The Sunshine State brims with glorious views all over, but there are a few routes that absolutely take the cake. While most people visit Florida in search of a relaxing beach escape, there’s no better way to truly get to know the state than by driving across it, and what better way to do it than by taking the scenic route?! Regardless of your travel style, you’re bound to find a route to please. From nature so enthralling you’ll have to pinch yourself, to quirky towns splashed in colors and beaches so beautiful you’ll wonder if you’re in a tropical paradise, these are the most scenic drives in Florida for some serious fun in the sun adventures.
And if you want to make it an extra fun time, why not rent a convertible or VW camper for the day?
A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway
Quite possibly one of Florida’s most quintessential drives, the A1A brims with stunning views and fun stops to make along the way. Throughout the drive, you’ll get to feast on views of colorful beach houses and unspoiled beaches, step back in time at old Spanish forts, and indulge in an array of fun outdoor activities and sports.
Even though it can be completed in a day, a great way to really get the true experience is by treating it as a road trip and stopping at some of the towns, landmarks, and beaches scattered along the way. A few can't-miss experiences along the drive include admiring the old-world charm of St. Augustine, falling in love with the funky character of Flagler town, and trying your hand at outdoor sports at Ponte Vedra Beach.
Route 41 & 19
Crystal blue springs are a Florida staple, and this road trip from Gainesville springs to Weeki Wachee is an absolute favorite for those in search of these lush oases. Starting from Gainesville, this fabulous road trip will take you through verdant state parks, hiking trails so lush you’ll feel as though you’re in the Amazon rainforest and crystal clear springs that come in shades of aqua blues and emerald greens.
Your first stop is Blue Springs State Park, where you’ll find one of Florida’s most quintessential natural springs that will let you kayak your way through the water in search of manatees!
Next, head to Devil’s Millhopper State Park, an amazing site with an extraordinary 120-feet sinkhole that contains a miniature rainforest that will make you feel as though you’re walking straight into a movie set. If you’re into hiking, make sure to stop by at the nearby Paynes Prairie State Park, where you’ll find trails boasting fabulous views of wild-roaming bison and horses.
The following few days will be spent ticking off as many springs as possible. Base yourself in the town of Alachua and use it as a starting point to drive to some of the most idyllic springs in northern Florida, including Ginnie Springs, Rum Island Springs, Ichetucknee Springs, and O’Leno State Park.
Keep going south on 41 and you'll eventually make your way past Rainbow River, then hop over to the 19 to drive right on past Weeki Wachee (pictured above), Homosassa, and Crystal River!
Miami to Key West
Miami to Key West is more than just a scenic drive - it’s a right of passage! This 113-mile road will bring you from the glitz of Miami down to the natural wonders that are the Florida Keys, passing through unobstructed views of breathtaking beaches.
As far as Florida scenic drives, the Overseas Highway going south takes the cake and the reason for that is the 40 bridges that allow you to actually drive from the mainland to the islands, making this a truly unforgettable experience!
This is a three-and-a-half-hour drive if you go at it all in one sprint, but we recommend taking it easy, camera in hand, and making a few stops to truly enjoy the ride. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and Bahia Honda State Park are good places to stop, and you will find plenty of restaurants and bars along the way!
Into the Everglades Tamiami Trail and Loop Road
Although you can drive to the Everglades from Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale on Alligator Alley and get there much faster, the Tamiami Trail will get you closer to its nature.
The drive boasts several worthy stops on the way, such as the Shark Valley entrance to the Everglades, the world’s smallest post office, Clyde Butcher’s gallery, and several picnic areas and boardwalks. In addition, you can also do the Loop Road, which is a 24-mile long road that is part of the Big Cypress National Wildlife Refuge. This road is full of wildlife all year long, including alligators (of course!), otters, deer and if you’re lucky, you might sight a rare Florida panther.
Although Loop Road is not fully paved, it is worth your while if you are in the mood for going on a super scenic hike filled with worthy scenes, including Pinecrest, a seemingly ghostly town that still houses a few inhabitants.
Ormond Scenic Loop
For those in northern Florida, in the Daytona region, the Ormond Scenic Loop is one of the most beautiful roads in the state. This scenic road includes spectacular ocean vistas as well as lush sections filled with live oaks and Spanish moss forming a cathedral-like ceiling!
The area has state parks aplenty, as well as interesting historic sites and stunning landscapes every mile of the way. A must-see park for all things beach is the North Peninsula State Park, where you can spend the day swimming, fishing, birdwatching and even spotting migrating whales if you visit during the winter months. It’s also a great spot to see leatherback turtles, who love using the beaches at the park for nesting!
Another stop you can’t miss out on is Burlow Creek State Park, where you’ll find one of the largest live oak forests on Florida’s east coast as well as hiking trails that give you the chance to spot plenty of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, barred owls, and more!
Have you ever driven any of these beautiful scenic drives in Florida? Let us know all about your experience in the comment section below!