Sunset on the Mississippi River with the famous bridge and city's skyline in the background
CK Foto/

Road trip from Florida to Minnesota

Updated by Pat Dorri on May 9 2024

From the Sunshine State to the Land of 10,000 Lakes, this road trip from Orlando to Minneapolis is the perfect snapshot of Southern and Midwestern charm. On this adventure, you will discover cities famous for their musical legacy, beautiful parks and forests, and colorful cities and countryside that make Minnesota so special.

The 1,630-mile road trip from Florida to Minnesota will take 25 hours to complete. Notable sights include St Augustine, Atlanta, Chattanooga, Nashville, Louisville, Indianapolis, Chicago, Mammoth Cave National Park and Daytona International Speedway.

This drive from Florida to Minnesota is a road trip of a lifetime for anyone who wants to experience the Southern charm and explore the heartland of the USA. Read on below to learn more about the best routes, top destinations, amazing places to stay, and the ultimate time to travel.

How to drive from Florida to Minnesota

The map below shows two great route options for your Florida to Minnesota road trip. Click on the star icons for headline details, and scroll down for more information below.

* Always remember that drive times can be impacted by traffic, closures, weather and other conditions. It's best to double-check while planning and before starting out on your trip.

Comparison of road trip routes between Florida and Minnesota
RouteDistanceDriving TimeKey stops
Nashville Route1,630 miles25 hoursSt Augustine, Atlanta, Chattanooga, Nashville, Louisville, Indianapolis, Chicago, Minneapolis
See the full Nashville Route Itinerary here
Memphis Route1,680 miles25 hoursTallahassee, Montgomery, Birmingham, Tupelo, Memphis, St Louis, Des Moines, Minneapolis
See the full Memphis Route Itinerary here

Please click the links above to jump to the best itinerary for the Florida to Minnesota road trip on each route.

How far is Minnesota from Florida, and how long will the road trip take?

Driving directly from Florida to Minnesota nonstop, you can complete the journey in about 23 hours, covering 1,570 miles. But there is so much to see and do between Orlando and Minneapolis, so we recommend taking a little longer and following our scenic route suggestions.

The Nashville Route covers roughly 1,630 miles from Orlando to Minneapolis. With an estimated driving time of 25 hours, this route weaves through the heart of the Southeastern and Midwestern United States.

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA with a view of the downtown skyline at sunset with the bridge in the foreground and city in the background.
Our road trip from Florida to Minnesota will take you to Minneapolis, and if you are aiming for a different destination, you can use Minneapolis as a reference point.

Similarly, the Memphis Route stretches around 1,680 miles with about 25 hours of driving. This route takes you through a rich array of southern charm, historical depth, and musical heritage.

Because of all the amazing sights and experiences along the way, we recommend taking at least 7 days for both routes. This way, you'll get to enjoy the drive and these regions well rested.

Best road trip route from Florida to Minnesota

With similar distances and travel times, the route you choose on a road trip from Florida to Minnesota depends on what you want to see and experience the most on the way.

The Memphis Route is a great way to explore the American South, heading north into the Midwest. You will follow major roads and interstates on this route, so you are in for a smooth drive if you choose this route.

This route showcases the South's scenic beauty, featuring picturesque landscapes and views of the Mississippi River that expand into the idyllic countryside as you journey north.

Historical and musical landmarks pepper this route, making it a pilgrimage for the soulful sounds of blues and rock 'n' roll, with cities like Birmingham, Memphis, and St Louis standing out.

The Nashville Route will take you a similar amount of time to complete and follows a course through an eclectic mix of urban cityscapes, such as Atlanta, Nashville, Indianapolis and Chicago as well as scenic towns like St Augustine and beautiful Chattanooga.

Both routes have several major cities and towns on the way, so you can expect to find facilities relatively easily. With that being said, it is always a good idea to check on the map and plan ahead, especially on longer drives like this road trip from Orlando to Minneapolis.

Itinerary: The Nashville Route from Florida to Minnesota

Itinerary for a road trip from Florida to Minnesota, showing via points: St Augustine, Atlanta, Chattanooga, Nashville, Louisville, Indianapolis, Chicago and Minneapolis

Your Florida to Minnesota Itinerary, following the Nashville Route.

The Nashville Route

From Orlando, you'll continue northeast towards St Augustine, Florida, along I-95. St Augustine, the nation's oldest city, offers colonial Spanish architecture and historic sites.

Then you'll drive north to Jacksonville and merge onto I-10 West briefly. From here, drive until you connect to I-75 North and head northwest to Atlanta, Georgia.

Atlanta, a bustling metropolis, is steeped in history and culture, with notable attractions including the Georgia Aquarium, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, and the World of Coca-Cola.

Continuing north from Atlanta, your route takes you to Chattanooga in Tennessee. Chattanooga, known for its beautiful scenic views, offers adventures like the Lookout Mountain attractions and the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo where you can enjoy a bite.

Next, continue on to Nashville, the heart of country music. You will find the Country Music Hall of Fame, the historic Ryman Auditorium and many live music venues here, especially on Broadway.

The route then leads you to Louisville, Kentucky via I-65. Louisville, famous for the Kentucky Derby, the Muhammad Ali Center and the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, will keep you busy.

Your next destination is Indianapolis and from here you will drive to Chicago, Illinois. Chicago, perched on the shores of Lake Michigan, dazzles with its iconic skyline, Millennium Park, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

The last leg of your journey will then take you past Madison and Wisconsin Dells to Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Itinerary: The Memphis Route from Florida to Minnesota

Itinerary for a road trip from Florida to Minnesota, showing via points: Tallahassee, Montgomery, Birmingham, Tupelo, Memphis, St Louis, Des Moines and Minneapolis

Your Florida to Minnesota Itinerary, following the Memphis Route.

The Memphis Route

Starting from Orlando, drive north on Interstate 75 (I-75) through Florida. Along this stretch, don't miss the town of Ocala and its magnificent horse farms.

Continuing northward, you'll merge onto I-10. This interstate will then take you into Florida's capital, Tallahassee, and then into Alabama.

As you progress, you'll reach the historical city of Mongomery. Here, you'll experience plenty of historical landmarks like the Rosa Parks Library and Museum and a wonderful food scene.

From here, I-65 leads you further north to Birmingham. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the Vulcan Park and Museum offer profound insights into the region's past and present.

Next, you'll head towards Memphis via I-22, entering a region rich in musical heritage. Following the musical interlude, you'll continue on to St Louis, known for its iconic Gateway Arch, which offers a blend of culture, history, and green spaces like Forest Park.

Advancing north, you'll take smaller highways to Des Moines, Iowa. This city is home to the Des Moines Art Center and the lush landscapes of the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden.

The final leg of your journey takes you north on I-35 North, finishing in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Best places to stop between Florida and Minnesota

With so much to see and do on this road trip from Florida to Minnesota, you'll want to stop at one of the iconic destinations below. This way, you'll experience the best this region offers while staying well-rested on this lengthy drive.

Live it up like the King in Memphis

Memphis is a great stopover on the Memphis Route, with its musical heritage, history, and food scene. Located about 12 hours into the drive and nestled along the Mississippi River, this city is renowned for its pivotal role in the development of blues, soul, and rock 'n' roll.

In Memphis, Graceland, the iconic home of Elvis Presley, should come on the top of your list of places to visit. Here, you can explore the personal and professional life of the King of Rock 'n' Roll. From Elvis's famous jumpsuits to his custom jets.

Graceland in Memphis. The mansion was built in 1939 but later bought by Elvis Presley who lived here from 1957 – 1977.
One of the top places to visit in Memphis is Elvis Presley's famous home, the Graceland.

Sun Studio, hailed as the birthplace of rock 'n' roll, is another iconic place to visit, offering tours through the very rooms where legends like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis recorded their groundbreaking music.

For your stay in Memphis, we recommend the unique Guest House at Graceland. This unique hotel, inspired by the legacy of Elvis Presley, is located just steps from Graceland, blending luxurious style with warm Southern hospitality.

You will feel like the King himself during your stay; the hotel features specialty suites inspired by Graceland's private living quarters. A beautiful, large seasonal outdoor pool awaits you for relaxation after your long drive, while the on-site theater hosts live performances and movie screenings.

Nearby, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and the Blues Hall of Fame celebrate the city's contribution to soul music and the blues. After exploring Nashville, you can unwind in the Lobby Lounge with afternoon tea, craft beer, or Tennessee Whiskey & Rye.

Listen to your favorite country superstar live in Nashville

Nashville, the heart of country music, is an ideal stopover on the route that it lends its name to. This charming city is known for its musical legacy, bustling nightlife, and Southern charm, offering a deep dive into American music history and contemporary culture.

When in Music City, two of the most popular attractions not to be missed are the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium. The Grand Ole Opry, known as the "home of American music," hosts weekly country music stage concerts and has been a launching pad for countless country music stars.

Belongings of Johnny Cash displayed in a glass case in the museum in Nashville
Visit the Johnny Cash Museum and learn more about the iconic musician's life and legacy while you are in Nashville.
Marcus E Jones/

The Ryman Auditorium, often called the "Mother Church of Country Music," is another iconic venue that has hosted legends from Johnny Cash to Dolly Parton. Taking a tour or catching a show at the Ryman will be an unforgettable experience.

For your stay in Nashville, the Bobby Hotel is a great boutique option in the heart of downtown. This hotel boasts a rooftop pool, large and well-equipped rooms with captivating city views, and a unique 1967 Greyhound bus repurposed as a rooftop bar.

Located within easy walking distance, you'll find Church Street Park, the Johnny Cash Museum, and the Patsy Cline Museum. This makes the Bobby Hotel not only a luxurious retreat but also a convenient base for exploring Nashville.

Where to stay when you reach Minnesota

Minneapolis, nestled along the banks of the Mississippi River, is famous for its numerous lakes, parks, and the easily recognizable Stone Arch Bridge. It is also famously home to the Mall of America.

If you're eager to dive into Minneapolis's cultural offerings, we recommend heading to the Walker Art Center first. Just adjacent, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden displays impressive outdoor sculptures, including the famous "Spoonbridge and Cherry."

The Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture, viewed on a cloudy day
Don't forget to visit the famous Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture when you are in Minneapolis.

When considering where to stay in Minneapolis, Hotel Indigo - Minneapolis Downtown, an IHG Hotel situated at the heart of downtown is a great option for those seeking both beauty and modernity.

This hotel boasts a charming on-site restaurant, the Star Bar & Bistro, which specializes in American cuisine, ensuring that you can wind down with delicious meals in the evening. For a quick caffeine fix, the hotel's coffee shop stands ready to serve.

The hotel boasts a stellar location; a mere 10-minute walk away from Nicollet Mall and the Target Center, you will be right next door to Minneapolis's shopping and entertainment districts. The Orpheum Theatre is also only 0.5 miles away from the property.

Things to see on a road trip from Florida and Minnesota

This mammoth road trip from Florida to Minnesota will take you through many places to visit and planning your road trip can be difficult with so much option. To help you out, we've included our top highlights below.

Memphis Route

  1. Florida Museum of Natural History - Located in Gainesville, this museum offers a deep dive into Florida's unique ecosystems and cultural history, featuring extensive natural history exhibits, including fossil collections and a butterfly rainforest.
  2. Tallahassee Automobile Museum - Situated in Florida's capital, this museum showcases an impressive collection of vintage cars and memorabilia.
  3. Rosa Parks Museum - Located in Montgomery, Alabama, this museum honors the legacy of Rosa Parks and the Civil Rights Movement with interactive exhibits, historical artifacts, and educational programs.
  4. Peach Park - A charming stop in Clanton, Alabama, Peach Park is known for its fresh peaches, homemade goods, and family-friendly atmosphere, offering a sweet taste of Southern hospitality.
  5. Vulcan Park and Museum - Perched atop Red Mountain in Birmingham, Alabama, this park features the world's largest cast iron statue, Vulcan, and offers stunning views of the city along with exhibits on Birmingham's industrial history.
  6. Elvis Presley Birthplace - This historic site in Tupelo, Mississippi, includes the childhood home of Elvis Presley, a museum, and a chapel, celebrating the early life of the King of Rock 'n' Roll.
  7. Natchez Trace Parkway Visitors Center - Serving as a gateway to the scenic Natchez Trace Parkway, this center in Tupelo, Mississippi, provides information and exhibits on the history and natural beauty of this historic trail.
  8. Elvis Presley's Graceland Mansion - Graceland, in Memphis, Tennessee, offers an intimate look into the life of Elvis Presley, featuring tours of his home, belongings, and the grounds where he lived.
  9. Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum - Located on the famous Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee, this museum details the birth of rock and soul music, celebrating the artists and music that shaped American culture.
  10. Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge - Situated near Turrell, Arkansas, this refuge provides a serene sanctuary for migratory birds and wildlife, offering trails and opportunities for birdwatching and nature photography.
  11. Trail of Tears State Park - This park in Jackson, Missouri, commemorates the tragic relocation of Native Americans and offers hiking trails, camping facilities, and stunning views of the Mississippi River.
  12. The National Blues Museum - Located in St Louis, Missouri, this museum explores the history and legacy of the blues music genre, featuring interactive exhibits and live performances.
  13. Gateway Arch - The iconic Gateway Arch in St Louis, Missouri, symbolizes the westward expansion of the United States, offering tram rides to the top for breathtaking views of the city and the Mississippi River.
  14. Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum - This historic site in Hannibal, Missouri, celebrates the life and works of Mark Twain, with tours of his childhood home and exhibits on his literary legacy.
  15. Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden - Located in Des Moines, Iowa, this botanical garden is a haven of diverse plant species and beautifully designed landscapes, offering a peaceful escape into nature.
Colorful vintage cars lining the exterior of the museum
Tallahassee Automobile Museum is a must-visit for any car connoisseur traveling on the Memphis Route.
Red Lemon/

Nashville Route

  1. Daytona International Speedway - This iconic racetrack hosts the Daytona 500, one of NASCAR's most prestigious events, offering thrilling motorsports action and behind-the-scenes tours of the racing world.
  2. Castillo de San Marco National Monument - As the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States, this national monument showcases the rich history and enduring spirit of St Augustine with its well-preserved architecture and captivating exhibits.
  3. Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park - Located in White Springs, Florida, this park honors the memory of Stephen Foster, the composer of "Old Folks at Home," and celebrates Florida's history through folk arts demonstrations and scenic natural beauty.
  4. Tubman Museum - Situated in Macon, Georgia, this museum is dedicated to the legacy of Harriet Tubman and African American art, history, and culture, offering insightful exhibits and educational programs.
  5. High Falls State Park - Near Jackson, Georgia, this park features the largest waterfall in middle Georgia and offers hiking trails, picnic areas, and a serene backdrop for outdoor activities and relaxation.
  6. World of Coca-Cola - Located in Atlanta, Georgia, this interactive museum celebrates the history of the Coca-Cola Company with exhibits on its global impact, a tasting room of sodas from around the world, and memorabilia displays.
  7. Lookout Mountain Incline Railway - In Chattanooga, Tennessee, this railway provides a steep, scenic ride to the top of Lookout Mountain, offering breathtaking views and access to other attractions like Rock City and Ruby Falls.
  8. Johnny Cash Museum - Situated in Nashville, Tennessee, this museum pays tribute to the life and music of Johnny Cash with an extensive collection of artifacts, personal items, and multimedia exhibits.
  9. Mammoth Cave National Park - Near Brownsville, Kentucky, this park is home to the world's longest cave system, offering guided tours through vast underground chambers and beautiful natural landscapes above ground.
  10. Jim Beam American Stillhouse - Located in Clermont, Kentucky, this distillery offers a glimpse into the making of bourbon, featuring tours, tastings, and insights into the Beam family's long-standing whiskey-making tradition.
  11. Kentucky Derby Museum - This museum celebrates the tradition and history of the Kentucky Derby with interactive exhibits, a 360-degree theater experience, and tours of Churchill Downs.
  12. Kentucky Bourbon Trail - A journey through Kentucky's bourbon country, offering visitors the chance to tour several of the state's top distilleries, learn about bourbon production, and sample some of the finest spirits.
  13. Downtown Canal Walk, Indianapolis - This picturesque canal offers a 3-mile loop through downtown Indianapolis, ideal for walking, jogging, or taking a gondola ride, lined with art installations, green spaces, and city views.
  14. Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) - One of the tallest buildings in the United States, offering panoramic views of Chicago from its Skydeck, and a step out onto The Ledge, a glass box extending four feet outside the 103rd floor.
  15. Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio - Located in Oak Park, Illinois, this site served as Wright's personal residence and workplace, where visitors can explore the birthplace of Prairie style architecture through guided tours.
Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA taken as a drone aerial view of downtown Chattanooga and Tennessee River.
Take a moment to admire the beautiful scenery that surrounds Chattanooga on the Nashville Route.
Kevin Ruck/

Best time to go on a road trip from Florida to Minnesota

The road trip from Florida to Minnesota can be taken year-round, thanks to mostly taking place on well-maintained roads. However, when you choose to visit Minnesota will have an affect on which events you can enjoy and what you can expect on the road.

Summer on both routes brings the heat and humidity, as you might expect. That being said, this season is great for exploring city attractions without having to worry about weather conditions, parks and forests on the way, and enjoy outdoor events and dining options.

In Minneapolis, summer temperatures typically range from the mid-60s to the mid-80s Fahrenheit.

The Nashville Route in summer is marked by events like Nashville's 4th of July celebration, Let Freedom Sing. Nashville loves celebrating and you will be treated to amazing sights of fireworks and festive cheer if you happen to be in the city during this time.

Fireworks at night during the 4th of July celebrations "Let Freedom Sing"
You can enjoy the beautiful fireworks during "Let Freedom Sing" if you are in Nashville during the 4th of July.
Ryan Jason/

Winter is mild in Florida and the Southern states. However, as you head north into the Midwest, the winters get colder and you can expect more show on both routes. Minneapolis experiences cold winters, with temperatures often dropping below 0 degrees, especially in January and February.

Chicago's winter charm and Minneapolis's icy beauty call for cozy indoor gatherings and outdoor winter sports, highlighted by events like the Bourbon Classic Festival that takes place in February in Louisville.

The shoulder seasons of spring and fall offer the most temperate climates, ideal if you're seeking the open road without the extremes of heat or cold. Visiting during these seasons will also mean the opportunity to catch better deals on accommodation prices.

In Minneapolis, spring temperatures typically range from the mid-30s to the high 50s Fahrenheit, while fall sees temperatures from the low 30s to the high 50s Fahrenheit.

These seasons dazzle with natural beauty. Memphis and St Louis burst into bloom in spring, while Minneapolis and Des Moines are painted with the hues of fall foliage.

Highlights on the Memphis Route include the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest in Memphis in May and the Spring Arts Festival in Gainesville. The Eau Claire Jazz Festival in April is a must-see spring festival on the Nashville Route.