Updated on June 14, 2020
Day 8 of 2019 Florida Spring Break, Wynwood and East Coast
Eighth day of my spring break Florida road trip. I would be visiting Wynwood Walls of Miami in the morning, and took the scenic Florida Route A1A up the east coast in the afternoon.
The puncture I suffered two days ago on Florida Keys meant I would have limited time to explore the city of Miami. My friends visited Wynwood Walls district the previous day and they thought highly of it, so I would be following their footsteps and pay it a visit this morning. For the afternoon, I planned to drive along Florida’s coastal A1A route as much as I could, and find an Airbnb room for the night when I got tired.
Here’s GPS tracking for the day:
After I left the Airbnb near Homestead, Waze indicated there would be heavy traffic on Route 1 to Miami. So it picked a different route of “Old Cutler Road”. Judging by the quality of vegetations and plants along the road, it came through some wealthy neighborhoods.
Which shouldn’t be too surprising as portions of it runs rather close to sea, the likes of yachts and marinas.
In the absence of traffic lights, I enjoyed my time on this byway, compared with the busy and well-developed Route 1.
This used to be a rundown industrial district near Miami, signs of industrial relics were still visible today. Until some artists started to paint the factory walls and draw tourist attraction. Nowadays it’s one of the most instagramable places of Miami.
Parking wasn’t a problem here with a multi-story parking garage in its center. Like everything else nearby, this building also needed to be artistic.
Not far from parking garage, there was a small park with many mural displays.
It seemed to me that this was the established/official “Wynwood Walls”. The park was a private gated property, its murals painted by invited artists with lightings and do-not-cross tapes. The park felt like a museum of street arts, with a rotating exhibition.
Outside the park, the neighborhood was filled with murals stretching a few blocks. It felt like one left the zoo and was seeing animals in the wild, as the artists had to work with electric posts and building doors to create the perfect wall painting. By saying so, I assume the property owners did consent to have their walls painted.
It was a hot sunny day,
and I’m more appreciative of oil paintings in museums, so after wandering around Wynwood district for about an hour, I went back on the move.
My plan for the rest of the day was to drive along Florida Route A1A north. In most places, route A1A was the closest highway to Atlantic Ocean, and I was expecting some sceneries since I would be driving on the side closer to ocean. But on maps, A1A also would be passing some heavily developed areas like Fort Lauderdale and Miami, presumably without many views. So for the first leg, I took the interstate highway till Lantana.
Despite it being a Saturday, traffic was heavy on Interstate 95.
After filling up my car at the nearby Costco and a quick lunch at Subway, I headed onto Florida’s A1A.
Coastal Florida Road Trip
Soon, my dreams of more overseas highway driving were dashed. While Route A1A did run pretty close to ocean, in most parts it was lined with resort hotels, with no views of the ocean. Which was actually a better use of ocean-front area, economy wise.
Or, it could be lined with mansions, hiding behind well-trimmed trees.
A drawbridge ahead leading back to mainland was closed, so I turned off A1A early and headed for the city of West Palm Beach.
While passing the town of Juno Beach, I found, for the first time of the day, there were no hotels nor mansions between road and beach, but plenty of free parking. So I decided to pay the beach a quick visit.
Back on the move, there still weren’t many exciting sights around.
At this time, I was coming up to the city of Stuart. Not having seen too much scenery along coastal A1A so far, I decided to skip the section of A1A between Stuart and Fort Pierce, and took Route 1 instead, hoping to hasten my pace of travel.
Which turned out to be a big mistake. The portion of Route 1 between these two cities were developed suburbs, lined with stripe malls. The countless traffic lights were very annoying for long-distance travelers.
And it’s evening rush hour, despite it’s a Saturday.
Another problem I needed to address was booking my overnight lodge. I didn’t know beforehand how much distance I could cover today, so I planned for a last-minute booking on the road. However, I used too much mobile data over this trip, that it was throttled to an unusable speed. So after refreshing Airbnb’s website on my cell phone (and laptop) for half an hour without fruition, I concluded that I needed a Wi-Fi hotspot to keep me off the streets tonight.
Luckily, Waze was still functional at throttled data speed, so I found a Starbucks down the road, finished booking in their parking lot with its Wi-Fi, and to show gratitude, walked into its store for the first (and probably last) time in my life and ordered a random caffeine-free drink.
So after a refreshing stop at Starbucks, I left the city of Vero Beach and headed back onto A1A.
Then, there’s a section of A1A running right next to Indian River, reminiscent of the Overseas Highway a few days back.
Then there’s more typical route A1A, lined with hotels and mansions.
It’s getting dark, and I seemed to be running out of scenic parts of Route A1A. So I turned off the outer banks past Satellite Beach, and headed for Interstate 95.
There wasn’t much traffic on I95 once darkness fell, and after a spirited run I reached my overnight lodge in Daytona Beach, and called it a day.