New Years Resolution: Road Trips
New Year’s Eve resolutions have become pretty repetitive. Looking to try a new one — what about traveling? That may sound expensive, but as gas prices have steadily decreased, road trips have become an affordable way to get out and experience America.
As a Florida-based dealership, we’re lucky to call Florida our home because its greatest cities, parks and destinations are within a fairly close drive. For those considering a couple road trips this year, here’s a short list of nationally-known destinations that can be driven to in less than five hours.
St. Augustine – 4 hours, 50 minutes
From Hollywood, St. Augustine is just a few hours up the coast and is known for being America’s oldest city. With over 500 years of history, St. Augustine has a lot of small town charm and offers visitors a ton of history, culture and excellent East Coast beaches.
Tampa Bay – 4 hours
Tampa Bay is one of Florida’s larger metros and is comprised of two major cities, St. Petersburg and Tampa. While the Bay Area has several hubs for nightlife, Downtown St. Pete, Tampa’s Ybor City, and South Tampa, it is also home to some of America’s top-rated beaches. Clearwater Beach is consistently rated in various national lists for “top-ten best beaches” by a handful of travel guides and magazines. For history and culture lovers, Ybor City has a rich and vibrant Cuban culture and St. Petersburg has the nationally-acclaimed Dali Museum.
Ginnie Springs – 4 hours, 40 minutes
Ginnie Springs is made up of seven, freshwater springs that are located along the banks of the Santa Fe River. The fresh water is a constant 72 degrees which makes it perfect for visiting during the Florida’s hot summer. The clear aquifer water is perfect for river tubing, snorkeling and certified divers can cave dive. The best part about Ginnie Springs is the two-hour trip floating down the natural lazy river.
Marco Island – 1 hour, 40 minutes
Marco Island is just a 2-hour drive west of Hollywood. While it is fairly geographically close to Miami, it has very different characteristics that make for a great weekend getaway. Unlike the Atlantic waters of Florida’s east coast, the Gulf of Mexico on the state’s west coast are a little greener and warmer during the summer months. Additionally, Marco Island offers a much quieter beach than almost any of the South Florida beaches. Be sure to check out Marco Island’s Dome Houses — definitely very unique.
Florida’s National Parks
The Dry Tortugas — 4 hours, 30 minutes — and then additional travel by boat, ferry or seaplane
The Dry Tortugas are the longest trip on this list, but definitely one of the most unique and rewarding. The Dry Tortugas are located about 80 miles west of Key West and can only be reached by seaplane, boat or ferry.
The Dry Tortugas are a group of seven small and uninhabited islands that are very isolated from other land masses. Due to their distance, the Tortugas have a pristine and picturesque surroundings of turquoise and cerulean seas and are teeming with wildlife. Visitors have the option of making the trip a day-trip or camping overnight and while there people can snorkel or dive among the coral reefs, explore Ft. Jefferson, a fort used in the Civil War, and relax on the beaches. Campers get breathtaking views of the night sky.
The Everglades – 1 hour, 30 minutes
Everglades National Park spans across 1.5 million acres and a visit is great way to learn about the “original Florida” that used to be much larger than it currently is today. Visitors can explore the park from hiking, canoeing and biking, to camping, tram or airboat tours — but be sure to bring bug spray and keep an eye out for gators and crocs.