It seems like the internet is already aflutter with talk of Pumpkin Spice Lattes and fall color palettes, but I would like to take a moment to appreciate the wonderful time of year that is the end of summer. It’s still here, by the way, in case you didn’t notice! There’s plenty of sunshine and long days to enjoy before the inevitable sets in and fall takes hold. With several weeks before school begins, there is time for one more fun-filled summer road trip.
(All distances based on Gainesville, FL)
Destination: St. Augustine Distance: 75 Miles
The oldest European settlement in the continental US, St. Augustine is a charming combination of Old World and contemporary. See Spanish influence on architecture and even cuisine while exploring the streets of Old St. Augustine. For a dose of military history, visit the Castillo de San Marcos, which is the oldest fort in the United States. Don’t forget to spend a day at the beautiful National Park beaches, too!
Destination: Key West Distance: 500 Miles
This is the Big Kahuna, but the drive alone is worth it. If you have the time, enjoy the amazing scenery along the A1A all the way out to Key West. Only 90 miles from Cuba, Key West is one of the famed places to grab a classic Cuban sandwich. If you’re a literary fan, make a point to stop at the Ernest Hemingway house to see the museum there (as well as the 50-some “Hemingway” polydactyl cats which call the spot home). Again, don’t forget the beaches.
Destination: Black Bear Scenic Byway Distance: 40 Miles (to either Palatka or Silver Springs)
Though it’s not a beach destination, exploring the lush terrain of the Black Bear Scenic Byway is a rugged adventure all on its own. If you’re outdoorsy, there are plenty of activities along the Byway: canoeing, horseback riding, camping, fishing, and hunting. If you’re an avid photographer, you’re liable to see any number of wild things to snap pictures of (maybe even a black bear).
For more road trip ideas, read: