Tips for Driving From New York to Florida

By Ashley Friedman

Road tripping from the Empire State to the Sunshine State

Tips for Driving From New York to Florida

A road trip along the Eastern Seaboard from the mid-Atlantic states to the Gulf Coast is a great way to see one of the most beautiful parts of the country. The route between New York and Florida encompasses states that teem with American historical landmarks, beautiful natural wonders and some seriously delicious food.

Tolls from NYC to Florida

Travelers taking I-95 from New York City to Florida will find that almost every state they pass through – with the exceptions of Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia – has toll requirements. Drivers pay tolls when leaving New York state, crossing the George Washington Bridge into New Jersey and taking the New Jersey Turnpike. Delaware charges tolls for drivers traveling across the Delaware Memorial Bridge and using the Delaware Turnpike.

Maryland exacts fees from drivers using the Baltimore Harbor and Fort McHenry Tunnel and for any drivers traveling along I-95, known there as JFK Memorial Highway. In Virginia, drivers can avoid tolls by not traveling in the express lanes.

The cost of most tolls going southbound on I-95 vary in price from $1 to $15. It's a good idea to get a prepaid toll device such as E-ZPass to save time and avoid having to slow down and fumble with cash at tollbooths.

Fuel Fill-Ups

Keeping an eye on gas is key. Keep a list of nearby gas stations at the ready on your smartphone, as well as on a piece of paper, as cellular service can be spotty on some swaths of I-95. If you're getting down toward that half-a-tank mark, it's probably time to keep an eye out for a travel stop where you can fill up.

Driving tips, stops and traffic

The trip from New York City to Florida takes a little over 17 hours. If you're traveling alone, it's probably wise to break this up into a two- or three-day trip so you can avoid getting too tired on the road. If you're traveling with companions, split up the driving. Make time for quick breaks to stretch your legs and rest your eyes, particularly at nighttime, when the darkness and the glare of headlights can be fatiguing.

Make the most out of the trip by stopping at points of interest along the way. For travelers who enjoy exploring, websites such as Roadtrippers.com provide lists of noteworthy sites, places to eat and drink and can't-miss natural wonders that will break up the monotony of hours on the road. These stops also offer a fascinating glimpse into the local flavor of the region. Whether your interest is old Civil War battlegrounds or the best fried chicken sandwich in every state, you can chart a course that works for you.

Unsurprisingly, traffic tends to be most significant in and around major cities during rush hour. If it's possible to avoid major city centers before and just after rush hour, you'll likely beat the majority of traffic on the way down to Florida.

What to bring along

Bring snacks, audiobooks, music, a healthy supply of podcasts and plenty of water. Staying hydrated might mean a few extra bathroom breaks, but it's worth it in the long run. Water keeps you alert and clear-headed as you make the trek southward.

Always have your license and proof of insurance readily available, as you would on any road trip. It's important for any international travelers to carry their documentation and to keep all legal paperwork as up to date as possible. Be familiar with local traffic laws and regulations in whichever city you happen to be in. Nothing takes the fun out of a road trip quite like getting pulled over.

About the Author

Ashley Friedman graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and Social Sciences. She has experience writing copy for the websites of creative professionals, and regularly contributes to several blogs covering popular culture, travel, food, and social action.