is that we can't wait to go back. We have a wedding to attend in Charleston this summer. I hope it will be held at Mills.
I neglected to mention, because of our short stay - we left a day early to beat the storm, we hired a guide for a private morning tour. It cost plenty, but was worth every penny - I swear she knew the history of every building in the city and everyone who ever lived there.
basingstoke2 is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 11:37 AM
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YIKES - you're all over the map! Stick to one coast and Disney. Orlando is nothing without Disney.
Not sure how far the Smokies are from Atlanta, but I would go to Charleston/Savannah/Amelia Island/St. Augustine/Disney/Keys/Miami.
Florida is a big/long state!
If you must go to the gulf coast - forget St. Pete beach (too much traffice and little beach)go to Sarasota/Siesta Key-softest sand in the world. Sanibel/Captiva is beautiful - but you're just spending time driving and driving.
wopel is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 11:38 AM
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p.s. March is very busy with Spring break and all things Daytona.
wopel is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 01:02 PM
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YOu need to go back to your original idea & just do FLA.
SAnParis2 is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 01:26 PM
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Very ambitious itinerary. I wouldn't want to do it. Charleston, Savannah and St. Augustine are such wonderful cities, you could easily spend a week in each and not get bored. They definitely deserve more than just a stop, to to speak, between another long drive. I have files I compiled when planning our trips to these cities. E-mail me if you'd like copies.
Giovanna is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 04:24 PM
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Should have given my e-mail address: [email protected]
Giovanna is offline  
Jan 20th, 2011, 11:57 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 8

Thank you very much for your feedback, it's highly appreciated! I am not from the UK but from the Netherlands. Since we're travelling with a kid, I want to book a direct flight, so that's why we thought about Altanta. I know my initial plan has a lot of driving in it, but that's what we always do on a USA roadtrip. Last spring we made the first USA/Canada road trip with our daughter (Montreal,Quebec, Boston, Toronto, Boston (family), Burlington VT, Montreal) which was great. However, I agree that we are changing locations a LOT in this plan I made, so I consider starting and ending in Miami now.From there I want to visit:
Cape Canaveral
St. Augustine
The Keys

This should be realistic I guess. In case we really have the feeling that we can do it, we COULD try to squeeze in Savannah.

We are mainly interested in Cities, Nature and Beaches (also snorkeling). We do not care A LOT about architecture (that's why I would never plan a week in Savannah. I think 1 or 2 days should be okay to get a good impression of such a city). How long would you recommend to spend in places like Sanibel/Captiva and/or the Keys?)

Another idea which came to our mind is to skip one of the items above and instead make a 3 day cruise from Miami to the Bahamas. However, I doubt if this really would ADD something new/different to the trip.

Your feedback is appreciated!
LordBonez is offline  

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