Driving in Florida

No trip to Florida is truly complete without the opportunity to experience the joys of the open road. Driving is such a part of the American Experience that generations of Americans thought nothing of dining, attending movie showings and even getting married in their personal vehicles.

In America, even city dwellers often own more than one automobile, and coming of driving age is a rite of passage nearly as important as being old enough to vote. So much of Florida can only be viewed properly from the vantage point of an automobile that vacationing there without a car would be like visiting Paris by daylight only.

Americans rarely hire a car and a driver, and most only take a taxi as a last resort, so finding a taxi can be difficult or impossible even in places like the areas surrounding Miami and Orlando. Taxis are also very expensive and often must be arranged in advance by telephone. Fortunately, car rental kiosks are common sights at airports and advance bookings made with give visitors surprisingly cheap weekly and daily rates in this part of the world where everyone expects to drive.

Americans who visit Miami or Orlando typically expect to engage a car rental service for their entire stay, and consider driving in a new place part of the fun of traveling. Parking is nearly always either cheap or free. Hotels routinely offer free parking to guests and nearly all businesses have their own parking areas or have arranged for nearby free parking for patrons.

In America, a large portion of public money goes to building clearly marked, easy-to-navigate roads. Not only is virtually every street accessible to automobiles in most cities, but many attractions cannot be accessed any other way. Compared to European cities, American cities are young, and even the oldest cities in America have been adapted to accommodate the automobile. There are few places in Florida that a visitor can successfully manage on foot.

In a car, the entire state is at your disposal. Highways are well-lit and follow standardized rules to ease navigation. Much of the state is suburban or rural, and outside of the most urban areas roads are typically divided, allowing even drivers who are unused to driving on the right hand side of the road to quickly adapt.

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Last edited 27 February 2019