Florida Guide > Travelling
A1A Scenic & Historical Coastal Routes Byway
If you are heading towards the northeast of Florida, St Augustine, Jacksonville or Amelia Island, from the Orlando area, the quickest way is via I4 and I95, which will take about 2 and a half hours to get to St Augustine. However, it is not the most interesting!
If you have some time to spare, head across to Daytona Beach and take the A1A Scenic & Historical Coastal Routes Byway all the way up the barrier islands. This route will take a little more time but has beautiful scenery and interesting buildings to see as you pass by, delicious restaurants, and fabulous beaches to stop and enjoy.
Route A1A runs all the way from Key West in the south to Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island with a few gaps along the way.
After Daytona Beach, you will pass through Ormond Beach (our favourite). The road runs past the most fabulous beachside villas, some of which are huge, and all of which back onto the beach. Take a little time out to walk along the beach and have a look at these houses. I guarantee you will be green with envy! A case of real property lust!
Next up the coast is Flagler Beach (named after Henry Flagler who brought the railway to eastern Florida), with its three-story upside down houses, where the sea view from the top floor is what it is all about.
Onto Matanzas Inlet and Crescent Beach with their amazing stilt houses, built on the beach; goodness knows how these survive a hurricane.
There are lots of different beaches on the way north. Beverly Beach, Butler Beach and St Augustine Beach, just before you rejoin the mainland at St Augustine. All have parking areas and walkways to the beach itself. Take a few minutes out of your journey to stretch your legs and enjoy the beautiful beaches!
If you can really spare some time, visit Marineland, which you will pass on this route. It is one of Florida’s first marine mammal parks and offers several dolphin encounters, educational programs and research.
Have lunch at a lovely roadside or even beachside restaurant, where the fish is freshly caught, simple and delicious! We stopped at a roadside restaurant called Paula’s at Crescent Beach where the Mahi-Mahi sandwich was out of this world, and the waiter could not do enough for us!
We used this route to travel to St Augustine. We arrived early afternoon, relaxed and excited (instead of frustrated and irritated on the interstate). We were so impressed with this route that we came back the same way when we returned to Orlando after our visit.
Author: Stephen and Wendy Downs
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