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Travel destinations, beaches and attractions and things to do in Florida. Documented by RESIDENTS of Florida.

Backroads of Florida – Rt. 98 Great Florida Road Trip

Florida's Backroads - Rt. 98 Fun Florida Road Trip

perry to Panacea Florida - backroads of florida - Rt 98
From dense forest to waterfront, a changing landscape. Map of the panhandle of Florida’s backroad Rt. 98.

Yes, we know gas is expensive. Most cars average 20 miles to the gallon or better. If you take a 150-mile road trip, 300 miles total, you will spend about $80 in a six-hour road trip in Florida. Pack a picnic lunch and have a fun day for two people (or more) for under $100 in the backroads of Florida and Rt. 98 is a fun Florida road trip.

To put a Florida road trip in perspective, an all-day ticket to Disney World for two will cost $218 for basic admission. You don’t want to know the cost of your lunch and the cost to get there!

The backroads of Florida can be as entertaining as Mickey and friends. We guarantee sights you have never seen, history you have only read about, and views worthy of the most experienced photographer.

Even more interesting can be the different cultures we have in the state of Florida. From the Cuban heritage of Miami to the plantations of old north Florida. The state is large, from Pensacola to Key West is over 12.5 hours and more than 800 miles.

Follow along on one of our favorite backroads of Florida road trips. 

Rt. 98 from Perry to Apalachicola on the Backroads of Florida

Among the many backroads of Florida, Rt. 98 angles through Florida from West Palm Beach to Mobile, Alabama. Part of this federal highway meanders along the Gulf Coast in the panhandle where we will focus.
The section we are highlighting goes from dense forests that make you think you are in a northern state to waters of the Gulf lapping at the side of the road as you head west. You will travel through Florida “cracker” country to one of the most famous oyster beds and fishing villages in the country.

We break down our backroads of Florida road trip into two legs.

The First Leg of Your Florida Road Trip

The first leg of your day trip in Florida is from Perry to Panacea, Florida. We will take you through some of the most spectacular and dense forests anywhere.  Most are protected lands – both federal and state preserves. Trees almost make a canopy over the road.
If you want to be adventurous, you can take a detour off Rt. 98 out of the Saint Marks Wildlife Preserve south to the village of St. Marks. You will find San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park. This historic port was once occupied by the Spanish, English, Confederates, and finally Americans.
St. Marks Lighthouse
St. Marks Lighthouse in St. Marks city.
By the time you get to Panacea, you will be seeing Gulf front homes, fishing resorts and waterfront restaurants. The friendly people, places, and views are not like anywhere else in Florida.
As you leave Panacea, the road and waterfront parallel each other. In many spots, there is evidence of hurricane waters that washed out parts of the road. Repairs have been necessary several times over the years.
There is no doubt your scenery is quickly changing. 

Many Possible Stops Along Second Leg of Florida’s Backroads

Panacea Florida to Apalachicola Florida
A road that fronts the Gulf offers many detour opportunities.
The second leg of your backroads of Florida day trip has many opportunities for stops and detours. You may detour south from Panacea to Alligator Point, an island in the Gulf filled with charming beach homes and cottages.

You may want to consider the story behind Tate’s Hell State Forest you will be passing through. We suggest you learn how this state preserve got its name – we won’t spoil it here, but it’s a great story about a settler, his Native American wife and finding food.

Another option is when you reach Eastpoint, Florida, you can take the bridge to St. George Island. We have written about this popular island on several occasions. If fact, the beach at St. George Island is one of the top ten beaches in Florida.

This is an excellent place to remember along this back road of Florida if you want relaxation and simple beach pleasures. The island is famous for its long stretch of white sandy beach. A perfect place for a beach chair to just stare at the water and the birds along the shore.

backroads of Florida Apalachicola, Florida fun Florida road trip
Apalachicola, Florida – This fishing village is part of the backroads of Florida.
One of the most famous fishing villages in the world is Apalachicola. At one time, most of Florida’s oyster harvesting came from these waters around Apalachicola. Due to declining water quality, the oyster population disappeared and the oystermen are struggling to come back.
Apalachicola has gone through a revival from economic devastation to roaring back as a quaint historical tourist town. The shops are unique. The restaurants are back to serving their traditional dishes and there is even a reported haunted hotel to stay in! Read more about Apalachicola here.
backroads of Florida - Florida road trip oysters
Oysters we decimated at Up the Creek Oysters – a restaurant in Apalachicola.

That’s a pretty full Florida road trip. Add a couple of the recommended stops and you can turn this into an overnight weekend trip.

As you leave Apalachicola, about 5 or 6 miles down the road to the west is another backroad of Florida that features some of the most beautiful beaches and colorful communities in Florida, Rt. 30A we highlight below.

Have fun and watch for more of the backroads of Florida adventures.

Another Panhandle Backroads of Florida Trip – Rt. 30A – 28 miles of Beautiful Beaches
Check Out Another Florida Backroads Trip in the Everglades – Loop Road – The Real Alligator Alley

Here are more Florida Destinations – 12 Most Popular Florida Destinations – Florida Travel Blog – Documenting the REAL Florida!

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