Florida is the perfect family road trip destination. The state is huge and has so much to offer from white sandy beaches to springs to Disney World! Our Ultimate Florida Road Trip will take you from one end of the state down around and back up to the Florida panhandle.
You’ll see the Atlantic Coast and the Gulf Coast. Enjoy one of the best road trips for families in the United States! Have you thought about renting an RV for your trip? We highly recommend it!
*Be sure to check out our FREE Ultimate Florida Road Trip With Your Family eBook below!
Table of Contents
- The Ultimate Florida Road Trip Map
- St. Augustine
- Florida Keys and Key West
- Everglades National Park
- Highlands Hammock State Park
- Port St Joe Florida in Gulf County
- Recommended Itinerary for 14 nights
- Free eBook
- More Florida Travel Ideas
The Ultimate Florida Road Trip Map
There are so many things to do in St Augustine Florida, it’s an amazing way to start your ultimate Florida road trip. We recommend 2 nights, but really you could stay a week. If you are staying 2 days visit:
St. Augustine Alligator Farm
You can spend hours here exploring all the different alligators, feeding them, and watching the shows. Plus for only $5 you can take your picture with a baby alligator!
Fountain of Youth
It seemed like such a tourist trap to us, but really there is more to it than just the fountain. The grounds are beautiful and filled with multiple history lessons – including the Timucuan Village and seeing them fire a cannon! The road to get to the Fountain of Youth is also amazing with a canopy of old oaks covering the street. Needless to say it is worth it to go.
St. George Street
And yes, those are our dogs. St. Augustine is super dog friendly!
We also recommend checking out Historic Tours of America, they offer great packages and other ideas of things to do in the area. The trolley was an amazing way to get around town and really learn a lot about St. Augustine. It also meant we didn’t have to drive and find parking everywhere we went.
Or you could check out this trolley tour that takes you to three of St. Augustine’s museums: The Old Jail, St. Augustine History Museum and The Oldest Store Museum! Another option is the Boat and Private Golf Cart Tour where you can experience all that the city has to offer!
Visit our post about St. Augustine
Where to Stay:
St Augustine’s Premier RV Resort located very close to downtown St Augustine.
Compass RV Resort offers another good location in St. Augustine with only a 15-20 minute drive to get downtown. This campground also has two dog parks!
Another option is Ocean Grove RV Resort that is about 7 miles from the historic district. This campground includes a boat launch, restaurant, golf cart rental, and more!
We did not stay in a hotel when we were there but given where this hotel is located we think it would be a great place to stay. If you stay here you could walk to a lot of the downtown attractions or easily get on the trolley.
If you are looking for a stop to make in between St. Augustine and Orlando check out Exploring The Local Life’s post on Lyonia Preserve.
You can’t come to Florida and not go to Orlando. Plan on at least 3 days for all of these things to do in Orlando, Florida:
Visit Magic Kingdom for 1 day. We have done it multiple times and really feel you can see the majority of the park in 1 day. Here is a post we wrote about our tips for visiting in 1 day here: 11 Tips For Visiting Magic Kingdom In 1 Day
We always love finding unique things to do when we visit places. Check out Merlot Mommy’s post on: 6 Unique Things To Do In Walt Disney World
Plan on heading to Animal Kingdom? Our friends at We3Travel share what the best ride is in Animal Kingdom and all of Disney!
Discovery Cove is another cool place to check out: A Day At Discovery Cove.
We had put off going to Universal Studios until our kids were a little older. When our youngest turned 6 we figured it was a good time to go! We had an absolute blast and loved every minute of it. There was plenty to do with younger kids and the older ones could go on almost all of the rides.
We also had a great time going to Volcano Bay and highly recommend if you are going to Universal plan a day at Volcano Bay!
Ideally we would recommend 3 days to explore Universal. 1 day for each park and 1 day for Volcano Bay.
Travel Babbo shares: Why We Prefer Universal Orlando To Disney World
Great tips from Global Munchkins on visiting Universal: The Best Universal Orlando Tips From A Pro
Have teens? Merlot Mommy shares: The Best Rides for Teens at Universal Orlando Resort
Go tubing at Kelly Rock Springs and visit Downtown Disney. This has been one of our favorite things. The water is crystal clear and with all the beautiful greenery and perfect water it is a can’t miss destination!
You start from the top of the spring on an inner tube and float all the way down to the beach. AMAZING!
If your kids are 12 or younger we recommend also making a stop at LEGOLAND Florida for a day. The size of the park is so much easier to manage then Disney World and in a day you can pretty much do every ride and see the shows.
Here is our post on LEGOLAND Theme Park and the LEGOLAND Hotel.
If you are interested in visiting Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando or LEGOLAND Florida, you may want to consider using City Pass! City Pass will allow you to order tickets to any of these locations on one convenient website and give you a great discounted price!
If you haven’t checked out the Escape Game yet, you are missing out! At Escape Game Orlando you can test your teamwork and sleuthing skills by trying to escape from one of eight themed rooms with your team or family in under an hour. It is a ton of fun for the whole family and a great teamwork exercise as well!
Orlando Museum of Art
If you are looking to take in some culture or expand your horizons a bit while in Orlando, check out the Museum of Art! Take a look at the museum’s calendar of events and see if there is something exciting happening in the art gallery, or just stop in anytime and take a tour!
Get tickets here for the Kennedy Space Center!
Have older kids? Check out this post on things to do with teens in Orlando.
Where to stay:
Luxury Villa: If you are looking to kick back with a big group or want to experience a luxury vacation home check out the Luxury Villas! We stayed here for a week with friends and it was AMAZING!!
RV Park: Orlando RV Resort – https://www.thousandtrails.com/florida/orlando-rv-resort/
With our RV we always stay at the Thousand Trails Orlando. Its proximity to all of the things we listed above is great and you are a little ways away from the hustle and bustle of Orlando. If you want a more glamorous place to stay than Disney’s Fort Wilderness is for you. We spent a day there and it was pretty awesome and we know other RVers who call it their FAVORITE place to stay in the whole US.
If you want to stay outside Orlando, Mill Creek RV Resort is in Kissimmee – only about 30 minutes from the Orlando theme parks. Also, all of these sites are on concrete patios!
Another option outside Orlando is in Davenport. Only 25-30 minutes from the Orlando theme parks, Mouse Mountain RV Resort offers a selection of standard and premium sites.
If you want to splurge stay at the Fort Wilderness Resort! We haven’t stayed here but went and visited once and it was amazing.
Hotel: Embassy Suites on International Drive
If you are looking for a hotel and want to give your kids a special treat then stay at the Legoland Hotel. They have gifts for your kids once they complete a scavenger hunt in your room, all the legos you want to play with in the lobby and some amazing shows.
Then of course there are all the Disney properties. To be honest we always look for ways to cut costs so we can take more trips and do more things. In that mindset we stayed at an Embassy Suites that provide breakfast was close to Disney – so that is always an option too.
Here are a couple other hotel options:
Stuffed Suitcase shares their experience at Lake Buena Vista Resort Village and Spa in Orlando.
Travel Babbo shares their review of The Hotel That Made Us Skip Disney World.
Here is a great list of the Best Hotels For Families In Orlando.
If are looking for a few extra free things to do check out Real Mom Reviews:5 Free Things To Do With Kids In Orlando, Florida. And if you are a waterpark family check out: Best Water Parks In Orlando.
Miami has an amazing Cuban presence and vibe to it. Head into Little Havana and grab some ice cream at Azucar and then walk down the street to see if you can hear any cuban music coming from the bar/restaurants and do a little dance in the street. You can book a Food and Cultural tour here!
Next head into Wynwood and check out the amazing artwork on the sides of the building. This is an up and coming area in Miami and has an awesome vibe to it! You can also park and get out and walk around Wynwood Walls to check out the artwork and restaurants in the area. You can also book a Buggies Tour here!
Go to South Beach and see what South Beach is really like! We didn’t get a chance to get out of our car due to how busy it was. But it was cool to drive down A1A and take in everything South Beach has to offer.
Yes, they have an Orca whale – yes, we have mixed feelings – but we still went and saw the show and it was a really cool experience to see an Orca Whale up close. The rest of the Seaqaurium has a lot of offer and some great shows.
Grab your Seaquarium tickets here! Don’t forget to check out Miami Beach while you are there!
If wildlife is more your thing, book an Airboat Ride in the Everglades or check out Tropical Botanical Garden & Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary at Flamingo Gardens
Check out our post on: 7 Things To Do with Kids in Miami
Where to stay:
RV Park: Miami Everglades RV Park
We stayed at the Encore RV park. We had to drive a ways to get into downtown Miami – but it was still worth it since the RV park was so nice and quiet. Plus they had a great pool, hot tub and mini golf course!
Hotel: Check out this highly rated family friendly hotel: InterContinental Miami
VRBO: Check out this Mediterranean-style cottage with private swimming pool!
Ever wonder the distance from Miami to Key West? Well, it’s about 160 miles. Crazy, right?! That 3 hour drive could be a road trip in itself! Well, now you know the distance from Miami to Key West, on your Florida Keys Road Trip, check these amazing stops:
Feed the Tarpons
So fun! Just look out for the Pelicans, they’re savage!
Grab lunch at Sunset Grille
This is a cool restaurant on the water that has a pool! It is a great place to stop, eat lunch and take a swim before heading on. Make sure to check out their Key Lime Pie! Once you are done swimming walk up the stairs that go under the bridge and walk out on the famous 7 Mile Bridge.
7 Mile Bridge
While you are on the way to Key West, you might want to check out Long Key State Park! Here is a video of our time there:
Key West – Fort Zachary Taylor
Explore the fort and spend time at the beach enjoying the Atlantic Ocean! The beach doesn’t have soft white sand beaches, most in the Keys don’t due to the reef but that’s OK. The color of the water and the ability to snorkel right off the beach make up for it! There is also a small restaurant here where you can grab lunch and a beer.
Key West – Mallory Square
Then head to Mallory Square for the Sunset Celebration. There are a variety of fun shows for the whole family. Yes, some of the comments can be a little crude (they do try really hard to make it family friendly) – but normally will go right over your kids head. We were able to drink from a coconut and enjoy some great food too.
Key West – Fury Ultimate Adventure
The Fury Ultimate Adventure is one of our favorite things we have done! Spend 6 hours on a large catamaran where they feed you all day and provide all you can drink soda plus beer and wine at the end the end of the trip. While you snorkel, parasail, jet ski and play on huge inflatables in the middle of the ocean. Such an amazing time!!
You can learn more at our post: The 4 Best Water Activities With Kids In Key West.
Key West – Dry Tortugas
If you can fit it in, take the boat tour out to the Dry Tortugas. It is an amazing and magical place. Seriously, it is an island 70 miles off of Key West with the bluest water you have ever seen and a beach filled with conch shells. And the fort offers the best photo opportunities.
Get Dramamine and be prepared for the long and bumpy boat ride.
Here is our post on it: Dry Tortugas – One For The Bucket List
Or if you have enough time, plan on camping on the Dry Tortugas! We didn’t get a chance to do it but it is on our list to go back and stay for a few nights. Here is a post from a family of 5, Currently Wandering, who spent a few days on the Tortugas (lucky!): Family Camping In Dry Tortugas National Park
You can check out: https://www.historictours.com/keywest/index.php for more ideas and discounted packages on things to do in Key West. We really enjoyed the aquarium and the kids loved being able to feed the sharks!
More On The Florida Keys
We spent 2 1/2 months in the Florida Keys. You can check out all of our posts on our time there on our: Florida Keys page.
You can check out even more activities in Key West here! Check out all the great kayaking options in Florida parks here!
Where To Stay:
RV Park: Boyds Campground
We haven’t stayed here but we have heard if you want to be close to Key West this is a great place to stay with your RV.
Another option located a little over an hour from Key West is Pelican RV Resort in Marathon.
If you are looking for a less expensive option and somewhere that is in a quieter location, we recommend Sunshine Key – which is where we stayed. It is a good 90 minute drive into Key West so be prepared for that. Or, if you can get in, the Bahia Honda State Park is amazing – especially if you get right on the water.
Hotel: Casa Marina Resort, in Key West. The property is beautiful and not right in the middle of downtown Key West – which we think is a great fit for being with a family in Key West.
If you can stay in the Keys for longer we also recommend Hawks Cay! The only problem with staying here is you won’t want to leave but will instead want to stay at the hotel and enjoy all the amenities.
For a road trip it would be great for a couple day break but we really recommend it if you are looking for a week long stay in one place.
Make a stop at the Shark Valley Visitor Center in the northern end of the Everglades and take a tram ride (may have to buy tickets well ahead of time for this) or if you have your bikes or want to rent them you can take the 15 mile bike ride into Shark Valley – which we recommend! You don’t need tickets to do the biking.
You can learn more about the tram and about renting bicycles here: Shark Valley Tram Tours
It is one amazing and wild ride as you pedal right past gigantic alligators!!! And depending on the weather you may even be riding through rain puddles with alligators sitting right in them. Once you reach the lookout you can climb to the top and have an amazing view of the Everglades.
At 15 miles round trip it is a long ride, but the path is paved and flat – but like in our case – if it is windy, it can be challenging.
Be prepared when you get to Shark Valley Visitor Center that there may be a line to get into the parking lot. They have a small parking lot and they only let so many people in.
We just sat in our car and waited our turn. It took about 20 minutes or so. A few other people parked on the road outside the entrance.
If you have your bikes I recommend waiting for a spot in the lot since you will be there a while.
Check out our post on Shark Valley here: 7 Things To Do With Kids in Miami.
Where to Stay:
RV Park: If you are up for National Park Camping we recommend Midway Campground. It is a 21 minute drive from there to Shark Valley. If you don’t mind a 45-minute drive, Riptide RV Resort in Key Largo is another good option.
Hotel: Best Western Plus Kendall Hotel & Suites We did not stay here but do to its location it would be great for visiting Shark Valley. It is about a 38 minute drive to Shark Valley Visitor Center.
The Cyprus Swamp – Highland Hammock Trail is one of our favorite hikes. A couple of our kids were a little freaked out about it but when it was said and done everyone had fun!
Here is our post on: Highland Hammock State Park.
Where to stay:
RV Park: Highland Hammock State Park campground. We stayed here and it was great! Lake Josephine RV Park and Buttonwood Bay RV Resort, located in Sebring, are two other great options since they’re only about 20 minutes from the State Park.
Hotel: The Inn On The Lakes We did not stay here but due to its location we would recommend it.
VRBO: Check out this Lake Retreat in downtown Sebring!
If you can spend a day hanging out at the beach and then head to the main street to check out the shops and restaurants and grab some food and drinks.
Bring Florida home with you with this awesome hurricane drink recipe!
Visit Hope from the movie Dolphin Tale 2 at the Clearwater Aquarium and be sure to take the free boat ride over to the museum that is dedicated to the movie. And be on the look out for dolphins in the ocean on the ride!
Here is our post on Clearwater Aquarium.
If you are looking for something different to try while in Clearwater, why not try a customizable helicopter tour? Check it out here!
Check out more great activities to do in Clearwater! Plus things to do in Tampa Bay with families! Or maybe take a road trip to Siesta Key.
Where to Stay:
VRBO: Check out the Orange Blossom Beach Cottage for a stay less than a mile from the aquarium!
Luxury Villa: Check out this villa where you can walk right off the patio and on to Clearwater Beach’s sugary sand!
We recently spent a week in Port St Joe, Florida and were so pleasantly surprised with how awesome the forgotten coast is!
You can kayak and snorkel in the bay. Take a boat out to look for dolphins. Have a campfire on the beach and find some of the best shells we have ever found!
Gulf County, Florida is beautiful!
You can learn more about it here: 21 Fun Things To Do In Port St Joe Florida
Finish your trip by stopping in Destin for a day of relaxation. If the weather is going to be warm enough when you go then get a hotel room on the beach and plan on just kicking back and relaxing for your last few days.
If you aren’t ready to relax Destin also offers an amazing pirate boat adventure for the kids, private catamaran tours with Smile N Wave and a dolphin cruise. Plus there is under the sea bowling and a lot of yummy restaurants in the area. We also loved The Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park just outside Destin!
The sunsets are amazing so be sure to catch it each night you are there! And you will want to try the Crab at the Crap Trap!
Here is our post on Destin (we have visited multiple times and we totally miss it when we leave!).
Where to Stay:
RV Park: Camp Gulf on the beach!
It is by far one of our favorite RV parks and we highly recommend paying the extra to stay on the beach.
About half an hour from Destin is The Hideaway Retreat in Navarre, FL. With large, beautiful oak and magnolia trees surrounding the sites, this campground on the Santa Rosa Sound offers lots of shade and a true outdoor atmosphere.
About an hour the other direction is Emerald Coast RV Resort in Panama City Beach. With two heated pools, a hot tub, fitness center, and more, this campground offers plenty to do when you aren’t visiting Destin.
Hotel: Hilton Sandestin
The hotel is actually pretty close to the RV park. You can walk on the beach to the hotel from the RV park and get a drink at their bar/restaurant. A great way to watch the sunset!
VRBO: Check out this cottage, only one block from public beach access, with a private swimming pool!
Check out more VRBO options for your Florida Road Trip here.
Luxury Villa: This incredible Luxury Stay has a Private Pool and Balcony overlooking the gorgeous Destin Beach. The view doesn’t get better than this and the list of amenities just goes on and on.
Recommended Itinerary for 14 nights
You could replace Clearwater with Port St Joe if you wanted to spend more time on the Panhandle of Florida.
And if you want to get our free eBook on the Ultimate Florida Road Trip With Your Family click the image below.
More Florida Travel Ideas
Florida has so much to offer. If you can, we recommend staying for months – we stayed for 6. But if that isn’t an option this road trip could take approximately 2 weeks.
It could be longer or shorter depending on how much time you spend at each location. You will be covering a lot of miles but it is worth it to see all of these amazing places.
There are so many amazing places to visit in Florida, from small towns to big cities. It is impossible to list them all! Here are a few more awesome stops that our blogger friends have written about:
Things to Do in Tampa Bay in a Day and don’t forget to check out St. Petes Beach in St. Petersburg while you’re there! You can also visit Cocoa Beach, Blue Springs, Crystal River, Vero Beach and so many more amazing places!
A trip to Florida can be spent doing day trips all over the state or you can pick one place to stay for your whole trip.
You may also want to check out some of the great things to do in Fort Lauderdale, see JN Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, or check out the Barrier Islands in the Gulf of Mexico.
Anna Marie Island is another great place to check out!
If you have any questions on the Ultimate Florida Road Trip, let us know in the comments!
Looking for another Road Trip? Check out these great East Cost Family Vacation Spots!
How about other fun things to do around Florida?! Check out:
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