Driving in Florida
Tips for the Road
- The state of Florida follows the right-hand driving system.
- Speed limits are set in mph.
- In Florida, at a two-way stop, drivers must stop and yield to vehicles on the through road before proceeding. At a four-way stop, the first vehicle to arrive has the right of way, and if two or more vehicles arrive at the same time, the vehicle on the right goes first.
- Turning right on red is generally allowed at intersections, unless there is a sign saying not to.
- Headlights should be turned on when the weather conditions are poor.
- Using mobile phones without a hands-free system is strictly prohibited.
Road Types and Speed Limits
- Speed Limit: Generally 70 mph (113 km/h), although some stretches may have higher or lower limits depending on location and conditions.
- Characteristics: Florida's Interstate Highway system includes major routes like I-95, I-75, and I-4. These highways facilitate long-distance travel and connect major cities such as Miami, Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville. They are designed for high-speed travel and are accessible only to motorized vehicles. These highways are toll-free, although they intersect with various toll roads.
- Speed Limit: Typically 55-65 mph (89-105 km/h) for most parts, but this can vary depending on the road.
- Characteristics: State Roads and U.S. Highways in Florida serve as major connectors between cities and towns. They vary from two-lane rural roads to multi-lane urban expressways. Some of these roads may include toll sections, especially in urban areas.
- Speed Limit: Varies, but usually around 55 mph (89 km/h) in rural areas and 35-45 mph (56-72 km/h) in urban or suburban areas.
- Characteristics: County Roads connect localities within a county and can vary significantly in design, from two-lane to multi-lane roads. They play a vital role in local and regional connectivity.
- Speed Limit: Generally 25-35 mph (40-56 km/h) in residential and urban areas, with lower limits in school zones and certain residential areas.
- Characteristics: Local streets and roads in Florida encompass a wide range of road types, including residential streets, downtown roads, and suburban lanes. They are maintained by local municipalities and are crucial for access to homes, businesses, and schools.
In Florida, many highways and bridges have tolls, and the easiest way to pay them is with SunPass, a prepaid electronic toll system. With SunPass, you'll save time at toll booths and often pay less than the cash price. You can buy a SunPass online or at various retail locations, including turnpike service plazas. Once you have it, just attach it to your car's windshield, and it will automatically pay tolls as you drive .Besides SunPass, you also have the option of Toll-By-Plate, where cameras capture your vehicle's license plate at toll booths and a bill is mailed to the vehicle's registered owner. Some toll booths still accept cash payments, though this is becoming less common. Additionally, after passing through a toll, you can opt to pay online or by phone within a certain timeframe.
- Interstate 95 (I-95): A crucial north-south route along the East Coast, connecting Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, and Miami through Florida's eastern length.
- Interstate 75 (I-75): Known as "Alligator Alley," this interstate stretches from Miami through Tampa to the Georgia border, crossing the Everglades.
- Interstate 4 (I-4): Central Florida's main artery, linking Tampa, Orlando, and Daytona Beach, and popular for theme park and beach access.
- Florida's Turnpike: A significant toll road providing fast travel through central Florida, connecting Miami with Orlando and Jacksonville.
- U.S. Route 1 (Overseas Highway): Renowned for its views in the Florida Keys, stretching from Key West to Miami along the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.
- A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway: A picturesque coastal route along Florida's Atlantic shore, linking towns from Fernandina Beach to Key West.
Top City Destinations
Miami, a city of sun and thrills, buzzes with excitement and natural wonders. Venture down to South Beach, famous for its sparkling waters and lively atmosphere. It’s the ideal spot for sunbathing or diving into an array of water sports. Discover the wild side of Florida by visiting the Everglades, where you’ll get up close with alligators and witness Florida’s diverse wildlife in its natural habitat. When it’s time to eat, make your way to Little Havana and treat yourself to a feast of local favorites, from savory ropa vieja to sweet guava pastries. For the best views of Miami’s skyline, head to the iconic Brickell area, where you can find excellent vantage points to admire the city. And come nightfall, get your body moving with the city’s electric nightlife in Brickell and Downtown.
At the gateway of the Florida Keys, Florida City, with the magnificent Everglades at its doorstep, is a place for outdoor adventures and historical exploration. Hop on an airboat for a thrilling ride to spot alligators and exotic birds. Additionally, guided wildlife tours, nature hikes, and canoe excursions provide immersive experiences in the unique Everglades ecosystem. Get a history lesson by visiting the Pioneer Museum which showcases pioneer-era buildings and artifacts, offering insights into the early settlers’ contributions to the region.
Orlando is synonymous with excitement and fun, home to the legendary Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, where fairytales and blockbuster adventures come alive. Get your heart racing on thrilling rides, and be dazzled by spectacular fireworks. For the star-struck and space enthusiasts, the Kennedy Space Center offers an out-of-this-world experience, letting you delve into the wonders of space exploration and touch a piece of the moon. Cap off your adventure with a breathtaking ride on the Orlando Eye observation wheel, soaring high for a panoramic view of the city’s sparkling lakes and magical castles.
Known affectionately as “Cigar City”, Tampa is a city where history meets modern excitement. Kick-off your adventure in the historic Ybor City, a haven for cigar enthusiasts where you can learn about the area’s rich cigar heritage at the Ybor City Museum State Park. Next, spice up your visit with a hands-on experience at the Tabanero Cigar Factory and witness the art of cigar making firsthand, maybe even try rolling one yourself! Unwind at local cigar lounges like King Corona Cigars or Tabanero Cigars, where you can savor a cigar like a true aficionado. Take a scenic Riverwalk along the Hillsborough River, and discover the taste of classic Cuban dishes like the iconic Cuban sandwich and delicious plantains. You won’t want to miss the stunning collections at the Tampa Museum of Art and The Dali Museum – they’re anything but ordinary. Adventure seekers can enjoy Busch Gardens Tampa Bay with its thrilling rides and wildlife exhibits.
Jacksonville, a coastal gem in northeastern Florida, offers a diverse range of attractions. Explore the city’s maritime history at the Jacksonville Maritime Heritage Center, and immerse yourself in the wonders of wildlife at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, making it a perfect family adventure. If you appreciate fine art and European collections, the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens is a must-visit. For a unique experience, head to the Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary, which focuses on the care of tigers and other exotic animals. At the Riverside Arts Market, you can discover the talents of local artisans, craft makers, artists, and farmers. Complete your visit by savoring Jacksonville’s culinary delights, such as fresh Atlantic shrimp, Southern-style barbecue, and creamy key lime pie, showcasing the perfect blend of local flavors and culinary craftsmanship.