There are about four million miles of roads in America, but Florida road trips might just be the best road trips of them all. As the home of Daytona 500, driving is part of Florida’s nature! In the Sunshine State, you’ll find a mix of coastal roads and forest roads, from coast to coast. Florida isn’t just theme parks and swampland, it offers something for everyone. Hit the big cities or get away from it all. All you need to do is hop in the car and start exploring! And maybe checking a Florida vacation rental or two because you’ll probably want to extend your stay.
1. A1A Florida State Road
This scenic highway and historic coastal byway are some of the most historic, relaxing, and beautiful parts of Florida. Located on the northeast coast of the state, this national scenic byway is made up of three individual state highways, scenic and historic A1A, A1A River and Sea Trail, and A1A Ocean Shore. Start at Ponte Vedra Beach at the northern end of the byway. This beautiful town is known for its wonderful beaches, world-class tennis and golf, oceanside resorts, and private retreats. Head south for 30 miles on S.R. A1A to St. Augustine. Founded in 1565, this coastal town is a postcard come to life with its cafés, stores, museums, art galleries, and parks. As you continue south, Florida will show you its miles of pristine coastline, large ocean sand dunes blanketed with native wildflowers and sea oats, and majestic moss-draped live oak canopies.
2. Florida Keys
The islands of Florida Keys are teeming with activities for visitors of all ages making it an ideal vacation destination. By exploring by car, your visit to the Florida Keys can be action-packed or relaxed and laid-back. Some of the most famous destinations are Key Largo, Islamorada, and Key West. If you’re an adventure seeker, rustle up some grub on a fishing charter, go snorkeling, or dive the famous Florida Keys shipwreck. Looking for something more low-key? Visit local art galleries and museums, shop for unique souvenirs, and feast on fresh seafood.
3. Miami to Key West
If you’re coming from the Florida Keys, of course, this road trip can start in Key West and end in Miami. County Road 905 will take you on a subtropical tour on a thrilling back road through the mangroves. Stop at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park for some snorkeling or scuba diving. If you don’t want to get wet, they also offer glass bottom boat tours. Swimming with dolphins is also a fun option for the entire family before you cross the Seven Mile Bridge into quirky Key West.
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4. Pensacola to Panama City Beach
Start this journey at historic downtown Pensacola with its art galleries, restaurants, and cultural venues. Then, begin a 15-mile ride on State Road 399 through Gulf Islands National Seashore. The soft, white sand dunes and shimmering emerald waters are simply out of this world. Make your way to Highway 98 through Fort Walton Beach and Destin. Destin is widely known as the “world’s luckiest fishing village,” and has some of the best shopping and dining in all of Florida. Check out Okaloosa Pier before taking Highway 30A to Grayton Beach State Park and Panama City Beach.
5. Tallahassee to DeFuniak Springs
Rural Highway 90 is only a few miles north of Interstate 10, but you’ll feel worlds away. Reconnect with nature as you follow the gentle curving road past the Florida state capital of Tallahassee. Tallahassee is the epitome of genuine Southern hospitality with its good manners, rolling hills, oak-canopied roads, and plantation homes. A 10-block historic district preserves Tallahassee’s gracious old homes along a linear park, along with a historic inn, bars, and restaurants. Continue through other quaint towns like Quincy, Chattahoochee, Marianna and Chipley. Explore caverns and natural springs along the way and finish your trip with a glass of win at Chautauqua Winery at Lake DeFuniak.
6. Arcadia to Okeechobee to Sanibel-Captiva
This 200-mile tour is the perfect getaway. Take the day to ride east from Arcadia to Lake Okeechobee. Arcadia sits in the middle of Florida cowboy country, has a rich history of cattle-raising, and has a large contingent of cowboys. Time your visit for the rodeo, the De Soto County Fair in January or the Watermelon Festival in May. Continue along Highway 441 to discover historic Old Florida towns like Pahokee, Belle Glade, and Clewiston.
7. Daytona Beach to Mount Dora
Leave the city behind on Highway 40 towards the quiet towns of Barberville and Astor. Cut down to Alexander Springs Recreation Area in the Ocala National Forest. With its forested scenery and abundant turquoise waters, you might want to stay a while to take advantage of the recreational opportunities. This area offers camping, swimming, canoeing, scuba diving, hiking, birding, and wildlife viewing. Finish this trip is laid-back, relaxing Mount Dora, full of lakes quiet country inns, shops, an old railroad station, and a buffet of tasty dining options.
8. Apalachicola to Tallahassee
Apalachicola was once a small oyster harvesting village and is now a thriving artists’ community. From here, take a waterfront drive along St. George Island. Located just off North Florida’s Gulf Coast, St. George Island is one of the last inhabited yet unspoiled barrier islands in Florida. It’s consistently rated as one of the top beaches in the U.S. and has miles of uncrowded expanses for sunning and shelling, clear Gulf waters for swimming and fishing, and pristine marshes for wildlife viewing. Next, jump on Highway 98, take a pit stop at historic Wakulla Springs Lodge, and then cross the finish line in Tallahassee.
9. Eustis to Palatka
Highway 19 is Central Florida’s road less traveled. Start at the southern border of the Ocala National Forest. Take your time and feel free to branch off the road to explore natural springs, hiking trails and the clear waters of Salt Springs. When you reach Palatka, stretch your legs with some bass fishing, canoeing, kayaking, playing golf, touring historic homes and churches, hiking, or bicycling.
10. On the Gulf Coast
No one will argue that Florida is full of great beaches, and here’s a road trip to western Florida that’s not to be missed. Start at Gasparilla Island, beloved for its 1890 lighthouse. Many people travel here hoping to see sea turtles nesting up on this barrier isle between May and October. Your next stop is St. Petersburg. Art-lovers shouldn’t miss the Dalí Museum, which houses more than 2,000 paintings by the surrealist icon. Next up is Sanibel Island and the J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.
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