We just got back from our very first family road trip down the east coast!  We have never driven over 4 hours as a family so this was a fun and scary idea.  However for a family of 5 to fly from Massachusetts to Florida it can easily cost us over $1250, so when we calculated out the cost of gas one way to be less than $250 we knew we needed to try driving.

Our goal was to see different parts of Florida before deciding if we should move south.  We left on a Wednesday at 3am.  Our plan was to drive straight from Massachusetts to Washington D.C. so that Anthony could see The White House, then continue as far as possible.  We planned to stay at a hotel somewhere between D.C. and South Carolina and then continue Thursday down to my brother’s in South Carolina.  However it seems that the 3am hour was an amazingly perfect hour to start our venture because we hit no traffic the entire day!
We passed through Worchester in Massachusetts, New York City, and got into Washington traffic free and where standing in front of The White House by 11am! 
We arrived in D.C. on what seemed to be the hottest day of the summer, so once we saw the White House we jumped back in the van and where out of the city by 1pm.
I would love to take Anthony down again to see all the other landmarks in Washington D.C. because he loves educational sight seeing, but that will be a mommy and son, one on one trip because the twins don’t have the patience for that type of trip yet.
As we left Washington we were shocked at how great we were doing on time, but we still anticipated staying somewhere along the next 8 hour leg of out trip.  We assumed asking our kids to handle a 16 hour drive in one day was asking way to much for their sanity as well as ours.  However I guess all those 24 hours of traveling trips to Brazil have trained them in long distance sitting because they stayed entertained with the portable DVD player, iPad, and the toys they packed the entire afternoon.  Before we knew it, it was 8pm and we were driving into Charleston, South Carolina!  We saved money on a hotel room, and got an extra night to visit with my brother AKA “Uncle”!
We enjoyed 2 nights with Uncle and the beautiful city of Charleston, before heading down to Clearwater, Florida.  We knew the Charleston to Clearwater trip would only take about 9 hours so we took our time and stopped in Georgia along the way to stock up on Georgia Peaches of coarse!
We arrived in Clearwater by dinner time where Grammy and Papa had already arrived via air and our vacation was able to start.  Clearwater Florida is a beautiful city, I have never seen a beach so nice in my life!  My parents recently inherited a home in Clearwater so we stayed at their place for about 10 days.  While there we visited the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, the Florida Aquarium, The Lowry Park Zoo, Clearwater Beach, and Best of all took a cruise on Captain Memo’s Pirate Ship.
After our stay in Clearwater, my husband really wanted to see the Boca Raton area so we packed up and headed back on the road for 5 hours.  Once in Boca we stayed at the Marriott Fairfield Inn.  The hotel was beautiful, with great staff, and very clean.  I was shocked at how nice it was for the price, plus they offer free breakfast every morning.
While in Boca we ate at Picanha Brazil.  The food and drinks where delicious, especially the fried bananas!
Once done in Boca Raton we headed a bit north to the Orlando area.  We stayed at the Double Tree by Hilton, which was located across the street from Universal Studios Orlando.  The hotel had a huge pool that the kids enjoyed and the rooms where clean. 
However I priced Universal tickets at the activities desk and was disappointed that the tickets cost more than they do on Universals website and the desk staff was not very friendly.  However the staff at both the lobby’s Starbuck and the gift shop were fantastic!
 Before heading to Orlando I had to promise the hubby I wouldn’t turn this into a Disney World vacation because we were just there in January.  I agreed that we couldn’t afford another trip to the happiest place on earth.  However being a Disney addict and all, it was really hard being so close to the magic but not visiting.  In the end we arrived at an agreement to visit Downtown Disney one night!
After Orlando and a 3 week trip we began to head back home.  We stopped in South Carolina for lunch, spent the night in North Carolina and continued our trip home as quickly as possible.
We came to the conclusion that I love South Carolina and that is my dream place to live, however the outskirts of Orlando is a close second.  The Hubby loves Boca and Orlando, but likes the cost of living in South Carolina.  So we decided to stay put one more year, let Anthony finish off elementary school and debate the issue until next year.

31 Comments on East Coast Family Road Trip

  1. Masshole Mommy
    July 16, 2014 at 2:30 pm (5 years ago)

    You are very brave. We go to Florida every year, but we fly. We just got back from the 3 hour drive to North Conway and we all barely survived that.

  2. Amanda Sakovitz
    July 16, 2014 at 3:39 pm (5 years ago)

    Looks like you guys had a blast. I love the pics! I've never been to DC but I do want to go someday 🙂

  3. Lindsey Paris
    July 16, 2014 at 3:56 pm (5 years ago)

    That would be SOOOO hard for me, too. Not going to WDW and being in Orlando; I would feel like I was cheating. I hope you had a chance to feature some of these photos on INstagram with #FamilyTravelMonday. It's a lot of fun!

  4. Kay Adeola
    July 16, 2014 at 3:59 pm (5 years ago)

    What a long trip,great that you got a bit of a holiday also.I would love to move to Florida it has been a dream of mine for a long time.

  5. Mellisa
    July 16, 2014 at 4:38 pm (5 years ago)

    What an amazing road trip. I would love to visit many of these places.

  6. Lori
    July 16, 2014 at 4:55 pm (5 years ago)

    I can understand the cost aspect. I think it would be so fun to drive because you can stop as you want or need to, to see all of the attractions along the way.

  7. Robin (Blommi.com)
    July 16, 2014 at 5:14 pm (5 years ago)

    What an amazing trip you all had! While flying is fast, driving can be a lot more fun!

  8. Krystal Butherus
    July 16, 2014 at 5:57 pm (5 years ago)

    I love all the family pictures you shared in this post! I live in Florida. Clearwater and Boca are both really lovely areas!

  9. debdenny
    July 16, 2014 at 6:41 pm (5 years ago)

    What an amazing adventure. Love all the memories you made.

  10. Janel (A Mom's Take)
    July 16, 2014 at 9:17 pm (5 years ago)

    Looks like you and your family had a great time! I love road trips with my family. I hope we can do more. Your photos make me want to go to the beach now.

  11. The Mommy-Files
    July 16, 2014 at 11:55 pm (5 years ago)

    Looks like your family had an amazing time on your trip! Road trips are always fun, especially when there are a lot of fun stops on the way.

  12. mail4rosey
    July 17, 2014 at 12:00 am (5 years ago)

    A traffic-free DC????????????????????????? Yes, that is amazing. I love to visit but they've got the worst traffic I've ever seen.

    That being said, I love road trips, and I love Florida. 🙂

  13. Jinxy and Me
    July 17, 2014 at 1:39 am (5 years ago)

    What a wonderful adventure for your family. There are so many things to see when you drive. Loved the review of the places you stopped and we are adding the Carolinas to our travel wish list.

  14. Sippy Cup Mom
    July 17, 2014 at 2:40 am (5 years ago)

    What a fun trip! We really want to do an East Coast Road Trip in a few years.

  15. Carly
    July 17, 2014 at 3:01 am (5 years ago)

    You are definitely very brave for going on such a long road trip with so many kids! I would love to be able to drive from the top of the coast to the bottom.

  16. Barbie's Beauty Bits
    July 17, 2014 at 3:34 am (5 years ago)

    I used to go the Clearwater all the time when I was a kid. We drove from Ohio and it was a long trip, but we had a lot of fun. As an adult, I prefer to fly. But of course I don't have a large family, or I may have a different opinion then!

  17. Liz Mays
    July 17, 2014 at 2:47 pm (5 years ago)

    You really packed a lot into your trip and everywhere you went and stayed looked like so much fun. I agree that South Carolina is quite a lovely state!

  18. Brandy
    July 17, 2014 at 3:24 pm (5 years ago)

    That is so much fun. I Love that you all were able to enjoy such an experience with your family. I am on the East Coast but up here in NH 🙂

  19. Jeanine
    July 17, 2014 at 4:41 pm (5 years ago)

    Looks like a wonderful trip! I've always wanted to go to Orlando! But I haven't ever been too far!

  20. Chrystal Mahan
    July 17, 2014 at 5:19 pm (5 years ago)

    Florida can be wonderful but the cost of living there is outrageous pretty much anywhere. I have family and friends in the Marco Island, Ocala, Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale area. I'd love to move down there some day but I know I have a lot of saving to do first and of course, probably have to wait for kiddo to finish school.

  21. Dina
    July 17, 2014 at 8:24 pm (5 years ago)

    What a great trip. We love Disney too. I'd love to go back. We were just in Fl in June. I miss the beach.

  22. Amanda Her
    July 17, 2014 at 8:50 pm (5 years ago)

    A 3 week trip?!?! I'm so jealous! You guys packed a whole lot into those 3 weeks. Love your photos too!

  23. Carly from The Puzzled Palate
    July 17, 2014 at 9:03 pm (5 years ago)

    I am an East Coast Girl too! I love all the fun things we have to stop at on road trips!

  24. Cam Bibs and Baubles
    July 17, 2014 at 9:19 pm (5 years ago)

    That was a bold move! Hats off to you. It looks like you guys had so much fun along the way. Love the pictures!

  25. DeDa Studios
    July 17, 2014 at 9:28 pm (5 years ago)

    I love road trips…sounds like you had a fun time. Making through DC with no traffic is a dream come true!

  26. Toni Patton
    July 17, 2014 at 10:59 pm (5 years ago)

    What a great family road trip. I would love to do one up the east coast sometime with my family.

  27. Marina @ Mommy Snippets
    July 17, 2014 at 11:56 pm (5 years ago)

    This looks like lots of fun! I love all your beautiful pics.

  28. Amber
    July 18, 2014 at 12:07 am (5 years ago)

    Wow that looks like an amazing road trip! I would love to tour the east coast because most of my husbands family lives all up and down the east coast! This would be perfect for us to do!

  29. BrettBMartin
    July 18, 2014 at 3:29 am (5 years ago)

    we drove to florida once when i was a kid. my parents said that they knew every single bathroom on the east coast from me being in the car with them!

    good luck on your move

  30. Danielle @ We Have It All
    July 18, 2014 at 4:20 am (5 years ago)

    What a fantastic trip! We did something similar last year. We drove with 5 (out of 6) of our kids. Left at 11pm. Drove straight to GA, stopped to sight see, then continued to a few different places in FL including Sanibel Island, Disney & Mount Dora. Sight seeing on the way back up. It was great!

  31. April Decheine
    July 21, 2014 at 12:44 pm (4 years ago)

    That is what is so great about the East Coast, all the places you can visit in a short period. Clearwater is an area I want to be living by November! Looks like you all had a great time.