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The First Road Trip From Chicago Tennessee To Florida

Updated on January 12, 2012

Road trip to Florida

It was a fine spring of April morning last year when my husband and I decided to take a road trip to Florida. It was my first road trip to Florida and was so excited about it. We have been preparing and looking forward for the trip earlier that year. The year before that we took a road trip to Kansas where some relatives live. Of Course Florida is much further away so we made sure to prepare everything we need for travel.

We had to pack things early, made a list of all the things that we actually need and things for emergency situation. During a road trip it is essential to bring with you some things for emergency because you never know what will happen so it's better to be prepared. These are some of the things that we brought with us:

  • car tools, extra tire and car cleaners
  • medicines and First Aid kit
  • gallons of distilled water
  • ready to eat can goods, nuts and chocolate
  • 2 coffee mugs, paper plates, bowls,cups and plastic spoons and forks
  • personal things like sunglasses, pen, cameras, paper, tissue paper, beauty kit etc.
  • personal IDs and all important contact numbers and account numbers.
  • iPod, if no iPod some kind of music player.
  • clothing, extra shoes
  • Light jacket, blanket sand pillows - in case stranded

Atlantic Ocean view
Atlantic Ocean view | Source

From Chicago we pass through the State of Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and finally Florida. The major road we took is 55, 65, 75, 1 or 23, A1, and 4 as far as I can remember. We drove approximately 1200 miles up to Tampa Florida. We left Saturday morning and our target was to drive at least 7 to 8 hours per day before retiring to a hotel. We also had to take a rest, go to bathroom or get some snack every 2 hours or so along the way stopping twice in Indiana and once in Kentucky and once in Tennessee. We managed to drive a little bit more before dark and we decided to stop at Chattanooga Tennessee for the night which is very close to Georgia. I was tempted to see the attractions at Chattanooga the following day because there were some interesting places to see but I decided not to because we were in a hurry to get to our destination Florida.

But now I'm thinking it would have been much better if we stay and look around for the best attractions in that State or town even for a few hours. So no time is wasted that way. You're already there; you drive miles and miles, so why not take the opportunity to see the best in that place while you are there. That should be part of your planned trip by listing and researching the best attractions closest to the route you are taking, that way it is easier for you to turn towards the tourist spot and comeback to the highway very easily.

Cinderella Castle Magic Kingdom
Cinderella Castle Magic Kingdom | Source

We were using a Garmin Nuvi 360 GPS which we bought few years back and now needs a map upgrade. GPS is undoubtedly great and very useful when traveling but you could also miss your turn when driving at 60 to 70 miles per hour speed. So we also have our road map ready. First we study the map and try to memorize the important points and turns. The GPS is our guide and map as the backup. We missed turn once or twice and the main reason was the confusion of the 500 feet or 300 feet that we mistook it as meters.

So we stayed at Chattanooga for the night; thankfully the weather was great, no rain or storm of any kind just blue sky. It was so good to go out and feel the smell of spring during that April month. The next day Sunday morning after coffee and breakfast we headed for Georgia. I remember these beautiful mountainous regions along Tennessee and Georgia. We took a short cut from Georgia to Jacksonville hoping to see other places instead of the highway but the short cut turned to be painfully long. Sometimes we have to drive at 35 to 40 miles per hour. I think the number of that road is 1 or 23. We decided to spend the night in Jacksonville Florida.


at Bausch Gardens Tampa
at Bausch Gardens Tampa
The good old Sillver Springs Ocala Florida
The good old Sillver Springs Ocala Florida

Saturday we started heading back home, took I-75 and along the way we had to buy lots of pecan nuts. There was a really bad wind and rain in Georgia because of the storm going on in the neighboring Oklahoma. During that heavy downpour we had nowhere to stop, so we kept on driving until we reach the rest area. We spend one night in Tennessee; the weather in Tennessee wasn't good as well.

The next day Sunday the weather was getting worse and the sky was dark. I was hoping to see a brighter weather ahead but when we reach Indiana it was worse; patchy rain and bad traffic. We finally arrive home the night of Sunday after 8 days vacation. In my first road trip vacation from Chicago to Florida I realize that road trip is not only about the destination you are planned to go but also the view and the things you experience along the way.

Silver Springs Ocala
Silver Springs Ocala


The third day of our travel we drove around St. Augustine for a while and then we took A1A road to Daytona Beach. We took a few stops along the way just to see the Atlantic Ocean view. Daytona area has so many big Hotels resorts lining the beach and I miss the chance to take photographs in that area. After driving around we finally proceed to Orlando Florida; still early in the afternoon so we drive around and bought sandwiches for dinner. There was that big flea market at International drive and lots of souvenirs to choose from.

The next day Tuesday we decided to see Disneyworld Magic Kingdom; boy was I too old for that? Not really. I saw people much older than me having fun just like me although the place is designed for young people. We spend another night in Orlando and the next day Wednesday we went to Tampa Florida. After driving around we settle for the night and the next morning Thursday we visited the Bausch Gardens in Tampa Florida. On the same day we went to nearby Silver Springs and stayed the night there. The whole of Friday we visited old Silver Spring. We ride the boat, walk around the park. This place has a more laid back feel compared to the previous parks we visited.

Flamingos at Bausch Gardens
Flamingos at Bausch Gardens | Source


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    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Florida is a beautiful state with many sights to see.

      Great hub!

    • Ipeoney profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from USA

      Hi frogyfish, I wonder where Highway 90 is, but I will check it on the Map. I always love travel but travel didn't love me enough I may say. I hop from country to country and stayed in one spot, but I love the more detailed travel like going to small places to another small places, cities, towns, attractions, mountains, concerts, museums,point of interest etc. Still have to do those things.

    • frogyfish profile image


      7 years ago from Central United States of America

      Your last sentence says it right...take time to see lots of never-befores along the journey. Your hub brought back many memories. If you came Highway 90, perhaps I waved hello at you... :-)

    • Ipeoney profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from USA

      Hi Jessiexue thanks for looking at my photos. It's not much. Most of my photos where taken inside the moving car.

      Hi Peggy W, It is definitely fun to go for road trip rather than airplane. It would be more fun to travel by a motor home. 3 month on the road would be a perfect vacation.

    • jessiexue profile image


      7 years ago from Hong Kong

      A good trip and I love your photos. Both the people and scenery are beautiful. And thanks for the comment on my article.

    • Ipeoney profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from USA

      Hi HP Roychoudhury. Oh sorry for that. There is a rest area along the highway, that's why I said we had to stop every 2 hours to take a rest, that includes bathroom, and gas station ofcourse. Luckily we didn't need to go to a repair shop. We didn't need to go to a police either but We have GPS with us that we can easily find automotive shops and police station, so we had list of those important points from the GPS just in case of mergency.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Road trips are definitely a fun way to travel. And stopping to see things along the way are part of the fun. One misses that when just flying by airplane from point A to point B. My mother and I took time to explore Silver Springs and other locations when visiting relatives in Florida and it has given me great information and photos of which to write hubs.

      One of my great road trips was with a friend when we drove from Houston to California and back visiting 10 national parks and other sites along the way. I'm still writing hubs about that adventure!

      Hope you get to go on many more road trips!

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 

      7 years ago from Guwahati, India

      I am not an American but an Indian. I enjoyed very much by going through your travel hub. But it strikes me in many aspects which I wish to share. What I notice in your long motor journey that I could not see any police point nearby for security reason or any workshop for vehicle emergency repairing center for any mechanical defects which is very much found in the road side of India. My curiosity is to know how you overcome these obstacles.

    • Ipeoney profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from USA

      Hi summersurf thanks for reading my travel Hub, yes we went to Florida last year, very very good experience on my part, my first road trip. I had about 60 times in air flight but this is my first long road trip

    • SummerSurf profile image


      7 years ago

      Love this! I hope some day to do road trips across the US.. O and Chicago... Amazing city!! Fell in love with it!!


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