Florida, known for its beautiful beaches, theme parks, and warm climate, is also home to an impressive collection of car museums. For car aficionados, a trip to Florida is incomplete without taking the opportunity to visit one of these top-notch classic car museums.
Some of these museums are privately owned and not open regularly to the public, but still hold regular events you may be able to snag tickets to so you can see it. This gives you the most comprehensive list out there, from Jacksonville to South Florida to the Panhandle.
Car museums in Florida
- Sarasota Classic Car Museum
- Tampa Bay Automobile Museum
- American Muscle Car Museum
- Dezerland Park Car Museum
- Dauer Museum of Classic Cars
- Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing
- Motorsports Hall of Fame
- Elliott Museum
- Tallahassee Automobile Museum
- The Brumos Collection
- Revs Institute
- The Palmetto Collection
- Classic Car Museum of St. Augustine
- Museum 66
- Speed and Sounds Museum
- Cars of Dreams
- Living Legends of Auto Racing Museum
- The Bottom Line
The Sarasota Classic Car Museum is the second oldest continually operating car museum in the United States and is home to over 75 vintage and classic cars. Their collection includes beautifully restored cars from auto makers like Bentley, Alfa Romeo, Cadillac, and Ferrari. They also have a reproduction of Abraham Lincoln’s funeral carriage that was featured on the History channel.
The Sarasota Classic Car Museum is not just a showcase of beautiful cars; it is also an educational experience. You can learn about the evolution of the automobile, from its invention in 1885 by Karl Benz to present, and the impact it has had on society and culture throughout the years. The museum’s gift shop has a lot of unique automobile books and collectibles that hard to find elsewhere.
If you’re looking for a place for a corporate event or party, this museum offers some truly unique places! Choose from the inside of their museum, their outdoor courtyard, or their theater room.
They are open from 9AM to 6PM, 7 days a week, and are truly one of the best auto museums in this area.
The Tampa Bay Automobile Museum is a hidden gem that offers a unique perspective on automotive history. This museum focuses on the engineering behind the development of the automobile, featuring a variety of early automobiles that illustrate the numerous innovations that laid the foundation for the modern-day car.
Some of the notable vehicles on display at the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum include numerous Tatras from the 1930s and 1940s, a 1929 Ford Model A, and 1936 Adler Trumpf. They also have a super rare 1909 Daimler TB22 Drophead, which is the oldest known example of Knight sleeve valve-engineered Daimler. In addition to its collection of cars, the museum also features a variety of exhibits on automotive engineering, design, and innovation.
The Tampa Bay Automobile Museum is a must-visit destination for those interested in the technical aspects of automotive history, in particular in the early days of the automobile’s development. They are open every day of the week except Tuesday.
For fans of American muscle cars, the American Muscle Car Museum in Melbourne, Florida, has one of the best collections in the state. The 123,000 square foot museum focuses on classic American cars from the 1950s to 1970s. Perhaps one of the best things here, though, is for Shelby enthusiasts – this museum has over 50 Shelbys in their collection. This museum is the collection of Mark Pieloch, a serial entrepreneur and avid car enthusiast.
Other cars in the museum’s collection includes iconic vehicles such as the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, and Dodge Charger, as well as rare and unique models like the Yenko Camaro and Shelby Cobra. In fact, they have the most extensive Yenko car collection of nearly anywhere.
Unfortunately, they are not open to the public on a walk-in basis. However, they host numerous special events and charity fundraisers and also welcome school trips and trips from assisted-living communities.
Also known as the Orlando Auto Museum at Dezerland Action Park, this car museum has the world’s largest collections of numerous types of antique cars, including Hollywood cars, 007 Bond cars, motorcycles, military vehicles, and more.
The Dezerland Auto Museum is divided up into multiple sections, like the Bond Museum, complete with James Bond vehicles, memorabilia and even aircraft, international classics like the Cars of France and the Cars of Israel, a display just on European Cars, a Military Pavilion, and a Harley Lounge. They also are one of the few museums with an entire display just on Vespa scooters.
The Dauer Museum of Classic Cars is in Sunrise, Florida, and is a private museum that houses a world-class collection of over 55 classic and vintage cars, including some of the rarest and most valuable vehicles in the world.
The museum’s collection features a diverse array of vehicles, from early 20th-century classics to modern supercars. This even includes one of Marilyn Monroe’s cream-colored Cadillac convertibles. They also have a fully-restored vintage ambulance, a unique find you won’t see many other places.
The Dauer Museum is open Monday through Saturday 9AM to 3PM.
Located in Ocala, just over an hour northwest of Orlando, the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing is a must-visit for anyone interested in the thrilling world and history of drag racing. Founded by drag racing legend Big Daddy Don Garlits, the museum houses an extensive collection of vehicles, including original and replica race cars, hot rods, and antique automobiles.
You can also explore the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame, which honors the most influential figures in the industry and their contributions to the sport. This includes not only drivers, but also crew, track owners, promoters, and more.
The Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing offers guided tours, special events, and educational programs for visitors of all ages, making it a fantastic destination for families and groups. They are open Monday through Saturday from 9AM to 5PM.
The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America is in Daytona Beach, right at the Daytona International Speedway, and is dedicated to honoring the achievements of individuals who have made a significant impact on the world of motorsports.
The museum features a wide range of exhibits and memorabilia, covering everything from stock car racing and open-wheel racing to power boating and aviation. This place really has it all – dirt bikes, planes, dragsters, boats, and more!
You can also get your picture taken behind the wheel of a real Toyota Nascar car, enjoy racing videos in their theater, and see the current Daytona Champion car. They have both permanent exhibits as well as special exhibits with pieces on loan from other institutions.
Check the Best Hotels Near Daytona Speedway for great places to stay!
Nestled on Florida’s Treasure Coast in Stuart, the Elliott Museum offers visitors an opportunity to explore the history of transportation and discover the innovations that have shaped the way we travel. The museum is home to an extensive collection of classic cars, trucks, bicycles, and boats, as well as an impressive array of art, historical artifacts, and memorabilia.
They have one of the best collections of early automobiles of any museum in the state. One of their vehicles is a reproduction 1886 Benz Patent Motor Wagon. They’ve also 1903 Stanley Steamer Runabout, a 1905 REO Roadster, and even a 1905 Oldsmobile.
Elliott also has multiple motorcycles from the early 1900s and several impressive wooden boats. If you plan on going, check the event schedule because they regularly hold educational tours, special events, and other not-to-be-missed features.
The Tallahassee Automobile Museum is a treasure trove of automotive history and innovation. With over 160 vehicles on display, the museum offers an incredible journey through the evolution of the automobile, from the earliest horse-drawn carriages to the sleek sports cars of today. In fact, this museum has one of the largest collections of automobiles in the country.
Their auto collection includes extremely rare pieces, like genuine Bat mobiles used in the movies and an amphibious vehicle. They also have a great collection of muscle cars, motorcycles, and steam-powered cars.
Outside of vehicles, this museum has impressive collections of other things, including boat motors, Native American artifacts, and antique cash registers.
The Brumos Collection is located in Jacksonville, a convenient location if you’re planning a trip to nearly anywhere in Florida. They are focused on showcasing the technology, innovation, and historical significance behind some of the automobile’s firsts. They are one of the best places in the country for people who love Porsche.
There are two primary sections in the museum. The first section covers open cockpit racers and early innovations. Their oldest auto is an 1894 Peugeot, built not even a decade after Karl Benz invented the first auto. The second section is dedicated to Porsche, and features Porsche racing cars from 1953-2017.
Brumos also has an impressive collection of memorabilia that helps tell the story of the innovations featured in the museum. They are open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Located in Naples on Florida’s Southern Gulf Coast, the Revs Institute is a premier destination for automotive research, preservation, and education. They have one of the largest collections on this list, with over 100 automobiles dating from 1896 to 1995.
One really cool thing about Revs is that you can see every car in their collection online, so even if you’re not going to be in the area be sure to check out their website.
The institute also offers a variety of educational programs, events, and symposiums, making it an invaluable resource for anyone with a passion for automotive history and innovation.
The Palmetto Collection is a privately owned museum that houses an impressive collection of vintage automobiles, steam engines, and even 1,800 feet of linear train track. Located in Palmetto, Florida, right in the Tampa Bay area, this museum focuses on automobiles from the Brass Area, which was from 1986 to 1915, although they have vehicles on display from the years 1886 to 1952.
In addition to the permanent collection, Palmetto hosts special events, such as car shows and guest speakers, which provide a unique opportunity to learn from industry experts and mingle with fellow car and transportation enthusiasts. They also host numerous field trips for schools, which is a great educational experience for the kids (and chaperones!).
Their Orange Belt Railway takes you around the museum grounds in a train that is a replica of the original Orange Belt, which transported goods around Pinellas County. If you live close by, they have some great volunteer opportunities, including maintaining the tracks and the train!
Located in the beautiful, historic city of St. Augustine, the Classic Car Museum is features an extensive collection of meticulously restored vehicles. Its 30,000 square foot space contains autos spanning everything from the early 1800s all the way to present day.
If you’re local to the area or are able to catch it at the right time, check out their regular Cars & Coffee event, where you can meet other gear heads and enjoy the cars. They also host numerous other events and are available for private events as well. Kids will love their Milk and Cookies with Santa, so bring the whole family!
Through its restoration projects, educational programs, and community outreach, this non-profit museum will inspire and educate you as it takes you into the fascinating world of automobiles.
Museum 66 is in Boynton Beach and has a great collection of American muscle cars, mostly from the 1960s and 1970s, all beautifully restored and in pristine condition. They also have over 7,000 square feet of meeting and event space that is perfect for the next party, corporate event, or get together. The space holds up to 200 people, and there is even a stage for live music to take your event up another notch.
This museum is complete with a 50s style diner, and their classic pinball arcade is free to play for the duration of your event. The owner is top notch and has a ton of knowledge about the cars in his collection that he’s happy to share with you and your guests.
This museum is mostly used for private and charitable events, but if you’d like to see the impressive collection of muscle cars don’t hesitate to contact the owner. There may be a fundraising event coming up or they may give you another opportunity to check it out.
The Speed and Sounds Museum in Daytona Beach combines classic muscle cars with the best in music. This museum is run by the Norelli Family Foundation, which aims to provide help to children and young adults in need. It is used primarily for non-profit fundraising events, so the main way to enjoy their collection of cars is to help the non-profit out by attending an event.
Their museum has live concerts, music memorabilia, and fine art. They also have a beautiful mural, painted by Ruben Francisco, of an aerial dogfight that both kids and adults will love!
John Staluppi’s Cars of Dreams Museum, located in North Palm Beach, Florida, is a privately-owned museum filled with classic American muscle cars, hot rods, and autos from the mid-1900s. They’ve got some beautiful Chevy Bel Airs, Pontiac GTOs, antique Cadillacs, Chevy Corvettes, and plenty more!
The collection is housed in a whimsical, vintage-inspired setting. Stroll down a recreated Main Street, complete with storefronts, gas pumps, and neon signs, and stop by the 50s style diner. Just the memorabilia and signs alone are worth a stop here, so don’t forget to take your eyes off the cars at least on occasion and check out the rest the museum has to offer!
Cars of Dreams is also unfortunately not open to the public on a regular basis, but has regular events, including charity fundraising events to help a variety of causes and car auctions too, where you’ll have the chance to take home a classic auto of your own. To get in, be sure to check out their webpage regularly and get tickets to an event so you can see this collection for yourself.
The Living Legends of Auto Racing Museum is in South Daytona and houses a vast collection of racing cars, artifacts, and memorabilia. Living Legends focuses primarily on antique racers, and also has some really cool vintage photographs. They are located in the Sunshine Park Mall, and while they are a small museum they pack it full of unique and interesting things to tell the story of racing in Daytona Beach.
There is also the Living Legends Memorial Brick Wall of Fame, which pays tribute to racing pioneers. It is located at a separate location, at 3050 Atlantic Avenue, A1A, Daytona Beach Shores.
Admission is free and the museum is open to the public from Monday through Saturday, 10AM to 5PM.
The Bottom Line
Florida’s car museums offer a fascinating look into the history and evolution of the automobile, showcasing the artistry, engineering, and cultural significance of these incredible machines. From the Palmetto Collection to the Cars of Dreams, each museum offers a unique and enriching experience for visitors, providing a window into a bygone era of style, speed, and innovation. Whether you are a seasoned collector or just a casual fan of automotive history, a trip to Orlando’s car museums is an experience not to be missed.