The drive from New York to Florida is a long one, but you won’t be bored along the way if you plan your trip right. Exciting cities and American history dot the east coast the entire journey. This itinerary is the quick version of the journey, still packed with plenty of adventurous things to do. Should you want to spend a little more time on the drive and really enjoy the ride along the way, we also have for a 5-day trek. Pick up a comfortable rental car in New York City, pack up your things, and hit the interstate! Be prepared for the open road by visiting our checklist of road trip essentials.
Drive Time from New York to Florida: approximately 15 hours
Distance from New York to Florida: approximately 940 miles
Best car for this road trip: Midsize SUV
Spend a lifetime in New York, and you still wouldn’t have been able to do anything. Of course, there are popular tourist spots like the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Central Park and more that are great to visit. But what about some places not so familiar to visitors? If you’re a fan of Italian food and culture, opt to go to Arthur Avenue in The Bronx. The street is filled with shops and restaurants all touting incredible pasta, house-made mozzarella, and impeccable Italian sausages.
Visit the Tenement Museum to get insight into the melting pot culture that has made NYC the city it resembles today. The museum tours through multiple apartments from diverse cultures that have influenced The Big Apple throughout the decades.
Day 1: Eventually, you’ll have to leave the city that never sleeps. On the first day of your trip, you'll be traveling 550 miles to Fayetteville, North Carolina, which is slightly more than halfway between NYC and Jacksonville, Florida. Plan to drive roughly eight to nine hours.
Travel tip: Traveling along this route on a weekday may be significantly longer due to traffic conditions in the major cities you'll be passing through. Aim to travel on the weekend if possible.
Before you leave the city, grab some donuts at Underwest Donuts. It’s close to the Lincoln Tunnel, which you’ll use to make your way toward I-95. Grab some coffee and a couple of donuts, maybe the maple waffle and the dark chocolate, to eat on the road.
Hop on I-95 South and drive the 192 miles to Baltimore. You won’t have much time, but go ahead and drive straight to Inner Harbor. Here you can grab lunch and check out a couple of sites like the Star-Spangled Banner House or the National Aquarium. Looking for something a little different? Check out Splash City Golf, a driving range where you can hit biodegradable golf balls at targets floating in the harbor. The core of each golf ball is actually made of fish food!
After a short trek through the harbor, it’s time to get back on the road.
The drive from Baltimore to Fayetteville will take about 5 ½ hours. More than likely, you’ll be rolling into town later in the evening depending on how long you stayed in Baltimore.
If you make it into town early enough, definitely take a visit to the Airborne and Special Operation Museum. It’s not large so, you won’t need a lot of time, but you’ll see a wide range of artifacts and dioramas covering this history of special operations and the airborne troops.
There are several great options for dinner; you really can’t go wrong. However, a stop into The Fried Turkey Sandwich Shop on Paintersmill Drive is sure to satisfy your taste buds. Be sure to get a good night’s rest to rejuvenate for the next day’s travel.
Day 2: Depart from Fayetteville in the morning and get back on I-95 S. You'll be traveling almost 400 miles, with a total driving time of five and a half hours. If you need a break, there are a few spots along the way that are great for a quick pit stop such as the UFO Welcome Center in South Carolina, Forsythe Park in Savannah or lunch at The Crab Shack on Tybee Island in George.
You'll likely arrive in Jacksonville in the mid-afternoon depending on how long you stop for breaks.
If Jacksonville, Florida, isn't your final destination, get back in the car and finish the drive to your journey's ending point. The Sunshine State is full of places to explore, whether you're going to Orlando to visit a theme park or you want to relax on a white sand beach in Ft. Myers or Miami.
Otherwise, take time to explore Jacksonville. It's a marvelous city if you love the outdoors; it has the largest urban park system in the nation. It also has tons of great places to eat and shop.
Spend the day on the white sands found at the local beaches. From Anastasia Park beach in St. Augustine to American Beach on Amelia Island, Jacksonville has plenty of oceanside spots to soak up the sun, catch some waves and enjoy the fresh air.
If you’re visiting over the weekend, you’ll want to check out the Riverside Arts Market, held every Saturday in downtown. Shop through stalls from local vendors selling crafts, art, and plenty of food.
Any golf fan will want to trek about 20 miles southeast of downtown to play a round at TPC Sawgrass, home to The Players Championship on the PGA tour.
There are many more options for fun throughout Jacksonville that there simply isn’t enough room to mention them all. With incredible restaurants, professional sports, great shopping and tons of beach access, you’ll have more trouble figuring out what to do the next time you visit.