Driving from NJ to Orlando
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Hello , We will driving to Orlando on our next trip due to high airline prices and bag fees wondering for those who drive do you drive stright through or stop somewhere 1/2 way? If you do stop are there any places worth the stop to explore for a few hours and a good clean place to sleep... figuring from our door it will be an 18 trip . Thanks again
We really try to push it the first day and leave early and make it to somewhere in SC or even Ga the first night. While we usually take 95 all the way down, this year we'll be doing the scenic route 78-81-77-26-95. It adds a couple of hours, but also avoids Wash DC traffic. Best advice, is to avoid Wash DC rush hour.
We have a driving from Philly topic that may help you too. I know when we leave (70 days) we are leaving at 630 pm and driving to Richmond or maybe a little further, then finishing the drive the next day. My goal is to be there in time for dinner and walk around the boardwalk area
We live in PA but also have about an 18 hour drive. We typically leave early in the morning (5:00 a.m.) and drive to the Savannah, GA area to stop for the night. We usually arrive there by 7:00 p.m. We usually have dinner and let the kids swim at the hotel pool and try to get a good night's sleep. We leave there about 8:00 a.m. the next morning and have about a 4 hour drive the next morning. We grab lunch at the resort after we check in and we're usually at a park by 3:00 at the latest.
Here's the link to a recent thread about driving from Philly. Lots of good information there.
I agree that missing the DC traffic is key. We try to plan our trip so that we're driving through DC early in the morning on a Saturday or Sunday. If we're going to have to travel through on a week day, we actually try to leave late in the afternoon so that we drive through after rush hour. We stop for the night south of DC and then drive to northern FL the next day (making it a 2-night trip for us). We've also considered taking "the long" way to avoid DC all together.
We have done the drive many times. We are in south Jersey. When I went with my parents when I was younger, we would normally leave around dinner time 2 days before our reservation. We would eat and then get on the road. My dad would drive so that he could get through DC before/after rush hour traffic. We would get up early (around 7 am we would be on the road) and drive until we reached Jacksonville. The next morning we would get up bright and early and do the last leg of the trip, giving us an almost full day in the parks! We really like the Fairfield Inns. They are always clean and reasonable, and we have found that they get nicer and cheaper the further south you go. My dad is as big a Disney person as me, so he would normally end up getting us down there way faster than planned. Several times my parents ended up calling and getting us a room at one of the hotels on site a night early and surprising us!
Driving down with my husband, we have taken things a LOT slower. We normally leave around 9 am and drive to Raleigh, NC. My cousin lived there so we would stay with her. Now she has moved to FL, so we would definitely hit the Fairfield Inn. We would get on the road around 7am the next morning and reach the gates by 2pm.
We drove home straight through last time because our dog was sick. It is doable, but it really is tiring. It took us about 15 hours.
In general, we are not the types to stop for long breaks and meals. We pack lots of snacks and limit fluid intake as much as possible... I mean, which is more important: hydration or a date with the Mouse? But seriously, we like to drive, and would choose it over flying any day. It's nice to have the flexibility! OK... so this is now a novel... SORRY! Hope this helps!
We always drive from Toronto to Orlando. We love the drive way better than flying. We make a great trip out of the drive as well. I always find fun things to do and visit on the way down. We are driving in May and stopping for 2 days in Gatlinburg, TN, it should be really fun and then a week in Orlando.
Good luck finding a place to stop and have a fun trip!!!!!!!
Location: Where the Military sends us: Germany,GA,NC,VA,NC,MD...Currently 90mins. from DL :-) San Diego CA
When we lived in MD it was a 13 hour trip. We drove straight through, but we had two drivers. We left around 9pm and took turns each driving halfway and the other sleeping. The kids slept through the night. We made a room only at our resort for arrival day. Spent that day laying around the pool , napping, exploring the resort and going to DtD. We went to bed early and started our package fresh the next day
We drive from South Jersey, usually leave between 4-5am on Saturday to miss DC traffic. Drive as far as Kingsland GA, arrive between 6-7pm have dinner and leave around 8-9am. We arrive at Disney around 12-1 pm and are usually in the parks by 3pm!!! Good luck and safe driving!!
....we've ONLY driven to WDW from NJ. This coming August 25th...will be our 10th time since 2004
....once we learned the routine (best way to do it) it's been a breeze. We leave at between 5 and 6 am (on a Friday)....drive approx 12-13 hrs the first day....and stop in Brusnwick, Ga. for the night. After a good dinner...good night's sleep...and a great breakfast (Cracker Barrel most of the time....yum)...it's a 3 to 3.5 hr drive to WDW the next morning.
...we stay in a Hampton Inn at Brunswick for the over-night stop...it's always been a great place to stay...clean...comfortable...really friendly people running the place. There are some pretty good places to eat in the area...and have actually had breakfast at the Hampton a few times too (sometimes skipping the Cracker Barrel...right across the parking lot... )...but the Hampton has a great breakfast offering (not just coffee and rolls).
....don't know where you're driving from in NJ....but our total drive time (over 2 days) is around 16 hrs. Last year we made Brunswick and a tad over 12 hrs (not a lot of traffic when hurricane Irene is coming up the coast...I guess).
....on the return trip...it's a one shot drive. Leave WDW at about 7:30 to 8 am
...and pull into the driveway at about midnight.
....some driving tips:
Never drive thru Wash DC. Use the Beltway loop ("I-95 I-495 Richmond Washington DC")...around Washington.
Driving thru Richmond is fine...it's the kind of city that...if you blink...you missed it. The I-295 by-pass...saves absolutely no time.
Take I-95 thru Jacksonville......the I_295 by-pass...is a waste of time.
If you're stopping for the night...get a "Traveler" 'magazine' at one of that States welcome centers / rest stops...and use a discount coupon if possible.
Drink plenty of water if driving...dehydration...leads to fatigue.
We too have a 19 hour drive that we take from Michigan. It is straight down I-75. We leave early in the am and drive for about 14 hours which puts us in lower GA (Macon or Tifton). We stop and stay at Hilton Garden Inn - which is very comfortable. Then the next day we get up and out around 8 am which puts us in Disney around 1 pm. We enjoy they "road trip" and consider it part of the vacation.
As a resident of MD, and a frequent visitor to DC, I would triply recommend that you use the beltway around DC. There are a couple of short cuts through DC that can cut 15-20 minutes of the trip, but if you aren't familiar with them, it is so easy to get lost and stuck going the wrong way in down town DC that they're just not worth it for an out-of-towner. Ditto for Baltimore, use it's beltway as well. In fact, around Baltimore, you need to be careful, even on the beltway, 2 of the 3 ways from north to south require you to pay a toll. If you follow the signs for '95' or '895', it'll take you the direct way through the tunnels, which charge a toll. If you follow the westbound '695' (beltway), then you'll go over the Key Bridge, which charges a toll. If you go the eastbound '695', it's a few minutes longer, but no tolls. The tolls, which are around $4.00, do accept EZ-Pass, if you have one. Once you're south of Baltimore, there are no more tolls into WDW on I-95 and I-4.
I just want to clarify that when I said something about driving *through* DC in my previous post, I really meant drive *around* DC. We always take the beltway around but sometimes still run into heavy traffic...and other times breeze through with no traffic. And for some reason every time we drive "around" DC on the trip home, we always get in the wrong lane somewhere and end up in the middle of the city. Happens *every* time and always makes us laugh.
I agree pretty much with everything Jersey Dad said in his driving tips. We live southwest of D.C. in Northern VA, and really advise being careful about what time you go around the beltway in D.C. Rush hours are punishing and long, and there are frequent accidents that halt traffic. Early on a weekend morning will be fine, but if you are going on a weekday, expect heavy traffic from about 5:30 am through about 10:00 am, then again from around 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Unless you are planning to visit the Smithsonian or your Congressperson, avoid downtwon D.C. Once past Fredericksburg, VA, you'll be fine.
Richmond is no problem--shoot straight through. Even in rush hour, I have never taken more than 20 minutes to drive from one side of the city to the other. That big Victorian building next to the road is the train station--beautiful inside too. At night Richmond glitters, will the illuminated buildings reflecting on the James River. Very pretty, but not a traffic problem at all.
We do take the western bypass around Jax, but only because we are going to stop in Orange Park to visit family. Otherwise, just drive through Jacksonville too.
We stop at Santee, SC, which has many hotel choices and places to eat, plus is a well-known area for golf and bass fishing. We like the Hampton Inn, but yes, they have a Cracker Barrel too! Our favorite dinner comes from the Chinese/Thai restaurant in front of the HI. It doesn't look like much, but it is family-run and good. From there it's only a few hours to WDW--don't forget to stop at the Florida Welcome Center for maps, brochures, clean restrooms and free orange juice samples!
Nik & his favorite guy Goofy at DHS Osborne Lights
Sandra in Northern VA