The Best Road Trip from Buffalo to Florida

Find out if you’re getting ripped off on your car insurance in less than two minutes.
No long forms · No spam · No fees
We’ve mapped the ultimate Buffalo to Florida road trip that includes pit stops in Pittsburgh, Charlotte, and Savannah on your way to the sunny beaches of the Sunshine State!
Passing through eight states over 1,000 miles of driving means you might encounter some unexpected bumps in the road (beyond the big “bumps” that are mountains, of course). So before you head out, make sure you have the right car insurance.
Car insurance comparison shopping app and licensed broker Jerry can help you compare quotes from up to 50 providers in less than a minute so that you can spend less on your premium and more on road trip fun.
Buckle up and get ready to pass through the rolling Appalachians, stroll along untouched coastal isles, and stop and play in downtowns bubbling with activity.
RECOMMENDED
Compare auto insurance policies
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms · No fees, ever

Start in Buffalo, New York

The second-largest city in New York state and still growing, Buffalo has been named America’s Best Designed City. Notable architecture spots include the modern Frank Lloyd Wright estate, the neoclassical Albright-Knox art gallery, and the Guaranty Building, an early skyscraper from 1896.

What to see

Drive north for about 30 minutes to catch the best view of Niagara Falls. You’ll go through Grand Island and then ride the Niagara Scenic Parkway. Cross 1st street to park on Goat Island, where you can see the falls close-up from the Cave of the Winds or Terrapin Point.
If you’re interested in staying within the city of Buffalo, Delaware Park offers serene views of Hoyt Lake and two miles of winding trails.
Or catch a sporting event: the Buffalo Bills, Sabres, Bisons, and Bandits give you plenty of options.

Where to eat

If you’re departing in the morning (or any time, really), Buffalo is jam-packed with quality coffee shops. Wonder Coffeehouse boasts a wondrous collection of liege waffle combinations, from sweet s’mores to savory Monte Cristos.
If you’d rather turn up the heat, sample hot wings straight from the city that lends its name to buffalo sauce. In fact, you can still visit Anchor Bar, where the first buffalo wing was served!

For more, stop at: Allegheny National Forest

The drive south from New York to Florida is filled with hundreds of acres of protected lands. Drive for 90 minutes to hit your first major one, Allegheny National Forest, which straddles New York and Pennsylvania.
You won’t want to miss the Kinzua Sky Walk to observe the lush forest from 225 feet in the air. Views are especially amazing in autumn!
You can stay the night in the forest. Reserve a campsite or book a stay at a quaint B&B.
On the left, people stand at the top of an outlook tower to view Niagara Falls, New York. Boats float on the water.
Niagara Falls, New York

Leg 1: Buffalo to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

219 miles, 3 hours
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, also known as the Steel City, is an industrial powerhouse. And the good news is that Pittsburghers play just as hard as they work, so you’re sure to have a fun stay here!

What to see

For a comprehensive tour of the Steel City, consider taking a river tour on the Gateway Clipper. Learn something new by participating in a group session at the Pittsburgh Glass Center, where world-renowned glass artists come to create and teach.
Save your energy, though, to enjoy Pittsburgh’s nightlife. The city’s industrial vibes pervade venues like Jimmy D’s and Howl at the Moon, while the Buckhead Saloon offers a Wild West-inspired atmosphere.

Where to eat

Pittsburgh’s food culture is influenced by the large population of Eastern European immigrants who arrived at the turn of the 20th century. If you haven’t yet tried pierogi, this is your sign.
Try these scrumptious potato dumplings stuffed with sauerkraut, cheese, or even blueberries. Cop Out Pierogies and Pierogies Plus top the list of highly-ranked pierogi stops.
Want to opt for some classic American fare? Order from Tessaro’s American Bar or Peppi’s for a loaded steak sandwich or cheesy Pittsburgh salad.

Where to stay

The Distrikt Hotel Pittsburgh offers modern amenities amid historic downtown architecture. For a truly unique experience, consider visiting the Inn on the Mexican War Streets, which preserves much of the same decor from when it first opened in Victorian times.

For more, stop at: West Virginia Penitentiary

Just an hour south of Pittsburgh, nestled in the tiny town of Moundsville is the West Virginia Penitentiary. Believers in the paranormal may find their piece of proof during a nighttime tour of this Gothic building, in which over 100 prisoners were executed and spirits are said to roam.
You can also walk through in the light of day, but your eyes may still play tricks on you!
Dramatic puffy clouds float above the Pittsburgh skyline during the daytime. Trees and leaves border the scene.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Leg 2: Pittsburgh to Charlotte, North Carolina

448 miles, 7 hours
Next up is Charlotte, North Carolina, otherwise known as the Queen City.

What to do

Up for more heights, even after driving through the mountains? Strap into roller coasters and water rides at Carowinds amusement park.
To keep up your adrenaline rush, watch a NASCAR race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, then view some cars up close and try a racing simulator at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Ready to dig deep? The Reed Gold Mine is the site of the first gold find in the United States. Until the California gold rush, North Carolina was the country’s most active mining state. Walk through the tunnels casually or try to strike it rich in a gold panning competition.
In speaking of money, Charlotte is America’s largest banking hub after NYC. But the Mint Museum has nothing to do with coins––it’s an impressive collection of modern art that prominently features local artists.

Where to eat

Welcome to southern flavor! Bask in the savory aroma of Sweet Lew’s BBQ, which exclusively uses a real smoker to prepare its meats. Or feel the warmth of comfort food lovingly prepared at Mert’s Heart and Soul, a place run by a husband and wife and filled with family pictures.

Where to stay

Like your previous stop in Pittsburgh, Charlotte offers a range of lodging options.
Dunhill Hotel, formerly called Mayhill Manor, was originally half hotel, half apartment complex. Management has worked hard to add modern amenities while preserving its historic charm.
For a royal stay in the center of Queen City, look no further than the Grand Bohemian Charlotte. Luxurious marble lines the lobby, while the ballrooms are practically exploding with personality.

For more, stop at: Pisgah National Forest

Two and a half hours from Charlotte might sound like a long detour, but the Pisgah National Forest is worth the extra time. If you’re looking for more waterfalls, you might need to allot an extra day (or two) because there are tons here! Here are just a few of the better-known ones:
  • Looking Glass Falls
  • Moore Cove Falls
  • Cedar Rock Creek Falls
  • Discovery Falls
  • Second Falls
Itching to camp? Spend a night here under the stars!
RECOMMENDED
Compare auto insurance policies
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms · No fees, ever
An advertisement for Coca-Cola on the Charlotte Motor Speedway racetrack in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Charlotte Motor Speedway, Charlotte, North Carolina

Leg 3: Charlotte to Savannah, Georgia

252 miles, 4 hours
Next up is Savannah, Georgia. If you didn’t find any ghosts back in West Virginia, you can try again here—Savannah is considered America’s most haunted city.
Moreover, Savannah is a rare gem in its state. It’s the only major city in Georgia that General Sherman didn’t burn down in the Civil War.

What to do

To see what might have prompted the Union general to spare Savannah, simply take a walk through Forsyth Park and marvel at the city’s natural beauty. Take a selfie in front of Forsyth’s iconic fountain, elegantly framed by gently sloping oaks, or people-watch, keeping an eye out for the regular dog-walkers.
Drama lovers can’t miss the Historic Savannah Theater, which has delivered live shows to the public since 1818.
Interested in world cultures? The Savannah African Art Museum holds over 1,000 items from West and Central Africa, casting a spotlight on 180 different groups.

Where to eat

For breakfast or lunch, stop at Narobia’s Grits and Gravy and enjoy the buttery goodness of fresh-baked biscuits and creamy shrimp dishes.
If you’re looking for seafood that kicks, head over to the Hudson Hill neighborhood to eat from the Bayou Cafe Food Truck, whose hot sauce is shipped globally.
For dinner with live entertainment, try Jazz’d Tapas Bar, which serves up Latin American small plates and a big sound (must be 18+ to enter). Alternatively, sit beneath some giant Easter Island head replicas in the tropical-themed Water Witch Tiki Bar.
For kids and adults alike, the sweetest taste in Savannah comes in the form of a peach cobbler. Try Mirabelle Savannah’s cobbler and stay right downtown, or travel to the Oakdale neighborhood to sample Sweet Potato Kitchen’s rendition of this classic dessert.

Where to stay

Walk along the cobblestone waterfront to find the River Street Inn, where the walls are filled with artwork. The hotel is designated a National Historic Place and offers fine dining options.
Check out Lucky Savannah Vacation Rentals to live more like a local. From studio apartments in the design district to multi-bedroom beach homes, Lucky Savannah’s collection of properties is sure to include something that fits your group’s needs.

For more, stop at: Georgia coastline

The drive from Savannah into Florida is filled with undeveloped coastlands. This means that you can’t always drive right along the water, but there are a few beachside spots you can’t miss.
Only 20 minutes from Savannah lies Tybee Island, otherwise known as “Savannah’s Beach.” Rent a kayak to explore the coastline at your own pace or sign up for a dolphin tour to say hello to some squeaky marine friends!
Next up is Jekyll Island, which is wrapped in eight miles of beach. Although most of it is perfect for barefoot walks, you’ll need to watch out for the sharp objects that give Sharktooth Beach its name. Darker teeth have already been fossilized, while white teeth were recently lost.
Finally, cross the Florida border and round out your treasure hunt by visiting Boneyard Beach on Big Talbot Island. It may help to know that the beach harbors massive white-bleached trees rather than human remains!
Water sprays from a water fountain decorated with sculptures in Forsyth Park, Savannah.
Forsyth Park, Savannah, Georgia

Leg 4: Savannah to Jacksonville, Florida

140 miles, 2 hours
Welcome to Jacksonville, the most populous city in the state of Florida and the city with the largest land area in the continental U.S. It has over 500 neighborhoods!
A commercial center, Jacksonville was one of the earlier U.S. cities to urbanize, with some of its earliest skyscrapers built in 1902.

What to do

For those of you who were captivated (or rather, disturbed) by the Tiger King series last year, visit The Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary to see big cats rescued from exotic animal keepers, along with coatimundis, foxes, and horses.
Rated the #1 attraction in Jacksonville, Catty Shack actively promotes public education and efforts to conserve the endangered Florida panther.
Shoppers, get your bags ready! St. John’s Town Center allows you to peruse almost 200 shops over 1.2 million square feet of space. If shopping doesn’t thrill you, iFly skydiving center is right down the street.
If you’re more into the arts and crafts scene, make sure you land in Jacksonville in time for the Saturday morning Riverside Arts Market. The vendors here include bakeries, too.

Where to eat

Taverna fires up tasty brick-oven pizzas as part of its Spanish and Italian menu. The Bearded Pig, an acclaimed barbeque spot, offers a cozy feel with its enclosed patio seating.
If you’d like a juicy salad or a spread of appetizers, check out European Street Cafe. Their German food is so popular that they’ve expanded to four locations throughout Jacksonville. The Riverside location is a short stroll from a family park along the water.

Where to stay

You can drive straight to St. Augustine after stopping in Jacksonville— but if you want to stay the night, immerse yourself in Jacksonville’s downtown scene at the Omni Hotel Jacksonville, a modern hotel with river or skyline views. The hotel is a six-minute walk from Jacksonville Landing Shopping Center.
If you’d rather spend an extra night by the beach, book a stay at One Ocean Resort & Spa to begin soaking up the Florida sun.
The low sunlight gives the Jacksonville Wells Fargo building a mirrorlike reflection in this view from across the St. Johns River.
Jacksonville, Florida

Leg 5: Jacksonville to St. Augustine, Florida

40 miles, about 40 minutes
Welcome to St. Augustine! Established in 1565, your final destination is the oldest European-established city in America. There’s plenty of Spanish colonial influence in the colorful buildings today.

What to do

St. Augustine beach is expansive. Walk along Ocean Hammock Park walkway to view swamps, shady forests, and sand dunes. Go farther south to spend some quiet time on calm Crescent Beach.
Stay to the north of the town and take the Bridge of Lions onto Anastasia Island. Here, there’s an Alligator Farm Park and a centuries-old historical site, the Spanish Coquina Quarries, from which material was drawn to build nearby Castillo de San Marcos.
A truly unique venue in St. Augustine is the Spanish Military Hospital Museum. Visit to see re-enactments of colonial-era surgeries and learn which herbs stocked apothecaries in the 1500s.

Where to eat

Ready for fresh-catch fish stuffed and served in a pineapple? Try Beachcomber St. Augustine. This casual, family-friendly restaurant is open for all three meals and offers outdoor picnic-style seating.
For more international dishes downtown, try Alta Marea for pasta and Mediterranean fare. African Love Kitchen specializes in Tanzanian cuisine, including curries and chapati flatbreads.
Later, cool off with a cone from Rita’s Italian Ice and a walk on the pier. Or add some sweet spice to the night by customizing your own churros at 904 Churros.

Where to stay

Guy Harvey Resort sits right on St. Augustine Beach. From the hotel, you can book a variety of activities, including beach yoga and sport fishing.
Fans of the quietude of Crescent Beach can opt for Beacher’s Lodge, with condo-style lodgings going for an affordable price.
A sandy path leads to a stormy beach scene on Anastasia Island, St. Augustine.
Anastasia Island, St. Augustine, Florida

Why you need roadside assistance

Car breakdowns and emergencies don’t just affect road-trippers in movies. Be prepared for the unexpected with the roadside assistance program from Jerry.
For just $6.99, you’ll get up to 10 miles of towing, jumpstarts, tire changes, fuel delivery, and more. And Jerry’s exclusive member benefits include Uber credits, key replacement, tire repair, and even car advice from certified mechanics.
Don’t let a flat ruin your road trip. Jerry’s roadside assistance program will get you back on the road in no time!
RECOMMENDED
Haven’t shopped for insurance in the last six months? There might be hundreds $$$ in savings waiting for you.
avatar
Judith switched to Progressive
icon savingsSaved $725 annually
avatar
Alexander switched to Travelers
icon savingsSaved $834 annually
avatar
Annie switched to Nationwide
icon savingsSaved $668 annually

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

√
No long forms
√
No spam or unwanted phone calls
√
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings — it's 100% free