This is a guest post from Rob Lloyd, a freelance writer who has traveled for 8 years. One of his favorite travel destinations is Costa Rica, as he is a big fan of the outstanding biodiversity, but he also has a special place in his heart for Florida. After having spent 2 months there while RVing, I can say there are many wonderful spots to road trip to and I asked Rob to share some of his favorites.
Taking a road trip along Florida’s coastlines brings so many opportunities for taking in the state’s beautiful outdoor scenery and electric city streets. You’ll get the chance to chill beachside in laid-back small towns but then dive into the adventure again by heading to bustling downtown city streets the following day. And then stop at one of the state’s amusement parks before heading back to the beach again.
Before you embark on your journey through Florida, consider renting a car for your trip to avoid putting miles on your own personal vehicle. Maybe even think about renting a convertible to take in the sunshine and salty air along the way. If renting is for you, protect yourself with rental car insurance before you get behind the wheel. No matter what you choose to do, be sure to check out these top 6 destinations – starting from the Panhandle and making your way south – for your road trip through the Sunshine State.
Destin is the first stop of your Florida road trip and a great place to start to enjoy some beach time. This family-friendly town is located in the Panhandle and is known for its crystal clear Gulf of Mexico waters that offer perfect swimming conditions all year round. Destin is also popular for its many golf courses, so if you’re interested in hitting the fairways this is the place to do it. Some of the most popular courses here are Indian Bayou Golf and Country Club, Emerald Bay Golf Club, and Regatta Bay Golf and Yacht Club.
The area is a family-oriented destination, and you’ll find tons of things to do for young kids and teens. Sign up for a banana boat tour through the gulf’s waters, or hire a charter boat to take you in search of dolphins. The HarborWalk Marina is another popular family spot, but also has tons of lively bars and trendy restaurants. If you’re more into spending a peaceful day with nature, head to Henderson Park State Beach.
You could spend your entire time in Fort Myers walking along the white sand beaches admiring the nature around you. One of the best spots for outdoor lovers here is J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge. This area is a whopping 8,000 acres of land near the popular Sanibel Island, and it is the perfect place to view wildlife like herons, ospreys, and even alligators.
Fort Myers is also home to Captiva Island, which is actually connected to Sanibel Island by a bridge. The main draw of Captiva is its beautiful beaches, but there are also lots of quirky places to eat and hang out around the island. Once you head back to the mainland of Fort Myers, spend some time at Caya Costa State Park or the National Shell Museum.
Key West is Florida’s southernmost point, located just 90 miles north of Cuba. Getting into Key West is half the fun; you drive over a bridge that is seven miles long over the beautiful Florida Keys waters. Once you make it over the bridge onto the island, you’ll fall instantly in love with the charm and eclectic style of the area. Most of the houses and building are painted in bright pastels, which is striking against the blue of the ocean.
Key West is known as the best diving spot in the state, so its an ideal destination for anyone interested in SCUBA or wanting to learn how to dive. The main tourist spots here are Duvall Street and Mallory Street, where shops and outdoor restaurants and vendors line the sidewalks. You can also take in tons of art here, as many locals artists set up shop to either paint or sell their work along the streets. For snorkeling, head to none other than Dry Tortugas National Park where the island’s most colorful and lively coral reefs can be found. After a long day of snorkeling and sightseeing, don’t forget to chow down on a slice of the island’s signature key lime pie.
The luxurious Miami Beach is not only the most popular tourist spot in Florida but the entire world. It is known for its fast-paced city vibes and is home to unlimited luxury hotels and restaurants. The insane nightlife scene alone brings people to the city, and the majority of clubs and bars can be found on South Beach. If you’re more into the city art scene, check out Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.
Many people assume Miami Beach only caters to tourists looking for a party scene, but they quickly find that the city offers so much more than that. Nature lovers can even find peace at places like Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.
Although Orlando is landlocked and there are no beaches in sight, the city offers something much more magical: Walt Disney World. The amusement park is the perfect spot for children of all ages, but adults love taking a blast to the past and hanging out with their favorite Disney characters. So explore parks like the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot to get a taste of all that Disney has to offer. If you want to continue exploring Orlando’s theme park scene, head next to Universal Studios, which features rides and parks from movies like Harry Potter, Spiderman, and Jurassic Park.
You can also enjoy the outdoors in these 7 places for nature lovers.
St. Augustine is a great ending point for your Florida road trip. As America’s oldest cities, there are tons of historical sites to visit, but also attractions for families, architecture lovers, and outdoorsy travelers. A must-see spot is the Castillo de San Marcos fort, which is a colonial-era historical structure in the heart of St. Augustine. For amazing city views, climb to the top of the Lighthouse and Maritime Museum. If you’re hoping to learn about the area’s wildlife, spend the day at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park, where they offer several alligator and reptile shows each day.
Thanks, Rob! See you on the road!
How about you? Have you got some additional spots to add to this road trip through Florida? Do share!