If you like being on the open road, then a road trip from Jacksonville to Orlando might be perfect for you. It is a relatively short road trip, but you can make the most of it by taking detours to see some major attractions. For RV campers, there are plenty of campgrounds you can stop at and take in the view. This is a complete guide on everything you need to know about a Jacksonville to Orlando RV road trip.
There are two ways to get from Jacksonville to Orlando. You either travel along the coast the entire trip or travel inland via U.S 301. Either way, there is plenty to see, including parks, museums, and historical sites. Here are some of the national parks that you can add to your road trip itinerary for Jacksonville to Orlando.
Everglades National Park
The Everglades National Park holds the record for the largest subtropical wilderness in the U.S. It is also one of the few parks classified as a World Heritage Site. The main attraction of the Everglades is its unique ecosystem. There is everything from dense mangroves, palm trees, and alligators. There are also plenty of outdoor activities you can take part in while visiting the park. There's boating, kayaking, biking, bird watching, and hiking. For RV campers, the Flamingo and Long Pine campgrounds offer all the amenities you need, including full hookups and restrooms. However, getting to Everglades means extending your trip by three hours, which is a small price to pay.
Biscayne National Park
The Biscayne National Park is a watery wonderland that has a conserved human history dating back 10,000 years. There are signs everywhere of human existence, including the pirate shipwrecks and the farmlands. The undeveloped Florida Keys are a major attraction at the park. The Boca Chita Key is one of the most visited islands in the park. Other attractions are Maritime Trails, where you snorkel through remains of shipwrecks. You can engage in outdoor activities, such as fishing, hiking, and watching wildlife. For campers, there are campgrounds at Boca Chita and Eliot Keys. Getting to the park is a four-hour trip from Orlando.
Since there are not many national parks in Florida, you might want to visit some state parks. Although state parks are generally smaller than national parks, they are usually less crowded and have some of the best campgrounds. Here are a few state parks worth checking out on your Jacksonville to Orlando road trip.
Colt Creek State Park
Colt Creek State Park covers 5,000 acres of native Florida habitat. The park is home to a variety of plant species, including pine flatwoods and cypress domes. Animals you can expect to spot in the woods are otters, white-tailed deer, and alligators. In terms of activities, visitors can explore the 15-mile hike trail. You also have the option of biking or horseback riding through the trail. The park also offers camping services for both RV and tent camps. Colt Creek is open daily from 8 am, and entry per car is only $4.
Anastasia State Park
Anastasia State Park offers something different for those who prefer a beach to a woodland. The park covers an estimated 1,600 acres of marshes and untouched beaches. The park is home to colorful spoonbills, osprey, and the mighty eagle if you enjoy birdwatching. Other activities you can enjoy at the park include surfing, fishing, hiking, and boating. If you are worried about finding a spot for your RV, the park has 139 campsites for tents and RVs. The entry fee is only $8 per vehicle.
Blue Springs State Park
Blue Springs State Park has been in existence since 1972. The park is known as the home of the gentle giants, commonly known as manatees. Other wildlife at the park include kingfishers, eagles, and wading birds. There is no shortage of activities to engage in while at the park. You can swim in the 72-degree blue spring waters. Alternatively, you can launch your watercraft or go on a guided boat tour. There is also a 4.5-mile trail for those who enjoy hiking. The campgrounds and dump stations in the park will come in handy for RV campers. Entry per vehicle is just $6.
Fort Clinch State Park
This 1,400-acre park is the ideal stop for anyone who enjoys nature and a bit of history. The park was once a strategic defense post during the Civil War. For a more immersive experience, visit the park on the first weekend of every month. It is when a soldier garrison fires canons and demonstrates battlefield tactics. Other activities available at the Fort Clinch State Park include birding, hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, picnicking, and boating. RV campers are welcome at the 69 campsites. You can use the dump stations at the campgrounds for a fee. Entry into the park costs $ 6 per vehicle.
While parks are a must on any road trip, you may need to venture outside for more fun. There are often hidden gems in any town or city just waiting to be explored. The following are some interesting points worth checking out while on your road trip from Jacksonville to Orlando.
Walt Disney World
Disney World is every child's dream. There is everything here, including Cinderella castles and pirates. It is a chance for the kids to get up close with some of Disney's classic characters. They can also play fun games and make lasting memories. However, the adults aren't forgotten. You can play golf, have a spa day, a guided tour, or hang out with other adults at the Disney Springs late-night party. The place gets crowded around the holidays, so remember to make your reservations early.
SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment runs this theme park. There are a total of three Sea Worlds in the U.S, with the other two in San Diego and San Antonio. Visitors can enjoy a thrilling ride in one of the coasters or take your chances with the rafts. For animal lovers, there is snorkeling with tropical fish and swimming with the dolphins. There are options for single-day and multi-day tickets. The annual pass is worth considering if you plan to go back regularly.
Key West Lighthouse
The Key West Lighthouse is a historical landmark that has been standing since 1825. It was constructed to help both military and commercial vessels navigate the treacherous shallow waters. If you make it up the 88 steps, you can get a rare glimpse into the world of keepers who kept the fire burning through all difficulties. The lighthouse was finally decommissioned in 1969 since a full-time keeper was no longer required. Admission charges are $14 for adults and $5 for children.
Florida has a total of 282 cities. Your trip from Jacksonville to Orlando will have you go through a few cities. While driving through backroads and small towns is fun, you need to make stops in cities to restock and sanitize your RV. Here are the cities you'll pass through on this trip.
St Augustine was founded in 1565 by the Spanish colonialists. It holds the record for the oldest city in America. The city is known for its historical landmarks, white beaches, and cobblestone streets. The city is about 47 minutes away from Jacksonville. The Compass RV Resort campground is an excellent place to go if you need a dumping station.
Gainesville is the largest city and the county seat of Alachua County. It is not to be confused with the one found in Georgia. It is known for being the home of the University of Florida. It has a population of more than 133,000 people. It is the perfect stop because it has so many RV campgrounds, like the Williston Crossings RV Resort.
This city is found at the heart of Marion County, with a population of about 60,000 people. For a small place, the city has many hidden gems waiting to be explored. Ocala played a significant role during the Second Seminole War. Other attractions are the vast Ocala National Forest. There are lots of great campgrounds, and you can find dump stations nearby in Orlando.