Last Updated on: 17th March 2023, 02:20 pm
There’s no denying it. Florida is massive. Bordered by Alabama and Georgia, Florida covers an expanse of over 65,000 square miles – perfect for planning a big Florida road trip!
Here’s everything you need to know to have an amazing Florida road trip: itinerary, travel tips, what to pack, and more.
This itinerary is designed to help you see the best of Florida in 10 days, but there are also suggestions for how to see Florida in 7 days or less and what to do if you have two weeks in Florida!
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Good to Know: This Florida road trip itinerary comes to us from Alesha and Jarryd, two travel writers, photographers, and creators from Australia who have been traveling the world together non-stop since 2008.
Their passion for adventure travel, sustainable tourism, and van life has seen them visit some of the most remote destinations on the planet, seeking out incredible landscapes and unique cultures. You can follow their adventures on NOMADasaurus and Van Life Theory.
It was also edited by me (Stephanie Craig – the girl in the sidebar). I have added some additional Florida road trip planning tips and sections from my own travels in the state.
My Favorite Travel Booking Sites for 2023
These are my favorite companies that I use on my own travels.
Protect Your Trip via Safety Wing
Find the best city tours, day tours, bus tours, & skip-the-line tickets on GetYourGuide and Viator.
Find the best deals on hotels & vacation rentals on Booking.com.
For English-speaking private airport transfers, book through Welcome Pickups.
For road trips and independent travel, rent a car through Discover Cars.
Find information and cruise reviews on Cruise Critic.
For packing and travel essentials order via Amazon.
Book an affordable family or romantic photography session on your trip through Flytographer (Use the code HISTORYFANGIRL for 10% off your first photoshoot).
For travel guidebooks to have with you during your trip, I always pick one or two from Rick Steves and Lonely Planet.
Top 7 Most Popular Florida Tours & Attractions
Before you dig into all the state has to offer, you should know that these are the most popular guided tours, attractions, and day trips in Florida.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center Complex: Admission Ticket
Everglades National Park: Airboat Tour and Wildlife Show
Key West Day Trip from Miami with Activities
Miami: City Cruise to Millionaire’s Homes & Venetian Islands
St Augustine: Nights of Lights Trolley Tour
How to Get Around Florida
On our last road trip to Florida, we used our own car and drove down from Hilton Head, South Carolina via Georgia.
Using your own car is a great option if you are close enough to drive to Florida to start your trip.
However, if you plan to fly to Florida, you will need to rent a car.
Make sure to book your vehicle ahead of time since rental car inventory in the US has been fluctuating.
I use Discover Cars to book rental cars on my trips. You can also check RentalCars.com if you want to compare prices.
If you want to book an RV instead of a car, you can find the right one for your trip on RVshare.
Reserve a rental car for your road trip.
How Much Does it Cost to Roadtrip Florida?
The average cost of a Florida road trip might surprise you.
While I’ve seen prices online that a typical Florida road trip costs about $1300 per person for seven days, I don’t believe this factors in the full cost to travel around Florida.
This would be about $1850 per person for ten days…which seems low.
Do not use this number, instead, look at each travel cost and the style that your family travels in.
How much you end up spending depends almost entirely on your travel style.
Hotels can range from $75 a night in some parts to $200 a night even for budget options in pricier parts of the state.
Vacation rentals can end up being much more than that, so self-catering in these circumstances might not end up saving you that much money.
When you create your trip budget, determine your transportation costs for getting to Florida and how much your accommodations will be.
Make sure to look at the costs for your family for each category: Gas (petrol), Hotel or Accommodations, Parking, Food, Attractions, Emergency/Miscellaneous, Souvenirs, Travel Insurance, and Gear.
Before any trip, I make a budget spreadsheet and start tracking these nine budget categories and look up the prices for where I’ll be going.
For food, you can budget anywhere from $30 per person per day (some cheap meals out and some groceries) to $100 per person per day (or more!) if you will be doing mostly eating out and including a lot of drinks with your meals.
For our family, I typically budget $100 per day for all three of us for meals since our son rarely eats off of the menu.
However, in pricier destinations, we end up spending more even when we cook half our meals ourselves.
For things to do in Florida, you can include mostly free things to do like public parks and beaches, or you can enjoy some of the more exciting once-in-a-lifetime tours and adventures.
If you add a trip to Disney World or Universal Studios, you can easily spend over $100 per person per day on activities.
For a ten-day trip for two adults, I would budget:
$2000 for accommodations ($200 per night including taxes and fees)
$1500 for food ($75 per person, per day)
$2000 for activities ($100 per person per day, or set aside $300 for visiting a theme park plus $75 per person per day for the rest of the trip. Kayaking, snorkeling, museums, boat trips, and day trips can add up fast in Florida!)
$250 for gasoline (petrol) (this is one of the most important categories to check ahead of time since gasoline prices fluctuate and are different in different seasons)
$250 for parking (parking in bigger cities and at theme parks can be pricey. You may need more if you plan to use hotel valet.)
$300 for souvenirs (more if you love shopping)
$200 for travel insurance (get a quote ahead of time)
$500 for emergencies and miscellaneous expenses
This means that for my initial budget, I’d want to set aside $7000.
However, I’d start plugging in actual prices as I book things. I would take money out of the budget where I know I’ll save money (for example, we tend to cook a lot of our meals in our hotel because my husband is a chef).
However, if there’s an area I know we will want more room, like more tour options or more days at theme parks, then I would look up the realistic costs and add more to those categories.
You can spend less than this if you eat more meals at your accommodations, spend more time at beaches and parks than on tours, skip the theme parks, skip the shopping, and book real budget accommodations where possible.
You can also easily spend more than this if you splurge for luxury hotels and eat every meal out, spend your days on nice tours, and book private experiences.
Good to Know: this budget estimate doesn’t include getting to Florida or renting a car because those costs will depend entirely upon where you’re coming from and how you’re getting to Florida.
How to Have a Fun Road Trip in Florida (Florida Road Trip Tips)
Use these tips to make your Florida road trip planning go even smoother.
Add Some Wacky Florida Road Trip Stops
You really can’t run out of Florida travel ideas, and this itinerary is truly packed. However, it can’t hurt to find some fun Florida roadside attractions and add them to your trip.
Mix Old Florida and New Florida
There are so many different places to drive to in Florida, so make sure you don’t do the same thing every day!
Yes, you’ll want to see Florida Keys beaches, Nasa, and Little Havana. But make sure to see some of the state’s historic sites in St. Augustine or add on some time on Amelia Island.
Make Sure to Research Your Beaches
While white sand beaches and crystal blue water can be found in Florida, not every beach is the same!
Look up the beaches near where you’ll be staying and decide which ones are the most enticing to you.
Prep Your Car Before You Leave
To road trip Florida right, you need to be in a car that is comfy and safe.
If you’ll be using your car, get your oil changed and your tires and brakes checked before you leave.
You don’t want a preventable car issue to ruin or delay your trip.
If you’ll be renting a car, make sure it will be one that you’ll enjoy sitting in for 18 hours of drive time and almost a thousand miles!
Read next: 21 Things to Know Before You Rent a Car in Miami
How to Get Better Florida Vacation Photos
If you are going on a special trip to Florida, like a family vacation or couples getaway, you may want to leave making sure you have the best vacation photos!
You can use the service Flytographer to book a personal Florida photo session so that you leave knowing you have amazing pictures to help you treasure the memories of your trip.
I used them in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and I loved how our family photos came out! In just thirty minutes, we were able to capture professional travel photos that will last a lifetime.
I even used the photos for our holiday card!
You can use the code HISTORYFANGIRL for 10% off your first photo session.
Book your Florida vacation photo session.
The Best Florida Road Trip Itinerary for 10 Days
Dotted with vibrant cities and charming rural areas, the Sunshine State is the third most populous in the USA.
Because it has the longest coastline in the country, you can expect plenty of beautiful beaches and nautical activities that you can enjoy during your road trip.
One of the best things about exploring Florida by car is that each city feels like a whole other country with different activities, food, people, and culture.
More importantly, there are plenty of hotels and motels along the way where you can pull over for the night.
For convenience’s sake, most people start to road trip Florida in Miami.
From there, you can explore some of the cities in the vicinity before making your way north to finally end in Jacksonville.
Owing to its size, it’s usually recommended to allocate yourself ten days to properly take in everything that this beautiful state has to offer.
However, there are ideas for what to do on a one-week Florida road trip and a two-week Florida road trip after.
Florida Road Trip Itinerary Day 1: Start in Miami
The aptly-named Magic City offers the ideal platform to kick off your 10-day Florida road trip.
This glamorous, sun-soaked city may be on the more expensive side, but it does offer plenty to thrill adults and children alike.
If you’re visiting in spring or summer, there’s no denying that the best way to see the city is by renting a bike.
Prices hover around the $5 mark for half an hour or $24 for a full-day rental.
Since it’s one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the USA, you’ll be able to bike to popular Miami attractions such as the iconic Miami Beach and South Beach or the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.
If there’s one thing Miami is particularly known for, other than its near-perpetual sun, of course, it’s the excellent cuisine.
Striking the right balance between healthy eats and calorie-laden albeit moreish dishes, the city is home to local delicacies such as chicken ‘n’ watermelon ‘n’ waffles, key lime pies, arepas, chilled stone crabs with hash browns, and of course, the world-famous Cuban sandwiches.
Make sure to set aside time to eat your way through Little Havana, a Miami neighborhood that is one of the most unique places to visit in Florida.
A mere fifteen-minute drive from Miami takes you to Coral Gables where you will find The Venetian Pool, a novelty attraction that also happens to be the largest freshwater swimming pool in the states.
Originally built in 1924, this pool was modeled after Venetian grotto pools and has a natural filtration system to ensure that the water always remains clean.
Where to Stay in Miami
Budget: Hotel La Flora
Mid-Range: YVE Hotel Miami
Luxury: Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club
Best Tours in Miami
City Cruise to Millionaire’s Homes & Venetian Islands
A Taste of South Beach Food Tour
Sunset Cruise through Biscayne Bay and South Beach
Day 2: Get out on the Everglades
In stark contrast to Miami’s bustling city center, the Everglades offers quiet and soothing spots, perfect for fans of the great outdoors.
Just a quick, twenty minutes’ drive west of Miami, the Everglades offers an abundance of things to explore, including multiple nature trails and swamps.
One of the eleven national parks in Florida, the Everglades belongs on your Florida bucket list.
You can visit Everglades National Park from Miami, home to endemic mangroves, manatees, panthers, the Wilderness Waterway Trail, and of course, those infamous Floridian alligators.
One of the park’s main attractions is the Shark Valley Tram ride which spans over two hours.
And while the tram certainly is speedier, you also have the option of renting a bike instead.
Of course, no trip to the Everglades will be considered complete without the quintessential guided canoe tour or airboat tour through the swamps and mangroves.
It’s good to know that despite its spectacular sights, The Everglades can be exceptionally humid and insect-infested.
As such, you may want to slather on bug spray as well as sunscreen and wear loose, comfortable clothing.
Best Everglades Tours Leaving from Miami
From Miami: Half-Day Everglades Airboat Ride & Wildlife Show
Florida Everglades Airboat Adventure plus Miami Biscayne Bay Cruise
Everglades: Airboat Tour and Wildlife Show
Day 3: Kick Back in Key West
From Miami, take a scenic, three-hour drive to Key West which is especially known for its excellent pies and whiskey culture.
Make sure to enjoy the drive, because it’s one of the most scenic drives in the US. You’ll get to drive on the modern 7-Mile Bridge that connects Knights Key with Little Duck Key.
Located closer to many Caribbean islands than mainland Florida, you really will feel like you’re driving to another world.
While you’ll just get a taste of Florida keys life, you can see a lot here in just twenty-four hours.
Guided distillery tours usually cost between $10 – $20, and if you’re interested in a few products, most distilleries will ship the bottles to your home address for an extra charge.
As an alternative to a distillery tour, you can go on a craft cocktail crawl.
While in Key West, don’t miss a visit to the Hemmingway House where famed American writer Ernest Hemingway used to live back in the ’30s.
This establishment is also known for its extensive population of six-toed cats who are said to be direct descendants of the writer’s actual cats, hence their nickname: the Hemingway cats.
Locals and tourists alike often flock to the Southernmost Point Buoy which, as the name suggests, is known for being the southernmost point in the USA as well as the lowest land (altitude wise) in North America.
After touring this site, you can indulge in some shopping at Mallory Square or check out other famous points of interest such as Truman Little White House, the Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum, and The Key West Butterfly Conservatory.
When the weather’s sunny – which is nearly always the case in Key West – you can also check out Key West’s many scenic beaches such as Smathers, Fort Zachary Taylor, Fort Jefferson, and Higgs Beach.
There’s also the nearby Bahia Honda State Park if you want even more natural beauty.
Where to Stay in Key West
Budget: Harborside Motel & Marina
Mid-Range: Ibis Bay Resort
Luxury: Kimpton Ella’s Cottages, an IHG Hotel
Best Tours in Key West
Reef Snorkel Morning Tour with Breakfast & Mimosas
Dry Tortugas National Park Day Trip by Catamaran from Key West
Key West Dolphin Watch and Snorkel Eco Tour
Sunset Cruise with Buffet Dinner and Open Bar
Old Town Trolley 12-Stop Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
Ghosts & Gravestones Tour of Key West
Two-Hour Key Largo Jet Ski Tour
Day 4: Get Back to the Mainland with a Stop in Naples
Today will be the longest day in the car. Leaving Key West, it’s a five-hour drive to Naples, Florida.
Hailed as one of the best beach destinations in Florida, Naples sees over 280 days of sunshine each year which is why golfing is one of the area’s most popular sports.
It was named after Naples, Italy, as local tourism and development promoters claimed that their bay on the Gulf Coast was more beautiful than the Bay of Naples.
Steer away from the typical brochure-like activities, however, and you’ll find a spectacular assortment of hidden gems to uncover in Naples.
If you’re traveling with children, you may wish to check out the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples which was designed by children with the help of pediatric psychologists.
Some of the museum’s main exhibits include a virtual pond with water plants and fish, a produce market, and a Journey Through the Everglades exhibition featuring a mangrove maze and a massive banyan tree.
During your time in Naples, you can also check out the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve which offers over 110,000 acres of marine estuaries and coastal landscapes.
Despite its many sights, the entry ticket to the park only costs $5 per adult.
Since you won’t get here until the early afternoon, pick one or two things to do in Naples that interest you. And if it’s’ spending the afternoon at the beach, that’s great, too!
Where to Stay in Naples
Budget: Super 8 by Wyndham Naples
Mid-Range: Best Western Naples Plaza Hotel
Luxury: Hilton Naples
Best Tours in Naples that Leave in the Afternoon
Ten Thousand Islands Boat Tour up to 12 people
Mangrove Tunnels Eco Tour (Kayak & Paddle Board)
Manatee Sightseeing Eco-Tour by Boat in Naples
Day 5: Slow Down on Sanibel Island
An hour’s drive north of Naples takes you to the Sanibel Causeway where you’ll find a glorious assortment of funky eateries, sprawling wildlife preserves, and silky beaches.
Heading into Sanibel Island almost feels like visiting a whole other country: indeed, the laidback atmosphere and slow pace of living are perfect for those seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of their daily activities.
On the eastern tip of Sanibel, you’ll find the historic Sanibel Lighthouse which stands at 112 feet above sea level and is one of the most beautiful lighthouses on the East Coast.
This popular attraction is surrounded by miles of soft sand fringed by a crystalline lagoon.
You’ll even find picnic tables, showers, and restroom facilities. After taking a dip in the ocean, you can always head over to one of the nearby restaurants, most of which specialize in fresh seafood from the Gulf of Mexico.
If you’re planning on spending the night, you will be glad to learn that Sanibel offers plenty of budget-friendly options such as family-owned inns and vacation rentals.
Families who are more into camping can check out sites such as Periwinkle Park fitted with eating areas, showers, and even laundry facilities.
Where to Stay in Sanibel
Budget: Seaside Inn
Mid-Range: Sunset Beach Inn
Luxury: Sundial Beach Resort & Spa
Day 6: Visit Iconic Fort Myers Beach & the City of Fort Myers
From Sanibel Island, you can easily hop over to Fort Myers, located just an hour away.
While there’s no denying that this region is globally acclaimed for its iconic Fort Myers Beach, rest assured that there are also plenty of other sites that you can visit during your trip there.
Times Square, for example, lies directly behind the Fort Myers pier and offers plenty of restaurants with Al Fresco seating, street performers, old-fashioned ice cream parlors, and souvenir shops among others.
Thanks to the many pedestrian-only streets, Times Squares is also one of the most walkable areas of Fort Myers.
If you happen to be there in spring, you can always catch a game at the Hammond or Jetblue Park Stadiums.
In February, the stadiums come to life for MLB Spring Training with major league games by the Minnesota Twins and the Boston Red Sox.
Where to Stay in Fort Myers
Budget: Homewood Suites by Hilton Fort Myers
Mid-Range: The Neptune Resort
Luxury: Luminary Hotel & Co., Autograph Collection
Best Tours in Fort Myers
Marco Island: 2-Hour Dolphin, Birding, and Shelling Tour
Historic Walking Tour of Fort Myers (Likely to sell out)
Marco Island: 10,000 Islands Shelling Tour by Boat
Fort Myers Beach Haunted Pub Crawl
IMAG History & Science Center: Skip-the-Line Ticket
Day 7: Experience Florida’s Inland Sea at Lake Okeechobee
Home to the biggest freshwater lake in the whole of Florida, Lake Okeechobee and Okeechobee County are found less than two hours away from Fort Myers.
Because of its many outdoorsy activities, abundant wildlife, and RV parks, this region is hailed as one of the best family-friendly destinations in the United States.
Known for its relaxed vibes and charming old-fashioned amenities such as horse-drawn carriages, Okeechobee County also happens to be one of the most affordable places to visit in the Sunshine State, perfect for those traveling on a budget.
In terms of attractions, locals and tourists travel to Okeechobee County to explore the famous Lake Okeechobee which provides plenty of boating, fishing, as well as camping opportunities.
Nicknamed Florida’s Inland Sea, the sheer size of this lake in southeastern Florida might surprise you!
Because of its lush vegetation, Okeechobee County is also ideal for activities such as hiking, biking, and air boating.
Where to Stay Near Lake Okeechobee
Budget: Flamingo Motel
Mid-Range: Hampton Inn Okeechobee – Lake Okeechobee
Luxury: Near Lake, 2 Beds, 1 Bath, Fit’s 7, Full Kitchen, Kayak Included
Best Tours in Okeechobee County
Lake Okeechobee Fishing Trip (Full Day)
Lake Okeechobee Fishing Trip (Half Day)
Day 8: Feel the Magic in Orlando
From Okeechobee County, head north through Kissimmee as you make your way to Orlando in Central Florida.
If there’s one thing this city is known for, it’s the Walt Disney World Resort.
This attraction needs no introduction, but suffice to say it’s undoubtedly going to please kids and adults alike.
Similarly, Universal Orlando Resort draws millions of visitors each year thanks to its many Harry Potter-themed attractions.
If you’re not the theme park type, fret not!
Orlando offers no shortage of things to do other than theme parks.
An hour outside of the city’s main touristy zones is Boggy Creek which offers thrilling headwater rides aboard airboats that can go up to 40mph.
Golf aficionados can work on their swing at the Universal City Walk’s Hollywood Drive-In Golf, a sprawling 18-hole course with themes such as ‘Invaders from Planet Putt’ and ‘The Haunting of Ghostly Greens.’
Because it’s part of the Universal City Walk, expect plenty of entertainment, retail, and dining options virtually everywhere in the area.
While in Orlando, you may also wish to hop on a ferry to the Kennedy Space Center located on Merritt Island.
If you are looking for some fun Orlando nightlife, check out the House of Blues.
Where to Stay in Orlando
Budget: Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs® Resort Area
Mid-Range: Walt Disney World Swan Reserve
Luxury: JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa
Best Tours in Orlando
The Wheel at ICON Park Observation Wheel + Options
Universal Orlando: Base Ticket with Easy Cancellation
Kennedy Space Center Day Trip with Transport from Orlando
LEGOLAND Florida Resort Admission Ticket
Day 9: Relax on the Palm Coast
With mesmerizing sunsets and sprawling nature reserves, Palm Coast is found a quick seventy-five-minute drive from Orlando.
Nestled between Daytona Beach and St. Augustine, Palm Coast is also known for its many golf resorts, some of which were designed by Jack Nicklaus.
If fishing is more your thing, you can always head over to the Intracoastal Waterway which covers an expanse of 20 acres.
Some of the Waterway’s most popular amenities include hiking trails, a children’s playground, a fishing pier, and picnic pavilions.
An attraction that’s unique to the area is the European Village which is a massive outdoor mall with park-like features and European architecture.
The European Village regularly hosts special events including live music and the European Village Farmers Market, where local farmers and artisans showcase their products.
Nearby Flagler Beach is another great way to relax in this part of Florida.
Pro Tip: Don’t confuse Palm Coast with Palm Beach! The two are over three hours apart.
Where to Stay in Palm Coast
Budget: Legacy Vacation Resorts – Palm Coast
Mid-Range: Fairfield Inn & Suites Palm Coast I-95
Luxury: Hammock Beach Golf Resort & Spa
Day 10: Finish Your Florida Road Trip Itinerary in Jacksonville, the First Coast
End the best road trip in Florida with a drive to Jacksonville which is found less than an hour’s drive from Palm Coast.
There are also lots of fun things to do in St. Augustine, which is on the route from Palm Coast to Jacksonville, so stop there for a few hours if you’d like!
Those traveling with children will enjoy a visit to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens which houses over 1,000 types of plants and 2,400 animal species.
Tickets are priced at $24.95 for adults and $19.95 for children (aged 3-12).
Jacksonville‘s cuisine is famous all over the world! So while in the city, be sure to try out classic delicacies such as the Peruvian Sub, Hubbard Pie, Banana Curry, and, yes as strange as it may sound, Brussel Sprouts Tacos.
This is a great city to enjoy a food tour, just book early because it’s likely to sell out.
Just thirty minutes from Jacksonville is Little Talbot Island State Park, which is one of the few islands in Northeast Florida which is still underdeveloped.
With five miles of unblemished beaches, this island has a campground as well as plenty of kayaking, fishing, and birdwatching opportunities.
After touring the park, head back to Jacksonville where you can check out Beaches Town Center, a quaint boulevard located between Neptune and Atlantic Beach.
This dining and entertainment hub features sweeping ocean views as well as plenty of art galleries and beachy souvenir shops.
Where to Stay in Jacksonville
Budget: Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Jacksonville, FL
Mid-Range: DoubleTree by Hilton Jacksonville Riverfront
Luxury: Homewood Suites by Hilton Jacksonville-Downtown/Southbank
Best Tours in Jacksonville
City Tour in Downtown Jacksonville
Flytographer Photo Session to End Your Trip
Jacksonville Residential Architecture & History Tour
Group Surf Lesson in Jacksonville
Florida Road Trip Map
Your tour to Florida is going to cover a lot of grounds – almost one thousand miles and about 18 hours of drive time.
Here’s what your road trip around Florida ends up looking like on the map:
What to Do on a Florida Road Trip: 2 Weeks or More
You really can’t ever run out of Florida trip ideas – the state is just too big and too beautiful!
If you have more than ten days to explore Florida, then you have some choices.
You can stay in any of these places longer. Let’s be honest, one day in most of these places isn’t enough to get to know them.
You won’t be sorry if you’re able to add another day to your stops in Miami, Key West, or Orlando, that’s for sure!
Another option is to add additional cities to your Florida itinerary. Here are a few more of my favorite places to road trip in Florida:
More Places to Stop on a Road Trip to Florida
Here is even more fun Florida road trip stops!
One of my favorite places to visit in Florida, you can spend an entire weekend in Amelia Island soaking up the strange history (from the French and Spanish and beyond) and gorgeous Atlantic Coast beaches.
The town of Fernandina Beach, which boasts less than thirteen thousand permanent residents, is one of the best small towns in Florida.
You can add an Amelia Island visit before or after your stop in Jacksonville.
Here are tips for planning a stop on Amelia Island if you decide to add it.
If you’re a NASA fan, you might want to make a separate stop in Cape Canaveral instead of tacking it to your time in Orlando.
You will want to make sure to stop at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center Complex.
If you want to see more of the literal Space Coast of Florida, head to nearby Cocoa Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Florida.
Add your stop in Cape Canaveral right after you leave Orlando.
Clearwater is popular with Major League Baseball fans for its Spring Training schedule and people who want to visit serene state parks like Honeymoon Island State Park.
You would add this before or after your stop in Okeechobee Country since it’s located near St. Petersburg and Tampa.
St. Pete is another great town in the area, so you can opt for that instead if you want to see this part of Florida.
Instead of flying into Miami, you could fly into Palm Beach International Airport and start your Florida road trip in luxury.
This famous resort town offers golf courses, five-star hotels, great beaches, art deco museums, and more.
I adore Palm Beach and Palm Beach county.
Here are my favorite things to do in Palm Beach if you want to start your trip here instead and drive to Miami after.
If you want to see Florida’s panhandle, then add a stop in Pensacola at the end of your trip.
It’s a bit of a trek out here from the rest of Florida, but you’ll get to see a different side of the Sunshine State.
There are great Gulf Coast beaches along with educational opportunities like a stop at the Pensacola Lighthouse and Maritime Museum and the National Naval Aviation Museum.
If you add it, put it at the end of your trip (after Jacksonville), and fly out from Pensacola instead.
St. Augustine boasts that its the oldest city in the US. Here you can visit the Spanish Castillo de San Marcos and the St. Augustine Lighthouse.
While this itinerary already mentions St. Augustine as a great place to stop, you can spend an entire day exploring the city before moving on to your last stop in Jacksonville.
Looking for More Places to Visit in Florida?
Here are twelve more ideas, or you could visit one of the eleven US National Parks in Florida.
Ocala National Forest
Panama City (Panama City Beach)
Weeki Wachee Springs
What to Do on a Florida Road Trip: 1 Week or Less
If you are looking for Florida road trip ideas that don’t take longer than a week, here are a few ideas.
And don’t worry – some of the best road trips in Florida don’t have to take that long. You can see so much of the Sunshine State in seven or five days, or even during a 3-day weekend!
East Coast Florida Road Trip
Start your Florida East Coast Road Trip in Jacksonville and make your way through St. Augustine, Palm Coast, and Palm Beach. End in Miami.
Central Florida Road Trip
Fly into Orlando and make stops in Ocala, Clearwater, St. Pete’s, and fly out of Tampa.
Florida Panhandle Road Trip
Fly into Tallahassee and see Panama City and Panama City Beach and Pensacola before ending in Perdido Key at the Floribama Shore.
North Florida Road Trip
Fly in and out of Jacksonville, with stops in Amelia Island, St. Augustine, Palm Coast, and Vero Beach.
South Florida Road Trip
Fly into Palm Beach and see the Everglades, and the Florida Keys, and fly out of Miami.
Weekend Road Trips in Florida
If you only have a weekend, I would fly in and out of one city and take a day trip to another area if you want to see more.
You can easily enjoy the best of Miami, the Florida Keys, Amelia Island, Palm Beach, or Orlando in one weekend without the hassle of trying to spend most of your time in a car.
Alternatively, you could do these short Florida road trips:
- Miami to Key West
- Jacksonville to Daytona Beach
- Tampa to Fort Myers
- Orlando to Ocala
- Orlando to Vero Beach
- Jacksonville to Amelia Island to St. Augustine
- Tampa to Crystal River to Ocala
- Miami to Fort Lauderdale to Palm Beach
- Tallahassee to Panama City to Pensacola
5 Things to Pack for Your Trip to Florida
You know to bring sunscreen and sunglasses, but here are five items you do not want to forget!
First, get a guidebook like the Lonely Planet Florida. It’s not easy to find traditional guidebooks once you land.
If you will be going on a road trip around Florida or nearby Georgia and South Carolina, I love Lonely Planet’s Florida & the South’s Best Road Trips.
Second, make sure to bring your cell phone. You will want to stay connected during your trip, plus it will serve as a navigation system and a go-to camera.
I use an iPhone 12 Pro these days, but I have also used Samsung phones in the past.
Third, grab a camera. While it’s great to have a cell phone with you for quick pics, if you want to do more serious photography or take more videos, I find it nice to travel with a separate dedicated camera as well.
If I will be wrestling with my toddler on the trip, I’ll grab my Sony ZV-1, which is a powerful compact camera with great video capabilities as well.
If it’s just me, I’ll take my Nikon (though if you’re buying a new camera I have my eye on this Sony).
Next, bring a waterproof bag (also knowns as a dry bag) so that you can safely bring your electronics to the beach or kayaking.
You don’t want to ruin your trip with a drowned cell phone or wet camera, but you also don’t want to miss out on capturing all those great beach moments with your loved ones!
Finally, bring a backup charging bank for your phone.
Even though my new phone has an awesome battery life, I would not want to be out on a boat or a tour for the day and end up with a dead phone.
It’s a safety issue as well as an inconvenience.
More Florida Travel Resources
We just love Florida! I’ve been six times, and I already can’t wait to go back! Here are all the Florida travel blog posts that I have to help you plan your trip around this wonderful state!
Florida State-Wide Guides
The Ultimate Florida Road Trip Itinerary: See the Best of Florida in 10 Days!
125 Fantastic Quotes about Florida and Florida Instagram Caption Inspiration!
The 11 National Parks in Florida: Why + How to See Each One!
Florida City + Regional Guides
17 Essential Amelia Island Travel Tips: Planning a Trip to Amelia Island, Florida made Simple!
3 Days on Amelia Island: Itinerary for a Magical Weekend in Amelia Island (Plus Ideas for 1, 2 & 4 Days)
21 Reasons to Visit Amelia Island, Florida, an Atlantic Coast Gem
Where to Stay in Amelia Island: The Best Hotels & Accommodations on Amelia Island, Florida
The Best Quotes about the Everglades in Florida
An Irreverent History of Disney World
21 Things to Know Before You Rent a Car in Miami
Best Quotes about Miami, Florida
51 Perfect Things to Do in Palm Beach, Florida + Palm Beach County!
Best Quotes about Palm Beach, Florida
Florida is Included in these Round-Ups
The 40 Most Scenic Drives in America for Stunning Weekend Getaways
30 Historic Cities in the US to Explore on Your Next US Getaway
30 of the Best Historic Towns in America for a Charming Getaway
27 of the Best Art Museums in the US for Your Next Cultural Escape
27 Most Beautiful East Coast Lighthouses & How to Visit Them!
17 Houses of Famous Authors You Can Visit in Real Life!
7 Best College Towns in America for an Awesome Collegiate Getaway
Guidebooks I Used to Plan My Trip Around the South
These are the travel guidebooks that I used to plan my entire 5-week Southern USA road trip. I highly recommend each of them!
This is My South – written by my friend Caroline Eubanks of the eponymous blog, this book is a must-read if you plan on visiting a few places on your trip.
Lonely Planet Florida & the South’s Best Trips – this book was essential for me when I was trying to plan our road trip and understanding what was near each other and what absolutely not to miss.
Moon U.S. Civil Rights Trail: A Traveler’s Guide to the People, Places, and Events that Made the Movement – we did a lot of Civil Rights and Civil War historic sites on our trip, and if you’ll be doing any of this kind of travel, make sure to get this.
It was invaluable for finding off-the-beaten-path sites and can’t miss Black-owned historic businesses.
Before You Leave for Florida – Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!
Before you leave for your Florida vacation, make sure you have a valid Travel Insurance Policy because accidents happen on the road. I like to use Safety Wings when I travel, and I happily recommend them.
It’s especially important to get travel insurance whenever you are more than one hundred miles from home, hanging out in large cities, or doing outdoor activities like going to the beach or kayaking.
So basically everything that is fun about visiting Florida.
If you are going to go on a Florida road trip from NYC (like I did when I was staying at the Grove Pointe Apartments Jersey City NJ) then you need to decide whether you are going to fly out of JFK, LaGuardia, or Newark. Alternatively, you could rent a car in NYC and drive down.