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20 Places To Explore On A Houston To Miami Road Trip 2023

20 Places To Explore On A Houston To Miami Road Trip 2023

Houston and Miami are two of the largest and most exciting cities in the south. An exciting way to discover the secrets of the south is to plan an epic road trip between the two cities. When journeying from Houston to Miami, you pass through Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, and many amazing sights and experiences.

The 1200-mile drive takes about 17 hours, but with so much to see, you’re more likely to spend 17 days! From the cool bars in New Orleans’ French Quarter to the fun theme parks of Orlando, road-tripping from Space City to the tip of the Sunshine State is an epic American road trip. 

Houston to Miami

20 Places To Visit On A Houston To Miami Road Trip

1- Galveston, Texas

Galveston, Texas, aerial at night long exposure cloudy sky
While Galveston might be a short detour when driving from Houston to Miami, it’s worth visiting before you leave the Houston area.

If you haven’t visited Galveston, detour to the Lone Star State’s favourite coastal retreat.

Straddling the Gulf Coast, Galveston is famous for its Southern charm and hospitality.

Its splendidly preserved Victorian houses and world-class outdoor attractions are within 50 miles (80 km) of Downtown Houston.

Galveston’s long list of fantastic attractions makes the city a popular vacation destination any time of the year.

Some attractions are the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum, the Strand Historic District and Galveston’s famous Pleasure Pier. 

Galveston is 51 miles (82 km) from Houston, and the drive takes slightly over one hour. It’s not exactly on the way, as you’ll have to head back towards Houston, but if you haven’t had the chance to visit yet, it’s certainly worth checking out. 

Top tour: Galveston Red Light District Tour.

2- Baton RoGalveston Red Light District Touruge, Louisiana

Baton Rouge historic building and blue sky.
The State Capitol Complex in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The state capital of Louisiana and the home of the Louisiana State University’s main campus, Baton Rouge is a modern city teeming with history, Southern charm, a wide breadth of attractions, and that quintessential Louisiana Creole flavour.

Baton Rouge often gets overlooked as a road trip stopping point in favour of the larger and more popular New Orleans, however, the city’s college-town feel and things to do will entertain even the most urbanised city slickers.

Baton Rouge’s laundry list of unique landmarks makes it hard for first-time visitors to decide where to start, with the Louisiana State Capitol, rowdy Tiger Stadium and the USS Kidd Veterans Memorial all good choices to visit.

Baton Rouge is 269 miles (432 km) from Houston. The driving time is around 4 hours from Houston and about half an hour if you drive from Galveston. 

3- New Orleans, Louisiana

Downtown New Orleans aerial view
On a Houston to Miami road trip, you’ll want to spend time in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Synonymous with Mardi Gras and Jazz music, New Orleans is the beating heart of the South’s Creole, Cajun and French cultures.

First established by the French in 1718, New Orleans is a stunning metropolis that oozes fun and history around every corner.

The city is the largest in Louisiana and is conveniently situated at the Mississippi Delta, which helped transform this former French colony into one of the mightiest cities south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Today, New Orleans is an international city with fantastic corners to keep you up night and day, such as the French Quarter and Jackson Square. 

New Orleans is 81 miles (130 km) from Baton Rouge and about a 1.5-hour drive. 

Top tour: Steamboat Natchez Evening Jazz Cruise with Dinner Option.

4- Biloxi, Mississippi

yellow lighthouse aerial view
The yellow lighthouse in Biloxi, Mississippi.

On the Gulf Coast in southern Mississippi, Biloxi is the go-to seaside destination for Mississippians thanks to the city’s excellent beaches, vibrant culinary scene and rich maritime past.

The city is packed with things to keep you busy, ranging from gambling dens and historical attractions for adults to amusement parks and sports arenas for families.

The Jefferson Davis Presidential Library, Hurricane Katrina Memorial, Biloxi Lighthouse and Biloxi Beach are just some of Biloxi’s best-kept secrets waiting to be discovered as you make your way east towards Florida.

Biloxi is 90 miles (145 km) from New Orleans and around a 1.5-hour drive. 

Top tour: Skip the Line: Beauvoir General Admission Ticket.

5- Mobile, Alabama

Aerial photo of Mobile, Alabama.
One city to visit on a Houston to Miami driving vacation is Mobile, Alabama.

Mobile is Alabama’s favourite coastal retreat steeped in stunning architecture and diverse cultures.

Situated on the Gulf of Mexico at the very tip of Alabama, Mobile combines the best that the Antebellum South and Creole culture has to offer through various fun attractions and iconic landmarks.

Mobile dazzles visitors with plenty to choose from in terms of entertainment, ranging from the annual Mobile Mardi Gras, one of the largest Mardi Gras carnivals outside New Orleans, to the famous Crescent Theater, which dates back to 1885.

For history buffs, the city is home to the USS Alabama and the African-American Heritage Trail, two significant historic attractions. 

Mobile is 95 miles (153 km) from Biloxi and around a 1.5-hour drive. 

Top tour: Downtown Mobile Food Tour.

6- Montgomery, Alabama

Beautiful historic white building
While Montgomery isn’t exactly on the direct route from Houston to Miami, there are interesting gems to discover on a detour.

Packed full of history and cultural attractions, Montgomery is a historic city that’s stood at the crossroads of some of the most influential and impactful moments in American history.

The city is situated on the banks of the Alabama River and is the birthplace of several notable figures, including Zelda Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole.

It was placed firmly on the map when it became the epicentre of the Civil Rights Movement during the 50s and 60s, which has defined Montgomery and its excellent museums, landmarks and attractions.

From the Rosa Parks Library and Museum to the First White House of the Confederacy, Montgomery is a lesser-known gem worth taking a detour if you have time on your Houston to Miami road trip. 

Montgomery is 313 miles (503 km) from Mobile and a 4.5-hour drive. 

Top tour: Montgomery City Multi-Attraction Pass.

7- Talladega Superspeedway, Alabama

If you’re a racing fan, you’ll want to take an extra day to visit Talladega Superspeedway.

It’s among the most intimidating racing venues in the world, taking centre stage whenever NASCAR rolls into Alabama.

NASCAR races at Talladega are often some of the biggest spectacles in all of motorsports, treating fans of high-octane, bumper-to-bumper racing to some of the most intense moments in motorsports.

Hosting races throughout the year in addition to the annual NASCAR race, the Talladega Superspeedway becomes the hottest place to be in the South whenever racing weekend arrives in Alabama.

Talladega Superspeedway is 98 miles from Montgomery and about a 2-hour drive. 

8- Pensacola, Florida

waterfront buildings
Houston to Miami pit stop: Condominiums, offices and government buildings line the waterfront downtown area of Pensacola.

Pensacola is the westernmost city in Florida and is the unofficial welcoming point for travellers arriving in the Sunshine State.

Nicknamed the City of Five Flags, Pensacola has culture and history to explore due to the several nations that once ruled over the port city. 

Picture-perfect white beaches beckon on the Pensacola coastline, with several breathtaking national parks and preserves scattered around the city’s edges.

P-Cola treats road trippers to wildlife, beautiful landscapes and excellent dining and entertainment options.

Ideal for stretching your legs or spending an entire weekend, Pensacola is well worth a visit and is a city that’s more than capable of keeping visitors of all ages and interests entertained.

Pensacola is 292 miles (470 km) from Talladega Superspeedway and a 4.5-hour drive. If you decide to skip Montgomery and Talladega Superspeedway, it’s only 59 miles (95 km) from Mobile and less than an hour’s drive. 

Top tour: Hop-on Hop-off Tour in Pensacola.

9- Panama City, Florida

20 Places To Explore On A Houston To Miami Road Trip 2023
Feel the wind in your hair when you hit the road on a driving trip from Houston tx to Miami fl.

Panama City’s sugar-white beaches and turquoise waters have long been a magnet for families seeking an affordable resort-style vacation.

The Florida city was officially incorporated in 1906 and is one of the largest urban centres in the Florida Panhandle.

The city is a dream destination for nature lovers, with numerous conservation areas and undeveloped islands.

While the city’s beaches are the biggest draw, Panama City’s Pier Park, Gulf World Marine Park and Shell Island prove that Panama City is much more than your typical beach bum coastal town.

Panama City is 138 miles (222 km) from Pensacola and about a 2.5-hour drive. 

Top tour: Shell Island Snorkel and Dolphin Catamaran Cruise with Island Time.

10- Big Bend Scenic Byway, Florida

A vehicle rear view mirror with the flag of the state of Florida.
You’ll love spending time at several destinations in Florida on your Houston to Miami drive.

Stretching for 220 miles (354 km) and winding past four counties, the Big Bend Scenic Byway is right up there as one of the most iconic and picturesque roads in America.

The byway is a loop connecting Tallahassee with St. George Island, linking many of Florida’s small coastal towns and cities in the Florida Panhandle.

Easy to navigate and a convenient way of travelling down south to Miami, the byway doubles as a highway and a landmark to create an amazing Florida experience. 

Big Bend Scenic Byway at Apalachicola is 60 miles (97 km) from Panama City and about a 1.5-hour drive. 

11- Tallahassee, Florida

Historic brown building with turrets and fountain in the foreground
Florida State University is one of the historic buildings in Tallahassee, Florida.

Featuring rolling hills, streets lined with mighty oak trees and architecturally stunning plantation homes, Tallahassee is home to the Florida State Capitol, two top universities, and a host of other landmarks and sights.

The city became the state’s capital in 1824 and has a lively entertainment and nightlife scene thanks to the 70,000+ students who call Tallahassee home when school’s in session.

Mixing rich natural beauty with world-class museums, galleries, monuments and a bubbling youthful atmosphere, Tallahassee is always a fun Florida city to stop at as you make your way through the Sunshine State.

Tallahassee is 76 miles (122 km) from Apalachicola and a 1.5-hour drive. 

Top tour: Tallahassee Scavenger Hunt: The Best of Florida’s Capital.

12- Jacksonville, Florida

Straddling the Atlantic Ocean on Florida’s northeast corner, Jacksonville is the largest city by area in the entire contiguous United States.

The Timucua people first inhabited what is now an urban sprawl, however, it has served under the stewardship of the French, Spanish and British throughout the city’s history.

Jacksonville is one of the biggest cities in Florida and the United States, allowing this cosmopolitan urban hub to feature many attractions, amenities and sights to entertain visitors of all ages and interests.

Teeming with culture and wildlife, Jacksonville’s must-see landmarks include the famous Catty Shack Ranch, the eye-catching Main Street Bridge, historic Fort Caroline, and the Friendship Fountain, one of the largest fountains in the world.

Jacksonville is 166 miles (267 km) and a 2.5-hour drive from Tallahassee.

Top tour: Half-Day City Tour in Downtown Jacksonville.

13- St. Augustine, Florida

Beautiful architecture of the college and towers with lovely gardens in the foreground
Houston to Miami pitstop: Check out the ornate Ponce de Leon hotel now Flagler college built Henry Flagler in St Augustine Florida.

Elegant, romantic and incredibly historic, picture-perfect St. Augustine is a must-see road trip destination on any journey through Florida.

Spanish explorers nicknamed it the Ancient City in 1565, and it is the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the contiguous United States.

St. Augustine’s vibrant culture and architecture give the city a distinct Mediterranean atmosphere, making it a unique place to visit.

With attractions such as the Fort Matanzas National Monument, the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum, St. Augustine Beach and the Lightner Museum, there’s plenty of history to explore in sizzling St. Augustine.

St Augustine is 41 miles (66 km) from Jacksonville and about a 45-minute drive. 

Top tour: St. Augustine Ghost Tour: A Ghostly Encounter.

14- Daytona International Speedway, Florida

One of the world’s premier motorsports venues, the Daytona International Speedway is a must-visit attraction for racing enthusiasts road-tripping through Florida.

The track was opened in 1959 and has seen some of the biggest names in NASCAR, endurance racing, motocross, and motorcycle racing, achieve the pinnacle in their respective sports.

Featuring a jam-packed racing calendar every year, it’s easy to line up your road trip with a big race at Daytona to create an unforgettable experience you’ll talk about for years. 

Daytona International Speedway is 55 miles (89 km) from St Augustine and about a 1-hour drive. The address is 1801 W International Speedway Blvd, Daytona Beach, FL 32114.

15- Kennedy Space Center, Florida

Saturn V in Florida at Kennedy Space Centre
The Kennedy Space Centre is an iconic attraction, so make sure to leave enough time to explore.

The Kennedy Space Center is a Florida attraction that needs no introduction among space enthusiasts and NASA geeks.

Situated in Cape Canaveral, the centre has been the primary launching pad of manned space missions since 1968 and has been at the forefront of NASA’s Apollo, Space Shuttle and Skylab projects.

The centre is unbelievably vast, covering an area of over 144,000 acres (58,275 ha) and home to more than 700 individual facilities.

It features several world-famous NASA buildings, such as the Vehicle Assembly Building and the Shuttle Landing Facility.

While the centre is still an active NASA facility, large sections are open to the public for tours and even treat visitors to one-of-a-kind space artefacts and memorabilia in a state-of-the-art visitors’ centre.

Kennedy Space Center is 114 miles from St Augustine and 59 miles from Daytona International Speedway. The driving time is 2 hours from St Augustine and 54 minutes from Daytona. The address is Space Commerce Way, Merritt Island, FL 32953.

This is a very popular attraction, so book your tickets online to skip the line here. 

16- Orlando, Florida

sunset above Lake Eola and city skyline
When journeying from Houston to Miami, check out the skyline view from Eola Park in Orlando, Florida.

Home to massive theme parks such as Disney World, Universal Studios Florida, SeaWorld Orlando and Magic Kingdom, Orlando is where kids and adults live out their favourite fairytales in one of the most magical places on Earth.

Downtown Orlando was built on the success of the city’s early theme parks and has grown to become a cosmopolitan city.

It has a collection of historically and culturally significant attractions and fantastic dining and shopping options.

Modern-day Orlando eclipses the city’s reputation as a resort town.

It’s a diverse 21st-century metropolis that entertains visitors of all ages without relying on Disney World and Universal for all the fun and excitement.

Orlando is 53 miles (85 km) from the Kennedy Space Center and is less than a 1-hour drive away. 

Top tour: Helicopter Night Tour Over Orlando’s Theme Parks.

17- Tampa, Florida

tampa skyscrapers and skyscraping palm trees
One of the places to check out between Houston and Miami is Tampa.

Situated close to the resorts and theme parks of Orlando, Tampa is one of the hottest tourist destinations in America.

Established as a strategic military centre during the 1800s, modern-day Tampa is a beautiful cosmopolitan city that treats visitors to various fun attractions and unique cultural landmarks.

Tampa forms part of the sprawling Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area and is home to world-class attractions such as the Florida Aquarium, Busch Gardens, the Tampa Theater and the Tampa Museum of Art.

Great year-round weather and even better food make Tampa among the go-to holiday destinations in Florida and the perfect place to stop along your Houston to Miami road trip.

Tampa is 84 miles (135 km) from Orlando and a 1.5-hour drive. 

Top tour: Tampa Bay CityPASS.

18- Everglades National Park, Florida

Three kayaks on the water in Everglades National Park Florida
Kayaking in the mangroves is one of the fun things to do in Everglades National Park, Florida, USA.

The mighty Everglades National Park in southern Florida is a vast tropical wetland stretching from Orlando to the south tip of mainland Florida.

The Calusa and Tequesta tribes inhabited the Everglades 15,000 years ago, long before European explorers first saw this UNESCO wilderness, making the park a vital historical landmark and an incredibly scenic natural oasis.

Over the years, the Everglades have seen rapid changes, with farms and sugar plantations springing up throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

These plantations fuelled South Florida’s economic growth but also scarred the sensitive biomes of the Everglades.

Major preservation efforts were initiated to help restore the Everglades to their former self.

Today, the Everglades is once again a wild and thriving part of Florida that teems with life and nature.

It’s one of Florida’s must-see places and a bucket-list road trip destination you cannot pass up on when travelling from Houston to Miami.

There are three entrances to the park, and if you’re driving from Tampa, visit the Gulf Coast Visitor Center.

The Everglades City entrance is at 815 Oyster Bar Lane, Everglades City, FL 34139, and is 207 miles (333 km) from Tampa and about a 3-hour drive. 

Top tour: Florida Everglades Airboat Tour and Wild Florida Admission with Optional Lunch.

19- Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Panorama of skyline of Fort Lauderdale
Enjoy the coastal lifestyle of Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Nicknamed the ‘Venice of America’, Fort Lauderdale is where the ruggedness of the Everglades and the nightlife of Miami come together to create one fantastic city packed with incredible experiences.

The city lies just north of ritzy Miami and is famous for its pearly white beaches, art galleries, wildlife and amazing culinary scene.

Fort Lauderdale is right on the edge of the famous Everglades National Park, making exploring South Florida’s fast swampland incredibly easy, with Everglades tours departing from Fort Lauderdale regularly.

Fort Lauderdale is the perfect Florida road trip destination if you’re looking for that healthy balance of nature and urbanity.

Fort Lauderdale is 100 miles (161 km) from the Everglades City entrance and about a 1.5-hour drive. 

Top tour: Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi – All Day Pass.

20- Miami Beach, Florida

purple lifeguard box on Miami Beach at dusk
You’ll see a big difference between Houston and Miami Beach.

Before ending your journey, in Miami city, you’ll want to head straight for Miami Beach, where you can hang out with the cool crowd and have fun partying and enjoying the beach. 

Miami Beach is its own city connected to the mainland by bridges.

Miami Beach is internationally renowned for its stunning Art Deco buildings, street cafes and celebrity residents, however, the city also boasts a rich historical side and many activities for all ages.

Even though Miami Beach isn’t technically part of Miami, it is the city’s heartbeat and where locals and travellers head for beachside relaxation or weekend escapes. 

Top tour: Miami Beach Food and Art Deco Walking Tour.

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