Summer 2020 has started, and it’s looking quite a bit different than most of us might have imagined. Instead of flying around the world, many of us are staying closer to home.
If you’re frustrated with sticking close to home, you might be considering drivable trips.
Aside from the obvious annoyances of a road trip, like getting stuck at a red light or pulled over in a strange town, there can be a lot of benefits to hitting the roadways this year. You don’t have to worry about being in the airport during the age of social distancing, or wearing a face-covering on a plane.
Florida is a destination you can drive to, and many people do it every year, even when there isn’t a lingering pandemic.
If you’re thinking about a road trip to Florida this year, the following are some of the prettiest places the state has to offer.
Sanibel Island is around 25 miles south of Fort Myers. It is next to the smaller Captiva Island, and both are family-friendly and perfect if you’re looking for stunning natural scenery and beaches.
There are only two main roads on Sanibel Island, and you can fly into Southwest Florida International Airport, which is only around 20 miles away.
Bowman’s Beach is the most popular on the island, and it’s where you can collect shells as you walk along, including conches.
St. Augustine is different from the rest of Florida, steeped in history which dates back to the 1500s.
More specifically, St. Augustine was founded in 1565 by the Spanish. There are the original cobblestone streets to meander along, and you can regularly find reenactments going on.
The architecture is influenced by the English, French, and Spanish, all against the backdrop of the Atlantic.
Anna Maria Island
Anna Maria Island is just seven miles long and is located south of St. Petersburg. On Anna Maria, you get that quintessential beach town feeling.
There are lovely sunsets and outdoor activities like paddleboarding and kayaking. You can also snorkel in nearby Egmont Key, and there’s a Spanish-American fort to explore.
The Florida Keys are 120 miles long, and if you want to fully appreciate the beauty of this part of Florida, you can start in Miami and drive along the Overseas Highway. Officially named US Highway 1, the Overseas Highway runs from Key Largo through Islamorada and then Marathon, finally ending in Key West.
In the Keys, you can relax on the beach, snorkel, and dive. There are also state and national parks where you can see wildlife.
Clearwater Beach is often named as one of the most beautiful in the country.
Clearwater is located on the Gulf Coast, and it boasts white, sandy beaches and a lot of shallow areas of water, making it perfect as a family destination.
There’s hardly a bad time to visit Clearwater, as it gets an average of 361 days of sunshine a year. Clearwater holds the record for the most consecutive sunny days at 768.
When you’re in Clearwater, be sure to visit Sand Key Park. Here there are 95 acres of trails running through salt marsh and sandy beaches.
Marco Island is a short drive from Naples and also the Everglades.
This Gulf Coast area features stunning beaches and a tropical climate, as well as Collier Seminole State Park and Briggs Nature Center.
Marco Island is at the southern tip of Southwest Florida, and you can relax or partake in outdoor adventures.
Amelia Island is off the Northeast Coast of Florida, near Jacksonville. For luxury-lovers, you might want to explore The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, which feels unique and secluded.
Amelia Island is one of the most historic parts of Florida, and there are more than 100 independent restaurants.
Attractions on the island include the Amelia Island Museum of History, as well as Fort Clinch State Park.
Amelia Island interestingly is also home to Florida’s longest-running drinking establishment, called the Palace Saloon, also known as the Shipcaptain’s Bar.
Finally, if you are near Clearwater, make time for Caladesi Island State Park. It’s accessible by ferry or private boat. The island is completely untouched by any development, and it’s 3.5 miles long. There are quartz sand and truly stunning water. You can also canoe through the mangroves.
Florida has a lot to offer, even if you’ve drastically changed your summer travel plans this year, particularly if you take the time to uncover hidden treasures.