It isn’t easy to put together a list of the best places to visit in Florida because there are just too many. Of course, that’s not a bad problem to have if you’ve got a month to travel. But if you don’t have that much time then we’re here to help you out.
Florida was named by Spaniard Juan Ponce De Leon who discovered its Atlantic coast in the 16th century. He called it La Florida and claimed the state for Spain. The Spanish colonized the state until the 1800s when it was transferred to the U.S. Up next, we’ve rounded up some of the best places to visit in Florida so you can plan your trip for optimum fun.
- Some attractions and destinations may be affected by COVID 19 – Please check with each place to see closures and restrictions but Florida is open for business with restaurants, museums and theme parks are open. As the US rapidly vaccinates everyone, things will constantly be changing in Florida. Check out VisitFlorida for guidance.
Best Places to visit in Florida
A visit to Tampa Bay will give you a chance to get the best of Florida, all in one region. Tampa Bay has theme parks (most notably Busch Gardens, beaches on the Gulf Coast, and is even home to the Salvador Dali Museum.
One of the most beloved parts of the greater Tampa Bay area is St. Petersburg which sits on the Gulf of Mexico. It is known as Sunshine city since it constantly breaks records for the number of consecutive days of sunshine it records every year. Visitors love St. Petersberg for its water sports as well as golfing, fishing, and the gorgeous Tampa beachfront.
If you’re not towing kiddoes around, then Miami is one of the top places to visit in Florida. It’s known for its vibrant nightlife that can have you dancing right up until dawn. The food culture is also revered for Florida’s best restaurants filling up every night. In particular, you’re going to want to try out the Latin-American fusion scene which will totally blow your foodie mind.
One of the favored destinations in Miami is Little Havana. The neighborhood was formed in the 1950s and still have a little bit of that retro feel. Here you’ll get all sorts of authentic Cuban food, fun and flavor. If you’re looking for something a little calmer then head to the chilled-out neighborhood of Coconut Grove where you can enjoy a coffee on a little Parisian-style cafe and then take a walk in Barnacle Historic State Park.
If you like pastel Instagram filters then this should be at the top of your list of places to visit in Florida. The whole area has a relaxed morning glow hue that lasts all day. Key West us is one of the Keys in the Florida Keys and some would say it is the best Florida Key.
Key West is not only the southernmost Key of the Florida Keys, but is also the southernmost part of the whole of the U.S. Here you’ll find all sorts of hot bars and restaurants mixed in between historic sites and surrounded by sand beaches. Duval Street stretches from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean and that’s not the only thing cool about it. It is where visitors to Key West go when they want to go bar hopping as it is home to more than 40 bars. There are a lot of things to do in Florida and Key West is home to some of the best and rowdiest of them all. Check out all the things to do in Key West and Islamorada Key.
There’s a lot more to Orlando than Walt Disney World, but it is probably what it’s best known for to non-locals. Besides checking out the world’s most famous theme park, you can also check out Universal Studios and get in some shopping. Orlando is also famous for having some great golf courses, which makes the city a great mix for families who want to check out the theme park and have some other adult fun too.
If you want to get a feel of what Venice, Italy is like without actually having to travel across the ocean to get there, then give Fort Lauderdale a try. The city is known for its canal system on which you can take lovely boat tours at any time of the day. Fort Lauderdale has 300 miles worth of canals and you have your choice of how you want to explore them. You have your choice of romantic gondola rides along the canal, or you can hire a water taxi to cruise you around from one place to another. Of course, if you just want to experience the whole layout of the canal system without getting into it, you can walk along the canals and have yourself a romantic picnic nearby.
If you’re a history buff, you’re definitely going to want to visit St. Augustine. It is the oldest European settlement in America and has things around the city that pay homage to that. That means you get to experience the windy roads and cobblestoned streets of Europe without actually having to leave the U.S.A.
In fact Castillo de San Marcos is one of the best places to visit in Florida if you’re a history buff. It’s an ancient fort that the Spanish built to protect Florida. Castillo de San Marcos is also a fantastic example of historic building techniques you just don’t see anymore. Once you’re all historied, you can get some surf and sun at the local beach.
There are a lot of cool manmade places to visit in Florida, but you can’t forget about all of the places Mother Nature has created. Florida has some of the most beautiful national parks in the county. If experiences are what you’re after then a visit to Florida isn’t complete without a trip to Everglades National Park, which is also a world heritage site. The Everglades National Park is an international biosphere reserve and is home to a number of endangered species including the Florida panther. Everglades National Park also offers Airboat tours so you get to see all kinds of places while cruising through the water. The park also has trails, 4WD tours and extreme sporting among a ton of other things to do.
Dry Tortugas National Park
Dry Totugas was one of the best places to visit in Florida for getting off the beaten path. Located (113km) 70 miles from Key West, it is one of the most remote national parks int he United States. Used as a fort to defend against the Spanish during the Spanish American War, Dry Tortugas was in operation from 1845 and 1876. Today the remains of the fort still remain and there are beautiful beaches with overnight camping.
- Some of the other favorite parks to visit in Florida include and Henderson Beach State Park, Biscayne National Park, and Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve.
Amusement Parks to Visit
Now over to manmade parks. If you love high speeds and thrills then you’re going to want to visit all the theme parks that Florida has to offer. And don’t assume that these amusement parks are just for kids, they’ve got rides like roller coasters and attractions that will have even the bravest of your bunch short of breath.
Disney World is probably the most well-known of Florida’s theme parks but don’t just stop there Universal Orlando Resort has the Island of Adventure containing the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You can also check out Busch Gardens, Epcot Center, Universal Studios, Legoland, and more.
Beaches to Visit
Florida beaches are some of the top places to visit in Florida. You have sand beaches all over the state and each beach has its own vibe. You can visit South Beach in Miami to see and be seen or head to West Palm Beach to whip down a slide at one of their water parks. There’s also a ton of other beaches like Miami Beach, St. Pete Beach just west of St. Petersburg, as well as Lido Beach in Sarasota.
- Other not to miss beaches are of the Palm Beaches, Panama City Beach, Delray Beach, and Clearwater Beach to name just a few.
- Panama Beach is known for good fishing as well as great scuba diving.
- St. Pete Beach is famous for amazing water sports. Water sports include wakeboarding, parasailing and a whole bunch more.
Whether you want to take a beach walk or just lay out on the beach, you have a wide selection of places in Florida that are beach friendly with a ton of things to do when you’re done just laying out.
Daytona Beach is one of our favourite places to visit in Florida. In fact, Daytona was the first trip that Dave and I ever took together way back when we first met. We hopped in Dave’s Ford Topaz and took a road trip south during Spring Break. We’ve been back plenty of times since. How can you not love it? With 23 miles of white sand, excellent hotels, and so many things to do. (coming soon) Daytona Beach is a one stop shop for vacationers.
Amelia Island is one of the best destinations in all of Florida if you like the quaint and cute. It gets more visitors than all of the other barrier islands and has won the heart of the jet set as is evident from the plethora of high-end hotels and golf clubs that dot this luxury island on the Atlantic Ocean.
If you’re looking for a fun day trip, you should check out Sanibel island. Almost of the island is covered by wildlife refuges, which gives you a chance to get up close and personal with all sorts of creatures like crocodiles. Sanibel Island also has some pretty beaches when you’re done with the wildlife.
Caladesi Island State Park
Sitting pretty in the Gulf of Mexico, Caladesi Island State Park is one of the most cleaen and pristine places in Florida. You can only get there by boat and once you get there, your only staying options are cabins or boat camping. Found by the Spanish in the 17th century, this Gulf of Mexico island still holds an old magic that has not been marred by the hands of time.
This island is full of history and yet most people know it for its its incredible Worth Avenue shopping, high-end dining and resorts for miles. You can enjoy the new stuff and old stuff alongside each other, which makes visiting this part of Florida all the more fun. You can visit the Boca Raton Historic Society Train Museum, The Inlet Lighthouse as well as Henry Flagler’s former residence which is now a museum. After all that history, treat yourself to some foodie heaven
This museum is a tourist destination for lovers of The Greatest Show on Earth. John Ringling of Ringling Brothers Circus fame was one of the most famous residents of Florida. Besides his opulent mansion, Ringling owned a lot of property in Florida. And in the 1920s he built The Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. The museum houses Ringling’s private collection as well as a whole section dedicated to the preservation of circus history. The museum is one of the best places in Florida for families to visit as it has something for everyone to learn from and enjoy.
Whether you want to just relax with a beach and shopping vacation or get active with fishing, golfing, or getting to know the state’s wildlife, you’ll find it all in Florida. The state has a distinct vibe that you can’t put your finger on, but it makes you want to stay longer and come back for more. Let us know what your favorite spots are in Florida
If you’ve ever dreamt of being an astronaut then a visit to Cape Canaveral is a must. For most of us, it’s the closest we’re going to get to launching into space. And most people who visit there’s just something different about the air there. Visitors get to check out the Kennedy Space Center where you can get a chance to meet an astronaut. You also have a chance to check out a full-scale model of the space ship Atlantis, visit the rocket garden and immerse yourself in a 4D space experience at the Imax theater. This is one of the best places to visit not just in Florida, but also in all of the US for space buffs.
The answer to this question is quite subjective, however, one of the prettiest places in all of Florida has to be St. Augustine. The reason for that is that when you visit the city, you feel as though you’ve almost stepped back into a pristine and pretty time with cobblestoned streets and ancient architecture.
There are a lot of things to do in Florida and Orlando is a great place to do them in. The reason for that is that Walt Disney World has something for everyone and outside of the theme park, you’ve got amazing golf courses, fantastic restaurants, and beautiful beaches. If it’s your first trip to Florida and you’re going with a group then this is the place you want to start out at because you’ll find something to do for everyone.
If you want to get the ‘fun in the sun’ experience without paying Miami Beach prices, you’re going to want to check out Panama City Beach or Clearwater Beach. There are also sorts of cheap activities like biking and fishing. Additionally, since they are known for their affordability, you’re going to find that you can get all sorts of tasty cuisine at a fraction of the cost you are expected to pay in the Florida Keys or Miami. In fact, Clearwater Beach is known for Pier 60, one of the most unique places in the world. You can walk along this pier for 60 feet right into the Gulf of Mexico. The views are gorgeous and it’s all free too.
Fort Myers is a great place to go for a getaway this weekend. It’s home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Florida. However, that’s not all, it is all dripping with history. Two of the most famous inventors in the world have their own museums here. You can check out Thomas Edison’s Museum and Henry Ford’s museum all in one place. Fort Myers is also known for some great fishing and shopping, which might just make it a great couple’s trip.
And these are the best places to visit in Florida. This destination packs a huge punch with so many amusement parks, state parks, beaches and cities, there is something for everyone.
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