A driving holiday in scenic Florida

Courtesy of Tiffany Renee

Florida is the perfect destination for a driving holiday in the USA and by travelling along the Sunshine State’s highways you will be able to enjoy the freedom of the open road. Book some car hire in advance before you jet off, to avoid the crazy prices in the airport terminals, gather your suitcases and off you go!

Starting from the western part of the state and ending in Key West in the south, you can take in a number of stunning attractions, including captivating views of Escambia Bay, the highest point of the Florida coastline. To get here you will need to be on the Pensacola Scenic Bluffs Highway section of Highway 90. At just 11 miles, this stretch of road will not take very long to drive but there will be plenty to pique your interest along the way. Beautiful oak trees and magnolias can be seen from the window of your car and as your drive over the bridge spanning the Bayou Texar stretch of water, you will ascend slowly until the stunning bay is at your feet.

Courtesy of janeyesee

From here, head along the Green Mountain Scenic Byway. This also contains a number of rolling peaks and you will really be able to see how the landscape around you changes as you climb and descend the hills.

One particular geographical landmark is Sugarloaf Mountain. Standing at 312 feet, this is the highest point in peninsular Florida so if you feel like stretching your legs, why not try climbing it? Once you’re back in the car, follow the road along the western and southern shores of Lake Apopka. Some great vistas of central Florida, including the Orlando skyline, can be seen as you drive along here.

Make your way to the 328-mile A1A Scenic and Historic Coastal Byway, where you will be able to see notable attractions such as the Kennedy Space Center.

This NASA institution is located along the stretch of the byway known as the ‘space coast’ and can provide you with an insight into the United States’ numerous astronomical missions over the years.

Courtesy of RobiNZ

You can find out more about the Apollo series of expeditions to the moon in the 1960s and 70s, as well as learn more about NASA’s current work. To get an idea of what it’s like to be an astronaut, go on the simulator, which recreates the sights, sounds and sensations of an actual space shuttle launch!

As you drive along the highway, stop by the historic city of St Augustine. Founded in 1565, it is the oldest continuously-occupied city in the United States. Spanish colonial buildings that date back hundreds of years can still be seen to this day, while a trip to the St Augustine Alligator Farm gives you the chance to look at a range of wildlife, including monkeys and komodo dragons.

Continue heading south and you will eventually come on to the Florida Keys Scenic Highway.

This route stretches for over 106 miles and ends in Key West – the southernmost point in the United States. As you pass over the highway, taking in the Florida Keys set of islands – you will be surrounded by ocean views, you could even glimpse dolphins frolicking in the sea.

Courtesy of Bogeskov

Situated close to the highway is the Everglades National Park. At 1.5 million acres in the size, this is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States and is home to creatures such as crocodiles, alligators, corn snakes and white-tailed deer. The park has UNESCO World Heritage status and during your visit you can go kayaking and freshwater fishing.

As the highway terminates at Key West, your driving experience will be over – but the fun has not ended just yet. The town is not only well known for being the most southerly part of the United States but is famous for its literary connections.

Tennessee Williams is just one of the prominent authors to have spent time in here, while it is also the place where Ernest Hemingway wrote his classic novel For Whom the Bell Tolls. You can visit the house where Hemingway lived at for several years, before visiting the Key West Shipwreck Museum.

With so many fantastic attractions to explore, you may find yourself going on driving holidays in Florida for many years to come.

Note: this post was brought to you in partnership with Travel Supermarket.

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6 Responses to “A driving holiday in scenic Florida”

  1. Elle 01/06/2011 10:09 pm
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    I live about 45 minutes north of St. Augustine in Jacksonville. I love driving down to the historic district for the day. There’s so much to do down there for a history nerd like myself.

  2. Andrea 13/05/2011 11:34 pm
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    I’ve spent a lot of time in Florida over the years and it really does have a lot of diversity. I also find it to be very affordable there. The beaches are even different on the Gulf and Atlantic sides. One thing I missed that I’ve always wanted to see that you mention is the Kennedy Space Center

  3. velvet 13/05/2011 4:41 pm
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    Hi Marina, Linda & Travelphant,
    Thanks for your comments. The Everglades are absolutely stunning. There is indeed a lot more to Florida than Disney World and I hope this post shows that.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  4. Marina K. Villatoro 13/05/2011 3:26 pm
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    Florida blows my mind with all there is to do. I avoided it for years since I’m from NY and we think of it as the old people’s place. But my folks just moved there and we go to visit yearly and are now true floridian converters!

    We’re planning on doing a scenic drive in December to the Keys!

  5. Linda 13/05/2011 3:02 pm
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    I’ve done two Florida road trips, one down the east coast and one down the west. They were both really memorable journeys, and much as I love DisneyWorld, I’m glad I realized early on that there is so much more to Florida. I fell in love with the Everglades and the Keys.

  6. Travelphant 13/05/2011 2:10 pm
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    Excellent post about Driving in Florida. I did exactly the same as this last year and it was one of the coolest holidays I’ve ever had. Thanks for sharing.

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