Big Bend Scenic Byway
Length: 220 miles / 354 km
Time to Allow: Allow at least 4 hours to fully experience this byway.
On the Big Bend Scenic Byway, you get a tour of the northwestern coast of Florida near Tallahassee. The byway offers 220 miles of road, and it’s made of two trails used in the Wild West during the 1800s. Needless to say, the route offers history about cowboys, Native Americans, trappers, farmers, and pioneers. Also, visit some military buildings and sites from the Second Seminole War and a few impressive national forests and parks along the way.
If you want a trip with curves, this byway is for you with forks and a loop. Start in Apalachicola on the coast near the national forest and the St. George Island State Park. Nearby you can find lakes, beaches, islands, rivers. Visit some museums and the Orman House Historic State Park to view a stunning plantation. The Saint Vincent National Wildlife Refuge offers view local animals with several fun shops and hotels too. Finally, stop at the Apalachicola Chocolate and Coffee Company for some snacks for your road trip.
Carrabelle is the next big stop where two rivers converge with the ocean for incredible views and sweeping landscapes. A must-see is the Crooked River Lighthouse and the World’s Smallest Police Station (a phone booth) for some fun photos. Add in a couple of museums, the Bottle House for some ore fun. Charter a boat or take a tour, then stop at the Carrabelle Junction for some local cafe food or dine on the Fathoms Steam Room and Raw Bar.
Stop at St. Teresa, and the nearby Alligator Harbor Aquatic Preserve if you dare! Find a state park, go on a boat tour to see dolphins and whales, or spend the day on the beach. Golfers can head to St. James Bay, and shoppers can stop at the George Griffin Pottery for some history. Find seafood everywhere you turn, along with local shops to grab a souvenir mug.
Moving onto the loop stoop in Panacea to see the Roadside Rusted Ford Trucks before continuing on to St. Marks and the Florida National Scenic Trail right on the Gulf of Mexico. Here you will find the San Marcos De Apalache Historic State Park and a lighthouse. A few more parks nearby allow for camping, including the Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park and Lodge. On the other side of the loop, you can spend a ton of time in nature with several parks all part of the Apalachicola National Forest and visit Lake Taquin.
Tallahassee is last on this byway with so much to see you could spend days here. Stay at the affordable Seven Hills Suites for a fantastic pool and rooms with their own deck. Now you are ready to visit the Antique Car Museum and the National History Museum. Another great sight includes the Mission San Luis de Apalachee church. The gardens at the Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park offer beautiful lagoons and tons of flora and fauna. End with some shopping at the local mall, antique stores, or even an old country store.
More Florida Byways
You can check out additional Byways in Florida by clicking on the list of byways below, or by going to the Florida Byways home section. To find even more of scenic byways in the United States, visit our scenic byways map.