I remember road tripping from Nashville to Florida in the mid 80s with my dad, stepmom and two friends. We clambered in the back of a van with no satellite radio, no built-in DVD player, and no helpful navigation system. This was family road tripping old school style, complete with a walkman, a coffee-stained Rand-McNally street map, and our favorite cassette tapes.
If you’ve ever endured a lengthy family road trip with kids you know how important it is to keep everyone sane. That’s why I jumped at the chance to give my old faithful 2003 SUV a rest in the driveway and test drive a beautiful Nissan Quest LE during our seven-day getaway to the Georgia Coast. (If you follow me on the Twitter, and I hope you do, you may have seen some of my Tweets along the way mentioning @NissanQuest.)
Without a doubt the Quest was designed with families in mind. It made our 9-hour plus drive a pure pleasure, which is a huge plus in my parenting book. I’ll be following up this post with my top 10 favorite features of the Quest, but first here’s a brief breakdown of our trip and some of the Quest features that helped me tune out all the “Are We There Yets?’ without resorting to OD’ing on Lemonheads and Bit O’ Honey. And if you think kids eventually grow out of the “Are We There Yets?” think again. Mine are 9 and 6 and they still manage to drop that bomb without ever leaving our zip code.
Hidden storage compartment that held so much I actually forgot about some of the drinks I’d packed.
Sunday, Day 1 We are packed and ready to hit the road before 7 a.m. and I’m amazed at how something as simple as the power liftgate and power doors help the packing process. The storage in the Quest is amazing and I’m able to fit four large beach towels, bike helments, a case of water, three boxes of Capri Suns, an extra pair of flip flops, and our pool bag in the hidden storage compartment in the rear storage well WITH room to spare. Our four suitcases easily fit in the back cargo area with the third row of seats down. My husband and I are amazed at the sound of sweet silence as our girls tune into a Scooby Doo DVD with their wireless headphones. It takes us a few seconds to realize we can adjust the tilt of the pop down screen for optimum viewing and pull down the shade screens on the rear passenger windows to cut down on the glare. We select Radio Margaritaville on XM satellite radio as the soundtrack for our sand and surf sabbatical, program in the address for the Jekyll Island Club Hotel in the navigation system, and hit the road. Nine plus hours later we arrive at our beautiful destination, which looks like an intracoastal castle, and we spend a couple of hours across the street relaxing at Rah Bar and Latitude 31 with an amazing view of the sunset.
Serious business this watching Scooby Doo, serious business. Meanwhile, hubby and I were tuned into some beach music via satellite radio. What’s that Shaggy? I CAN’T HEAR YOU! (Fist pump.)
Monday, Day 2 First day on beautiful Jekyll Island! Priorities first, so we hit the beach and then head back to our hotel room late in the day to clean up before driving across the bridge to nearby St. Simons, Georgia, for dinner and to watch fireworks, which can be seen on both St. Simons and nearby Sea Island. The Nav System is a sanity saver as we use the map and “find local restaurants” search feature to help us pinpoint a good spot to park and explore this lovely low-country island.
Beautiful low country to the right! Also? BIG BIG bridge.
Tuesday, Day 3 We stay relatively close to the hotel and enjoy the lovely pool which overlooks the beautiful intracoastal. We enjoy a historical tour of the island and learn about the amazing past of this gorgeous property, which was once the seasonal playground for such prestigious families as the Rockefellers. At dinnertime we drive the Quest toward the shore and eat dinner at beach front restaurant Fins, and then spend time walking on the beach during low tide. On the way back to the hotel we park the Quest near Driftwood Beach and briefly explore the amazing scenery. (Note to photography buffs, Driftwood Beach is amazing and many photographers shoot family portrait sessions there.)
Headed for the water park. By this point the girls had committed the full-color map to memory and I had committed to drifting down the lazy river on an inner tube. No crazy water slides for me! I’m such a wimp.
Wednesday, Day 4 It’s water park day and the girls are jacked up on excitement and I’ve packed enough sunscreen for the entire water park . We load up in the Quest and head to Summer Waves Water Park on Jekyll Island. At dinner we decide to cross the bridge over to nearby Brunswick, Georgia, for amazing seafood at The Shak Oyster Bar. Named one of Coastal Living’s best seafood dives in Georgia, it gets a thumbs up from us (the steamed oysters are amazing).
Thursday, Day 5 We’re closing in on the end of our week on beautiful Jekyll. We visit the amazing Georgia Sea Turtle Center and all the injured turtles in the rehab hospital (think MASH unit for turtles) and we all leave wanting to adopt a sea turtle. We head to nearby Brunswick for pizza for dinner as we’ve shrimp and oysters every night for dinner, not that there’s anything WRONG with that.
Friday, Day 6 Island hopping day! It’s time to pack up the Quest and drive north through gorgeous historical Savannah to Tybee Island. We drive through a brief thunderstorm just outside Savannah and I use the weather map on the Quest Nav System to determine how much rain we’re going to encounter. We also program in our new destination, a beach house rental on Tybee, and the girls can see how many miles we have to drive on the Nav screen. We spend an amazing day and night with friends surfing, chowing down on a fabulous low country boil, and hunting for crabs at dusk. It’s the perfect way to end our vacation. Our friends, who drive a Nissan Armada, are impressed with the ample storage space and comfortable seats in the Quest. Also? The new car smell. It is enticing.
Packing up the Quest for the drive to Tybee Island, Georgia. Apparently we have a thing for tote bags.
Saturday, Day 7 We pack up and hit the road for Nashville. The built-in DVD player keeps the girls entertained for hours and the blind spot detector is a huge help when we need to change lanes on the interstate. After several hours of driving, my husband is again thankful for the driver’s seat lumbar support and I love that we each have separate temperature controls for the AC. Our vacation has come to a close and we’re all wishing we could stay a few days longer and keep the Quest for another week!