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Old 06-05-2003, 04:11 PM
mala mala is offline
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Fun stops along I-95 (from NYC to Florida)

In two weeks I will be taking a roadtrip from New York to Gainesville, Florida. I was wondering if any dopers can suggest some interesting places to stop along the way. We have a little over two days to make this trip, so there's plenty of time to stop and enjoy ourselves. All suggestions are appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Old 06-05-2003, 04:15 PM
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker Earl Snake-Hips Tucker is offline
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I would invite you to tour the Jewel of the South: "South of the Border." No trip along I-95 is complete without a stop there. Be sure to take a ride in Pedro's hat, where you will have one of the best views available of the SotB parking lot and the soybean fields of Dillon County, SC.
Old 06-05-2003, 04:33 PM
twickster twickster is offline
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Don't forget to count the "South of the Border" signs all the way there.
Old 06-05-2003, 04:45 PM
mala mala is offline
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Haha...yeah, we've already planned to visit the Tijuana of the east coast. Thanks. Any other suggestions?
Old 06-05-2003, 04:47 PM
FairyChatMom FairyChatMom is offline
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I've made the Jacksonville-to-Baltimore-via-I-95 trek more times than I can remember. We did stop at SotB once. We made the mistake of eating there. Never again.

There are several outlet shopping centers thru the Carolinas. I've never stopped at any, but I've wanted to, just for the heck of it. One day, perhaps.

You'll pass through Fredericksburg, VA. We lived near there. Easy access to some Civil War sites right off 95. We stayed in Lumberton, NC, one weekend, and I wouldn't recommend that.

Not much help, huh? Sorry.
Old 06-05-2003, 05:14 PM
tarragon918 tarragon918 is offline
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If you're looking for places to eat, ones that serve good food, check out:

Not only do they have a database that you can search by state or by type of food, there's also a board that has some great posters and I think there might even be a "stops along I-95" post or two there.

I-95 passes through Baltimore, where you could stop and visit Orioles Park at Camden Yards or visit the birthplace of Babe Ruth (not far from the stadium, I think); there's also the Inner Harbor, where the National Aquarium is (think it's about $15-$20 to get in there). The Aquarium has a "up close and personal" shark exhibit going on now, I think.

95 also circles Washington, via the Beltway; there are plenty of things to stop and see in DC! Parking downtown isn't great, though; your best bet would be to take the metro into town to visit the Smithsonian museums, if that's what you like to do.

Further down 95, Williamsburg would be just a short detour, if you're interested in something like that. Pretty neat place, if I remember rightly.

It's been nearly 30 years since I've been down farther than the NC border on 95, so I can't help you with any suggestions further south, sorry! But hope this helps some.

Enjoy your trip! And check out the Roadfood site; hopefully, it will point you to some good eats.
Old 06-05-2003, 05:37 PM
Susanann Susanann is offline
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Charleston harbor, to see the USS Yorktown, AND an atomic commercial freighter, a coast guard cutter, a destroyer, a submarine, etc.

The aircraft carrier is the best, allow several hours to tour it. I dont know anymore, but they used to just let you have the run of the ship, and go anywhere you wanted to go on it/in it.

(Last stop before florida)
Old 06-05-2003, 07:03 PM
FairyChatMom FairyChatMom is offline
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If you've just got 2 days, you can't get too far off I-95. The trip from Jax to Balto takes about 12 hours, Gainesville is an hour and some from here, and I don't know how far from Balto it is to NY, so you're looking at two good days of driving, even without traffic slowdowns.
Old 06-05-2003, 07:22 PM
BF BF is offline
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About 15 miles south of the beltway in DC, stop at Potomac Mills, one of the largest outlet malls on the east coast. Literally, you can see it from I-95, it'll take you five minutes off the highway to get there and back onto I-95. Ditto what FairyChatMom wrote, F-burg is just 25 miles south of Potomac Mills and 5 minutes off the highway. Oh, and as far as Pedro's goes, ya gotta have the Pedro burger, just to say ya been there, done that. (Pack some pepto-bismo or immodium-ad, just in case, and try not to touch anything in the restrooms)

Are you a sportsman/woman, then stop at Green Top just north of Richmond, it's the last exit before I-295, the Atlee-Elmont exit. Great selection of hunting/fishing supplies (albeit a tad expensive on some things, which should change once Bass Pro shops opens in Hampton Roads in October). Speed traps in VA include the Springfield interchange (the dreaded Mixing Bowl), just south of Quantico, Massaponax (more outlet stores), just before the I-295 interchange, and just north of the Emporia exit, close to the VA border. Good luck.
Old 06-05-2003, 08:05 PM
Hey, It's That Guy! Hey, It's That Guy! is offline
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Hey, I live in Gainesville! What are you coming down for? (I'm just curious.) How long will you be staying here?
Old 06-05-2003, 08:24 PM
FairyChatMom FairyChatMom is offline
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Hey, mala and BBVL - did you see the thread about the Florida DopeFests? You should join us if you can!
Old 06-05-2003, 09:30 PM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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In fourteen years of traveling I-95 on and off, I have only once gotten a decent meal in Fredericksburg, VA -- and that was last week, at Emerald's Restaurant, on US-17 at Interchange 133, just off I-95. I'm relatively sure it's a chain of coincidences, but everything from fast food to Denny's to supposedly good restaurants end up either spazzing up the cooked dish, screwing up the order, mischarging, or serving inedible or disgusting food.

I seem to recall an excellent "Mother's Home Cooking" style restaurant about two miles up VA-207 from Carmel Church exit.

I'll check into some of the NC outlet stores over the next week or so -- they're only about 25-30 miles from me.

A suggestion -- I find the D.C. metro area very difficult to navigate no matter the time of day or night. Some alternatives you might like:
  • Exit I-95 at Delaware interchange 4, just southwest of Wilmington, and take Del-1 and US-13 south to Norfolk VA, crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (the only place I know of on the East Coast where you can drive out of sight of land, and with the fascinating sight of a "Caution-Deer Crossing" sign on a causeway out over Hampton Roads about a mile south of Cape Charles (the deer live on Fishermans Island, which the bridge traverses). US-58 west or US-13 or -17 south to US-158 or US-64 will bring you back to 95. Trip's a bit slower, with much of the road 55 MPH, but far more pleasant driving.
  • Take I-97 south from Baltimore, exit onto MD-3 connecting to US-301. This bypasses the heaviest of traffic, though it's still a bit dense, passing east of Washington and across the Nice Bridge (that's its name!) into VA. The last ten miles or so of the connection to I-95 are VA-207, where 301 heads south to parallel I-95.
  • Forging west by whatever means suit you, get to I-81 and take this just west of Harrisburg PA, picking up PA-581 (part of the PA Capital Beltway) and taking this to US-15 south (Exit 5). After a very few miles of four-lane urban driving with sporadic construction, this turns into a limited-access highway that goes south across southern PA and northern MD to Frederick MD. From there you have two choices: I-270 to I-495 (the Capital Beltway) and that south to I-95 at the infamous Mixing Bowl (where there's construction at the moment), or, preferably stay on US-15 south into Virginia to Opal VA (amusing that this is item #3 on the list! ), where you take US-17 to Falmouth VA just north of Fredericksburg, where it joins I-95.
All three of these routes involve some normal-highway, speed limit 55, driving, but are largely on divided, limited-access highway.

Unless you have a particular interest in driving through Richmond or Petersburg, use I-295 around them, and enjoy crossing the cable-stay suspension bridge over the James River.

If you have a taste for things historical, the first alternate route passes by the John Dickinson House on Del-1, IIRC somewhere near Milford. Barb and I found it fascinating.

If you stay on I-95 through Maryland, gas up and take any necessary food/potty breaks before leaving the Baltimore area. There is a nice rest area midway between Baltimore and Washington, but it's busy and of course has no food. Also, if you drink coffee as you drive, do not depend on VA rest area vending machines, but get off and buy coffee at a convenience store or diner.

If you smoke, plan to buy cigarettes in VA or NC, where the prices are well over a dollar a pack below costs further north.

There are no really significant tourism sites immediately off I-95 anywhere in VA or the Carolinas, though there are some highly interesting things involving 30-70 mile side trips.
Old 06-05-2003, 09:38 PM
Jaade Jaade is offline
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You could stop in my home town, and see J. Lo's new house on St. Simon's Island


Old 06-06-2003, 02:44 PM
mala mala is offline
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Posts: 100
Originally posted by Big Bad Voodoo Lou
Hey, I live in Gainesville! What are you coming down for? (I'm just curious.) How long will you be staying here?
My boyfriend's brother is getting married in Gainesville. Instead of flying, we decided to make a mini-vacation by taking a roadtrip. I'll only be in Gainesville from June 20-23. From there we are going to drive Orlando and do some of the parks. Lou, do you have any suggestions for recreation in Gainesville? I'd love to attend the Florida dopefest, but I don't think I'll be able to make. Thanks for all the suggestions. I can always count on my dopers.
Old 06-06-2003, 03:55 PM
Johnny Bravo Johnny Bravo is online now
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I live in Gainesville as well (small world, eh?).

It's a college town, so a lot of the recreation takes the form of clubs and such along University Avenue and Main Street. There's a large local music scene, but I'm not a huge fan myself, so I couldn't tell you about who's playing where or how good they are.

I suppose it comes down to your interests. What do you like to do?
Old 06-06-2003, 04:04 PM
GingerOfTheNorth GingerOfTheNorth is offline
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My house is a mile from I-95 at exit 89 in Maryland. Wave! Come for coffee!
Old 06-06-2003, 06:43 PM
Hey, It's That Guy! Hey, It's That Guy! is offline
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mala, I just checked , and it doesn't look like there are any must-see shows in town that weekend.

If you like nature, I strongly suggest you check out the Devil's Millhopper, a beautiful giant natural sinkhole. I really like it there.

You may just enjoy driving around the University of Florida campus. We have real live alligators that live in lakes on campus, which out-of-state visitors get a real kick out of.

For restaurants, I recommend Sonny's (barbecue), Chop Stix Cafe (Pan-Asian), Calico Jack's (wings), Farah's (wide variety with lots of Mediterranean selections), Cracker Barrel (breakfast), Market Street Pub (great downtown bar with surprisingly good food), and Gainesville Ale House if they don't have the Ale House chain near you.

Other than that, I'm not sure what to recommend. The town may appear kind of dead since it is summer vacation from UF. Too bad you can't catch us during football season, which is a ridiculous time, but also good at showcasing the perfect "Southern college town" atmosphere for visitors. Where is the wedding going to take place?

There may be more events scheduled by then since the "Summer B" term at UF will be starting and lots of freshmen will be moving into town. Tell ya what, e-mail me as your trip gets closer (or bump this thread back up), and I'll keep ya posted on what's happening in Gainesville.


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