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  • Jordan Hinsch

8 Best Weekend Trips from Miami by Car

Updated: Mar 4, 2021

It may not seem like it, but living in Florida means you are in a great state for weekend road trips.

These trips are more common on the west coast. Explorers in the Pacific Northwest tend to take weekend trips within their beautiful states to find mountains, craters, and cool treehouses. On the flipside, explorers in Florida can discover new beach towns, top-notch watersports, relaxing getaways, and new campsites.

Here are some ideas for a fun weekend getaway from Miami.

NOTE: I've included a Covid-19 rating which is scored from 1-10, 10 being the best. This is my personal opinion of how they're handling the pandemic in terms of mask requirements, openings, and what I think your potential risk is. A city which is open but has very relaxed mask requirements will score low, whereas a city which is not open and has very strict mask requirements will also score low. You should be looking for the perfect medium since I'm sure you don't want to embark on a weekend getaway and have nothing to do, but you also want to feel safe.

Key West

Why? Key West is traditionally known as a city where people go to party and be wild. It's still that same city, but there is great music, culture, and loads of non-alcohol related activities to partake in.

  • Drive Time: 3.5 hours each way

  • Tolls: Yes

  • Covid-19 Rating: 6/10

  • Hotel Recommendation: Eden House. An excellent boutique hotel with top-notch service and a quiet location. A quiet location is very important if you want to get some sleep in Key West. It's geared towards romantic getaways as most rooms do not have TVs. Oh, they have a pool and a hot tub.

  • Where to Eat: Moondog Cafe & Bakery for some mind-blowing vegan cuisine.

  • See other hotels and restaurants in Key West

St. Augustine

Why? St. Augustine was founded in 1565 making it the oldest US establishment. Predominantly influenced by Spaniards, you'll be forced to fall in love with the cobblestone alleys, boutique shops, and unique architecture that makes St. Augustine what it is. Since this is a longer drive, I'd recommend leaving around 12pm on a Friday if you wish to get a full weekend in.

  • Drive Time: 5 hours each way

  • Tolls: Yes

  • Covid-19 Rating: 8/10

  • Hotel Recommendation: The Collector. St. Augustine was my second to last stop during my 2020 road trip. I booked my stay at The Collector via Hotel Tonight and upon check-in, I already knew this place would find it's way on to my Top 10 Hotel List, globally. It's a B&B style establishment with some of the finest service I've received (from my initial experience with valet to fine details in housekeeping). While the hotel itself is relatively new, the units date back as early as 1790 and have housed Napoleon's family members. If it's within your budget, I strongly recommend staying here. They have a happy hour every night with craft cocktails, a pool, and the location is perfect.

  • Where to Eat: Casa Maya for excellent Mexican cuisine, margaritas, and live music. (Sad Fact: This was my only live music experience in 2020)

  • See other hotels and restaurants in St. Augustine

Marco Island

Why? A lot of people forget that there is civilization south of Naples on the west coast of Florida. Marco Island features pristine, secluded coast line along the Gulf of Mexico. Warm and clear waters mixed with good food and a cocktail is rarely a bad thing.

St. Petersburg

Why? St. Petersburg is usually an after thought to Tampa and Clearwater. Downtown St. Pete is fun, and there are some great bars at your disposal. It feels exactly what it is, a small city with big buildings. While visiting, hop over to the beach to get some sun.

Ocala National Forest

Why? I recently had the pleasure of camping in Ocala National Forest for the very first time. If you're going to plan a camping trip in Florida, look no further. I'd recommend leaving midday on a Friday if you're looking to camp for 2 nights. Otherwise, you can stay a hotel in Orlando and head to your campsite early on a Saturday.

  • Drive Time: 4-5 hours each way (depending on which part of the forest you travel to)

  • Tolls: Yes

  • Covid-19 Rating: 10/10 (masks are not required while camping, but you won't see many people)

  • Hotel Recommendation: Tent or Hammock!

Cocoa Beach

Why? Head here if you're looking for a surf getaway. Hometown of the legendary Kelly Slater, Cocoa Beach is a prime benefactor of warm Atlantic ocean swell. There are some cool oceanside restaurants, but the hotel situation is lacking a bit. I'd recommend looking for a VRBO.

  • Drive Time: 3 hours each way

  • Tolls: Yes

  • Covid-19 Rating: 6/10

  • See hotels and restaurants in Cocoa Beach

Palm Beach

Why? Palm Beach is a great place to get away from the busy Miami vibe and relax a bit. It's a completely different city with other offerings which appeal to most. Stay near the beach and take a quick drive or uber to downtown for some fun bars and great restaurants. The surfing in Palm Beach isn't too bad either! View my post on the best places to surf in South Florida.

  • Drive Time: 1.2 hours each way

  • Tolls: No (Yes if you take the turnpike or express lane on I-95)

  • Covid-19 Rating: 8/10

  • Hotel Recommendation: The Chesterfield

  • Where to Eat: Darbster. It's not close to the beach, but it's worth the drive if you're looking for some of the best vegan cuisine you'll ever have in your life. If you're not vegan, you should still visit. You won't know the difference.

  • See other hotels and restaurants in Palm Beach


Why? Orlando is actually one of my least favorite areas of Florida, but I had to include it since it's popular with most Floridians, sorry! Disney, Universal, enough said. They have gotten their act together with Covid-19 though, since they rely strictly on tourism.

  • Drive Time: 3.5 hours each way

  • Tolls: Yes

  • Covid-19 Rating: 7/10

  • See hotels and restaurants in Orlando