11 best road trips from Miami, FL

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  • Post last modified:February 28, 2024
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Hit the gas pedal and leave the bustling Miami behind. You don’t need to drive far to find a gorgeous place to stop; the tropical South Florida caters to beach lovers and nature buffs alike. But if you rather mount a major expedition, consider the idea of taking an out-of-state road trip from Miami.

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1. Florida Keys, FL

  • Driving distance: 67+ mi / 108+ km
  • Driving time: 1.5+ h

To the south of Miami, the laid-back Florida Keys encompasses more islands than you can count. For the full experience, embark on an iconic Miami to Key West road trip, offering many fun stops along the way.

It’s just 67 miles (108 km) from Miami to Key Largo, the gateway to the Florida Keys chain. From Key Largo, leisurely continue from one beautiful key to another on the Overseas Highway all the way down to Key West.

At road’s end, Key West shows why it’s called the capital of quirkiness. Here, explore the Ernest Hemingway Home, climb Key West Lighthouse and enjoy the uncensored atmosphere of the island’s main drag, Duval Street.

Full itinerary: Miami to Key West road trip

Houses nestled among green palm trees in Key West with the blue ocean on the horizon
This view awaits in Key West, FL.

2. Everglades City, FL

  • Driving distance: 84 mi / 135 km
  • Driving time: 1.5 h

Where Miami ends, the Everglades begins. From the dinosaur-like alligators to a unique mode of transportation (airboats feel as eccentric as they are loud), the reasons to visit Everglades are many.

A vast space of wild nature, Everglades National Park has five visitor centers making up informative vantage points for visitors. The closest from Miami is Shark Valley Visitor Center, reachable within an hour’s drive.

Across the park, at the park’s western border, Everglades City craves for your attention too. In the gateway town, you find the Gulf Coast Visitor Center, airboat operators and a low-key yet appreciated old Florida swamp ambience.

Road sign along Florida road warning for pumas the next 3 miles
Drive from Miami to the Everglades.

3. Naples, FL

  • Driving distance: 112 mi / 180 km
  • Driving time: 2 h

Want a dreamy beach within easy reach of Miami? Naples, a 2-hour drive from Miami, have you covered.

Unfurl a towel on the sugar-white Naples Beach, fringed by swaying palm trees. Then stroll the historic Naples Pier, often frequented by playful dolphins and extending 1,000 feet (305 m) into the Mexican Gulf.

Completing the experience, exclusive shops and renowned restaurants are available a stone’s throw away on the well-polished Fifth Avenue South. Just beware: It’s terrifyingly easy to break the bank here.

The beautiful white-sand beach in Naples
Spread out a towel on Naples Beach, FL.

4. Sanibel Island, FL

  • Driving distance: 168 mi / 270 km
  • Driving time: 3 h

Head over to the Gulf coast’s Sanibel Island for a dramatic change of scenery. Picture a place without towering high rises, blinding street lights or rowdy nightclubs — all features characterizing Miami.

The best things to do on Sanibel Island are all about getting back to basics. Discover the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, frequented by more than 200 bird species, by foot or bike. Alternatively, just lounge on one of the many tranquil Sanibel Island beaches.

Holding a unique drawcard, Sanibel Island is known as the world’s shelling capital. Comb its shoreline for that quintessential (and free) Sanibel Island souvenir.

Waves lapping the shore of Sanibel Island.
Comb Sanibel Island for shells.

Island bound? Browse more stunning Florida islands.

5. Orlando, FL

  • Driving distance: 235 mi / 378 km
  • Driving time: 3.5 h

Visitors flock to the world’s undisputed theme park capital, Orlando, for heartwarming encounters with favorite characters and jaw-dropping rides. Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort are so big that it’s hard to imagine; just Disney World, with its over 25,000 acres, is about the same as San Francisco.

While the opportunities for fun never seem to end in Orlando, fit in a stop at Cape Canaveral’s Kennedy Space Center for a unique educational dimension. Experience the thrill of the Apollo era (again or for the first time), marking a major feat in human history.

Full itinerary: Miami to Orlando road trip (Gulf Coast route)

Characters holding hands at Disney World in Orlando, FL
Drive from Miami to Orlando.

6. Savannah, GA

  • Driving distance: 491 mi / 790 km
  • Driving time: 7.5 h

One of the prettiest cities in America, the 1733-established Savannah has managed to keep its charm throughout the years. Wander the Georgia city’s streets, taking in historic buildings and majestic oak trees draped with Spanish moss.

To escape the eye-popping but often balmy Savannah Historic District, cruise to the city’s favorite beach. An 18-mile (29 km) drive from Downtown Savannah, Tybee Island is the perfect place to spend lazy days under the Georgia sun.

Oak trees draped in Spanish moss in Downtown Savannah, GA
Embrace Downtown Savannah, GA.

7. Pensacola Beach, FL

  • Driving distance: 678 mi / 1091 km
  • Driving time: 10 h

Enjoy a drive from Miami to Northwest Florida‘s Pensacola Beach and realize just how big the state of Florida is. Although you spend 10 hours on the road, you remain in the Sunshine State for the entire journey.

But Northwest Florida is a region well worth driving for. On the stunning 40-mile (64 km) Santa Rosa Island, the paradisiacal Pensacola Beach greets you with mile after mile of crashing waves, bone-white sand and clear skies.

Beach house in Navarre Beach, FL
Park your car on Santa Rosa Island, FL.

8. New Orleans, LA

  • Driving distance: 863 mi / 1389 km
  • Driving time: 12.5 h

Why not add a few hours to the Pensacola route and make it a Miami to New Orleans road trip instead? There’s no other city quite like the free-spirited NOLA.

Forget your everyday worries and sample the watering holes of the French Quarter. The loud (you have been warned) Bourbon Street sets a one-of-a-kind scene for a big night out.

Turn to the parallel Royal Street for a higher level of sophistication. Feeling like a world away, it brims with antique shops, art galleries and fine-dining opportunities.

But if you rather dodge the crowds, make your way over to the lush mansion-dotted Garden District, a wonderful place for quiet walks. Maybe this — despite the French Quarter’s fame — is New Orleans’ most pleasant spot.

Full itinerary: Miami to New Orleans road trip

Hotel in the French Quarter in New Orleans, LA
The French Quarter in New Orleans, LA.

9. Great Smoky Mountains, TN/NC

  • Driving distance: 867 mi / 1395 km
  • Driving time: 13 h

Straddling the Tennessee and North Carolina border, Great Smoky Mountains National Park provides a stark contrast to Miami — one consisting of ancient mountains, thick forests, historic cottages and black bears. This is the quintessential American national park, which also happens to be the most visited.

Mount an expedition to Cades Cove, an isolated valley surrounded by rugged mountains, to indulge in all those defining Great Smoky Mountains characteristics. Entering Cades Cove, as famous for its historic community as for its black bears, is like traveling hundreds of years back in time.

Full itinerary: Miami to the Great Smoky Mountains road trip

Verdant Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains
Capture the timelessness of Cades Cove, TN.

Tick them all off: Include all the best things to do in the Smokies on your road trip from Miami.

10. New York, NY

  • Driving distance: 1394 mi / 2243 km
  • Driving time: 23.5 h

One of the planet’s most legendary drives, a road trip from Miami to New York calls for many stops along the way. Orlando and Savannah, of course, but other interesting destinations on the way north include Charleston, Wilmington and Washington D.C.

Straight road along the Atlantic Ocean
Road trip from Miami along the coast.

11. San Diego, CA

  • Driving distance: 3072 mi / 4944 km
  • Driving time: 45.5 h

Sure, shorter drives from Miami have their own charm, but a road trip between Miami and San Diego, taking you across the US all the way from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, is something else.

Go past Florida’s white beaches, through the Lone Star State and explore interesting cities and impressive national parks along the way. However, with a driving distance of 3072 miles (4944 km), keep in mind that a Miami to San Diego adventure requires several weeks of your time to be fully enjoyed.

Cacti overlooking a crashing ocean
Embark on the ultimate road trip from Miami.

Road trips from Miami FAQ

What are fun vacation places 4 hours or less from Miami, FL?

There’s no shortage of fun vacation places within 4 hours of Miami. Consider the Florida Keys, Everglades National Park, Naples, Sanibel Island and Orlando.

What are fun vacation places 8 hours or less from Miami, FL?

In addition to the closer road trip targets, Georgia’s picturesque Savannah invites you to enjoy a historic out-of-state getaway within 8 hours of Miami.

Which are the best day trips from Miami for families?

Families thrive in South and Central Florida for a reason. See alligators in the mighty Everglades or spend some well-needed down time together on Naples Beach.

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