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best route from Ill to east PCB

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best route from Ill to east PCB

I am sorry I am asking a lot of questions here. We are coming from central Il and would like the quickest, safest route. I have been to PCB once and can not remember if I took 231 or 331 I just remember it took FOREVER to get through the panhandle. We may want to stop in Alabama to stay over so would like safe place and only few hours drive in am. thanks!!

Brandon, Florida
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1. Re: best route from Ill to east PCB

Microsoft's Streets & Trips gives this route, assuming that you're near Springfield which is pretty much central :

I-55 towards St. Louis then I-64 out of St.L followed by I-24 towards Nashville.

Next I-65 all the way to Montgomery then 231 thru. Dothan and on to PCB.

We drove 231 a couple of years ago and from what I remember you could easily do 60, unless you're passing through a small town.

It is about 870 miles and with an 8-hour driving day the suggest overnight is just on the North side of Birmingham. If you drive faster and for longer, then, of course you could make the stop nearer to your destination. The Panhandle portion of the drive is about 75 miles, depending on where your actual destination is.

As for which hotel to choose, we usually pick up two hotel booklets that you find at each Welcome Center rest stop as you cross any state line. One is called Roomsaver and the other is TravelCoupons. Both have a corresponding website:

www.roomsaver.com

www.travelcoupons.com

The rates quoted on the website and in the booklets are "walkup" rates but on that route I'm sure you will not have a problem finding a room at the walkup rate. Just call your chosen hotel about an hour or two before your estimated arrival to see if they have rooms available "at the coupon rate". Have a backup hotel just in case.

Have a safe trip.

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2. Re: best route from Ill to east PCB

thank you Brandon

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3. Re: best route from Ill to east PCB

Brandon, we are going to stop in Dothan for the night. I am now looking at hotels on 231.

Wisconsin
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4. Re: best route from Ill to east PCB

Hi! We travel from WI every year to Panama City so I've become sort of an "expert" on different routes to take, especially once you get out of Montgomery. We took a lot of back roads last year and it was great. It took about an hour off our normal route on 231 or 331. If you want the exact route we took let me know. Also, we always stay a little north of Birmingham on our way down. There is a nice variety of safe, clean, new hotels right off I-65. I am very picky, especially when traveling with our young children, and was very pleased with the selection. Have fun!

Houghton
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5. Re: best route from Ill to east PCB

Kelsom02........wisconsin folks here too. What city is it you stay in outside of Birmingham and what are the good hotels. We are also very particular about accommodations and appreciate very secure areas. Also, what way do you then take from Birmingham that cuts an hour off from 231? Thanks and let's hear it for the Pack on Sunday. Tacobill

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6. Re: best route from Ill to east PCB

Kelsum02, thanks a lot. I would love the route. We are coming from Champaign. We will probably stay in Dothan or drive straight through and stay in PCB. One hour off the trip is great! thanks!

Bryant, AL.
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7. Re: best route from Ill to east PCB

Well im not Kelsum but I dont mind sharing the info on the fastest route we have found over the years. From Montgomery take 231 south to Troy, turn right in Troy on 167. 167 makes a few turns but just follow the signs, at the Florida line it changes to hwy 79. 79 will bring you to hwy 98 PCB Parkay(aka Back Beach RD). You will be on the west end of the beach so depending on where you are staying you could go a couple of different routes from here. To get to the east end turn left on PCB Parkway and you will be there in just a few minutes, or going strait across to scenic 98 will put you on Front Beach RD, which will be very crowded in the summer months. This route will cut about an hour or so from the Dothan route, its about a 2 hour drive from where you turn on 167 in Troy to the highway 98 intersection. This route will be 2 lane road most of the way but there are plenty of passing zones that are very long. I hope this helps you.

Wisconsin
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8. Re: best route from Ill to east PCB

Hi, and sorry for the delay in getting back regarding hotels and the route! Still in depression mode from the Packers loss ;(! Anyway, we always stay in Fultondale, AL which is directly north of Birmingham. We've stayed at the Hampton Inn and the Fairfield Inn which are both right off I-65. Both are very nice; relatively new and have plenty of restaurants and stores nearby. My biggest complaint about hotels off I-65 have been that they are either old and run down or located in bad areas. Both the Hampton Inn and Fairfield have high ratings on Tripadvisor as well. We like the Fairfield if we have extra time because they have an indoor pool that our kids can enjoy after a long day in the car. Here's the route that we take from Troy, Al and this was taken from a TA post last year:

We travel this way twice a year and it saves 45-60 minutes over going all the way on 231. When you get to Troy, take a right at the sign for 167 South. When you get to Enterprise, AL, you'll take two left turns (following the signs for 167 South). When you cross from Alabama into Florida, the road turns into Hwy 79 South (no turns). You'll come into PCB right across from Seachase Condominiums at 17351 Front Beach Road which is closer to the west end of the beach. Watch for the police around Hartford, AL (my husband got a ticket there a couple of years ago), but you'll also find the best breakfast place at the 4-Way Stop in Hartford (about 15 minutes south of Enterprise). It's called Mom's Kitchen.

BTW: Don't eat at Mom's Kitchen in Hartford. We stopped last year for lunch and the food was awful and the atmosphere was just as bad.

We are leaving 4/2. When is everyone else going?

indiana
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9. Re: best route from Ill to east PCB

Hey, Kelsom I'm leaving with my family on April 2 also. I think my drive is a little shorter then yours though, I drive straight thru so I will be there that evening. I loved the new 167 route last year, not sure how much time it saved me but I hate going thru all the small towns on 231.

Hope you have a great trip but when is going to PCB ever a bad trip.

Champaign, Illinois
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10. Re: best route from Ill to east PCB

These are the directions that we got for Panama City Beach last year. We used them and were very happy with the lack of traffic. We left from Champaign, IL.

I will assume you are coming I-65 thru B'ham to Montgomery. In Montgomery take I-85 North towards Atlanta (it's actually going east at that point, don't worry). Exit at Exit 9, Taylor Road/Hwy 271 and go south till it deadends at 231. Turn left (south) and go to Troy.

In Troy turn right on AL Hwy 167 and 87 and go south. A few miles down the road the 2 highways split. 87 goes off to the right and 167 stays straight.

If you want a place to stop and eat, stay on 167 to Enterprise. When you get to Enterprise there will be a traffic light (Inland Gas station on the left and Lowe's in front of you). Turn left and you'll still be on 167. You'll have traffic for about 5 miles and all the fast food places you could ask for. 167 will turn to the left again (Tom Thumb gas station on the left). Nest small town is Hartford with a 4-way stop. Keep heading south, the road number changes to 79 when you cross into FL. Go thru Bonifay, to I-10. Go east to 231, head south and finish in PCB.

Now, if you don't want Enterprise, take at right at Hwy. 87. That will take you thru the small town of Elba (hwy turns left in town and then back to the south about 3/4 of a mile east of town, just watch the signs) and then thru Samson, AL, another small town. 8 miles south of Samson you cross the Pea River and enter FL. FL route number is 81. 20 miles south is Ponce de Leon, FL and I-10. Head east to 231.

Going thru Dothan on 231 is a nightmare! Don't let the Chamber of Commerce know I said that!) We only go to Dothan if we HAVE to!

If you have any more questions, just ask.

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