Scenic Drives in Florida

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The Florida Department of Transportation does a fine job of keeping their roads and highways primmed and proper. There are over 10 thousands mile of highways and roads to travel in Florida, but only a few make up for some of the most scenic driving in America.

The Apalachee Savannahs Scenic Byway starts just 9 miles south of Bristol at the boundary of the Apalachicola National Forest on State Road number 12. The grassy, open spaces mark Savannahs, which provide moist-to-wet terrain that support many varieties of wildflowers including orchids, pitcher plants, and sundews. These Savannahs are one of the most botanically rich areas in the country. The Byway is also ecologically important as a showcase for one of the largest remaining blocks of natural longleaf pine and wiregrass in existence. Don’t forget the camera because this drive is a photographers dream!

Perhaps the most famous drive in Florida is to drop the top on that convertible, and hit the Florida Keys. The Keys are connected by 43 bridges and is to this day one of the most unique drives I’ve ever experienced. The Florida Keys covers 127 miles filled with hotels, shops and of course world famous beaches. If you’re planning on heading out be sure to check the traffic reports as it can get very crowded during the peak season. There are two major events that happen in The Keys, and the first being the start of lobster season during the first week of August. And if you want to experience Fantasy Fest which takes place in October, be sure to book your travel plans at least 6 months in advance.

My favorite drive is in southern Florida through the 80 mile paved roads of the Everglades National Park. This round-trip drive in southeastern Florida begins in flat pinewoods at the main entrance to Everglades National Park. It continues about 40 miles to the coast on two-lane paved road, with several spurs of 1 mile or less to short boardwalks in the subtropical jungle, or to wayside overlooks for spectacular park views that range from sawgrass prairie to mangrove forest. There is abundant opportunity to see wildlife, especially large birds. This route crosses a part of the country’s largest sawgrass prairie, a shallow river of rainwater slowly moving toward Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

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