Drawn to Florida’s white-sand beaches, theme parks, and warm weather, millions of auto travelers enter Florida through the interstate system each year. Along with playing road trip bingo, anticipating the next stop along the way is half the fun. The Florida Welcome Center is one of those highway havens travelers look forward to stopping after many hours cooped up in a car.
There are three official Florida Welcome Centers located along the border; I-10 near Pensacola, I-75 near Lake City, and I-95 near Jacksonville. No matter which location you visit, each Florida Welcome Center will have the same helpful staff and amenities greeting visitors into Florida.
1. Free Citrus Juice
I’ll start with a unique perk for stopping at the Florida Welcome Center; a free sample of Florida orange or grapefruit juice. Nothing quite gets you in the Florida state of mind like sampling a fresh cup of juice from the state fruit.
2. Clean Bathrooms for You and Your Furry Friends
Using the bathroom is a must for any roadside stop. There are a plethora of clean restrooms monitored by attendants to accommodate a large number of visitors. Outside, there are large grassy areas for the family dog to stretch and sniff around.
3. Take a Picture in Front of the Welcome Sign
Florida’s welcome sign is more than a flimsy metal sign half-heartedly welcoming you into the state. This large concrete structure is formed to look like the iconic Skyway Bridge spanning the entrance to Tampa Bay. A bright orange sun is the place holder for the “O” in Florida, a subtle reminder to visitors that they are now in the Sunshine State.
It is illegal to stop at the Florida Georgia line to snap a picture with the welcome sign. Not to mention dangerous. For those who collect photos at each state’s welcome sign, don’t worry. There is a replica at each Florida Welcome Center. This way, everyone can get a selfie without the fear of becoming roadkill.
4. Get Vacation Brochures for Fun Florida Activities
Inside the Florida Welcome Center, the walls are filled with informational brochures on every attraction available in the state. Brochures and free magazines are organized by location: Eastern, Western, Southern, and Central Florida. While there are extensive displays for Disney all over the visitor center, other attractions are given their space to appeal to those looking for recommendations for possible beaches to visit, popular restaurants, or arts and culture events.
The friendly staff members are available to answer any questions about destinations and help with vacation planning. Although we live in an age of planning and research activities on the internet, speaking with a person may provide insight into a destination you may have overlooked.
5. Vending Machines Have More Than Snacks
Vending Machines are not just a source for snacks. If the family pet decided to chew your phone’s charging cable while on the road, don’t sweat it, a new one could easily be picked up from the same machines as a pack of Starburst.
Florida roads are increasingly becoming toll roads. Some minor toll roads (like the Polk Parkway) have booth attendants accepting cash and credit cards. However, many larger toll roads, like the Selmon Crosstown in Tampa and nearly all toll roads in Orlando and South Florida, are SunPass only. A SunPass can be purchased from the vending machines. There is also a person to help set up your new SunPass and can help answer any questions. To see if your toll road transponder from another state is compatible, click HERE.
For many people stopping at the State’s Visitor center is an absolute must for every Stateline crossing. I want to know from you, do you have any road trip traditions? Do you stop at the visitor centers?
The information in this article was accurate when published but can change without notice. Please confirm rates and details when planning your trip by following the links in this article.
If you find out-of-date or inaccurate information, I’d love to hear about it so I can update the article. Use the comments section below. Thanks!