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Epic Florida Road Trip: 21 Days from Coast to Keys





Embark on a mesmerizing journey of 21 days through the sun-drenched landscapes of Florida with us! Our road trip was an exhilarating blend of iconic beaches, vibrant cities, and hidden gems. From the enchanting streets of Key West to the bustling vibes of Miami, each stop offered a unique slice of the Sunshine State’s diverse culture and stunning natural beauty. Join us as we relive the highlights of cruising down scenic highways, exploring the historic sites, and soaking up the coastal splendor that only Florida can offer.



DAY 1 FLORIDA ROAD TRIP - ARRIVE IN MIAMI


Flight to airport

Pick up car rental

 

Evening – sunset at MacArthur Causeway



DAY 2 FLORIDA ROAD TRIP - MIAMI BEACH

Breakfast at FL Cafe South Beach (1360 Collins Avenue)


11:00 AM Walk (Duration 1h37 – mostly just sightseeing):


  • Winter Haven & The Betsy

  • Delano Beach Club (a legend among Miami bars and pools – open to the public) & The National Hotel (iconic infinity pool)

  • Via Lincoln Road to Miami Beach Botanical Garden + Holocaust Memorial (free app)

  • Lincoln Road Mall: mini-ramblas with 100% city life. This is the perfect place to people-watch from one of the terraces. + Have a drink at Nexxt Café (+ a small bite to eat) + buy a postcard

  • Espanola Way (cozy / drink a frappuccino): Romantic Mediterranean village like in Spain/ charming old streets

  • A la Folie Café (best crêpes in SoBe)

  • World Erotic Art Museum / 11th Street Diner / Wolfsonian-Florida International University (to see)

  • Smith & Wollensky - have a drink (American steakhouse, location overlooking cruise ships – cozy lit outdoor bar)

  • Avalon + The Colony Hotel (oldest art deco hotel)

  • The News Cafe: legendary cafe, but its best days are gone (everyone still reads the paper newspaper)

  • Art Deco Welcome Center (view Ocean Drive from the other side)

  • Clevelander Hotel at sunset (DJ at the pool & drink a Pina Colada) & The Congress Hotel

  • Casa Casuarina: house of Gianni Versace

  • The Highbar (drinks)


6:30 PM: Dinner at Spiga Ristorante Italiano

  • Leslie, Carlyle & Cardozo South Beach



DAY 3 FLORIDA ROAD TRIP - Wynwood / Upper Eastside / Little Haïti / Coral Gables / Key Biscayne / Little Havana




8.00 AM - Start the day with a half-hour of rollerblading on Lummus Beach (shop around the corner)(Early morning reports) + grab some sandwiches


09:00 AM Post a postcard at the Post Office (1300 Washington Ave – opens at 8:30 AM)


10:00 AM 

  • Drive 15 minutes to Bayside Marketplace (an open-air shopping center, by the bay)

  • Check out FTX Arena (formerly American Airlines Arena – across the street) + Miami Observation Wheel + Bayfront Park (Slide Mantra)


11:30 AM 

  • Drive 10 minutes to Private Boat Tour (arrive 25 minutes in advance) via Viator

  • Riverlanding Dock - 1440 NW N River Dr, Miami, FL 33125, USA (+13054900685)


01:00 PM Car ride with the following stops:


1:30 PM Wynwood 2.3 miles / 8 min:

  • Drive by the Bacardi Building

  • Stop at Wynwood Walls + Marketplace: the world's largest collection of street art

  • Stop at Palm Court with Fly’s Eye Dome


02:30 PM Upper Eastside (drive through – funky rundown motels from the 1950s)


02:40 PM Little Haiti: home base of Miami's Haitian population, very atmospheric. Visit the voodoo shop Vierge Miracle and Saint Philippe Botanica (or another Haitian voodoo botanica), where you can find chicken feet, needles, and fragrant oils for sale.


04:00 PM Key Biscayne (picturesque)

  • Cape Florida (lighthouse, the oldest still-existing building in Miami)

  • Parking at the end of Crandon Boulevard

  • The Miami skyline alone is worth the visit. Beautiful beaches, nice walks, and lots of water fun.

  • Skip if short on time


06:00 PM Coral Gables: known as Miami’s Bel Air

  • Stop at the Biltmore Hotel (replica of La Giralda (Seville cathedral) + one of the largest pools in the US)

  • Walk to Venetian Pool (the world’s most beautiful pool – made from coral stone) – 15 min

  • Drive through Miracle Mile (shopping center)


07:00 PM Little Havana:

  • Calle Ocho:

  • Walk of Fame

  • Street cafés

  • Domino park (where older men play dominoes)

  • Little Havana Cigar Factory (where Robert De Niro buys cigars)

  • Alfaro’s Boutique (buy a guayabera – classic cotton shirt)

  • Eat a Cuban sandwich (pork, ham, and cheese) + Cuban tinto





DAY 4 FLORIDA ROAD TRIP - The Keys (Key West)


8.30 AM - Depart towards Key Largo & take the Overseas Highway (1 hour 11 minutes drive)


Next stops planned:

  • Rowell’s Waterfront Park

  • MM100 – African Queen + World Watersports (largest dive shop in the US)

  • Toilet Seat Cut (just a quick look)

  • Harriette’s Restaurant – Eat Key Lime Muffins

  • Islamorada (lilac houses – little else to see) Theater of the sea??

  • MM 86.7: Take a photo at the langoustine sign

  • MM 82: Mermaid

  • MM 59 Dolphin Research Center??

  • Note: speed cameras in Marathon

  • MM 47 Seven Mile Bridge – Take a photo at the start (+ Fred the Tree)

  • Bahia Honda (most beautiful beach – tourists only – paths through tropical forests) → Go snorkeling! + Bahia Honda Railroad Bridge

  • Pig Pine Key: Tiny key with deer sighting (MM30 goes to Blue Hole, a flooded quarry with a platform from where you can observe the deer)

  • If time permits: Mannillo Trail (0.3 mile) – located just above


5:30 PM Arrival in Key West + check into hotel

  • Parking at Key West Parking Lot, 808 Southard ST

  • Key West Cemetery (special epitaphs)

  • Turtle Kraals – turtle race at 7 PM sharp (Call to check if it happens in summer)

  • Schooner Wharf Bar (Sing the anthem of the Conch Republic together – magical)

  • Mallory Square (arrive 30’ before sunset to secure a spot)

  • Sunset around 8:12 PM

  • Hot Tin Roof restaurant - EMAILED

  • Capt. Tony’s Saloon (less touristy – daiquiri/margarita)

  • Late walk through Duval Street

  • Via Hemingway House back to the car



Hotel: The Capitana Key West, 2401 North Roosevelt Boulevard, Key West


DAY 5 FLORIDA ROAD TRIP - The Keys & Beach day


  • Start at Smathers Beach: Begin your day early by heading to Smathers Beach, Key West’s largest public beach. It's perfect for a morning of sunbathing, swimming, and beach sports. Rent some beach chairs and an umbrella, and enjoy the soft sand and clear waters.

  • Breakfast on the Beach: Grab a bite from one of the beachside food trucks or vendors, enjoying a light breakfast with a view of the ocean.

  • Picnic Lunch at the Park: Pack a picnic or buy something from the park’s café. Enjoy your meal at one of the picnic areas overlooking the beach.


Afternoon

  • Higgs Beach: Head over to Higgs Beach for a more relaxed afternoon. It’s less crowded and offers great amenities, including volleyball courts and shaded areas. Take a walk on the pier or visit the Key West AIDS Memorial.


Evening

  • Sunset at Mallory Square: No visit to Key West is complete without experiencing the sunset celebration at Mallory Square. Arrive early to browse the crafts and performances by street artists, and then watch one of the most spectacular sunsets in Florida.

  • Dinner in Old Town: Finish your day with dinner at one of the many restaurants in Old Town, Key West. Choose a place with outdoor seating to enjoy the cool evening breeze.



DAY 6 FLORIDA ROAD TRIP - Key Largo


11.00 AM - Check out and head to Key Largo

Diving Capital of the world (many films are shot here)


2:00 PM 

  • Possibly swim with dolphins, leave earlier if doing so

  • Can we still swim? Check hotel + brunch?Possibly make stops where there wasn’t time on the way there

  • Check boat trip via hotel to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park (statue of Christ of the Deep – 3.4m underwater)

  • Snorkel or SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding)


Hotel: Largo Resort, 101740 Overseas Highway, Key Largo


DAY 7 FLORIDA ROAD TRIP - Key Largo & Beach


While not as well-known for traditional sandy beaches, Key Largo provides access to stunning coral reefs, making it a premier destination for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. However, there are still some beach areas you can enjoy around Key Largo:


John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

  • Activities: It's the first underwater state park in the US and offers extraordinary snorkeling and diving experiences along with glass-bottom boat tours.

  • Beach: The park has two man-made beaches, Cannon Beach and Far Beach. Far Beach is more popular for its shallow waters and ease of access, making it suitable for swimming and sunbathing.


Harry Harris Park

  • Activities: This family-friendly park offers a protected tidal pool, boat ramps, children’s playground, and picnic areas.

  • Beach: It has a small man-made beach that is especially good for families with children due to its calm waters.


Founders Park (Islamorada)

  • A short drive from Key Largo, Founders Park offers various recreational facilities.

  • Activities: The park features a pool, marina, and sports facilities.

  • Beach: The beach here is well-maintained and provides a sandy spot for sunbathing and volleyball, although swimming is often limited due to seagrass.



DAY 8 FLORIDA ROAD TRIP - Everglades / Naples / Sanibel Island



7.30 AM Depart to the Everglades (45 minutes) – 80 km wide, 30 cm deep


08:30 AM Ernest F Coe Visitor Centre (40001 State Road 9336, Homestead)

Anhinga Trail at Royal Palm – 1200m


09:00 AM Depart to Everglades Airboat Expeditions


10:00 AM 

  • Airboat tour (Reserved) – Bring sunglasses

  • Everglades Airboat Expeditions, 5334 FL-90, Miami, FL 33185

11:30 AM Shark Valley Visitor Center (Loop Road, 36000 SW 8th Street)

  • Pick up bikes before 12 PM – Tram Road

  • Observation Tower

  • Otter Cave Hammock Trail (400m)

  • Bobcat Boardwalk (800m)


02:00 PM - 03:40 PM Drive to Naples


04:00 PM Walk through Naples

  • Old Marine Market Place in TinCity (colorful warehouses)

  • The Boathouse (have a drink / Stone Crab)

  • Naples Pier

05:30 PM - 07:00 PM Drive to Sanibel Island & check into hotel. Dinner at the hotel?

  • Sanibel Lighthouse

  • Sunset at Bowman’s Beach (8:16 PM) / Beach near the hotel


' Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa, Captiva Drive, Captiva


DAY 9 FLORIDA ROAD TRIP - JN Ding Darling National Park / Fort Myers / Sarasota


AM - 2u kayaking between manatees (voucher hotel


Heading to BradentonStop at:

  • Fort Myers Beach (Pier + Nervous Nellie’s)

  • Fort Myers (Edison)

  • Venice: Caspersen Beach (searching for shark teeth)

  • Sarasota + Lido Key


8:00 PM Sleep in Bradenton - MyCataleya


THINGS TO DO :




DAY 10 FLORIDA ROAD TRIP - St Petersburg / John’s Pass Village & Boardwalk / Clearwater


All day in St. Pete:

  • Pinellas Peninsula Beach (Optional)

  • Walk through the Dali Museum & St. Pete’s Pier

  • John’s Pass Village & Boardwalk (wooden promenade)

  • Lunch at The Hut

  • St. Pete Beach (watch out for stingrays)

  • Hurricane Seafood (live entertainment)


Evening:

  • Sunset at Clearwater Beach – Pier 60


DAY 11 FLORIDA ROUND TRIP - Buschgarden


Visit the family park - Buschgarden. - TICKETS


DAY 12 FLORIDA ROAD TRIP - Ellenton / Tampa / Ybor City


  • Shopping Ellenton

  • Tampa City tour

    • University of Tampa

    • Henry B. Plant Museum §  Tampa Museum of Art

    • Tampa Theater / Spook Finley)

    • Diner Columbia Restaurant (oldest restaurant Flamenco)  

  • Walk Ybor City – 7th Avenue     

           



DAY 14 FLORIDA ROAD TRIP - Anna Maria Island - Beach day


Beach day at Anna Maria Island

10-15 min from MyCataleya, shorewalk,



OTHER OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES








DAY 15 FLORIDA ROAD TRIP - Disney World


Magic Kingdom (9u-22u)

·      Let the Magic Begin (vuurwerk om 8u55)

·      Country Bear Jamboree

·      Splash Mountain

·      Big Thunder Moutain Railroad

·      Haunted Mansion

·      Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

·      The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

·      Space Moutain

·      Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor

·      Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade (om 12h en om 15u)

·      Mickey’s Celebration Cavalcade (om 10u45, 13u30, 16u30 en 18u10)

 

Epcot (8u30-21u)

·      Start in Mexico (avocado margarita) & eindigen in Canada

·      Attracties:

o   Guardians of the galaxy

o   Mission: space

o   Test track

o   Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros

o   Frozen ever After

o   Soaring around the world

o   Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival



DAY 16 FLORIDA ROAD TRIP - Disney World


Hollywood Studios (8u30-21u)

·      Muppet Vision 3D

·      Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

·      Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run

·      The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

·      Beauty & The Beast Live on Stage

 

Animal Kingdom (8u-20u)

·      Avatar Flight of Passage

·      Festival of Lion King (10u, 11u, 12u, 13u, 14u, 15u, 16u, 17u)

·      Kali River Rapids

·      Expedition Everest

·      Finding Nemo: the big blue… and beyond (10u30, 11u30, 12u30, 14u30, 15u30 en 16u30)

·      Dinosaur

·      It’s Tough to be a Bug!

·      Tree of Life

Loews Royal Pacific Resort


NEED TICKETS - CHECK HERE


DAY 17 FLORIDA ROAD TRIP - Universal Studios


Universal Studios (9u-21u)

·      Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

·      Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

·      Race Through NY starring Jimmy Fallon

·      Transformers: The Ride 3D

·      Fast & Furious – Supercharged

·      Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

·      Men in Black Alien Attack

·      The Simpsons Ride (hoeft niet)

·      Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster (hoeft niet)

·      ET Adventure

·      Universal Orlando’s horror Make-Up Show

·      Hogwarts Express

 

Islands of Adventure (meest tijd nodig – 9u-21u)

·      Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure (geen express pass)

·      Flight of the Hippogriff

·      Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

·      Jurassic World VelociCoaster

·      Jurassic Park river Adventure

·      Skull Island: Reign of Kong

·      Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls

·      Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges

·      The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

·      Doctor Doom’s Fearfall

·      The Incredible Hulk Coaster

 

Bij Harry Potter zeker doen:

·      Ollivander – interactieve toverstaffen

·      Honeydukes

·      Knight bus – praten tegen het hoofd

·      Weasleys Wizard Joke Shop

·      Knockturn Alley, Diagon Alley

·      Leaky Cauldron eten

·      Gringott’s Money Exchange

·      Butterbeer Ice cream bij Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor



DAY 18 FLORIDA ROAD TRIP - Universal Studios


Visit further.




DAY 19 FLORIDA ROAD TRIP - Orlando


Morning

  • Depart Early: Start your day early to maximize your time. If you're coming from a nearby city like Tampa or Miami, plan to leave by at least 6 AM to arrive at the Kennedy Space Center by opening time.

  • Visit Kennedy Space Center: Arrive at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex when it opens at 9 AM. Purchase your tickets in advance online to avoid long lines.

  • Must-See Attractions: Don't miss the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit, where you can see a real space shuttle up close. Participate in the Shuttle Launch Experience to feel what astronauts feel during a space launch.

  • Heroes & Legends: Visit the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame and see the Rocket Garden to view historic rockets from NASA's Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs.

  • IMAX Movies: Catch one of the IMAX films showing breathtaking footage from space missions.


Midday

  • Lunch: Have lunch at the Orbit Cafe within the Kennedy Space Center, where you can enjoy a variety of meals with an out-of-this-world theme.


Afternoon

  • Drive to Orlando: Around 2 PM, start your journey towards Orlando, which is about a 45-minute drive.

  • Explore Orlando: Once in Orlando, choose an activity based on your interests:

  • Icon Park: Visit Icon Park on International Drive, home to The Wheel, a 400-feet tall observation wheel offering panoramic views of downtown Orlando and beyond.

  • Madame Tussauds Orlando or SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium: Both attractions are located in Icon Park and are great for a more relaxed afternoon.


Evening

  • Dinner in Orlando: Enjoy dinner at one of the many restaurants along International Drive, catering to a wide range of tastes and budgets.

  • Sunset at Lake Eola Park: After dinner, if time permits, visit Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando. It's a picturesque spot perfect for a leisurely evening walk around the lake.


DAY 19 FLORIDA ROAD TRIP - – Fort Lauderdale


Drive back to Fort Lauderdale & Back. to Miami





As our Florida road trip drew to a close, we carried with us not just souvenirs, but also a treasure trove of memories. Each destination along the way, from the serene stretches of the Gulf Coast to the captivating allure of the Space Coast, left an indelible mark on our hearts. The friendships deepened, the laughs shared, and the sunsets witnessed from various shores reminded us why road trips are more than just travel—they’re a journey of discovery and joy. Until next time, Florida, keep shining brightly on all who traverse your roads.



This narrative frames your road trip as an unforgettable adventure through one of America's most dynamic states, highlighting both the journey and the destinations.

1件のコメント


shelbyblack2133
4 days ago

Thanks for sharing this! I have only been to Florida once, and that was for some business related to something super random like <a href="https://chemdryofjacksonville.com/">carpet cleaning in Jacksonville, FL</a>, but I have a trip booked to go back there this fall to explore more. Definitely following a lot of what you shared here and I can't wait.

いいね!
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