Best Florida Road Trip: The Fascinating World of Native Americans in Florida

Estimated read time 13 min read

One of the most fascinating aspects of Florida’s history is the indigenous tribes that have lived here for thousands of years. Native Americans of Florida, including the Miccosukee, Seminole tribes, and Timucua people have left an unmistakable influence on the state’s history and culture. To understand more about these cultures, you should take a Florida road trip through Florida. This road trip from Miami is a seven-day tour that will take you into the heart of Florida’s indigenous cultures, where you can uncover rich traditions and captivating history.

Remember that some links are compensated affiliate links. We might receive a commission if you make a purchase after clicking one of these links on our website.  This has no bearing on any opinions expressed.

As an Amazon Influencer, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Day 1: Begin Your Florida Road Trip from Miami to the Miccosukee Indian Village and Museum

Your Florida road trip begins in Miami, where you’ll drive about 30 miles west to the Miccosukee Indian Village and Museum. At the museum, you’ll be able to explore fascinating exhibits showcasing traditional crafts, clothing, and tools used by the tribe. You’ll learn about the Miccosukees’ unique way of life and their deep connection to the land. 

  • Address: 500 US Hwy 41, Miami, FL 33194
  • Admission: Adult (13+) $25.00; Child (6–12) $15.00; Child (5 & under) Free
  • Hours: Wednesday – Sunday, 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM

Closest Recommended Hotels:

The SpringHill Suites by Marriott Miami Doral and the TownePlace Suites by Marriott Miami Kendall West are two great options for your stay. Both hotels offer convenient access to a variety of shopping and dining options which makes it easy to explore and experience the vibrant culture of Miami. Enjoy spacious rooms, modern amenities, and friendly service for a comfortable and enjoyable stay.

Nearby Attractions:

If you’re an adventure seeker, exploring the Everglades through Miccosukee Airboat Rides is a must-do. You’ll have the chance to encounter alligators, exotic birds, and other wildlife in their natural habitat. The Shark Valley Visitor Center & Observation Tower also provides a unique perspective of the Everglades with two short walking trails. The Bobcat Boardwalk which is an accessible 0.2 mile boardwalk and the Otter Cave Hammock Trail offers a moderate 1.1 mile hike which showcases the region’s natural beauty, including a stunning geological feature that will take your breath away.

Day 2: Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation

On day two, you’ll travel north to the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation to see the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum. This museum is dedicated to the history and culture of the Seminole people, consisting of displays on their traditional way of life that include artifacts, photographs, and movies. A guided tour of the reserve is also provided for those eager to learn more about modern Seminole life, such as traditions, customs, and daily routines.

Enjoy the mile walk along the boardwalk through the 60-acre cypress dome, to the ceremonial grounds, the modern day Seminole Village tourist camp, and the model of a hunting camp.

  • Address: 1 W Boundary Rd, Clewiston, FL 33440
  • Admission: Adult $10.00; Senior (55+) $7.50; Students (18 and under, or with a college ID)  $7.50; Military $7.50 
  • Family (2 adults and up to 4 children, ages 5-18 $30.00
  • FREE: Children 4 and under; Seminole Tribe Member; Other Tribe With ID; NARM Reciprocal Museum Association
  • Hours: Open daily from 9am to 5pm Entry to our boardwalk closes at 4pm.

Day 3: Calusa Heritage Trail

Located in coastal Lee County, northwest of Fort Myers, the Pineland site complex is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is a designated County Historical Resource. The Calusa were once the most powerful people in all of South Florida and their culture and history can be explored through the museum-quality interpretive signs along the trail. The trail takes visitors through the site’s tallest shell mound, observation platforms, benches, a boardwalk, and a bridge over low-lying areas. 

But that’s not all; Pineland also sheds light on wider global challenges such as sea-level fluctuations and temperature shifts that have occurred throughout Earth’s ecological history. The wealth of information available at this historic site, which attracts scientists from all around the world, is going to surprise you.

  • Address: 13810 Waterfront Dr, Bokeelia, FL 33922
  • Admission: requested donations; $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, and $4 for children.
  • Hours: Open daily for self-guided visits from sunrise to sunset.

Closest Recommended Accommodations:

Matlacha Tiny Village offers a unique and charming holiday experience, with stunning sea views and comfortable amenities. Each home features a fully equipped kitchenette and private bathroom, and guests can enjoy free WiFi and parking. For those seeking a more traditional hotel experience, the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Cape Coral/North Fort Myers offers spacious and modern rooms with convenient amenities like flat-screen TVs and mini-fridges, as well as a fitness center, outdoor pool, and complimentary hot breakfast. Finally, the Marriott Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa offers a luxurious waterfront escape with multiple pools, a private beach, marina, spa, and a variety of restaurants and bars serving delicious cuisine.

Nearby Attractions:

Experience the natural beauty of Pineland Monument Park’s stunning sunset, or explore the Museum of the Islands for a glimpse into the local history and culture. For a more scientific adventure, head to the Edison and Ford Winter Estates to see the winter homes of the iconic inventors and their contributions to science and industry. Finally, don’t miss out on the Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve, where you can immerse yourself in the natural surroundings and witness the diverse wildlife of Florida on an easy 1.8 mile walking trail.

Day 4: Historic Spanish Point (Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Historic Spanish Point Campus)

On the fourth day, you’ll visit Historic Spanish Point, which has an archaeological record dating back 5,000 years and is one of the largest and best-preserved archaeological sites on Florida’s Gulf Coast. The site is home to various settlements that span the Late Archaic period to the Manasota and Late Woodland periods.

The Hill Cottage Midden, a designated dump used by sedentary communities and accumulated over several generations, is one of Florida’s most significant sites. A midden is a dump for domestic waste, and Hill Cottage Midden is one of the oldest and largest ceremonial shell ring middens in the southeastern United States. Midden deposits can contain a variety of archaeological material, including animal bone, shell, botanical material, potsherds, debitage, and other artifacts associated with past human occupation. These features provide useful resources for archaeologists who wish to study the diet and habits of past societies.

  • Address: 337 North Tamiami Trail, Osprey, FL 34229
  • Admission: Adults, $16; Ages 5-17, $11; Age 4 and under Free
  • Hours: Daily 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Closest Recommended Accommodations:

If you’re looking for a beachfront stay, Turtle Beach Resort & Inn and Captiva Beach Resort are two great options in Siesta Key, Florida. Turtle Beach Resort & Inn offers spacious suites and villas with kitchenettes and modern amenities, while Captiva Beach Resort offers a cozy and charming atmosphere. On the other hand, if you prefer a more modern hotel, 

Home2 Suites by Hilton Sarasota I-75 Bee Ridge  in Sarasota, Florida is a comfortable and contemporary option with all the necessary amenities for a comfortable stay.

Nearby Attractions:

Looking for fun and unique activities to enjoy the Florida sunshine? Venice Beach offers an incredible shark tooth hunting experience and a range of recreational activities such as kayaking and surfing. For a quieter and more family-friendly option, check out Turtle Beach with its ample amenities, picnic tables, and playground. Lastly, visit the Sarasota Children’s Garden for interactive exhibits and educational programs that are perfect for kids and families.

Day 5: Tampa Bay History Center

Continuing north on Day 5 to visit the Tampa Bay History Center which provides a comprehensive overview of Florida’s history and culture, from the first peoples who inhabited the peninsula to modern-day Tampa Bay as a tourist destination and industrial hub. The center also houses the Touchton Map Library/Florida Center for Cartographic Education, which features one of the most comprehensive collections of Florida cartography in the world. The exhibits include pre-European contact artifacts, European exploration artifacts, and a collection of Seminole and Miccosukee artifacts, along with a multisensory theater experience and a replica chickee.

  • Address: 801 Water Street, Tampa, FL 33602
  • Admission: Adult $14; Senior 60+ $12; Youth (7-17) $12; Child FREE
  • Hours: open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas and open until 3 p.m. on Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Closest Recommended Accommodations:

Embassy Suites by Hilton Tampa offers spacious two-room suites, a free cooked-to-order breakfast, an outdoor pool, and a fitness center. 

Le Méridien Tampa, The Courthouse  is a boutique hotel housed in a historic federal courthouse building, featuring contemporary style with historic elements, a rooftop pool, fitness center, and multiple dining options. 

Home2 Suites by Hilton Tampa Downtown Channel District Is located within walking distance of popular attractions like the Tampa Riverwalk, and offers spacious suites with fully equipped kitchenettes and complimentary breakfast.

Nearby Attractions:

Discover the vibrant heart of Tampa, Florida by visiting some of its most popular attractions! Explore the underwater world at The Florida Aquarium, learn about the Gilded Age at the Henry B. Plant Museum, and spark your child’s imagination at the Glazer Children’s Museum. Stroll along the scenic Riverwalk, enjoy the green space of Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, and soak up the sun at Water Works Park.

Historic Ybor City Food Walking Tour – Come and explore Tampa’s vibrant Ybor City on a food walking tour! You’ll taste your way through the city’s rich history and diverse culture, sampling delicious Cuban, Italian, and Spanish-inspired cuisine. You’ll learn about the area’s intriguing history and see gorgeous examples of its unique architecture as you stroll through the adorable streets of Ybor City. This tour is ideal for anyone who enjoys delicious food and wants to see the heart and spirit of Tampa’s historic Ybor City. It features educated local guides and substantial food portions.

Day 6: Paynes Prairie State Park

As you explore Paynes Prairie State Park, you’ll find a diverse range of wildlife, including wild horses and bison, as well as numerous hiking trails and overlooks to take in the stunning views. This park is a great spot for bird watching, with over 270 species spotted here throughout the year. You can also learn about the park’s history as a site where Native American tribes once lived and hunted, and where Spanish explorers and settlers traveled on their expeditions.

  • Address: 100 Savannah Blvd, Micanopy, FL 32667
  • Admission: $6 per vehicle
  • Hours: 8 a.m. until sundown

Closest Recommended Accommodations:

If you’re looking for a comfortable stay near Palm Coast, Florida, you can choose between two great hotels.Hilton Garden Inn Palm Coast Town Center  is a modern and convenient hotel, offering a range of amenities such as an outdoor pool, hot tub, and on-site restaurant. The hotel’s central location is ideal for exploring Palm Coast Town Center, as well as neighboring beaches and golf courses. The Hammock Beach Golf Resort & Spa is a beachfront property featuring a championship golf course, full-service spa, multiple swimming pools, and several dining options for a more lavish stay. Families will also appreciate the kids’ club and fun activities available for children. 

Nearby Attractions:

These nearby attractions in Palm Coast, Florida offer a variety of outdoor experiences and historical landmarks. Visitors can explore the ruins of a sugar plantation at Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park, enjoy waterfront views at Waterfront Park and Rockefeller Gardens, hike through nature preserves such as Princess Place Preserve and Long Creek Nature Preserve, and let children play at the Magic Forest Playground.

maker:0x4c,date:2017 10 1,ver:4,lens:kan03,act:lar01,e y

Day 7: St. Augustine and the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park

On day seven, you’ll drive to St. Augustine, where you’ll visit the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. This park marks the site of Florida’s earliest Spanish settlement. You can learn about the Timucua Indian culture and the Spanish explorers who landed in Florida in the 16th century. You can walk through the beautiful gardens, see the Indian burial ground, and observe the spring that is believed to have mystical, restorative powers. You can also learn about the Timucuan way of life, their use of natural resources, and their connection to the land. The park offers a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience Florida’s rich Indian heritage.

  • Address: 11 Magnolia Avenue | St. Augustine, FL USA
  • Admission: Adults$19.95; Seniors (60+ Years Young)$17.95; Children 6-12$9.95 Children 5 and UnderFREE
  • Hours: 9am – 6pm Daily

Closest Recommended Accommodations:

The Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront is an outstanding choice for a hotel with historic elegance and modern facilities. The hotel’s chic rooms and suites have flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi, and some have bay views. Enjoy local cuisine at the on-site restaurant, or sip cocktails while taking in the bay views from the rooftop bar. The Renaissance St Augustine Historic Downtown Hotel offers contemporary design and easy access to the city’s historic district, while the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel St. Augustine Historic Districtis perfect for those wanting to be in the heart of the action with easy access to popular attractions such as Castillo de San Marcos and Flagler College.

Nearby Attractions:

Step back in time and explore the rich history of St. Augustine by visiting attractions like the Lightner Museum, Colonial Quarter, and Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. Take a thrilling ride on the Black Raven Pirate Ship or dive into the world of pirates at the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum. And don’t miss the chance to climb the St. Augustine Lighthouse or stroll through the beautiful Vilano Beach Nature Boardwalk.

Ready to hit the road for an epic adventure? You can start this itinerary from wherever suits you best and tailor it to your liking. Want to end in Miami? Take the scenic AIA along the coast or cruise down I-95 for a speedy return. Just a heads up, this roundtrip itinerary covers a whopping 870 miles and takes around 15 hours and 18 minutes of driving time without traffic.

So buckle up, hit the gas and get ready to experience some of the best destinations Florida has to offer. With daily stops averaging between 1-2 hours of driving, you’ll have plenty of time to explore each location before looping back to Miami, which is at least 4 hours and 44 minutes away. Don’t forget to bring some cash for tolls along the way!

castillo de san marco

Final Thoughts

Embark on a fascinating journey through time by taking a road trip through Florida’s indigenous cultures. Immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of the Miccosukee, Seminole, and Timucua tribes by visiting museums, archaeological sites, and cultural centers. Whether you’re a history buff or just curious about the world, this road trip is an unforgettable experience that offers a deeper understanding of Florida’s indigenous cultures and traditions.

Looking to add more stops to your Florida road trip? Discover the hidden gems of Florida’s Indian Heritage by taking a detour and exploring more stops along the Trail of Florida’s Indian Heritage.

Happy Wandering!

You May Also Like