Fort Myers and the Blue Ridge Parkway

We were supposed to be in Spain at this time, but a worldwide pandemic canceled that. I really needed a break, so we pivoted to a quick road trip to Florida instead, figuring that we could bail out and head home any time. And we were glad we did, because we ended up doing just that!

Food and Beverage $47 per day

Average per day. Most days we ate breakfast and lunch from groceries and ate dinner out.

Lodging $62-$224 per night

On the beach in Fort Myers was our most expensive lodging.

Transportation $434

Gas for our own vehicle.

Entertainment $0

We didn't do anything that cost any money.

Days 1-2: Getting to Florida

Planned Activities

  • Just passing through

Actual Activities

  • Just passing through

The Plan: We left home in the afternoon and planned two nights along the road to avoid any really long driving days. Our days of driving straight through are over!

The Reality: We did just that. 

Drive from home

Stay at Wingfield Inn & Suites,
Elizabethtown, KY

Very nice place for the price, right off the freeway. Included a hot breakfast.

Stay at ABVI,
Lake City, FL

Basic but clean and functional, breakfast included.

Get around by driving

Days 3-8 3-6: Fort Myers Beach

Planned Activities

  • Walk and relax on the beach
  • Visit family

Actual Activities

  • Walk and relax on the beach
  • Visit family

The Plan: We stayed here in 2013 and really enjoyed it, so this was our first choice. The beach here is pretty quiet with plenty of space.

The Reality: It was fine until they closed the beaches since people weren’t practicing social distancing. That led us to cut our time short.

Related Posts

Drive from home

Stay at Outrigger Beach Resort

A well-priced unfussy low-rise hotel with a restaurant and tiki bar right on a quiet part of the beach. A favorite of ours.

Get around by driving

Days 9-12: Cocoa Beach

Planned Activities

  • Walk and relax on the beach

Actual Activities

  •  None

The Plan: There wasn’t room available in Ft Myers for another week so we planned to hit Cocoa Beach, which we’ve both been to and liked.

The Reality: They planned to close the beaches here so we skipped it. (We heard later they didn’t close the beaches after all.) 

Days 13-15 7: St Augustine

Planned Activities

  • See the historical sights
  • Hang out at the beach

Actual Activities

  • See the outside of the historical sights

The Plan: If we couldn’t go to Spain we could at least go to an early settlement in the USA, right?

The Reality: All of the sights and restaurants were closed, so we cut our stop to one night to break up the drive. 

Related Posts

Drive from Fort Myers Beach

Stay at Southern Oaks Inn

Pleasant, well-priced place fairly close to downtown and the highway. Great hot breakfast included.

Get around by driving

Days 16-17: Charleston

Planned Activities

  • Visit Ft Sumter

Actual Activities

  • None 

The Plan: We missed Ft Sumter the last time we were here, so we planned a quick stop to see that and because we liked the city.

The Reality: Ft Sumter was closed due to the coronavirus so we bypassed Charleston. 

Days 18-21 8-12: Blue Ridge Parkway

Planned Activities

  • Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway, stopping for scenic overlooks and to hike
  • Drive Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park

Actual Activities

  • Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway, stopping for scenic overlooks and to hike
  • Drive the first part of Skyline Drive

The Plan: We tried to do the Blue Ridge once before and had to stop in the middle due to car trouble. So we came back to try again. Key resources for planning this part of the trip were the National Park Service site for info on the parkway itself and the Blue Ridge Parkway Association site for info on the surrounding area.  The latter is especially helpful for lodging options near the parkway, which tend to be small and local.

The Reality: We made it to the end of the Blue Ridge! We did have to leave Skyline drive early because we were running out of time and daylight. 

Related Posts

Drive from St Augustine to Maggie Valley, NC

Then up the Blue Ridge Parkway

Get around by driving

Stay at Stony Creek Motel,
Maggie Valley, NC

Our fourth try at a place to spend the night after three cancellations due to the coronavirus. Clean, basic.

Stay at Boxwood Lodge,
Blowing Rock, NC

Lovely room right in downtown Blowing Rock. Nice deck with rocking chairs out front.

Stay at Pine Tavern Lodge,
Floyd, VA

One of the nicest places we've stayed, ever. Welcoming host who gave us a free upgrade since everyone else canceled. Too bad we missed the adjoining restaurant.

Stay at Country Inn & Suites,
Winchester, VA

Pleasant stop on our last night at the end of the drive. Good value for the price. No breakfast due to coronavirus.

Resources

  • The National Park Service section on the Blue Ridge Parkway has great information about the parkway itself. 
  • The Blue Ridge Parkway site is especially helpful on essential things near the parkway, like gas stations and places to eat and sleep. I found valuable lodging info there; many options near the parkway are small and don’t show up on sites like Booking.com.