Driving From Atlanta to Miami

How to make the most out of your Southern road trip.

Hopper Editors - Oct. 26, 2017

While most drivers will opt to simply hurtle their way southwards from Atlanta on Interstate 75, before veering off near Orlando to head cross-country to Miami on the peninsula’s eastern tip, however we've decided to outline a more inspirational and thought-provoking route here.

It will take travelers through some of Georgia’s more off-the-beaten-track towns, before dropping them onto one of the most scenic and interesting sections of Interstate 95. From here, they’ll weave in and out of coastal parks, unique roadside eateries and curious towns, de-stressing on the dune-backed beaches of the Florida coast and wallowing in the majesty of Georgia’s oldest Victorian architecture along the way.

Sample the best hot dogs in America at Nu-way Weiners, Macon, GA

As you pass through the lively streets of Macon’s downtown before hitting Interstate 16 to make your way to the Atlantic coast and The South, be sure to stop off at the city’s most famous eatery and institution, Nu-Way Weiners. First established in 1916, this authentic little hot dog joint has been serving up America’s favorite fast food staple non-stop for nearly 100 years. Today, people come from miles around to sample the mastery, while the place itself oozes with character, complete with neon signs and clicking jukeboxes from the ‘50s.

Witness the Victorian opulence and post-colonial prowess of Savannah

Another 160 miles down the interstate and the old, proud town of Savannah will come into full view. Here, a patchwork of regal homes and Victorian mansions rise from a sea of wetland swamps and weeping willow forests; a lingering testimony to the long history of the oldest city in all of Georgia. The town is also hailed as one of the most haunted destinations in all of America, making it an interesting place to hunker down and spend the night – that is, if you dare!

Wander the weirdwoods and hold counsel with the spirits of St. Simon's Island

Granted, the picture-perfect coastal enclave of St Simon’s Island is perhaps best known today as a destination for golfers, art enthusiasts and beach lovers, but it’s also home to one of Georgia’s more intriguing and mysterious roadside attractions. To find it, park up and wander the woodland areas strewn across the land where, from amidst the old oak groves, meticulously carved faces can sometimes been seen eerily peering back at you. Legend has it they are the likenesses of sailors long perished on the seas, perhaps in one of the oaken vessels constructed on St Simon’s own shores long ago.

Take a break from the road at the Cumberland Island National Seashore

Heading southwards on Interstate 95 sees travellers cruising along just a stone’s throw from the Atlantic coast while some of Georgia’s most beautiful natural gems whizz past as if in montage. One of the undisputed best of these pops up conveniently just before the state border with Florida, in the form of the wild and remote Cumberland Island Seashore. While it may seem a little off-the-beaten-track, those who make the effort to stop here and get the boat across will not regret it; for sprawling wetlands, untouched forests and pristine beaches await!

Discover the monuments and riverside walks of Jacksonville, FL

Half-an-hour further south and drivers will find themselves hurtling through the northern sections of the Sunshine State, where a stop off in Florida’s largest metropolis is compulsory. Ignore the looming superstructures of the central business district and head straight for the meticulously restored historic districts of San Marco, Avondale or Murray Hill. Also worth exploring are the museum complexes of the Jacksonville Landing and the cool and trendy boho district of the St John’s Riverside, where quirky cafés and large parks line the streets.

Get back to nature at Florida's Anastasia State Park

After the energetic intensity of sprawling Jacksonville, drivers will welcome a return to nature with a trip to the Anastasia State Park that lies just 40 miles further south, on Florida’s picturesque Atlantic coast. With so many outdoors pursuits on offer here (from fishing and windsurfing, to hiking and wildlife spotting in the wetland marshes), it may be worth setting a few days aside for this one, while others may simply opt to spend the night camping in one of the park’s well-maintained grounds.

Check your speed at the Daytona International Speedway

The growls and purrs of petrol engines fill the air and the energetic enthusiasm of petrol heads from America over consumes the atmosphere all around. You’re in the home of NASCAR, in the global mecca of motorsport driving and the land of the great International Speedway, where speed-junkies have been coming to compete for more than 50 years and motoring legends have been made and unmade ad infinitum. It’s probably best to leave your car in the parking lot for this one.

And onward into Miami

From Daytona Beach it's a solid, almost four-hour drive down the coast to Miami on I-95. Along the way travelers will pass charming beach communities like Cocoa Beach, West Palm Beach and the city of Fort Lauderdale. Perhaps the most interesting stop on the way from Daytona to Miami, though, is the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. It's a great stop for any road trippers with kids in tow!

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