The ultimate Florida road trip

Beaches as far as the eye can see, dolphins, manatees, alligators, shells, breathtaking sunsets…

Miami isn't the only thing to see in the Sunshine State. Pack your suitcase, we're leaving on the ultimate Florida road trip!

Road trip map

Best florida road trip map
Map of the ultimate Florida road trip

Road trip summary

Day 1-2 : Miami

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Art Deco and antique car in South Beach

Your ultimate Florida road trip begins with a bang in Miami, the third most visited city in the United States. 

Miami, also known as the "Magic City", is a city of many faces. With its proximity to the Caribbean and South America, there is no lack of cultural diversity here.

Little Havana is, you guessed it, the city's Cuban neighbourhood. As you stroll through its streets, you will feel like you are actually in Cuba. 

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Cuban café in Little Havana

Take advantage of this opportunity to practice your Spanish, enjoy authentic Cuban cuisine and try some dance moves. If you're a little rusty (and/or shy), a mojito should be enough to loosen you up. 

Downtown Miami is where you'll find the city's skyscrapers, but also the world's leading cruise port.  All year long, a horde of tourists stop here before or after their Caribbean cruise. 

Nearby Bayside Market Place, a large open air shopping centre, offers a scenic view of the port. 

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Aerial view of South Beach

Obviously, a stay in Miami wouldn't be complete without spending an afternoon lounging on the white sands of South Beach, a peninsula with numerous beaches, nightclubs and hotel resorts.

Whether you're looking to party or simply relax, you have come to the right place! 

Day 3 to 5 : Key West (260 km)

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Typical small Key West houses

And now, let the road trip begin!

Today you set a course for the Keys, a 200-kilometre archipelago of islands that stretches between Florida and the West Indies.

Your destination is just 150 kilometres from Cuba, surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico: Key West, the most southernmost city in the United States. 

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Pelican in the Keys

Key West is a true seaside paradise. Be sure to take a walk along the beach and go for a swim.

Many water activities can be enjoyed here, including sailing, snorkeling, kayaking, dolphin watching cruises, and more. 

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Sunset in Key West

At the end of the day, be sure to take in the sunset, an experience that will remain etched in your memory. 

If you feel like going out, head to Duval Street, the liveliest street in Key West. You will find a number of restaurants, boutiques, nightclubs and bars. It's also a very gay-friendly district. 

 

Day 6 : Everglades (199 km)

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Wildlife watching tour in the Everglades

Today's destination is the Everglades, the largest national park in Florida.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the largest designated subtropical wilderness on the North American continent

Several endangered species, such as the American alligator, the American crocodile and the Florida panther, live in this protected habitat.

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Alligator in the Everglades

The classic activity to do in the Everglades is an airboat alligator safari. It's also a great way to explore the park and its mysterious swamps.

You can also walk, cycle (bike rental available on site) or take a tram tour along a 22-kilometre trail called the Shark Valley Loop.

Mosquitoes are everywhere in the wetlands. To reduce the number of bites, wear long, light-colored clothing and a good mosquito repellent!

 

Day 7-8 : Sanibel Island (293 km)

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Sanibel beach

No rush this morning; you are just 150 kilometres from your next stop: Sanibel Island. 

Sanibel is known for its postcard-worthy beaches and for the impressive quantity of shells found there. In fact, more than 400 species of seashells have been found along the Sanibel shoreline, some of which are extremely rare

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Sanibel shells

If you're travelling with young children, Lighthouse Beach, on the south of the island, will be perfect for you. Very popular with families, it is a great place for swimming, fishing and walking.

Couples may prefer Bowman Beach, which is more isolated and therefore much quieter. It is also the only beach with barbecue grills for the use of visitors.

A picnic at the end of the day is the perfect way to enjoy the sunset with your feet in the sand.

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Sanibel beach

More than one-third of the island is covered by the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

The refuge offers a self-guided drive-through tour (less than 7 kilometres), along which you can stop whenever you wish.  

Try to go early in the morning, when there is a greater chance of seeing wildlife.

At any time of day, you are sure to see many birds, and can learn about them from the refuge's naturalist guides.

 

Day 9-10 : Crystal River (366 km)

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Water activities in Crystal River

Next you head for a manatee haven.

Also known as sea cows, these large marine mammals are herbivores and are peaceful and curious by nature. 

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Swimming with the manatees

Don't miss this chance to go snorkeling with the manatees. This is the only place in North America where it is possible to live an experience like this!

It's sure to be a highlight of your Florida trip.

 

Day 11-12 : Orlando (138 km)

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The magic of Disney

Get ready to hear the children shout for joy because today's destination is the theme park capital of the world: Orlando!

Walt Disney World is a must. It is divided into several theme parks that all have something to impress young and old alike! If you only have time to visit one park, this is it! 

For the ultimate experience, don't hesitate to book accommodations inside the park. At Disney hotels, nothing is left to chance, right down to the smallest details. 

For the next two days, just give in to the magic. You'll step back into your childhood, guaranteed.

 

Day 13 : Cape Canaveral (99 km)

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Kennedy Space Center

Less than an hour's drive from Orlando is Cape Canaveral, your last stop before returning to Miami.

If the name rings a bell, it's probably because many space shuttles have been launched here over the last twenty years. 

A tour of the Kennedy Space Center is a must. You will have the chance to experience a simulated shuttle launch, and see real rockets and the space shuttle Atlantis! 

If you prefer a day at the beach, head to Cocoa Beach. You will have a great view of the huge cruise ships at anchor in Cape Canaveral. 

 

Day 14-15 Miami (322 km)

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On the way to the airport

Head back to Miami for one last evening. 

The next day, it's back to the airport to board your flight home.

Your Florida vacation may be over, but you have beautiful memories that will last a lifetime

And there you go!

If you can't decide between visiting the United States or Canada, Florida could be a good compromise...

Several hundred thousand Canadians known as "snowbirds" flock to Florida each year to pass the winter months. 

So don't be surprised to hear a Canadian accent over drinks at the bar!

What about you: is Florida a destination you'd like to visit? Don't hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments below

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