Author Topic: Florida riding suggestions  (Read 2552 times)

Offline lolife

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Florida riding suggestions
« on: February 16, 2012, 04:41:54 am »

March 29 - April 2 me & 2 others are riding from Greenville SC to Key West FL.  We want to see as much scenery as we can but we understand we can't see everything.  We've never ridden in Florida & I really haven't visited Florida much at all.  However, Key West is destination ride #1 on my want to ride list.  I have no other reason why other than it will be warm & I can get an umbrella drink.   Headscratch

Here is the itinerary

Thursday - ride from Greenville SC to Jacksonville FL

Friday - ride from Jacksonville to Florida City

Saturday - ride from Florida City to Key West & spend the day in Key West

Sunday - ride from Key West to Clearwater or Tampa area

Monday - ride home to Anderson SC

The only hotel reservations we're making is Friday night in Florida City & Saturday night in Key West.

I need some suggestions on what route we should take from Jacksonville to Key West? 

Our original plan was to get on the A1A & ride it from West Palm all the way to Miami Beach.  After talking with some others, it sounds like that we'd be in traffic/red light hell.

A friend suggested the A1A from the Vera Beach area down to Jupiter & hitting the barrier islands.  Other people have suggested to avoid Orlando at all costs & said hwys 17 & 27 are nice scenic roads to ride too. 

We don't have to stay along the coast & don't mind heading inward if that gets us on some nice riding.  I know its going to be a long ride through Florida.

Is there anything near Lake Okeechobee that would be worth stopping to see?

First off, I don't give a rat's a$$ about Daytona Beach.  There's nothing for me to see there.  I also hate NASCAR.   Cool

I'd like to see part of St Augustine even if its just passing through.  I would like to see West Palm, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Miami & Miami Beach but I don't want to sit in hours of traffic to do it.  If there's a part of Florida that's better to see or just as nice to see then I'd rather do that than sit in traffic huffing carbon monoxide.   Wink

When we leave Key West, we're going to 41 through the Everglades to the gulf side of Florida & head up toward Tampa or Clearwater.  We don't have a plan on where we're staying Sunday night.  We're going to play that by ear & see how far north in Florida we can get & see some sights along the way.

If you have any suggestions to places on the gulf side of Florida that would be appreciated too.

Thank you for any suggestions & advice 

Offline SteveJ.

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Re: Florida riding suggestions
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2012, 08:03:01 pm »
Ufda, lots of territory in a short time.

Ok, if this were me. I would blow off Jax and stay in an old inn in old town St. Augustine. That way you can explore at your leisure. Eat at Harry's for cajun, or cross the Lions Bridge and enjoy some of the finest shrimp on earth at a modest little cafe called Osteens. Hit A1A Aleworks for beer, it's right at the Lions Bridge on King ST at Avenida Menendez. There ia also an interesting art gallery a few doors down on King St. Take A1A outta there to SR 40. Very few lights, generally light traffic, and the road is right on the ocean. Lots of places to pull over and soak it all in. Not a bunch of ugly chain crap to ugly it up. Just a nice pleasant road. Someone else can fill ya in on the lower coast. Traffic will be insane, keep your head moving watching for 100mph Lambos and such. Floriduh City, lock and secure everything, just sayin'.

The top of the Keys is pretty much touristy stuff, but it has a charm. Lower Keys much nicer. Bahia Honda SP worth a look, and look for Key Deer on Big Pine Key.

Key West. Motorcycle parking is free in designated spots.  Do not cheat on the end spaces, I've been told. Hopefully you got a room right down in old town so parking/riding will not be an issue.

Be tolerant of homo/trans sexuals. Key West has the highest percentage of gays in the country, including Frisco.  Do Mallory square at sunset, arrive early. Do not eat at the seafood buffet restaurant. Half Shell Raw Bar is decent, Paulie useta have a COG  RTE there in January on an annual basis. There is also a cool tavern, I've heard, right to the right of it, same parking lot. We're heading down for a long weekend on the 22nd of this month, we'll be checking that tavern out. Otherwise just figure on wandering around like everyone else does. You may wanna consider Fort Zachary State Park, The Hemingway house, the light house,... We really enjoy it down there, some folks don't, some do. It's like leaving the country without going through customs.

A couple of highway notes. US 27 from Clermont(near Orlando) to Lake Placid now has about 57 traffic lights, and is snowbird hell. My ex SIL calls it purgatory, that name fits. It's pretty much all ugly, all crowded, with lots of slow semi trucks "racing" from said traffic lights. Avoid at all costs. The exact same thing can be said about US 19, pretty much from Clearwater to north of Hudson. It's all an ugly, congested nightmare.

When you come up US41, take SR 29 north to LaBelle, cut west on sr78 to sr31 north to sr70 in Arcadia, take a left. Continue through town, turn right on cr651. Continue north, it will change to cr653 after a while. Take it to sr62, then turn left, continueing to US301. Go north a little ways to cr683(Moccasin Wallow road), go left to I-75, take that south about a mile and take I-275 north. After you pay the toll, hit the rest are, very nice. Continue north on 275 to St Pete and work your way over to Fort Desoto Park. Then maybe Kegans Seafood in Indian Rocks Beach(Diners, dives, and Drive ins).  After that, get the h*ll out of the Tampa/St Pete mess. No real good way to do that, maybe US19 north to sr60, east to the Veterans tollway, then head north. Central FLA north of Tampa area has some nice two lane back roads, with real corners and such. Very nice, uncrowded riding in the middle. Google up "sleepy hollow floral city" for an interesting place. Way cool, and nice folks that run it. And it's on a very crooked road in excellent condition. If you do go up on US19, just after Homasassa, take a left on cr494, take it to the end. An actual technical road in Florida. The Island Outpost, on your right as you are heading west, has pretty good Q from an on site smoker and alcohol free gas. Again, nice folks that run it. I think they also have live bait and ammo, what more could a guy ask for? :thumbs:

That's about it. Cedar Key is kinda cool, but seeing Key West first kinda wrecks that.

Other folks can fill ya in more, but that's pretty much what I would do.

I'll try to remember to do an update on that KW tavern.

Perfection Is A Fantasy, Improvement Is Possible(Margie J)
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Offline lolife

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Re: Florida riding suggestions
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2012, 05:11:31 am »
Thank you very much for the reply.  That's the kind of information I was wanting.  I'd love to stay in St Augustine.  From what I've been told Jax from Greenville SC is easy a 6 hr ride.  We're not leaving until after work on Thursday so that's going to put us in Jax near 10pm & we have to factor in a food stop somewhere along the way.  That's why we don't have a room in Jax b/c we'd like to make it to St Augustine but according to google maps...that's another hour.

I'll definitely be taking your advice on the roads.  I'll find those roads & import them into my gps before we leave. 

The more I ask about Florida, the more I hear people say to stay off of A1A in South Florida.   :)

Offline nosaint7

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Re: Florida riding suggestions
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2012, 03:14:07 pm »
Ok, if this were me. I would blow off Jax and stay in an old inn in old town St. Augustine. That way you can explore at your leisure. Eat at Harry's for cajun, or cross the Lions Bridge and enjoy some of the finest shrimp on earth at a modest little cafe called Osteens. Hit A1A Aleworks for beer, it's right at the Lions Bridge on King ST at Avenida Menendez. There ia also an interesting art gallery a few doors down on King St. Take A1A outta there to SR 40. Very few lights, generally light traffic, and the road is right on the ocean. Lots of places to pull over and soak it all in. Not a bunch of ugly chain crap to ugly it up. Just a nice pleasant road. Someone else can fill ya in on the lower coast. Traffic will be insane, keep your head moving watching for 100mph Lambos and such. Floriduh City, lock and secure everything, just sayin'.


+1 on Osteens (ask what about what "just came in", then decide!)
current: 2003 C10
past: Yamaha Vstar, Yamaha XS750, Suzuki T500, BSA 650 Lightning (yup - I'm OLD!)

Offline lolife

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Re: Florida riding suggestions
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2012, 08:34:07 am »
I google mapped up your route.  Does this look about right?

http://g.co/maps/78djx

I really do appreciate you taking the time to post that.

Offline mr t

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Re: Florida riding suggestions
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2012, 10:09:23 am »
An alternate route onto ( or off ) Key Largo would be Card Sound Road which would enable you to stop at Alabama Jack's for lunch. It's a pretty good place. Heading south it's just south of Florida City. Enjoy your trip!


       Tom Taylor COG#7173

Offline lolife

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Re: Florida riding suggestions
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2012, 10:29:10 am »
An alternate route onto ( or off ) Key Largo would be Card Sound Road which would enable you to stop at Alabama Jack's for lunch. It's a pretty good place. Heading south it's just south of Florida City. Enjoy your trip!


       Tom Taylor COG#7173

We were definitely going to take Card Sound Road one way & will probably be headed to Key West. 

Alabama Jack's looks like a great place.  Unfortunately, we won't be near there near lunch time.  Thanks for the suggestion.  If this trip goes as planned, it may be a reason to head back again soon.   :)

The guys I'm going with like to see sunrises.  They want to be riding on the bridges each morning at sunrise.   :-\

Offline SteveJ.

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Re: Florida riding suggestions
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2012, 02:49:46 pm »
I google mapped up your route.  Does this look about right?

http://g.co/maps/78djx

I really do appreciate you taking the time to post that.


Yup, sumpin like that. I would take FL60 from US 19 to The toll road. Us 19 really sucks from about Tarpon Springs up th Weeki Wachee.

Have Fun!
Perfection Is A Fantasy, Improvement Is Possible(Margie J)
'99 Conk: 227k mi, '98 KLR650 back from Cal
COG 5603, IBA 19921, CBMMA 50 (Cheap B@st@rds Motorcycle Maintenance Assoc, 14 year member)