BY FAR, the most drop dead scenery you’ll see are the gorgeous sea views as you drive down the Keys. It’s a short drive but could easily take an entire day with many sights to see.
Tarpon springs is indeed a very historic and scenic town. For a great seafood meal, go to Rusty Bellies Restaurant right in the center of the action. For a unique drive to a small beautiful island beach, visit nearby Fred Howard Park. You drive down a long causeway to get there. You’ll definitely need to follow your GPS to find it. Very scenic just getting there.
Thank you for your suggestions! We may check out Tarpon Springs, Fred Howard Park and Rusty Bellies on our way back. Once again, thank you for your time!
One thing to keep in mind: Florida is a LONG state and you will also be driving the panhandle.
Panama City, FL, has some beautiful fine white sand beaches, almost like powdered sugar.
Tarpon Springs, FL, is an old Greek community. It was noted for sponge harvesting. Worth a stop for lunch and walkabout. It is north of Clearwater.
In Tampa you have a Little Havana community, another good location for some good Cuban food and culture. At least a cafecito or two.
Many of the county and state roads are worth considering while transiting through the middle of FL, or rural Florida. They are not interstate quality, you won't be driving 80mph, but they make for some of the more pleasant driving.
I-95/FL Turnpike, one you hit West Palm Beach going south on the East side of FL, it is congested and built up. The I-95 stretch north of West Palm Beach is rather decent driving although not scenic. North of WPB, exit around Stuart to the A1A which from there to Cape Canaveral is a mostly leisurely beach/coastal drive. Cape Canaveral is up there (you can maybe see a rocket launch as they seem to be going off nearly every week these days); Daytona Beach 500 racetrack is further north; St. Augustine is worth visiting, the town and the old Spanish fort.
Traffic between Tampa and Orlando on the I-4 can be (usually is) horrendous; ditto with the stretch of I-4 in Orlando because of continuing construction.
Thank you for your suggestion! I'll look into "exit around Stuart to the A1A which from there to Cape Canaveral is a mostly leisurely beach/coastal drive" and other stretch of A1A. Once again, thank you for your time!
In 2015 my wife and I did a Southeast roadtrip; flying into New Orleans and back out of Atlanta... so I can give you my thoughts on Louisiana but not much else from that trip.
We spent a few nights in the Garden District, not much time in The Quarter. Lots of good food all over New Orleans... you don't have to do Bourbon Street to have a great time.
We spent a full two days in "Cajunland"; using a small B&B in Breaux Bridge built around individual cabins on the shore of a man-made lake as our home base.
Did our best to soak up the local culture, hitting St. Martinville, Lafayette, and Avery Island (Tabasco!). Hooked up a cajun food tour there where they hauled us around in a bus to some hole-in-the-wall but authentic food stops where we had little bites of some great food. Tickets hard to come by. Hit Rosedown Plantation for a tour on the way from New Orleans (see photo).
Thank you for your suggestion! The cajun food tour sounds like fun. Do you happen to remember the tour company's name? We like authentic hole-in-the-wall food stops and not the tourist traps where you get in line for hours to get food. Once again, thank you for your time!