Florida is a beautiful state that has a unique set of environments to explore. If you want to see the Gulf side of the state, then you’ll have the opportunity to visit a national forest, several state forests, and some truly unique cities. A Miami to Tampa road trip only takes about six hours, and in an RV, you can opt to bed down for the night at a local campground. This will allow you to extend the trip and get to know the Florida region facing the Gulf of Mexico.
Everglades National Park
Around 40 miles south from Miami is Everglades National Park. The park is comprised mostly of wetlands and is home to species like Burmese pythons, alligators, manatees, American crocodiles, and leatherback turtles. The Burmese python that you might find in this park is actually an invasive species that has made Florida its home. Take a moment to revel in the mangroves, pine flatwoods, and sawgrass marshes as you explore.
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
Bill Baggs Cape Park is a Florida state park that was named after a famous Miami journalist who was an opponent of the Vietnam War. At this park, you can clearly see Florida’s Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. While here, feel free to bike, hike, paddle, or boat. There are also tours of the area and plenty of opportunities to see local wildlife in its natural environments.
Koreshan State Park
Koreshan State Park offers a slightly different experience compared to other parks in the state. This park is home to a Victorian mansion that has beautiful gardens. Formerly, this mansion was home to the Koreshans, who were a religious organization. Near the mansion, you’ll find picnic grounds, hiking trails, and playgrounds. It’s a pretty easy hike to nearby Estero Bay where you can swim and splash in the water.
Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park
This is a Florida state park that has over 45,387 acres to explore. There’s also 100 miles of shoreline here, so this is a good option for people who want to see the Gulf of Mexico. While here, make sure to check out the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center; it’s a great place to learn about the species and the biome at Charlotte Harbor. Hikers also love the North Cape Flats Trail since it exposes them to the primitive wilderness here at the harbor.
Lake Manatee State Park
Lake Manatee State Park is a human-created lake that originated when the dam was built along the Manatee River. The park is about 16 miles from Palmetto, FL, and there are several RV campgrounds to consider while you’re figuring out your road trip itinerary from Miami to Tampa. While here, be ready to fish, kayak, or canoe since this is a park along three miles of shoreline.
Little Manatee River State Park
Not to be confused with Lake Manatee, Little Manatee River State Park is a park in Wimauma, Florida, that is known for its riverside activities. This place is a paddler’s dream; the water is still, so most canoes and kayaks will be able to explore easily. For those on foot, there are hikes through the canopied forests and boardwalks where you can fish. There are even opportunities to go horseback riding here.
Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge
This refuge is part of the United States National Wildlife Refuge System and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It's a great place to look for this mountain lion subspecies in their natural habitat. In addition to the Florida panther, you’ll also see wildlife species like the red-cockaded woodpecker and the region’s deer population, which makes up a large portion of the panther’s diet.
A road trip from Miami to Tampa isn’t all about wide-open spaces; sometimes, you want to kick back and have some fun. At the Sun-n-Fun Lagoon, you can enjoy lazy rivers and wave pools to your heart’s content. This waterpark in Naples, FL, has plenty of water-based rides for the entire family, and there’s also a lap and dive pool for traditional water fun.
Warm Mineral Springs Park
This Florida attraction offers an excellent opportunity for families to learn about the state’s geothermal activity. The Warm Mineral Springs is a water-filled sinkhole that developed in the area. The water is supplied by a spring vent deep under the surface, and the water is warmed by geothermal activity deep below. The water is heated year-round, so spend some time here and go for a dip with the family. This park attracts more than 100,000 visitors every year because of the mineral-infused naturally warmed waters.
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
John Ringling, one of the seven famous Ringling Brothers, established this art museum with his wife, Mable, in 1927. The museum was established as a gift for Florida's people and features many art exhibits and museum pieces throughout the year. Since its inception, the museum has been designated as the official art museum of the state, and you can find famous pieces like Saint Sebastian by Niccolo De Simone here.
The Florida Aquarium
The Florida Aquarium is located in your destination city during your Miami to Tampa RV road trip. This Tampa-area aquarium is an opportunity for you and your family to see some of the native species that inhabit the waters around Florida. For example, here you can see coral reefs, sea turtles, various crocodilian species, and sharks. The Florida Aquarium decided to celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2020 by creating a “Washed Ashore” exhibit composed entirely of plastics that have washed ashore from the sea. While beautiful, it’s a keen reminder of the status of the natural environment.
Everglades City, FL
Called the Gateway to Ten Thousand Islands, Everglades City is a small city that is located near the southernmost tip of the state. If you’re going to visit the Florida Keys, you’ll need to pass through this area. Everglades City only has a population of 400 and is part of the Naples-Marco Island Metropolitan Statistical Area. While you’re here, visit the Old Collier County Courthouse, which has a very old-Southern vibe to it. You can also see the Museum of the Everglades here, which tells a bit about the history of the area.
Everglades City-area campgrounds include establishments like the Flamingo Campground. Also, many of the campgrounds near Everglades National Park are available. These include Forest River RV Neapolitan Cove, which offers full hookups as well as back-in and pull-through sites for RVs. There are also a few dump stations in the Everglades area.
Fort Myers, FL
Fort Myers is home to more than 62,000 residents and is known for its beautiful beaches and vibrant nightlife. While in the city, you can visit the Laugh-In Comedy Café, The Murder Mystery Dinner Train, or the Downtown Social House. Each of these locations is extremely enjoyable, and there are also several activities that are perfect for the whole family. Fort Myers beaches are known for the sand bars and fishing opportunities, and there are also hiking opportunities in the areas around the city.
Fort Myers campgrounds like Red Coconut RV Park and Lakes Park RV provide numerous back-in and pull-through sites for your RV and have several amenities to enjoy. These include beachfront vistas and trails that surround each campground for you and your family to explore.
Located about 60 miles away from Tampa along the southwestern coast, Sarasota, FL, is a city with a population of 51,917. Along the boundary of Sarasota, you can find several of the keys that are famous in the state, including Lido Key, Armands Key, and Casey Key. Formerly, the city was also the winter headquarters of the Ringling Brothers Circus, and as a result, many of the city's landmarks are named for these seven brothers.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Miami to Tampa, you will enjoy historic locations and beautiful scenery along the way. If you want to travel in comfort and style, consider an RV rental from RVshare. From large motorhomes to compact campervans, there is a rig that will meet your travel and budget needs. Once you hit the road, you are protected by our renter guarantee and 24/7 roadside assistance. Find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs in Miami or Tampa.