Last Updated on July 15, 2024 by Kristin

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Jacksonville, Florida is known for its beaches, museums, and parks. While its varied attractions make it a great place for a vacation, the city is also a great jumping-off point for several exciting road trips just a few hours away. Whether you’re looking for a big-city break or quaint historical getaway, Jacksonville is the perfect place to start an exciting trip. Here are the best road trips from Jacksonville.

Fabulous Road Trips from Jacksonville

Saint Augustine

41 miles / 50 mins.

For a slice of history you won’t find anywhere else, head to Saint Augustine. Founded in 1565, it is considered the oldest continuously-occupied city in the U.S. Here, you’ll find Spanish colonial architecture lining St Augustine’s historic district. One of the most fun attractions is Castillo de San Marcos, a massive Spanish fort overlooking the water. Saint Augustine is also home to a collection of impressive museums, including the Lighthouse and Maritime Museum and the Pirate and Treasure Museum.

Daytona Beach

89 miles / 1 hr. 27 mins.

Daytona Beach specializes in two kinds of fun—beach play and race cars—thanks to its 23 miles of shoreline and its home base for the Daytona International Speedway. There are also museums, waterparks, zipline courses, lighthouses, and plenty of great restaurants. While Daytona has a reputation for college-aged Spring Breakers, you’ll still find plenty of grown-up and family-friendly fun, too. >> Recommended hotels in Daytona Beach

Savannah, Georgia

139 miles / 2 hr. 2 mins.

One of the most charming cities in the country, Savannah invites visitors to leisurely explore its cobblestone streets and Spanish moss-draped squares while browsing a countless number of chic boutiques and fine-dining restaurants. To really get a feel for Savannah’s stately colonial houses wrapped in sprawling ivy, head to Jones Street — often considered the prettiest part of Savannah. Then swing by River Street to enjoy waterfront shopping and dining. When night falls, consider stopping by the Bonaventure Cemetery for a ghost lantern tour. For a fun detour on the way to Savannah, head to the beloved Jekyll Island to enjoy beaches, marshes and camping. >> Recommended hotels in Savannah


143 miles / 2 hr. 24 mins.

As the world’s epicenter of amusement parks, Orlando needs no introduction. However, the city is much more than just Disney World, SeaWorld and Universal Studios. Just under an hour from Orlando lies the famous NASA Kennedy Space Center, which offers exhibits and — occasionally — rocket launches. To see how Orlando locals enjoy the city, spend an afternoon on a paddle boat at Lake Eola park downtown or enjoy the tropical plants in the Harry P. Leu botanical gardens. >> Recommended hotels in Orlando

Charleston, South Carolina

238 miles / 3 hr. 46 mins.

Visiting Charleston can be like strolling into the perfect kind of time machine. In Charleston’s historic downtown, it’s easy to walk to restaurants, browse King Street antiques, and soak up the cobblestoned scenery. History buffs can visit Fort Sumter to learn about the Civil War, Middleton Place to learn about slavery on local plantations, and Emanuel AME Church to see where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a historic speech. Meanwhile, souvenir hunters can find locally made goods at the Charleston City Market.  >> Recommended hotels in Charleston


327 miles / 4 hr. 49 mins.

For a pure beach vacation, consider Destin and nearby Fort Walton Beach — Florida’s so-called “Emerald Isle.” The Gulf of Mexico beaches here are known for their stunning emerald waters, and there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy their beauty with snorkeling and dolphin tours. Take a boat to Crab Island and enjoy a cold drink while floating in open waters, or lay out on the sand at Henderson Beach State Park or Okaloosa Island. After a day in the sun, stroll down the Destin Harbor Boardwalk for souvenirs, a bite to eat or to plan the next day’s paddleboard, jetski or parasailing adventure. >> Recommended hotels in Destin

Fort Myers Beach

341 miles / 5 hr. 34 mins.

Blessed with sugar-sand beaches and plenty of water sports, Fort Myers Beach offers a crowd-pleasing playground on Florida’s Gulf Coast. While this stretch of the seven-mile-long Estero Island doesn’t boast an enormous number of hotels, you’ll still find excellent boutique and brand-name options, as well as plenty of places to eat and drink nearby. (Take note that it is about 15 miles south of the larger city of Fort Myers, which can confuse some folks.) >> Recommended hotels in Fort Myers Beach