At least a dozen images come to mind when mentioning Florida, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. For many, it's Orlando's world-famous theme parks at Disney World and Universal, while others can think of the almost endless number of championship golf courses scattered throughout the Sunshine State. Water lovers and sunbathers alike have hundreds of beaches to choose from, and retail connoisseurs will find luxury stores and quirky boutiques galore in every city. If your trip is based on a beach vacation or a specific activity, you may want to consider the weather and the best time of year to visit Florida.
Beyond entertainment and recreation, Florida has a rich historical and cultural past with peaceful natives, Spanish conquistadors, intrepid pirates and generations of Caribbean influences that make it an incredibly interesting and diverse place to visit. Florida is also home to some of the most unique and special natural sites, including Everglades National Park and dozens of barrier islands with beautiful ocean ecosystems. Plan your adventures in the Sunshine State with our list of the best places to visit in Florida. Located in South Florida, Miami is one of the most popular and modern cities in the state.
Miami and nearby Miami Beach show the old and new side of Florida. The thriving and modern downtown area contrasts with the much more relaxed atmosphere of Miami Beach. South Beach is the most exciting of Miami's beaches, known for its Art Deco district and its ultramodern pedestrian mall that runs parallel to the beach, full of waterfront outdoor restaurants, entertainment and lots of things to do. It's also a popular honeymoon destination in Florida.
The Vizcaya Museum and historic houses made of coral rock are located in Coconut Grove, an area where peacocks strut unfenced among numerous street artists and sidewalk cafes. Families descend in large numbers to amusement parks during school holidays, but the city is a popular destination year-round. This constant influx of tourists has brought a full range of recreational activities and services to the Orlando area, from championship golf courses and elegant spas to restaurants and huge shopping centers. Other nearby attractions can be a refreshing change of pace and can be easily visited on day trips from Orlando.
Some of them include the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral and seeing manatees on the Crystal River. Its location has resulted in a rich cultural mix that includes influences from many Caribbean islands, which have brought a relaxed attitude, interesting architecture and culinary variety to the region. Key West is also a popular cruise port, full of entertainment options and things to do. Duval Street is the main tourist area, home to boutiques, souvenir shops, restaurants, and even some historic houses.
Some of the city's top attractions include a shipwreck museum that explains the area's long history of salvage and the Key West Aquarium. Those interested in ocean ecology will want to visit the Dry Turtles National Park, which consists of seven reef islands that form an archipelago. Although the Florida Keys are not known for their beaches, Key West has several beaches. These can be a good break from sightseeing.
Key West's casual vibe and the fact that it's a small town with lots to do make it a great destination for solo travelers. Getting around is easy and the people are friendly. It's one of the best places in the United States for solo travelers. The southernmost city on Florida's Gulf Coast is Naples, an exclusive area with a picturesque downtown area and a beautiful stretch of beach.
A mix of posh homes, some luxury resorts, and condo towers line the ocean, but the downtown area has maintained a small-town vibe. South and 5th Avenue South are home to its trendiest restaurants, art galleries and boutiques. The beaches of Naples and its surroundings are some of the best in the entire state. The warm, shallow waters here are generally calm with small waves, making them ideal for swimming and playing.
The white sand is soft and perfect for lying on your towel and enjoying the famous Florida sun while contemplating the Gulf of Mexico. A visit to the Naples Pier, the city's most beloved historical monument, is a must-see for tourists and the perfect place to watch dolphins without boarding a boat. Despite its reputation as a high-end golf resort town, Naples has several historic attractions, as well as unique natural parks. The Gulf Coast Everglades Visitor Center is the park's only no-admission center, and visitors can take a boat tour or rent a canoe or kayak to explore the mangrove estuaries and see the region's incredible wildlife.
Other nearby parks include the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, known for its ancient cypress forest, and Fakahatchee Strand State Park, home to the ghost orchid and other rare and endangered plants and animals. The city of Tampa is located in a cove on Florida's west coast, just across St. Tampa is especially popular with families, who come to enjoy its many wildlife attractions. Busch Gardens is the best known, a giant amusement park combined with a zoo that has endless things to see and do.
Animal lovers can also visit the Tampa Zoo in Lowry Park and the Tampa Aquarium and a public manatee observation center. Families with younger children will love the Glazer Children's Museum, which focuses on learning through creative play, and the whole family will enjoy the Museum of Science and Industry, where they can explore the world of technology with hands-on exhibits and attend incredible shows at the IMAX theater. Ybor City, in Tampa, is one of its most historic areas and the center of the city's Latino community, where you can't miss a meal at the famous Columbia restaurant. The lively and trendy Sparkman Wharf is well worth a visit in the afternoon and evening.
Here you will find unique and interesting restaurants housed in transport containers along with more traditional establishments. From here, you can walk along the Tampa Riverwalk enjoying the waterfront until you finally end up in the fun and vibrant Armature Works area. Across Tampa Bay is neighboring St. Visitors, especially travelers from the northern states, come here to escape the cold winters and enjoy the oceanfront beaches and mild climate.
Some unique areas to explore include St. Petersburg Pier, the shops and restaurants of Johns Pass Pier, the quaint atmosphere of historic Pass-a-Grille and the soft sand of Indian Rocks Beach. St. Petersburg has many cultural tourist attractions, including several theatres and prominent art museums, such as the Dalí Museum and the Morean Art Center.
One of the most popular things to do when you visit St. Petersburg is running boat tours ranging from dolphin watching and eco-tours to recreational cruises. Nature lovers will appreciate the abundance of peaceful spots, such as the Caladesi Island State Park, which has remained undeveloped thanks to its high seas location and is full of beaches and nature trails. Pete Beach is a fun and fun beach area with miles and miles of soft sand, perfect for lounging in the sun, splashing in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, or settling under your umbrella with the latest pocket thriller.
Petersburg, this area is a mix of condos, hotels, and private homes. It's a popular spot that attracts beach lovers from all over the United States. All these people in a positive state of mind give the city a lively atmosphere. If you're looking for one of Florida's most consistent warm climates, even on the darkest days of February, head straight to Marco Island.
Located near the southernmost tip of Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico, this tourist island is almost always warm, while places like Fort Myers or Orlando are shaking. Good weather isn't the only attraction. Stretching approximately four miles, this long and exceptionally wide beach is one of the best in South Florida. Accommodation options here are extensive, from first-class resorts to small hotels that cater to boaters.
Downtown Fort Myers, also known as the River District, is full of things to do, from numerous shopping options to a wide variety of dining options, as well as sightseeing in this historic area. Sanibel Island is located off the west coast of Florida as a major barrier island, connected to Fort Myers by an elevated highway. Sanibel is best known for its high-end resorts, which are popular with families, celebrities, and couples. Beyond the generous amenities of each resort, tourists won't be short of things to do, from ocean adventures to leisurely shopping at Sanibel's many boutiques and galleries.
One of the most attractive aspects of Sanibel and Captiva is the dedication to conservation, a mission that has resulted in the protected status of half of the island's land and the establishment of organizations such as the Sanibel School of the Sea and the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation. Many resorts also have their own naturalist-led programs to educate tourists about the delicate ecosystem and incredible wildlife. Some of the island's most prized wild animals include the loggerhead turtle, which nests on pristine beaches; manatees and dolphins, which play in the nearby water; and hundreds of species of birds, including the bald eagle. Clearwater, one of Florida's long-time favorite beach destinations, has attracted beachgoers for generations.
Located off the coast of the main city, there is a three-mile stretch of soft white sand, bathed by the crystal clear and warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. A wide variety of beach accommodations are offered, from fantastic resorts to smaller, more welcoming hotels and inns. This makes the Clearwater beach area a lively spot, with a host of great restaurants and great views of the people. One of the best places to practice this pastime is to take a walk along the famous Clearwater fishing pier as the sun goes down.
Right off the coast of Bradenton, Anna Maria Island is a wonderful slice of old Florida. Strict building regulations have ensured that many of the original houses and hotels remain while new towers and major developments are blocked. However, with that said, Anna Maria Island has a few resorts, many that will take good care of you without having to hit you in your pocket. The vision of the future of urban planners has ensured that Anna Maria Island has a relaxed atmosphere that is not found in many other parts of Florida.
This, along with seven miles of incredible beaches, makes Anna Maria Island a must-see for beach lovers. Venice, often overlooked as a destination in Florida, is a place where you'll find plenty to do without the crowds of other Gulf destinations. This small town has a charming downtown area that is very walkable, with a wide variety of stores selling everything from dresses to swimwear. There are also several small, modern restaurants and bakeries here, all ideal places to take a spot in a courtyard and watch the world go by.
A short drive from the center are the famous beaches of Venice. Condos and homes line the boardwalk near town, but a short drive south is Venice Fishing Pier and the iconic Sharky's on the Pier restaurant. Those interested in looking for shark teeth should head a little further south to Caspersen Beach and keep their eyes peeled in the sand as they stroll along the coast. One of the most popular places to visit in the Florida Panhandle region is Panama City Beach.
Famous for its white sand and emerald waters, Panama City Beach is the easiest place to get to if you're traveling from the north. The beaches here are fantastic and busy during the summer season. The city has quite affordable beachfront accommodation compared to destinations further south. Outside the Beach, the Fun at Panama City Beach Doesn't Stop.
Other things to do in Panama City Beach include visiting the giant Skywheel, Pier Park and Gulf World Marine Park. Other cheesy attractions include Ripley's Believe it or Not and Wonderworks. For something a little more natural, head to Panama City Beach Conservation Park or St. Andrews State Park and Shell Island.
Augustine is often referred to as the oldest city in the U.S. UU. Pedro Menéndez de Avilés landed here on September 8, 1565 and claimed the territory in the name of King Philip II of Spain. Colonial architecture and old houses line the streets of the historic center, which has become a popular tourist attraction.
The Colonial Quarter is a living history museum that introduces visitors to life in St. Augustine from the 16th century to the 18th century, including the construction of the replica of a 16th century ship and a working blacksmith shop. Augustine is proud to be home to several of Florida's most important historic attractions, including the Ximenez-Fatio House Museum, the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park of Ponce de León and the Castle of San Marcos. Sailors will also enjoy seeing ships such as the Galleon and admiring the exhibits at the Maritime Museum.
Features of interest in the surrounding area are the U.S. UU. ,. Naval Aviation Museum, Fort Pickens (183) on the west end of Santa Rosa Island and Pensacola Beach with its stretches of sugar-white sand.
Visitors will discover that Pensacola has less of a Florida resort town atmosphere and more of the home influences of the Deep South. West Palm Beach in Lake Worth, inside Palm Beach, has several interesting museums and many trendy and stylish restaurants. As the city's name suggests, it's often defined by its incredible miles of soft sandy beaches, and many tourists mainly come to sunbathe and enjoy the water. West Palm Beach is also home to many other attractions, many of them animal encounters for the whole family.
The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium is popular for its many exhibits and underwater residents, and Manatee Lagoon offers visitors the chance to see these gentle giants up close and for free. However, marine creatures don't get all the attention: The Palm Beach Zoo Conservation Society %26 is home to 700 animals from habitats around the world, and Lion Country Safari offers visitors the opportunity to stroll through the park to see some incredible African animals, as well as interact at the zoo in pets and giraffe feeding station, and cooling off at the water park. Daytona's main claim to fame is the Daytona 500 Nascar Race, which is held here every February, but the beaches also attract visitors throughout the year. Daytona Beach, once known as a hot spring break spot, has become more of a family-oriented destination that also attracts seniors.
Daytona's beaches stretch along 37 miles of the Atlantic Ocean coastline and feature an activity-filled boardwalk that hosts attractions, games, restaurants, special events and a long pier. Cultural attractions include the Cici Museum of Art and Hyatt Brown, which houses the largest collection of Florida art in the world, and the Stetson Mansion. Visitors can also admire the tallest lighthouse in Florida, the Ponce de León Cove Lighthouse, which reaches 175 feet in height. Tallahassee, the capital of Florida, may not be on most people's radar as a place to visit when you're in the northern part of the state.
However, it's definitely worth a stop because of its excellent collection of museums, interesting attractions, and history. Just back from downtown is the sprawling Florida State University campus, and across from downtown is the charming Cascades Park. A short drive from downtown, but not far from Interstate 10, is the famous Tallahassee Auto Museum, with more than 160 rare and classic cars on display (along with many other eclectic items). Walt Disney World is easily one of Florida's top tourist attractions.
Originally built to complement Disneyland in Anaheim, California, this Florida theme park has become the flagship of Disney's theme park empire around the world. Orlando is Florida's most visited city, with more than 75 million visitors a year. People come to this beautiful Central Florida city, from all over the country and around the world to enjoy the fantastic theme parks, first-class restaurants, and other amenities offered by this beautiful city. Nestled between the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay, northwest of St.
Petersburg, Clearwater is a popular family vacation destination known for its spectacular 3-mile long beach, wonderful climate and long, narrow barrier reef. The beach is full of luxury hotels, resorts, bars and restaurants. Take the children to see the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where injured dolphins and sea turtles are taken to recover and rehabilitate. Watch the game at Bright House Field, where the Phillies baseball team comes to train in the spring.
Stroll along Pier 60 to watch the sunset and street performers entertain the crowd. Enjoy the shaded boardwalk paths through the Lake Moccasin Nature Park, or take a tour of the bay to see playful dolphins in their own environment. Things to Do in Clearwater Delray Beach is a small coastal town in Florida known for its beautiful sandy beaches, but also for the lively arts community in its eclectic center. The Pineapple Grove Arts District is full of incredible art galleries and public art.
The Cornell Art Museum, established in 1913, is famous for its collection of contemporary artworks. There's also the School of Creative Arts and Fieldhouse, established in 1925, and much more. A variety of art festivals are held throughout the year. First Friday art walks are a great way to explore the city's art scene, see a show, or attend a concert.
And of course, there are great restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy fresh food and enjoy some people watching. Stretching nearly 120 miles from the southernmost tip of Florida, between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, is a chain of tropical islands called the Florida Keys. This coral archipelago begins about 15 miles from Miami and ends in the uninhabited Secas Turtles National Park. The last inhabited key is Key West, a popular tourist destination that locals call Key Weird, with its popular bars and shops on Duval Street and the daily sunset celebration in Mallory Square.
Anywhere in the Keys you can rent a boat and go fishing, snorkeling or diving, rent a kayak and explore the mysterious mangroves, sample unique local cuisine, stroll through picturesque and colorful streets and sit in one of the many rustic beach bars to soak up the spirit of the Keys. Things to Do in the Florida Keys Located 45 km north of Miami, on Florida's southeastern coast, Fort Lauderdale is a popular tourist destination famous for its beaches and picturesque sailing canals. The best place to start your exploration is on The Strip, a long and wide promenade that runs along the ocean and is filled with chic outdoor restaurants, lively bars, chic boutiques and luxury hotels. Visit 1901 Stranahan House, Fort Lauderdale's Oldest Structure Still Standing.
Visit the International Swimming Hall of Fame, take a hike or boat trip through Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, and visit the NSU Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art to see what local artists are doing. Things to do in Fort Lauderdale Gainesville is the bustling college town with the massive University of Florida campus. It is the largest city in north-central Florida, about a 90-minute drive from Jacksonville and Orlando. The city is lush and surrounded by rural land and the 21,000 acres of Paynes Prairie Wilderness at the south end of town.
There are more than 30 miles of walking and biking trails where you can watch birds, wild horses, bison or alligators. Floating on the cool spring-fed river in lush Ichetucknee Springs State Park is a city tradition. Visit the Florida Quilt Museum, Quilt Trail and Quilt Festival. Stroll through the spectacular forests and gardens of Cedar Lakes, with its waterfalls, bridges and small lakes.
Things to Do in Gainesville A major port city in Northeast Florida, at the point where St. John's River joins the Atlantic Ocean, Jacksonville is a large, modern city and a regional business center. The nearby Barrier Island and its wonderful beaches are a perfect place for swimming, diving and surfing, and the most popular are Neptune Beach and Jacksonville Beach. One of the most famous championship golf courses is the TPC Sawgrass at Ponte Vedra Beach, which is also home to the PGA Tour.
Visit Kingsley Plantation on Fort George Island to see how slaves and slave owners lived. Take the kids to Jacksonville's lush tropical zoo to see elephants up close. Visit the 16th century Forth Caroline National Monument to learn about the times when the French ruled this part of Florida. Things to Do in Jacksonville Key West is the westernmost inhabited island in the United States, a part of the coral archipelago of the Florida Keys, closer to Cuba than Miami, colorful, lively and unforgettable.
Stroll Duval Street with its bars, shops and restaurants, explore narrow streets and pastel-colored conch houses, visit the Hemingway House and Museum, dive or snorkel on spectacular reefs and enjoy, with everyone else, the daily spectacle of watching the sunset at Mallory Square, surrounded by streets artists of all kinds. Visit the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, where colorful butterflies fly freely from flower to flower. Check out the 65-foot Key West Lighthouse and enjoy views of the ocean around you. Things to Do in Key West Panama City Beach is a bustling coastal city on the Gulf of Mexico, in northwest Florida.
Its fantastic beaches and rich nightlife make it a popular destination for thousands of students during spring break. Younger children prefer the Gulf World Marine Park, where they can swim with dolphins, or the Shipwreck Island Waterpark, with its pools and water slides. Hike through Camp Helen State Park to see large quiet dunes in Phillips Inlet, take a walk on Lake Powell, and swim in the Gulf of Mexico. Take a boat tour to see the dolphins or line up at Russell-Fields Pier.
Things to Do in Panama City Beach Everglades is the largest subtropical wilderness area in the United States, a 1.5 million acre wetland located in the southernmost tip of Florida. It is a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve. The Everglades are made up of coastal mangroves, pine forests and sawgrass swamps that are home to hundreds of species of animals, some of them rare and endangered, such as the manatee, the American crocodile, the Florida panther and the leatherback turtle. The best way to experience the magic of the Everglades is to take a leisurely stroll along one of the many waterfront trails, a guided boat tour of the Ten Thousand Islands or Florida Bay, or a trolley ride through the fascinating Shark Valley.
If you're lucky and patient, you might see an alligator sunbathing on a log, as well as a deer or one of the many wading birds. Sanibel is a lush, green island in Florida's Gulf of Mexico, just a short drive from Fort Myers. The island is surrounded by magnificent beaches and is famous for its stunning sunsets, historic lighthouses and thousands of shells that provide endless entertainment to tourists who collect them as souvenirs. The best thing to do in Sanibel is absolutely nothing, at one of the many luxury resorts across the island.
If swimming, diving, boating, and watching the sunset aren't enough for you, visit J, N. Things to Do in Sanibel Sarasota is a large, modern city south of Tampa on the Gulf Coast, once famous for being the winter home of the Ringling Brothers Circus. Today, the Ringling Art Museum hosts numerous events, concerts and plays and exhibits works by former masters, as well as modern art. After spending time on the fine sands of Lido Beach and Siesta Key Beach, go see sharks, manatees, sea turtles and 100 other marine animals at the Mote Marine Laboratory.
Visit the lush tropical gardens of the Sarasota jungle and feed the free-roaming pink flamingos, the bird of the state of Florida. Attend a fascinating Ski-A-Rees waterski show in Sarasota, or rent a kayak or paddleboard and go see dolphins up close in the bay. Things to Do in Sarasota Located just north of Florida's Gulf Coast, 28 miles long St. George Island is one of Florida's last virgin inhabited islands.
The island has miles of beaches with few people to relax on the sand, crystal clear waters for swimming and wild swamps for wildlife viewing. George Island is a small, quiet beach community where skyscrapers and chain stores are not allowed. Nearly half of the island is protected in St. George Island State Park, perfect for watching sea turtles and birds, canoeing, hiking and swimming.
Fishing in the park is great. Don't miss the Cape Saint George lighthouse from 1852, the views from above are spectacular. Located on Florida's Northeast Coast, St. Augustine is known as the oldest city in the United States.
Its beautiful center is full of well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture. Another reminder of the city's Spanish past is the Castillo de San Marcos, a 17th century Spanish fortress made of stone that offers stunning views of the ocean and the St. Augustine's beaches are magnificent, with fine white sand, and the most popular are St. Hike through lush Anastasia State Park, a protected wildlife sanctuary with 4 miles of pristine beach, a nature trail through ancient dunes, estuary tidal swamp and sea hammocks.
Petersburg is located on a peninsula between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, a large modern city called Sunshine City because of its permanently pleasant climate. The city's beautiful beaches attract millions of tourists. In addition to fine sands, the city also has excellent golf courses and fishing trips. Among many excellent museums, the Dalí Museum is a must see, as is the Museum of Fine Arts and the Chihuly Collection, with some of the most beautiful glass works in the world.
Try attending a Florida Orchestra concert at the Mahaffey Theater and enjoy a stroll through the huge local market to enjoy some of the freshest and most delicious regional artisanal foods. You're reading 25 Best Places to Visit in Florida Back to Top. Located in southwest Florida, on the Gulf of Mexico, Naples is a popular tourist destination for people who are attracted by its fantastic white sand beaches. It's Key West's most popular destination, where you'll find a variety of boutiques, art galleries, outlet stores, restaurants and bars.
Florida is the perfect destination for those looking for sun, beaches, natural beauty and culture. Destin is a city in northwest Florida, in the Florida Panhandle, on a peninsula that separates the Gulf of Mexico and Choctawhatchee Bay. The city gradually became a tourist destination as Florida's initial housing boom began in the 1920s. Over time, it began to incorporate more attractions and entertainment options, making it an ideal destination for families.