The Best Road Trip from Indianapolis to Florida

Tom Hindle
Mar 10, 2022 · 16 min read
Start in the midwest before sauntering around the south and into Florida, seeing metropolitan and countryside America in the process.
An Indianapolis to Florida road trip breezes through different landscapes, covering rolling fields, sun-soaked beaches, and dramatic peaks. For those who want to truly explore the US, this eight-day epic is the way to do so.
Oh… and you end up at Disney!
With the help of car insurance comparison and broker app Jerry, here’s an itinerary that will get you from Indianapolis to Walt Disney World in eight days! From where to eat and sleep to what to do, Jerry’s got you covered.
And part of that coverage is great roadside assistance! There’s nothing worse than being stuck in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire, cracked windshield, or an empty tank. For just $6.99, Jerry offers an excellent program to give you peace of mind as you hit the road.
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Key trip details

Indianapolis, IN to Orlando, FL map.
​​Distance: 1,452 miles
Driving time: 23 hours and 30 minutes
Suggested length of trip: 3 to 5 days

Itinerary

  • Indianapolis, IN—One half to 1 day
  • Lexington, KY—1 day
  • Nashville, TN—2 days
  • Knoxville, TN—Half a day
  • Asheville, NC—1 to 2 days
  • Atlanta, GA—1 day
  • Savannah, GA—1 day
  • Fernandina Beach, FL—Half a day
  • Orlando, FL—1 to 2 days

Indianapolis to Lexington

189 miles, 3 hours
Start your road trip off quickly by exploring some of Indianapolis’s sights. The city is a cultural center in its own right and serves as an ideal springboard into Kentucky and southern America. We hope you like horses…
To get to Lexington, follow the I-74, I-275 S, and I-75 S to KY-922 S/Newtown Pike, until you reach exit 115.

Where to stay from Indianapolis to Lexington

  • Ironworks Hotel: If you need to spend the night in Indianapolis before leaving, bed in at Ironworks Hotel, an industrial, cool-looking spot just outside the city. Cost per night: from $170.
  • 21c Museum Hotel Lexington: ​​Lexington has a few good hotels and a rich Airbnb scene. But the best accommodation in the city is the 21c Museum Hotel. Located atop a contemporary art museum, the 88-room structure is both trendy and comfy. Cost per night: from $402.

Where to eat from Indianapolis to Lexington

  • Cafe Patachou (Indianapolis, $$-$$$): Grab some breakfast here for fresh, cool eats. Dubbed a "student union for adults," the cafe offers made-to-order omelets and acai bowls.
  • Il Panino (Indianapolis, $): Make lunch quick at Il Panino before you hit the road. The unassuming stand in Indianapolis City Market makes big, delicious sandwiches at a tasty price point.
  • Corto Lima (Lexington, $$): Once you arrive in Lexington, check out Corto Lima for dinner. They serve interesting Latin dishes, highlighted by sugar cane shrimp.

What to do from Indianapolis to Lexington

Bronze statues of horses racing at the Kentucky Horse Park.
  • Newfields: Have a stroll around Newfields, Indianapolis’s acclaimed museum of art, in the morning. The Lume, an immersive art project, debuts in August and is well worth a look.
  • Kentucky Horse Park: The drive to Lexington should take you through lots of farmland. Once you get there, head straight to the Kentucky Horse Park to learn about one of Lexington’s most sacred traditions.

Lexington to Nashville

215 miles, 3 hours
Your journey starts to pick up momentum as you leave Lexington and head into one of the south’s great cultural centers—with some time for a national park along the way! Remember to bring some comfy shoes and an open mind for country music.
Follow the KY-9002 W/Bluegrass Pkwy and I-65 S to 14th Ave N, then take exit 209A to arrive in Nashville.

Where to stay in Nashville

  • The Russell: This is a converted church with funky rooms and stained glass windows—a fun pick for your two nights in Nashville. A portion of your nightly rate will be donated to local nonprofits fighting homelessness. Cost per night: from $188.

Where to eat from Lexington to Nashville

  • Wild Eggs (Lexington, $$): Before hitting the road, treat yourself to breakfast at Wild Eggs, a midwestern chain specializing in hearty American food.
  • Spelunkers Cafe (Mammoth Cave, $): For lunch, eat at Spelunkers Cafe in Mammoth Cave National Park. Don’t expect fancy food, but after a walk, a hotdog or quick sandwich might just hit the spot!
  • Folk (Nashville, $$-$$$): You’re spoiled for food choices in Nashville. For an option outside the usual Southern fare, look into Folk, an upmarket pizza spot that serves specialty toppings.

What to do from Lexington to Nashville

A concrete staircase leads into the darkness of a mossy cave at Mammoth Cave National Park.
  • Henry Clay’s historic home: For history buffs, a stop into this historic home near Lexington is well worth it. The Kentucky politician was influential in developing American politics in the early 1800s and his museum tells a compelling story.
  • Mammoth Cave National Park: About an hour’s drive from Lexington sits this national park. At more than 412 miles, it’s the largest known cave system in the world! Grab lunch from there before heading to Nashville.
  • Stroll around Broadway: Once you reach Music City, have a tour around Nashville’s iconic cultural center. There are lots of good opportunities for shopping and snacking!

Nashville to Knoxville

180 miles, 3 hours
Make the most of your day in the city, taking in some essential sights before heading towards Knoxville and into the stunning Great Smoky Mountains.
To reach Knoxville, take the I-40 E until you reach exit 388.

Where to stay from Nashville to Knoxville

  • The Olive Hotel: Spend the night at this hotel in Fort Worth. It’s an example of classic southern architecture not far from the University of Tennessee—meaning it’s right in the center of things. Cost per night: from $114.

Where to eat from Nashville to Knoxville

  • Biscuit Love (Nashville, $-$$): You have to try this iconic Nashville hotspot for breakfast. Get the bonuts to share—you definitely won’t be disappointed!
  • Cafe Roze (Nashville, $$): For something a little lighter before you leave town, stop for lunch at Cafe Roze to enjoy fresh salads and healthy sandwiches.
  • Kefi (Knoxville, $$-$$$): A vibrant college town and cultural center, Knoxville has a lot of food on offer. An intriguing option is acclaimed Greek spot Kefi where the fried artichokes are a hit!

What to do from Nashville to Knoxville

Posters of famous Country singers hang on a yellow wall at the Country Music Hall of Fame.
  • Country Music Hall of Fame: You can’t go to Nashville without checking out the Country Music Hall of Fame. Whether you’re into the twang or not, the museum traces the musical history of some of America’s most iconic artists.
  • Parthenon: After lunch, ​​head over to the Parthenon, a near-full-size replica of the famous Athenian building that shows the city’s art and culture.
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Knoxville to Asheville

115 miles, 2 hours
Spend the day in a funky southern town before you head off into the mountains to get off the grid. Be prepared for quaint towns and breathtaking views!
Continue on the I-40 E and take exit 4B to get to Asheville!

Where to stay in Asheville

  • Princess Anne Hotel: Catch some rest at the Princess Anne Hotel, a historic building that opened in 1924, and has comfy, stylish rooms at good rates. Cost per night: from $233.

Where to eat from Knoxville to Asheville

  • OliBea (Knoxville, $$): Make sure to drop into OliBea for a southern breakfast. It’s a great spot for a quick bite and the walls are adorned with local art.
  • French Market Creperie (Knoxville, $$): It may seem naughty to have pancakes for lunch, but this food court spot nails savory crepes with the ham and swiss cheese standing out.

What to do from Knoxville to Asheville

A child poses with an umbrella at the end of a garden walkway at the Biltmore estate.
  • Zoo Knoxville: Check out this incredibly fun zoo in the morning. The family-friendly destination features a fascinating and educational red panda exhibit, among many other things.
  • Biltmore Estate: Check out the Biltmore estate once you arrive in Asheville—it’s the largest privately-owned house in America and the home of tycoon George Vanderbilt.

Asheville to Atlanta

200 miles, 3.5 hours
Enjoy another change of scenery as you exchange mountains for another big city center. But you’re not getting out of Appalachia without having a walk first!
To get to Atlanta, take the I-40 W, US-74 W, US-23 S, I-985 S, and I-85 S until you reach exit 248A.

Where to stay in Atlanta

  • Epicurean Hotel Atlanta: Spend the night at the Epicurean Hotel. It’s trendy and decorated excellently, and centrally located so you can see as much of the city as possible! Cost per night: from $296.

Where to eat from Asheville to Atlanta

  • Early Girl Eatery (Asheville, $$-$$$): This breakfast spot in Asheville has a wide variety of inventive menu options. The yam scram is a local favorite!
  • Folk Art (Atlanta, $$): Look to eat a late lunch at Folk Art for hearty southern food—the chicken sandwich is too good to pass up!
  • Ticonderoga (Atlanta, $$): Change things up for dinner and head to Ticonderoga for great seafood. Their craft cocktails and lively atmosphere make for an excellent dining experience.

What to do from Asheville to Atlanta

Bottles of Coca Cola at the final assembly line at the Coca-Cola Factory.
  • Catawba Falls Trail: It’s time to stretch your legs! Get up early and hike the Catawba Falls Trail. It’s about 2 miles of easy walking round trip, but you’ll be rewarded with an amazing view!
  • Coca-Cola Factory: Visit the Coca-Cola factory and museum in the afternoon if you have time, where you can learn about the world’s most popular drink and get a few free samples!

Atlanta to Savannah

248 miles, 3.5 hours
Drive from a major metropolitan center to an emerging young hub. Be prepared for a lot of food and a lot of casual strolling! Savannah needs to be absorbed and walked around—so have your shoes ready.
Follow the I-75 S and I-16 E, then take exit 167B to reach Savannah.

Where to stay in Savannah

  • River Street Inn: Get some rest at the River Street Inn. It’s a converted cotton factory that overlooks the Savannah River with affordable river-view rates! And if you’re into spooky stuff, there have been reports of ghostly activity at the hotel over the years. Cost per night: from $298.

Where to eat from Atlanta to Savannah

  • Atlanta Breakfast Club (Atlanta, $): Chow down a big breakfast at Atlanta Breakfast Club for modern spins on diner food. The café dubs itself "food paradise" and the massive, delicious waffles set out to prove that assertion.
  • The Collins Quarter (Forsyth, $$): You might have to wait a bit for lunch after a long drive, but The Collins Quarter in Forsyth park makes it more than worth it. The Aussie-inspired cafe offers filling sandwiches and fresh salads.
  • Olde Pink House (Savannah, $$$): For dinner, drop into the Olde Pink House. The Colonial Home has been turned into a museum with a restaurant—in cool underground digs.

What to do from Atlanta to Savannah

Weeping willow trees hang over a shaded walkway at Forsyth Park, Savannah.
  • Forsyth Park: Once you get to Savannah, head to Forsyth Park, one of the city’s best attractions. Find stalls and vendors surrounding their famous fountain and grab some food.
  • Savannah Riverboat cruise: ​​If you fancy it, take a Savannah Riverboat cruise through the city to cap off your afternoon. You get to see the sights of Savannah while enjoying food and entertainment!
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Savannah to Fernandina Beach

130 miles, 2 hours
It’s time for your first flash of the Atlantic Ocean! Fernandina Beach is the first major beach in northern Florida and has the luxury of a bit of quiet. Get your beach vibes going and chill!
To get to Fernandina Beach, follow I-95 S to US-17 S, take exit 380, and then follow the Florida A1A S to Ash St.

Where to eat from Savannah to Fernandina Beach

  • Maple Street Biscuit Company (Savannah, $$): Enjoy your last excursion with southern comfort food before you hit the road, snagging breakfast and a cup of coffee from Maple Street Biscuit Company.
  • Surcheros Fresh Mix (Savannah, $$): Change it up for lunch with Surcheros Fresh Mix. The Savannah hotspot offers build-your-own burritos and tacos and a popular selection of tasty hot sauces.
  • Salty Pelican Bar and Grill (Fernandina Beach, $$): Fernandina Beach offers a wealth of seafood places—and it would be rude not to tap into some of them! The best is Salty Pelican Bar and Grill, which serves massive portions of food at standout prices. Try the shrimp plate!

What to do in Fernandina Beach

Rocks lie in a row in front of beach water at Fernandina Beach.
  • Hit the beach!: Once you arrive in Fernandina, give yourself a relaxing day at the beach. You only have to worry about towels, sunglasses, surf, and sand after five days of driving.

Fernandina Beach to Orlando

177 miles, 3 hours
You made it! Now that you’ve arrived in sunny, warm Orlando, you only have to concern yourself with putting on sunscreen every day and bringing extra water to stay hydrated.
To reach your final destination, take the I-295 S, I-95 S, and I-4 W and get off at exit 83.

Where to stay in Orlando

  • Castle Hotel Florida: Tuck in for the night at Castle Hotel Florida, where you’ll find fancy architecture and gorgeous views. It’s also located conveniently close to Disney World! Cost per night: from $188.

Where to eat from Fernandina Beach to Orlando

  • Amelia Island Coffee (Fernandina Beach, $): Dig into Amelia Island Coffee for a light breakfast and local java—a perfect pre-beach meal!
  • Stubborn Mule (Orlando, $$): Orlando isn’t exactly lacking in meal options, either. A good one is the*Stubborn Mule, a swanky cocktail-American spot that pays tribute to the Moscow mule with loads of different cocktails and great food.

A day at Disney

Mickey Mouse waves from a hot air balloon in front of Disney World's Cinderella Castle.
Your trip concludes with a day at the happiest place on Earth. Make the most of it by trying the food, taking pictures, and getting on as many rides as possible!

Where to eat in Disney

Try and get as many meals in at Disney as possible. It may be pricey, but it’s all part of the experience. That might mean saying yes to branded food and drinks, so make sure you’re into the spirit of things!
  • The Strand ($$): If you’re inclined to go somewhere for dinner, try out The Strand. A highly rated bistro, it’s a delicious fancy meal to finish off your marathon road trip.

Why you need roadside assistance

Unfortunately, breakdowns happen. Whether you run out of gas, collide with another car, or pop a tire, you might need help to keep your road trip going.
For those situations, Jerry has a comprehensive roadside assistance package. It features up to 10 miles of towing plus jump starts, tire changes, fuel deliveries, and more.
The package also comes with some exclusive benefits, including car advice, key replacement, and Uber credits—and it only costs $6.99 for one car!
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The fast route back

The speediest way to Indianapolis is a 980-mile slog straight north. With good traffic, it will take around 14 hours.
The smart way of doing things is to stop for a night in Chattanooga, or even Atlanta, to break things up into two 7-hour drives.

The scenic route back

Not wanting to go home is entirely understandable. Extending your trip by a few days is a possibility with a coastal road trip up to South Carolina—a good way of doing a proper loop around the southeastern US.
Head north from Orlando to Daytona Beach. Stay for a night there and stick to roads along the coast to Myrtle Beach. Stop where you please, but look out for the various pretty beaches along the South Carolina coast. Isle of Palms, for example, is worth a stop!
Once you get to Myrtle Beach, cut west and head through Virginia along the famous Blue Ridge Parkway. Stop for a night in Appalachia, if you fancy it! From there, saunter home back to Indianapolis.
Pro Tip An extra few days will allow you to see more beaches, and drive on one of America’s best roads!

Finding great car insurance

Regardless of where you are or how far you’re going, having the right car insurance is a must. For the best insurance at the best price, try Jerry.
A licensed broker, Jerry does all the hard work of finding the cheapest quotes from the top insurance companies and finalizing your new car insurance. Jerry will even cancel your old policy for you.
And to ensure you always have the lowest rate, Jerry will send you new quotes every time your policy comes up for renewal, so you’re always getting the coverage you want at the best price. This level of service is why Jerry earned a 4.6/5 rating on the App Store and made it the top insurance app in the country.
"I made the switch. Better coverage, lower price, and questions are still just a phone call or text away. You can’t afford not to try. What do you have to lose? Oh yeah, money in your pocket!" —Jerry user

FAQs

Are there any must-try foods on my road trip?

Yes! We’ve covered some of the classics, but there are always more you have to hit, especially if you've never been in the area before.
In Tennessee, it’s all about barbecue and southern sides. Look for smoked meats, lots of barbecue sauce, and as many good sides as possible. For breakfast, be prepared for a lot of pancakes, biscuits, and big, sugary foods.
And when you’re by the ocean, try some fish! Florida has tons of good whitefish, which make for awesome fish tacos!

What equipment do I need to bring?

That depends on how long you’re planning to spend on the road! Jerry has put together some road trip essentials for you.
For this one, be prepared for the outdoors. While the hiking might not be too strenuous, definitely bring some good shoes, lots of water, and beach gear.

What happens if I break down?

Even with diligence, it’s always possible that your car could break down. Remember that for any drive you should have your car fueled up and properly serviced. But if something goes wrong, ensure that you’re signed up for Jerry’s excellent roadside assistance program—it’s just $6.99 per month!
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