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Even as spring approaches, it seems like the country is still one big sheet of ice. But in Florida, it almost feels like summertime… and the living — and driving—are easy. If you’re heading South to thaw out, don’t miss these scenic drives. No rock salt required.

overseas highway-florida

1) Overseas Highway:

You could fly from Miami to Key West. But then you’d miss one of the most spectacular road trips of your life. The southernmost leg of U.S. Route 1 spans the length of the Florida Keys, offering a dazzling buffet of tropical landscapes, cotton candy skies and water in every imaginable shade of blue and green. The approximately 130-mile Overseas Highway is nicknamed the “magic carpet,” and the journey will indeed leave you spellbound.

canopy roads florida

2) Canopy roads

Florida is generally flat, but Tallahassee boasts some serene rolling hills. Making a drive through the state capital even more peaceful are the area’s canopy roads — passageways shaded by moss-draped pines, live oaks and other greenery. Tally has nine officially named canopy roads totaling about 78 miles, but you’ll find plenty more unofficial ones that are equally charming.

horse country-florida

Horse Country | Flickr CC: Alison McKellar

3) Horse country

Even if you drive a compact car, you’ll feel like you’re in a pickup truck commercial when you cruise through Florida’s horse country. As you ramble through the idyllic Ocala/Marion County area, about 40 miles south of Gainesville, roll down your windows to take in the sights, sounds and smells of the roadside pastures. These oak-shaded roads are home to more than 600 thoroughbred breeding farms, many of which offer tours.

Scenic A1A-florida

4) Scenic A1A

Highway A1Astretches down Florida’s entire east coast, parallel to the Atlantic Ocean, and the entire journey is pretty easy on the eyes. (There’s a reason why Vanilla Ice gave a shoutout to “A1A Beachfront Avenue!” in Ice Ice Baby). But the A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway, which winds 72 miles from Ponte Vedra Beach down to area down to Flagler Beach, is particularly pleasant. The mostly two-lane passes through historic St. Augustine, connecting some of America’s most cherished national monuments, nature preserves and beaches.

Macarthur Causeway-florida

5) Macarthur Causeway

Miami traffic can be brutal. But if you’ve gotta be stuck in gridlock, let’s hope it’s on the MacArthur Causeway Bridge. One of the city’s busiest overpasses, it traverses Biscayne Bay to connect the mainland to Miami Beach, while offering commuters eye candy in the form of a glittering cityscape. Already a South Florida icon, the causeway has gained international attention in the film The Birdcage, the TV series Burn Notice, the opening sequence to home games and a Dr Pepper commercial starring rapper Pitbull.


Tagged: Florida

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Dalia Colon

Dalia Colon

Dalia is a multimedia journalist in Tampa and the Smart Travel Insider for VISIT FLORIDA. Follow her on Twitter @daliacolon.

5 thoughts on “5 incredibly scenic Florida drives”

  1. Dalia, I can’t believe you omitted the Courtney Campbell Causeway across Tampa Bay to Clearwater! And you live in Tampa, so I can only guess it’s because you don’t want to sit in traffic yourself.
    Nice article otherwise. Make it 6 scenic roads.

  2. I am a true florida cracker. I was born and raised in Tampa Bay. There are alot of beautiful places left out of this artical. One being in Pasco county Dade City /Zephyrhills area. Old Fort king road is the tallest point in florida. It’s worth the drive. You should check out these little towns. Beautiful place. Also tarpon springs is another awsome place.

  3. Macarthur Causeway is pretty nice. Fun thing to do is to visit Star Island. Look at the $25MM+ homes owned by Madonna, Shaq, etc. I actually think the Rickenbacker Causeway is more scenic. Then there is the rest of the state. Hoo boy. This could take awhile. 😀

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