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Chattanooga to Clearwater - where to stop in between?

England
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Chattanooga to Clearwater - where to stop in between?

Hi

We are two seniors planning a road trip from Washington down to Clearwater and after we leave Chattanooga, Tn, we know absolutely nothing about the state of Georgia other than we have been advised to avoid Atlanta due to very heavy traffic. We therefore thought we might stop at Macon? Is there anywhere else of interest, sightseeing; also is there a beach resort in the south or would we need to go all the way to Clearwater for a decent, safe beach with easy access to an international airport for our flight home?

Any suggestions or tips would be much appreciated but we do need help please. Thanks.

Atlanta, Georgia
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1. Re: Chattanooga to Clearwater - where to stop in between?

When are you coming? Macon is a good spot to stop especially on the north side of town. Macon has the Cherry Blossom festival in March and is home to the Ga. Sports Hall of Fame and Music Hall of Fame as well as the Oculmugee. Warner Robins is close by with the Aviation museum. In the summer there are peach orchards nearby and in October in Perry there is the Ga. National Fair.

Atlanta, Georgia
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2. Re: Chattanooga to Clearwater - where to stop in between?

There really aren't any beaches along your route -- essentially you'll be on Interstate 75 the whole way, and won't hit water until the Tampa/St. Pete/Clearwater area. Unfortunately, there also aren't really any other compelling tourist attractions or places to see along this route -- those of us who make this drive at least once every other year would love to find some, but so far I haven't. There are a few special interest things that might interest some folks: Macon has the Georgia Sports and Georgia Music Halls of Fame, if you think those would be worthwhile for you. Warner Robins has an aviation museum thanks to its connection with Warner Robins Air Force Base. Tifton has Agrirama (http://agrirama.com/main/index.php), an agricultural "living history museum". There's not a lot else -- someone else mentioned a peach orchard in Fort Valley (a few miles off the freeway) in another thread. If there are particular types of things that interest you, let us know and maybe we can scare something up. Also, if you have any interest in stopping for a while in Atlanta, there's tons of info on Atlanta-area attractions here.

I wouldn't try to avoid Atlanta completely -- the most you could do without getting off on side roads that would likely only slow you down and potentially get you lost would be to take I-285 around the city, but it's pretty close in and you'll still be going through a lot of the Atlanta metro area. Unless you just can't manage it, if you time it so that you pass through Atlanta before 7 am, after 9:30 am but before 4 pm, or after 7 pm, you shouldn't have any problems unless there's wrecks or construction.

If you're looking for a place to stay overnight along the way, there've been a couple of other threads on that very topic (usually about places to stop between Atlanta and Orlando, but it's basically the same thing) -- look through those and you'll see some of the suggestions that have been made recently.

A lot depends on what time you leave Chattanooga. Macon would only be about 3-3.5 hours out from Chattanooga, so you'd still have 6 hours or so of driving left from there. Unless you're planning to leave Chattanooga late in the day, it's probably too close to Chattanooga to be a good stopping point.

Warner-Robins is slightly farther, and has a lot of new hotel and restaurant development, but is still probably too early to stop (another half-hour past Macon).

Tifton, GA is close to 5 hours out from Chattanooga, and has a reasonable number of chain hotels and restaurants, but is still a relatively small town with not much else of interest nearby (aside from the aforementioned Agrirama).

Valdosta and Lake Park are the next viable places to stop overnight, and would be roughly 6 hours driving time out from Chattanooga. After that, there's really nothing until you reach Gainesville, FL, at least 7 hours out of Chattanooga and only a couple of hours short of Clearwater.

England
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3. Re: Chattanooga to Clearwater - where to stop in between?

Thanks folks, now we've read your comments we are thinking of maybe making a reasonably early start to drive straight down to Clearwater from Chattanooga. It will be end September/early October time, nothing definite just yet, still early plans.

Your help is appreciated.

4. Re: Chattanooga to Clearwater - where to stop in between?

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