While Florida probably won't be the first suggestion in a conversation about great American road trips, perhaps it's time for a rethink. The Sunshine State is a surprising place by road, packed with unusual sights, unique wildlife and diverse ecosystems just waiting to be explored.
As we've often said, a leisurely drive is the best way to discover America. Nothing comes close to the freedom of an open road and simple itinerary. Delve into the other side of Florida over a week or two, petting baby alligators in small-town zoos, camping in the Everglades or strolling through the colourful, sweet-smelling orange groves north of Orlando.
With wholesome family entertainment, great dining and must-see attractions in every part of the state, Florida is the ideal place to kick off a memorable road trip. And if you fancy swinging by a theme park afterwards, what's stopping you?
Driving in Florida is usually stress-free; highways are clearly signposted and well-maintained, lanes are wide and accommodating, and roadside accommodation is plentiful. Remember that tolls are payable on the Florida turnpike (connecting Florida City to Wildwood), so if you're planning on using this road, consider arranging for a TollPass beforehand.
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In the far north-west of Florida lies Pensacola, with its 11-mile Scenic Bluffs Highway. Take U.S. Route 90 for magnificent views of Escambia Bay from the highest rounded cliffs in whole of Florida.
Top tip: Jump off the highway for the Gulf Breeze Zoo, just south of Pensacola. It's home to over 900 animals and 100 unique botanical plants and flowers.
The Old Florida Heritage Highway runs from Miami up into Tennessee, and is exceptionally well-preserved and free from modern trappings. U.S. Route 441 takes in rolling countryside, wetlands and rural homesteads and is perfect for horse-riding, bird-watching and camping. Start in Gainesville and head north.
Top tip: Visit Micanopy, the oldest inland town in Florida - a quiet haven of antique shops, old cafÃ©s and ancient oak trees. Enjoy its slower pace of life!
Experience the dazzling beauty and peace of Everglades National Park with the Tamiami Trail. This 275-mile route is part of highway U.S. 41 and offers plenty of opportunities to see live alligators, ride an air boat across a swamp, and hit the trail on a rented mountain bike.
Top tip: If you find yourself in the south, Highway 1 out towards Key West is a fantastic ocean drive - 113 miles on a road that straddles the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.
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