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Overnight in Santee, SC? Good/bad idea?
Old 11-12-2015, 04:58 AM   #1
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Overnight in Santee, SC? Good/bad idea?

We'll be driving from MD to Vero Beach, FL in early December. Years ago, we made the drive in one long slog, but we're not up to that any more.

The halfway point seems to be Santee, SC. Has anyone stayed there? Is one "I-95 exit town" pretty much like another, or would we be better off a few miles farther along the interstate?

Thanks for your thoughts and experience.
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Old 11-12-2015, 05:38 AM   #2
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DW and I just started a similar route. Many people have suggested to us a 1-2 day stop in Savannah, GA as a must see city.
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Old 11-12-2015, 05:44 AM   #3
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There's nothing in Santee. There's really not much immediately off the 95 through SC and NC up into VA. Emporia in VA is all road hotels and Dennys, but there's a lot of them there.

I'd second Winemaker - take the extra time to visit Savannah or Charleston, otherwise you're not going to find a whole hell of a lot in that section IMO.
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Old 11-12-2015, 06:15 AM   #4
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We'll be driving from MD to Vero Beach, FL in early December. Years ago, we made the drive in one long slog, but we're not up to that any more.

The halfway point seems to be Santee, SC. Has anyone stayed there? Is one "I-95 exit town" pretty much like another, or would we be better off a few miles farther along the interstate?

Thanks for your thoughts and experience.
If all you plan too do is sleep and then get back on the road, one I-95 stop is as good as another. When we do this I use Tripadvisor to look at the hotel options and google maps to see what restaurants are near the hotel.
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Old 11-12-2015, 06:23 AM   #5
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Santee is as good place as any to stay in. The Comfort Inn is the best place to stay. Their Hampton Inn is also nice but quite a bit more expensive. Other properties there are pretty low quality. (I used to travel that area when working.)
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Old 11-12-2015, 06:38 AM   #6
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Well I'd lobby for a stop in Charleston, lol, but you might like the Santee State Park just off the interstate. They have these nifty "rondette" cabins out on a pier overlooking the lake. Right now they are $89 a night, and are a novel alternative to the usual hotel room.
SC parks use a reservation system that is pretty easy to navigate.
Safe travels through SC!
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Old 11-12-2015, 07:14 AM   #7
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Great tips, and y'all didn't waste any time, either :-) Thanks so much! Sounds like Santee is as good as any place.

We have relatives in Savannah, but won't be taking time for a visit on this trip.
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Old 11-12-2015, 07:25 AM   #8
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Savannah is a good visit. But MichaelB has the right idea - any place along 95 works for a simple overnight stop. The more remote, the cheaper. I often drive down from DC and stop in Brunswick Georgia, below Savannah. I recommend that you make a reservation. Then, if you get tired earlier, you can look into another stop and cancel your reservation. I got caught on Valentines Day without a reservation and couldn't find any vacancies in Brunswick or other towns along 95. I finally called a place about 15 miles west of 95 and got the last room available. I would have been screwed without a smart phone.
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Old 11-12-2015, 07:44 AM   #9
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I'm still perusing the smart phone thread :-)

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. I would have been screwed without a smart phone.
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Old 11-12-2015, 07:50 AM   #10
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Well I'd lobby for a stop in Charleston, lol, but you might like the Santee State Park just off the interstate. They have these nifty "rondette" cabins out on a pier overlooking the lake. Right now they are $89 a night, and are a novel alternative to the usual hotel room.
SC parks use a reservation system that is pretty easy to navigate.
Safe travels through SC!
I thought about doing that one year on our trip down. Looks pretty cool! But no pets allowed! Bummer. So back to the Hampton Inns and Best Westerns 50 yds off the interstate.
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Old 11-12-2015, 09:44 AM   #11
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Oh, and my pro tip for Brunswick is the Hostel in the Forest, which has treehouses and a Fuller geodesic dome on a huge tract of land near the interstate. Not sure how they rent them these days, but we stayed there and it is definitely the full-on hippie experience.

I mean, for those of you not into the basic hotel room, lol.

Harley, Casa Sarah welcomes dogs...just sayin'...
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Old 11-12-2015, 12:05 PM   #12
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The Florence, SC exits have more choices. Exit 163 (US 52) has motels and fast food restaurants. Exit 160 (I-20 into Florence) has the more upscale hotels and dining options including Percy & Willie's (here) plus a mall.

If you do stay in Santee, try Lone Star BBQ.
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Old 11-12-2015, 01:12 PM   #13
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Gosh, I feel like the SC welcome wagon, but...if you stop at the Florence exit during daytime hours, you can go wander through the Pee Dee State Farmers Market --lots of plants and vegetables, of course, but also handcrafts and prepared foods like jams and jellies. Nice leg stretcher.
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Old 11-12-2015, 04:20 PM   #14
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Don't forget, there's always

South Of The Border ~ America’s Favorite Highway Oasis

We actually stopped there on a drive from MD to FL one year when I was a kid because my mother just wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Haven't been back
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Old 11-12-2015, 05:42 PM   #15
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Oh, and my pro tip for Brunswick is the Hostel in the Forest, which has treehouses and a Fuller geodesic dome on a huge tract of land near the interstate. Not sure how they rent them these days, but we stayed there and it is definitely the full-on hippie experience.

I mean, for those of you not into the basic hotel room, lol.

Harley, Casa Sarah welcomes dogs...just sayin'...
It's always on my mind, I promise. But we're usually hell bent for leather in one direction or the other, and the extra hour or so each way to/from I-95 makes it difficult. But someday...
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Old 11-12-2015, 05:52 PM   #16
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Cheesy, but OK during the day. I'd only spend the night if Special Forces from Fort Bragg, NC agreed to guard my car and room.

Dillon SC crime rates and statistics - NeighborhoodScout
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Old 11-12-2015, 06:18 PM   #17
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Hey I stayed at South of the Border once, in about 1990...the room had an actual "quarter bed" like in the Jimmy Buffett song! And yes, it was sketch city!

The random fiberglass animals at SOTB are good photo ops, if you are in for that sort of thing.
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Old 11-13-2015, 04:54 AM   #18
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the BBQ joint at Santee exit is "Bessengers" and it's very good. that exit is my half way point too. I used to eat the BBQ until i found the Chinese joint across the street.
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Old 11-13-2015, 06:18 AM   #19
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Don't forget, there's always

South Of The Border ~ America’s Favorite Highway Oasis

We actually stopped there on a drive from MD to FL one year when I was a kid because my mother just wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Haven't been back
That brings back memories. When we lived in NY and drove to Fl we must have passed more than 30 billboards along I-95 for "South of the Border". You are more courageous than I, one look was enough to keep us moving on ..
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Old 11-13-2015, 06:50 AM   #20
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the BBQ joint at Santee exit is "Bessengers" and it's very good. that exit is my half way point too. I used to eat the BBQ until i found the Chinese joint across the street.
Maurice's Piggy Park is a chain out of Columbia with a location at the Santee exit. I didn't know he sold it to Bessinger.
https://www.piggiepark.com/locations/

I personally find the atmosphere and family-owned, pit cooked on-site BBQ and country buffet at Lone Star BBQ to be more authentic to the region. It's about a mile from the interchange so most tourists don't know about it.

Lone Star Barbecue & Mercantile | Santee, SC

They still have the billboards, Michael.
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