Anyway around Atlanta? We have driven to Florida (not just Disney) the past 5 summers, and Atlanta is always good for at least an extra hour or two - more if there’s an accident or the never ending road construction. Anybody ever go through Alabama and into Florida that way?
We live north of Nashville and I know people have avoided Atlanta by going south from Nashville on I-65 to Birmingham AL. And then to Tallahassee. From where we are I think that adds about 70 miles to the trip so I’m not sure it actually saves time. But I completely understand the pain that is Atlanta traffic. I will say the one time we didn’t have traffic in Atlanta was when we drove through at 4 am. It was glorious!
Nearly 20 years ago when it just my husband and me we drove through around 3am - glorious indeed! Atlanta and all of 75 is so stressful - seriously considering going through Alabama. According to google maps it will add an hour, but it seems whenever we approach Atlanta we have at least that much time added to our trip anyway!
I have vowed never to trip to Disney again (but I tend to forget after a few years), so if I ever do I will aim to drive through Atlanta at some crazy hour again. Your Alabama idea may just be a great decision. I have driven on south I-65 through Alabama and it’s not a bad drive.
YES! We keep asking ourselves the same question! It seems like the extra 70 miles would be better than the unplanned extra 2-4 hours of traffic, accidents, detours, etc. in Atlanta. Would love to hear how it goes if you try another route! We’ll be heading down from Minnesota in September.
I live in Pensacola, so it’s a straight shot on the I-10 to the 75S, but we have used the 65 numerous times to go up through TN and on to the Carolinas. If you take exit 69 off of the 65, it will take you to the 29, which is a straight shot south to pick up the I-10 in Pensacola. Probably cuts 1-2 hours off of taking the 65 all the way to Mobile to pick up the I-10. For reference, Pensacola to Orlando is approx. 7.5 hours drive time.
We’re around the Memphis area. We take I-22 to Birmingham and Montgomery, then I-10 to Tallahassee, then on to 75 to Orlando. I would do just about anything to avoid Atlanta, and it is actually a much nicer drive.
We are St Louis, so this is nearly the exact route I was thinking of taking.
We are going in July so I will try to remember to post back here if we go an alternate route.
I agree, Atl can be bad and I avoid it if possible. Take I-65 to Montgomery, then 231 to Dothan, 84 to Bainbridge, GA, 27 to I 10, and then to I 75. Having lived in North Alabama, all my life, I’ve used this route many times.
Our personal experience is that Nashville traffic has been far worse than Atlanta. Just a heads up if you decide on the I65 route!
Any route that bypasses Atlanta ultimately guarantees more time, so we just grin and bear it. There are times when Atlanta can be okay to drive through, but they are few and far between.
So, we always just expect to spend a couple hours seeing the sights of Atlanta along I-75 from the freeway.
“Oh, look kids! There’s Georgia Tech!”
“Oh, look kids! The Olympic Flame!”
“Oh, look kids! A man peeing on the side of the road!” (I kid you not!)
You just never know what wonders you’ll encounter.
Our last trip, there was an accident on the Atlanta bypass (85???), so that was a no-go (although, taking the bypass is usually longer, anyhow, so little point). As we continued on I-75, there was an accident on the south side that blocked ALL lanes except the left-most HOV lane and the right-most exit lane. As you can imagine, we were in for the long haul. After something like 1 hour, the accident had cleared and we were on our way! So, all told, it was about 2 hours to get through Atlanta.
We will go through Jackson TN and throughout Tupelo and then through Montgomery AL if we choose the different route. Yes, our experience is that Nashville can be bad and for some reason the last 2 years so has Chattanooga.
We, too, have always just pushed on through 75 through downtown Atlanta, but thrnkast few years watching the time adding up on google maps has been stressful not to mention just how crowded 75 has become. We’re from St Louis so maybe heading south and then cutting across 10 might be less stressful. It will supposedly add 50 minutes but might be worth it if it’s less stressful.
This is probably overkill, but we always have three maps going- Google, Waze, and a Garmin. When they don’t agree, we take where 2 of the 3 direct us and go that route. I liken it to optimizing our road trip plan.
We drive through ATL regularly on a Texas/Virginia trek and also agree it’s just best to buckle up and push through - aiming for any time except rush hour. It takes a long time because it’s big , but honestly traffic through other places-smaller cities and towns- due to accidents and construction cost us more time overall.
But also, I live in Houston and traffic is life.
I drive down from Iowa, with my kids, and without my husband, so I always drive down thru Alabama. I drive right in between Memphis and Nashville (thru Jackson, Tn) thru Birmingham, stay in Dothan. Easy drive, and only takes me 1 1/2 hrs longer.
I am a wimp and way to scared to drive Altanta by myself. If my husband makes the trip, he drives thru Atlanta.
Waving because I’m across the river in the Metro-East! The last time we drove was in 2015. We did go through Atlanta, but we timed it so we didn’t go through at rush hour. It’s still busy all the time, but we managed.
Google owns Waze, so I’d be surprised if they differ!
I’m not sure what Garmin you have, but most don’t have real-time data, so while it can give you a good route, it doesn’t take into account real-time traffic conditions.
ETA: Long gone are the days when we’d just rely on a AAA TripTik.
Side note here.
We drove through Birmingham en route to a Fla spring break this year:
If driving through Birmingham, and you stop overnight, and you have kids of a certain age that need to burn off some steam, The Mcwane Science Center is really nice - actually, it’s pretty awesome. If you stop for a good while, there’s all of the civil rights stuff there as well, and it’s worth everyone’s time to acknowledge. Pretty powerful.