Family Travel Question:
Q | What are some good stops for kids on the way from the northeast to Florida?
We are traveling from Maryland to Florida with a 2-year-old and an 8-year-old. Where should we stop along the way for some fun? -Lanelle, Maryland
A | Fun stops on a road trip from Maryland to Florida
Sounds like a fun drive for you and the family! Without knowing how long you are planning to take for the journey, it’s hard to make too many recommendations. One thing I would say, though, is that you should probably plan to stop every few hours for the two-year-old. Unless your baby is napping a lot, she will probably drive the eight-year-old (who’s sharing the backseat) crazy.
Whatever your route, there are a lot of cheap places to stay at night, many with small pools. The AAA site is a good place to pinpoint hotels along a specific route once you’re set on it. Also search the Internet for current discounts, as many chains are having summer specials which might include a free breakfast or other perks.
Plan to have some fun at the motel each morning, maybe even taking a swim after breakfast so the kids are worn out and ready for a nap in the car. Make your rest stops at scenic viewpoints, historical markers, or truck rest stops where you can use the facilities and get road advice.
Then stop at a market in any one of the towns you pass to get picnic supplies, so everyone has a chance to stretch their legs during a longer mid-day break.
If you’re heading out of Maryland, try to take the coastal route so the kids can enjoy the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel - we always find that a great start to any road-trip. This route is the old Atlantic Coastal Highway that ran from Calais, Maine to Florida City – one of the earliest through roads in the country.
Crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge will put you near Virginia Beach, certainly a lively place to stay. There’s a fun boardwalk to stroll, lots of free performances in summer, and a great beach, although the surf is probably too cold for your two-year-old. Summer is their high season, so if you can plan a week-day stay, that would be the best value. Please read more about some family-friendly hotels in Virginia Beach.
Summer, for us means a stop at Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, where there’s a new boardwalk and family attractions including a toddler-friendly beach at Huntington Beach State Park by Murrells Inlet. The water is calm, shallow and warm there so your baby will love it.
Pushing south, Charleston is a wonderful historic city, more of a posh version of Savannah, Georgia. Unless your kids are comfortable with touring historic homes, I would recommend sticking to outdoor activities. The Golden Isles off of the Georgia coast are small and very welcoming, you can read more about the family activities on the Golden Isles and you’ll see what I mean — it’s very toddler-friendly.
Now you’re so close to Florida that the sea breeze is inescapable. The coastal road, Routes 1 and A1A, is certainly the prettiest drive and you can see from this Florida road trip itinerary from Jacksonville to Key West, that we love the drive through Florida itself.
Hope we’ve given you some ideas, but please feel free to ask more questions! Safe travels!
Photo of Talmadge Memorial Bridge outside Savannah, Georgia by Josh Hallett, Wikimedia.com; cc2.0 license.