Did you know that Florida boasts more than 8,000 miles of coastline? Get out and explore the Sunshine State’s beaches, small towns and historic spots with these four Florida road trip ideas.

Before you go, just be sure you’re up to date on any current restrictions in the places you plan to visit.

Naples and Sanibel Island

These two beachy gems are only about an hour and 15 minutes apart on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Start in Naples and then head north along the Tamiami Trail or Interstate 75 and take the Sanibel Causeway over to Sanibel Island.


Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary: Pack binoculars for a trek along the 2.25-mile boardwalk into the western Everglades, home to songbirds, raptors and wading birds. (Online reservations are required.)

Regina’s Ice Cream Pavilion: This 1950s throwback serves up 50 flavors of ice cream plus malts, egg creams and sodas.

Naples Grande Beach Resort: This AAA Four Diamond resort boasts a spa, golf, tennis, multiple pools and beachfront access.

Sanibel Island

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Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum: Take an hour-long walk with scientists who can interpret the island’s shell-rich beaches.

J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge: Explore trails that take you past the homes of marsh rabbits, raccoons, bobcats and river otters.

Sundial Beach Resort & Spa: This AAA Three Diamond hotel offers condo-like rooms, an on-site spa, five heated pools and plenty of beach access.

Florida Panhandle

Learn a bit of Florida history and sink your toes into sugar-white sand when you explore the northwest part of the state—from Pensacola to the South Walton beaches and beyond—with these Florida road trip ideas.


Historic Pensacola: Where Spanish and British forts once stood, this historic corridor brings the city’s rich past to life with museums, interpreters in period dress and more.

National Naval Aviation Museum: Tour a collection of more than 150 restored aircraft and take to the virtual skies in a variety of flight simulators. (Admission is currently limited to those with a Department of Defense ID and their guests. Guests must have a Real ID-compliant driver’s license or other acceptable identification.)

Bubba’s Sweet Spot: Find everything from gummy worms to ice cream at this shop co-owned by pro golfer Bubba Watson.

South Walton Beaches

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Scenic Highway 30A Bike Trail: Nineteen paved miles let you explore the scenic coastal communities along the Gulf of Mexico, from Dune Allen Beach to Inlet Beach.

Grayton Beach State Park: Grab a kayak and paddle the tranquil perfection of Western Lake.

Pecan Jacks Ice Creamery & Candy Kitchen: This family-owned creamery in Santa Rosa Beach serves up old-school favorites like peach cobbler and banana pudding.

WaterColor Inn & Resort: Spacious rooms and suites overlook the Gulf of Mexico and sugar-white sand dunes at this AAA Four Diamond hotel in Santa Rosa Beach.


Florida Caverns State Park: About an hour and a half northeast of Santa Rosa Beach, the park offers a unique respite from the summer heat—a limestone cave system with a year-round temperature of 65 degrees. Guided cave tours are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Key West

Head as far south as Florida will take you and visit some of the state’s favorite island getaways.

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park: Explore the Civil War-era stronghold, snorkel among the coral reefs or relax on the beach under a shady palm.

Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum: Learn about the legendary American author at this AAA GEM-designated attraction—and keep an eye out for the house’s famous six-toed cats.

Mattheessen’s: Satisfy your sweet tooth with a handful of made-from-scratch cookies or a piece of marble slab fudge.

Kino Sandals: Watch as the iconic shoes are cut by hand, assembled and glued in a factory that dates back to 1966. Then buy a pair to take home.

Southernmost Beach Resort: Where Duval Street meets the ocean, this 6-acre AAA Three Diamond resort beckons with three pools and a private beach.

Southernmost Point Buoy: Don’t leave without a selfie at this anchored concrete buoy erected in 1983—a mere 90 miles from Cuba.

Cocoa Beach

Get a taste of surf culture along Florida’s Atlantic Coast.

Ron Jon Surf Shop: Dive into more than an acre of surfing gear, apparel and memorabilia at the flagship store (the largest surf shop in the world).

The Florida Key Lime Pie Company: Pop in next door for a slice of homemade pie, or sample the cheesecake and ice cream. Just try not to ruin your appetite for lunch!

Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier: Stroll the iconic and historic pier—and check out its many gift shops—to snag those perfect vacay pics.

Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront: Unwind amid sunshine and ocean breezes at this AAA Three Diamond hotel with a pool and tiki bar.

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse & Museum: About an hour and a half north of Cocoa Beach, climb 203 steps to the top of this 175-foot redbrick lighthouse. It’s the state’s tallest lighthouse and can be seen from up to 20 nautical miles offshore.

Need More Road Trip Ideas?

The travel experts at AAA put together more than 500 sample itineraries to help you plan.