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Old 12-13-2015, 05:19 PM   #1
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When Does the Florida Escape Begin?

We arrived to Polk City, FL a month ago for a week and decided to stay for the whole winter. Our current plan is to leave on April 1st. I've heard it can be a parking lot on I-75 when all the RVs start heading north.

Is April 1st a traditionally busy departure date? If so, we can probably extend our stay for a few days to avoid the worst part of it.

Your thoughts?

Thanks!
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Old 12-13-2015, 05:32 PM   #2
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We left St. Augustine around the first and headed to Savannah for a week. I95 wasn't bad at all. I really expected the same thing and was surprised.
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Old 12-13-2015, 05:42 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sky_Boss View Post
We arrived to Polk City, FL a month ago for a week and decided to stay for the whole winter. Our current plan is to leave on April 1st. I've heard it can be a parking lot on I-75 when all the RVs start heading north.



Is April 1st a traditionally busy departure date? If so, we can probably extend our stay for a few days to avoid the worst part of it.



Your thoughts?



Thanks!

The first of April seems to be a very heavy travel day for snowbirds headed north. Lots of Canadian vehicles headed north.
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Old 12-13-2015, 05:51 PM   #4
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We are not snowbirds, but travel north from Tampa frequently. We avoid I-75 whenever possible. Take US301 north to I-10 and over to Jax and pick up I-95 if that's where you want to go. About the only traffic you'll encounter is through Ocala (not too bad) and at the interchange with I-10 (can be pretty congested). Enjoy your winter in Florida!
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Old 12-13-2015, 05:55 PM   #5
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Did a 10 day trip in the Keys last Easter (Late March/Early April) on the way down started to notice more than the usual amount on I-95 not enough to cause a grid lock. On the way back we were among those coming North and when we started to look for an overnight stop in Northern NC we found everyplace packed so we ended up staying the night in the Roanoke Rapids Walmart lot with about 40 plus other RV's. So many that Walmart had a pickup truck marked security showing people where to park. A friend of mine used to do the Snowbird travels and he always left mid-March and took his time coming North slowly making a lot of stops to avoid the rush.
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Old 12-13-2015, 06:05 PM   #6
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Hi Sky_Boss,
April 1 is the general date for heavy Northbound traffic. However, the exodus starts as the seasonal leases expire. I think Canadians must still obey the 6 month rule. Lastly the Easter holiday can exacerbate the traffic situation. Both I 75 and I 95 are affected equally. From the last week in March to the second week in April these two roads, in Florida, will have more than the usual amount of RV traffic. Mondays can be the worst. This is due to people believing the weekends have more traffic.
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Old 12-13-2015, 06:40 PM   #7
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If you do Walmart or truck stop stay overs plan on stopping early. It can be tough to find a good spot.
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Old 12-13-2015, 07:05 PM   #8
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Another option is to take a different, more scenic route back home other than I-75! You'll see a lot more 'good stuff' on secondary roads.
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Old 12-13-2015, 07:18 PM   #9
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We left April 2 this year and dawdled our way back to NC (from Miami). We used US41, US 98, and 301. We got to Raleigh abou April 15 (I think). What, me worry?
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Old 12-13-2015, 08:12 PM   #10
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I might have inadvertently put out an option we are not entertaining and that is I95. I was referring to them together but our route is to go back to IL and I-95 goes the wrong way. LOL

We also have family business in Macon, GA so I75 is the only logical "escape route". Unless someone says otherwise, I expect we can avoid some of the worst near Tampa by running HWY 33 north out of Polk City to US 27 and joining I75 near wildwood.

So, from what I am reading so far the worst appears to be between March 15 and April 15. Also, weekends aren't as bad as weekdays.

Thanks for the input!
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Old 12-13-2015, 08:53 PM   #11
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Another contributor to interstate congestion is spring breakers. The last wave of them leave to go home the end of March/early April.
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Old 12-13-2015, 11:45 PM   #12
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US-27 north of Clermont can be pretty crazy; stop go stop so stop go etc. They've cornered the market on traffic lights.

I suggest going west to US-98 then north to US-301 just south of Dade City, then continue north and bear left on US-98 and connect with I -75 near Ridge Manor.

Do not go anywhere near Deen Still Road or SR-54 or we'll have to send out a search party.
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Old 12-13-2015, 11:56 PM   #13
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I would leave March 31 or April 2, my experience has been April 1st is a bad driving day northbound. 6 hours to Macon, no big cities to deal with. Macon to Atlanta is 2 hours, definitely prefer weekends thru Atlanta, but if you arrive Atlanta late morning most any day should be ok.
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Old 12-14-2015, 01:50 AM   #14
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The end of March is definitely the exodus. Last year was telling latest we stayed, we departed 27th. That weekend the resort emptied out, Monday night only a handful of coaches were left. The week before it was full. We stopped at friends for a day and left Tampa Sunday morning, 28th. No difference on the roads, I95.

Just plan to miss normal rush hour traffic. When on the road we do overnight at Walmart and I pick one 10 miles off the highway to avoid the rush.
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