May 10, 2021
State Road 60 crosses the state from the Gulf of Mexico at Clearwater to the Atlantic Ocean in Vero Beach. The route is 161 miles long.
It has traditionally been a scenic drive through Old Florida. Sections of this route still provide that experience, but many other stretches have become urbanized.
Enjoy stopping at these Old Florida towns as you make the trip. The towns are arranged from west to east, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean.
You will go through Clearwater Beach, Clearwater, Tampa, Brandon, Valrico, Mulberry, Bartow, Lake Wales, Nalcrest, Indian Lake Estates, River Ranch, Yeehaw Junction, and Vero Beach.
There is a lot of undeveloped agricultural land and wetlands along the way.
CLEARWATER BEACH AND CLEARWATER. Clearwater and Clearwater Beach are on the Gulf of Mexico about 23 miles north of St. Petersburg. The population of Clearwater, including Clearwater Beach, is almost 120,000. Downtown Clearwater is separated from Clearwater Beach by the Intracoastal Waterway.
Click on photo for more information about Clearwater.
TAMPA. Tampa is the largest city on State Road 60 with a population of about 325,000. You will go through the downtown area and some historic neighborhoods. You will pass by the former grandiose Tampa Bay Hotel that is now home to the University of Tampa.
Click on photo for more information about Tampa.
BRANDON is one of the largest Florida cities that many people have not heard of. It has a population of more than 100,000. In the 1960s only 8,000 people lived here, but as nearby Tampa grew, so did Brandon. It has become a bedroom community for Tampa, but is also a stand alone city.
VALRICO was until recently a quiet little community east of Brandon. As Brandon and Tampa grew, so did Valrico. Today it has a population of almost 40,000 and is noted for its many parks and mix of suburban and rural lifestyles.
MULBERRY is a small town of about 4,000 that is the center of Polk County's phosphate industry. It was for many years the banking center for many of the area's large phosphate mining and processing companies. It is the home office of Badcock Home Furniture.
BARTOW is the seat of government of Polk County, and was founded as Fort Blount in 1851. The city hasa a population of about 20,000 and is part of the Lakeland-Winter Haven Metropolitan Statistical Area with a population of almost 600,000.
Click on photo for more about Bartow.
LAKE WALES. Lake Wales is a citrus center and the location of two of Florida's well known attractions: Bok Tower Gardens and Spook Hill. The centerpiece of the town is the old hotel currently being restored.
Click on photo for more information about Lake Wales.
NALCREST. Two communities are here: Nalcrest and Lakeshore. The letters in the former stand for National Association of Letter Carriers Retirement, Education, Security and Training.
Lakeshore was formerly known as Fedhaven, a retirement community for federal workers. The union developed Nalcrest as a retirement community for retired postal workers.
Click on photo for more information about Nalcrest.
INDIAN LAKE ESTATES. This is a large lot sales community on the shores of a lake. Early on the developers gave former football hero Red Grange a home on the golf course for doing promotional work for him. He lived here for much of his life.
Click on photo for more information about Indian Lake Estates and football great Red Grange.
RIVER RANCH is located on the west bank of the Kissimmee River. It was originally developed as a resort. Today the original development has been converted into Westgate River Ranch Resort, a dude ranch. The community is surrounded by vacation homes used by hunters and off roaders.
YEEHAW JUNCTION. This historic cross roads is at the intersection of US-441 and State Road 60. It is an interchange on the Florida Turnpie. The Desert Inn was on the National Register of Historic Places. It was nearly destroyed by a truck running into it in 2019.
Click on photo of Desert Inn for more information about Yeehaw Junction.
VERO BEACH. This is one of the nicest towns on Florida's east coast. It has preserved many of its historic buildings, and enjoys a beautiful sand beach on the Atlantic Ocean.
Click on photo for more information about Vero Beach.