- Major roads in Florida: Interstates: 4, 10, 95, 75, 275, 295
- Amtrak and Auto Train: Visit www.amtrak.com for an interactive map of Florida stops. The Auto Train will transport you and your car, or other recreational vehicle, nonstop from Lorton, Va. (the Washington, DC area) to Sanford, Fla., just outside of Orlando.
- Pensacola Regional
- Jacksonville International
- Orlando Sanford International
- Orlando International
- Tampa International
- Sarasota Bradenton International
- Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International
- Miami International
- Palm Beach International
- Daytona Beach International
- Southwest International/ Fort Myers
- Key West International
- Melbourne International
- Northwest Florida Beaches International
- Driver’s licenses: You don’t need an international driving permit to drive in Florida; you just need a valid driver license, issued in your name, from your state or country of residence.
- Car rental: To rent a car you must have your driving license, passport and a credit card. The minimum age for car rental is 21, but some agencies will charge more for drivers under 25 years of age. Major companies will allow you to pick up a car in one location and drop it off in another for an extra charge. You can generally make reservations before you leave your country, either by phone or online.
- Speed limits: Legal speed limits are posted on the right side of the road, and are as follows: Interstates: 70 mph; four-lane highways: 65 mph; other state highways: 60 mph; business/residential districts: 30 mph; school zones: 10-20 mph.
- Right on red: You may turn right at a red light after coming to a complete stop, unless a sign indicating “no right on red” is posted at the intersection.
- Headlights: Headlights must be on from dusk to dawn, as well as in fog or rain. Turn off windshield wipers when stopping at toll booths.
- Move over act: When law enforcement vehicles are in one of the “break-down” lanes, either assisting a motorist or pulling over a speeding vehicle, you must move to the far lane away from the police, or slow down to 20 miles per hour below the speed limit. If the speed limit is 20 miles per hour or less, you must slow down to five miles per hour.
- Child car seats: Every driver in Florida must provide for the protection of any child five years of age or younger by using a crash-tested, federally approved car seat. For children up to three years old, the restraint must be a separate carrier or a vehicle manufacturer's integrated child seat. For children four to five years old, a separate carrier, an integrated child seat, or a booster seat may be used. These are usually available from your car rental company.
- Seat belts: You must wear a seat belt in an operating vehicle if you’re the driver of the vehicle, a front seat passenger of any age, or under 18 years old.
- Cell phones and texting: It’s illegal to text while driving, regardless of age. There are no talking bans on talking on cell phones while driving.
- Drinking and driving: Driving while drinking alcohol or while under its influence is illegal. Appoint a “designated driver” in your group who’ll drink only non-alcoholic beverages and drive home safely.
- Getting real-time traffic information: For detailed traffic information, including traffic incidents and construction, traffic cameras, message boards, and estimated travel times for roadways across of Florida, visit FL511.com. For traffic information on the go, dial 511 on your phone.
- Calling for help: Drivers may dial *FHP on Florida interstates and highways in an emergency to reach the Florida Highway Patrol (state police).
- Learn more about Florida driving laws.
The Turnpike and Tolls
- About the Turnpike: The Florida Turnpike, known as the Ronald Reagan Turnpike, encompasses 483 miles of toll roads that make traveling more efficient because of fewer exits and less traffic. It’s operated by Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise, part of the Florida Department of Transportation, and is largely paid for by drivers who use it. Toll revenue goes to operate, maintain and expand the Turnpike system. See a map here.
- Toll Roads: Some interstate highways have tolls. Besides the Florida Turnpike (Ocala to Homestead), Alligator Alley (1-75 between Miami and Naples) and the Bee Line Expressway (Orlando to Cape Canaveral) also charge tolls. In addition, some coastal islands have bridges at which a fare is charged.
- How much Tolls Cost: They depend on the section of which toll road you’re driving and how far you're going, but are priced by mile and by the number of vehicle axles. See a toll calculator for the Florida Turnpike here.
How to pay tolls: Signs will let you know what kind of toll booth is coming up and the toll amount.
- Paying with cash: At cash booths, you pay the toll and can get change; at unmanned cash booths, you’ll need exact change in coin.
- Paying with SunPass: If you have a SunPass, it’s scanned by an electronic reader and tolls are deducted from your prepaid account. It discounts tolls about 25 percent and saves substantial time at toll booths.
- Paying by Toll-By-Plate: Where all-electronic tolling is in effect, you can pay by this method. A camera takes a picture of your license plate, and you’re mailed a bill for tolls plus a $2.50 service charge.
- Areas that don’t accept cash: The Miami section of the Turnpike and the following locations don’t accept cash: Mid Bay Connector (Destin); Veterans Expressway (Tampa); Selman Expressway (Tampa); and Sawgrass Expressway (Ft. Lauderdale). Hollywood Boulevard (Exit 49) and Griffin Road (Exit 53) in Broward County are also now all electronic. So you need to use SunPass or Toll-By-Plate. (See above for details.)
- Paying with a rental car: Most major rental companies have programs allowing customers to utilize the Toll-By-Plate electronic collection system where tolls and service fees are automatically charged to the credit card used to rent the vehicle. For details, including pricing options at participating car agencies, visit www.sunpass.com/rentalcar.
- Paying with your own SunPass transponder in a rental car: Just let SunPass know the rental car’s license number. Remember to remove the transponder when you return the vehicle!
- Upcoming changes: Others areas are slated to convert to all-electronic/no cash systems. Learn more about the latest toll road changes here.
- Learn more about paying tolls from the Florida Turnpike.
More about SunPass
- What it is: SunPass is the state’s prepaid toll program. To use it, you buy a SunPass device called a “transponder” that attaches to the inside of your windshield. When you drive through a SunPass toll plaza, the toll is deducted from your prepaid account.
- How much it costs: There are two kinds of SunPass transponders. The SunPass Portable is $19.99 plus tax and attaches to your windshield with suction cups. It is removable and can be used on any vehicle with a windshield, including motorcycles. The SunPass Mini Sticker is $4.99 plus tax, and permanently attaches to windshields. It can’t be used on motorcycles. Both require a $10 minimum balance to activate.
- Where to buy one: You can buy a SunPass online or at over 3,100 retail locations throughout Florida. Retailers include Publix Super Markets, CVS Pharmacy stores, Walgreens, Amscot Financial branches and AAA South offices in Florida. They can also be purchased at Navarro Pharmacies and Sedano's Supermarkets in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. Transponders are available at all Turnpike service plazas, Turnpike gas stations and SunPass Service Centers.
- How to activate it: To activate your SunPass, you need to put a minimum of $10 in your prepaid account. You can activate online, at 1-888-TOLL-FLA (1-888-865-5352), at a SunPass Payment Center or a SunPass Service Center.
- Why you should have one: You’re not obligated to buy a SunPass, but it will save you money and time. You’ll save about 25 percent on tolls and you won’t have to stop at cash lanes.
- Where SunPass works: SunPass can be used on all Florida toll roads and nearly all bridges. If you sign up for Easy Pay and link a credit or debit card to your SunPass, you can use it to pay parking fees at the Tampa, Miami, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Orlando and Palm Beach airports.
- Using other state transponders in Florida: Georgia's Peach Pass and North Carolina's NC Quick Pass are accepted.However, you'll need to utilize the clearly marked, SunPass-only lanes.
- Going through a SunPass lane by mistake: If you do this, a picture of your license plate will be taken, and you’ll receive a notice about the unpaid toll. Read more here.
More about Toll-By-Plate
- What it is: Toll-By-Plate is a tolling system that works by taking a picture of a vehicle’s license plate as it passes under a tolling station. The vehicle’s owner is invoiced for tolls every 30 days, plus a $2.50 administrative charge.
- Where you can use it: It's available on the Turnpike system roads where all-electronic tolling is in effect: Florida's Turnpike in Miami, The Sawgrass Expressway west of Fort Lauderdale and the Veterans Expressway in Tampa.
- How to get it: To open a prepaid Toll-By-Plate account, visit www.tollbyplate.com or call 1-888-TAG-TOLL (888-824-8655). Or just drive; you’ll receive an invoice in the mail.
Accessibility Regulations, Resources and Rentals
- Disabled Parking Permits: Florida honors any special license plate or parking permit issued to a disabled person by other states or districts, or by a foreign country that issues disabled parking permits that display the international symbol of accessibility. If your current permit doesn’t display one of the international symbols of accessibility, you’ll need to obtain a temporary parking permit at any Florida County Tax Collector's Office. To get one, you’ll need a copy of your current parking permit and proof of ID like a valid passport or comparable identification to verify your ownership of the out-of-country/state parking permit. The temporary parking permit may be issued up to six months and costs $15.
- Diabetic Assistance: The American Diabetes Association offers information on traveling with diabetes, as well as a list of hospitals that offer services to diabetic travelers.
- Dialysis Centers: The Dialysis Finder lists center locations and maps by ZIP code.
- Scooters/Wheelchair Rental: D-CARE Medical Equipment offers wheelchair and scooter rental, oxygen and other medical equipment. Scootarounds are also available in many Florida cities.
- Beach Wheels: Look through our visitor information listings within each region for destinations that offer beach wheelchairs and other services or information for the physically disabled. Unlike regular wheelchairs, these “beach wheels” have special tires that don’t get stuck in sand. Beach chairs are often provided at no charge and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Photos by Lauren Tjaden for VISIT FLORIDA