Driving through Florida can either mean beautiful beach scenery or miles of flat land covered in cows and alligators (depending on where you are). Depending on where you start and where you are headed, you can be driving through the state for well over 10 hours or more, which can seem pretty monotonous — and if you’re making a road trip West through the panhandle, border-line soul-crushing at times.
The road less traveled
If you’ve ever driven laterally across northern Florida, chances are you’re familiar with Interstate 10. In the state alone, this roadway runs for an overwhelming 362 miles — but you can take it almost all of the way across the country. If you’ve ever made a trip anywhere near that long — like I did when bringing our Lotus Evora across the country from California to Florida, you know that staring at the same scenery for hours can be dull even for the most enthusiastic of road-trippers.
If you can’t stand being on Interstate 10 that long, I can’t really blame you, and apparently, there has been a hidden scenic route this whole time that is far less popular: the Big Bend Scenic Byway.
Big Bend Scenic Byway
The Big Bend Scenic Byway is a 220-mile long pass that highlights everything out-of-state visitors are looking for. From beaches to forests, the Byway is a sanctuary to hundreds of species of birds and native Florida wildlife, many of which can be spotted in warmer weather. While it is far from a shortcut, it is a more enjoyable way to travel, and if you’re looking for places to stop and stretch your legs, this beautiful route has plenty of worthy stopping points.
A Florida destination
If you are traveling to experience the wonderful Florida coastline and habitats, staying a few days around the Big Bend Scenic Byway isn’t a bad idea. In fact, it isn’t an uncommon travel destination of its own, with several recreation sights and even museums scattered along the pass. If camping or overlanding is on your summer to-do list, this might be the perfect addition to your road-trip — as long as you aren’t in a rush.