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Darkman

Tampa Florida, All The Way Up To Georgia...

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The new wife and I are taking a holiday in Tampa this September. Just flights and vehicle booked, the rest we'll improvise. We also plan to drive all the way to North Georgia to see my wifes grandmother in Blueridge (yes I know it's a long drive).

We like uncrowded beaches, snorkelling and wildlife. Any tips for our route or places to see?

I have a rough plan to stay near Clearwater, visit Bush Gardens, perhaps trip down to the Everglades, then make our way north to Georgia. Not sure whether we should go via Atlanta or just avoid it. We'll take a sat nav and I'll prepare a list of postcodes to visit.

I got my International Driving License btw, which in my view is a complete rip off. Basically a holiday driving tax if you ask me. Anyhoo......

Looking forward to it! :)

41_AnnaMariaHolmesBeach.jpg

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Guest redwine
The new wife and I are taking a holiday in Tampa this September. Just flights and vehicle booked, the rest we'll improvise. We also plan to drive all the way to North Georgia to see my wifes grandmother in Blueridge (yes I know it's a long drive).

We like uncrowded beaches, snorkelling and wildlife. Any tips for our route or places to see?

I have a rough plan to stay near Clearwater, visit Bush Gardens, perhaps trip down to the Everglades, then make our way north to Georgia. Not sure whether we should go via Atlanta or just avoid it. We'll take a sat nav and I'll prepare a list of postcodes to visit.

I got my International Driving License btw, which in my view is a complete rip off. Basically a holiday driving tax if you ask me. Anyhoo......

Looking forward to it! :)

41_AnnaMariaHolmesBeach.jpg

Do you work for Thomas Cooks or are you just showing -off about your holidays ?

Unemployment is rising poverty is rising and you are complaining about having to buy a Int Driving License for your hols

I am sure that you know fine well that you can find the info that you want on the web without having to post here

Before it was property porn now it is holiday porn

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I have a rough plan to stay near Clearwater, visit Bush Gardens, perhaps trip down to the Everglades, then make our way north to Georgia. Not sure whether we should go via Atlanta or just avoid it. We'll take a sat nav and I'll prepare a list of postcodes to visit.

It's 'Busch' Gardens.

The one you refer to is an outdoor porno set in a Vegas.

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Do you work for Thomas Cooks or are you just showing -off about your holidays ?

Unemployment is rising poverty is rising and you are complaining about having to buy a Int Driving License for your hols

I am sure that you know fine well that you can find the info that you want on the web without having to post here

Before it was property porn now it is holiday porn

Lighten the f*** up you judgemental moron.

Going to Florida is an extravagance for us, paid for by my father as a late honeymoon. We married this year, but didn't go anywhere. And yes we married on the cheap in a registry office. My wife is American & we choose Florida because her grandmother is nearby (87 and unwell), and may not be around much longer.

And it's unfortunate Tampa may be so ordinary to some of you. I doubt we will find it ordinary though.

Now anyone got some helpful information we can use to make the best of this rare opportunity? Or are you just too bitter to show some goodwill?

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I've done that, lovely.

Nice reserves around the Sawanhee river, interesting boat tour & clear swimming in the Wakulla springs (where the creature from the black lagoon was filmed), panhandle beaches on the gulf (Panama City etc.) clean, go on for ever, much niicer then the greasy, weedy water around Tampa.

Great driving in Georgia, there's an ante bellum trail with some amazing old houses.

The big tips I always give to visitors in the US are:

Stop in the vistor centre when you cross the state line, get the coupon books, stay in the hotesl in the books out of town (major road junctions) and you get a great clean room for $20 less than everybody else.

Ask "have you got any coupon rooms" when you check in, don't be embarrassed - it's your money!

And don't allow the car hire company to talk you into an upgrade. You'll pay extra for the car they were going to give you anyway.

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Guest redwine
Lighten the f*** up you judgemental moron.

I couldn't give a f*** about your holidays

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I've done that, lovely.

Nice reserves around the Sawanhee river, interesting boat tour & clear swimming in the Wakulla springs (where the creature from the black lagoon was filmed), panhandle beaches on the gulf (Panama City etc.) clean, go on for ever, much niicer then the greasy, weedy water around Tampa.

Great driving in Georgia, there's an ante bellum trail with some amazing old houses.

The big tips I always give to visitors in the US are:

Stop in the vistor centre when you cross the state line, get the coupon books, stay in the hotesl in the books out of town (major road junctions) and you get a great clean room for $20 less than everybody else.

Ask "have you got any coupon rooms" when you check in, don't be embarrassed - it's your money!

And don't allow the car hire company to talk you into an upgrade. You'll pay extra for the car they were going to give you anyway.

Thanks for that, very helpful. I'll research the spots you mentioned :)

My helpful suggestion would be to plan to spend as little time as possible in Tampa.

Well, fair enough. I won't feel bad about leaving Tampa when we visit the grandmother up north.

I couldn't give a f*** about your holidays

That's good to know....... NOT. Why post in the thread if you're not even interested? Don't be so quick to judge people, or to be so bitter.

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The new wife and I are taking a holiday in Tampa this September. Just flights and vehicle booked, the rest we'll improvise. We also plan to drive all the way to North Georgia to see my wifes grandmother in Blueridge (yes I know it's a long drive).

We like uncrowded beaches, snorkelling and wildlife. Any tips for our route or places to see?

I have a rough plan to stay near Clearwater, visit Bush Gardens, perhaps trip down to the Everglades, then make our way north to Georgia. Not sure whether we should go via Atlanta or just avoid it. We'll take a sat nav and I'll prepare a list of postcodes to visit.

I got my International Driving License btw, which in my view is a complete rip off. Basically a holiday driving tax if you ask me. Anyhoo......

Looking forward to it! :)

41_AnnaMariaHolmesBeach.jpg

You didn't need to get an International driving licence for driving in the USA as far as I'm aware.

I've only been to Florida once and had a great time there. You could easily spend 1 week doing the 4 Disney Parks and Universal Studios. We bought the Orlando "Go" card and this gives free entry into loads of lesser known attractions. It saved us a fortune on entry fees and they were giving a free evening show when we bought the 3 day card.

One place we liked that was Sanibel Island and Captiva Island (near Fort Myres). It is accessed via a toll bridge, so it was quite quiet and the houses there were really nice. The water is fairly warm there too - much warmer than Miami and Cape Canaveral in the East.

We spent a week around Orlando and then just over another week travelling to Fort Myers, Key West, Miami and Titusville. Everywhere was pretty cheap to stay except Key Largo and Miami. Miami is a nightmare - it was a choice of $20 per day for valet parking at the hotel or park 4 blocks away in the municipal car park for $8.

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I'll look into Fort Myers also then. If we're going to the Everglades anyway, FM is on the way down.

Thanks, even though you're a bull ;)

ps- the online advice was to get an international driving license regardless, because some insurance companies demand them in the event of an accident. However, that does sound vaguely like hogwash. I already have a UK license that allows me to drive in most countries, so why anyone has to pay for an IDL I don't know :rolleyes:

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I have journeyed from Atlanta right down to Miami and back again - totally knackering but worth it. I don't know if you could get to go to Naples, that's a lovely quiet beach, loads of locals - and the pelicans diving after fish are thrilling to watch. Also you can go on an evening boat trip and see the legendary 'green flash' - where the sun sets and for one second sends a flash of bright green across the horizon (some insist it is a myth but I've seen it). On the way up to Atlanta you absolutely must go to St Augustine - ancient citadel city. And the best alligator park in the world - don't miss it under any circumstances. I'm told by friends who live there that you must also do the ghost walk (or the ghost trolley if you are feeling lazy). I'm going to Panama City Beach - apparently that's amazing. It's probably off your track but lower down south try to get to Fort Lauderdale - better beaches than Miami and I hear the snorkelling is good - you might get to swim with a manatee around there, I've seen them in the sea.

I'm really into the civil war so when I go to the US I try to check out all the battlefields. If you are into that, Atlanta is a rich source, although pretty much destroyed in the 1860's by the yankee invaders. If you are feeling really ambitious you will never regret a trip to Savannah.

Hope you enjoy it and don't bother with the jealous dudes who don't want you to have your holiday. I go to the US 3 times a year.

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Blueridge GA is extremely nice, we considered buying a mountain home there, clean air and a nice downtown. I go to this area pretty often for motorcycle riding and car racing and there are some great mountain towns and spectacular roads. There are also about 15 vineyards in the north ga mountains some of which have fantastic views and bar/resturants. Really worth a visit and much more upscale than you would imagine but still very laid back. Check this link out:

http://www.georgiawine.com/

Atlanta is definitly well worth a day or two specifically stone mountain and a visit to buckhead/midtown. I would advise to stay in Midtown a night. I have an office there and the nightlife and things to do and visit are neverending.

On the trip up its worth stopping at a few spots in south georgia, Plains is OK and there are some good civil war sites and museums, if you have the time you could also go up the east coast via Savannah and St Simons Island and cut across the i16 but its quicker up the i75.

Also Chattanooga is very close to Blueridge and is well worth visiting especially rock city and a high speed trip on the TN river through the gorges.

All in all the Blueridge area is an undiscovered gem quickly being discovered. It still just about commutable to Atlanta aswell.

Also be prepared for much much cheaper prices than the UK!

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I've noted down all this advice :) We want to make the most of the trip.

My wifes grandmother actually lives in Blue Ridge, Georgia, so yes we'll be going there for sure.

Originally I had it in mind to head south for a while to see the Everglades etc, but I think now we'll give it a miss and head north from Busch gardens to Wakulla springs (and the river), then Panama City beach area, then up to Blue Ridge via Stone Mountain and the Antebellum trail. Where we end up on the way back down is anyones guess. But it's getting exciting ;)

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I've noted down all this advice :) We want to make the most of the trip.

My wifes grandmother actually lives in Blue Ridge, Georgia, so yes we'll be going there for sure.

Originally I had it in mind to head south for a while to see the Everglades etc, but I think now we'll give it a miss and head north from Busch gardens to Wakulla springs (and the river), then Panama City beach area, then up to Blue Ridge via Stone Mountain and the Antebellum trail. Where we end up on the way back down is anyones guess. But it's getting exciting ;)

Locals in Atlanta call Panama beach the redneck riviera! Its much classier in Destin next door specifically the Rosemary beach area. Appalachicola is also a nice little beachtown on the panhandle with a couple of great riverfront B and B's and seafood fishcamps.

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I'm considering buying a guitar out there also. I don't own a quality one at present, and need to find one. There are far too many fake Gibsons on Ebay these days. I know I'll get hit with the import duty though..... hmm

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Spent a lot of time driving in the States. Some tips :

Don't break the speed limit (much). Most locals will tell you a few miles over and the law will bust you.

Check your insurance. Personal insurance rarely covers you for driving. If you have an accident, the other person will undoubtably sue, whether it was your fault or not. The extra insurance is expensive, but worth it, as someone I knew found out.

International driving licence never needed, on the other hand I've never been in an accident or had any legal issues out there. Maybe if you do it comes in useful.

Keep some spare change for the road tolls. I can't remember whether there are any in Florida or not, but its worth while having 2-3 dollars in quarters just in case. Turning up to an unmanned toll with 100 dollar bills won't do you much good.

Service stations can be a long way apart. Don't leave it till the last fumes are in the tank and expect a station to pop up out of nowhere. In the States the next one can be a long way away.

Carry grub and water, especially if you are out in the desert (probably no necesary here).

Have fun !

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Service stations can be a long way apart. Don't leave it till the last fumes are in the tank and expect a station to pop up out of nowhere. In the States the next one can be a long way away.

Buy (don't hire - it costs more) a decent sat nav. It will show you where the petrol stations are (lists them closest first) and all the diners.

Absolutely invaluable when you're heading across country. Also useful for navigating!

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no toll roads in GA only one in FL which is te turnpike. If he is travelling from Tampa he can avoid all tolls as its straight up the i75,

petrol stations at every exit these days so no problem,

in the last few years the cops have become much less visible and the speed limit is now 70 mph, in GA you have no problem at 80 or under, in Atlanta you won't keep up with the traffic on the interstate at 80!

your UK licence is fine,

may be an idea to buy a slightly used guitar and bring it in as a personal belonging, if you say you inherited it or were given it as a present there is no tax, assuming you are stopped at customs which is unlikely anyway,

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Busch gardens is a QUALITY theme park, and now has the update to oblivion (from Alton towers) with a 200 foot vetical drop :)

I think they had a bird cage there where all these parrots sit on your head and shoulders while you feed them thats a bit of fun

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