Get ready for a mesmerizing trip on these scenic drives in central Florida. From palm trees to waterways and more, you can find something for everyone. And you can stop at roadside fruit stands, fun bars and restaurants, and plenty of activities and attractions.
Keep reading to learn about what central Florida has to offer. Let’s start by reviewing what the state is known for and where you’ll find its most popular scenic drive.
Let’s hit the road!
What Is Florida Known For?
Florida is known for its beaches and tourism. It has a warm climate year-round, attracting people from northern states and across the country.
Additionally, it’s a popular destination for snowbirds and retirees. You’ll typically find Florida at full capacity from fall to spring.
Walt Disney World is Florida’s main attraction, as it’s visited by millions of people each year. The family-friendly vacation brings in people from all over the world.
What Is the Most Scenic Drive in Florida?
Today we’ll share the most scenic drives in central Florida, but we can’t gloss over the most popular route in the state. The Florida Keys takes home the prize for the most scenic.
No other route can compare to driving the Overseas Highway from Key Largo to Key West. You get 360-degree views of turquoise water for miles. The scenic drive makes it worth getting down to the Keys at least once in your lifetime.
Traveler’s Tip: Snap a photo at one of these 5 Most Instagrammable Spots in Florida.
8 Amazing Scenic Drives in Central Florida
The middle of the state may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think road trip, but buckle up for an amazing ride. Check out these eight scenic drives in central Florida.
Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway
About: The Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway takes you through natural landscapes in the Big Scrub region, located in the Ocala Forest.
Furthermore, you can stop to hike trails, kayak waterways, or dip in hot springs. And, if you’re lucky, you might spot a black bear in this region.
Length: 123 miles
Best Stops: Alexander Springs and Juniper Springs are popular stops. You can see the clear turquoise waters of the natural springs and maybe take a swim.
Silver Springs State Park is another recommended stop. You can take a glass-bottom boat ride here.
Suncoast Scenic Parkway
About: The Suncoast Scenic Parkway is on the west side of central Florida. It’s a turnpike and toll road, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying its roadside beauty. The route provides access to various multi-use trails, parks, and outdoor recreation.
Length: 42 miles
Best Stops: You can easily access several beaches from the parkway on the Gulf of Mexico. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is one of the best stops. You can watch a mermaid show, kayak, paddleboard, and more.
Green Mountain Scenic Byway
About: The Green Mountain Scenic Byway travels along rolling hills and has many recreational opportunities. Also, it’s a popular route for motorcyclists, antique car clubs, and cyclists for training and touring. The multi-use West Orange Trail runs down a portion of the center of the byway.
Length: 45 miles
Best Stops: The byway starts in Winter Garden, a charming little town. You’ll also find other small towns along the way. Additionally, foodies will have many opportunities to stop and grab delicious meals along the way. And there’s a good chance you may see some wildlife on the drive.
Courtney Campbell Scenic Highway
About: The Courtney Campbell Scenic Highway, or causeway, runs across Tampa Bay via a bridge from Tampa to Clearwater. Water views on this scenic drive in central Florida surround you. And this is a popular area for wildlife even though it’s in the city.
Length: 10 miles
Best Stops: Keep your eye out for birds, sea life, and more on this route. It’s the perfect way to see Tampa and the Gulf of Mexico when you end in Clearwater. And it’s beautiful at night with the bridge lights sparkling.
Bradenton Beach Scenic Highway
About: The Bradenton Beach Scenic Highway is on Anna Maria Island, just west of downtown Bradenton. It’s a short route where you can catch glimpses of the water on either side of the island. Additionally, you can take part in the beaches, restaurants, and shops along the way.
Length: 3 miles
Best Stops: Anna Maria Island has a beach vibe with quaint architecture painted in pastels. The best stop is at Bradenton Beach to swim or beach comb for shells. You can also dine at the restaurant on the beach or find plenty of options nearby.
River of Lakes Heritage Corridor
About: The next on our list of scenic drives in Central Florida follows the history of several groups, from slave runners to steamboat tourists.
Additionally, the River of Lakes Heritage Corridor allows you to learn about the Timucua Native Americans and Spanish and English plantation owners. This unique corridor with a rich past follows the St. Johns River.
Length: 156 miles
Best Stops: Various stops along the River of Lakes Heritage Corridor will teach you about its history. And you can take a boat tour or go kayaking and bird watching along the way. In addition, you’ll also find some oak tree-covered corridors on some of the side roads.
The Ridge Scenic Highway
About: The Ridge Scenic Highway runs past several lakes in central Florida. Additionally, you’ll see several historic communities lined with lakes and citrus fields along the route.
You’ll pass through many towns and cities, including Frostproof, Hillcrest Heights, Babson Park, Lake Hamilton, and Haines City.
Length: 39 miles
Best Stops: You’ll also see many citrus fields, so try to stop to buy some oranges on the drive. And we recommend visiting Lake Wales Ridge Wildlife and Environmental Area for bird watching to see if you can spot the protected scrub jay.
Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Byway
About: Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Byway runs along the Atlantic Coast. The route has a wide variety of sights to see.
Additionally, you may encounter wildlife, sea life, and more. And this scenic drive in Central Florida has plenty of restaurants, shops, and attractions along the way.
Length: 233 miles
Best Stops: You’ll gain easy access to Atlantic Ocean beaches and several protected barrier islands on this route. They help endangered and threatened species from commercial development and provide beautiful wildlife escapes.
For example, the Canaveral National Seashore is a must-see. We also recommend stopping at the Kennedy Space Center, especially if there’s a launch happening on the day you’re in town.
Traveler’s Tip: Take some time off of driving the scenic drives of central Florida and grab a glass of wine at one of these Wine Tasting Festivals in Florida You Don’t Want to Miss.
Are Scenic Drives in Central Florida Worth It?
Scenic drives in central Florida are worth it! You can immerse yourself in whichever type of landscape you prefer, such as beaches, forests, or countryside.
And you won’t run short on restaurants, shopping, and attractions. Central Florida also has its fair share of wildlife which adds some adventure to the routes on our list.
Which scenic drive do you want to road trip on first?
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