If you choose to take a Tampa to Fort Myers RV road trip, you'll travel along Interstate 75 South out of Tampa and head down the western coast of Florida to Fort Myers. The journey traverses a 126-mile scenic view of the Gulf of Mexico and multiple points of interest, eventually reaching a location sought by many. No matter what season of the year you choose to travel this road, the weather will be pretty agreeable, helping guarantee memories that will last.
There are three national parks in Florida, each with characteristics that help them stand out among others in the country. These parks are all quite reachable for families taking the Tampa to Fort Myers road trip. If you plan on visiting them, however, be prepared to travel to some remote areas.
Everglades National Park
There are several entrances to Everglades National Park, but the most convenient for those making a road trip from Tampa to Fort Myers is in Everglades City, just 72 miles south of Fort Myers. That entrance introduces you to the complexities of the 1.5 million-acre park. From there, you can explore the Ten Thousand Islands, an incredible mishmash of mangrove islands with waterways that extend to Flamingo and Florida Bay. Boats are required to float through this land of giant trees and marshes, and you can rent them from private vendors located at the park entrance. If you wish to see more of the Everglades, other entrances to the east get you into areas with alligators and other wildlife not found anywhere else in the country. Space for RV campers is ample, with two public and nine private campgrounds interspersed throughout the park.
Biscayne National Park
By extending your trip 100 miles from Everglade City to the East Florida Coast, you'll find another spectacular site: Biscayne National Park. The park covers 170,000 acres of pristine land along the southeastern Florida coast. The bright blue ocean over glistening coral reefs makes this park a favorite destination for snorkeling and SCUBA diving enthusiasts. Located just minutes away from the bustling Miami city center, the park is the most accessible in the National Park System. Here, you can wander the sandy beaches, walk the trails amongst the nesting birds or lie back and enjoy the feel of a light ocean breeze.
Dry Tortugas National Park
The quickest way to reach Dry Tortugas National Park is to drive an extra 16 miles from Fort Myers to Fort Myers Beach and then take the ferry to the park. The park itself is comprised of a group of seven islands located 70 miles due west of Key West. These islands are home to a magnificent 19th-century fortress, Fort Jefferson, a lighthouse, countless coral reefs, and a healthy population of sea turtles and other unique sea life. The site is visited by only 63,000 people per year, making it the least visited of all the National Parks.
Silver Springs State Park
Before starting your road trip itinerary from Tampa to Fort Myers, travel north for an hour and a half to visit Silver Springs State Park. The park’s central feature is one of the largest artesian spring systems ever discovered. There's also a glass-bottom boat tour that takes you through the springs. You can kayak, canoe, or paddleboard your way across the system. The surrounding area teems with wildlife, fish, birds, and exotic plants, and RV campsites are available as well.
Hillsborough River State Park
On your return trip from Silver Springs State Park to Tampa, stop at Hillsborough River State Park, located about 30 miles north of the city just off Highway 301. The main feature of this park for most who visit is the river, where class-II level rapids allow families to experience the thrill of running white water safely. You can fish from the bank for bass and catfish, and the park also has 7 miles of trails for hikers and bikers. RV camping sites are available in the park as well as outside its limits. The park also rents kayaks and canoes to visitors.
Myakka River State Park
During your road trip from Tampa to Fort Myers, stop at the Myakka River State Park. It's located 60 miles south of Tampa and just 9 miles east of I-75 South. The park covers 30,000 acres of area and includes the Myakka River, the first river designated as a “Wild and Scenic River” in Florida. You can drive around the park, set up camp at one of the RV campgrounds, or rent a kayak or canoe to paddle the river. Boat and tram tours are available that take you close to the wildlife habitat.
Visitors making a road trip from Tampa to Fort Myers will discover a range of beautiful scenery. Nature’s panoramas that seem to go on forever will offer some of the best sights the western Florida coast has to offer.
Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge
The Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge spans the Lower Tampa Bay, connecting Terra Cela and Saint Petersburg. The four-lane bridge is a replacement for an older model that collapsed when a freighter collided with one of the supporting piers. Residents call the bridge “The Skyway” because of the 470-foot climb to cross the bay. Crossing the bridge is a must if you plan to see the sites in Saint Petersburg.
The Salvador Dali Museum
Just 26 miles southwest of Tampa is the Salvador Dali Museum. Located in Saint Petersburg, the museum is easy to reach and a delight to attend. The whole family can get involved by creating greeting cards with the Dali influence. Seven masterworks created by Salvador Dali hang in this museum, making it the largest collection of Dali art in the world.
Just 70 miles along your road trip from Tampa to Fort Myers is Venice Beach. The oceanside sand offers some of the most magnificent views of the Gulf of Mexico to be found in Florida. If you're looking for a break from your drive, this is the beach for you. Here, you can sit in a beach chair and relax or walk the sand to find treasures, such as shark’s teeth that come in on the tide.
Most of the cities along I-75 South between Tampa and Fort Myers are quiet during the summer but swell in population during the winter. The pleasant breeze off the Gulf of Mexico and access to awesome natural features attract people from all over the world.
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Located across the Sunshine Skyway Bridge from Tampa, reaching Saint Petersburg takes about 20 minutes. Abundant RV campsites are available at many locations near Saint Petersburg. Most campsites offer free beach access, and some are close to attractions like the Florida Botanical Gardens. There are even several dump stations in Saint Petersburg for your convenience. Campgrounds line the coast along this area, where Tampa Bay connects with the Gulf of Mexico.
Bradenton sits on I-75 just 45 miles south of Tampa. At Bradenton, you'll find plenty of ocean viewing opportunities and small lakes where a soft breeze gently whisks across the surface. The city offers an extensive marina, where boat rentals for deep-sea fishing are always available. Dump stations are found almost anywhere in Bradenton. With an abundance of campgrounds around the city, RV enthusiasts are drawn toward the beaches along this stretch of the Gulf of Mexico.
Sarasota is 6 miles east of the I-75 South corridor, about 60 miles south of Tampa. The city hugs the Gulf of Mexico with numerous beaches that attract snowbirds from northern states during the winter months, and the town is famous for its cuisine and its friendliness. Numerous dump stations are found in and around the community. Camping sites around Sarasota have special rates for seniors, and they often offer extended stay deals.
Taking a road trip from Tampa to Fort Myers is a sightseeing lover's dream. With access to multiple parks and extensive beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, this trip can inspire the entire family. When you're ready, visit RVshare’s online RV rental service for Tampa to find the RV you prefer. If you wish to make the journey in the opposite direction, you can also visit the Fort Myers page.