Road Trips to Take Near Miami, Florida
One of the best things about living in Miami is how close we are to Florida’s best visitor attractions. Whether you’re interested in museums, beaches, restaurants, or theme parks, Florida’s got you covered. Once you’ve seen all of Miami’s local attractions, take a road trip with family and friends to one of these great destinations, all under five hours from Miami.
Everglades National Park
Covering 1.5 million acres on the southern tip of the Florida mainland, Everglades National Park is a fantastic place to see Florida’s natural beauty up close. The closest area to Miami is the Shark Valley Visitor Center, which is a 50-minute drive west of downtown Miami.
You can also drive southward to visit the Ernest F. Coe or Flamingo visitor centers. In the early 1900s, Florida’s wetland was in danger of destruction from draining and industrialization. After several decades of lobbying by environmentalists, writers, and scientists, the federal government established Everglades National Park to preserve native species.
The park features 2,400 square miles of area open to visitors, and you can bicycle and walk the many trails that wind through the wetlands. You can see a wide range of animal species, including the park’s famous wading birds, which include the white ibis, green-backed heron, and roseate spoonbill.
Other animal species include alligators, turtles, and manatees. If you want to see migratory birds and get a guided tour, consider going during the park’s dry season, which begins in December and ends in April. The entrance fee is $30 per vehicle, and annual passes are available through Recreation.gov.
Sanibel and Captiva Islands
You can drive to the Gulf Islands of Sanibel and Captiva in about two hours and 45 minutes, making this beautiful region the perfect place for a weekend trip. Sanibel and Captiva’s modern-day history started in the late 19th century when settlers began to build homes and fishing piers on Point Ybel on the northern end of Sanibel. Today, the islands are home to residents, historical sites, nature preserves, and luxury resorts. These tranquil islands are famous for their white beaches and collectible seashells, but there are lots of other activities for visitors.
If you’re interested in Florida’s beautiful shells, you can spend an afternoon at the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, the largest museum in the country dedicated solely to seashells. At the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village, you can explore reconstructions of historic buildings and learn how settlers lived in the community’s early days. Nature buffs won’t want to miss the J.N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge, a natural preserve that covers almost half of Sanibel, where you can see manatees, alligators, sea turtles, and herons. You can also spend your time strolling on the pristine beaches and enjoying the sun.
Just three and a half hours from Miami, Florida’s Space Coast gives visitors the opportunity to experience innovative technology and learn about Florida’s contribution to space exploration. This region includes Cape Canaveral, home to the Cape Canaveral Space Coast Center, and Merritt Island, home to the Kennedy Space Center. Since 1961, NASA has launched all the organization’s manned space flights, including the first flight to the moon, from one of these two locations.
You can watch launches from a variety of locations across the region, and there are a lot of space-themed activities in the area. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has exhibits about current and historic space exploration projects, and visitors can see artifacts from famous space missions. After you see the museum’s exhibits, you can enjoy the Space Coast’s relaxing Atlantic beaches and explore the Indian River.
Orlando, located about three hours and 45 minutes from Miami, has a variety of activities for family members of all ages. The city became a global spot for tourists when the Walt Disney Company opened its second theme park, Walt Disney World, in Orlando in 1971. Another legendary theme park, Universal Orlando, came to the city in 1990. Between them, these two theme park giants have several weeks’ worth of rides, attractions, and gift shops.
If you’re interested in Orlando’s other attractions, you might take a stroll through the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens, located north of the city in Sanford. You might also enjoy kayaking in the region’s many lakes and rivers. The Orlando Science Center, Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens, and Orlando Museum of Art offer a quiet alternative to roller coasters, shopping, and dinner shows.
If you’re interested in learning about Florida’s history, consider visiting St. Augustine. It’ll take you about four hours and 45 minutes to get there from Miami, so plan to stay a few days. This city has been occupied since Spanish explorers arrived in 1565, making it the oldest European settlement in the United States. St. Augustine played a pivotal role in the first Underground Railroad, the Civil War, the Civil Rights movement of the 20th century, and many other key eras in American history. With its rich history, eclectic culture, and beautiful beaches, St. Augustine has something for everyone.
History museums include the Lightner Museum, which features a collection of 19th-century antiques and art, housed in a historic resort from America’s Gilded Age, and the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center, which traces the African American experience in Florida. You might also visit one of the city’s specialty museums, like the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum, where you can see authentic pirate weapons, doubloons, and other artifacts. Finish up the day with a stroll on St. Augustine Beach or a visit to Anastasia State Park, a nature preserve of sand dunes and tidewater species.
An amazing road trip starts with a reliable, affordable vehicle. Here at Miami Car Credit, we’re dedicated to getting you on the road in a car, truck, or SUV that matches your needs and fits your budget. Contact us today to learn about our inventory of quality used cars and to see how we can help you find the perfect set of wheels for your next adventure.