A road trip is one of the best ways to see some of the most notable attractions and landmarks the United States has to offer. With long highways and many small towns to drive through, it’s quite a unique experience to go on a road trip across the States.
So you’ve decided that you’re going to drive from New York to Florida, but you want the entire experience. The drive is not the destination but the experience; however, you don’t know where to find the best tourist attractions en route.
This guide will be your saving grace. With 23 fantastic tourist attractions on the drive from New York to Florida, there’s not a day that goes by where you’re not enthralled or entertained. From learning about American history to lounging on beaches to theme parks and zoos, this is the ultimate guide to make your road trip from New York to Florida exceptional.
23 Amazing Tourist Attractions Between New York and Florida
Table of Contents
- 23 Amazing Tourist Attractions Between New York and Florida
- 1. Statue of Liberty – New York, NY
- 2. Ellis Island Immigration Museum – Jersey City, NJ
- 3. Military Park – Newark, NJ
- 4. Liberty Bell – Philadelphia, PA
- 5. Love Park – Philadelphia, PA
- 6. Brandywine Zoo – Wilmington, Delaware
- 7. American Visionary Art Museum – Baltimore, Maryland
- 8. Goddard Space Flight Center – Greenbelt, Maryland
- 9. Lincoln Memorial – Washington D.C.
- 10. White House – Washington D.C.
- 11. Maymont – Richmond, VA
- 12. Mill Mountain Park and the Roanoke Star – Roanoke, VA
- 13. Historic Yates Mill – Raleigh, NC
- 14. Airborne and Special Operations Museum – Fayetteville, NC
- 15. Myrtle Beach, SC
- 16. Magnolia Plantation & Gardens – Charleston, SC
- 17. Lake Marion, SC
- 18. Bonaventure Cemetery – Savannah, GA
- 19. Forsyth Park – Savannah, GA
- 20. Driftwood Beach and Jekyll Island – Brunswick, GA
- 21. The Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary – Jacksonville, FL
- 22. Daytona Beach Boardwalk – Daytona Beach, FL
- 23. Walt Disney World Parks – Orlando, FL
- Final Thoughts on the Drive From New York to Florida
From New York City to Orlando, Florida, these are 23 of the greatest tourist sights you should see on your drive.
1. Statue of Liberty – New York, NY
Standing at just under 152 feet, it’s one of the tallest landmarks in the entire United States. It can be seen from land, but if you want the best view, you’re going to have to take a trip to Liberty Island.
The Statue of Liberty was built in 1886 and was a gift from France to the US. To this day, it’s considered a global symbol of freedom.
So get on a ferry and make sure you give Lady Liberty a visit before heading off on your adventure.
2. Ellis Island Immigration Museum – Jersey City, NJ
Photo on pxhere
On your way back from Liberty Island, you can make a stop at the renowned Ellis Island and visit the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. It’s two birds with one stone.
Ellis Island was a popular destination for immigrants to enter the country from the 1800s to the mid-1900s. Today, this inspection station is a museum dedicated to teaching visitors about these immigrants.
You’ll get a full rundown of the inspection checklist, from stepping off the boat to medical inspections. It’s the perfect opportunity to learn about the ancestors of modern-day Americans and what they went through to enter the country.
While you’re in New Jersey, spend some time getting lost in sunflower fields to counteract the harsh history you’ll be learning while here.
3. Military Park – Newark, NJ
Photo by Military Park on Facebook
Your next stop should be downtown Newark, where Military Park is located. It’s one of the oldest green urban spaces in Newark. Military Park can be found nestled between the New Jersey Historical Society and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
This symbolic area was used to train Union soldiers during the Civil War. Today, even though it’s been refurbished with restaurants and gorgeous pathways, the history of the Military Park is still preserved.
With statues depicting the great wars of the US littered all over the area, going to Military Park is just as much a learning experience as a fun activity.
4. Liberty Bell – Philadelphia, PA
Photo by Dan Mall on Unsplash
A symbol of freedom and independence in America, the Liberty Bell is a popular tourist destination. So when you pass through Philadelphia, you have to stop and visit this renowned bell.
The giant crack in the bell happened when it was rung in 1846 for George Washington‘s birthday. However, it was first cracked in 1752 during a test strike and had to be recast twice.
Initially rung to mark the signing of the Constitution, the Liberty Bell has a rich history of travelling across the US. To try and conquer divisions left by the Civil War, the Liberty Bell went on a sort of tour across the States in the late 1800s before settling in Philadelphia in 1915.
5. Love Park – Philadelphia, PA
Photo by Daniel ODonnell on Unsplash
The city of Philadelphia has been regarded as the City of Brotherly Love, and this popular tourist attraction in John F. Kennedy Plaza is a physical representation of that.
Unveiled in 1976 during America’s Bicentennial Celebration, this giant LOVE statue is what gives Love Park its name. With many trees, benches, and parks, Love Park is a popular place for festivals and pop-up events to take place.
And if you’re looking for an Instagram opportunity in Philadelphia, Love Park is the place to be. Perhaps while you’re in Philadelphia, take the chance to visit some of these other fantastic historical landmarks.
6. Brandywine Zoo – Wilmington, Delaware
Photo by James Frid on Pexels
Despite its small size, Brandywine Zoo has a lot of heart. It’s one of the most popular destinations in the US to see animals worldwide.
Here, you can meet the red panda, an endangered species native to the Himalayas and Southwestern China. Known for its red fur, this adorable little creature is a bit bigger than a housecat and looks like a small bear.
You can also spot some domestic goats, the black and white ruffed lemur, and capybaras, to name a few. It’s a playground for any animal lover.
7. American Visionary Art Museum – Baltimore, Maryland
The American Visionary Art Museum is quite an unusual art gallery. It displays the work of artists from around the world, but there’s a twist — they’re all self-taught.
Some exhibits have been known to include artworks made out of toothpicks, embroidery, collages, folk art, and even art from incarcerated people. The gallery is ever-changing, and you will see different works every time you visit.
Not only is the inside a barrage of uniquely fantastic art, but the building itself is an architectural wonder. Formerly the Four Roses warehouse, it’s been turned into a sculptural barn that has won many awards over the years.
If you’re an art lover, this is the place to find unique artworks by artists that are usually quite overlooked in the community.
8. Goddard Space Flight Center – Greenbelt, Maryland
Photo by Bill Hrybyk on Picryl
Founded in 1959 and named after renowned physicist and engineer Robert Goddard, the Goddard Space Flight Center was one of NASA’s first space flight centres.
They were involved in the development of the famous Hubble Space Telescope as well as the launch of the Solar Max Satellite. Today, it’s the home of the James Webb Space Telescope, which has recently taken some excellent quality high-definition photos of deep space.
For anyone who has dreamed of becoming an astronaut or who just has an interest in space, the Goddard Space Flight Center is the perfect place to be.
9. Lincoln Memorial – Washington D.C.
Photo by Chris Hardy on Unsplash
Of all the fantastic memorials in Washington, D.C, the Lincoln Memorial is probably the most famous and beloved. You might not recognise the renowned building, but the man inside it cannot be missed.
A 19-foot statue of President Abraham Lincoln sits pensively on his chair in the centre of the building. The figure is surrounded by 36 columns, one for each state that existed at the time of Lincoln’s presidency.
The murals on the wall showcase important events in Lincoln’s life, and the entire memorial was completed in 1922. It’s also the scene of many an important events in history.
In 1939, the all-white group Daughters of the American Revolution refused to allow African-American singer Marian Anderson to perform nearby at the Constitution Hall. President Franklin Roosevelt and his First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt instead arranged for her to give a concert right on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to 75,000 adoring fans while also being broadcast on the radio.
10. White House – Washington D.C.
Photo by David Everett Strickler on Unsplash
It attracts thousands of tourists annually, most of whom just want to see the building from the outside. Booking a tour of the interior is complicated as it usually has to be done by your embassy or Congressional office.
However, you need to see the White House in person at least once in your life. Even if it’s just for the Instagram opportunity.
Washington DC has so much more to offer than just the White House and the Lincoln Memorial. Take the time to visit some of these other famous landmarks while you’re here.
11. Maymont – Richmond, VA
Photo by Yuly Shaiou on Unsplash
James and Sallie Dooley built the estate of Maymont in the late 1890s and lived here through 1925. They left the estate to the city of Richmond, and today it has become a museum.
If you’ve ever been interested in the Gilded Age, you need to visit Maymont. The house has been restored to its original 1800s glory and features all the collectables that the Dooleys gathered during their travels.
Including the mansion, a greenhouse, a children’s petting farm, and a 100-acre park, there are also several gorgeous gardens on the sprawling estate. So take a break from driving and pack a picnic basket to enjoy in the lavish gardens of Maymont.
12. Mill Mountain Park and the Roanoke Star – Roanoke, VA
Photo by B R on Unsplash
Home to the famous Roanoke star, an attraction almost as well known as the Hollywood sign, Mill Mountain Park has miles of multi-use hiking trails for you to explore.
If you’ve been driving for too long and need to stretch your legs, this is the perfect place to stop. You can go for a hike or just take a pleasant stroll through the beautiful nature on Mill Mountain. For the best views of Roanoke, go down the Watchtower trail.
At the top of the trails, there’s the Discovery Center which features exhibitions on the park and the local wildlife. And you can relax at Mill Mountain Zoo, a small enclave where you can meet some of the local wildlife in person.
13. Historic Yates Mill – Raleigh, NC
Photo by Kathleen Culbertson on Unsplash
Yates Mill is Raleigh’s last remaining water-powered gristmill. There were once around 70 of these grinding corn and flour for the residents of Wake County. Now, the Yates Mill stands by itself with all the original equipment, unused since the 1950s.
Visiting the mill is a fantastic interactive experience. Costumed millers grind corn and show you how the water wheel powered the mills.
There are also events and exhibits that you can attend while there. Perhaps take a hike through nature around the mill. Or grab your fishing pole and try to catch a fish on the boardwalk.
14. Airborne and Special Operations Museum – Fayetteville, NC
Photo by The Airborne & Special Operations Museum on Facebook
This small museum is the playground for any military and history buff. Their mission statement includes the preservation of the memory of service members in the special operations, as well as airborne troops.
Be sure to find yourself lost in the lives of the special ops. You won’t get bored in this museum with many videos and audio depicting stories, to artefacts from the past.
The incredible thing here is the motion simulator that will take you through a day in the life of an American airborne soldier.
15. Myrtle Beach, SC
Photo by Kirk Van Nort on Unsplash
So now you’ve exhausted the history of North Carolina, it’s time to relax on the most popular beaches in South Carolina before moving on. Myrtle Beach has no less than 100 fun things to do.
From parasailing to jet skiing, you can easily spend your whole holiday having fun in the sun on Myrtle Beach. Take a cruise with a dolphin or go on a ride on the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel on the boardwalk.
You will have the time of your life when you stop in Myrtle Beach for the rollercoaster, variety shows, and dinner theatre. There’s a reason South Carolina is considered one of the most beautiful states in the US, and you’ll surely find out why the deeper you go.
16. Magnolia Plantation & Gardens – Charleston, SC
Photo by Wally Holden on Unsplash
Opened in 1870, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is the United States’ oldest publicly accessible garden. However, there are some areas in the garden that are at least two decades older.
If you’re someone who is enthralled by greenery, plants, and gardening, this place is worth visiting. This Romantic-style garden is one of the States’ last remaining and bears a striking contrast to more shaped and landscaped show gardens.
Over the years, every generation of the same family has cared for this garden, and today the fruits of their labour have reaped the rewards. When you’re here, be sure to visit the Antebellum cabin and tour the house. Perhaps go pet some cute animals at the petting zoo.
17. Lake Marion, SC
Photo by Brandon Sheets on Unsplash
Lake Marion is known as the largest lake in South Carolina and has a vast array of wildlife in the area.
It’s the perfect place to relax, have a picnic next to the lake, go fishing, or even hike. Just be careful of the alligators that live in the lake.
The nearby Santee State Park also offers a beach to go swimming in. Since the journey from New York to Florida is a very long one, you might want to rent a cabin here and enjoy waking up to the beautiful sounds of nature.
Photo by Philip Arambula on Unsplash
It might look familiar when you get to this spooky and historic cemetery. That’s because this was the setting for both the novel and the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
But the reason this is one of the most beloved cemeteries in Georgia is actually the history behind it. Bonaventure Cemetery is the resting place for over 1,000 veterans of the great wars in the US.
The stunning Victorian architecture sets the tone for Bonaventure’s classic style. Marble tombs and oak trees with moss hanging off them give the eerie vibe you’ll get when you visit.
19. Forsyth Park – Savannah, GA
Photo by Jessica Furtney on Unsplash
Created in the mid-19th century, Forsyth Park is Savannah’s largest and most frequented park. Today, it attracts many tourists who come to see its gorgeous layout.
It’s a lovely area to take a walk in and relax, with many walkways and trees that provide ample shade. If you visit in the spring, azaleas will be in full bloom, and the park will light up with colour.
The most famous part of Forsyth Park is the large cast-iron fountain. Having undergone many renovations over the years, this fountain is the main attraction for tourists. It’s the perfect place for a photo opportunity.
20. Driftwood Beach and Jekyll Island – Brunswick, GA
Photo by Zach Reiner on Unsplash
Located on Jekyll Island, Driftwood Beach lives up to its name. With the ancient trees and driftwood-laden beaches, it has an eerie feel, almost like an old tree graveyard.
The beach itself was formed when the island’s north end eroded away to the south end. Today, it’s an extraordinary area to take some picturesque photos and relax in the sun. You’ll find the Conference Center and the Sea Resort if you go down the beach.
Jekyll Island itself is a gorgeous little island praised for its preservation work. It has even won awards. Go stop by the Georgia Sea Turtle Center to learn about these adorable animals. Or visit Plantation Oak, the oldest tree on the island. It’s been estimated to be around 350 years old.
21. The Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary – Jacksonville, FL
Photo by Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary on Facebook
This non-profit organisation has a mission to educate the public on the history of big cats, the dangers of owning them as pets, and the significant threats to these beautiful creatures.
The animals located here were not bought. Instead, they were brought over by owners who could not care for them properly. Thus, their mission is to educate the public on what owning big cats is like.
Some of the more famous residents of Catty Shack include lions, pumas, cougars, bobcats, and tigers. They even have coatimundis, which are not actually big cats and belong to the racoon family. But they’re still cute nonetheless.
If you’re an animal lover and would like to support the ethical treatment of wild cats, visiting Catty Shack and learning about these creatures is the way to go.
22. Daytona Beach Boardwalk – Daytona Beach, FL
Photo by Darrell Cassell on Unsplash
Anyone who goes to Daytona Beach is going for the beach. It’s definitely the most popular attraction in the area. But the boardwalk is where it’s at.
Built in 1938 and originally called the Broadwalk, the Dayton Beach Boardwalk has been upgraded with new treats, shops, and experiences. There’s a Ferris wheel, go-karts, and live concerts to keep you busy after lounging in the sun.
If you’re a taffy connoisseur, then you also have to visit Zeno’s World’s Most Famous Taffy, a taffy factory that allows tours and shows you how this sweet treat is made. Or just take a walk along the Daytona Pier and watch the sunset.
23. Walt Disney World Parks – Orlando, FL
Photo by Jayme McColgan on Unsplash
You’ve hit your final destination, Orlando, and we all know what needs to be done here. Orlando, Florida, is known for being the home of Walt Disney World Parks, and you can’t miss out on the opportunity to hang out with some old friends like Mickey and Goofy.
This Magic Kingdom is now home to four theme parks and two water parks. There’s also the boardwalk, a sports complex, an entertainment district, and many Disney-themed accommodations.
At night, there are fireworks shows and parades that will end your day at Disney perfectly. And if you have the money to spend, there are shops around every corner where you can buy exciting souvenirs like a pair of Sully from Toy Story slippers or maybe even a stuffed Groot.
Now that you’re in Orlando, you can’t just spend time at the theme parks. Here’s a guide to some other unique attractions that you can find in Orlando, Florida.
Final Thoughts on the Drive From New York to Florida
With a complete guide of fantastic landmarks and attractions to keep you entertained on your drive to Florida, you will have the time of your life exploring and experiencing some of the best the United States has to offer.
Now that you’ve arrived in Florida, the fun doesn’t end. There are many more amazing things to see in the Sunshine State while you’re there. Perhaps take a trip to see some beautiful castles around Florida.
I covered all of the costs involved in the writing of this post on tourist attractions on the drive from New York to Florida. However, this post includes affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.