Road trip to Florida

#1

My husband I are going to drive down to South West Florida over Christmas. Our plan is to try and avoid highways as much as possible. What are some can’t miss Atlas Obscura attractions between NYC and FL?

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#2

Having made the trip from NC to FL and back a few times, I can’t think of anything immediately off the vicinity of your route. There’s South of the Border in SC, but YMMV on how cool of an attraction it is. If you drive closer to the coast, places like Savannah or Charleston are worth a stop!

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#3

I have many fond childhood road trip memories of South of the Border (I even spent Christmas Eve there once!) but I think we might skip it this time.

We were already thinking about spending the night in Savannah – I’ve never been but I hear it’s beautiful! @shatomica , do you have any atlas-y suggestions on where we should go??

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#4

I actually lived in St. Augustine, FL for a number of years and moved to New York 4 years ago. St. Augustine is a great place to spend the day (or an overnight). Whenever we went to Orlando, we would cut through to Deland, which is a really cute town and the drive is gorgeous (lots of trees, orange groves, very off the beaten path–we saw a mama kitten carrying her babies across the street one time!). We hated driving the interstate, so we did anything we could do to avoid it!

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#5

@Rose_Annis Will you be staying through New Year’s Eve? I’m from SC, and unfortunately, there aren’t many Atlas-esque sites to see that aren’t already in the database. But, if you’re near Charleston for New Year’s Eve, Folly Beach does a Flip Flop drop (instead of a ball drop). Yes, a flip flop all aglow for the revelers. It should be up prior to NYE. That aside, if you take US 501, you’ll get to see some real into Myrtle Beach and then change up your route.

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#6

@Rose_Annis at some point I plan to make a similar trip in reverse (from Tampa to Philly), and there are plenty of amazing places along the way. I can speak more to the southern portion of your path, and I agree that St. Augustine is worth a stop - there’s a lot to see there but if I had to pick just one place it would probably Villa Zorayda. Savannah, GA also blew my mind and time permitting, it’s worth a stop (I highly recommend picking up a Conquistador Sandwich from Zunzi’s). Also Bok Tower, which is just South and west of St. Augustine. And lastly, Cassadaga was pretty fascinating.

Hope that’s helpful. If you happen to stop off around Tampa and want some local guidance, feel free to give me a shout.

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/bok-tower-gardens

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#7

Thanks so much for the suggestions! I don’t think we’ll spend any time in Tampa this time around, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on some of its hidden wonders!

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#8

Having been in the area in 1996/97, if not done yet, I would advise to extend a bit the trip to drive to Miami and see the Art Deco area (Miami Vice souvenirs will pop up), as well as the long bridge drive towards Key West. These are stuck in my French memory even now.
Enzo Rhode-Hagen

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#9

Some French used to also say that eating a garlic clove without chewing it before sleep will forbid the moskitoes to bite you in your sleep.

#10

Have just returned from Miami Beach and the Keys. I enjoyed South Beach and the art deco hotels (we stayed at The Clevelander) and I would go back. The Keys, Key West in particular we are planning to go back in January. I just loved it. Not too hot, breezy, totally relaxed inclusive vibe and beautiful. Can’t recommend it enough.

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