Florida is a popular destination for many reasons. The Sunshine State offers visitors and residents beautiful beaches, historic towns, and warm weather. It’s the perfect location for a relaxing road trip to see the sights.
When driving through Florida, it’s essential to do your research before you go — especially if you’re traveling from out of state. You’ll want to look up facts like traffic laws, seat belt laws, and what can happen if you are caught driving without insurance in Florida.
Doing your research ahead of time allows you to be prepared and enjoy every minute of your journey. Once you know the facts, it’s time to hit the road — here are some places you shouldn’t miss on your road trip through the Sunshine State.
#1 – St. Augustine
History lovers will enjoy a stop in St. Augustine — the country’s oldest city. Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers, St. Augustine is rich with historic architecture and stunning sights.
If you are looking for a fact-filled adventure, try the history-rich trolley or walking tours around the city. You will learn much about St. Augustine’s history and see some of the most important sites on your trip.
The food in St. Augustine may also leave you in awe. The Ancient City is filled with diverse and delicious cuisine options for hungry visitors. With a mixture of traditional Southern, Spanish, and Caribbean influences being some of the most notable, this historic town offers something for every palate.
Whether you go for the food, history, or beautiful sights, St. Augustine is a perfect destination to stop on your Florida road trip.
#2 – Orlando
Located in central Florida, Orlando has much to offer its visitors. If you’re looking for a road trip stop that offers endless fun, look no further than O-Town.
Orlando is home to the most theme parks anywhere in the world, with iconic attractions like Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando. Visitors will enjoy spending their time enjoying different attractions within each park, all while soaking up the warm Florida sun.
The city also offers plenty of attractions outside its theme parks, such as airboat tours, scenic boat tours, escape rooms, and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. There is a little something for everyone in this exciting destination.
If you’re a food fan, Orlando also has plenty of incredible dining experiences to choose from — with options ranging from dinner shows to beloved local food trucks. Whether you’re a barbecue, seafood, or pizza fan, the restaurants in Orlando are sure to satisfy your appetite.
#3 – Apalachicola
If you’re searching for a laid-back stop on your road trip, look no further than this charming city nestled in the Florida Panhandle. Apalachicola offers visitors a welcoming, small-town feel with plenty of activities and rich history.
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, Apalachicola is an ideal destination. Here you’ll find Apalachicola National Forest, the largest national forest in the state. This outdoor oasis offers visitors everything from breathtaking hiking trails to boating.
While visiting the downtown area, you’ll find plenty of unique boutiques, art galleries, and tasty restaurants within walking distance. While taking a stroll around the area, you’ll find stunning historic homes and buildings — more than 900. These buildings date back to the 1830s and can easily be observed on the city’s self-guided walking tour.
Apalachicola also offers many fun festivals, so check the city’s calendar before your visit to see if there are any exciting upcoming events.
#4 – Panama City
Panama City is the perfect destination for road trippers searching for stunning water, white sandy beaches, and plenty of fun. This beach town sits on the crystal-clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico and offers 27 miles of powdery sand.
In the heart of Panama City, you’ll find Pier Park — an exciting strip of eclectic shops, major retailers, and unique restaurants. Visitors can enjoy everything from delicious ice cream to a ride on the SkyWheel while walking the main drag.
This coastal city also offers a wide variety of parks and themed attractions. Here you’ll find many outdoor activities and educational experiences such as ZooWorld, home to over 350 animals.
You’ll also find some superb dining options while visiting. Panama City offers multiple beach-front restaurants serving fresh seafood and cold drinks perfect to beat the heat.
#5 – The Florida Keys
No Florida road trip would be complete without a visit to the Keys. This archipelago spans over 180 miles and offers visitors a one-of-a-kind experience.
There are three distinct sections of the Keys: the Upper, Middle, and Lower, each offering its own unique atmosphere. If you’re looking for easy accessibility, plenty of lodging choices, and close proximity to the mainland, the Upper Keys might be your best choice.
The Middle Keys are often referred to as the heart of the Keys. Here you’ll find fishing, plenty of nature, and museums to tour during your stay.
The Lower Keys are home to the well-known and popular Key West. Many people enjoy the Lower Keys for their laid-back atmosphere and unique hotels.
The Keys offer some of the freshest seafood, with notable menu items hard to come by in other areas. The cuisine here is influenced by many different cultures, from French to Cuban, offering visitors an extraordinary dining experience.
No matter what section of the Keys you end up in on your road trip, you will enjoy exploring the island life surrounded by calm turquoise waters.
Making the Most of Your Florida Road Trip
The Sunshine State is famous for a reason. With beautiful weather, stunning beaches, and cities full of life, it’s no wonder Florida is a hot spot for vacationers from all over the world.
If you’re planning to road trip through Florida, prepare yourself ahead of time. Ensure you read up on local traffic laws and have your vehicle properly checked and insured — including looking into roadside assistance.
Once you’ve done your preparations, it’s time to enjoy some of the best spots in the Sunshine State. Whether you visit St. Augustine for its rich history, Orlando to seek thrills, Apalachicola for a laid-back atmosphere, Panama City for some beach-front activities, or the Keys for incredible views, you won’t be disappointed by all Florida has to offer.