Florida is a popular spot for vacationers year after year, and it is no surprise as to why. Beautiful beaches line nearly the entire perimeter of the state. Disney World’s fun-loving parks are situated centrally in Orlando. Spring training baseball gives the sports fan a reason to escape the cold and venture into the sun. South Beach is, well, South Beach. The reasons to visit Florida are endless, including this excellent idea we have for you. Just get in your car and navigate the edge of the Atlantic Ocean by taking a road trip down Highway A1A.
Begin your Highway A1A journey at the most northeastern tip of Florida on Amelia Island. In 2013, Condé Nast Traveler selected Amelia Island as one of the Top 10 Islands in the U.S. for the seventh straight year, as well as one of the Top 25 Islands in the World. Before you start heading south, make sure you spend some time at Fernandina Beach and enjoy some of the magnificent shoreline.
Once you leave Amelia Island, you will hit a stretch of state parks to peruse, including Big Talbot Island State Park, Little Talbot Island State Park, and Fort George Island Cultural State Park.
After the state parks you’ll soon hit Jacksonville Beach and then Ponte Vedra, where you will find the ever-famous TPC Sawgrass golf course. Just south of the course, you will begin about a 20-mile stretch of Highway A1A directly next to the ocean that will take you down to St. Augustine – a city rich in history that was founded in 1565. Referred to as the “Nation’s Oldest City,” St. Augustine has more than enough for you to explore.
Continue south on Highway A1A, and you’ll get to Daytona Beach – home of NASCAR’s prestigious Daytona 500. Daytona Beach is sandwiched by two other beach towns that you will want to visit in Flagler Beach and New Smyrna Beach.
Onward you go through Canaveral National Seashore. This barrier island is protected by the National Parks Service and is home to some sea turtles and other wildlife. You’ll then travel from natural beauty to an area that showcases the human mind, as Cape Canaveral is home to the Kennedy Space Center.
From Cape Canaveral all the way down to Stuart (minus a brief stint in Fort Pierce), Highway A1A will guide you on a road that is off of Florida’s mainland, passing through towns such as Melbourne Beach and Vero Beach.
As you venture into south Florida, you will find yourself in popular destinations such as West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, and Fort Lauderdale. End your journey in Miami with a drink overlooking the water, and take in all that South Beach has to offer.
The best news is your vacation doesn’t have to be over then. Just turn the car around and experience the drive again in reverse order, stopping in different towns than before – this time from south to north.
Select Registry Inns right off of A1A (from North to South)
- The Greyfield Inn – Cumberland Island, GA
- The Fairbanks House – Amelia Island, FL
- Amelia Island Williams House – Amelia Island, FL
- Elizabeth Pointe Lodge – Amelia Island, FL
- Hoyt House Bed & Breakfast – Amelia Island, FL
- St. Francis Inn – St. Augustine, FL
- Island Cottage Oceanfront Villa Inn – Flagler Beach, FL
- Black Dolphin Inn – New Smyrna Beach, FL
- Windemere Inn by the Sea – Indiatlantic, FL
- Port d’Hiver Bed & Breakfast – Melbourne Beach, FL
Photo courtesy Doug Kerr