Did you know that the state of Florida is a whopping 500 miles long? The Sunshine State’s unique size and shape make it one of the best states for a road trip. There’s so much to see along Florida’s Eastern shore! From the oldest city in America and The Space Coast to Disney World and tropical Key West, there’s something for everyone here. If you’re planning out a Florida East Coast road trip itinerary, make sure you include the exciting places we’ve listed below. Then, for more tips from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, locals, be sure to download our complimentary Vacation Guide!
What to Include on Your Florida East Coast Road Trip Itinerary
The Vibrant City of Jacksonville
One of the first Eastern Florida cities travelers encounter heading south on I-95 is Jacksonville. This vibrant urban spot is most known for its top-tier food, music, and craft beer scenes. However, Jacksonville also boasts a popular zoo, 20 miles of uncrowded beaches, and the largest urban park system in the country. The city of Jacksonville is 326 miles (about a 5-hour drive) north of Fort Lauderdale.
Historic St. Augustine
Ever wonder where to find the oldest city in the U.S.? It’s St. Augustine, Florida! This small city is located 293 miles (less than four and a half hours) north of Fort Lauderdale. Here, you’ll discover 16th-Century structures with plenty of Spanish flair left over from Colonial times. Plus, this city is one of the most welcoming and diverse in Northeast Florida!
A Theme Park in Orlando
What’s the first place that comes to mind when you think of Florida? It’s more than likely Disney World or Universal Studios! If you’ve never been to either of these monumental parks, a Florida East Coast road trip is the perfect way to make that first visit special! Orlando isn’t quite on the coast, but it’s a short drive away from the beaches of Florida’s Eastern shore. The city of Orlando is 218 miles Northwest of Fort Lauderdale (a 3-hour drive).
The Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island
If you haven’t already, you absolutely must add The Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island to your Florida East Coast road trip itinerary! Since the 1960s, this center has been a key part of NASA’s study and execution of human spaceflight. Did you know that the first Apollo flights were managed by the Kennedy Space Center? Visiting is a must for any space enthusiast or history buff!
Fun, Funky, and Family-Friendly Fort Lauderdale
Whether you want to end your journey here or make it a stop in your trip, Fort Lauderdale is easily the best itinerary item you can include on your itinerary! We recommend spending the most time (at least four days) here to make the most of this lively city’s fabulous attractions and activities. Discover picturesque canals, beautiful beaches, bustling Las Olas bars, romantic restaurants, and family-friendly attractions here in “The Venice of America!”
Key West: The Southernmost Point of the Continental U.S.
Once in Fort Lauderdale, you’ll be just four hours away from Key West, a true American icon (that’s less than 275 miles away from The Bahamas)! This makes for a perfect day trip from your private vacation rental in Fort Lauderdale. Drive down and take in the tropical, blue-green waters and be sure to snap a photo at the “Southernmost Point in the Continental U.S.” marker. If you don’t want to drive quite that far, a good alternative is Everglades National Park, a 2-hour drive from Fort Lauderdale.
If you’re looking for a truly unique vacation along Florida’s Eastern shore, don’t stay in a boring, cramped, and conventional hotel room. Instead, book a luxurious-yet-affordable vacation rental with Fort Lauderdale Stays! Imagine having your own place to come back to at the end of the day—no noisy neighbors, your own private pool (heated to a comfortable 88 degrees), and premium amenities found nowhere else. If you crave a true V.I.P. experience in Fort Lauderdale, you can even opt for our convenient Concierge Services. We offer private massage therapy, personal chefs, family photography, acupuncture services, and so much more! How’s that for a unique vacation? Whether you place Fort Lauderdale at the beginning, middle, or end of your Florida East Coast itinerary, we have you covered!