Florida is a great place for taking a scenic drive and enjoying some of nature’s most beautiful scenery. Florida boasts a variety of natural attractions that make it great for long drives, from the Everglades to the coastlines.
Florida’s gulf coast offers incredible views of towering sand dunes, sugar-white beaches, and stunning sunsets over crystal blue water.
Inland, you can enjoy views of tranquil glacial lakes surrounded by lush green foliage or the spectacular vistas at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park.
Every scenic drive in Florida offers an amazing experience full of adventure and beauty. You’ll get to explore rolling hills, flat plains, wetlands, and diverse wildlife along your journey.
Overview Scenic Drive In Florida
For the traveller looking to take in the beauty of Florida, a scenic drive is an idyllic setting.
From the gorgeous limestone bluffs of Torreya State Park to the sun-kissed beaches of Pensacola, there are plenty of breathtaking views along this ride.
Take it slow as you journey through these areas; otherwise, you could easily miss out on seeing bald eagles soaring overhead or playful dolphins jumping in and out of the waves.
From there you can explore charming coastal towns such as Pass-a-Grille in St. Pete Beach and quaint fishing villages like Cedar Key Island for unique shopping and dining experiences.
Popular List Of Scenic Drive In Florida
A scenic drive in Florida is something that many visitors come here specifically to enjoy.
From panoramic stretches of beach-lined coastline featuring the best of the tropical landscape to scenic highways and byways that wind through a mix of overlooking bluffs, rolling hills, meadows and woodland backroads, each unit offers its own unique brand of unique beauty.
Popular options include the Gulf Coast Scenic Byway and Loop Drive on Sanibel Island where you can explore a wide range of coastal wildlife between vibrant water views.
Or take a route up through myt grasslands such as the Florida Fox Trail, where coastal wetlands meet lush pine forests amidst ancient oak trees draped in veils of Spanish moss.
Overseas Highway (Key West To Key Largo)
Overseas Highway, stretching 113 miles from Key West to Key Largo, offers incredible views of ocean and bay waters, brilliant blue skies, and some of the most unspoiled views in Florida. Along the way, countless areas to stop and explore offer visitors a chance to take a break from their journey.
Enjoy one of the many restaurants for lunch or hop out of your car at any of the gorgeous beaches to take in the unique wildlife.
Many of the roads are two-lane highways that wind through countryside adorned with lush palm trees, creating an idyllic setting for a step back into nature.
A1A Scenic And Historic Coastal Byway
The A1A Scenic and Historic Coastal Byway moves from Fernandina Beach to Key West, through some of the most stunning coastal scenery in the United States.
It’s a great way to explore this part of the Sunshine State, weaving through quaint beach towns like Hollywood Beach and Port Salerno with their sparkling waterways full of boats.
Along the way, one can spot lighthouses and local wildlife, charming boutiques, outstanding seafood restaurants, serene beaches, art galleries and much more.
Often referred to as “Old Florida,” this scenic drive allows visitors to step back in time while exploring historic sites like Fort Clinch or Ponce de Leon’s famous Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park.
The Loop Road (Everglades National Park)
Florida’s Loop Road provides a picturesque drive through some of the most breathtaking sights in the state. Located in Everglades National Park, you can enjoy a variety of wildlife while on your journey. Alligators, birds, and even the occasional manatee can be spotted along your travels.
In addition to animals, there is an abundance of plant life that lines this scenic roadway. From pine flatwoods to cypress domes, you can get wrapped up in nature’s beauty during the drive.
The Loop Road is about twenty-four miles long with multiple overlooks for added views and stops for taking photos.
The Florida Keys Wild Bird Center
Located in Tavernier, Florida, the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center is situated within the tropical Keys ecosystem, allowing visitors to witness a diverse variety of bird species from around the world. From spoonbills to parrots, egrets and bald eagles, there’s something wonderful to see at every turn.
The boardwalk also offers a spectacular view into the heart of nature in the Keys and looks out onto crystal-clear waters.
Birdwatchers will especially enjoy viewing these magnificent creatures in their natural habitats as they soar gracefully through the skies or perch atop branches and lily pads.
Plus, since it’s such an accessible site in south Florida, less than an hour’s drive away, anyone can come out and experience its beauty.
The Ortega River Scenic and Historic Drive
The Ortega River Scenic and Historic Drive begins in the historic town of Mandarin and winds its way through centuries-old oak forests, sprawling salt marshes and extensive grasslands.
Along this route, you can spot amazing wildlife, everything from bald eagles to alligators, and take in jaw-dropping views of the St. John’s River.
It’s no wonder why this route has been admired since the 1500s! If you’re fortunate enough to catch one of the beautiful sunsets while driving, be sure not to forget your camera. Each one holds a unique beauty that’s sure to inspire endless awe and admiration.
The Wild Atlantic Way (Panhandle)
The Wild Atlantic Way in Florida’s Panhandle has been recognized as one of the most gorgeous drives in the country.
This long stretch of highway traverses through some of the state’s most picturesque scenery, from lush green forests to breathtaking beach views and turquoise waters.
One can easily spot pelicans flying above white sand beaches as well as Bottlenose dolphins swimming playfully in emerald-green waters.
Along with taking in the stunning coastal scenes, this route also gives travellers the opportunity for incredible experiences, like hiking trails that lead up to hidden waterfalls and biking paths that wind around old-growth cypress trees creating a surreal atmosphere.
The Great River Road (Gulf Coast)
Take a ride down the Great River Road that lines both banks of the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers in the Gulf Coast region of Florida. This is one of America’s least explored scenic drives and offers amazing views rarely seen anywhere else.
You’ll follow these iconic waterways through cypress swamps and windswept landscapes, pass historic towns and feed lots, and experience river islands and part beaches along the way. Spot native wildlife on the trek including wading birds, eagles, deer, and blue herons in their natural habitat.
Make sure to stop at roadside attractions like Fort Gadsden Historical Site, which was built by British leader Andrew Jackson during the War of 1814. It’s a great place to learn about Florida’s history during this period.
The Tamiami Trail (Everglades National Park)
Spanning across South Florida from Miami to Naples, the Tamiami Trail is the perfect road to explore the Everglades and some of its nearby attractions.
The majestic beauty of the sawgrasses, rivers, swamps and other wildlife habitats that dot this highway make it a must-see destination.
Stop at Shark Valley Visitor Center for an airboat ride, yet another view of the wild landscape and exotic birdlife that reside in this area, and wind your way down into the Everglades on foot at Big Cypress Visitors Center.
The Black Bear Scenic Byway (Northwest Florida)
Located in the panhandle of Florida, the Black Bear Scenic Byway offers a beautiful drive that begins at Florala State Park in Alabama and continues through charming small towns to end near Eglin Air Force Base.
Along the byway, visitors can experience native local wildlife like deer, foxes, and a range of birds, as well as rare plants like rose mallow hibiscus.
As travellers make their way along this picturesque highway they’ll be enchanted with historic covered bridges, civil war battlefields and antebellum homes while taking in stunning views of moss-draped Spanish oaks, tranquil creeks and shimmering beaches.
An array of outdoor activities can also be found in forests like Econfina Creek Canoe Trail or nearby Eglin Reservation Wilderness Park, which provide opportunities for fishing and kayaking.
The Gulf Islands National Seashore Drive
The Gulf Islands National Seashore Drive runs from Pensacola Beach to Ship Island, providing travellers with spectacular views of glimmering waters and the purest white-sand beaches.
While on this scenic drive, explore nesting sea turtles and dolphins that often present themselves by leaping into the air for your pleasure.
Make sure to stop at Johnson Beach for some of the most stunning views in all of Florida as you take in the crystal-clear waters of the Gulf Coast and enjoy its pristine natural beauty.
Along the way, make sure to also take advantage of abundant recreational offerings like picnicking, swimming, kayaking, fishing and beachcombing. This scenic road trip should be included on every traveller’s bucket list when planning a visit to Florida!
Tips For Enjoying The Drive
Florida State is known for its broad horizons, stunning blue waters and sunsets, as well as historic sites and national parks all along the way.
- To ensure you get the most out of your scenic drive in Florida, here are some tips for enjoying it more fully.
- Make sure you plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to take in all the sights. Driving at a leisurely pace will help you savour the journey.
- Stop regularly to take pictures and savour nature’s beauty, or explore any historical or unique attractions you find along the way.
- Bring plenty of snacks and drinks with you so that when you find a quiet spot, you can stay there awhile!
- Most importantly, relax and enjoy this special journey through one of America’s most beautiful states!
Best Time To Visit
When planning your drive, make sure you choose the best time of year to experience all that Florida has to offer. The winter months from December to March provide mild temperatures, allowing tourists to bask in Florida’s warm sunshine.
During this season, forests are awash with bright green pastures, canopied by a vibrant blue sky; spanning as far as the eye can see.
Summer brings holidaymakers looking for some fun in the sun and plenty of outdoor entertaining options in their footsteps.
Preparing For The Drive
Before hitting the road, though, it’s important to be prepared. First and foremost, make sure your vehicle is in working order.
Bring along spare tires, fluid top-ups, and any necessary tools – you don’t want your drive interrupted by an unplanned roadside repair.
Additionally, plan refreshing stops for rest and food every few hours. Bring sunscreen for protection from the notoriously strong Florida sun, plus light snacks and plenty of water for hydration.
Much of Florida contains stunning natural landscapes, so you’ll want to make sure your car is stocked with the necessary supplies before beginning your journey. At the top of the list are some essentials for convenience and safety, like a full tank of gas, a spare tire, snacks, and windshield washer fluid.
Additionally, it’s important to pack items for emergencies, such as flashlight batteries and matches, should you get stuck in the wild.
Don’t forget either basic medical supplies or things you might need if you venture off the beaten path, like bug spray and sunblock.
Thankfully, most routes in Florida offer a smooth and well-maintained drive for travellers to enjoy. Indeed, those staying on major highways can take comfort in knowing that frequent construction projects help ensure optimal road conditions are maintained year-round.
This, coupled with the fact that Florida considers safety to be paramount when constructing and maintaining streets means drivers can largely expect to encounter high-quality roads when travelling around the state.
Taking a scenic drive in Florida is a great way to slow down and enjoy the beauty of the Sunshine State.
From Gulf Coast beach towns along the Gulf of Mexico to the lakeshores of Central Florida to coral sand bars on the Atlantic, the diversity of coastal vegetation, animal life, and colours make for a memorable experience.
For those who want some extra adventure, take in some of nature’s wonders like alligators in Everglades National Park or kayaking in the Crystal River.
No matter how you choose to travel around Florida, there will be plenty of opportunities to get out and explore what this amazing state has to offer, sunsets over softly rolling hills, bike trails meandering through thickets of palm trees and centuries-old oaks, and wildflowers dancing in warm breezes across wide open fields.