Florida

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Panhandle RoadMAPSPanhandle Tour

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Length: Approximately 549 miles

In the midst of summer, Florida’s Panhandle bustles with activity. Ride along the Gulf—better known as the Emerald Coast—and you’ll find pristine sugar-sand beaches, turquoise waters, an array of marine life, open-air shopping spots, fresh seafood, hidden coves and beaches, and some peaceful and quiet surfside towns, too. Turn inland and you’ll hit lush, mossy forests, salt springs, historic settlements, and some hidden restaurant gems. Main roads along the coast are flat and straight, but, particularly near Apalachicola, the pace will slow as you pass quaint rural bridges and vistas. Inland, SR 12 will take you through several scenic spots that are unlikely to show up on a travel brochure. Enjoy cozy Main Street rides and towering pines. This route is best done outside of summer when temperatures are cooler and roads are less crowded.

 

Sunshine Tour RoadMAPSSunshine Tour

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Length: Approximately 445 miles

This route is a feast for the eyes and the soul. Heading north on A1A, you’ll hit a portion of the infamous Ormond Scenic Loop & Trail (OSLT), a 30+ mile double loop of roadways that traverse some of the most unique, beautiful, and diverse natural settings in all of northeast Florida. Palms, pines, and low-hanging trees guide your way north to sparkling, historic St. Augustine. Heading west and need a break? Turn slightly off route on I-95 toward Yulee and check out the Florida Welcome Center, said to be one of the best in the country. While major highways will take you through Gainesville, you’ll have ample opportunity to veer off and experience natural preserves, gardens, and salt springs. Don’t miss the equestrian farms around Ocala or the dozens of larger-than-life murals painted across downtown Palatka.

 

Gulf Tour RoadMAPSGulf Tour

Length: Approximately 568 miles

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You’ll find that the area around Tampa has it all. The state’s warm climate has always attracted settlers from afar; head south toward the intriguing Koreshan State Historic Site—once the grounds of a new religion, Koreshanity—and see for yourself. As you glide along the coast, turn off route toward Barefoot Beach in Bonita Springs, a peaceful stretch of land perfect for soaking up the sun. Tracing the edge of the Everglades, you’ll head northeast, passing small barbecue spots, cafes, and diners along the way, perfect for a midday feast. Those in need of a dose of nature will be happy to find themselves rounding Lake Okeechobee. Later, veer off at Mosaic Peace River Park in Fort Meade before heading back toward Tampa.

 

A1A RoadMAPSA1A Scenic Coastal Byway

Length: Approximately 286 miles (one way)

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SR A1A is an enchanting north-south route spanning just south of Georgia on Amelia Island down toward Key West. This stretch of mostly two-lane roads navigates the stunning beauty, history, and quiet serenity of some of the state’s largest and smallest towns. You’ll pass museums, state parks, national monuments, trails, piers, estuaries, and preserves, with your pick of hundreds of places to fuel up on food. Shopping, art, and outdoor markets abound, and history buffs and veterans will stand in admiration at the Kennedy Space Center and National SEAL Museum. Whether you start early and stop often or cruise the whole way south, you’ll find each passing sight to be a delight.

 

Everglades RoadMAPSEverglades Tour

Length: Approximately 252 miles

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Only two routes cross the Everglades: Alligator Alley (I-75) and the Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41). This ride is best experienced between October and May, and riders should come prepared: Carry water, hydrate at every stop, and bring sunscreen. There will be lots of wildlife to see crossing the Everglades, and interesting places to stop. Don’t pull over when you see the first alligator—there’s an abundance of these reptiles along the route! Well-maintained for both the two-lane and four-lane portions of tarmac. Use caution when riding Snake Road as roadkill is common.

 

Key West RoadMAPSKey West Way

Length: Approximately 105 miles (one way)

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Every year on April 23, the Keys celebrate its own Independence Day, a week-long series of festivals. The road south through the Keys is flat and straightforward, but the scenery is breathtaking and life is laid-back. You’ll pass mangrove swamps and wildlife rehabilitation centers, witness spectacular sunsets, and have your pick of more than 200 restaurants. Once you hit Key West, consider hopping the ferry to Dry Tortugas, a picturesque national park home to Fort Jefferson, built after the War of 1812 to defend the country’s southern coastline.