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How Long Does It Take to Drive from the Top of Florida to the Bottom of Florida?

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Last Updated on September 24, 2022 by Jessica Lauren Vine

Are you wondering, “How long does it take to drive from the top of Florida to the bottom of Florida?”

The Florida peninsula is an amazing place. The state has a 1,197 coastline and a land mass of 53,630 square miles. Florida ranks 22nd amongst the US States in size, but It’s not the size that matters in Florida; it’s the water, the weather, and the beaches—all of it surround the state.

I’ve found two routes, along I-95 and I-75, two be pleasant, enjoyable, and adventurous. One is the Atlantic Coast Trip, and the other is the Gulf Coast Trip. We’ll look at how long it takes to traverse these two highways from the Georgia and Florida border down to Key West.

Atlantic Coast Trip

The Atlantic coast trip through Florida will be mainly on I-95, with a recommended diversion down to Orlando to see Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, and LEGOLAND Florida Resort.

That diversion adds one hour to the trip. Once we cross the Georgia-Florida line, we’ll have 531 miles to go before we hit Key West and our destination. Google maps show an 8- and 22-minute drive time with no sightseeing or potty/snack breaks.

As we cross the border from Georgia to Florida, the first major city we’ll come to is Jacksonville. Aside from being the largest landmass city in the US, Jacksonville boasts a substantial military presence due to its deep-water port.

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Having served at Naval Air Station Jacksonville in the Navy, I know Jacksonville is one tough military town. For RVing retired military folks, you’ll have excellent access to Exchange and Commissary privileges on your journey for your grocery and dry-good needs.

As you pass through St. Augustine, consider stopping for a while at the oldest continuously settled European settlements, established in 1565. You’ll miss out on some great history if you don’t stop.

Your adventure will take you through Vero Beach, Port Saint Lucie, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and eventually off the mainland down to the beautiful and scenic Key West. What a trip.

Figure 1: The Atlantic Coast Route with the Orlando Option
The Atlantic Coast Route with the Orlando Option

The Gulf Coast Trip

This trip will be a fun-filled family activity. It’s over 1150 miles, but the route brings out the most in the state. After crossing the Florida line on I-75, you head to Gainesville on your way to Tampa. Pulling into the Tampa Bay area, you decide to take on Ybor City’s 7th Ave, considered one of the greatest Avenues in America.

While visiting the Columbia restaurant on 7th Ave, order the La Completa Cubana to get that full taste of Cuba. I’ve done it, and I’m a happier person for it.

Farther down the road lies Fort Meyers and Naples. Fort Meyers has been voted one of the top retirement spots in the US by some major rags. However, the place is so beautiful that Henry Ford and Thomas Edison owned winter homes in Fort Meyers. Check out the beach scene and walk the sand – it’s an incredible yet relaxing experience.

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From Naples, head east, and you’ll be on the other side of the peninsula in Fort Lauderdale, which offers more than 7 miles of soft sand beaches. Next, you’ll move through Miami and eventually off the peninsula down to Key West for the rest of the trip. The rest of the journey will take you through Orlando and back up to I-75. Google maps show that this is a 16+ hour trip at the speed limit.

Figure 2: Gulf Coast trip - the whole enchilada
Gulf Coast Trip – the Whole Enchilada

How Long Does It Take to Drive from the Top of Florida to the Bottom of Florida? – Final Assessment

The question “How Long Does It Take to Drive from the Top of Florida to the Bottom of Florida?” can be answered. It’s up to you. Remember that as drivers, we need to ensure that we maintain our rigs and drive responsibly—not tired and not too fast. Now head out and see the Sunshine State.

Before you head out, check out some of these other RV-related articles.

How Far Can You Drive an RV In a Day?

How Do You Maintain Fiberglass RV Siding?

Should I Wax My RV?

Or this is a pretty freakin’ awesome video of the Florida Keys

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Edward Kipfinger
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