Downtown skyline of Miami with palm trees in the foreground on a partially cloudy day
Sean Pavone/

Road trip from Nashville to Miami

Published by Dianne Titos on December 27 2023

Home to beautiful beaches and glittering nightlife, Miami is an amazing destination that is the perfect combination of relaxing under the sun and letting your hair down. This road trip from Nashville to Miami will take you through towns surrounded by stunning scenery and iconic cities of the American South on the coast and inland.

The 1,040-mile road trip from Nashville to Miami will take 16 hours. On the way you can visit Chattanooga, Atlanta, Tallahassee, Tampa Bay, Fort Myers, Savannah, Jacksonville, St Augustine, Cape Canaveral, Kennedy Space Center and Fort Lauderdale.

This is the ultimate drive for anyone interested in Southern American culture, nature, historical sights, and sandy beaches. Read on below to learn more about our recommended routes, top highlights along the way, best stops, and the best seasons to travel.

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

Comparison of road trip routes between Nashville and Miami
RouteDistanceDriving Time
Atlantic Coast Route990 miles15 hours
Gulf of Mexico Route1,040 miles16 hours 20 minutes

The Gulf of Mexico Route on a road trip from Nashville to Miami offers a scenic journey of approximately 1,040 miles, taking around 16 hours and 20 minutes to drive.

Alternatively, the Atlantic Coast Route provides a slightly shorter but equally captivating drive, covering about 990 miles in around 15 hours without any detours.

While you can complete each of these routes in a couple of days, there are so many sights and experiences along the way that you'll want to set aside 4-5 days for the journey.

Aerial view of Miami Beach, South Beach, Florida, USA on a sunny day.
Get ready for one gorgeous sandy beach after another on your way to and in sunny Miami!

Best road trip route from Nashville to Miami

Deciding between the Gulf of Mexico Route and the Atlantic Coast Route for your Nashville to Miami road trip depends on what you want to see and experience the most en route. Both routes follow the same directions until Atlanta and diverge from there.

The Gulf of Mexico Route immerses you in the quintessential Florida experience. You'll experience diverse wildlife, from manatees to alligators, as well as some of the best Gulf Coast beaches in the USA.

This route takes you through the cotton fields and pecan groves of southern Georgia, down to the dazzling white, sandy beaches of the Florida Gulf Coast, particularly near Tampa and Fort Myers.

If you have time, a ferry ride from Fort Myers to Key West is a highly recommended detour, offering a chance to enjoy the Gulf Coast's most pristine, powder-like beaches at the famous Florida Keys.

On the other hand, the Atlantic Coast Route is rich in historical and architectural marvels, particularly in southern Georgia. You'll also visit the historic city of St Augustine and even a detour to Orlando, though you should add on a few extra days for these detours.

The Atlantic Coast is renowned for its water-based adventures. The journey along Florida's Atlantic Coast has many stops at palm-lined beaches, coral reefs, wildlife refuges, and national parks, ensuring a picturesque and memorable driving experience.

How to drive from Nashville to Miami

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

Gulf of Mexico Route

Start the Gulf of Mexico Route from Nashville, starting your journey southward on Interstate 24 (I-24) to Chattanooga. Here, you can explore the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway and take a relaxing cruise on the Southern Belle Riverboat.

Continuing south on I-75, you'll arrive in Atlanta, Georgia, where you can dive into the World of Coca-Cola and visit the Martin Luther King Jr National History Park.

Next, head southwest towards Macon, before veering south on I-475, reconnecting with I-75 to enter Florida. Don't miss a visit to the Florida Historic Capitol Museum in Tallahassee. As you drive further south, consider a detour to Steinhatchee Falls and Manatee Springs State Park.

Your journey then leads you to the Gulf Coast cities of Tampa and Fort Myers. In Tampa, Busch Gardens and the Florida Aquarium await, offering thrilling rides and wildlife encounters.

Continue on the interstate, heading south and take a brief detour to Cape Coral, where you can explore the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium.

Finally, as you drive towards Miami, the road will take you through the scenic Everglades region, concluding your scenic drive in the vibrant city of Miami.

Collection of vintage memorabilia on display in a built living room at the World of Coca-Cola Museum, Atlanta
You will get to visit the famous World of Coca-Cola on both of our recommended routes as you pass through Atlanta.
Conchi Martinez/

Atlantic Coast Route

You will follow the same directions above until you reach Atlanta on this alternative route. After exploring Atlanta and driving south to Macon, take I-16 East to reach the historic Savannah, Georgia. The Savannah Historic District offers a glimpse into the rich history and architectural beauty of the area.

Proceed on I-95 South from Savannah, which will lead you to Jacksonville, Florida, a city known for its urban parks and coastal beauty. From Jacksonville, continue to St Augustine. Here, the St Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park offers a unique blend of wildlife and history.

As you drive further south along I-95, make a stop at Daytona Beach, home to the famous Daytona International Speedway. From here, you can make an inland detour to visit Orlando, if you have more time.

The journey then takes you through Cape Canaveral, where you can visit the Manatee Sanctuary Park and the Kennedy Space Center. Further along the route, you'll find the National Navy SEAL Museum near Fort Pierce.

As you approach the last stretch of your road trip, the interstate will lead you to West Palm Beach, where you can experience downtown and the beautiful beaches.

A short drive south will take you to Fort Lauderdale, where you can visit the Museum of Discovery and Science. Finally, your journey concludes in Miami.

St. Augustine, Florida, USA town square.
If you opt for the Atlantic Coast Route, you can visit beautiful St Augustine, the oldest continuously occupied community of European and African-American origin in the country.
Sean Pavone/

Best places to stop between Nashville and Miami

There's so much to see and do along the way from Nashville to Miami that you're going to want to make a stop at one of the top destinations below. This way, you'll stay well-rested and have time to explore the amazing destinations in each region.

Best of the Gulf Coast in Tampa

Tampa, located approximately 12 hours and 15 minutes into your Gulf of Mexico Route road trip, is an ideal stopover. This lively city combines the thrill of nightlife and outdoor adventures with stunning waterfront scenery.

Tampa owes its historical development to the booming Cuban cigar industry. The city's rich culture is best experienced in Ybor City, where you can still learn about the roots of the cigar business.

Famous 7th Avenue in the city, lined up with historic buildings that house shops and restaurants now
Ybor City is home to the charming and famous 7th Avenue, which is now designated as a National Historic Landmark District.
Nick Fox/

Once you are ready to explore further, The Florida Aquarium presents a world of marine wonders, making it a must-visit for families and ocean enthusiasts alike.

For your stay, we recommend the exquisite Tampa EDITION. Centrally located in the bustling Water Street Tampa neighborhood, the hotel's beautifully-decorated rooms, many boasting stunning city views, provide the perfect break from your long drive.

Unwind at the rooftop pool with a bar, offering a well-deserved relaxing escape from the road. You'll also enjoy the several on-site restaurants, ranging from casual bites to fine dining.

The hotel is also very close to major attractions, such as the Florida Aquarium, just a 15-minute walk away. Also nearby is the Tampa Bay Historic Center is a 2-minute walk from the hotel.

A historic stay on the Atlantic Coast in Savannah

Savannah, nestled about 7 hours and 30 minutes into your Atlantic Coast Route road trip, is a great stopover destination. Situated about halfway along your journey and marking your arrival at the Atlantic shores, the historic city has the perfect blend of historical and coastal charm.

As Georgia's oldest city, Savannah is a treasure trove of history, renowned for its beautifully preserved architecture and Southern allure. It's one of the most visited cities in this region, with majestic old buildings and cobblestone streets.

Riverfront promenade during a cloudy sunset, with a riverboat docked in the distance
Savannah is famous for its historic streets and riverboats, but we think its stunning sunsets also deserve a mention!
Sean Pavone/

In Savannah, the Historic District is a highlight, showcasing the city's rich heritage through its well-maintained historic homes and public buildings. Another must-see is the bustling Historic River Street, lined with quaint boutiques, galleries, and restaurants.

Did you know that you can get your favorite cocktails "to-go" in parts of Savannah? If you are 21 years old or older, you can buy to-go drinks at bars and restaurants enjoy them within the to-go cup zone.

For your stay, the highly-rated Perry Lane Hotel is an exceptional choice. This hotel, where contemporary design meets historic glamor, is located in the heart of Savannah's historic district.

Adding to the luxury, you'll be treated to complimentary champagne and popcorn daily, perfect for a relaxing evening. The hotel's rooftop pool is a serene spot to unwind after a day of driving, with a beautiful panoramic view of the city.

Nearby, the Historic Savannah Theatre, just a 2-minute walk from the hotel, offers live performances in one of the oldest continually operating theaters in America. Also, Lafayette Square, a mere 5-minute walk away, is a peaceful green space surrounded by historic buildings.

Where to stay when you reach Miami

Miami, with its stunning beaches, iconic skyline, and non-stop nightlife, is the perfect end to your epic road trip. As you explore this world-famous city, don't miss the cultural attractions of Little Havana and the creative flair of the Miami Design District.

For your stay, the Arlo Wynwood Miami is one of our favorite affordable hotels in the area, where the sky is the limit. Nestled in Wynwood, Miami's most creative and artsy neighborhood, this hotel gives you the chance to stay in the city's artistic heart.

Colorful Museum Parking garage in the heart of the Miami Design District on a sunny day
Wynwood neighborhood is known and celebrated for its artsy vibes where you will find creativity on every corner.
YES Market Media/

The rooms are bright and airy, with some featuring balconies that offer captivating views of the Miami skyline. The resort-style rooftop pool and cabana offer stunning city views, providing a serene escape amidst the urban buzz.

The hotel itself is a reflection of its surroundings, adorned with fantastic and unique artwork both inside and out, perfectly blending with the neighborhood's artistic vibe.

After relaxing, don't miss the sights. First, head over to South Beach for some incredible entertainment. Afterwards, you can pay a visit to the stunning Miami Beach Botanical Garden and then enjoy a meal at downtown's busy restaurant and bar scene.

Things to see on a road trip from Nashville to Miami

There's so much to see and do along the way on a drive from Nashville to Miami that you're going to want to take your time planning. To help you, we've included our top highlights below so you can pick what you want to see the most.

Both Routes

  1. Earth Experience – Middle Tennessee Museum of Natural History - This museum in Murfreesboro offers a fascinating journey through time, showcasing impressive dinosaur fossils and a variety of natural history exhibits.
  2. Lookout Mountain Incline Railway - Located in Chattanooga, this historic railway provides a scenic ride up Lookout Mountain, offering panoramic views of the surrounding area.
  3. Southern Belle Riverboat - A Chattanooga highlight, this riverboat offers leisurely cruises along the Tennessee River, complete with dining and entertainment.
  4. Six Flags White Water - Situated near Atlanta, this popular water park boasts a wide range of thrilling water slides and family-friendly attractions.
  5. World of Coca-Cola - In the heart of Atlanta, this interactive museum celebrates the history and global influence of Coca-Cola through engaging exhibits and tastings.
  6. Martin Luther King Jr National History Park - This Atlanta park offers a poignant look at the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., including his childhood home and the Ebenezer Baptist Church.
  7. Delta Flight Museum - Located in Atlanta, this museum provides an inside look at the history of Delta Air Lines, featuring historic aircraft and aviation artifacts.
Touristic train going downhill with lush greenery lining both sides of the rails
For the best views over the Lookout Mountain, hop onto the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway in Chattanooga.
Peace One Love/

Gulf of Mexico Route

  1. ABAC's Georgia Museum of Agriculture - In Tifton, this museum offers an immersive experience into 19th-century farm life, complete with historic buildings and live demonstrations.
  2. Florida Historic Capitol Museum - Situated in Tallahassee, this museum presents the state's political history within the beautifully restored historic capitol building.
  3. Steinhatchee Falls, Florida - A serene natural retreat in Steinhatchee, offering picturesque waterfalls and tranquil hiking trails.
  4. Manatee Springs State Park - Located in Chiefland, this park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, offering clear springs where manatees are often spotted.
  5. Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay - A renowned theme park in Tampa, combining thrilling roller coasters with exotic animal exhibits and live entertainment.
  6. The Florida Aquarium - An impressive aquarium showcasing a wide array of marine life, from local to exotic, with interactive experiences.
  7. Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium - This nature center offers trails, a planetarium, and animal exhibits, focusing on the region's natural history.
  8. Cape Coral - Known for its extensive canals, Cape Coral offers a mix of water activities, nature preserves, and family-friendly attractions.

Atlantic Coast Route

  1. Savannah Historic District - The heart of Savannah, Georgia, this district is renowned for its well-preserved historic architecture, charming squares, and rich Southern history.
  2. St Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park - A unique wildlife park in St Augustine, featuring a variety of alligator species and other exotic animals in naturalistic settings.
  3. Daytona International Speedway - An iconic racing venue in Daytona Beach, offering exciting motorsports events and tours of the famous track.
  4. Manatee Sanctuary Park - A peaceful park in Cape Canaveral, providing a tranquil environment for viewing manatees and other local wildlife.
  5. Cape Canaveral - Famous for its space exploration history, Cape Canaveral is a must-visit for its beaches, rocket launches, and the nearby Kennedy Space Center.
  6. Kennedy Space Center - An iconic NASA facility near Cape Canaveral, offering interactive exhibits, space shuttle displays, and astronaut encounters.
  7. The National Navy SEAL Museum - Located in Fort Pierce, this museum honors the history and achievements of Navy SEALs through engaging exhibits and artifacts.
  8. West Palm Beach - A vibrant coastal city known for its beautiful beaches, cultural venues, and bustling Clematis Street.
  9. Museum of Discovery and Science - An interactive science museum in Fort Lauderdale, featuring hands-on exhibits, an IMAX theater, and live animal shows.
Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA at the entrance of the visitor complex of Kennedy Space Center taken on a sunny day.
You can visit the Kennedy Space Center near Cape Canaveral if you choose our Atlantic Coast Route.
Robert Hoetink/

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

Miami is a world-famous city that shines year-round, offering a unique experience each season and both of our recommended routes will be relatively easy to follow no matter which month you choose to travel on.

Taking both routes to Miami, you'll find that southern Florida's subtropical climate is most pleasant from November to April, with steady and dry weather conditions and comfortable temperatures.

Winter is a great time to visit Florida, with cooler temperatures and plenty to do. Temperatures along both routes are around 40-60 degrees Fahrenheit at the start but can get into the 80s in Florida.

In addition to New Year, there are plenty of festivals and events in winter. Don't miss the Gasparilla Pirate Festival in February. On the Atlantic Coast Route, you can experience the Nights of Lights in St Augustine in January and at your destination, don't miss the famous Art Deco Weekend in January.

Endangered Florida Manatees at Manatee Bay
If you hope to see some adorable manatees on your road trip to Florida, we recommend choosing a time between December and February for your journey.
Ethan Daniels/

This period is also ideal for wildlife enthusiasts hoping to spot manatees, especially from December to February.

In spring, the route's nature spots and parks, particularly in Florida, are a spectacle of blooms, making it a visually stunning journey.

Summer along both routes can be humid, but it's the prime time for water-based activities. However, be mindful that August is typically the wettest month along the Atlantic Florida Coast.

Summer events add further allure to these routes. On top of the famous Fourth of July festivals in cities and towns on both routes, don't miss the Chattanooga Riverbend Festival in June.

Fall is also perfect, although it can still be hot in southern Florida. In fall, don't miss events such as the Naples International Film Festival in October on the Gulf of Mexico Route.