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Pit Stops between DC & Miami

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I'm surprised you can't fly it cheaper than driving. When it's just me and my ds, we fly and take uber for everything. Southwest usually has great rates to Florida.

It looks like you'll be going through Tampa and Savannah. Oh that's funny, when I went to put in St. Augustine as a stop, it suggested going down the east coast and going through Orlando. Then you'd get to hit Disney. :biggrin: So would you rather go through Tampa or Orlando? Orlando is a pain in the butt to drive but a great place to Disney. There's the big Ringling art museum in Tampa. 

You can filter results in TripAdvisor by month, so that's what I would do for your manatee idea. It's definitely a well liked thing to do, just a question of when the right time is. I would think December would be good, but I haven't done it.

I don't know if you've been there before, but I find food in FL very expensive. It's like you either eat mom & pop (cheap, diner, tasty) or are way $$$ for something really fresh. So like my brother, over on the space coast, eats a lot of mom & pop diner places, meaning that's what you could look for if you're driving through that way. There are a lot of shrimp places, fried shrimp, and I don't eat shrimp. I guess you could say the coast of FL is not to my taste, lol.

Yeah, I'm looking on Southwest's site, and they fly out of all 3 DC airports, directly to Ft Meyers, and they have tickets for $99+ each way. When you get on the site, you start a search and then click to see the low fare calendar. Might save you a lot of hassle. Then when you get there just Uber everywhere.

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We have never been to Chrystal Springs but frequently see manatees in the St. John’s River.  Just in the river but you need something more guaranteed.  This park area is super popular https://www.savethemanatee.org/manatees/manatee-webcams/ and is about 15 minutes off of I-4 if you cross via Orlando.  Btw,  I-4 is under heavy construction right now so can be hard to predict.  Dh has had some easy trips across recently so you never know.

Obviously Disney......45 to an hour in good traffic from Blue Springs.  The Disney Springs area (formerly Downtown Disney) would make for an easy stop for food and a bathroom.  Disney food is expensive!

St. Augustine is on I-95 just South of Jacksonville,  beautiful with the fort right on the water.  Old town is fun with lots of quick food available.....some really nice sit downs too.  This is one of our favorite places to visit.  Probably two hours from Blue Springs.....guess.

After you get to Fort Myers heading out to a beach walk on Sanibel Island would be a must see for me.  

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There's nothing between DC and Savannah.

I'm being half serious. I mean, I've done DC to Florida, though not as far as Miami. And counter to what Peter Pan said, yes, it's usually cheaper.

There are interesting things along the Carolina coasts, but it's a bit off the highway to do that. You can get good BBQ in NC. Other than that, even the food options along 95 sort of suck. There's some stuff to see in Richmond, but that's also off the highway and not that far into the trip. Savannah is nice though and closer to the highway. St. Augustine's is lovely. If you wanted to do a real detour for something different, you could go to Okefenokee, but it would be a serious detour.

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We’re driving because my aunt doesn’t like to fly. Plus, we made a pit stop in Savannah last year, which was nice. I’m going to see family in Ft Myers so will have lodging, etc. there. We’ll probably do Discovery Cove as a day trip or (most likey) overnight during our week’s stay in FL. I’ll see about the other parks since they get pricey! We could do Savannah going down again & then something else heading back up. I’m excited!

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