Suggest a road trip of around 10 hours from Orlando!
July 30, 2012 1:37 PM   Subscribe

Can you suggest some amazing places for me to visit within a ~10 hour drive of Orlando, Florida? I will be leaving Orlando on September 1st and have to be back either in Orlando or in Atlanta, Georgia afternoon of 7th September for my flight back to London, England. New Orleans is one enticing idea so far, Miami slightly less so...but very keen to get some suggestions from the hive mind. Everything from historic landmarks to city culture to the big wide open considered (and I'm a big fan of freshwater swimming too).

I've checked other similar threads here on MeFi but haven't found anything quite like what I'm looking for. If you were going to do a road trip on my route, where would you go? Many thanks!
posted by skylar to Travel & Transportation (20 answers total)
Oh and just to make things a bit more complex, if there's somewhere great that could be reached with a direct flight of let's say four hours, I'll consider that too.
posted by skylar at 1:39 PM on July 30, 2012

Tons of Springs to the NW of Orlando on the I-75 corridor. Here's a map!

Ichetucknee's pretty rad, it's a couple hours worth of tubing down a freshwater river. I've also heard good things about Fanning Springs.
posted by sibboleth at 1:50 PM on July 30, 2012

I love St. Augustine, Fla. and Charleston, SC. Historic, walkable, and you'll see beautiful stuff you won't see anywhere else.
posted by printchick at 1:50 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens down in Delray Beach. I've never gone through the museum itself, but the gardens are amazing.
posted by Su at 1:54 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Tampa/St Petersburg, including the Salvador Dali museum, which is all kinds of great.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:57 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

the kennedy space center is both epic and historic. it's an hour's drive east of orlando. in particular, i found the apollo/saturn v center to be amazing. they have an entire apollo launch vehicle on it's side in a long building; the scale is impressive. and you can touch a moon rock!
posted by bruceo at 1:58 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

For a flight that's not super long, check out Branson/Springfield Missouri. has direct flights from Orlando to Branson/Springfield. And cheap, because their aircraft are a little...dated.

Branson is pretty famous for it's insane number of dinner theater/musical acts. I cannot personally recommend any because I have never been, but the signs on the highway for acts such as The Baldknobbers, The Redneck Tenors, and Pierce Arrow are certainly intriguing. To me anyway.

For driving, consider Pensacola. Lovely beaches, great historic feel to the town. Takes about 8 hours to get there by car.
posted by bilabial at 2:04 PM on July 30, 2012

Well a four hour direct flights can get you pretty far so your options are wide open... New York City and Boston, for example.
The Florida Keys are another good option as well.
posted by smalls at 2:08 PM on July 30, 2012

Have you visited the Great Lakes before?
posted by bricksNmortar at 2:17 PM on July 30, 2012

Do a circle tour of South Florida. Head east to the Cocoa Beach and visit the Space Center. South to South Beach for a shameless ostentation. Drive down the keys to Key West -- day ferry to the Dry tortugas is a must. Backtrack across the keys then turn west on US 41 to cross the evergaldes. Take an airboat tour and stop on the National Park to walk among the gators. West to the Gulf coast -- Naples is my favorite beach in Florida. North to Sanibel Island for the most laid back experience this side of the Mississipi. Sarasota for the Ringling museum/St. Armands/Mote Aquarium (and maybe Santa Maria island) then East back to Orlando.

On the other hand, a four hour flight will probably get you to Vegas.
posted by dzot at 2:20 PM on July 30, 2012

The Morikami gardens and museum are really excellent. Seconded. Since you're in Orlando, have you already been to Kennedy Space Center? Because it's pretty cool.

Having been to Branson an unfortunate number of times, I'm going to steer you away from that one. It might be interesting for the sociological or ironic component, but it is a lot of pork rinds, those old-timey photo booths, and kind of weird but bad pop-folk stage shows. If you're going to get on a plane and fly for four hours, definitely go to NYC or Chicago or Boston or Ashland or Austin or D.C.

Miami is actually pretty great. The Fairchild Botanical Gardens are amazing, I generally enjoy the Museum of Thinkism and just walking around South Beach is pretty interesting. A great clash of many cultures, the ocean and a lot of art deco.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:20 PM on July 30, 2012

Doh! *Anna Maria* island.
posted by dzot at 2:21 PM on July 30, 2012

I have never been to Savannah, but I hear great things and I have always wanted to visit, so I would probably choose there. New Orleans is amazing, however, and if you have never been before I can't recommend it enough. Another city that I loved which would be on the way to New Orleans is Mobile, Alabama - great seafood and really beautiful architecture! When I visited Mobile I also went to the beaches on Dauphin Island and had a great time. The whole trip was actually a New Orleans/Mobile adventure and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Whatever you decide, have so much fun - I love that area of the country and I wish I could be road-tripping it there this year!
posted by luciernaga at 2:21 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think this driving trip makes it just under 10 hours, and it's only 4 hours back to Atlanta.

You can go to Gatlinburg. See the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Cades Cove (a frontier settlement) or go all tourist and do Dollywood.

You'll drive through Cherokee, there's a museum (my friend's eleven year-old pronounced it depressing) a piece of theater called Unto These Hills. And, if that's not enough, a Casino.

I like to stay at the Holiday Inn Vacation Resort right in Gatlinburg. Full time-share apartment, two pools, very relaxing.

I'll be the first to admit that none of this is particularly high-brown, but the scenery is gorgeous and we love going up there to relax.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:24 PM on July 30, 2012

high-brow. High-Brown, don't know what that could be.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:25 PM on July 30, 2012

Keep the fantastic suggestions coming!

BricksNMortar, no I've never been to the Great Lakes.
posted by skylar at 2:40 PM on July 30, 2012

You couldn't possibly make it to the Great Lakes in under 10 hours. Not by car at least.
posted by Green With You at 3:31 PM on July 30, 2012

St Augustine
posted by Flood at 5:43 PM on July 30, 2012

An itinerary: St. Augustine, Savannah, then Charleston. After that go west to Asheville, explore the mountains, go tubing, kayaking, hiking. Next hit Chattanooga and you're only a couple of hours from Atlanta.
posted by mareli at 6:11 AM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you want historical old South, it'd be hard to beat the trip mareli suggests. Also the mountains up near Asheville and Chattanooga are beautiful. There are tons of lakes and swimming holes that can only be reached by hiking. If you need suggestions on what to do in Savannah or Charleston feel free to memail me.
posted by This Guy at 7:17 AM on July 31, 2012

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