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The Ultimate Florida Road Trip: 14 Epic Days!

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Florida is filled with beautiful beaches, thrilling theme parks, unique wildlife, and stunning islands. There are so many wonderful things to do and see! But many of these amazing sights are spread out all over the state. It can be a little difficult to see everything that you want to see in Florida – unless you decide to take a Florida road trip, of course!

While on your Florida road trip, you can explore everything from big cities to hidden natural gems. One day you could be wandering around the charming small town of St. Augustine and the next you could be diving into the sparkling waters of Ginnie Springs.

In this post, I have come up with an amazing two-week Florida road trip itinerary. This plan will ensure that you see so much of the beauty that the Sunshine State has to offer. That said, feel free to rework this itinerary to fit your preferences and style of travel.

  

How to Get to Florida


Luckily, getting to Florida is pretty easy as there are several big cities that have airports. Although I recommend starting this road trip in Miami, you can start it wherever you want.

You can road trip or fly to begin your Florida road trip.

The most popular airports to fly in and out of are Miami International Airport, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Orlando International Airport, Tampa International Airport, and more. You can also fly into smaller hubs such as Southwest Florida International Airport, Jacksonville International Airport, and more.

You can also take a road trip to Florida from wherever you are in the States. The U.S. is packed with so many bucket list-worthy places and you might be able to cross some of them off en route to Florida!

How to Get Around Florida


The easiest way to get around Florida is via car. If you’re road-tripping to Florida from another state, you won’t have to worry about this.

If you’re flying into Florida, you’ll have to rent a car. Depending on the kind of car you rent, the prices are pretty affordable. Plus, gas prices are more affordable in Florida compared to other states in the country.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can rent a campervan to tackle your Florida road trip. Doing this will help you save money on accommodation and food. 

Best Time to Do a Florida Road Trip


Florida is a weather-friendly destination to visit all year round. But, there are a few things you should keep in mind in regards to timing.

Hurricane season is from June to November so you’ll have to be a little more weather conscious if you plan on doing your Florida road trip during these months. 

A Florida road trip is fun any time of the year.

The winter months are the busiest months in Florida since people who live in colder areas come down to escape the winter. Consequently, accommodation is more expensive during these months.

All in all, Florida is a beautiful destination no matter the time of year. Just be aware of hurricane season and the high-season. 

How Much Time You’ll Need on Your Florida Road Trip


There are so many amazing things to do in Florida! Florida is home to several national parks, gorgeous coastlines, fun theme parks, and more!

I highly recommend spending a minimum of two weeks in Florida so you give yourself plenty of time to discover most of what Florida has to offer. 

If you have less than two weeks, you’ll have to decide what sites you’re interested in seeing and tailor your Florida road trip itinerary according to your interests. 

Things to Know Before You Go on Your Florida Road Trip


When on your Florida road trip, there are a few things you might want to keep in mind since driving in Florida can be difficult at times.

First of all, there’s the weather. Even though Florida is known as the Sunshine State, it does get a good amount of rain. As a matter of fact, in the summers, it pours every afternoon like clockwork! If you’re not comfortable with driving in a downpour, you can try to avoid driving for an hour or two each afternoon. If you’re driving in a downpour, pull over in a safe spot and wait for the rain to pass. 

Second, you might need to adjust to Florida drivers. Depending on where you’re from, the drivers might be a little too aggressive or perhaps a little too laid back from what you’re used to. I’ve driven in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and a few other major cities in the States. Florida drivers are a whole new level. 

There are a few things to keep in mind for your Florida road trip.

Third, double check for pedestrians and bicyclists especially in beach towns. I live in a beach town and I triple check to make sure that pedestrians and cyclists aren’t in my path. A good rule of thumb is to yield for them. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Last but not least, Florida has more toll roads than any other state! And for non-Floridians, these toll roads can be quite confusing. How much does the toll cost? Can I pay in cash? Do I need the exact change? Is there a person at the booth? Which lane do I need to be in? There are a few ways to avoid the confusion of the Florida tolls though. You can get a SunPass from any Florida Welcome Center, which will make paying for the tolls easier. Or, as an alternative, you can set up your Google Maps or Apple Maps navigation to avoid tolls, although this may increase your travel time a bit.

The Ultimate Florida Road Trip


I’ve mapped out the best stops for you on your epic Florida road trip. I’ve also included a few of the best things to do on each of your stops and where to stay so you don’t have to worry about that. Let’s get started! 

Days 1-2: Miami

When starting your epic Florida road trip, I recommend flying into the Miami International Airport (MIA). This airport welcomes many flights from major cities all around the U.S., as well as from Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe.

Or, if you’re looking to extend your road trip, you can drive to Miami from where you live. Don’t forget to check out my road trip packing list and make sure you have these 20 items before starting your amazing adventure!

Miami is a good place to start your Florida road trip.

While you can easily spend a full week in Miami, you’ll have to condense your trip to just the town’s highlights if you want to have time to see the rest of what Florida has to offer. You can explore Little Havana, peruse the pieces at the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, and suntan at South Beach during your two days in Miami.

Miami Highlights:

  • Wynwood Walls
  • Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden
  • Española Way
  • Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science
  • Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

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Day 3: Key West

The drive from Miami to Key West is one of the most scenic routes in the country. As a matter of fact, many visitors spend quite a bit of time just exploring all the highlights along the way. A few of the amazing stops include John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park on Key Largo, the Morada Way Arts District on Islamorada, the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, and to the National Key Deer Refuge Nature Center on Big Pine Key.

A great stop on your Florida road trip is Key West.

At the end of the 166-mile drive, you’ll reach the famous Key West. While there, you can savor a slice of key lime pie from Old Town Bakery, visit the “Southernmost Point” buoy, and admire the pastel sunset from Mallory Square.

Key West Highlights:

  • Duval Street
  • Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
  • Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
  • Day Trip to Dry Tortugas National Park
  • Fort Zachary Taylor State Park

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Day 4: Everglades National Park

On the fourth day of your Florida road trip, you’ll head to Everglades National Park, one of the coolest national parks in the country. As a matter of fact, it’s on many people’s U.S. bucket lists!

Everglades National Park is a must stop on your Florida road trip.

With its marsh landscape, the Everglades is very different from the rest of the national parks in the country. And this unique landscape hosts animals that aren’t commonly found in the U.S., like Florida panthers, manatees, and alligators. To have the best chance of spotting these interesting animals, you should consider taking a wildlife tour by boat.

Everglades National Park Highlights:

  • Anhinga Trail
  • Ernest Coe Visitor Center
  • Shark Valley Observation Tower
  • Mahogany Hammock Trail
  • Gumbo Limbo Trail

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Day 5: Marco Island and Naples

On Day 5 of your Florida road trip itinerary, you’ll make your way to the Gulf Coast, or, more specifically, to Marco Island.

Marco Island is one of the fanciest beach towns in Florida. While there, you can suntan on South Marco Island Beach, pop into the Marco Island Historical Museum, or take a boat tour to see dolphins!

Be sure to stop in Naples on your Florida road trip.

Naples

Or if you’d like to do something that’s under-the-radar, you can head to the abandoned Florida domes of Cape Romano. Once upon a time, these domes were actually once part of a millionaire’s home. But for the past couple of decades, the domes have been abandoned and they have instead become a home for many sea birds.

For the second half of the day, you can make your way to Naples, which follows in Marco Island’s fancy footsteps and takes it to the next level. You can shop in the trendy stores of Third Street South or Fifth Avenue South, stop and smell the flowers at the Naples Botanical Garden, and golf at the Tiburon Golf Club.

Marco Island Highlights:                                                                      

  • Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge                          
  • Tigertail Beach
  • Marco Island Historical Museum
  • Rookery Bay
  • Briggs Nature Center

Naples Highlights:

  • Lowdermilk Park
  • Naples Pier
  • Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park
  • Tin City
  • Lovers Key State Park

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Days 6-7: Tampa

Regardless of where your interests lie, Tampa has something for you to enjoy! As a matter of fact, Tampa has so many things to do that I’ve allotted a full two days for you to explore this Gulf Coast city.

With 361 days of sunshine every year, one of the most popular things to do in Tampa is to go to the beach. A few of the best beaches in the area include Clearwater Beach, Caladesi Island State Park, and Treasure Island Beach.

A great place to stop on your Florida road trip is Tampa.

If you don’t want to spend both of your days in Tampa at the beach, you can also ride the rollercoasters at Busch Gardens, say hello to the animals at Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center, visit the Henry B. Plant Museum, and wander along the Tampa Riverwalk.

Tampa Highlights:

  • Florida Aquarium
  • Tampa Bay History Center
  • Channelside Drive
  • Pine Key
  • Armature Works

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Days 8-9: Orlando

There are several hidden gems in Orlando and it’s one of the most visited cities in Florida, which means that there are loads of things to do and explore.. You can listen to the Singing Tower at Bok Tower Gardens, stroll through the gorgeous flowers at Harry P. Leu Gardens, say hello to the animals at Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, and take a walk around Lake Eola. But by far the most popular thing to do in Orlando is to visit Walt Disney World, also known as the happiest place on Earth.

Add Orlando to your list of Florida road trip stops.

Opened in 1971, Walt Disney World has been a popular Orlando attraction for over 50 years! With four theme parks, two waterparks, dozens of resorts, and the shopping district of Disney Springs, you can easily stay entertained in this magical world for days on end! While there, you can ride thrilling rides, dine on delicious food, you’re your favorite characters and watch exciting shows.

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Orlando Highlights:

  • Lake Eola State Park
  • International Drive
  • Orlando Science Center
  • Mead Botanical Garden
  • Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve

Day 10: Kennedy Space Center

If you love everything about space, planets, and stars, Day 10 of this Florida road trip will be a dream come true. In the small town of Cape Canaveral, there’s the Kennedy Space Center, the most well-known NASA base in the entire country!

While at the Kennedy Space Center, there are so many space-related activities for you to take part in. You can take a stroll through the rocket garden, find out more about the famous Hubble Space Telescope, go on the shuttle launch experience ride, and spend some time in the U.S. astronaut hall of fame. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to watch a launch or meet an astronaut!

Kennedy Space Center is an epic place to stop on your Florida road trip.

If you’re looking to add another stop to your day at the Kennedy Space Center, you can drive just half an hour to Canaveral National Seashore. This 24-mile stretch of shoreline is one of the most stunning beaches in the United States. While there, you can soak up the sun, collect a few seashells, and keep an eye out for turtles, alligators, and bald eagles.

Kennedy Space Center Highlights:

  • Space Shuttle Atlantis
  • Meet an astronaut
  • U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame
  • Rocket Garden
  • Shuttle Launch Experience

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Day 11: Daytona Beach and St. Augustine

As you drive from Kennedy Space Center to your next stop, St. Augustine, you’ll pass the famous town of Daytona Beach. If you like, you can make a stop to peek at the famous Daytona Beach, stop at the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum, or watch a race at the Daytona International Speedway.

Then, once you spend a couple of hours in Daytona Beach, you can make your way to the adorable town of St. Augustine. This little town was colonized by Spanish explorers in 1565 – a full 200 years before the United States was established! In other words, St. Augustine is packed with some amazing history.

A Florida road trip is incomplete without stopping in St. Augustine.

The best historical attraction in St. Augustine is the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. Built by the Spanish to protect St. Augustine from other interested colonizers, this fortress tops the list of things to do in St. Augustine. You can also spend a couple of hours at St. Augustine Beach, do a little shopping on George Street, and visit Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archeological Park.

Daytona Beach Highlights:

  • Tomoka State Park
  • Daytona Beach Main Street Pier
  • Motorsports Hall of Fame of America
  • Port Orange Causeway Park
  • Frank Rendon Park

St. Augustine Highlights:

  • Lightner Museum
  • Saint George Street
  • Anastasia State Park
  • Bridge of Lions
  • Aviles Street

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Day 12: Ginnie Springs

With Florida’s sunny beaches and exciting theme parks, many people don’t realize that the state is packed with beautiful natural springs. There are actually over 700 springs in Florida, and Ginnie Springs is well-known as one of the best!

There are a few different aspects that set Ginnie Springs apart from the other springs in Florida. First of all, the seven springs that constitute Ginnie Springs have the clearest waters found in any of the state’s natural springs. Second, these seven springs are filled with loads of underwater limestone caves, which are perfect for divers to explore.

A unique place to stop on your Florida road trip is Ginnie Springs.

The water at Ginnie Springs stays at a consistent 72 degrees Fahrenheit. While many people think this is the perfect temperature for swimming and diving, there are other options if this is too cold for you (like it is for me!). Instead, you can go kayaking, tubing, or stand-up paddleboarding!

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Days 13-14: Destin

Since the panhandle of Florida is so far from the main tourist cities of Orlando and Miami, it is one of the most overlooked areas in the state. In other words, it’s the perfect place to visit during the final two days of your fourteen-day Florida road trip.

If you only have a couple of days in the panhandle, you should definitely spend it in the beautiful town of Destin. The most popular thing to do in Destin is going to one of the stunning beaches, including Henderson Beach State Park and the Shores at Crystal Beach Park. These beaches are actually so gorgeous that they draw in visitors from neighboring states, including Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.

You can end your Florida road trip in Destin.

If you need a little break from the sand and sunshine, there are other things to do in Destin as well. You can say hello to the animals at the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, race down the waterslides at Big Kahuna’s Water Park, shop around Destin Commons, and take a boat out to Crab Island.

When your road trip eventually comes to an end, you can fly out of Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS). While this isn’t a huge airport, it has flights that go to most of the major airports in the South, so you can easily get a connecting flight home!

Destin Highlights:

  • Destin Harbor Boardwalk
  • Crab Island Cruises
  • Henderson Beach State Park
  • Gulf Islands National Seashore
  • Fort Pickens

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Do you have any suggestions to add to this Florida road trip itinerary? Let me know in the comments below!


Are you looking for more Florida travel inspiration? You’ll love these posts too!

Miami to Key West Drive: 17 Amazing Stops!

8 Cool Airbnbs in Miami for an Amazing Vacation

11 Stunning and Best Airbnbs in Destin, Florida


 

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