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Florida is the perfect family road trip destination. The state is huge and has so much to offer from 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.
*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
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
You can end your day by visiting St. George Street. It is filled with restaurants and one of our favorite stops Hyppo for homemade popsicles! They even had a champagne flavored one. And yes, those are our dogs. St. Augustine is super dog friendly!
We also recommend checking out: https://www.historictours.com/staugustine/index.php they offer great package 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.
Visit our post about St. Augustine
Where to Stay:
RV Park: St Johns RV Park – http://www.stjohnsrvpark.com/
Let me tell you up front there is NOTHING special about this RV park. And to be honest when we first pulled in we thought it might be a little shady . . . there are some permanent trailers where people live in the back of the park. Given the price we got (with Passport America) and how close it was to downtown St. Augustine it worked out great. Which is why we recommend it. We also had no problems when we were there and the staff was very nice.
Hotel: Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront
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 below.
Ocala National Forest: http://www.exploringthelocallife.com/alexander-springs-ocala-national-forest-play-swim-snorkel-and-scuba/
Lyonia Preserve: http://www.exploringthelocallife.com/lyonia-preserve-florida-scrub-jay-habitat-native-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. We wrote a post about our tips for visiting in 1 day here: 11 Tips For Visiting Magic Kingdom In 1 Day
Here are some tips from Global Munchkins: Disney World Tips & Tricks
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.
Universal Studios instead?
With our kids being younger (our oldest was 8 at the time) we decided not to go to Universal since it seemed like most of the rides were for older/taller kids. We are excited for when the kids are bigger and will definitely be checking out Universal in the future, they are really into Harry Potter! If your kids are older and Universal is more your style check out these great post from fellow travel bloggers:
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!
You can learn more about it in our post: Tubing By Orlando The Best Non Disney Experience
If your kids are 12 or younger we recommend also making a stop at Legoland 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 and the Legoland hotel.
You could also look to plan a trip over to the Kennedy Space Center and maybe catch a launch!
Where to stay:
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 then 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.
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
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.
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/resturants and do a little dance in the street.
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.
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 aquarium has a lot of offer and some great shows.
Check out our post on: 7 Things To Do with Kids in Miami
Where to stay:
RV Park: Miami Evergaldes RV Park – https://www.crazyfamilyadventure.com/miami-everglades-rv-resort/
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
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, and along the way, check these amazing stops:
Feed the Tarpons
Stop at Robbie’s and feed the Tarpons. It is a really cool experience. For just a few bucks, you get a bucket of fish that you then feed to the large tarpon that hang out by the pier. 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. 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
Key West – Fort Zachary Taylor
Explore the fort and spend time at the beach. The beach doesn’t have soft white sand, but 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
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 ride 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!
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.
Check out We3Travel’s post: Family Fun In The Florida Keys to learn more as well!
Where To Stay:
RV Park: Boyds Campground – https://www.boydscampground.com/
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. 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. So 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: http://www.sharkvalleytramtours.com/.
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 https://www.nps.gov/bicy/planyourvisit/midway-campground.htm It is a 21 minute drive from there to Shark Valley.
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.
Looking for things to do in central Florida other than Orlando? Stop at the Highland Hammock State Park. It is a beautiful park and we recommend taking at least 1 of the hikes before heading out. 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!
Hotel: The Inn On The Lakes We did not stay here but due to its location we would recommend it.
Here is a post from a fellow travel bloggers the BareNeckers about their time at Highland Hammock.
Voted one of the best beaches in Florida. Clearwater is a beautiful beach with white sand and aquamarine water. Just be prepared that it can be very busy. If you can spend a day hanging out at the beach and then head to the main street to check out the shops and grab dinner.
Visit Winter from the movie Dolphin Tale 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.
Where to Stay:
RV Park: It is a bit of a drive, but we stayed at Lazy Days and made the 1 hour drive into Clearwater Beach.
Hotel: Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort would be a great place to stay due to its proximity to the beach!
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 and a dolphin cruise. Plus there is under the sea bowling and a lot of yummy restaurants in the area.
Here is our post on Destin (we have stayed twice: 3 weeks one time and a month the next and we totally miss it!).
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.
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!
If you are looking for more ideas on Florida check out our guest post on yTravel Blog: 18 Places To Visit With Kids In Florida
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 depending on how much time you spend at each location. You will be covering a lot of miles but it will be worth it to see all of these amazing places and to get a real feel for what Florida is all about!
Be sure to check out Passport America if planning on camping throughout Florida, you’ll save a bundle!
Want more road trip ideas? Check out our post on 365AtlantaFamily: 20+ Things To Do In Florida On The Ultimate Sunshine State Road Trip
Looking for a Florida Beach focused trip? Check out our post on 365AtlantaFamily: Florida Beaches: 25 Best Family Vacation Destinations
Want some more tips on Florida? I told you this was the Ultimate guide :). Check out these amazing Places To Visit In Florida.
Recommended Itinerary for 14 nights:
And if you want to get our free eBook on the Ultimate Florida Road Trip With Your Family click the image below.
The ebook documents everything in this post, along with an area for notes under each city, so you can easily print it and use it for your planning and when you go on your trip.
If you have any questions on the Ultimate Florida Road Trip, let us know in the comments!
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