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Did you know that Florida has more than 825 miles of beautiful coastal beaches to explore? And, if you are ready for adventure, the Sunshine State has such diverse ecosystems that it will allow you to snorkel with colorful sea life, take in rodeo at a Florida dude ranch as well as take a kayak, drive a boat, or fish in the 3rd largest state park in America, Everglades National Park, with alligators and snakes and turtles…oh my! Don’t forget that you can get super close to outer space, too! Read on for a seven-day Florida road trip itinerary for families who are looking for sun, fun, and adventure. There is much more to Florida than just visiting our resident mouse–Mickey Mouse, that is. (Although we might just see him, too!)
Florida Road Trip Day 1: Key Largo
Photo by: Bigstock/Frazao
Start your Florida road trip adventure in the Florida Keys. Head out to Key Largo for a day of snorkeling in crystal blue waters of Pennekamp State Park. It is the first undersea park founded in the United States and is the perfect place to snorkel, dive, or just cruise in a glass bottom boat. If you are looking to book a private boat, we recommend booking reservations a few days in advance. Be sure to make time for a sunset dinner is the landmark Bayside Grill. The all-glass panoramic view and fresh seafood are both amazing. Don’t forget to order Key Lime Pie for dessert!
Where to stay: Rest the night away at the casual Hilton Key Largo Resort. The resort sits on a white sand beach at the edge of the Everglades, and has kayaks, stand up paddleboards, and WaveRunners for guests to enjoy.
Day 2: Key Largo to Everglades National Park to Miami
40 miles to Everglades NP, 47 miles from Everglades to Miami
Photo by: Bigstock/EugeneKalenkovich
Rise and shine with a gorgeous sunrise in Key Largo and get your water shoes on for a day of adventure in Everglades National Park! This day trip will lead you to adventures such as fishing, boat tours, kayaking, or ranger-guided hiking tours. Start with a visit to the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center in Homestead where rangers can assist you in finding the perfect experience for your family. They can also tip you off on great spots to see wildlife. If you want to see crocodiles and manatees, continue all the way down to Flamingo. Flamingo is also a great place for bird watching. Several species hang out at area ponds.
Once you are done with your Everglades adventure, you are headed to Miami Beach! “¡Bienvenido a Miami!”
Day 3: Miami
Photo by: Bigstock/Miami2You
Start your adventure in the vibrant city of Miami Beach in the gorgeous Art Deco District. This neighborhood contains the world’s largest collection of unique, Art Deco architecture (800+ buildings). Stay right in South Beach at the Westgate South Beach, and take an afternoon to explore Jungle Island or the Miami Seaquarium. The Bayside Marketplace is a great place for shopping, dining, and people-watching. Several boat tours leave from the area, including tours of Star Island, home to to the rich and famous. For dinner, head to Little Havana for a Cuban meal you will never forget.
Day 4: Miami to Palm Beach
Photo by: Bigstock/SeanPavonePhoto
Wake up and head to South Beach to take a stroll on the iconic A1A “Beachfront Avenue”. Ocean Drive is picturesque in the morning sunlight. You have a short drive today, so take in a beautiful Florida morning at Lummus Park and don’t forget your camera! Grab a bite to eat one of the many boutique hotels or B&B’s and enjoy their outdoor restaurants on Ocean Drive. People-watch as you listen to the sound of the ocean and the Spanish music playing in the background. Once you arrive in Palm Beach, check out the Palm Beach Zoo or the Lion County Safari. A super cool nighttime activity is the Full Moon Paddle Tour at Jupiter Outdoor Center. This after-dark activity for families is a one to be remembered.
Where to stay: Discover family-friendly luxury at historic The Breakers Palm Beach.
Photo by: Bistock/RobertHoelink
Drive north on I-95 to Cape Canaveral to end up in outer space for the day. Kennedy Space Center is NASA’s launch headquarters and the only place on Earth where you can tour launch areas, meet a veteran astronaut, see giant rockets, or train in spaceflight simulators! Expect to spend all day at this massive complex, bonus points if you are there for a rocket launch!
Where to stay: Cocoa Beach is a short drive from Cape Canaveral, and offers beachside accommodations!
Photo by: DisneyParks/Ryan Wendler
If you want to keep driving, our friends at McCool Travel has put together a list of 7 scenic drives in Florida. It seems you could just keep on driving.
As you look at the map and plan your final destination, you will notice that there can be multiple endings to this Florida road trip! We suggest you spend your last few days in Central Florida.
Option 1: Orlando and Walt Disney World
If you have kids and they ultimately associate Florida with Disney, then it might be a great way to end the vacation on a high note with a trip to Walt Disney World! Stay at one of the many resorts on-site, or at the Westgate Town Center to avoid crowds, enjoy more space, and see more of Orlando. Check out our Ultimate Disney Vacation Planning Guide to learn about everything you need to know before visiting Mickey and friends. For all the options for family fun in Orlando, check out the Top 10 Things to do in Orlando.
Option 2: Central Florida dude ranch-style
Did your spouse really want to hit Montana instead of Florida? Then a trip to the Westgate River Ranch (Central Florida) will have them thinking they were out west. Known as the cowboy theme park, this unique Florida dude ranch experience will have you riding horses, watching rodeos, and living the old Florida days when Florida was home to cowboys and cattle ranchers. With 1,700 acres of beautiful land in Central Florida, there is no shortage of activities for every family member. Enjoy horseback riding, golf, or even visit a petting farm. Here’s a great list of unique and awesome things to do in Central Florida to get you started.
Discolosure: This post was sponsored by Westgate Resorts: Founded in 1982 by David A. Siegel, Westgate Resorts is one of the largest resort developers in the United States. Westgate features 27 themed destination resorts with over 10,500 luxury villas in premier locations throughout the United States, such as Orlando, Florida; Park City, Utah; Las Vegas, Nevada; Gatlinburg, Tennessee; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Williamsburg, Virginia; Miami, Florida; Branson, Missouri; Mesa, Arizona; and Tunica, Mississippi. For more information, visit westgatedestinations.com.