For the family wanting to enjoy a weekend road trip, Tallahassee to Key West is a journey that will provide plenty to discover and explore. At every turn along this voyage, you will be exposed to places that will tempt you to linger. We have chosen a few slightly unusual ones but don’t think of these as being hard and fast rules that you need to adhere to.
The big advantage of driving a mobile home is that it provides you and your family with a degree of flexibility that you might not experience on a more conventional vacation. You will be free of the shackles of hotel bookings and destinations that must be reached by a certain time. Instead, you are now at liberty to alter your plans at short notice and to extend or shorten stays to suit your own tastes and circumstances. Indeed, even the route you take is not carved in stone and you are now able to make adjustments at will.
You now leave behind the historic capital of Tallahassee steeped in cultural history and a wealth of museums, and will soon find yourself in swamp country and then just as quickly on delightful beaches with sophisticated restaurants and art galleries.
The varied nature of this road trip will be brought home to you right from day one of this voyage. Less than three hours after leaving the city you will get to Silver Springs State Park. This area has been a drawcard for tourists since 1820 but has only recently been brought under the control of the state parks department. When you see the beauty and discover the wealth of environmental delights here, it will be easy to see why the state regarded it as a treasure worth protecting.
The park is well equipped for RVs and offers plenty of amenities that one would expect from a top-end RV park. It is the surrounding environment that the kids are going to enjoy most. From the park itself, there are several trails and then, of course, there are the waterways. Hiring a kayak or canoe will enable you to glide beneath cypress trees draped with Spanish moss. From there you will easily be able to spot many of the different bird species.
The area is famed for its glass-bottomed boat tours along the narrow streams and from these, you can enjoy a look at nature from a totally different perspective. If you still have time, why not visit the Solver River Museum and Environmental Center and deepen your knowledge of the area and its history.
The drive to the bustling city of Orlando takes one and a half hours. Orlando is famed for its theme parks such as Disney World and Universal Studios and those will, of course, be magnets for the kids. Time is not on your side, however, and you might prefer to try out a different adventure that will let you get back on the road a little sooner.
One that both the kids and family will enjoy is the tree trek adventure park Their motto is ‘we climb rain or shine’. Here you will be able to wiggle your way through the aerial obstacle course, cross dangling suspension bridges or swing from Tarzan ropes. The whole park is suspended in a natural pine forest and there are also zip lines and hanging skateboards. There are different levels of difficulty depending on just how much adrenalin you want to send pumping through your system.
Don’t get too tied down in Orlando. There is still some distance to cover and you don’t want to leave yourself with too much of a drive tomorrow. With that in mind, a short hop of just over an hour will bring you to the coastal town of Port Lucie.
Head straight for the PSL Village RV Park. It will be late in the day by the time you get there but they have a heated pool and that will be a great way to end your day's road trip.
Port Lucie is on what is often referred to as the Treasure Coast. The RV park is right beside a lake so you can take a gentle walk if you still have the energy or perhaps you might prefer to simply drop into a folding chair in front of one of the sites barbeque pits and sip on a cool drink while flipping steaks.
If even that sounds like too much effort, you are within easy walking distance of beaches and restaurants so you might prefer to let someone else do the cooking for you.
Miami is the city that draws the most attention on the section of coast that you will now be driving down, but don’t overlook Fort Lauderdale. It is 270 miles from Port Lucie to your destination at Key West but there is still time to break that journey and add a few more adventures to your scrapbook.
Butterfly World is situated in Coconut Creek ten miles north of Fort Lauderdale and an hour and a half from Port Lucie. This makes it a good place to cut the journey for an on route breakfast break. The whole project is the result of one man’s dream. Ronald Boender moved to Florida when he retired in 1968. He had always been passionate about butterflies and he started rearing them for universities and zoos.
His passion and knowledge grew and eventually in 1988 he opened the first butterfly house in the United State to the public. Since then the project has grown from strength to strength and now includes walk-through aviaries for rare birds and an interactive parakeet area. Butterfly World is also very active in its efforts to save endangered species of butterfly from going extinct. Some of the profits from Butterfly World have been used to create the Boender Endangered Species Laboratory at the University of Florida.
Leaving Fort Lauderdale you are going to continue your journey southwards toward Key West. A drive along the Florida Keys is something to remember but your journey will still take nearly four hours, so why not build in another stop at Key Largo. This won’t take you out of your way and it is a great place to stretch your legs, view some art galleries and grab some of that famous Florida southern cooking.
Key Largo draws its name from the Spanish Cayo Largo or ‘long key’ because of its unusual shape. It is the quintessential Florida beach town with plenty of water sports. Keep your eyes peeled and you might be lucky enough to spot frolicking dolphins who are regular visitors. There are plenty of art galleries and they welcome drop-in visitors. Often you will be able to meet the local artists and see them at work.
The food here is ocean orientated and they specialize in conch, crabs and freshly caught yellowtail. If you are not a seafood person, don’t be put off. There are plenty of other options available.
With just a couple more hours of driving, your weekend adventure is drawing to an end. This RV journey will just have whet your appetite and that this will not be the last road trip that you will take.
Key West is a beautiful place to finish a journey and there are still many things for you to do if you have left yourself enough time. If nothing else you ought to pay a quick visit to Mallory Square which is the heart and soul of the town. There you will find plenty of restaurants and bars and above all, it is a great place from which to admire the amazing sunset.