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Old 01-06-2016, 02:53 PM   #1
chent's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Toronto
Posts: 64
Toronto to Key West

Hi Friends,

You were all such a great help to us with our first big adventure this summer I thought we'd turn to you again for some winter traveling advice.

We're going to take a trip to warmer temperatures to close out my maternity leave. We are leaving Toronto with our 1 yo and 2.5 yo and want to make our way to the sun as fast as possible. We might be able to pull off an 8 hour drive day on the first day. But as we learned the last time, 4-5 hours of road time is the max to keep everyone happy.

I'm thinking our first destination will be Folly Beach, SC. So i'm thinking Pittsburgh (5hr drive), Charlotte (8 hr drive), Folly Beach (3.5 hr drive).

Does anyone have suggestions on alternatives? I'm not sure Pittsburgh is the best first stop.

I'd love your suggestions.


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Old 01-06-2016, 08:18 PM   #2
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 92
The past two years we made the trip in late January to Orlando from Toronto with a pop-up.

First year, we left late afternoon and we crossed at Buffalo and I drove through the night (stopped for a 2-hr nap in WV) to Savannah, GA via Cleveland and straight down I-77 to Columbia, SC and onto I-26 over to I-95 - it was a long haul. Next day was an easy one into St Augustine for a few nights before heading for Disney for a couple of weeks.

Year two, we crossed at Buffalo and went down I-79 through Pittsburgh and stayed around Sutton, WV in a hotel, then Day Two was into Savannah, GA at another hotel. Then third day was into Disney.

This year, we have upgraded to a TT with the Thermal Package and plan on doing the I-77 route and camping at Salt Fork State Park in Ohio - it is between Pittsburgh and Columbus - on night one. Day two will likely end up around Columbia, SC and may just Walmart it. Day three will put us near St Augustine where we have a site booked for a week, and then we work our way down to the Everglades through a few different State Parks - no Disney this year.

If you take I-79 through Pittsburgh/Morgantown, you can save about 45 mins taking Hwy 19 in WV from Sutton to Beckley vs going to I-77 and Charleston, but Hwy 19 is notorious for being a speed trap for the local authorities. I have gone through there 3 times and never seen a police car, but it is mentioned all over the web as being a money grab.

I have not done the I-75 route via Detroit/Cinci but have heard/read many horror stories, and my parents had a few issues with flat tires and rough roads going through Cinci.

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Old 01-07-2016, 03:10 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Brooklin, Ontario
Posts: 352
From T.O. We like Grove City as our first stop. It is at the 5 hour mark and is relatively easy spot to do that crucial first grocery shopping after crossing the border.

I think the KOA there is open year round???

Have a great trip!

Griswald One - Life is a Misadventure!
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Old 01-08-2016, 09:37 AM   #4
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Join Date: May 2014
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 173
As I look out the window, I am very envious of your trip. We did a 7 week camping trip from Ottawa to Key West, with my son who was 5 at the time, about 4 years ago. The first part of our trip is further east than yours as we stopped in Hershey Pa, our first day and then got up early and made it to Savannah Ga. the second day and then we were at Disney on the 3rd day. We went at Easter (April) and most of the Northern campgrounds were still closed but when we got to Savannah the outdoor pool and hot tub were open and we really noticed that we were south. Different KOA campgrounds have different season lengths indicated on the website.

Travelling with my son when he was younger, I always found it easier to go to bed early and get up at 2:00 am and load him into the truck as he would still sleep until at least 6:00 am and then we would stop for breakfast, drive a couple of hours, stop for lunch drive a couple of hours and then stop early in the day and then do something fun for the afternoon. Doing that for just the first day when going south gets you double the distance south so you can take it easy the second day and be somewhere you can hit a swimming pool or do some outdoor activities in t-shirts. Ipads and a lap desk were also great tools for keeping my son busy while travelling.
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