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Author Topic: Hampton Roads to Ft Lauderdale  (Read 2312 times)

Thing 342

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Hampton Roads to Ft Lauderdale
« on: September 07, 2013, 11:29:02 AM »

My family and I are headed down to Ft. Lauderdale for a Cruise out of Port Everglades on April 5 (via 95). We need to be at Port Everglades by 11am (on April 6), so we will need to spend the night somewhere. Can anyone tell me where the best place to spend the night is?
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1995hoo

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Re: Hampton Roads to Ft Lauderdale
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2013, 12:29:44 PM »

My family and I are headed down to Ft. Lauderdale for a Cruise out of Port Everglades on April 5 (via 95). We need to be at Port Everglades by 11am (on April 6), so we will need to spend the night somewhere. Can anyone tell me where the best place to spend the night is?

Depends on how far you're willing to go in a single day. For us, driving from Fairfax County, if we leave at 7 AM and go straight down I-95 (except for taking I-295 around Richmond and Petersburg), and if we don't hit heavy traffic (ha), we reach the Jacksonville area around 6 PM, about 690 miles with three stops (breakfast, lunch/fuel, and a toilet break). That's about as far as Ms1995hoo is usually willing to go in one day, and there are a fair number of good reasonably-priced hotels at the exit for JAX Airport north of the city proper.

But it's still around another 300 miles south to Fort Lauderdale, so you'd have to be up super-early the next day. I would therefore suggest you push further, especially recognizing that you're starting further south than we do and thus ought to be able to go farther south. The Melbourne/Viera area might be a good stopping point. It's about two to three hours beyond Jacksonville, but it's only about three hours to Fort Lauderdale in the morning. There are several places to stay right off I-95 at the Wickham Road exit. Might be an easy stopping point for you.

Frankly, I would suggest that if you can, you should leave on April 4, drive part of the way, then arrive in Fort Lauderdale on April 5 and stay overnight. It gives you a little more slippage time in case there's a serious problem on the road. Both times we've taken cruises (one out of Anchorage, one out of Copenhagen) we flew in the day before precisely out of fear that if we tried to arrive on embarkation day, we'd risk being screwed if the flights were late or cancelled. I would do the same if I were driving unless the port were local (meaning Baltimore).

At least you don't have to worry about that weekend being Easter, which is April 20 in 2014.
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1995hoo

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Re: Hampton Roads to Ft Lauderdale
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2013, 05:46:04 PM »

Further to my last comment, I checked a map and found that from the JAX airport area to Port Everglades is closer to 350 miles than it is to 300.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

froggie

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Re: Hampton Roads to Ft Lauderdale
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2013, 12:11:02 PM »

Quote
and if we don't hit heavy traffic (ha),

In my experience, unless there's a major crash or VDOT's doing crazy work, 95 south doesn't jam up until at least lunchtime.
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1995hoo

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Re: Hampton Roads to Ft Lauderdale
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2013, 12:21:38 PM »

Quote
and if we don't hit heavy traffic (ha),

In my experience, unless there's a major crash or VDOT's doing crazy work, 95 south doesn't jam up until at least lunchtime.

I wasn't necessarily referring to between here and Richmond (anyway, that would be irrelevant to someone coming from Tidewater). I meant anywhere along the route. It seems like most of the time we always hit a backup somewhere, whether because of a crash or the Ridgeland speedtrap or just plain traffic. For some reason it seems like the place we most often encounter congestion is in the Hardeeville area in South Carolina approaching the Georgia state line. I'm at a loss to explain why. Going northbound, sure, congestion in Georgia is logical, at least during beach season, because the carriageway narrows to two lanes at the state line. But going southbound it's always been a mystery to me.

I guess it makes sense, though, as a pure statistical matter that the longer your drive is, the more likely it is you'll encounter a traffic jam somewhere along the line. On our last drive to Florida the Friday and Saturday before Christmas, we hit a backup near St. Augustine, which was mystifying until I realized there was an outlet mall there. Last-minute Christmas shoppers. Makes perfect sense when you realize that. It's easy to plan for certain simple things, like avoiding Daytona on NASCAR weekends or not using I-95 through Baltimore if the Ravens are playing. It's a lot harder to plan for things like trying to remember where outlet malls are and such!


Either way, my overall conclusion remains the same: If you are going down there for a cruise, it is better to allow extra buffer time because you never know when you'll hit traffic due to a wreck or roadwork or whatever and it's far better to be early than it is to miss the ship's departure!
« Last Edit: September 11, 2013, 12:31:01 PM by 1995hoo »
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

froggie

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Re: Hampton Roads to Ft Lauderdale
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2013, 12:03:03 AM »

I guess I've had overall better luck on 95 between Jacksonville and Emporia than you have...sure it's busy, but I've never hit an actual jam.  That said, agree that it's wise to allow extra time just in case.
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1995hoo

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Re: Hampton Roads to Ft Lauderdale
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2013, 10:58:58 AM »

I just view hitting traffic somewhere (doesn't matter where, just somewhere along the way) as an inherent part of any long-distance drive. Obviously it's substantially more of an issue if you go north from the DC area due to the major population centers that way. I think Dr. Gridlock in the Washington Post put it well when he said that if you're driving north to Maine or beyond, you're going to hit some city's traffic along the way and it's just a question of which one, not whether you hit it. (For us it's usually been Boston-area simply due to timing—we hit I-495 in Massachusetts during the afternoon rush hour.) Going south on I-95 the same principle obviously doesn't hold true, at least not until you hit Florida, simply because you don't have the same concentrated population. Summer vacation season can be a different animal, of course, but the OP is going in April.

In the OP's case, the real motivating factor in my mind is the hard deadline imposed by the cruise departure. You can have all the luck in the world and still get massively screwed by an accident in the wrong place at the wrong time. When I have a firm deadline I must meet I tend to be a lot more vigilant about doing what I can to prepare for the unexpected. Stuff just happens. On the last cruise Ms1995hoo and I took, a Holland America cruise around the Baltic Sea, we met several people who had flown in the morning of the cruise and who were in dire straits because their luggage had not arrived in Copenhagen with them! It was almost a week before they got their bags because our first full day was at sea (no luggage delivery), our second was in Estonia (not sure why they couldn't get it then), and the next two were in Russia (extremely strict security rules prohibited the airlines from bringing the luggage to St. Petersburg when the passengers were not on the plane). So the poor folks didn't get their bags until we arrived in Helsinki the Saturday after we departed Copenhagen.

Obviously when you're driving the lost luggage is not an issue, but stuff like that just makes me all that much more aware of how things completely beyond your control can conspire to mess up your trip, and so I try to plan for such things to the extent I can. Does that make sense?

(British Airways left our bags at Heathrow when we connected on the return trip from the Baltic cruise. On the other hand, on the trans-Atlantic leg we were upgraded to first class at the gate, and our bags were delivered to our house within two days. I'll take that tradeoff every time as long as it's on the flight home!)
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

Thing 342

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Re: Hampton Roads to Ft Lauderdale
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2013, 05:35:15 PM »

Thanks for the advice guys. We have a hotel in Ft Lauderdale for the night before the cruise. We were originally going to fly into MIA or FLL Saturday, and heard that there was a travel agent convention that same weekend, so we booked early. We all have work/school until at least 1:00 on Friday, so if we leave on then we will need to stay in either NC or SC (probably Florence). Otherwise, we would probably stay in either St Augustine or Cape Canaveral.
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