Are you ready for a road trip that will take you from a tropical climate to the largest city in the US? Driving from Florida to New York is surprisingly easy, regardless of whether you want a fast route or a more scenic drive. And there are countless stops you can make along the way, either while driving through the southern states or historic cities further north, like Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. All the while you can soak in the scenery and use some of our tips to make your trip from Florida to New York as smooth as possible.
The Fastest Route
Our route starts in the middle of Florida, around Orlando, so if you are coming from somewhere in the south, like Miami, you will need to add at least an hour to the drive. But if you don’t care about the scenery and just want to get from Point A to Point B, this route that almost exclusively follows Interstate 95 North could not be easier. It takes you along the coast of Georgia, through North Carolina and South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Maryland, and small portions of Delaware and New Jersey before you end up in Lower Manhattan. Although you will cover more than 1,400 miles of road in more than 17 hours, the changing landscape should keep you interested during the drive.
The Most Scenic Route
Now that we know the fastest way to drive up the East Coast, what about a more scenic version of the drive if the view out the window is more important than time? There is no shortage of charming towns and lush scenery along the way if you venture off of I-95. The route that we layout below mostly follows the Eastern seaboard and is only one of several possibilities. Use this as a starting point and plot your own journey from Florida to New York!
- Take I-95 north through Florida
- Just after Savannah, GA, take US-17 through Charleston, SC
- Continue to follow US-17 through the Francis Marion National Forest to Myrtle Beach, SC
- Stay on the highway through Jacksonville, NC and then skirt the edge of the Croatan National Forest
- At New Bern, NC you will veer north on Highway 43 to Greenville, NC
- Continue north through North Carolina on highways 13 and 11
- Enter Virginia and drive north until you hit Highway 58 at Suffolk
- Drive through Norfolk, VA and then you get to go over the water on Highway 13 to the southern tip of another part of Virginia
- You’ll continue on the same highway as you pass through a small portion of Maryland including the Pokomoke State Forest
- Drive north through Delaware
- Then take I-95 the remainder of the way through New Jersey and reach your final destination: New York!
5 Places to Stop Along the Way
Depending on what your interests are, the drive south from Florida north to New York can include beaches, old plantations, mountains and forests for hiking and camping, scenic towns and major cities, and everything in between. Not all the stops are along the routes we have laid out in this article, but if one of them appeals to you it can help you craft your own route.
St. Augustine, FL
This town on the northern Atlantic coast of Florida lays claim to being the oldest city in the US. St. Augustine is worth a stop for the beaches, Spanish-style colonial architecture and the Castillo de San Marcos, a fortress dating to the 17th century.
The Biltmore Estate
Do you like ridiculously opulent mansions? The Biltmore Estate, located just south of Asheville, NC, was finished in 1895 and is the largest privately-owned house in the US. And the craziest part is that it was built as a summer home!
If you happen to be near Savannah, it’s well worth at least a few hours of your time. In addition to finding some Grade A southern cooking here, you will also delight in Forsyth Park, with its trees draped in Spanish moss, and the historic district with its antebellum architecture.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon
If you decide to take the route through Washington, D.C., you can stop at Mount Vernon. The plantation owned by America’s first president, George Washington, is located about 30 minutes south of D.C. and is easily accessible from I-95 by taking US Highway 1.
The Jersey Shore
Yes, the beaches of New Jersey might not have the same cool factor as those further south, but you will still find plenty of entertainment and some nice ocean air before you reach your final destination. Cape May, Atlantic City and Asbury Park are all worthy of your time.
Road Trip Tips
Whether you are traveling with children, a group of friends or solo, we have some ways to make your road trip a success.
Play Games Early: The boredom can set in quickly after hitting the road. That is why it’s a good idea to play games with kids – whether it’s a card game like Go Fish or the license plate game – to start the day before they get tired and lose focus.
Download Maps of Your Route: If you decide to take a more scenic route that goes through forested or mountainous areas, it’s a good idea to have the maps available offline. That way if you lose cell service, you can still find where you need to go.
Pack an Overnight Bag: On a long road trip, you’ll likely have a lot of luggage with you that you don’t want to haul into a hotel every night. The easiest solution is to pack an overnight bag with pajamas, toiletries and a couple of changes of clothes, plus any valuables you don’t want to leave in a vehicle overnight.
Preplan Where You Will Sleep: If you know how much time you want to spend getting from Florida to New York, it is worth planning good places to spend the night. That way you won’t be stuck in a bind if you get tired while driving and can’t find a hotel room.
One-Way Car Rental
Renting a car one way gives you the comfort of driving a new-model vehicle coupled with choosing what kind of car you will drive. Need lots of cargo space? Choose an SUV or minivan. Or ride in the lap of luxury by booking a luxury car from BMW or Mercedes-Benz. With our one-way car rentals, you can choose from optional add-ons like additional drivers, express toll unlimited and GPS guaranteed. Whatever your reason for needing a one-way car rental is, whether it’s a relocation for work, a canceled flight or simply a road trip, book with SIXT for affordable rates, whether it’s for one week or 28 days or more.