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I recently discovered a fascinating website that allows you to figure out how far you can go (in this case, drive) within a certain amount of time.  My interest started when I began to look for places nearby my location in Jacksonville, FL that I could visit and review with a one night stay, or perhaps even on a day trip.  After many searches, I found, and it is both a fascinating map site and an extremely useful travel tool!

Oalley’s homepage

If you go directly to their homepage (the link above goes to the specific tool I’m talking about, not their homepage), then you’ll find that the website is primarily for businesses who want to explore the areas of influence for marketing and ideas about where to place their business.  However,  this feature is a useful tool for figuring out how far you can drive within a certain amount of time.

The map homepage

Want to get out of town but limit your driving time to 6 hours?  The website will calculate how far you can go, accounting for physical obstacles.  In my case, I wanted to see how far I could go within about two and a half hours.  Interestingly, the map showed me all kinds of places that seemed far away, but also showed me that places I thought were close actually would take quite some time to drive to due to the physical barrier of the Okefenokee Swamp!  If a lack of highway limits your ability to get somewhere, the website takes that into account.  Your map will not look like a perfect circle, then, but more like a web that is based on the ability of roads.  Excellent!

The results: where I can drive within 2.5 hours of Jacksonville, Florida!

One really nice feature is that you can zoom in on the map.  I spent a fun hour zooming in and checking out almost every small town that appeared.  I compiled a list of potential places and am now going to have fun visiting most or all of them.  In fact, I’m hoping that my next trip will be a People’s Choice, where I offer three places from the list I compiled and have the public vote on where Paul and I will go.  There were so many places within 2.5 hours from my city that I didn’t know existed, and I’m much more familiar with this region than most people, so I’m surprised and excited to see and do these new things!

I zoomed in slightly and found many towns near Gainesville, FL that I would like to explore!

So, what’s the cost?  Absolutely free!  After one or two searches you’ll need to sign-up for a free account.  The business-related features are the paid portion, and no credit card is required for setting up your free account.  This map is fun to play around with, so go ahead and plan on signing up.  I know I’ll be using it frequently!

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