Florida features over 8,000 miles of sunny shoreline. It is indeed a prime vacation destination. If you’re headed there and are having difficulty deciding what to do and see, read on fellow travelers. Here to help you plan your itinerary, we now present 20 of the best places to visit in Florida.
Here you can explore the Myakka River State Park. It is one of the state’s largest, oldest state parks. Check out the butterflies at the popular Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.
Hit the beach at Lido Beach on Lido Key. Learn a little about the most famous locals at the popular John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Stop by the cultural-drenched Ca’ d’Zan as well.
2. Orlando Walt Disney World
Mickey and all his world-famous friends are a big draw for families for sure. Still, there are a lot of things to see and do outside of the Florida theme park. You can get wonderfully up close and personal with numerous animals at Discovery Cove or Gatorland. Shopaholics can shop ‘til they drop at the area’s outlet malls too. If you left the kids at home then you can go out and experience the exciting and rejuvenated restaurant scene and nightlife as well.
3. St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg holds the official Guinness World Record for the “most consecutive days of sunshine.” This is but one reason why it draws all kinds of visitors. Here you’ll find seven miles of waterfront parks and St. Pete Beach. Visit downtown St. Petersburg. Highlights include St. Petersburg’s oldest living museum, the Sunken Gardens and a special art museum that focuses on the many works of artist Salvador Dalí.
4. Key West
The famous Florida Keys is the continental United States’ southernmost point. Key West is famous for its colorful conch-like homes, coral reefs ripe for scuba diving and snorkeling and free-wheeling residents. Do a little sunbathing and take a boat tour.
Visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. There you will learn all about the famous author’s life and even see the descendants of Snow White, his six-toed cat.
Naples, Florida is a romantic and elegant destination. Located on Paradise Coast features beautiful beaches, gourmet restaurants, great golf courses, and high-end stores. (Shopping addicts need to spend visit Third Street South and Fifth Avenue South.)
If you’re into flora and fauna, there are many nature-centered focused attractions here, like the Naples Botanical Garden, Clam Pass Park, and the Naples Zoo. Finally, art lovers will love The Baker Museum.
6. Miami Beach
Miami Beach is great for beach bums. But be sure to check out the eye-catching art deco architecture along Ocean Drive and the sexy, scantily-clad sun worshippers on the offshoot South Beach. Dine at one of the trendy restaurants and dance at one of the chic nightclubs don’t forget your plastic!
This place simply is not cheap. Buy a Go Miami card. It’ll save you money on tours and museums.
7. Sanibel Island
This Gulf Coast island is a low-key locale with a quaint, casual beach environment that is family-friendly. The uncrowded beaches are laden with seashells and the rentals are reasonably priced. Another highlight is the well-known J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge where you’ll see such birds as herons, ospreys, and roseate spoonbills.
8. St. Augustine
St. Augustine was founded in 1565 by the Spaniards. Online sources report it’s the United States’ “oldest continuously inhabited European settlement.” Thus, it is also known as “the Ancient City.” St. Augustine features many monuments and seaside buildings. Stroll along the popular, pedestrian-focused St. George Street to the famous Castillo de San Marcos National Monument.
Destin is ensconced on the Florida Panhandle’s Emerald Coast. Every year thousands flock here for summer vacation. It includes Instagramable white sands composed of Appalachian quartz.
The water is clear and bright blue-green water. Destin is one of the state’s stand out beaches. It has a genuine small-town feel. Destin comes complete with a shop-and-eatery-lined boardwalk, optimal fishing conditions, and sharp, manicured golf courses well.
10. Everglades National Park
Florida’s famous for its alligators. Everglades National Park is the best place to see them. It is the country’s biggest subtropical wilderness in the country and the home of not only alligators but also panthers and manatees.
The Everglades also guides tours and a number of different hiking trails that span 1.5 million acres. The best time to visit is during the dry season which is between November and April. There are fewer mosquitos, the temperature is lower and you’re more likely to spot the local denizens.
11. Fort Lauderdale
The perfect palm-tree-lined beaches here are some of the state’s best. Fort Lauderdale is nicknamed the Venice of America for its 165 miles worth of canals and waterways. Check out the stores in the country’s largest outlet mall, Sawgrass Mills. Don’t miss The Galleria and Olas Boulevard either. Creative types should visit the thriving art scene in the MASS District and downtown’s FATVillage area as well.
12. Fort Myers
Fort Myers is well-known for its nature-focused activities, relaxing parks, and nature reserves. See the Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium and Manatee Park. If you’re really into baseball then visit in March and watch the Minnesota Twins at spring training. You can also stop in at the historic Ford and Edison Winter Estates constructed by US inventors Henry Ford and Thomas Edison.
13. Amelia Island
Amelia Island is situated almost 30 miles from Jacksonville. It features 13 miles of uncrowded beaches and a sense of historical charm. Explore downtown Fernandina Beach, where the shrimping business was born and dangerous pirates once roamed. Go swimming, or horseback riding along the shore or even play some golf at one of the popular courses here.
14. Key Largo
See the only living coral reef in the continental US at Key Largo. It’s also the largest isle in the Florida Keys. Here you can stay at the only underwater on the planet that’s only accessible by scuba diving.
You will also want to visit the nation’s first undersea park. Of course, you can also enjoy other aquatic activities such as snorkeling, swimming, deep-sea fishing, windsurfing, and glass-bottom boating.
15. Cocoa Beach
Cocoa Beach is great for surfers, swimmers, sun lovers, and space enthusiasts alike. The Kennedy Space Center provides travelers with a genuine firsthand look at NASA’s launch pads and shuttles. The northern section of Cocoa Beach has one of the state’s best surfing spots and the world’s largest surf shop, Ron Jon Surf Shop. Take a bioluminescent kayaking tour or play volleyball at the Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier.
16. Clearwater Beach
Clearwater Beach features clear blue water and pristine white sand. Its small-town feel makes it a really family-friendly place. Take a helicopter or a Segway tour. Be sure to hit Pier 60 in time to see the sunset and street performers too. Don’t forget to visit one of the biggest attractions, the famous Clearwater Marine Aquarium where Hope and Winter, stars of the Dolphin Tale films, live.
17. Boca Raton
Boca Raton is said to have something for everyone. Visit Gumbo Limbo Nature Center where you can see four outdoor aquariums and a beautiful butterfly garden. Head for Mizner Park which includes a movie theater, an art museum and lots of restaurants and stores. Be sure to visit family-friendly Sugar Sand Park too. It features a carousel, a theater, a science center, and nature trails as well.
18. Vero Beach
Vero Beach is located along Florida’s Atlantic Coast. Here you’ll find quiet, peaceful beaches that are excellent for sunbathing and swimming. Visit the Vero Beach Museum of Art.
See some wildlife at the McKee Botanical Garden or the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge. Visit between May and October and look for sea turtle nests along the Seagrape Trail. Finally, dine at one of the waterfront restaurants.
19. Panama City Beach
Panama City Beach includes 27 miles of attractive white sand beaches. There’s more to do here than swim though, folks. Check out Shipwreck Island Waterpark and Gulf World Marine Park for some family-friendly fun.
This Florida town has dance clubs, beach bars, dance clubs and multiple live music venues for plenty of adult nighttime entertainment too. You can visit any time because the odds are the weather will be great.
20. Marco Island
Marco Island is an exceptional place for water sports. Here you can go boating, kayaking, and fishing. There are plenty of superb beaches for sunbathing, swimming, and looking for seashells. Learn about the Calusa Native Americans at the impressive Marco Island Historical Museum. Go look for pelicans, manatees, and other wildlife at the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge.
Bonus Best Stop: Blue Springs
Finally, don’t forget to explore this beautiful place as well! This place is great for travelers who enjoy the great outdoors. You can camp here and spend your days canoeing, hiking, picnicking, swimming, tubing and more. If you want to simply kick back and relax and commune with nature you can do that here too.