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Tips for the perfect Florida road trip


A Florida road trip is one of the best places in the U.S. to explore by car. Thanks to fantastic roads, a gorgeous climate, and a great line-up of amazing attractions, including glorious natural beauty from north to south, Florida is one of the best places to jump in the car and hit the road. One of the highlights for a Florida road trip is the iconic Overseas Highway that runs from Key Largo to Key West, with its magnificent sea views and dramatic bridge crossings.

If you’ve got your eye on one of the many great Florida cruises you can take from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, or Tampa Bay, consider adding a week or two and explore the Sunshine State by road. Here are a few of the highlights that await you on the open road during a Florida road trip.

A Florida Road Trip starts in St Augustine

Starting in the far north of Florida in Jacksonville, take US Highway 1 south to St Augustine. This is an absolute gem of a city, known as the oldest city in the United States, and full of old world elegance. Founded by the Spanish centuries ago, St Augustine radiates history, as well as that quaint small-town charm that Florida is known for. Visit the Castillo de San Marcos and check out the excellent beaches just to the south of the city.


From St Augustine head south to Daytona Beach (stopping off to catch a NASCAR rally, or even the Daytona 500, at the Daytona International Racetrack), then hang a right and head west on the I-4 to Orlando. No trip to Florida would be complete without a visit to the world’s greatest collection of theme parks. From Walt Disney World and Universal Studios to SeaWorld and Castaway Cove, Orlando is truly a magical place, and a mandatory stop if you have kids!

Tampa Bay

From Orlando keep heading west on I-4 until you reach Tampa. Tampa itself is a vibrant, exciting city with a surprisingly excellent dining scene, and loads to see and do. Around Tampa Bay there are even more delights to discover, from manatees at Apollo Beach to the magnificent beaches of Clearwater and St Petersburg. These are some of the finest stretches of sand in the world, and it is worth taking the time to enjoy them.


From Tampa head south, hugging the Gulf Coast. Discover circus history at the Ringling Center in Sarasota, enjoy the beautiful barrier island views of Longboat Key and Siesta Key, and if you have time, take a quick detour to see the tranquil joys of Sanibel and Captiva. Head through Naples (which is an exquisite little town and worth exploring), and take the long drive east right the way through the Everglades National Park, one of the most magnificent natural wildernesses in the world.


Exiting the Everglades will bring you to the bright lights and pulsating glitz and glamor of Miami. Explore the glorious art deco architecture, eat, drink, and be merry in Little Havana, and soak up the atmosphere on Miami Beach.

Florida road trip to Key West

Florida road trip to the keys - Photo by MikesRoadTrip.com

The final leg of your Florida road trip begins just south of Miami in Key Largo. From here the road is long, straight, and magnificent. The Overseas Highway is 113 miles of US Highway 1 that runs from Key Largo to Key West, over bridges and across tiny islands, and passes some of the most beautiful spots in the state. Enjoy the views at Islamorada, snorkel at Dry Tortugas National Park, and marvel at the seemingly endless stretch of road that is 7 Mile Bridge, before you arrive at Key West. And relax! Your Florida road trip is over…but the fun is just beginning!


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