I-95 runs 1,917 miles along the length of the east coast with over 300 miles of it in Florida. Starting near Jacksonville, running to Miami with main thoroughfares such as I-10 to I-4 intersecting with it. If you’re going anywhere along the east coast in Florida chances are some point you’ll be on I-95.
Known as the “East Coast’s Main Street” I-95 serves the entire Northeast as well because it is an important factor in commerce and tourism, linking New England and the southern part of America. I-95 passes through more states than any other Interstate Highway.
There are many exits in Florida and they lead to some of the Florida’s finest destinations. The first major city in Florida on I-95 across the boarder from Georgia is Jacksonville. Jacksonville is truly beautiful between the architecture and the bridges and the fact that the St. Johns River runs through it, necessitating the bridges, this place is spectacular.
One of the best things about Jacksonville is the river. You see they have these water taxis there that you can take when you party around downtown or go to one of the Jacksonville Jaguar Games, I’ve done both.
Jacksonville Landing is the place to party on the river. You can eat drink and, in general, be merry. If you were head off to the west this is where you‘d leave I-95 for I-10 a road that takes you well into Texas ends in L.A.
The next important stop down I-95 is historical St. Augustine. Touted as the oldest city in America this place takes a good five day visit if you want to see everything there is to see. You can spend a day going through the historic shopping district alone.
They have sight seeing trains, ghost tours and are known for their many Bed and Breakfast lodges and the food there is fabulous. They have a famous lighthouse there that recently has been listed as haunted, if you believe. Last time we were there we took a carriage ride through the city at night, it was spectacular.
One of the stops on the carriage ride was by Flagler College; Henry Flagler was instrumental in the development of Florida all the way down to the Florida Keys, much like I-95.
Our next stop would have to be Daytona, Home of the world renowned Daytona international Speedway. It’s like this whole city is about speed and engines and RPM’s. Many people travel down I-95 many times throughout the year for Speed Week, Bike Week, Biketoberfest and other races or events.
These events bring the city many dollars along with those people so the residence of Daytona put up with the traffic and noise. One of my favorite things about Daytona Beach is that you can drive on the beach which makes sense if you think about it because the beach is where all this need for speed began all those years ago.
Don those ears and grab that Pixie dust because off of I-95, just a short drive west on State Road 528, also called the “Beachline”, and you’re in Orlando a favorite vacation destination of people all over the world. Orlando may very well be the theme park capital of the world.
Disney has 4 theme parks there several resorts, two water parks and Downtown Disney a shopping, dining and entertainment venue. Universal studios has two theme parks and tier own downtown venue call City Walk, there are water parks, Thrill ride parks, dinner shows, souvenir shops and just about anything else entertaining you can think of and I didn’t even mention the sports teams, theaters and performing arts centers.
Between Daytona and Orlando you’ll find the turn to I-4 the gateway to the west, of Florida that is. I-4 takes you straight across the state and leaves you off in the Tampa St. Petersburg area.
The next significant area you come to down I-95 is called the Space Coast which includes a good portion of North Brevard County. Here, as the name suggests, is where you’ll find the Kennedy Space Center, NASA and Cape Canaveral, where they shoot off the Space Shuttle.
The Space Coast is also where you’ll find world famous Ron Jon Surf Shop, in Cocoa Beach. Cocoa Beach is called the small wave capital of the east coast; there are several surfing fests held here each year. It was also the home of the fictional characters Jeannie and Major Nelson, there is even an I Dream of Jeannie Lane. Port Canaveral, which is the busiest cruise ship port in Florida, is located here too.
From here down I-95 there are many coastal towns dotted along the way; Jupiter is one of note, Burt Reynolds once owned a dinner theater here and there is a great lighthouse and an inlet where boats are able to come inland. Jupiter is also considered the start of South Florida.
We are coming to the end of our journey down Florida on I-95 as we reach South Florida. One of the first things you’ll notice when you’re in South Florida, besides the subtropical climate, is the water. The water down there is the same clear blue-green of the Caribbean, so nice.
Palm Beach is a popular town in South Florida, its where all the rich and famous from New York come to spend their winters, Donald Trump has a home here. Palm Beach is full of designer shop and swanky hotels. During the winter if you’re from the North and you have money this is the place to see and be seen.
Fort Lauderdale is next down I-95 and was once known as THE place to come for Spring Break. In 1960 there was a famous movie about 4 college friends who come down for Spring Break called “Where the Boys Are” staring Connie Francis and George Hamilton, the song from the movie was actually pretty popular. Fort Lauderdale is still a great place to visit any time of the year.
Now we come to our last stop, the place where I-95 ends – Miami. Miami is an amazingly vibrant city with a powerful Latin and developing European flare. Driving into the city you can feel the energy but that might just be from the pulse of all the traffic. Miami offers the best of everything that is South Florida –food, fashion, water sports.
They have a port there where you can leave for a fabulous Caribbean Cruise; they have several sports teams to enjoy including the wildly popular Dolphins, Go Fins! The people of Miami are a mix of people from all over the Latin world and many of them speak Spanish so it might be good idea to pick up a few phrases if you’re going to be down there for any length of time.
Trust me this is a place where if you go you’ll want to stay. One of the most famous residence in the area is Gloria Estefan, she came over with her family when she was just a girl and is very involved in building up and promoting the Miami area.
The trip down I-95 in Florida is not only beautiful but there are many great places steeped in history, so don’t forget to bring your camera to take pictures of Florida to show to your fellow travelers. But no matter where you choose to stop along I-95 in Florida you’ll always find plenty of things to do in Florida and a welcoming smile, a cool drink and a fresh fish sandwich.