Travel With Bender

Uncovering the best family holidays

Southeast, USA

Phase 6 #motherofallroadtrips: Northeast to Southeast USA

New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida

9th January – 4th March

Total approximate miles: 1,765 (2,840 km)

Total fuel: US$129 (loving the cheaper east coast fuel!)

Phase six continues our #motherofallroadtrips.

Phase 1: We toured Eastern Canada for over one month.

Phase 2: A little under one month in the Midwest USA.

Phase 3: We made our way from Oregon to Vancouver, Canada.

Phase 4: We discovered Western Canada with a quick side trip to Alaska.

Phase 5: Drove more than 5,500 km from British Colombia to New York.

After several weeks hanging out with fabulous family in New York, celebrating Christmas and the start of 2016, we were excited to get back on the road for the next half of our epic 1-year road trip. So here we go from New York to sunny Florida, but not along the Atlantic coastal route like we did back in 2012. This time we drove inland to enjoy a little fine southern hospitality. 

 

Phase #6 – Northeast to Southeast USA: 

Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA

9th January

Accommodation: Rodeway Inn & Suites Hershey (We paid $66 - check latest prices...)

We got a late start heading out of New York so drove straight through to Hershey and checked into our hotel for a good night’s sleep.

Charlottesville, Virgina, USA

10th January

Accommodation: Holiday Inn Charlottesville-Univ Area (We paid $66 - check latest prices...)

Before leaving Hershey (which was lined with Hershey kiss-shaped streetlamps), we took a quick visit to Hershey Chocolate World. This cool attraction offers free samples and a fun free tour that demonstrates how they make America’s favourite chocolates. 

With chocolatey faces we rolled onwards to Charlottesville, Virginia where we checked out the beautiful university and admired the quaint outdoor pedestrian mall.

Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

11th January

Accommodation: Red Roof Inn Knoxville Central - Papermill Road (We paid $57 - check latest prices...)

This was a really long day of driving so we just stopped in Knoxville as the name was cool and we wanted to sleep. Plus we found a Cracker Barrel – our first taste of this popular southern restaurant chain.

Nashville, Tennessee, USA

12th – 18th January

Accommodation: Wyndham Nashville (We paid $375 for 6 nights, that's $62.50 a night - check latest prices...)

7 nights in Nashville was a dream come true. You can read all about our time in Nashville here, from the best places to eat, to mansion visits, to plantations and, of course, everything relating to country music

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

18th – 22nd January

Accommodation: Airbnb (We paid $300 for 4 nights, that's $75 a night - check prices in area...)

We departed Nashville for Atlanta. And while we did not stay in Chattanooga overnight, we did stop to see Ruby Falls.

Ruby Falls is the world’s largest commercial underground waterfall. We walked through this long, narrow cave until we reached a spectacular waterfall. The cave is privately owned and relatively tame, having long lost its “wildness”. It’s a tourist trap where you are herded through tight spaces to rather quickly witness the waterfall with all its synchronised lights and musical fanfare. Not my cup of tea, but the kids loved it because they could touch everything. And I did enjoy not having to hold them back. The cave is also well suited for more mature visitors, as it was a rather easy going walk.

Back above ground, we drove straight into downtown Atlanta to our new Airbnb apartment for the next 4 nights. While in town we enjoyed the World of Coco-Cola tour, CNN world headquarters, Georgia Aquarium and more. Read all about it here (coming soon). 

Tallahassee, Florida, USA

22nd – 25th January

Accommodation: 4 Points Sheraton (check latest prices...)

Finally! Straight from Atlanta to sunny Florida. Well, that’s what we thought. We loaded into the car at 10:30am, turned the key in the ignition and… nothing. Not even a chugga-chugga. Frantically, we tried to solve the problem for about 1.5 hours before calling USAA on the advice of the car’s owner. They sent someone out within 20 minutes. He jump-started the battery and we were back on our way.

2 hours behind schedule, we flew down the highway towards Florida as fast as the speed limit would let us and arrived 4 ½ hours later in Tallahassee.

Tallahassee is a gorgeous college town and a real surprise to us. We enjoyed every moment of our 4 days there. You can read all about that here (coming soon).

Tallahassee from above

Orlando, Florida, USA

25th January – 2nd March

Accommodation: Palisades, Winter Garden (check latest prices...)

We were sad to say goodbye to terrific Tallahassee, but looked forward to our next long pit stop at the end of this phase of our road trip. On the way to Orlando we made a detour at the “Florida Welcome Centre”, which was basically an opportunity to try and sell you timeshares with the incentive of a $100 discount on Disney World tickets. We didn’t bite, but we did ogle the 13" stuffed alligator on display. The rest of the drive was uneventful, apart from a stunning sunset, and we arrived at last in the land of sunshine after 6 long winter months.

In Orlando we explored the world’s largest Legoland and iconic Universal Studios, but primarily spent our time catching up on writing and working.

Josh also took a 1-week solo trip to Istanbul, Turkey for World Tourism Forum. He captured hundreds of gorgeous photos of this ancient city, took a walking tour with Walks of Turkey and stayed at the beautiful Eresin Taxim Premier hotel. Since his return flight landed after midnight I organised a pickup from Blacklane, which worked flawlessly. Super comfortable trip home and no kids out of bed for me.

We made it to the promised land! Icy winds, cold weather and long johns were behind us and it is only sunshine and flip-flops ahead (fingers crossed). This brings to a close phase 6 of our #motherofallroadtrips – an epic yearlong road trip around Canada and the US. 

Here's what you have to say...

"I respond to every comment by private email. So please leave me comments, I love chatting to you" -
Posted by Susan Martin on
This looks great! We've not done this exact route, but have enjoyed the coast and many of the stops along your southern route. We might take the Charlottesville to Hershey leg on your route with stops off in Philly and NJ at some point - we have family up that way. :) What season would you recommend?
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