Top Places to Visit in FloridaSarasota, Orlando-Walt Disney World, St. St. Petersburg, Florida, Key West, Naples, Miami Beach, Sanibel Island, St. When most people think of Florida, they think of the sun, theme parks, orange juice and alligators.
But this former Spanish colony, which became the 27th state to enter the Union, is much more than that. Panama City Beach, on the Florida Peninsula, offers 27 miles (43 km) of white sand beaches on the Emerald Coast. The beach is a popular destination for residents of the southern United States, as well as tens of thousands of high school and college students on spring break. It got its name because it was said that the bay in which it is located was more beautiful than the Bay of Naples in Italy.
In addition to its beautiful urban beach, nearby wildlife refuges make it a popular tourist destination. These include Everglades National Park, Florida Panther National Wildlife Reserve, and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, which has a 2.5-mile long boardwalk that winds through it. Naples also has vibrant arts and shopping districts. Sanibel Island is located right next to Fort Myers in the Gulf of Mexico.
It is connected to the mainland by a roadway. It is known as a peaceful and natural travel destination, ideal for families. Wildlife refuges occupy more than half of this long, narrow island, whose beaches are also popular as shell hunting spots. This island of less than 7,000 permanent residents may have hosted pirates in the days of yore, if local legends are to be believed.
Fort Lauderdale, no longer the spring break destination of popular imagination, is today a sophisticated cultural center with an increasingly exclusive social scene. Located in the Atlantic Ocean, about 23 miles (37 km) north of Miami Beach, it is also known as the “Venice of America” due to its extensive canal system. A popular spot with visitors is Pier 60, a long fishing pier that houses a children's playground, snack bar, and artists throughout the day. In the evening, you can buy handicrafts from local artisans.
Stroll along Beach Walk, where you'll find waterers and showers to get rid of the sand. If you come alive when the sun goes down, Clearwater Beach has a lively nightlife scene. Sarasota, Florida, is a great destination in Florida to take a vacation if you like nature, as Myakka River State Park is nearby. Other fun things to do outdoors in this area are Lido Beach and Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.
People who enjoy artistic and cultural experiences, such as visiting Sarasota because of the many concerts, plays, and art exhibits that are here. Many people choose to visit Sarasota between late February and mid-May or between mid-October and late November. The weather is absolutely pleasant during these times of the year, although crowds may be greater in early spring. 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 artists street vendors 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. Think of Palm Beaches as a quick pass to the best of Florida. A general term for cities in Palm Beach County, Palm Beaches includes places like West Palm Beach, Palm Beach, Wellington, Delray Beach, Jupiter, and Boca Raton.
The wide variety of activities available in the Palm Beaches is the region's strength. You can go shopping, surf, dive, have brunch with your puppy, watch an international polo match, relax on 47 miles of coastline, meet sea turtles in rehabilitation, take a two-night speed cruise to the Bahamas, enjoy a Broadway musical at the Kravis Center and catch a soccer ball at a game of spring training baseball. In the West, you can book airboat tours of the Everglades or get up close and personal with rhinoceroses, giraffes and zebras at Lion Country Safari, a cage-free zoo spread over 600 acres. If you're looking for a luxurious resort stay, Palm Beach and Boca Raton have everything you need.
There's nothing better than The Breakers in terms of luxury, they'll treat you like royalty, but The Colony Hotel, Eau Palm Beach and the recently reinvented The Boca Raton are all harbingers of a modern era in Palm Beach. Across the bridge, West Palm Beach has a big-city vibe without the big-city headaches due to traffic and congestion. Take the free trolley between Clematis Street, The Square and the waterfront, or head to Grandview Public Market in the up-and-coming Warehouse District. As the oldest city in the United States, St.
Augustine has had plenty of time to do it right. Settlers arrived in the middle of the 16th century and some places that still stand, such as the Fountain of Youth and the Castle of San Marcos, date back almost to that age. It's a walkable city, full of intrigue; whispers of the past swirl in every cobbled alley. Augustine, learning about the area's history (preferably through a ghost tour once darkness envelops the city) is a fact.
But there are also new additions designed to please modern explorers, such as Ice Plant for a cocktail and Alligator Farm for a perfect encounter with Florida's animals. Augustine's annual Nights of Lights at Christmas to see the city shine in the glow of three million lights. For the perfect combination of history and cozy luxury, book a stay at the adults-only Collector Luxury Inn %26 Gardens, where you can tour the gardens with the property historian and meet for expertly prepared cocktails at The Well Bar. For a taste of old-world elegance, St.
Francis Inn, built in 1791, is a bed and breakfast that perfectly captures the spirit of the city and everything it loves about cozy accommodations. Once your appetite has worked up, go to Michael's Tasting Room, The Floridian or O, C for dinner. White's, a historic restaurant in the heart of the action. Or, for something a little more casual, stop at A1A Ale Works for the best root beer of your life, served alongside a spectacular view of the Lion Bridge.
Spanning 113 miles, from Key Largo to the southernmost point of the continental United States on modern Key West, the Florida Keys are a true paradise; pick any key along the way and we guarantee you a tropical getaway without the need for a passport. Fill your itinerary with activities such as boating, diving, fishing, snorkeling on coral reefs, manual feeding of 10-foot shad at Robbie's, and overall, enjoy one of the best destinations in the world for a relaxing vacation. Key Largo has the adults-only Key Largo Bungalows, the first all-inclusive in the Keys, while Playa Largo is the perfect option for families or anyone who loves an action-packed trip; there are swimming pools, water sports such as sailing, parasailing and kayaking, and even a garden with hammocks for reading. There are also plenty of ways to enjoy adventurous and outdoor activities in Florida once you've escaped the tourist traps of Orlando.
Some distance from the Orlando area, but still in central Florida, is the Blue Grotto, a 100-foot crystal-clear cavern that is popular with divers, and also Rainbow Springs State Park, where you can float quietly down the Rainbow River in an air chamber. The slower paced and lesser-known Crystal River is a quiet, secluded town on Florida's west coast. Crystal River offers little of a culinary scene or nightlife, but it's home to Florida's most amazing natural beauty, especially for those who love being on the water. A kayak tour with Get Up And Go Kayaking is the perfect way to explore the enchanting springs of Crystal River, and visitors in winter have a good chance to paddle alongside any of the hundreds of manatees that migrate to the springs each year.
While touring Hunter Springs, Jurassic Springs, and Three Sisters Spring, you can also spot dolphins, turtles, birds and other wildlife. Nearby Plantation on Crystal River offers simple, no-frills beachfront accommodations spread over 232 acres in Kings Bay. For an even more delightful Florida vacation, head to one of the legendary live mermaid shows at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, about an hour's drive south of Crystal River (yes, making mermaids is a real job). When it comes to the best places to visit in Florida, no place is as sizzling as Miami.
It's a global city with everything you could expect in terms of good food, good hotels and fun places to party. In South Beach's Instagram-friendly Art Deco District, you'll find bubbly creativity and the kind of old and new style that keeps Miami on the map, and nearby Wynwood Walls, there's street art and towering murals galore. A little further north of Miami, bustling Fort Lauderdale is another coastal metropolis where you can spend action-packed days and nights. Ride the Ale Trail for beer and craft snacks, or hop on the water taxi to navigate the city.
It's like an over-water streetcar system, suitable for what some call the Venice of America because of Fort Lauderdale's abundant waterways. Hop off the water taxi on Las Olas Boulevard to enjoy the best shopping and dining in town. Best of all, the new and modern Brightline connects Miami to Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach in an hour or less. Tampa and its surrounding neighborhoods form a tri-urban paradise on Florida's Gulf Coast.
Ride roller coasters at Busch Gardens or head to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to meet the slippery stars of the Dolphin Tale movies. Clearwater Beach is a quiet coastal city that consistently ranks among the best beaches in Florida, if not the world. Visit during the Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival to see monstrous sand carvings in the kind of beachfront art festival that only Florida can offer, and stay at Opal Sands, half a mile from the festival beach, and each of its 230 rooms is oceanfront. In St.
Petersburg, the area is also something of an art and culture mecca that goes unnoticed, with murals and museums, including the impressive Dalí Museum. The Florida Panhandle is made up of Pensacola, Panama City Beach, Destin and Tallahassee, the capital of Florida. A popular spring break spot, the Panhandle relies heavily on tourism. Another Amelia Island attraction is Florida's oldest lighthouse, which is proud to be 67 feet tall.
Charming oceanfront cabins and inns line Amelia Island, so visitors can choose from charming accommodation. Head to historic downtown Fernandina Beach on the island for shopping or a bite to eat at the Eight Flag Island Shrimp Festival, an annual tradition dedicated to a shared love of shrimp. Cedar Key is a rural island town with lots of pastel-colored houses. Visitors can expect to stroll along secluded beaches and botanical gardens, as well as nearby natural springs for swimming and paddling.
Cedar Key is a simple place, so it goes unnoticed by Florida tourism, but it's a good spot for anyone looking for a vacation that's a little quieter than the most popular spots in the state. Naples is another gem on Florida's west coast, the area is called Paradise Coast for a reason. Romantic and luxurious, Naples is known for its beautiful white sand beaches, extensive golf courses, luxury restaurants and exclusive shops, a kind of sister city to Palm Beach, located directly across the state on Florida's east coast. If retail therapy is on the agenda (and it should be in Naples), head to Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South to lower your credit limit.
Or, if you're more into natural attractions, head to the Naples Botanical Garden, Clam Pass Park or the Naples Zoo. Art lovers will also find a lot to love at Artis Naples, a multidisciplinary organization that houses the Baker Museum and the Philharmonic of Naples, or in any of the impressive art galleries that dot the city. A trip to a national park may not be the first thing you think of when you think about visiting Florida, but the state is full of unique national parks (expect alligators and palm trees instead of bison and geysers) and Everglades National Park is its crown jewel. With 1.5 million acres of preserved wetlands on the southern tip of the Florida Peninsula, the Everglades is actually a slow-moving grassy river, comprising unique habitats such as coastal mangroves, sawgrass swamps, pine forests and more.
It is a paradise for wildlife lovers, full of alligators, snakes, fish, more than 360 different species of birds and even endangered species such as the Florida panther, the American crocodile and the West Indian manatee. For those eager to explore, trails and guided tours are available; main entrances are in Shark Valley, Florida City near Homestead and Everglades City on the Gulf Coast. Visit the park during the dry season from November to April for cooler temperatures, more active wildlife and fewer mosquitoes. From Disney World theme parks in Central Florida to the underwater paradise of the Florida Keys, there is something for everyone in the Sunshine State.
Every part of Florida has something unique to offer. We've explored the state from top to bottom and put together our list of the best places to visit to help you explore the best places to go in the Sunshine State, from popular Florida destinations to local hidden gems. South Florida's largest city is a metropolitan expanse of beautiful beaches, lively nightlife, museums and art galleries, world-class restaurants and stylish places to stay. In Miami Beach, specifically, you can find a little bit of everything to do, making it one of the best places to visit in Florida.
The most eclectic area of Miami is South Beach. The Lincoln Road Mall is great for shopping, with trendy boutiques and high-end designers mixed with surf shops and tiki bars. The Ocean Drive Art Deco District is a well-preserved 1920s architectural marvel, with beachfront bars, restaurants and nightclubs on every corner. And let's not forget the beautiful beach across the street, with its warm turquoise waters and white sand.
The city's big lights shine with tons of fun things to do, such as rooftop bars, luxurious condominiums, great restaurants, and plenty of cultural institutions to explore. The Frost Science Museum, the Pérez Art Museum and the %26 Gardens of the Vizcaya Museum, to name a few, are worth visiting. But Miami's main attribute is its position as the cultural capital not only of Florida, but also of the United States. This is a place for everyone and for everyone, from all walks of life.
Each culture has its neighborhoods, its food and its music. It's a unique combination of worldly experiences that come together in one place. If family fun at Magic Kingdom isn't your thing, Orlando still has a lot more fun things to do. The community is a true melting pot of cultures, which means you can find restaurants that serve authentic international cuisine, such as Vietnamese food and Puerto Rican dishes.
Orlando is also home to a vibrant art scene and many smaller attractions. I recommend visiting the Five Points neighborhood (and I don't use that word lightly). You'll love strolling through the antique shops, trying new food in one of the gastropubs, and sampling local beers in the bars. To go to other attractions, use the St.
Boats are always my preferred mode of transport because you don't have to drive and you get great views of the area. Also located in Tampa is one of the best theme parks to visit in Florida, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. You can't miss it when you visit Florida because it's a theme park and a fantastic zoo all rolled into one. West Palm Beach is fast becoming a luxurious cultural destination along the Atlantic coast and one of the best places to visit in Florida.
The city center has become an eclectic entertainment district with world-class restaurants, concert halls, nightclubs and upscale shopping. Across the Intracoastal Waterway are the pristine beaches of Palm Beach, lined with public parks and beachfront mansions, owned by the rich and famous. MacArthur Beach State Park for hiking trails, paddling adventures and pristine beaches. Nearby towns such as Jupiter, Delray Beach, Juno Beach and Boca Raton put the cherry on top of one of the best places to visit in Florida.
Augustine is the oldest city in the United States and one of the best places to visit in Florida. The history of the city dates back to the 16th century and you can still visit sites and admire the architecture of all centuries. Some of the city's main attractions are the oldest wooden school and the Castle of San Marcos. You can tour the fort and other sites on the Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley that operates throughout the city.
Known for its warm waters, natural scenery and pristine coral reefs, Key Largo is the best place to visit in Florida for snorkeling and diving. Tours depart daily from John Pennekamp State Park and take eager underwater explorers to colorful coral reefs teeming with life. After your boat trip, don't forget to stop at Mrs. Mac's Kitchen for (arguably) the best lime pie in the Keys.
Also known as the Sport Fishing Capital of the World, getting on board a fishing charter to fight in Mahi, Kingfish or Wahoo is a must in Islamorada. Other activities include feeding shad at Robbie's Marina, paddling to Indian Key State Park, or exploring the mangroves of Plantation Key. If you need to limit your travel to a destination in the Florida Keys, choose Key West. The southernmost point, Duval Street, Hemingway's House, sunset cruises, Smathers Beach and Fort Zachary Taylor are just a few of the small pirate town's many attractions.
Delicious fish shacks, Caribbean-style cuisine, and lively bars are spread all over the island, and make Key West one of those places to go in Florida that's worthy of your bucket list. Gulf Coast barrier islands near Sarasota include Lido Key, Siesta Key, Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island. It can be said that Siesta Key is the most popular of the islands thanks to its extensive beaches. Siesta Key Village is located north of the public beach and is an idyllic strip of cafes, beach shops and bars with holes in the wall.
While Siesta Key is a fabulous beach to visit in Florida, I prefer to hang out in places that are a little less popular. I recommend Lido Beach to my friends and family because the island is less crowded and more relaxed. Sarasota sits on the water and is one of the best places to go in Florida if you want a place that combines the laid-back philosophy of a coastal city with the hustle and bustle of a big city. The city center is equipped with many sidewalks, making the city extremely walkable.
There are new artisan restaurants and cafes that are constantly opening. Daytona Beach is one of the best beaches in the Atlantic Ocean and rightly calls itself the “most famous beach in the world”. While it's no longer the hot spot of spring break like it used to be, the city maintains the laid-back vibe that the coast is known for. The waterfront and pier are the central axis of the area, housing attractions, restaurants and shops.
Nascar fans are sure to be familiar with the Daytona International Speedway and the many races held there throughout the year. The venue also hosts concerts and other events. When most people hear Cape Canaveral, they think of the Kennedy Space Center. This historic spot is the site of numerous rocket launches throughout the year and, without a doubt, is one of the best places in Florida to visit.
The Visitor Center welcomes guests to learn about the history of space travel, meet a true astronaut, and tour the facilities grounds. Canaveral is also home to one of Florida's most popular cruise ports. Cruise lines such as Disney and Royal Caribbean operate out of the port, which is the closest port to Orlando and the theme parks. Because NASA wants privacy around the space center, much of Canaveral is considered protected wildlife areas, such as the Canaveral National Coast.
The area along Florida's Atlantic coast is a necessary refuge for Florida's native wildlife. Cocoa Beach is one of the best places to visit in Florida to experience the energy of the Sunshine State. For me, getting on a board and riding the waves to the beach is better than Disney World or any of the amusement parks. Cocoa Beach has never tried to get away from the vibes of being a real beach town.
From Ron Jon Surf Shop to the old Florida motels, this area welcomes you to relax and enjoy the sun and sand in one of Florida's best vacation spots. Rainbow River and the Rainbow Springs State Park springs are located west of Ocala, Central Florida. This area is a hidden gem in Florida, loved by locals, but rarely found on “best places to visit in Florida” lists for visitors. I think the best thing about Blue Spring State Park is that you have completely different experiences in summer and winter.
During the hot summers, splash in the springs to cool off. You'll always see children competing for who can dive deeper into the spring head. In winter, constant 72-degree water becomes a warm home for manatees. As ocean temperatures drop, these gentle giants move inland through.
Swimming is not allowed during manatee season, but you can get a fantastic view of Florida's marine mammals from the extensive boardwalks. Tallahassee is the capital of the Sunshine State, but the natural spaces preserve the true beauty of the area. Parks, such as Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park, offer miles of walking trails through forests, gardens and near waterways. As a die-hard Florida Gator fan, it pains me to admit that Florida State University has a great campus.
Stroll along the sprawling greens surrounded by red brick buildings. Don't forget to stop by Westcott Fountain, a favorite photo spot for graduating students. The Florida Panhandle is the most popular beach destination for those who live in the southern United States and many who come from the Midwest, too. It is known for its emerald waters, moderate temperatures and a pristine natural environment.
One of Florida's best beaches in the panhandle is in Pensacola, along Santa Rosa Island. Most of Pensacola Beach is under the protection of the Gulf Islands national coastline, and as a result, these preserved stretches of sand are among the most beautiful in the state. Other area attractions include Fort Pickens, a Civil War-era stronghold overlooking Pensacola Bay, and the infamous Flora-Bama roadhouse. The Emerald Coast continues along the Gulf of Mexico to the popular tourist destination of Destin.
The whole city revolves around beach vacationers with surf shops, quirky restaurants, fantastic seafood and beautiful parks and beaches scattered throughout the area. Henderson Beach State Park is the best in the bunch, it's even on our list of the best beaches in Florida. Panama City Beach's long-standing reputation as a college spring break destination has dissipated over the years. Today, it's one of Florida's best vacation spots to enjoy a family atmosphere.
Panama City Beach offers many things to do, such as watching marine life at Gulf World Marine Park, camping at St Andrew's State Park, Shipwreck Island Water Park, or swimming in freshwater springs. Outside of downtown and the University of Florida campus, you can find some of the best places to visit in Florida. Just south of Gainesville is Paynes Prairie State Park, where you can see wild horses and bison roaming the flat landscape. The geological sites of Devil's Millhopper and Devil's Den are also nearby.
Las Olas Boulevard is a great place to stay in Fort Lauderdale. It is the center of action in the center of the city and extends east before ending on the sandy shores of Fort Lauderdale Beach. Nature lovers can find snorkeling, fishing and diving trips that depart daily from the Bahia Mar Yachting Center. Or at the very least, hop on one of the many boat trips to enjoy the more than 300 miles of waterways around the city (I recommend the water taxi for a great sightseeing tour of the city).
Located in the subtropical region of Southwest Florida is Naples. And with a nickname like Paradise Coast, it's no secret what awaits you along its shores. The waters are a resplendent blue. And sunsets are an explosive mix of colors.
St Pete is located just across Tampa Bay. The atmosphere is a mix of beach town and young professionals. You can admire the fine art in museums such as El Dalí or admire the larger-than-life murals painted all over the city. A short drive along the intercoast will take you to St Pete Beach, known for its soft white sand beaches.
Even if you don't want to pay the high nightly rate, you can see the iconic and very pink Don CeSar in St Pete Beach. Fort De Soto Park is located on the South Island and is one of the best vacation spots in Florida for camping, fishing and hiking. Clearwater Beach is home to soft, sugar-white sand and vibrant blue waters along the Gulf Coast. This is one of the best places to visit if you want to relax on the beach for a few days.
Clearwater Beach has plenty of restaurants within walking distance of major hotels and rental homes, so you'll never have to leave the area. For fans of the Dolphin Tale movie, be sure to visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which is a short drive from Clearwater Beach. You can meet Winter, the star of the film, along with other animals that appear in the film. Along the Atlantic Ocean, you'll find numerous vacation homes, motels, and condos, but the area never seems to feel as busy as other beach towns.
Add in the southern charm of North Florida and you have one of the best places to vacation in Florida. Southwest Florida's white sand beaches are Florida's ideal destination for families looking for a Gulf Coast getaway. Fort Myers Beach is a small epicenter of tiki bars, tourist shops, and seafood shacks. Across the Sanibel Causeway is Sanibel Island, a historic stretch of natural Florida located in the state's bluest waters.
For the ultimate in solitude, head to the remote island of Saint George in the Apalachicola region of the Florida strip. This is the best place to visit in Florida for those looking for a full immersion in unspoiled nature. Specifically, St George Island State Park is one of the last natural barrier islands in the state with bike trails, nature trails and paddling waterways. The pristine beach continues with no end in sight and the surrounding small towns provide the charm of old Florida with a touch of Southern hospitality.
No matter which of these top Florida destinations you choose to visit, we know you'll enjoy your getaway to the Sunshine State. Katie Lusnia grew up in the Florida sun. She is now on a mission to explore the state with her husband and young son. He loves finding farm-to-table food and exploring an area through local cuisine and nature.
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. 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). Centrally located and dotted with stunning lakes and white sand shores, Orlando is located in the northeast area of Tampa, Florida. Florida's parks are spectacular, from the world-class Everglades to the underwater paradise of Biscayne National Park, Florida.
Choosing a Florida vacation is the first step to discovering everything this sunny destination has to offer. Located between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, Florida is one of the most loved vacation destinations in the world. Petersburg, known as the “City of the Sun”, is one of the best places to relax and sunbathe on your next Florida vacation. From beaches and attractions to resorts and accommodations, there are many things to consider when planning the perfect Florida vacation.
Orlando offers plenty of cultural and historical sites, beaches and water sports, and attractions and theme parks to make your Florida vacation memorable. Amelia Island is one of the best places to visit in Florida for a relaxing beach vacation, away from the noise and hustle and bustle of the busiest places. Known for being one of the best vacation spots in the world, The Kampong is technically one of five gardens that make up a huge national botanical garden, but this garden is the only one located in Florida, while the rest reside in Hawaii. Destin is a city in northwest Florida, in the Florida Panhandle, on a peninsula that separates the Gulf of Mexico and Choctawhatchee Bay.
Relax, unwind and enjoy everything Lake Wales has to offer on your next vacation in one of Florida's most relaxing spots. Hotels, restaurants, and resorts line the sand, and its small-town aesthetic makes it a great, quieter vacation spot in Florida. . .