Top 15 Road Trips From Tampa, Florida

road trips from tampa
Aarti
Aarti 
Updated

A city nestled along Florida Gulf Coast’s Tampa Bay, Tampa is a commercial center renowned for its cultural settings and many museums. Flocked by visitors from all across the globe every year, the city also features stunning Gulf Coast beaches, magnificent theme parks, and most importantly, the amazing tropical weather it has throughout the year. Visitors have plenty of accommodation options like hotels by Extended Stays America and yacht charters. Although it has plenty of attractions in the city including Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Florida Aquarium, Adventure Island, and Museum of Science & Industry among others, many people want to explore attractions other than the usual. And that includes road trips. Tampa is a great point to start your road trip journey to other fascinating spots in the United States. Continue reading to know further about the best road trips from Tampa, Florida.

1. Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville Skyline
Source: Photo by Flickr user Josh Hallett used under CC BY 2.0

One of the best road trips in northern Florida is Jacksonville, which also happens to be the largest city in the state. Colloquially called Jax by residents, it is a top destination for those who enjoy being in a big city with an abundance of exciting things to do. Jax is a hotspot for all things culture - from the thriving arts scene to a diverse culinary world, it’s all here. Some of the attractions and events that you should experience in the city are the famous Jacksonville Jazz Festival, the World of Nations Celebration, Theatre Jacksonville, and St. Johns Town Center.

2. New Orleans, LA

New Orleans, Louisiana
Source: Photo by Flickr user Pedro Szekely used under CC BY-SA 2.0

If you can endure the long road trip to the west, New Orleans is worth the nine-hour drive from Tampa. This city in Louisiana is well-known for its vibrant Mardi Gras celebrations and thriving nightlife and music scene. Its Creole cuisine alone is enough to get yourselves packing and loading up the car. When in NOLA, which is how the city is often called by locals and tourists alike, you must not miss out on experiencing the French Quarter. It is New Orleans’ historic district with attractions like Bourbon Street and Jackson Square.

3. De Soto National Forest

DeSoto National Forest
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Woodlot used under CC BY-SA 3.0

One of the best destinations from Tampa, when you’ve decided to go on a nature trip, is De Soto National Forest in southern Mississippi. There’s approximately a 591-mi (951 km) distance in between which takes 8.5 hours of driving. This group of pine forests is considered an important protected area to aid the biological diversity of North America’s Gulf Coast ecoregion. Visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities here, such as canoeing, fishing, hunting, and a whole lot more. After a long day of driving, De Soto is a great place for camping too!

4. Atlanta, GA

Atlanta Streetcar
Source: Photo by Flickr user Central Atlanta P... used under CC BY 2.0

Almost 6.5 hours north of Tampa takes you to Georgia’s capital - Atlanta. It is home to one of the most popular attractions in the United States, Georgia Aquarium, which is the biggest indoor aquarium globally. The road trip to this city may be long and exhausting, but Atlanta will reward you with historical sites and landmarks like Martin Luther King Jr. National Park, the World of Coca-Cola, and the beautiful Atlanta Botanical Garden. The city is home to a thriving arts and culture scene, with various festivals such as Music Midtown, Atlanta Film Festival, and Atlanta Dogwood Festival.

5. Myrtle Beach, SC

Boardwalk Myrtle Beach 2017
Source: Photo by Flickr user marada used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Looking for a nice destination to visit in South Carolina? Myrtle Beach is always a good idea. With its myriad of things to do, your road trip is just the tip of the iceberg! The city is about 555 mi (893 km) north of Tampa, and the drive takes approximately 8.5 hours. This resort town on the Atlantic coast is known for its picturesque, beachfront boardwalks where you can find establishments like restaurants, bars, gift shops, and arcades. Myrtle Beach is also home to Family Kingdom and SkyWheel.

6. Mount Pleasant, SC

I'on Subdivision in Mount Pleasant, SC - panoramio
Source: Photo by user Mark Cowell used under CC BY 3.0

Mount Pleasant, located in Charleston County, South Carolina, is a suburban town and is renowned for being the largest town in the state. It is a long drive of about 7-and-a-half hours from Tampa, or 441 miles (710 km) away. But, if you are sure about making this long road trip journey, make sure to take plenty of rest stops, either for gas, food, a good stretch, a good night’s sleep, or even when you come across splendid views along the way. And when you arrive, check out Patriots Point, Fort Sumter National Monument, Historic Charleston City Market, and plenty more.

7. Tuscumbia, AL

First Baptist Church of Tuscumbia, former building
Source: Photo by user Nyttend used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

If you love being in the outdoors, Tuscumbia in Alabama is perfect for you. And it also happens to be the best-kept secrets of Alabama. With a population of not more 9,000, this town offers a plethora of things to do. Situated 715 miles (1,151 km) from Tampa, visitors can take a tour of Helen Keller Birth Place, explore the manmade waterfalls of Spring Park, have a meal within a cave at Rattlesnake Saloon, and so much more. The city has got enough to keep you on your toes. And while you are driving to Tuscumbia, you can take plenty of rest stops to stretch your legs along the way, amidst serene greenery.

8. Canton, GA

Cannon Park Canton GA
Source: Photo by user Cantonga used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Canton in Georgia is nestled in Cherokee County and is located 800 km (497 miles), or about 7 hours and 45 minutes’ drive away from Tampa. There are plenty of things to see and experience if you are the adventurous kind and would like to drive through the scenic route. If you are a thrill enthusiast, head to Boiling Park, which is known for its many trails and sports fields. And if you would like to organize a picnic or go boating, you can check out Lake Arrowhead or Etowah River Park. The town is filled with forests, parks, rivers, and lakes.

9. Beaufort, SC

Beaufort SC 16
Source: Photo by user anoldent used under CC BY-SA 2.0

A city nestling on Port Royal Island, Beaufort in South Carolina is one of the many coastal islands renowned for its historic antebellum mansions situated in the downtown area. A famous tourist destination, Beaufort offers a plethora of things to see and do. It is situated 374 miles (600 km) from Tampa so the car journey would take you close to 6 hours to reach. One of the famous mansions includes John Mark Verdier House Museum, established in the 1800s. It is a Federal-style mansion that features several exhibits and furniture from the era. The town also features several other attractions such as Huntington Island, Saint Helena Island, Penn Center, and more.

10. Miami, FL

South Beach, Miami, FL
Source: Photo by user James Willamor used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Renowned as one of the iconic cities in the USA, Miami in Florida offers innumerable beaches, the hottest nightclubs, cool eateries, bars, cafes, and shopping streets. And while you are road-tripping to Miami, your trip would be incomplete without taking a little tour of the famous Little Havana. You will feel just like you are walking through the Cuban streets the moment you set foot in Little Havana. The beach in the South area is a must-visit and a hangout spot for both locals and tourists. Amp up your vacation to Tampa and consider taking the drive to this vibrant city as well!

11. Charleston, SC

Atlantic and E Battery in Charleston, SC
Source: Photo by user Daniel Mayer used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The oldest city in the United States of America, Charleston in South Carolina is around a 7-hour drive, which is about 435 miles (700 km), from Tampa. The town is situated on Charleston County, along the Charleston Harbor coastline. If you are taking a road trip during summer, make sure to head to Charleston Harbor, John’s Island, and Morris Island. You could go for a nice swim or enjoy the serene views. Along with this, you could also explore other famous landmarks including Charles Pinckney National Historic Site, Old Slave Mart Museum, The Battery, and Magnolia Plantation and Gardens among others.

12. Columbus, GA

Downtown Columbus, Georgia skyline
Source: Photo by user PghPhxNfk used under CC BY-SA 4.0

A city in western Georgia, Columbus is a perfect road trip spot if you love spending all your time in the outdoors. The route is about 6 hours away from Tampa, or 401 miles (643 km). The famous Chattahoochee Riverwalk nestled in Columbus features amazing biking and walking trails along the Chattahoochee River. You can also enjoy the river views from the National Civil War Naval Museum which showcases the 19th-century remains of the warships. Also, make sure to check out Coca-Cola Science Center and National Infantry Museum.

13. Fairhope, AL

Battles Wharf Fairhope,Alabama
Source: Photo by user Joseph Brooke used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Located in the Baldwin County of Alabama, Fairhope is nestled along the rocky cliffs, sloping plateau, and the coastline of Mobile Bay. It will take you about 7-and-a-half hours to reach Tampa, with a distance of 515 miles (828 km). The city is popular for its fishing pier, Fairhope Municipal Pier, and the local history museum, Fairhope Museum of History.

14. Mountain Brook, AL

Old Mill in Mountain Brook, Alabama
Source: Photo by user Robert Donovan used under CC BY 2.0

An upscale suburb of Birmingham in Alabama, Mountain Brook is a beautiful tourist destination that offers tourists the easiest access to get to all the famous attractions of the city. The city is filled with a plethora of shops, cafes, bars, and many historic sites. Mountain Brook is renowned for its famous attraction, Birmingham Zoo. This magnificent zoo is situated very close to Birmingham Botanical Gardens, home to diverse plants and flowers. Other popular landmarks include Cahaba River, Brookwood Village, Vulcan Park and Museum, and Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark among others.

15. Savannah, GA

Street, Savannah, GA
Source: Photo by user faungg's photos used under CC BY-ND 2.0

A coastal Georgia city, Savannah and South Carolina are divided by the Savannah River. Renowned for its cobblestone streets, antebellum mansions, horse carriages, this town is located within a 5-hour driving distance to Tampa, which is about 335 miles (539 km). Some of the popular attractions here include Forsyth Park, Telfair Museum of Art, Old Savannah Trolley Tours, The Historic Savannah Theatre, and so much more.

An adventure awaits

Though the stunning city of Florida has several attractions, it is common to crave an extra dose of adventure - and going on a road trip to the neighboring destinations in the country hits the right spot. When this craving triggers, just use this guide as a reference to all the road trips you can take from Tampa, Florida.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Born in Mumbai and brought up in Bangalore, India, Aarti is a full-time freelance writer by profession. She is a lover of everything the ‘blue dot’ offers—world cultures, off-the-beaten tracks,...Read more

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