A couple of suggestions:
1) Take I-77 to I-81 south in Virginia, then I-26 south to Asheville. It's a fun city to explore, and when you're done you can take I-26 south to connect with I-95.
2) Take I-77 to exit 8 in Virginia, then left on VA 148, right on US 52 to get on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Fancy Gap. Follow to Boone or Blowing Rock, NC to spend the night. From there, you can either continue on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Asheville where you can pick up I-26 (highly recommended), or take US 321 south to I-85 in Gastonia, NC, then east to I-77 in Charlotte.
Note that October is one of the most popular times to be in the NC mountains, so make your reservations early!
If you prefer taking 1-85 to Sarasota, from Asheville you can head west and see and do all sorts of things before winding your way to Franklin, NC and a very pleasant drive south on US 441 through Rabun Gap, the Tallulah Gorge and eventually I-985 along Lake Lanier to the northeast side of Atlanta. If you don't want to see Atlanta ( Georgia Aquarium, etc.) , take the loop around the east side of Atlanta to I-75 and head south .
^ Good suggestion Mangonboat. I drove that way up from Atlanta last weekend. To the OP, if you have the time to take this route, it's definitely worthwhile. Great scenery, and some interesting mountain shops along the way. Beats the interstate, for sure!
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