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Old 04-13-2013, 11:03 PM   #1
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Illinois to Florida - Looking for advice on route and campgrounds

In another couple of months our family will traveling from Illinois to Florida for a family vacation. We are in the process of planning our route and looking for places to stay. I'm hoping that all of my fellow FRF members can provide insight/advice on the route and even help with good places for overnight stays.

To start with we are looking at taking 74 East to 57 South, than catching 24 East and going through the mountains to Chattanooga. From there we are looking at catching 75 South down to Atlanta and then all the way to wonderful Orlando.

So here is where I am looking for advice. We are going to be pulling our 40' fifth wheel and it sounds like the worst part of the mountain drive on I 24 is around Monteagle. Anyone been this route before and can offer recommendations both East and West bound? (FYI, we usually fly and I haven't been this route in a vehicle since station wagons were an "in thing".)

Next questions, anyone have recommendations on getting around both Nashville and Atlanta when pulling a fifth wheel (routes to take, etc.) Not sure how our timing will work out to be able to avoid traffic but we will do the best we can.

Last question. We are looking at traveling anywhere from 7-9 hours/day, and taking 2 and 1/2 days to get there. Anyone have any good recommendations campgrounds to stay along this route that we could pull into for overnighters? I know that WM can always be an option, but given that we are taking the 2 1/2 days we should be able to have the luxury of actually stopping and setting up somewhere. Using this route we were looking at somewhere around Paducah, KY for the first leg and maybe within an hour of Atlanta for the second leg, but we are open to options.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-16-2013, 10:17 AM   #2
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QCCowboy,
There is a really nice overnight campground at Clarksville TN that we like to stay at for overnight. I don't like mountain driving pulling a trailer so I usually take 65 south from Nashville to Birmingham AL then go east to Atlanta from there. On the South side of Atlanta is another good overnight campground. The only really bad part of the drive is around Birmingham AL the roads are really rough.
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Old 04-16-2013, 11:16 AM   #3
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I have driven the route from Tampa to St. Louis many many times, almost exactly as you described. 75 to 24 to 57 and back. Never towing anything, but I have driven over the mountains during some wicked snowstorms. Our last drive was particularly bad when it started to snow just as I hit the mountain and it was nighttime. Not fun. However, I took my time and put my hazards on. I wasn't about to let anyone push me into going faster.

Fortunately, you won't have to worry about that and when weather is fair, the drive is not bad at all. Many truckers use that route, and there are emergency turnouts for them. Just take your time, and don't feel rushed. The truckers take their time, too.

Except for the mountain, that route should be perfectly fine for you. As long as you can avoid Atlanta during rush hour... but honestly.... just expect to take a while to get through that area. Pretty much from Marietta to Macon can be a slow drive, so just be prepared.

I am assuming you will take the Turnpike off of 75 to get to Orlando? That is a tollroad that now uses ORT (open road tolling). In other words, no toll booths, they will take a picture of your plate and send you a bill. You can avoid administrative fees by pre-registering here: https://www.tollbyplate.com/index

I don't have any suggestions for where to stay, though.
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Old 04-16-2013, 11:54 AM   #4
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To and fro

I travel very often between ATL (Carrollton on the west side) and C'dale Il. 57 to 24 (suggest you skip nashville proper and follow route to bass pro and opryland, the road (briley parkway i think) will place you just east of nashville, maybe a total of five lights). From chatt I would go down GA 27 (mostly divided four lane) to us 20 west. (Heads up GA 27 south is an exit before GA 27 north off of 24) Much nicer road with great views with Chickamauga (nice) and Tanner (not much) state parks to stay at. I avoid us 20 between ATL and B'ham when possible. Construction and a lot of 55 mph limits.

Going down 75 is thick with traffic and moves very fast. From the last census a gillzion people live on the north side of ATL, and that was a few years ago.
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Old 04-16-2013, 12:04 PM   #5
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There is a beautiful campground called John Prince Park. It is huge! Big lake, water skiing, fishing, nature walks, biking and so much more. The spaces are gigantic and lots of trees for shade.

John Prince Park Campground
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Old 04-16-2013, 12:52 PM   #6
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Cowboy, I drive 75 from OH to FL every year towing 42' 5er. Just got back a couple weeks ago. You shouldn't have any problems. The short section of 24 before you get to Chattanooga will be your only concern, and I wouldn't think anything of it.
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Old 04-16-2013, 07:57 PM   #7
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Quote:We are going to be pulling our 40' fifth wheel and it sounds like the worst part of the mountain drive on I 24 is around Monteagle. Anyone been this route before and can offer recommendations both East and West bound?Quote

We have been over Monteagle a couple of times and you won't have any problems. On the way up I let my transmission find the gear it wants and i just let it stay there. On the way down I get slowed up and I mean, right hand lane behind a semi truck 25 to 30 MPH or however slow they are going, with the engine brake on and then follow them down. I have had some of the semi's pass me because I was going to slow for them, but I feel comfortable at my speed at that time. Have fun and enjoy the views.
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Old 04-16-2013, 09:20 PM   #8
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Thanks for the input everyone! Looks like going through the mountains won't be too much of an issue and I now have a few options to stop at. If anyone know of any other recommended campgrounds along the route let me know.
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Old 04-16-2013, 09:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkb74 View Post
I am assuming you will take the Turnpike off of 75 to get to Orlando? That is a tollroad that now uses ORT (open road tolling). In other words, no toll booths, they will take a picture of your plate and send you a bill. You can avoid administrative fees by pre-registering here: https://www.tollbyplate.com/index
Thanks! This is great to know and I will definitely look into it.
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Old 04-17-2013, 06:27 PM   #10
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Qc where are you staying in Orlando? If you don't mind a few stop lights, you can jump onto US27 at Wildwood 75 / turnpike intersection. No tolls and a 4 lane.

Enjoy your trip, we were through Orlando last week.
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