July 24th is National Drive-Thru Day!
While many of us may initially think of our favorite restaurant or coffee establishment when we think of a drive-thru, did you know that there are drive-thrus in Florida where you can see wildlife, get your groceries, pick up adult beverages, and even get married? That’s right – get married! In April and May the Alachua County Clerk Office in Gainesville was offering drive-thru wedding services due to their office being closed for COVID-19. While you can no longer get married from the comfort of your car, you can still check out our list of unique drive-thrus across the state!
Beverage Castle in Winter Haven is one-stop drive-thru shopping. Known primarily as a place to pick up liquor, beer and wine, you may be surprised to find out you can grab dairy products, canned goods, spices, and a healthy, light snack from Beverage Castle. If you have your kids or grandkids with you after spending a day at Legoland Florida/Cypress Gardens, there’s nothing easier than a drive thru, especially if you find yourself caught in one of our famous Florida thunderstorms. If you’re staying in the area, they deliver, too. Amp up your home bar with a new bottle of liquor or a tasty spirit from Beverage Castle. Craft a flavorful meal with some of their gourmet seasonings and spices. For cool, refreshing H20, Beverage Castle’s got you covered too. There are other drive-thru beverage stores throughout the state: Lakeland, Auburndale, Dade City, to name just a few.
Do you want to picking up fresh groceries and never having to leave your car? If you live in South or West Central Florida that dream can quickly become a reality at Farm Stores! They’re a great quality, drive-thru bakery, grocery, and cafe in one fast and friendly location! All you do is drive up, pick a lane, order your groceries or ready-to-eat food, and the employees will grab your items and load them up in your car. They have multiple locations in West Central and South Florida including Clearwater, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Melbourne, Sarasota, Greenacres, Ft. Lauderdale, Cooper City, Hollywood, Miami, Miami Beach, Hialeah, Sweetwater, Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay and Homestead! It’s a perfect place to stop before hitting a park or attraction, especially if you have screaming or napping children with you.
Visit the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Sanibel allows you to see wildlife from the comfort of your own car (or bicycle)! You can spot over 245 species of birds and 35 species of mammals along with lizards, alligators, turtles and more! The refuge was created to protect the endangered and threatened wildlife of Sanibel Island, and to provide feeding, nesting, and roosting areas for migratory birds. The Wildlife Drive is open every day but Friday and will take you about 40 minutes to drive through. The cost of admission is $5 for cars and $1 for bicycles!
Lion Country Safari in West Palm Beach is located on 600 acres of natural area and home to over 1,000 animals! You can print out your own “Jambo Guide” to the animals at home, and play the audio to go along with your tour when you arrive! The tour is 90 minutes and split into seven sections: Las Pampas, Ruaha National Park, Kalahari Busheveldt, Gir Forest, Gorongosa Reserve, Serengeti Plains and Hwange National Park. You’ll get to see zebras, chimpanzees, rhinos, giraffes, and of course lions!
In Titusville at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, you can see amazing wildlife in your car along the Black Point Wildlife Drive! This is a 7-mile tour that will take you approximately 40 minutes to drive through. You can spot waterfowl, alligators, river otters, bobcats, snakes and more! You can pick up a self-guiding brochure (available near the drive entrance) that will provide information on things to look for.
There are two fantastic scenic drives within the Big Cypress National Preserve where you can see plenty of Florida wildlife! You can either take the 27 mile Loop Road that travels through cypress and pine forests or the 17 mile Turner River Loop that takes you by open prairies and wading bird feeding areas. You can download guides ahead of time for both of the scenic drives that include directions and details of what you can see down to the 0.1 mile.
Wild Florida encourages you to buckle up for your wildest car ride yet! You can drive through their safari park and spot more than 100 native and exotic animals roaming freely! You can identify species from all over the world like giraffes, zebra, eland antelope, scimitar oryx, American bison, mouflon sheep, and more! Not only does Wild Florida have a drive-thru safari, they also have airboat rides, a gator park, and animal shows and encounters!
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