The United States is known for its diversity – both ethnically and geographically – and Florida is no exception. The Sunshine State is one of the more known U.S. states due to its shape and peninsula position, giving it the longest stretch of coastline (1,350 miles) of all lower-48 states. While you won’t find much elevation change in Florida, the state still boasts a tropical-to-subtropical climate and is home to all sorts of rich marine and swamp life.
And so with the many miles of white sand beaches and a climate that almost always calls for shades, you can never go wrong hopping in the car for an impromptu road trip. If you find yourself wanting to “go” yet unsure as to where, consider these three breathtaking Florida drives. To make sure you’re adequately protected, check out our car insurance Florida page.
Tampa to the Everglades (via Sarasota and Sanibel Island)
Start in Tampa (perfect for fly-ins and rental vehicles) and head south on I-75 toward Sarasota. Once in Sarasota, cruise down to Siesta Beach and its hallowed pure quartz white sand that continually wins a variety of best U.S. beach awards. The beach is wide and never feels too crowded. Your feet will also never feel a softer sand. Whenever you decide to leave (which could be days or weeks), continue south past Fort Myers on your way to Sanibel Island. Sanibel is known for its wildlife refuge – which includes over 220 species of native island birds – and seashell-rich beaches.
Once you’ve had your ecology fill, leave the unique east-west barrier island to get on the Tamiami Trail (US-41) toward Naples. Depending on the time of day, you may want to end it in Naples, which boasts top seafood restaurants and high-end shopping. If you do, get up early the next day and back on Tamiami Trail to the Everglades. This route will traverse landmark sights such as Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Reserve and Big Cypress National Preserve.
You can take the Tamiami Trail all the way through the everglades to Miami, in which case, you can continue your road trip going from…
Miami to Key West
Once you’ve had your fill of South Beach and all its glamour, set your sights on the pristine scenery, wildlife and culture of the keys. The 166-mile jaunt from Miami to Key West, Fla should take around 3 hours and 30 minutes, sending you through the crystal clear bathwater of the Caribbean Sea via the Overseas Highway.
Once you reach the start of the keys in Key Largo, stop at Key Largo Botanical State Park and take a deep breath of fresh air – island time awaits. Let your intuition dictate your Florida Keys adventure on the way to Key West, but once you’ve hit the Seven Mile Bridge (one of the longest bridges in existence at the time of its construction) it’s probably time to visit Ernest Hemingway’s house (now a museum), and eat some (a lot) of key lime pie.
Black Bear Scenic Highway
Central Florida needs some love too. The Black Bear Scenic Highway consists of highways 19 and 40, traversing through Ocala National Forest, the second-largest nationally protected forest in the U.S.
Ocala National Forest offers activities for virtually any traveler, with excellent year-round camping, canoeing, hiking, and mountain biking, in addition to all sorts of water activities like boating, fishing, swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving. But Ocala is just one stop you’ll want to make. Check out this handy map to see all the places you should stop while road-tripping through the Black Bear Scenic Highway.
Life is all about those spontaneous adventures. Shop Florida car insurance today with CoverHound.