This past May my husband and I decided to take a vacation to Fort Walton Beach, Florida. To reach our destination we decided to embark on a long road trip (roughly 1,000 miles)! And did I mention we also took our one year old son with us? It might have been ambitious but we were eager to hit the road and drive to the beautiful beaches along the Gulf of Mexico.
Note: I have some typos in this blog that I plan on correcting when my one year old permits it.:)
We left our home in Pittsburgh on May 10th, 2018 at seven in the morning, That morning we planned to drive to town just north of Nashville, called Hendersonville. With all of our luggage packed in our truck we woke our son, gave him a bottle and hit the road, while he fell
asleep again stop in his pajamas. We drove south on Interstate 79 into West Virginia and then Ohio. After about two hours on the road we stopped at a rest stop along the highway. The trees were in bloom and it was a very pretty entrance to the rest stop!
After this stop we continued to Columbus and then hopped onto Interstate 71 to Cincinnnati. There was a decent amount of truck traffic to Cincinnati, which surprised me, but didn’t slow us down too much.
Once we crossed the Ohio River Into Kentucky we decided to stop for lunch. After lunch, Bobby found a park where our son could run around and spend some time on a swing. After spending some time at the park, we got back on Interstate 71 and continued to head south.
We drove through Louisville and then stopped at a rest stop near the border with Indiana.
I really liked this rest stop as the architecture of the building looked just like a southern plantation. There was also a lot of shaded areas which worked out perfectly for our son. It was becoming much warmer the further south we traveled!
Just a few miles after this test stop I was so glad that we stopped because we hit our first major delay of the trip. We hit construction that was really bad; we ended up sitting/ slowly moving in traffic for an hour. We all were fed up with traffic this point and I had jumped in the backseat to entertain our son. We even decided to get off an exit, to refuel at a nearby Starbucks. After stopping at Starbucks we drove through town to take a break from the interstate before merging back on.
The traffic we encountered on I-65 was actually so bad I considered calling it quits for the day and just finding a hotel room nearby. But once we realized we had already been through the worst of it we decided to press onward.
We reached Nashville around 6:45pm. One positive was that we had traveled into Central Time Zone so we felt like we had gained back the hour we lost in traffic.
We stayed in Hendersonville, which is just north of the city. I’d recommend this area to anyone traveling because there are many stores and restaurants within walking distance. We decided to walk to dinner nearby. After dinner we just watched tv in our room. Originally we had planned on using the pool but we were too exhausted at this point to go to the pool.
The next morning we got up around seven and went downstairs to eat breakfast. We didn’t get on the road until 9am but we felt okay about a later start since we didn’t have as far to travel that day and we would also miss the Nashville rush hour.
After passing through Nashville there wasn’t much worthy of note; just rolling countryside. It didn’t take long before we hit the Alabama border.
Soon after the state line, we saw this huge space ship rising above the trees! We realized that the space ship was at a rest stop so of course we had to stop!
After spending some time at this rest we continued onto Interstate 65 south. We stopped to have lunch just south of Birmingham Alabama and then hopped back onto I-65. We were both eager to get off this Interstate as it seemed like we had been driving this road for an eternity, or at least all day!
Finally we got off the Interstate and at this point we were pretty excited because we knew that we only had two more hours to go. Now I should mention that once we got off the Interstate, the towns were pretty few and far in between. We did find this gas station along the highway. It had a nice open area, so we stopped here for a rest.
The inside was quite nice too, with a lot of supplies and clean restrooms so we actually stopped here on the way back home too.
This was the first time for all of us to visit Alabama, and I have to say that it's pretty neat visiting a place for this first time with our son. After spending some time here, we hopped back into the truck for our final push.
We reached our hotel at in Fort Walton Beach, Florida just after 7pm. We prompted moved our items into our hotel room and then went out on the beach!
Even though this was our son's second trip to the beach (we visited Ocean City, MD when he was six months old) he seemed much more aware on this trip and seemed in awe of the water! After traveling all day we were too exhausted to go out to eat, so we ordered a pizza to our room and then hit up the pool for an evening swim. It was a great start to our vacation!
Author: Sarah Warman
I like to run, take pictures and write. I've combined all three in this blog.