Hi there everyone,
I've looked on this web site in the past and have found it very helpful!
If anyone can help with my next trip it would be appreciated. We have booked flights to Miami landing in the afternoon on 20th Dec for three weeks. We are planning on hiring a car to see both coast lines, into Orlando for a few days and also St Augustine.
We want the freedom to do what we want and so were not planning on booking any accomodation but due to the time of year think that we will need to book for Xmas Eve, Xmas Day and New Years Eve and New Years DAy.
The trouble that we are currently having is that we don't know how far from Miami we will get (up either coast) in time for Christmas.
If anyone can help on places that are worth stopping at and/ or itinery ideas we would be really grateful.
Honey, Do not forget to go the Keys as well. You may even want to spend New Years Eve there. It is party place after all. I think it is a good idea to book for the holidays. If you book for instance in Fort Myers for the Christmas you are still in driving distance to many attractions. Check out the islands off of Sarasota while you are driving about. After you book, it will kind of plan what direction you take.If you are flying out of Miami then you could go north and hit the Keys before you leave. You will have a great time! Kristen
Good God don't go to Fort Myers!
Yes go to the keys and plan on making it all the way to Key West. Been there many times for New Years and it is a good party if that is what you are looking for. But, do book ahead as that little island fills up quickly that times of year. It would be best to hit the keys at the begininning or end with your flights into/out of Miami. Its a beautiful drive down the keys, so plan on making a slow trip down, stop at Bahia Honda State Park, near Big Pine Key, it is a great beach.
Miami - Key West, 3 hours of pretty steady driving, try to give yourself more time.
Miami-Orlando, figure 4-5 hours.
Orlando-St. Augustine, figure 2 hours (I definetly recommend St. Augustine, great spot)
St. Augustine - Gainesville, 2 hours (gainesville is in the middle of the state, north of Ocala 30 minutes, not saying you have to stop there, but there are certainly worse places)
Gainesville - Tampa, 3 hours
Tampa - Fort Myers (if you must) 2.5 hours
Fort Myers - Miami, 3 hours
I would recommend St. Petersburg way before Fort Myers, I've lived in both. Sarasota is nice too.
A great spot that I try to take out-of-towners to, is the west coast north of Tampa; the Homossasa River and Chassowitzka River specifically. Both are glimpses of natural florida. Osprey catching fish and manatees sleeping under your canoe, if you're into that sort of thing.
As far as a route, you could hit the keys fist, drive back towards miami and take US 41 (Tamiami Trail) to Naples on the west coast, make your way up the west coast, hop over to St. Augustine, either via Orland or north if you head up further. Then back down east coast, hitting Orlando if you didn't on the way up and down to Miami.
Hope this helps and let me know if you want any specific info on any areas.