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Old 10-10-2015, 08:14 AM   #1
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Tampa to Panama City best route??

We've got a couple weeks booked in south WEST FL in January
stopping in the panhandle as we work our way back to KY.
Hide-a-way RV park Ruskin Fl (Tampa/St Pete area) north to near Panama
City.
Google maps says I 75 then I 10 west to exit 174 then FL 12 to St. Andrews state park.

Alternate shorter but not necessarily faster is taking I 75 for a while then
switching to US 27 or US 98 at some point.
I'll call that the "scenic" route. I don't mind scenic if it's not a lot more time.

We just returned from a great trip KY to Maine. We had some great interstate and some that was about as bad as I've ever encountered.
Some of the interstate in NY was just a wash board for hour after hour.
My truck bucked so hard I had trouble keeping my foot on the gas pedal

Wondering about this route above-- which one might have the better
pavement and or just be the best route in your opinions??
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Old 10-10-2015, 08:37 AM   #2
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I take the scenic route 27 is four lane until 98 at Perry all good roads and lots of places to pull over for a rest just my $ .02
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Old 10-10-2015, 08:38 AM   #3
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oh and speed limit is 60to 65
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Old 10-10-2015, 08:46 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgahlhoff View Post
oh and speed limit is 60to 65
Where???
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Old 10-10-2015, 08:48 AM   #5
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on 27 and 98
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Old 10-10-2015, 09:03 AM   #6
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last year the wife and I got into a huge traffic backup going up I-75 north of Tampa... we were on our way to Ocala to pick up Rt 27 to Williston to Alt 27 to Rt 98 which we have traveled before... after stopping for lunch we could see the traffic was even worse so we headed WEST and caught Rt 589 which I think is called the "Sunshine Parkway". This was a freeway type road that had nearly zero traffic on it in either direction. There were tolls collected every 10 miles or so and I think it cost us about $10 to travel it from near Tarpon Springs (On the coast) to it's end at Rt 98 in the north. It seemed to be fairly new freeway as there was not much to offer at the exit ramps for fuel or eats... so make sure you are fueled up.

Once on 98 you can go all the way to Panama City. We use 98 all the time, usually picking it up off Rt 27 as was previously mentioned. Cities along the "Nature Coast" as that part of FL is called are few and far between and the speed limit is usually from 55 to 65 on those stretches so you can make some time and the road is in good shape.

I do break that trip in half though (Tampa to Port St Joe), stopping usually at Manatee Springs SP near Chiefland, FL or at Ochlocknee SP in Sopchoppy, FL... both are interesting places to visit. We have 11 nights at Manatee SP this year.

Passing through the towns gives you the ability to eat at non-chain places and pick up produce at a number of road-side markets.

We stay off the interstates as much as possible and it makes for a more enjoyable trip.

We spend time at both St George Island and Port St Joseph Peninsula SP and love both places for the miles of beaches they both offer. Both are right off Rt 98.
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Old 10-10-2015, 09:12 AM   #7
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if you are looking for time then go 75 to I 10 to 231 down to hwy 390 to hwy 98 to Thomas drive on out to the park. I know the area well. But if you want scenery and light traffic I would take the 27/98route but it will add a lot to your time.
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Old 10-10-2015, 09:38 AM   #8
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if you are looking for time then go 75 to I 10 to 231 down to hwy 390 to hwy 98 to Thomas drive on out to the park. I know the area well. But if you want scenery and light traffic I would take the 27/98route but it will add a lot to your time.
Yeah, that's the way I see it too.
I know google is giving me best case most of the time and I always add
at least an hour to a trip like this for gas/lunch stops but all things equal....
All interstate I 75/ I 10 looks like 6:13 and 408 miles.
IF I jog over to US 98 up to Newport and then 267 it goes up to
6:39 and miles drop to 370
If I take the coast and stay on US 98 time jumps to 7:21 and 392 miles.

I guess I'm wondering if anyone has recent experience with the "faster"
I 75/I 10 route pavement?? We really got pounded when we went to Maine and I'm hoping the interstate in FL is a little better...
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Old 10-10-2015, 10:47 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KyDan View Post
Yeah, that's the way I see it too.
I know google is giving me best case most of the time and I always add
at least an hour to a trip like this for gas/lunch stops but all things equal....
All interstate I 75/ I 10 looks like 6:13 and 408 miles.
IF I jog over to US 98 up to Newport and then 267 it goes up to
6:39 and miles drop to 370
If I take the coast and stay on US 98 time jumps to 7:21 and 392 miles.

I guess I'm wondering if anyone has recent experience with the "faster"
I 75/I 10 route pavement?? We really got pounded when we went to Maine and I'm hoping the interstate in FL is a little better...
We travel this route a lot as our granddaughter lives in Pensacola. We live in the Melbourne area.

As far as the interstate condition goes I-75 and I-10 are good smooth rides, just boring as hell, especially I-10. Plus on 75 you have to put up with the maniacs..

Take 27 out of Ocala to 98 and then 98 onto Panama City. If you are like me you are only driving 60 on I-75 and the speed limit on the alt route is at your running speed. Yes, you will go through a few small towns but this is a pretty route for the most part. Rolling fields, horse farms, etc. We even saw a black bear one time.

It does not add all that much time but if in a hurry, line me up on the interstate and go and hope someone does not do something stupid and hold you up in traffic for a long time.

We usually make it a two day trip anyway. There is a KOA in Perry... Could be a overnight stop for you.

Enjoy your trip and have fun..
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Old 10-10-2015, 01:08 PM   #10
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If you have never been through Homosassa or Crystal River or along the coast on 98 in the Northern panhandle of Florida then that's the way to go. You will see the real Florida or as they call it the Forgotten Coast. Beautiful drive and if you have time you can stop at Homosassa springs. You can do the Toll Road 589 Suncoast Parkway out of Tampa (New Road) Its up to you, Ill be at St Andrews next weekend
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