That was a road-trip I took with three other friends in only three days. However you can easily spend four or five days on the road. Starting at New Orleans there are several locations which are great for going out. Therefore it is definitely a good trip for a group of friends. Also you drive along stunning beaches – a great option for beach lovers.
These were the stops we made:
- New Orleans
- Gulf Shores
- Orange Beach
- Panama City Beach
- St. Augustine
- Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge
- Kennedy Space Center
- Cocoa Beach
We started the trip with three days in New Orleans. Naturally, you can spend more than three days in New Orleans. Though, we found three days sufficient to get a good overview. It is a great place for food, drinks, and music.
Here is a list of activities I would recommend from our stay in New Orleans:
- Take a trip with the historic street cars. Even though they are rather slow it is an essential New Orleans experience.
- Explore the French Quarter.
- Stroll down Magazine Street and plan a lunch or/and dinner stop.
- For a haunted experience visit Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. It is shaded by groves of lush greenery.
- Listen to authentic New Orleans Jazz.
- Walk through Audubon Park with its typical Spanish Moss.
- Have on over-sized tacky cocktail in Bourbon Street.
Mobile and USS Alabama
An educational and fun stop in Mobile is the Gulf Coast Exploreum. They have many science based exhibits, experiences and movies.
We found the USS Alabama very interesting. They have several routes to explore where you can literally get lost in this huge WWII ship.
Gulf Shores and Orange Beach
Beautiful stretches of white-sand beaches are waiting for you. Just drive along the coast and stop wherever you like. Many areas are secluded.
Further East I recommend a stop at cute Seaside. If it looks familiar you may recognize the set from the movie “The Truman Show”.
Panama City Beach
Panamy City Beach is a known Spring Break destination. It has large beach bars and clubs and wide white beaches.
Have a drink or two at famous Sharky’s Beachfront Restaurant.
St. Augustine is the oldest city of the US: its unique scenery and history set this city apart from any other in the country. Explore historic downtown with its centuries-old buildings, hidden courtyards, and specialty shops. Don’t miss the beautiful Flagler College in the city center.
Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge
The Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge is a great stop to explore nature. I recommend the educational visitors’ center, where they have some nice boardwalks. Also make sure you visit the beautiful beach at Cape Canaveral National Seashore.
Kennedy Space Center
The Kennedy Space Center is one of Florida’s highlights and the top attraction of the Space Coast. It is a MUST if you are somewhat interested in Space. You should plan at least four hours, but you can easily spend a full day there. If you do nothing else you should take the guided bus tour. You get a kind of behind the scenes look. It covers a larger area of the place which is not part of the visitor complex. For more recommendations visit our post on the Kennedy Space Center.
Cocoa Beach was the destination of our trip (and our home base). You could spend a couple of days here. Enjoy the beaches which are often empty (especially at the south end). Kayak on the Banana River and hopefully see some dolphins. Have a cocktail at the Cocoa Beach pier. Or shop all around the clock at the US’ largest surf store.
If you only have one day read this post for a perfect day in Cocoa Beach.
Which Stops Would You Recommend?
Unfortunately due to time we had to leave out stops like Wakulla Springs, Tallahassee, or Jacksonville.
Which other stops would you recommend along this route?