Sandy walkway between fences to the famous South Beach, with the view of the ocean and sunny skies ahead

Road trip from Jacksonville to Miami

Published by Dianne Titos on January 10 2024

Florida is famous for its wonderful beaches, sunny weather, and diverse cultures it is home to. This road trip from Jacksonville to Miami is filled with oceanside adventures, and you will get to travel on the Sunshine State's scenic coastline, driving through historic cities, beautiful beach towns and the theme park capital of the world.

The 380-mile road trip from Jacksonville to Miami will take about 7 hours to drive. Highlights en route are St Augustine, Daytona Beach, Cape Canaveral, Vero Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa, Fort Myers, Naples and Walt Disney World Resort.

This drive from Jacksonville to Miami is the ultimate Florida road trip, with so many amazing cities and beaches that bring thousands of visitors annually located right along the route. Read on below to learn more about each route and what awaits you on this epic journey.

How far is Miami from Jacksonville, and how long will the road trip take?

Comparison of road trip routes between Jacksonville and Miami
RouteDistanceDriving Time
Atlantic Coast Route380 miles7 hours
Gulf of Mexico Route510 miles8 hours 15 minutes

The Atlantic Coast Route on this road trip from Jacksonville to Miami covers a distance of 380 miles and takes about 7 hours without any detours.

Alternatively, the Gulf of Mexico Route spans 510 miles and takes roughly 8 hours and 15 minutes, and while longer, the beautiful places you will visit makes up for the extra mileage.

You could drive these routes in a day or two. However, with so many sights and experiences along the way, we recommend taking at least 3-4 days to make the most out of your drive.

Beach with palm trees and brightly coloured buildings with rays of light from the setting sun behind them
From its famous Ocean Drive to the world-famous beaches it is home to, Miami is a beautiful destination any time of the year.
Sean Pavone/

Best road trip route from Jacksonville to Miami

Both of our recommended routes from Jacksonville to Miami are full of highlights and unique experiences, so which one you choose depends on what you want to see the most.

The Atlantic Coast Route will take you on a picturesque journey down the Atlantic Coast from Jacksonville to Miami. Along this scenic drive, you can soak in the sun at famous beach towns like Daytona Beach, Cocoa Beach and Vero Beach.

Along the way, you'll visit landmarks such as Castillo de San Marcos National Monument in St Augustine and the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum. This route also will also take you to the space exploration hub of Cape Canaveral at Kennedy Space Center,.

On the other hand, the Gulf of Mexico Route starts off along the Atlantic Coast and follows the same directions as the alternative, but diverges shortly after Daytona Beach, but taking you through the center of Florida and along the Gulf of Mexico.

You will also get to visit Orlando, a city full of cultural attractions and world-renowned amusement parks like Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort.

For nature lovers, there are many reserves to explore, such as the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Myakka River State Park.

If you have more time, you can also hop on a ferry from Fort Myers to visit Key West. You can find more details on this ferry journey on our guide on how to reach Key West via ferry.

How to drive from Jacksonville to Miami

The map above shows our suggestions for the best road trip routes between Jacksonville and Miami. Keep reading for detailed descriptions of both routes, where to stay on either, and the best things to do on the way.

Atlantic Coast Route

Starting your journey in Jacksonville, drive south on Interstate 95 (I-95) along the beautiful eastern seaboard. Your first notable stop is St Augustine, where you can explore historical landmarks like the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument.

Continuing southeast, you'll arrive in Daytona Beach. Here, you can visit the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum.

As you proceed, the route takes you to the heart of space exploration at Cape Canaveral's Kennedy Space Center. From here, continue along I-95 to Cocoa Beach, a haven for beach lovers and surfers.

Soon, you'll arrive in Vero Beach, where you can visit the McKee Botanical Garden and the National Navy SEAL Museum. Further south, the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center near Stuart offers an interactive experience with marine life.

Continuing on the interstate heading south, you'll reach West Palm Beach and Delray Beach, famous for its Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens.

Finally, the route brings you to Fort Lauderdale Beach, a perfect spot for relaxation. From here, you only have a few miles before reaching Miami.

Parasol and beach chairs on the foreshore in Daytona Beach. Florida, USA
Atlantic Coast Route features some of the most popular beaches in Florida, including the beautiful Daytona Beach.
Gabriele Maltinti/

Gulf of Mexico Route

Similar to the alternative route, start by heading southwest towards St Augustine and continue on to Daytona Beach. Here the routes will diverge and you will start heading inland on I-4 West towards Orlando, famous for its theme parks such as the iconic Walt Disney World Resort.

After enjoying the magic of Orlando, continue west on I-4 to Tampa. Here, you can explore the Florida Aquarium. As you travel south along I-75, you'll soon reach Sarasota. Keep driving south until you get to Myakka River State Park, an excellent spot for wildlife viewing.

From here, drive further south to Fort Myers. Here you can take a ferry ride to Key West if you have more. If not, Keep following the interstate, which will dip south and turn east to head towards the Atlantic Coast past Bonita Springs and Naples.

Just a little further, you'll reach your fantastic destination of Miami.

A hippo going underwater, viewed from behind the glass in the aquarium in Tampa
Florida Aquarium in Tampa is the perfect place to visit for families or anyone wanting to learn more about fascinating creatures such as majestic hippos!

Best places to stop between Jacksonville and Miami

With so much to see and do on a road trip from Jacksonville to Miami, you'll want to break the drive up and stay in one of the amazing destinations below. That way, you'll have time to rest up and explore the beautiful Sunshine State and do it justice!

Stunning ocean views in Vero Beach

Vero Beach, located approximately 4 hours and 40 minutes into the Atlantic Coast Route, is an ideal overnight stop. It features tranquil beaches and a rich array of parks, cultural, and recreational activities.

Renowned for its artistic flair and miles of pristine, uncrowded shoreline, Vero Beach is a haven if you're looking for both culture and natural beauty. Notable attractions include South Beach Park and the McKee Botanical Gardens.

Beautiful waterside plants in the garden, lilypads can be seen on the water surface
Despite its name, Vero Beach isn't all about beaches (though we admit that its beaches are beautiful!); you can also admire some beautiful flora at the urban oasis of McKee Botanical Gardens.
Norm Lane/

Vero Beach is a major nesting ground for sea turtles; you can often see them during certain times of the year. The turtle nesting season runs between March through October. The area is also a habitat for diverse seabirds, making it a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts.

For your stay, we recommend the highly-rated Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel & Spa, an IHG Hotel. This eco-friendly hotel is conveniently close to the beach, featuring a sparkling swimming pool and a relaxing hot tub.

The hotel boasts stunning ocean views, which you can enjoy while dining in its on-site restaurant. We highly recommend booking a treatment at the full-service spa to treat and pamper yourself after the drive.

Nearby attractions include the Vero Beach Museum of Art, located just a short walk from the hotel. Another close and enjoyable destination is Humiston Beach Park, situated about 400 yards away.

Fun for all ages in fascinating Orlando

Orlando is just 2 hours and 30 minutes into the Gulf of Mexico Route, making it an excellent choice for an overnight stop. This fascinating city is home to iconic attractions like Walt Disney World Resort, Seaworld Orlando, and Universal Orlando Resort.

Not a fan of theme parks? The city also has an abundance of lakes, numbering over 100 in the area. These lakes are perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, and more.

Fireworks and lit up castle in Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World Resort
Let your inner child out at the beautiful Walt Disney World Resort, which is a world-famous destination on its own right.
Donna R. Theimer AIFD/

For your stay, we recommend Universal's Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. This family-friendly resort is beautifully themed and offers convenient access to nearby theme parks.

One of the biggest perks for guests is the ability to walk to some of these parks or take advantage of the complimentary rides provided by the hotel.

After your day of exploring the parks, you'll love the four on-site restaurants. The resort also features a wellness center and an inviting outdoor swimming pool, perfect for relaxation and recreation.

Universal's Islands of Adventure is a mere 600 yards from the resort, making it an easily accessible destination for a day of fun. Universal Studios Florida is also close by, located about a mile away.

Where to stay when you reach Miami

Miami, a city famous for its breathtaking skyline views, pristine beaches, and culture, offers a blend of cultural attractions and pulsating nightlife.

From exploring the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens to shopping at Bayside Marketplace, there are plenty of experiences to enjoy in this lively Floridian city.

Sand art of two hands holding a rope of stick figures holding hands on a beach in Miami
Miami is home to many amazing events, such as Art Basel Miami Beach which feature beautiful pieces of artwork and installations.
Felix Mizioznikov/

Miami is also home to many renowned international festivals. Events like the Miami International Boat Show, Art Basel Miami Beach and the Ultra Music Festival attract visitors from all over the globe.

For your stay, consider the beautiful Mayfair House Hotel & Garden, a luxurious boutique hotel that promises a celebrity-like treatment close to Miami's famous beaches. The hotel's architecture is a visual treat, combining fascinating design with tasteful interior decoration.

One of our favorite features of Mayfair House Hotel is its stunning rooftop pool, complete with a bar and lounge area. This space is the perfect spot to relax and unwind while enjoying the beautiful Miami sunshine.

Nearby, you're only a few miles from the famous South Beach. You're also just a short drive from Miami's famous museums and downtown restaurant scene.

Things to see on a road trip from Jacksonville to Miami

Even though you're staying in only one state, it'll feel like you've driven across the country with all the sights and experiences available on this Jacksonville to Miami road trip. To help you make the most out of this drive, we've included our favorite highlights below.

Both Routes

  1. Castillo de San Marcos National Monument - This historic fortress, built in the 17th century, is the oldest masonry fort in the United States, offering a glimpse into the colonial history of Florida.
  2. Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve - A vast preserve showcasing Florida's coastal habitats, with opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and exploring diverse ecosystems.
  3. St Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum - This historic lighthouse offers panoramic views of the coastline and a museum exploring maritime history and shipwrecks.
  4. Fort Matanzas National Monument - A well-preserved Spanish fort from the 18th century, this monument offers insights into 450 years of St. Augustine's history and culture.
  5. Main Street Pier, Daytona Beach - A famous landmark in Daytona Beach, this pier is a hub of activity with its amusement area, restaurants, and spectacular ocean views.
The famous black and white spiral towered lighthouse on a sunny day
St Augustine Lighthouse is a great photo spot to check out while visiting the city, and the Maritime Museum adjacent to it is a great place for any history buff.
Sean Pavone/

Atlantic Coast Route

  1. Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum - Standing tall since 1887, this lighthouse offers breathtaking views from its tower and a rich history in its accompanying museum.
  2. Kennedy Space Center - This iconic NASA facility is a must-visit for space enthusiasts, featuring rocket exhibits, astronaut encounters, and interactive simulators.
  3. Cocoa Beach - Known for its surf-friendly waves and picturesque coastline, Cocoa Beach is a quintessential Florida beach experience.
  4. Sebastian Inlet State Park - A haven for surfers and fishermen, this park features pristine beaches, popular fishing spots, and a rich variety of wildlife.
  5. McKee Botanical Garden - A tropical retreat with lush gardens, water features, and a diverse collection of native and exotic flora.
  6. The National Navy SEAL Museum - This museum honors the history of Navy SEALs with exhibits on their training, missions, and the equipment used in operations.
  7. Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center - An interactive marine life center where visitors can learn about coastal ecosystems and participate in hands-on experiences.
  8. Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum - This iconic lighthouse offers stunning views and a rich history, with a museum detailing the maritime heritage of the area.
  9. Downtown, West Palm Beach - A vibrant center with a mix of historic and modern architecture, offering a range of shopping, dining, and cultural experiences.
  10. Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens - A center for Japanese arts and culture, featuring serene gardens, traditional tea ceremonies, and cultural exhibits.
  11. Boca Raton Museum of Art - This museum showcases a diverse collection of contemporary and traditional art, including European paintings, photography, and sculpture.
  12. Fort Lauderdale Beach - A picturesque beachfront known for its crystal-clear waters, soft sands, and bustling beachside promenade.
  13. Hollywood Beach - Famous for its boardwalk, this beach offers a charming blend of seaside eateries, shops, and entertainment options.
Seafront lifeguard hut on white-sand beach with palm trees
Fort Lauderdale's white-sand beach is a prime destination, especially in summer. So pack your swimsuit and sunscreen if you are planning a visit!

Gulf of Mexico Route

  1. Tiger Bay State Forest - A natural oasis, this forest is ideal for hiking, wildlife viewing, and experiencing the tranquility of Florida's native pine habitats.
  2. Walt Disney World Resort - The world's most famous theme park, offering an array of magical experiences, from thrilling rides to encounters with beloved characters.
  3. The Florida Aquarium, Tampa - An educational and entertaining destination, showcasing a variety of marine life from local waters and around the world.
  4. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens - An urban oasis in Sarasota, featuring rare tropical plants, beautiful orchids, and serene bayfront gardens.
  5. Myakka River State Park - One of Florida's largest state parks, known for its diverse wildlife, wetlands, prairies, and the scenic Myakka River.
  6. IMAG History & Science Center - An interactive museum in Fort Myers, combining history, science, and technology for an educational and fun experience.
  7. Bonita Beach Park - A beautiful beach offering white sands, clear waters, and amenities for a perfect family beach day.
  8. Golisano Children's Museum of Naples - A vibrant and interactive museum designed for children's learning and play, with a focus on the arts and sciences.
  9. Picayune Strand State Forest Hike - An adventurous hike through a diverse landscape of cypress swamps, pine flatwoods, and marshes, showcasing Florida's natural beauty.
  10. Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum - A museum dedicated to the history and culture of the Seminole Tribe, with artifacts, exhibits, and a living village.
Beautiful nature walk lined with tall trees in the state park
Myakka River State Park is the perfect place for a peaceful stroll if you are following the Gulf of Mexico Route.
Ann Cantelow/

Best time to go on a road trip from Jacksonville to Miami

Miami is the ultimate destination throughout the year, and this amazing road trip from Jacksonville can be undertaken any month of the year. However, each season has its own special charms and unique events.

Traveling along either the Atlantic Coast or the Gulf of Mexico route during spring offers a pleasant journey with mild temperatures averaging from the mid-70s to 80 degrees Fahrenheit in Miami.

This season is ideal for exploring outdoor attractions without the extreme heat of summer. In Miami, you can experience the energy of the Ultra Music Festival in March, showcasing world-renowned music artists and art.

Summer is hot and humid throughout the state, with Miami temperatures often reaching the high 80s to low 90s Fahrenheit. While this is great beach weather, it's also important to consider the Atlantic hurricane season, which can bring torrential rains and storms to Southeast Florida from June to November.

Fall is a delightful time to travel, with the heat subsiding and the chance to attend unique events. In October, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is a highlight on the Atlantic Coast Route, and the Naples International Film Festival on the Gulf of Mexico Route.

Winter in Miami is relatively mild and dry, with temperatures typically in the 70s Fahrenheit, offering a break from the colder northern climates. This season is perfect for attending Miami's Art Deco Weekend in January.

On the Atlantic Coast Route, the Nights of Lights in St Augustine from November to January transforms the city into a luminous wonderland. Snow is rare in Florida and almost unheard of in Miami, so you can enjoy clear road conditions even in the middle of winter.