For snowbirds in the northern US, once the leaves start falling it’s time to migrate south for the winter. Orlando, Florida is one of the most popular choices for snowbirds because of its sunshine and tropical weather. Why not make the most of your trip south and enjoy the diverse landscapes and attractions on the way.
These are the top three north-south highways on the East Coast for a fun-filled trek to Orlando, Florida and are packed with state parks, National Forests, museums, interesting towns and cities and more.
I-75: Michigan to Orlando
Interstate 75 extends almost 1,800 miles from the top of Michigan to the suburbs of Miami. It crosses through six states before winding down Florida’s Gulf Coast.
At the Canadian border in Ste. Sault Marie, Mich., I-75 descends through the woods of northern Michigan to Detroit before following the coast of Lake Erie into Ohio.
The I-75 follows the west side of the state through Cincinnati then to Kentucky and Tennessee. Here, you could take a small diversion to Cumberland Falls or the Great Smoky Mountains before crossing into Georgia and heading towards Atlanta.
In Florida, the I-75 moves through the center of the state before turning left toward Tampa. For Orlando, a popular snowbird destination, you need to take exit 328, Florida Turnpike. The center of Orlando is around 50 miles from the exit.
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Mich.: Learn about American innovation, industry and transportation
Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Cincinnati, Ohio: Visit animals from all around the world
Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, Ky.: Watch majestic horses perform in shows and learn about the history of the animal.
Lookout Mountain, Tenn. and Ga. border: Incredible views of the landscape and explore underground caves and waterfalls.
I-77: Appalachian Adventure
Interstate 77 traverses the heart of Appalachia before heading into the Carolinas and connecting with I-95.
The route starts in Cleveland, Ohio on the shores of Lake Erie. From there, it travels through the state’s Appalachian foothills, which feature abundant state parks and beautiful views, so enjoy the scenery at various stops along the interstate.
West Virginia isn’t short on beautiful scenery either, but they also have some impressive state buildings, museums and gardens that are all free. Exit 99 in Charleston will take you to the West Virginia State Capitol Building, an awe-inspiring piece of architecture.
I-77 heads towards the mountainous Virginia border and meanders through a stretch of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. After leaving Virginia, it runs through the Piedmont region of North Carolina to the city of Charlotte, and then into the history-packed Olde English District of South Carolina to its terminus in the capital city of Columbia, where you will join I-95.
Tamarack, Beckley, W.V.: A large hub for locally made arts and crafts, as well as freshly prepared cuisine.
Mount Airy, N.C.: The quaint North Carolina town that won the All America City Award in 1994
I-95: East Coast Adventure
Interstate 95 is the longest north-south route in the U.S. and tracks the entire Eastern Seaboard.
Starting at the Canadian border in Maine, I-95 touches 15 states as it makes it way to Florida. In its northern section, it passes near almost every major northeast city including Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
As it enters Virginia, it turns inland for a while, heading towards Richmond and then through the coastal plains of North and South Carolina. It travels back towards the ocean as it enters Georgia near the historic city of Savannah.
In Florida, I-95 follows the Atlantic coastline down to Miami. At exit 260, take the I-4W to Orlando and your snowbird home for the winter months.
Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Penn.: Over 1,000-acre landscaped garden filled with gorgeous displays.
Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, Fredericksburg, Va.: Visit the sites of some of the Civil War’s most important battles.
Tybee Island, Ga.: Beautiful beach city with an iconic lighthouse just east of Savannah.
If you’re looking for great snowbird accommodation in Orlando, Florida, check out CLC Regal Oaks. A peaceful gated community, with 2, 3 and 4 bed townhomes, it’s in a great location only minutes from Old town Kissimmee.