Image courtesy of Time Out.
Road tripping in Florida is a great idea, especially since you can go from green wetlands to white, sandy beaches all in the same day! If you’re looking to try a road trip from Orlando to Miami, you’re in luck, because we’ve listed the top spots you should plan to visit on your trip south. This trip takes the scenic route, so you can fully take in all the natural beauty of central Florida, as well as admire the amazing views of the ocean on your way to Miami.
Traveling by car instead of plane is a great way to get the best of both worlds-- and we’re sure you’ll find many other places worthy of a stop along Florida’s A1A-- but these should be at the top of your list. Now, who’s ready to start their trip?
Orlando, FL | https://www.orlando.gov/Home
Starting your road trip in Orlando, make sure you take a little time to explore this wonderful, lively city. Of course you’ll want to visit Universal Studios and visit the world of Harry Potter and explore the jungle of Jurassic Park, but make sure you take time to explore other parts of the central Florida as well! Take some time to do shopping and dining in Old Town Kissimmee or even sign up for an airboat ride in the Florida Everglades! All of these destinations are in and around the Orlando area, making it the perfect start to your road trip.
3365 Taylor Creek Rd. | Christmas, FL | https://myfwc.com/recreation/lead/tosohatchee/
As you make your way out east from the Orlando metropolitan area, you’ll quickly find yourself in the lush, green environment of central Florida. Your next stop on this road trip should be exploring the Tosohatchee Wildlife Area. There are over 60 miles of trails to try, either on foot or in your car. Here you’ll encounter all kinds of native flora and fauna, including a chance to view the residents of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. There are even places to do some fishing if you like!
Cape Canaveral, FL | https://www.cityofcapecanaveral.org/
Space might be the final frontier, but it all started right here on Earth. The NASA Visitors’ Complex has tours designated into specific chronological eras, so you can choose to see how the Apollo missions went into flight, how the space shuttles were sent into orbit, or instead get the details on the SpaceX program. All the tours are highly informative, and you can even get access to historic launch sites as well as functioning work sites that still send probes and other satellites up into orbit.
1322 US 1 | Sebastian, FL | https://www.melfisher.com
Have you ever wondered what it was like to find long buried treasure? That’s exactly what happened when Mel Fisher and his team won the rights to sunken Spanish galleons off the coast of Florida. The treasure consisted of over 40 tons of gold and silver, coins, and precious stones and was valued at $450 million. You can browse the selections they have for sale and own a piece of priceless history! The team is still diving in hopes of recovering more treasure, but they also tirelessly work to conserve and categorize the items they uncover as well. Definitely the stuff of legends!
Vero Beach, FL | https://www.covb.org/
As you make your way further south along the A1A you’ll happen upon some gorgeous views of the Atlantic, that’s how you know you’ve made it to Vero Beach! Here you can put your toes in the sand and relax for an afternoon-- or the evening-- and experience the laid back nature of this favorite of the Treasure Coast. If you feel like exploring the area a little, make sure to stop at the McKee Botanical Center to gaze at the native plants and exceptionally beautiful garden designs.
A little further south on the outskirts of Fort Pierce is the Navy SEAL Museum, where visitors can learn about the history of this elite fighting force. It is a great place to see how the SEALs developed and get a better understanding of all that these brave soldiers have accomplished.
2541 Walton Rd. | Port St. Lucie, FL | https://www.floridastateparks.org
There are a lot of beautiful parks in Florida, but the Savannas State Park is one of the best, especially if you can take some time for a hike. Here you can see what the natural landscape looked like to the Native Americans, and what the first Europeans encountered when they landed here as well. Bring your boots for a nice hike on Hawk’s Bluff Trail and make sure to snap some memorable pictures of pristine basin marsh and the native animals.
500 Captain Armours Way | Jupiter, FL | https://www.jupiterlighthouse.org/
There are no shortage of beautiful lighthouses along Florida’s eastern coast, but this one is definitely worth a stop on your road trip. The lighthouse was originally designed by U.S. Civil War General George G. Meade, but was not completed until 1860. When the U.S. Coast Guard took up operation of the Florida lighthouses, the Navy installed Listening Stations, including one in Jupiter. This station in particular was able to locate and destroy many German U-boats this way.
The lighthouse stands at 105 feet which visitors can climb to take in the amazing views. There is also an interesting museum that is attached, as well as gift shop.
6000 N. Flagler Dr. | West Palm Beach, FL | https://www.visitmanateelagoon.com/
No trip along the southern portion of A1A would be complete without a stop at the Manatee Lagoon. Manatees make the swim north each year and stay in this area from November 15 to March 31, to enjoy the warm waters around the Florida Power and Light Co.’s Clean Energy Center. The manatee institute was constructed here so people could learn about these sweet creatures, and scientists could study them closer.
There are all kinds of events and programs to check out while you’re there, and of course some prime manatee viewing in their lagoon!
3600 W. Sample Rd. | Coconut Creek, FL | https://www.butterflyworld.com/
Butterflies are some of the most beautiful insects, but sometimes it’s hard to see them up close. At Butterfly World, one man took his vision of butterfly gardens and has expanded it to create a habitat that can accommodate many species, and allow visitors to see and learn about them more closely. The park also uses a portion of its profits to fund research at the University of Florida to bring vulnerable native species back into greater numbers. The gardens and butterflies are stunning, plus when you take the tour you’re helping Butterfly World make sure there are always butterflies!
Fort Lauderdale, FL | https://www.fortlauderdale.gov/
Fort Lauderdale is a great place to stop the car for a while and get out and stretch your legs. Explore the city on foot, and make sure to visit Las Olas Boulevard for an amazing array of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options. Another way to see the city is on a gondola, which traverse the many canals of this lovely town.
Popular attractions include the many beautiful beaches and well maintained parks, as well as the Museum of Discovery and Science and the Dania Antique Row. If you can, try to spend at least one night to get a real flavor for this city.
Miami Beach, FL | https://www.miamibeachfl.gov/
Once you’ve made it to Miami, it’s time to have some fun in the sun! Whether you want to take a dip in the ocean, or grab some food and people watch on Ocean Drive, you’re definitely going to enjoy your stay. If the nightclubs and beaches aren’t enough, there are plenty of tours through historic Miami as well as all kinds of water sports and boating options. If you need a little detour, the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens and Perez Art Museum offer something a little different and out of the sun.
The road from Orlando to Miami is full of interesting attractions and places, including some of the best beaches in the United States. Take your time on this road trip and really soak up the Florida sunshine, you’ll be left with so many fond memories that way!