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Road Trip In Florida: Your Go-To Route


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Darcey Beebe



Welcome to the Sunshine State! Florida, with its stunning beaches, vibrant cities, and diverse natural landscapes, is the perfect destination for a memorable road trip. Whether you’re a nature lover, a thrill-seeker, a history buff, or simply someone looking to relax and unwind, Florida has something for everyone.


A road trip in Florida offers the opportunity to explore the state’s iconic sights, soak up its unique culture, and create lasting memories along the way. From the vibrant city life of Miami to the enchanting beauty of Key West, from the untamed wilderness of the Everglades National Park to the world-famous theme parks of Orlando, this journey promises to be a thrilling adventure filled with countless discoveries.


While the destinations may be the main focus, the journey itself is equally important. Florida’s scenic highways and byways offer breathtaking views, with palm trees swaying in the breeze, picturesque coastal towns, and stunning sunsets. So sit back, buckle up, and get ready to hit the open road as we guide you through the ultimate Florida road trip.


Before we delve into the specifics of the route, it’s essential to plan your road trip accordingly. Consider the duration of your trip, the season you’ll be traveling in, and the interests of your fellow travelers. Florida is known for its tropical climate, so keep in mind that summers can be hot and humid, while winters are mild and pleasant. Spring and fall offer more moderate temperatures and fewer crowds.


Additionally, it’s important to decide on your starting point and final destination. In this article, we’ll guide you on a road trip starting in Miami and ending in Jacksonville. However, feel free to adjust the route to fit your preferences and schedule. Now, let’s kick off this road trip extravaganza, beginning with the vibrant city of Miami!


Planning Your Road Trip

A successful road trip requires careful planning and preparation. Before you embark on your Florida adventure, here are some key factors to consider:

1. Duration

Determine how much time you have for your road trip. Florida is a relatively large state with many attractions, so it’s important to allocate enough time to fully enjoy each destination. Depending on your schedule, aim for at least a week to explore the major highlights.

2. Season

Consider the time of year you’ll be traveling. Florida can be quite hot and humid in the summer months, with frequent afternoon thunderstorms. Winters are milder, making it an ideal time to visit if you prefer cooler temperatures. Spring and fall offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds.

3. Destinations

Research and choose the destinations that align with your interests. Do you want to enjoy the beach scene in Miami and Key West? Explore the natural wonders of the Everglades? Experience the excitement of Orlando’s theme parks? Take into account the preferences of your fellow travelers to create a well-rounded itinerary.

4. Budget

Set a budget for your road trip to help guide your choices. Consider accommodation, meals, activities, and transportation costs. While Florida offers a range of options suitable for different budgets, it’s important to plan ahead to avoid any financial surprises along the way.

5. Accommodation

Decide on the type of accommodation that suits your needs and budget. Florida offers a variety of options, including hotels, resorts, vacation rentals, and campgrounds. Make reservations in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to secure the best deals and availability.

6. Rentals and Transportation

If you’re flying into Florida, you’ll need to decide whether to rent a car or use public transportation. Having a car provides flexibility and freedom to explore at your own pace. Consider the size of your group and the amount of luggage to select the appropriate vehicle.

7. Itinerary

Plan your daily itinerary, including the attractions you want to visit and any specific activities or tours you want to participate in. Be sure to allow for some flexibility to accommodate unexpected discoveries and spontaneous adventures along the way.


With proper planning and organization, your Florida road trip is sure to be a fantastic journey filled with exciting experiences and unforgettable memories. Now that you have a roadmap for your adventure, let’s begin our exploration of the beautiful Sunshine State!


Starting Point: Miami

Welcome to the dynamic and vibrant city of Miami, the starting point of our Florida road trip! Known for its beautiful sandy beaches, diverse culture, and lively nightlife, Miami offers an exciting mix of attractions for all types of travelers.


Begin your exploration by soaking up the sun and enjoying the warm waters of South Beach. With its iconic art deco architecture, colorful lifeguard stands, and energetic atmosphere, South Beach is a must-visit spot. Spend the day lounging on the sand, taking a dip in the turquoise waters, or strolling along Ocean Drive to admire the unique buildings and people-watching.


For a taste of Miami’s diverse culture, head to the vibrant neighborhoods of Little Havana and Wynwood. In Little Havana, you can experience the rich Cuban heritage through its lively street life, authentic Cuban cuisine, and even catch a game of dominoes in Maximo Gomez Park. In Wynwood, immerse yourself in the world of street art as you explore the vibrant murals that adorn the walls of this artistic district.


No visit to Miami is complete without exploring the natural beauty of the nearby Everglades National Park. Embark on an airboat ride through the vast wetlands, spotting alligators, birds, and other wildlife along the way. Take a leisurely hike on one of the nature trails and learn about the unique ecosystem of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.


After a day of exploration, indulge in Miami’s diverse culinary scene. From fresh seafood and Latin American delicacies to international cuisines, the city offers an array of dining options to satisfy every palate. Don’t forget to try some traditional Cuban dishes like a mouthwatering Cubano sandwich or a refreshing mojito.


As the sun sets, experience the vibrant nightlife that Miami is famous for. Dance the night away at one of the many clubs in South Beach, where world-renowned DJs spin the latest beats. For a more laid-back evening, enjoy a cocktail at one of the rooftop bars, offering stunning views of the city skyline.


With its exciting mix of beach vibes, cultural experiences, and lively entertainment, Miami sets the perfect tone for your Florida road trip. Soak up the energy of this vibrant city before we continue our adventure to our next stop – the breathtaking beauty of Key West!


Stop 1: Key West

Welcome to the captivating island of Key West, the southernmost point of the continental United States and our first stop on our Florida road trip! Known for its stunning sunsets, vibrant culture, and laid-back atmosphere, Key West offers a unique and unforgettable experience.


Start your exploration by visiting the famous landmark, the Southernmost Point Buoy. Located just a few miles from Cuba, this colorful buoy marks the southernmost point of the continental United States and is a popular spot for photos. Take a moment to snap a picture and enjoy the view of the vast blue ocean.


Key West is also home to several fascinating museums that offer insight into the island’s rich history. Visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum to learn about the life of the famous American writer. Explore the Key West Lighthouse and Keeper’s Quarters Museum to gain an understanding of the island’s maritime history.


No visit to Key West is complete without exploring its lively and vibrant old town. Stroll along Duval Street, known for its vibrant nightlife, unique shops, and eclectic dining options. Take a break at Mallory Square, where you can enjoy stunning sunset views and street performances by local artists.


For a relaxing beach break, head to Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. This picturesque park offers crystal-clear waters, soft sandy beaches, and ample opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing. Explore the nature trails or visit the preserved Civil War-era fort for a glimpse into Key West’s past.


If you’re a fan of watersports, Key West is the perfect destination. Embark on a snorkeling or diving excursion to explore the vibrant coral reefs and encounter a variety of marine life. You can also try your hand at kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, or even take a sunset cruise to fully experience the beauty of the surrounding waters.


Key West is known for its lively and diverse culinary scene. From fresh seafood to Cuban specialties, there are plenty of options to suit every taste. Don’t miss trying the famous Key lime pie, a tangy and refreshing dessert that is simply delicious.


As the day comes to an end, head to Mallory Square once again to witness the breathtaking Key West sunset. Join the lively Sunset Celebration, where street performers entertain the crowd as the sun dips below the horizon, casting vibrant hues across the sky.


Key West offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Immerse yourself in the laid-back ambiance of the island, enjoy the stunning sunsets, and create unforgettable memories. Now, get ready to continue our road trip adventure as we make our way to the magnificent Everglades National Park!


Stop 2: Everglades National Park

Welcome to the breathtaking Everglades National Park, a unique and diverse ecosystem that is a true natural wonder. Spanning over 1.5 million acres, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to a wide array of plant and animal species, making it a must-visit destination on our Florida road trip.


Embark on an unforgettable adventure as you explore the vast wetlands of the Everglades. Start by taking an airboat ride through the expansive marshes and sawgrass prairies. Glide across the water, listening to the sounds of nature and watching for a glimpse of the park’s iconic residents, such as alligators, turtles, and various bird species.


For a more immersive experience, venture deeper into the park on one of the hiking trails. From short boardwalk trails to longer backcountry treks, there are options available for all levels of hiking enthusiasts. Keep an eye out for native wildlife, including herons, egrets, and the elusive Florida panther.


No visit to the Everglades is complete without visiting the Shark Valley Visitor Center. Hop aboard the Shark Valley Tram Tour or rent a bike to explore the 15-mile loop trail. Along the way, marvel at the incredible scenery, with soaring birds, sun-drenched grasses, and the peacefulness of this unique wilderness.


The Everglades is also an excellent spot for birdwatching. The park is a major stopover for migratory birds, making it a haven for bird enthusiasts. Bring your binoculars and spot herons, egrets, ibises, and even the striking roseate spoonbill.


To learn more about the delicate ecosystem of the Everglades, make a visit to the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center. Engage with interactive exhibits, watch informative videos, and speak with park rangers who will provide valuable insights into the park’s flora and fauna.


For those who crave a thrill, consider taking a guided kayak or canoe tour through the park’s waterways. Paddle through mangrove swamps, observe the unique aquatic plants, and listen to the sounds of nature as you navigate these pristine waters.


As the sun begins to set, make your way to one of the park’s designated areas for stargazing. With minimal light pollution, the Everglades provides a stunning backdrop for observing the night sky. Marvel at the countless stars and constellations above, creating a truly magical experience.


The Everglades National Park is a true natural treasure that invites you to connect with nature and discover its unique beauty. With its diverse wildlife, captivating landscapes, and opportunities for outdoor adventure, this stop is sure to be a highlight of your Florida road trip.


Next on our journey is the charming coastal city of Naples, where you’ll discover beautiful beaches, world-class dining, and a relaxed atmosphere. So, let’s hit the road and keep the adventure going!


Stop 3: Naples

Welcome to the picturesque coastal city of Naples, our next stop on our Florida road trip! Nestled on the Gulf of Mexico, Naples is renowned for its stunning white sand beaches, upscale dining, and vibrant arts scene.


Start your exploration of Naples with a visit to its beautiful beaches. Whether you choose to relax on the pristine shores of Vanderbilt Beach, explore the nature trails and wildlife at Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, or enjoy the laid-back ambiance of Lowdermilk Park, you’ll find a stretch of sand to suit your preferences. Bask in the warm sun, take a refreshing dip in the turquoise waters, and embrace the serenity of the Gulf Coast.


After a leisurely beach day, take a stroll along Fifth Avenue South, the heart of downtown Naples. This vibrant street is lined with boutique shops, art galleries, and award-winning restaurants. Browse the stores for unique finds, indulge in some retail therapy, and sample the culinary delights offered by the city’s renowned chefs.


Naples is also known for its world-class golf courses. If you’re a golf enthusiast, take advantage of the many top-notch fairways and test your skills amidst the picturesque surroundings. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, Naples offers a variety of courses to challenge and delight golfers of all levels.


For a dose of culture, visit the renowned Naples Museum of Art. Marvel at the extensive collection of American modern and contemporary art, as well as temporary exhibitions showcasing works from around the world. The museum’s stunning architecture and tranquil gardens provide a serene setting for art enthusiasts.


If you’re in the mood for a scenic drive, take a trip along the Tamiami Trail (Highway 41) to experience the beauty of the Everglades from a different perspective. Travel through lush mangroves, spot alligators sunning themselves along the roadside, and immerse yourself in the untamed wilderness of the region.


Naples is also home to a vibrant performing arts scene. Catch a show at the Artis-Naples, which hosts an array of performances, from Broadway shows and orchestral concerts to ballet and opera. Immerse yourself in the rich cultural offerings and enjoy a night of world-class entertainment.


As the sun sets over the Gulf of Mexico, head to Naples Pier for a breathtaking view. Watching the vibrant hues of the sunset paint the sky and listening to the waves crashing against the beach is a magical experience. Capture the moment with a photograph or simply appreciate the natural beauty surrounding you.


Naples offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, upscale charm, and cultural experiences. From its pristine beaches to its vibrant arts scene, this stop on our Florida road trip is sure to leave a lasting impression. Get ready to continue our journey as we make our way to the culturally rich city of Sarasota!


Stop 4: Sarasota

Welcome to the culturally rich city of Sarasota, our next stop on our Florida road trip! Located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Sarasota is renowned for its stunning beaches, vibrant arts scene, and world-class cultural institutions.


Start your exploration of Sarasota by visiting its beautiful beaches. Siesta Key Beach, often listed among the best beaches in the United States, boasts powdery white sand and clear turquoise waters. Spend the day relaxing on the beach, swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, or taking a leisurely walk along the shore.


Sarasota is a haven for art enthusiasts, so be sure to visit the Ringling Museum of Art. This impressive museum complex showcases an extensive collection of European masterpieces, decorative arts, and rotating contemporary art exhibitions. Take a stroll through the stunning rose gardens and explore the Ca’ d’Zan, the opulent mansion that was the home of circus magnate John Ringling.


For a taste of the local arts scene, head to the Sarasota Opera House. This beautifully restored theater is home to the Sarasota Opera and hosts a variety of performances, from opera and ballet to musicals and concerts. Immerse yourself in the world of performing arts and experience the city’s rich cultural heritage.


No visit to Sarasota is complete without exploring St. Armands Circle. This charming shopping and dining district, located on Lido Key, features upscale boutiques, art galleries, and a wide array of restaurants. Indulge in a shopping spree, savor delicious cuisine, and soak up the vibrant atmosphere of this unique destination.


If you’re a nature lover, be sure to visit the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Wander through the lush gardens and immerse yourself in the beauty of the diverse plant collections, including orchids, bromeliads, and tropical flora. Take a moment to relax in this oasis of tranquility amidst the bustling city.


Sarasota is also a hub for water sports and outdoor activities. Rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore the mangrove tunnels of the Lido Key Mangrove Park or venture out into the calm waters of Sarasota Bay. For the adventurous, book a fishing charter and try your hand at catching local game fish.


As the sun sets, head to one of Sarasota’s waterfront restaurants for a memorable dining experience. Enjoy fresh seafood dishes while admiring the coastal views and basking in the warm evening breeze. Indulge in the flavors of the sea as you toast to an unforgettable day.


Sarasota offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, artistic charm, and cultural experiences. From its stunning beaches to its thriving arts scene, this stop on our Florida road trip is sure to leave a lasting impression. Get ready to continue our journey as we make our way to the vibrant city of Tampa Bay!


Stop 5: Tampa Bay

Welcome to the vibrant city of Tampa Bay, our next stop on our Florida road trip! Located on the west coast of Florida, Tampa Bay offers a dynamic blend of cultural attractions, thrilling theme parks, and stunning waterfront views.


Start your exploration of Tampa Bay by visiting the iconic Busch Gardens. This thrilling theme park combines adrenaline-pumping roller coasters with immersive animal exhibits. Experience the rush of rides like SheiKra and Montu, and then get up close and personal with fascinating creatures from around the world.


For a taste of Tampa Bay’s history, head to the Tampa Bay History Center. Immerse yourself in the rich heritage of the region through interactive exhibits, artifacts, and multimedia presentations. Learn about Tampa’s role in the cigar industry, the impact of the railroad, and the city’s vibrant multicultural history.


Take a stroll along the vibrant Riverwalk, a scenic path that runs along the Hillsborough River. Enjoy beautiful views of the downtown skyline, stop by the Tampa Museum of Art to admire its contemporary art collection, or visit the Florida Aquarium to get up close with marine life.


Tampa Bay is also home to a thriving culinary scene. Indulge in fresh seafood, Cuban-inspired dishes, and craft beers at the city’s many acclaimed restaurants and breweries. Don’t forget to try the famous Cuban sandwich, a local favorite that is a must-try while in Tampa Bay.


For sports enthusiasts, catch a game at one of Tampa Bay’s professional sports venues. Cheer on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium or watch the Tampa Bay Lightning hit the ice at Amalie Arena. Immerse yourself in the electric atmosphere of live sports and show your team spirit.


Visit the historic neighborhood of Ybor City, known for its rich cultural heritage and vibrant nightlife. Explore the streets lined with colorful buildings, sample hand-rolled cigars, and dance the night away to live music at one of the many clubs and bars.


If you’re seeking outdoor adventures, head to the nearby Tampa Bay beaches. From the pristine sands of Clearwater Beach to the lively atmosphere of St. Pete Beach, there are options for every beach lover. Soak up the sun, take a dip in the warm waters, or enjoy water sports like jet skiing and parasailing.


As the sun sets, experience the captivating beauty of Tampa Bay. Take a sunset cruise along the waterfront, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city’s skyline, scenic bridges, and colorful sunsets. Allow the serene ambiance to wash over you as you savor the beauty of the bay.


Tampa Bay offers a perfect blend of entertainment, history, and natural beauty. From its thrilling theme parks to its vibrant cultural scene, this stop on our Florida road trip is sure to leave you with unforgettable memories. Get ready to continue our journey as we make our way to the magical world of Orlando!


Stop 6: Orlando

Welcome to the enchanting city of Orlando, our final stop on our Florida road trip! Known as the theme park capital of the world, Orlando offers a magical experience for visitors of all ages with its world-class attractions, entertainment options, and family-friendly fun.


Begin your Orlando adventure by immersing yourself in the enchanting world of Walt Disney World Resort. Explore the iconic Magic Kingdom, home to Cinderella’s Castle, and experience classic Disney attractions, thrilling rides, and magical character encounters. Venture into Epcot to explore different countries and immerse yourself in future technologies.


If you’re looking for more thrilling experiences, visit Universal Orlando Resort. Step into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and traverse the bustling streets of Diagon Alley or board the Hogwarts Express to visit Hogsmeade. Get your adrenaline pumping on thrilling rides at Universal Studios or discover the mesmerizing marine life at SeaWorld Orlando.


For those seeking a more educational and interactive experience, visit the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Discover the wonders of space exploration, learn about NASA’s past and ongoing missions, and even meet astronauts. Marvel at the iconic rockets and spacecraft on display and take a simulated journey to Mars.


Orlando is home to a variety of unique and entertaining dinner shows. From the thrilling pirate adventure at Pirate’s Dinner Adventure to the mesmerizing performances at Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba, there’s something for everyone. Sit back, relax, and enjoy an evening of live entertainment and delicious cuisine.


Take a break from the theme parks and explore the charming neighborhoods of Orlando. Lake Eola Park, located in the heart of downtown, offers scenic walking trails, a picturesque fountain, and paddleboat rentals. Visit the Orlando Museum of Art to admire its collection of contemporary and American art, or spend time exploring the vibrant Thornton Park district.


For outdoor enthusiasts, there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures in the surrounding area. Explore the natural beauty of the Wekiwa Springs State Park, where you can hike, swim, or paddle along the pristine Wekiwa River. Or embark on an airboat ride through the nearby Everglades and spot alligators in their natural habitat.


Don’t forget to indulge in the diverse culinary scene of Orlando. From gourmet dining to international cuisine and food trucks, the city offers an array of options to please every palate. Try the famous Florida orange juice, savor delicious seafood, or experience the fusion of flavors at one of the many international eateries.


Orlando truly offers a world of magic and excitement. With its iconic theme parks, cultural attractions, and diverse dining options, this stop on our Florida road trip is sure to create unforgettable memories for you and your loved ones. Reflect on the amazing experiences you’ve had as you bid farewell to Orlando and make your way to our final destination, the vibrant city of Jacksonville.


Final Destination: Jacksonville

Welcome to the vibrant city of Jacksonville, the final destination of our epic Florida road trip! Nestled on the northeast coast of Florida, Jacksonville offers a unique blend of urban excitement, scenic beauty, and rich history.


Begin your exploration of Jacksonville by visiting the historic neighborhood of Riverside. Stroll along the charming streets lined with beautiful homes, trendy boutiques, and quaint cafés. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon at Memorial Park, where you can relax amidst the lush greenery and enjoy stunning views of the St. Johns River.


For history enthusiasts, a visit to the Kingsley Plantation is a must. This preserved plantation takes you back in time to the days of the antebellum South. Explore the slave quarters, stroll through the gardens, and learn about the history of this once-thriving plantation.


Experience the cultural side of Jacksonville at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens. Marvel at the impressive collection of European and American art, stroll through the beautiful gardens, and enjoy the serene ambiance of this cultural oasis.


As the largest city by land area in the United States, Jacksonville offers ample opportunities for outdoor activities. Spend a day exploring the beautiful beaches, such as Jacksonville Beach or Neptune Beach, where you can enjoy sunbathing, swimming, and a variety of water sports.


For nature lovers, a visit to the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve is a must. This vast preserve encompasses diverse ecosystems, including salt marshes, coastal dunes, and even archaeological sites. Take a hike on one of the many nature trails, spot wildlife, and learn about the rich history of the area.


No visit to Jacksonville is complete without savoring its diverse culinary scene. From fresh seafood to gourmet dining, the city offers a range of flavors for every palate. Don’t forget to try the local specialty – the Mayport shrimp – known for its sweet and succulent flavor.


Take a leisurely stroll along the Jacksonville Riverwalk and enjoy beautiful views of the St. Johns River. This scenic promenade stretches for miles, offering a perfect place to walk, jog, or simply relax while taking in the sights and sounds of the river.


As the sun sets, head to the Riverside Arts Market, where you can immerse yourself in the vibrant local arts scene. Browse through unique arts and crafts, enjoy live music performances, and sample delicious treats from local food vendors.


Jacksonville is a city full of surprises, with its rich history, diverse culture, and natural beauty. As our Florida road trip comes to an end, take a moment to reminisce about the incredible journey you’ve had, the amazing sights you’ve seen, and the memories you’ve created along the way. Jacksonville is the perfect finale to an unforgettable adventure through the Sunshine State.



As our road trip through Florida comes to an end, it’s time to reflect on the incredible journey we’ve had. From the vibrant streets of Miami to the enchanting beauty of Key West, the untamed wilderness of the Everglades to the upscale charm of Naples, the cultural experiences of Sarasota to the thrilling attractions of Tampa Bay, and the magic of Orlando to the historic charm of Jacksonville, Florida has showcased its diverse offerings and captured our hearts.


Throughout the trip, we’ve explored stunning beaches, encountered unique wildlife, indulged in delicious cuisine, and immersed ourselves in the rich history and vibrant culture of the Sunshine State. Each stop along the way has left a lasting impression and provided incredible memories that will be cherished for a lifetime.


We’ve experienced the thrill of riding roller coasters, dined on fresh seafood while enjoying breathtaking sunsets, learned about the delicate ecosystems of the Everglades, and marveled at world-class art collections. From the bustling streets to the tranquil nature reserves, Florida has shown us its many facets and left us in awe of its beauty.


Florida’s unique blend of natural beauty, cultural diversity, and thrilling attractions make it a perfect destination for a road trip. Whether you’re a beach lover, adventure seeker, history enthusiast, or art aficionado, Florida offers something for everyone.


As we reach the end of our journey, it’s important to remember that this road trip is just one possible route through Florida. The state is teeming with hidden gems and exciting destinations waiting to be discovered. So, embrace your spirit of adventure and continue exploring the wonders that Florida has to offer.


We hope this road trip has inspired you to embark on your own Florida adventure, creating lasting memories and discovering new treasures along the way. Whether you choose to follow this route or create your own, Florida’s charm and allure will surely captivate you at every turn.


So, buckle up, embark on your own Florida road trip, and get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime in the Sunshine State!