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Palm Bay, FL to Ft Myers, FL Route

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So I'm going to a wedding in Ft. Myers Beach (from Palm Bay) next weekend and am trying to figure out which route I want to take. If I want to stick to the freeways, it's about equal distance to go up through Orlando (95-528-417-4-75) as it is to go across on Alligator Alley (95-869-75). Google Maps and Bing Maps both show that it's quicker to go across the state near Lake Okeechobee with Bing recommending 95-70-27-29-80 and Google Maps recommending 95-70-78-80.

Google Maps shows all the choices within 5 minutes of each other at around 4h45m, and Bing maps shows cutting across the state on 70 being 3h40m with both freeway options being half an hour longer. I've found Bing's travel times to be much more accurate in the past, especially for non-freeways.

My question is this: how are the roads in the interior near Lake Okeechobee? Anyone drive out that way before? I've never been out there. It does look like it would be a more interesting drive. I'm assuming that the speed limits are nice and high (60 for 2 lanes, 65 for 4) and there aren't too many cops outside of the small towns. As long as I don't get stuck behind a slow citrus truck, I'll bet it's pretty quick.

US 98 and US 441 out west to the Lake in western Palm Beach County is a 4-lane highway through LOTS and LOTS of sugarcane.  The speed limit is 65 mph.  US 27 wraps around the south side of the Lake, also four lanes.  FL 70 west to the Gulf Coast is two lanes, but is largely straight and crosses through cattle ranches and some of Florida's more interesting prisons.

If you come back eastbound, you may consider FL 82 from Fort Myers to Immokalee at FL 29 through some very large orange groves in the southwest corner of Hendry County.  Since this is prime season for our citrus crop, the scent in the air should be wonderful. :nod:

I have traveled to Okeechobee from North Fort Myers many times in my lifetime and I find that the best way to get there from the Fort Myers area was by taking FL 80 east to La Belle and FL 29, then FL 29 north to Hendry County 78 east, going through Ortona before hitting U.S. 27, then taking U.S. 27 east five miles before taking FL 78 east (north) toward Okeechobee. Traffic along this particular routing was relatively light in the past and actually still was the case last year when I took a similar route to and through Okeechobee. And yes, the speed limits are pretty much 65 mph for the four-lane portions (FL 80 and U.S. 27) and 60 mph for FL 29, Hendry County 78 and FL 78.

If it were me, I would rather take that route to get from Palm Bay to Ft. Myers rather than go through any metropolitan areas and deal with any sort of traffic (or tolls for that matter).

Hope this helps in your decision!

I concur.  FL 80 and FL 29 are good, fast routes.  About 3 years ago I did some back-and-forth traveling b/w Orlando and Ft. Myers, and found 80-29-27-4 to be a much better alternative than 75-4, even with the traffic lights from Sebring on to the north.  I also made that trip one time last summer and it was no different.  Personally, I don't enjoy FL interstates where traffic will be moving at a brisk 75-80 one minute and the next minute everyone is slamming on their brakes, and then back to 75-80 after a couple of minutes.


Thanks for the advice! To follow up, I ended up taking 95-70-29-80 on the way there, then 80-29-78-27/78-78-98-70-95 on the way home. While driving up the side of the lake was interesting, taking 70 all the way to 27 was a much quicker drive. It took exactly 3 hours to get from Palm Bay to I-75 in Ft. Myers, then an extra half hour or so to get to the beach (Davis - 6 Mile Cypress - Summerlin). It wasn't a bad drive at all!


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