The weather is cooling off in most parts of the country, which may tempt you to head south to Florida.
A Florida road trip can be a great way to see the beautiful Sunshine State, and the following are things to know to help you plan.
General Rules of the Road
Florida has roadway laws and regulations similar to other places in the country, but you don’t want to have to return to the state to deal with a ticket well after your trip is over, so make sure you’re following them.
For example, it’s against the law to talk to on your cell phone while you’re behind the wheel in Florida. That’s important not just to avoid a ticket, but to keep your family and yourself safe as well.
There’s a mandatory child restraint law for passengers under the age of 16, and kids under four have to be in an approved car safety seat in Florida. Whenever you’re using your windshield wipers, you have to have your headlights on.
Within city limits, you can usually expect to see speed limits ranging from 20 to 50 mph, and on freeways inside city limits, speed limits are typically anywhere from 45 to 70 mph. On rural roads, speed limits are usually 55 to 65 mph and on freeways outside city limits, speed limits tend to be 70 mph.
The Most Scenic Drives
Florida is beautiful, and each part of the state is so unique from all the others.
The biggest challenge you’ll probably have is narrowing down your road trip choices in the state, but the following are some ideas to get you started.
Florida Keys Overseas Highway
The Overseas Highway is one of the best road trips in the world, and if it’s not on your bucket list, perhaps it should be.
It’s beautiful as you go over the many bridges that connect the mainland of South Florida to the Keys. There are more than 100 miles of stunning water in varying shades and there’s the chance to see manatees and dolphins. There’s also the old Railway bridge, which is iconic in and of itself.
A1A and Historic Coastal Byway
This stretch of road is on a barrier island located between the ocean and Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway. St. Augustine is located on this route too.
Scenic Highway 30A
This part of Florida is located along the Gulf of Mexico. 30A is known for some of the country’s most beautiful, wide white sand beaches and the dune lakes. You can stop at Alys Beach to feel like you’ve been transported to Santorini, thanks to the fabulous architecture. Artsy Grayton Beach and charming Seaside are also part of this route.
Starting at Neptune and going through to Jupiter will give you a tour of the space coast. You can stop at Cape Canaveral to see where NASA launches rockets and in Cocoa Beach, you’ll find vintage-style surf shops and a laid back atmosphere.
Other Florida Road Trip Tips
These are a few other tips to help you make the most of a Florida road trip:
- Unless you’re driving along the coast, many of Florida’s roads can be boring. This shouldn’t deter you, and you can focus your trip on staying near the coast to avoid this, but if you’re driving along I-95 primarily, it’s not going to be a very scenic experience.
- You’re probably going to see some reckless driving in Florida. There’s a lot of traffic and when people are behind the wheel, they tend to be aggressive—perhaps more so than what you notice in other states.
- The roads in Florida are remarkably flat, so make sure that doesn’t cause you to drive faster than you should or ordinarily would.
- You might want a SunPass. The Florida Turnpike goes through the length of Florida and a SunPass means you’ll have easy access to it wherever you are. You can pay cash, but if you don’t have a Sunpass, you won’t have accessibility to some of the turnpike exits.
- Traffic can be intense, particularly around the bigger cities.
Finally, wear sunscreen even in the car. You will get sunburned even as you drive. The sun is strong and your car windows probably won’t provide you enough protection. Keep water and snacks with you at all times because you don’t know how long you might be stuck in traffic at any given time, but beyond those tips enjoy your trip.