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  • One of the alligator habitats at Gatorland in Orlando, Florida
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    Orlando: Theme Parks and Casual Eats

  • A mom and daughter at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida
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    Space Coast: Where Space Exploration Began

  • A lobster roll at the Rustin Inn Crabhouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
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    Fort Lauderdale: Waterside Dining Mecca

  • A classic Cuban sandwich in Little Havana
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    Miami: The Tastes of Cuban Culture

An aerial view of South Beach, Miami, Florida
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Florida Foodie Trip from Orlando to Miami: Where to Dine, Drink and Play

By Idoia Gkikas

  • Route distance:
    465.00
  • Suggested Time:
    1-2 weeks

Fill up on classic Florida cuisine on this itinerary from the theme parks down the coast.

Whether you’re looking for relaxing beaches, nightlife, family fun or adventures in the outdoors, you’ll find it in Florida. The state known for its abundant sunshine and world-famous attractions also garners attention for a medley of mouthwatering dining options. On this road trip, tempt your palate with flavors from family-friendly Orlando all the way down to the Cuban flavors of Miami.

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One of the alligator habitats at Gatorland in Orlando, Florida
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Orlando: Theme Parks and Casual Eats

Touch down at Orlando International Airport (MCO) and pick up a rental car. Orlando is best known for a collection of theme parks that some people wait their whole lives to visit: Walt Disney World Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, LEGOLAND Florida and Universal Orlando Resort.

Fuel up for your theme park adventures at Hot Dog Hall of Fame at Universal CityWalk, serving hot dog variations from sauerkraut-smothered New York-style dogs to poppy-seed buns on Chicago dogs to Midwestern bratwurst. A little off the beaten path, P&D Soul Food Kitchen has comfort food including baked chicken, fried pork chops and Southern sides (macaroni and cheese, collard greens). Don’t forget to order a slice of homemade cake for dessert. Grilled cheese sandwiches and hamburgers get an upgrade at Toasted in nearby Winter Park. The menu lists unexpected twists like grilled cheese stuffed with pulled pork and a turkey burger covered in Vietnamese pickled carrots.

Take a side trip to Gatorland to see hundreds of alligators including rare white gators, or drive up to Blue Springs State Park to watch manatees swimming in the springs. Ready to keep moving? Florida’s Space Coast is up next.

64 km
0.75 hours by car
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A mom and daughter at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida
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Space Coast: Where Space Exploration Began

After the hustle and bustle of the theme parks, you might be surprised to discover that the beach is just 45 minutes east of Orlando. Florida’s Space Coast is where Apollo 11 launched Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong to the moon from Kennedy Space Center. At this visitor complex, you can view the actual Saturn V rocket, the Atlantis Space Shuttle and the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. A bus tour gets you up close to the launch site.

Nearby, explore blissfully mellow beaches like Canaveral National Seashore, where you can take a guided canoe tour of Mosquito Lagoon, see loggerhead sea turtles nesting in the sand and even watch a rocket launch (check the launch schedule). The must-try eatery in the area is Titusville’s Dixie Crossroads, a local favorite famous for its wild ocean shrimp and rock shrimp that look like tiny lobsters. Just south, Cocoa Beach is the perfect place to splurge on an oceanfront hotel before continuing south to Fort Lauderdale.

319 km
2.75 hours by car
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A lobster roll at the Rustin Inn Crabhouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
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Fort Lauderdale: Waterside Dining Mecca

The Intracoastal Waterway, a 4,800-kilometer water channel that runs the entire length of the East Coast, accompanies you on the drive to Fort Lauderdale. Have your bathing suit ready because the beaches here are absolutely gorgeous, starting with the iconic white “wave wall” where Las Olas Boulevard (“The Waves” Boulevard in Spanish) meets the Atlantic Ocean. Enjoy the beach, then walk Las Olas’ 17-block downtown lined with shops, bars, restaurants and nightclubs. From Las Olas, you can also hop on a Water Taxi to explore the city’s extensive network of canals. One highlight is seeing the mega mansions and yachts along Millionaires’ Row. The Water Taxi has many stops around town for shopping, dining and entertainment, too.

From elegant beachfront restaurants to hidden gems tucked into marinas, waterside dining is not to be missed. If you’re a seafood fanatic, Rustic Inn Crabhouse will satisfy your cravings for oysters, clams, lobster, fish and, of course, crabs. The house specialty is the garlic crabs bursting with garlicky goodness. Stay overnight in Fort Lauderdale, then finish your road trip in Miami.

47 km
0.75 hours by car
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A classic Cuban sandwich in Little Havana
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Miami: The Tastes of Cuban Culture

You can practically smell the café con leche and pastelitos (Cuban coffee and pastries) as you enter Miami, 45 minutes south. Miami is one of those destinations that you have to visit at least once in your life. From the nightclubs of South Beach to the trendy shops of the Design District to the colorful graffiti art in Wynwood, there’s just no place quite like it.

What will be most obvious, especially to first-time visitors, is the Cuban culture infused in the language, music, art and food. Visit Little Havana for a Cuban coffee, then check out the locals playing dominos in Maximo Gomez Park. At El Palacio de los Jugos, wash down a pressed sandwich with a refreshing fruit juice.

Across Biscayne Bay is South Beach. The main drag provides glimpses of ocean views and is lined with historic Art Deco buildings, sidewalk cafes and bars. Try authentic Caribbean dishes like akra (mango fritters) and griyo (fried pork chunks) at Tap Tap Haitian Restaurant, or sit down to home-style Cuban food at Puerto Sagua Restaurant. There’s breakfast and strong Cuban coffee, too, if you need something to revive you after a night of partying.

Miami International Airport (MIA) and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) are both conveniently located for your return flight home.

 

 

 

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