Orlando To Busch Gardens: An Illustrated Guide

Orlando To Busch Gardens

Driving from Orlando to Busch Gardens is easier than you think. If you are visiting Orlando on vacation and want another exciting theme park to go to, try making your way to Tampa Florida to go to Busch Gardens. If you are unfamiliar with how to get there, this article is an illustrated guide on how to drive from Orlando to Busch Gardens.

Driving from Orlando to Busch Gardens takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes and is about 85 miles away. Most of the drive is on I-4, and depending on the traffic, it can take upwards of 2 hours to get there.

Busch Gardens is filled with awesome roller coasters and a variety of animals to enjoy.  It has something for the whole family.

Busch Gardens is my families favorite theme park to go to in Florida because it is filled with highspeed rollercoasters that my older kids love and a big play area with rides and shows for my younger son.

Insider Tip

It cost $10 in gas to drive from Orlando to Busch Gardens in my SUV. Budget around $20 roundtrip, depending on the vehicle you have.

Directions From Orlando To Busch Gardens

Driving from Orlando to Busch Gardens, travel west on I-4 to until you get to I-75, which is exit 9. Go north on I-75 until you reach exit #265, which is Fowler Ave. Stay to the left on the exit ramp, and it will lead you directly onto Fowler Avenue.

Proceed west on Fowler Avenue until you reach McKinley Drive, which is the first light past the main entrance to the University of South Florida. Turn left on McKinley Drive and proceed south for 3 miles until you reach the main entrance to Busch Gardens.

My Related Busch Gardens Articles:

I-4 Westbound

Most of your drive from Orlando to Busch Gardens will be spent on I-4.  Approximately 70 of the 80 miles will be spent on this one road, which makes the directions very simple.

Depending on where you are staying in Orlando, whether downtown or close the Disney, follow the signs to get on I-4 Westbound.

Once you are on I-4, set your cruise control and relax, the next time you have to turn off this road, you will be about 10 minutes from Busch Gardens.

As you travel along I-4, the first major area that you will pass is the Universal area, which is Kirkman Road.  Just off this exit is International Drive where there are many attractions, shopping areas and things to do with your family. Some of the attractions can be found in my article 25 Things To Do In Orlando At Night With Family.

If you want lots of entertainment, restaurants, and things to do with your kids, this is the area for you.

Orlando to Busch Gardens - Kirkman Rd

The next big area to pass through is Lake Buena Vista, where Disney World is located.  If you need to make a stop for gas or pick up a meal, there are many restaurants and gas stations on this exit.

If you would like to go shopping, this exit is also where Disney Springs is located.  However, just be aware, there can be a lot of traffic around this area.

Once you pass this exit, the traffic usually subsides, but since there are so many people that go to Disney, I-4 can get backed up.

Orlando to Busch Gardens - Lake Buena Vista

The third major area you will go through is Champions Gate Resort.  This is a large resort area that is worth checking out, if you enjoy golfing or would like to go to spa for the day.

There are a few restaurants and gas stations, if you want to make a pit stop.  This is where my family usually stops on our way to Busch Gardens because it is just past all of the Disney traffic.

Next, you will go through Polk County where you will stop seeing many buildings and exit ramps every mile.  It’s a lot of wooded and marsh areas.  In Polk County, just off highway 27, is where Lego Land Theme Park is located.

About 56 miles down the road on I-4, you will then reach Lakeland and highway 98.  Here you will find many restaurants, shopping and gas stations if you need to take a break.

At this point you are about 20 to 25 minutes away from Busch Gardens.

Orlando to Busch Gardens - Lakeland

Then you will go through Plant City.  Most of the scenery here is wildlife, trees and big manufacturing buildings.  There are not many exits or areas to stop.

Just past Plant City, you will reach the Tampa area.  Look for the signs that say I-75 North which is exit 9.  Make sure that you stay to the right when you are on the exit ramp in order to head North.

I-75 North

When you get onto I-75 North, you will only be on this road for about 4 miles.  Keep to the right because you will be getting off on Fowler Avenue, which is exit 265.

When getting off the exit ramp, stay to the left and merge onto Fowler Avenue going left.

Orlando to Busch Gardens - I-75 North

Fowler Avenue

Once on Folwer Avenue, proceed west for about 3 miles until you come to McKinley Drive.  The University of Tampa will be on your right side.  Then you know the road will be close.  You will be making a left turn.

Orlando to Busch Gardens - Fowler Ave

McKinley Road

McKinly Road is where the entrance to Busch Gardens will be.  Travel about 3 miles and you will see the Theme Park on your right side, however the parking lot will be on your left.

You will first pass Adventure Island on your left, which is Busch Garden’s Water Park that you should check out.

Orlando to Busch Gardens - McKinley Rd

Insider Tip

There is a way to drop your family off at the front gate of Busch Gardens so they don’t have to walk or take the tram. Instead of turning left into the main parking lot, turn right into the guest drop off area. You will be able to drive all the way up to the main gate to let everyone out and then drive back to the parking lot.

I-4 Exits From Orlando To Busch Gardens

While traveling on I-4, there are times when you need to stop for gas, or maybe it’s lunch time and you need to grab a bite to eat.

Listed below are all of the exits on I-4 from Orlando to Busch Gardens and what gas stations and restaurants are within a 1/2 mile of the corresponding exit.

This way you can plan ahead if you know which exit you want to make it to in order to stop.

Exit #DescriptionGasFood
84FL 50, Colonial Drive, Ivanhoe BoulevardN/AN/A
83BUS 17, US 92, FL 50, Amelia Street (eastbound exit only)N/AN/A
83AFL 526, Robinson Street (eastbound exit only)N/AN/A
83South Street (westbound exit only)N/AN/A
82CAnderson Street, Church Street Station, DowntownN/AN/A
82BGore Avenue (westbound exit only), DowntownN/AN/A
82AFL 408 (toll), FL 526N/AN/A
81B/CKaley AvenueMobilN/A
81AMichigan Street (westbound exit only)CitgoN/A
80A/BUS 17, US 441 South, US 92 WestCitgo, Chevron, RaceTrac, Shell, SunocoChecker’s, McDonald’s, Subway
79FL 423, 33rd Street, John Young ParkwayRaceTracIHOP
78Conroy Road7-ElevenMcDonalds, Olive Garden, Panda Express, Subway, TGI Friday’s, Wendy’s, Zaxby’s, Pollo Tropical, Waffle House, Moe’s
77FL 527, Florida Turnpike (toll)N/AN/A
75A/BFL 435, International Drive7-Eleven, Chevron, MobilDenny’s, Sweet Tomatoes, IHOP, Red Lobster
74BUniversal Orlando (westbound exit only)N/AN/A
74AFL 482, Sand Lake Road7-Eleven, BP, Chevron, Circle K, Mobil, ShellMcDonald’s, Golden Corral, Friendly’s, Fishbones, Perkins, Uno’s, Red Robbin, Popeye’s, Cici’s Pizza, Burger King, Buffalo Wild Wings, Checker’s
72FL 528 (toll), Cape Canaveral, Orlando International AirportN/AN/A
71Central Florida Parkway, Sea World (eastbound exit only)WaWa, ChevronBonefish Grill, Wendy’s, KFC
68FL 535, Lake Buena Vista7-Eleven, Chevron, Circle K, Mobil, ShellAle House, Applebee’s, Bahama Breeze, Chick-Fil-A, Chili’s, Golden Corral, McDonald’s, Red Lobster, Starbucks, Taco Bell, Uno’s, Carrabba’s
67FL 536, World Center Drive, Disney WorldN/AN/A
65Osceola Parkway, FL 417 (toll), Disney WorldN/AN/A
64A/BUS 192, FL 536, FL 417 (toll), Kissimmee7-Eleven, RaceTrac, MobilArby’s, Bob Evans, Five Guys Burgers, Wendy’s, Burger King, Cracker Barrel, Denny’s, IHOP, McDonald’s, Olive Garden,
62FL 417 (toll), World Drive, Disney World, Celebration7-ElevenMcDonald’s
60FL 429 (toll), ApopkaN/AN/A
58FL 532, Championsgate7-Eleven, BP, Circle KFirst Watch, Huey Magoo’s Chicken, McDonald’s, Ale House, Tujuana Flats, Subway, Chili’s, Red Robbin Burgers
55US 27, Haines City7-Eleven, BP, Marathon, RaceTrac, Shell, SunocoArby’s, Popeye’s, Steak N Shake, Perkins, McDonalds, Bob Evan’s, Cici’s Pizza, Denny’s, Cracker Barrel, Waffle House
48FL 557, Winter Haven, Lake AlfredBPN/A
46Rest AreaN/AN/A
44FL 559, AuburndaleBP, PilotArby’s
41FL 570 (toll), Auburndale, LakelandN/AN/A
38FL 33, Lakeland, Polk CityN/AN/A
33FL 582, FL 33, Lakeland7-Eleven, BP, ExxonApplebee’s, Cracker Barrel, Five Guy’s Burgers, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Waffle House, Starbucks
32US 98, Lakeland7-Eleven, BP, Mobil, Murphy, RaceTrac, Sam’s Club, SunocoBob Evan’s, Checkers, Denny’s, Domino’s, Golden Corral, Hooters, IHOP, KFC, Red Lobster, Sonny’s BBQ, TGI Friday’s, Popeye’s, Smokey Bones, Zaxby’s, Taco Bell, Panera Bread, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Chili’s
31FL 539, Kathleen, LakelandCircle K, ShellSubway, Romeo’s Pizza, Wendy’s
28FL 546, US 92, Memorial Blvd, LakelandCircle K, Shell, SunocoHardee’s
27FL 570 (toll), LakelandN/AN/A
25County Line RdCitgo, Circle K, Shell, SunocoMcDonald’s, Subway, Wendy’s
22FL 553, Park Rd, Plant CityCircle K, Citgo, ShellArby’s, Burger King, Denny’s, Popeye’s, Subway
21FL 39, Alexander St, Zephyrhills, Plant CityBP, ShellRed Rose Inn Restaurant
19FL 566, ThonotosassaBP, RaceTracApplebee’s, Carraba’s, Little Caesar’s, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Outback, Sonny’s BBQ, Starbucks, Subway, Taco Bell
17Branch Forbes RdBP, Circle K, Marathon, Shell, SunocoSubway
14McIntosh Road7-Eleven, BPMcDonald’s, Burger King
10FL 579, Mango, ThonotosassaCircle K, Flying J, Shell, SunocoArby’s, Bob Evans, Cracker Barrel, Denny’s, Hardee’s, Popeye’s, Subway, Wendy’s
9I-75, Ocala, NaplesN/AN/A

Alternate Route To Busch Gardens

When traveling on I-4 from Orlando to Busch Gardens, instead of getting off onto I-75 North at exit 9, stay on I-4 and get off on exit 7, which is East Hillsborough Ave / US 92.  You will see the big Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on the right side.

Travel on US 92 for about 2 miles and then you will take a right turn onto North 56th St.  Then travel 3 miles and you will be making a left turn onto East Busch Ave.

Finally, drive 2 miles down and you will see Busch Gardens on your right side.  Make a right onto McKinley Rd and you will see the main parking lot on your right side.

Orlando to Busch Gardens - Alternate Route

Using A Car GPS System To Get From Orlando to Busch Gardens

Most people don’t think about bringing their car GPS system with them on vacation.  I have found that this was a life saver for me many times.

When you are in a new city and don’t know where you are going, having a GPS map with directions, makes traveling around easy.

If you are like me, you don’t want to stop and ask for directions if you get lost. Car GPS systems will not only give you directions, but it will also give you real time traffic information and driver alerts to avoid accidents.

The best budget GPS system that I use is the Garmin Drive 52 (link to Amazon for specs and reviews).  It has any easy to use interface, gives great directions and points of interest along your route, and I can easily pack it in my suitcase if I plan on renting a car on vacation.

I-4 Mile Markers From Orlando To Busch Gardens

On I-4 heading west, the mile markers on the side of the road correspond to the miles remaining to get to Tampa.

This way when your kids ask, “are we there yet” or “how much longer do we have until we get to Busch Gardens”, you can easily look for the mile marker on the side of the road and know how many miles you have left to go.

Starting in Orlando, the mile marker will be 85 and will count down until eventually you get to mile marker 9 where the exit for Busch Gardens will be.

In order to know how many miles you have remaining, look at the mile marker you are passing and then subtract 9 from that amount.  This is how many miles to go.

If you are driving at a speed of 60 mph, then for every mile you have remaining will be 1 minute.  The speed limit on I-4 is mainly 70 mph so you should be able to get there a little quicker than just 1 minute for every mile.

Are There Rest Stops Between Orlando and Busch Gardens

There is only 1 rest stop between Orlando and Busch Gardens.  It is located at mile marker 46 in Polk County just past exit 48.  At this rest stop there are restrooms, vending machines, and nighttime security.

Places To Stop On I-4 On Your Way To Busch Gardens

When driving from Orlando to Busch Gardens, most of the drive is going to be open roads with very little exits to stop, until you get closer to the Tampa area.  However, there are 2 places along the way that you might want to stop at, if you have time.

  • Dinosaur World is a place where you can wander among hundreds of life-sized dinosaurs in a natural setting. It has Interactive exhibits that capture your kids’ imaginations along with a Dino-themed playground for all-around family fun. It is located in Plant City, just off I-4 on exit 17.  If you are heading out to Busch Gardens for the day, you could easily stop by here for 2 hours and enjoy the whole park.
  • Fantasy of Flight is a large aircraft hangar that is filled with vintage planes from several aviation eras for your enjoyment.  There is a collection of over 150 aircrafts that you can explore. Your family can ride in a Biplane or Boeing Stearman PT-17 and take controls of the plane in midair during this 30-minute flight.  It is located in Polk City at exit 44.

Final Thoughts

Traveling from Orlando to Busch Gardens is really easy and takes less than 2 hours to drive.  There are only a few roads that you need to travel on, so you shouldn’t get lost. Busch Gardens is an exciting theme park that your family will love.

Drew Thomas

Drew Thomas is the founder of Visit Orlando With Kids and loves going to theme parks with his family. Every year he has annual passes to all Florida's theme parks and loves to share tips and tricks that he has learned over the 35 years living in Orlando.

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