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Florida Natives: driving question


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We’re planning on driving down from Illinois for our cruise. I like driving and we saw the opportunity to save a good sum of money. So I’m looking at the route. When I was a kid, we always drove to St. Augustine where we had a condo. So we always came down 75, to I 10 over to I95. But to go to Port Canaveral is that still the best way to go? I mean I know what Google Maps tells me, but I’m thinking more real life experiences here. We are leaving Illinois Thursday morning, staying the night somewhere south of Atlanta. So we would have a 4-5 hour drive on Friday morning. 

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If not in a hurry and want something more scenic and rural, go 75 to Macon and then jump on I-20 and that will run you to Savannah, then just come down I-95

 

Make sure you visit our new Buc-ee's!!

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4 hours ago, kelkel2 said:

We’re planning on driving down from Illinois for our cruise. I like driving and we saw the opportunity to save a good sum of money. So I’m looking at the route. When I was a kid, we always drove to St. Augustine where we had a condo. So we always came down 75, to I 10 over to I95. But to go to Port Canaveral is that still the best way to go? I mean I know what Google Maps tells me, but I’m thinking more real life experiences here. We are leaving Illinois Thursday morning, staying the night somewhere south of Atlanta. So we would have a 4-5 hour drive on Friday morning. 

Hello neighbor, Rockford here. Have you ever experienced Atlanta traffic. If you haven’t, I suggest you bypass Atlanta or go through Atlanta late at night or very early in the morning. It’s a nightmare. From Atlanta to PC it’s almost a 7 hour drive. For 4 to 5 hour drive to PC you have to drive to the Statesboro Ga. area. Our last time down and back we went through Indy to Louisville to Lexington to Knoxville to Columbia SC to I-95. Would not recommend this route in the winter, the weather can make it a nerves experience. The I-75-I-10-I-95 route is still the easiest way. If you choose this route,  take I-295 East around Jacksonville.

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5 hours ago, skrufy said:

Hello neighbor, Rockford here. Have you ever experienced Atlanta traffic. If you haven’t, I suggest you bypass Atlanta or go through Atlanta late at night or very early in the morning. It’s a nightmare. From Atlanta to PC it’s almost a 7 hour drive. For 4 to 5 hour drive to PC you have to drive to the Statesboro Ga. area. Our last time down and back we went through Indy to Louisville to Lexington to Knoxville to Columbia SC to I-95. Would not recommend this route in the winter, the weather can make it a nerves experience. The I-75-I-10-I-95 route is still the easiest way. If you choose this route,  take I-295 East around Jacksonville.

Atlanta traffic is exactly why we want to get past it that evening. If we go through Atlanta around 3-4pm will we miss the worst of it? When does it start to really get bad in the afternoon? 
I don’t think there’s any way we can really bypass Atlanta. We are driving in January and don’t want to go up the east coast. But we can adjust our driving time to accommodate and work around Atlanta. It’s about a 10 hour drive from where we live. 

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5 hours ago, skrufy said:

Hello neighbor, Rockford here. Have you ever experienced Atlanta traffic. If you haven’t, I suggest you bypass Atlanta or go through Atlanta late at night or very early in the morning. It’s a nightmare. From Atlanta to PC it’s almost a 7 hour drive. For 4 to 5 hour drive to PC you have to drive to the Statesboro Ga. area. Our last time down and back we went through Indy to Louisville to Lexington to Knoxville to Columbia SC to I-95. Would not recommend this route in the winter, the weather can make it a nerves experience. The I-75-I-10-I-95 route is still the easiest way. If you choose this route,  take I-295 East around Jacksonville.

Hi neighbor! Have you driven from Rockford?! Also thanks for the Florida tip. I know at one point in high school we took a bus trip to Orlando for cheerleading and I remember we went through Gainesville and I don’t know if it was just that day but I felt like all we did all day long was sit in traffic. It was terrible. But it’s been a while, so I didn’t know if both of those Florida routes were going to do that to us. 

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Posted (edited)

Living in Florida for 25 years (now in NC, but soon to be back in FL) I would just stay on 75 then pick up the FL Turnpike  (yes, it's a toll road but...) to Orlando where you then pick up 528 (the Beach Line) directly to PC. But that's just me.

 

By the way, I-20 goes from Atlanta to Florence, NC. From Macon, to get to 95 you would need to be on I-16.

Edited by Pyrate13
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8 minutes ago, Pyrate13 said:

Living in Florida for 25 years (now in NC, but soon to be back in FL) I would just stay on 75 then pick up the FL Turnpike  (yes, it's a toll road but...) to Orlando where you then pick up 528 (the Beach Line) directly to PC. But that's just me.

 

By the way, I-20 goes from Atlanta to Florence, NC. From Macon, to get to 95 you would need to be on I-16.

Is that route that you suggest through Gainesville? Tolls aren’t a problem. I have. An i-pass and their website says it’s accepted in Florida so that’s not a deterrent for us. I’m more just thinking the easiest way with the least congestion on a Friday morning 

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44 minutes ago, kelkel2 said:

Is that route that you suggest through Gainesville? Tolls aren’t a problem. I have. An i-pass and their website says it’s accepted in Florida so that’s not a deterrent for us. I’m more just thinking the easiest way with the least congestion on a Friday morning 

Yes, that'll take you through Gainesville.

 

In my earlier reply, I may have misunderstood, I thought you were looking for an alternative.

 

Best fastest is I75-Turnpike-SR528 (Beachline)-Port Canaveral

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4 hours ago, kelkel2 said:

Hi neighbor! Have you driven from Rockford?! Also thanks for the Florida tip. I know at one point in high school we took a bus trip to Orlando for cheerleading and I remember we went through Gainesville and I don’t know if it was just that day but I felt like all we did all day long was sit in traffic. It was terrible. But it’s been a while, so I didn’t know if both of those Florida routes were going to do that to us. 

Where in Illinois are you? Have driven to Florida many times. Gave up on going through Atlanta long ago. The safest time to go through Atlanta is between midnight and around 5 am. Have sat in traffic at 9am, 12pm, 2pm and 8pm. Going down I-75 to Gainesville and then to the Florida Turnpike to the Orlando area takes you a bit longer than I-75  I-10  I-95. Also I-75 can have traffic delays at anytime south of I-10.

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1 minute ago, skrufy said:

Where in Illinois are you? Have driven to Florida many times. Gave up on going through Atlanta long ago. The safest time to go through Atlanta is between midnight and around 5 am. Have sat in traffic at 9am, 12pm, 2pm and 8pm. Going down I-75 to Gainesville and then to the Florida Turnpike to the Orlando area takes you a bit longer than I-75  I-10  I-95. Also I-75 can have traffic delays at anytime south of I-10.

There are tolls on the Florida Turnpike. No other tolls on the routes discussed here.

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14 hours ago, kelkel2 said:

Atlanta traffic is exactly why we want to get past it that evening. If we go through Atlanta around 3-4pm will we miss the worst of it? When does it start to really get bad in the afternoon? 
I don’t think there’s any way we can really bypass Atlanta. We are driving in January and don’t want to go up the east coast. But we can adjust our driving time to accommodate and work around Atlanta. It’s about a 10 hour drive from where we live. 


We live 35 miles from Atlanta and you do NOT want to be going through there 3-4pm in the afternoon.  Heck traffic is a nightmare almost all the time now but early mornings and late afternoons are the worst!!!

 

Avoid Atlanta like the plague if you can…..between traffic and crime it is the pits!!!

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9 hours ago, skrufy said:

Where in Illinois are you? Have driven to Florida many times. Gave up on going through Atlanta long ago. The safest time to go through Atlanta is between midnight and around 5 am. Have sat in traffic at 9am, 12pm, 2pm and 8pm. Going down I-75 to Gainesville and then to the Florida Turnpike to the Orlando area takes you a bit longer than I-75  I-10  I-95. Also I-75 can have traffic delays at anytime south of I-10.

We’re in Bloomington. Right off of I74 so an easy trip over to I57 to head south. 

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8 minutes ago, GTO-Girl said:


We live 35 miles from Atlanta and you do NOT want to be going through there 3-4pm in the afternoon.  Heck traffic is a nightmare almost all the time now but early mornings and late afternoons are the worst!!!

 

Avoid Atlanta like the plague if you can…..between traffic and crime it is the pits!!!

I don’t know if I can completely avoid it. I mean we can certainly leave earlier to make it better, but I don’t think there’s a reasonable route that avoids Atlanta unfortunately. 

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1 minute ago, kelkel2 said:

I don’t know if I can completely avoid it. I mean we can certainly leave earlier to make it better, but I don’t think there’s a reasonable route that avoids Atlanta unfortunately. 


That is unfortunate but understandable.  
 

Download the free app WAZE so it can help you hopefully avoid the worst of the traffic.  We use it rather than our car GPS because it’s so much better.

 

Safe travels and have a wonderful cruise!

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16 hours ago, kelkel2 said:

Is that route that you suggest through Gainesville? Tolls aren’t a problem. I have. An i-pass and their website says it’s accepted in Florida so that’s not a deterrent for us. I’m more just thinking the easiest way with the least congestion on a Friday morning 

I-75 passes just west of Gainesville. Take I-75 to the Leesburg/Wildwood exit onto to the Florida Turnpike ( toll road ) to Orlando exit at the Beachline ( Rte 528 exit ). Take 528 East to PC. The Fla. Turnpike does not transition directly on to 528. You have to pass over 528 and exit,  

 

 

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Just now, skrufy said:

I-75 passes just west of Gainesville. Take I-75 to the Leesburg/Wildwood exit onto to the Florida Turnpike ( toll road ) to Orlando exit at the Beachline ( Rte 528 exit ). Take 528 East to PC. The Fla. Turnpike does not transition directly on to 528. You have to pass over 528 and exit,  

 

 

 

2 minutes ago, skrufy said:

I-75 passes just west of Gainesville. Take I-75 to the Leesburg/Wildwood exit onto to the Florida Turnpike ( toll road ) to Orlando exit at the Beachline ( Rte 528 exit ). Take 528 East to PC. The Fla. Turnpike does not transition directly on to 528. You have to pass over 528 and exit,  

 

 

Orlando traffic, not near the Atlanta mess can back up at anytime 

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5 hours ago, skrufy said:

 

Orlando traffic, not near the Atlanta mess can back up at anytime 

Oh and I’ve sat in it before in Orlando! That’s why I was wondering if coming down i95 is better? But I suppose Jacksonville, St. Augustine, and Daytona can back up too!

Honestly a little traffic isn’t going to kill us. We’re leaving on a Thursday morning and the ship leaves Saturday. So we have time built in. It’s just more or less annoying. 

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Yes, the route I suggested is thru Gainesville. I driven it many times and might have been backed up once. Nothing like Atlanta though. Yes, you can get backups in Orlando, but I've also been in long backups multiple times in Jax both going 95 thru downtown and on the 295 belt. Driving thru cities is a crap shoot no matter where you go.

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3 hours ago, kelkel2 said:

Oh and I’ve sat in it before in Orlando! That’s why I was wondering if coming down i95 is better? But I suppose Jacksonville, St. Augustine, and Daytona can back up too!

Honestly a little traffic isn’t going to kill us. We’re leaving on a Thursday morning and the ship leaves Saturday. So we have time built in. It’s just more or less annoying. 

Either way you can end up in traffic, but from my experience from living in central Florida, I would choose I-95. When we hit traffic on I-75 we would exit and go through the Ocala forest to I-4 and home.

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On 7/16/2021 at 8:21 PM, kelkel2 said:

So we always came down 75, to I 10 over to I95. But to go to Port Canaveral is that still the best way to go? 

 

Not a Florida native, but have driven to Florida from the Dayton, Ohio area enough times that this is my preferred way to reach Port Canaveral or Port Everglades or Port of Miami.  I have tried--and have used--some of the suggested routes from time to time as well as another route that involved US 27 when I had a particular need to do so.  

 

If you want to spend the time and enjoy a more leisurely drive, getting on A1A at some point off I-95 is an interesting alternative as well.  If you do so, in the various communities through which one passes, OBSERVE the speed limit posted.  

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1 hour ago, Pyrate13 said:

For what it's worth, I would consider US27 the worst option but...

 

Yes, it is.  I had a family reunion in South Orlando that I wanted to attend before I left for a visit to a friend in Fort Pierce and then a cruise from Port Everglades.  I needed a hotel along US 27 to stay in order to be conveniently located to get to where my family was.  While not the best route to Port Canaveral, I found it interesting.  Passing the Visitor's Center for Florida's Natural OJ plant (why didn't I stop?) and seeing the small communities along the highway:  I enjoyed the different way to get to Fort Pierce.  

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It's probably worthwhile to check the road conditions immediately before  departure. The 528 toll road has had a lot of construction and some detours due to the BrightLine rail construction lately. The Turnpike has been doing all sorts of work involving lane closures etc.  Yeehaw (real place!) to Port St Lucie has bridge work, guard rails, some repaving, etc.

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