Best Places to Visit in Florida
Florida is one of the most flamboyant and vibrant tourist destinations in the US. You will find world-famous theme parks and beaches, glitzy nightlife, and vintage and historic landmarks. Florida is nicknamed the Sunshine State, and just so as it conjures up images of sun-kissed beaches and tropical skies. There is a distinct flavor of the Caribbean and Latin American cultures in Florida, and you can make a week-long short vacation to a two-week holiday plan when visiting Florida. So this is all for you folks who are searching for what are the best places to visit in Florida. Here is a Florida travel guide that covers top things to do and best tourist spots of Florida:
Everglades National Park
The marshes and swamps of Everglades National Park are home to alligators, panthers, manatees, and rare species like leatherback turtles. There are paddling trails and waterways, where you can bring your own kayak or canoe, or rent one and glide through the mangrove forests to see wildlife from close range. You can also explore Everglades through hiking trails like Anhinga Trail, or go on paved paths and elevated boardwalks to explore the interiors parts of the Everglades National Park. You can also go on biking on Long Pine Nature Trail, and camp overnight on camping grounds like Flamingo or Long Pine Key. You can understand Everglades better if you take tour guides with you.
The best thing to do in Sanibel Island is to collect seashells at Bowman’s Beach, but if you are interested in natural history about shells, then you can visit the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum and discover interesting facts about seashells. Sanibel Island is a barrier island in Florida and is connected with mainland Florida by Sanibel Causeway. You can dive deep into the underwater, or paddle a boat. Charter cruises offer more luxury, but beaches like Turner Beach and Gulfside City Park Beach are best for relaxation and long beach walks. J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge has spectacular wildlife, and you can explore this wildlife refuge through an open-air tram or hiking trails.
In this city, there is everything to do from visiting heritage buildings to indulging in dining, shopping, and adventures. Beaches like Las Olas Beach has exciting water sports and promenades full of shops, restaurants, bars, boutique hotels. Stranahan House Museum is a centuries-old heritage building, and there are museums like the Museum of Discovery and Science to explore history. Cruising on a riverboat and exploring the canals, watching flamingos in the Flamingo Gardens, or the butterflies in the Butterfly World are the best things to do in Fort Auderdale.
Kennedy Space Center
Just an hour-long drive from Orlando will take you to Kennedy Space Center. This is where NASA’s space rockets fly off to missions in space, and this is also one of the best places to visit in Florida. There are so many exciting things to do here like chat with an actual astronaut, or going on a bus tour around to see launch pads. You can learn what it is to be like to be a real astronaut in the Astronaut Training Simulator, and experience the thrills of launch in Shuttle Launch Experience. But the real fun is viewing Space Shuttle Atlantis and Saturn V Rocket from close range.
Walt Disney World
At Walt Disney World, you can take a selfie with your favorite cartoon characters, and enjoy thrilling rides at Pirates of the Caribbean. There is endless fun and entertainment at Walt Disney World, and this is undoubtedly one of the best tourist spots of Florida. You can dine in some of the best restaurants, enjoy Kilimanjaro Safari at the Magic Kingdom, go on a rollercoaster ride, and go on a jungle safari in Animal Kingdom and watch live-action stage shows. You can stay at hotels and have a full family adventure in Walt Disney World.
Geographically speaking, Key West is the southernmost tip of the USA, and you can actually reach the place – Southernmost Point. Here you can do snorkeling or sail on a boat. The pace of life is more relaxed and there is a Caribbean flavor to this island. The most famous American writer Ernest Hemingway lived here, and his house is now converted into a museum. You can shop and dine in Duval Street, or enjoy live musical shows at Malory Square. You can watch sharks at Key West Aquarium, or watch butterflies in the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory.
One of the best cities and top places to visit in Florida, Miami, is famous for its sizzling nightlife and Latin culture. One of the best attractions in Miami is Miami Beach, and you can just sit on the sand and admire the sunsets or watch the art deco buildings nearby. Zoo Miami is a top attraction where you can watch wild animals. You can get hands-on experience of various exhibits at Miami Science Museum, or watch killer whales and dolphin shows at Miami Sea Aquarium. Little Havana has the typical idyllic setting with its many shops, restaurants, open area cultural shows, and Latin music.
Dry Tortugas National Park
One of the most exciting things about Dry Tortugas National Park is that you have to come here only through a ferry ride or a seaplane. But once you arrive here, the adventure begins immediately. You can explore Fort Jefferson, and its eerie fortifications, which by the way, is the largest brick structure in the entire US. You get the best diving sites here in Dry Tortugas National Park, and if you want to enjoy more beach adventures, you can actually pitch a tent and stay on the beach. Dry Tortugas National Park is best for bird watching, and spot a Frigate Bird or Sooty Terns.
If you want to feel the chills of a roller coaster ride with Hollywood movie themes then there is every reason to visit Universal Studios in Florida. The rides here are designed with themes like Harry Potter or Spiderman. There are roller coasters, virtual simulations, water rides, slides. You have such exciting rides like Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, Revenge of the Mummy, Jurassic World Velocicoaster, and Men in Black Alien Attack. You can eat and grab a snack at the many restaurants here.
Amelia Island is for those who want a quaint and tranquil vacation in the company of beaches. You can take a paddleboat and ride the waves, or try catching a fish. Fernandina Beach has heritage buildings with Victorian architecture. You can visit the 19th-century fort at Fort Clinch State Park and go on hiking trails here to explore the area. At Amelia Island Museum of History, you can see various interactive exhibits and learn about the life of prisoners and jails. There is much B&Bs accommodation available here and stay while you head out outdoors for exciting activities.
Among the best places to see in Florida is St. Augustine. This is also one of the oldest cities and unique tourist attractions of Florida and you can see the French and Spanish influence in the architecture of many buildings. You can visit heritage places like Castillo de San Marcos, the Spanish fortress, or climb a historic lighthouse. You will love to visit museums like St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum. Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park is a fascinating museum, where you can drink from the spring waters of the Fountain of Youth or watching a cannon fire demonstration.
Apalachicola National Forest
Here at Apalachicola National Forest, you will see the wild outdoors and raw nature at its pristine and untouched version. Apalachicola National Forest is one of the best places to visit in Florida for nature lovers. It has swamps, lakes, pine and cypress forests, marshlands, and wildlife. You can pitch a tent at any of the camping grounds like Camel Lake or Porter Lake. Feel like swimming? Yes, you can do so in many lakes here. You can go on a hike on the many well-marked trails and spot wild animals and birds. There are waterways on which you can go kayaking or canoeing.
St. Petersburg has one of the best beaches in Florida like Fort De Soto Beach or St Pete Beach. The downtown area is full of exciting shopping and nightlife spots. Art lovers will love St. Petersburg for its many museums like the Dali Museum or the Museum of Fine Arts. Sunken Gardens is a botanical garden with many exotic plants and flowers. Kenwood is a historic neighborhood with old buildings and century-old trees. And if you know how to catch a fish with your fishing hooks then head to Sunshine Skyway Bridge. You can have a day trip to Weedon Island Preserve and see the wildlife, or you can go hiking into the mangrove forests.
Caladesi Island State Park
Among the many wild spaces in Florida is Caladesi Island State Park. You have to catch a ferry, boat to reach Caladesi Island. Here, at Caladesi Island State Park, there are marshes and swampy lands, where you can take a kayak and explore on your own. There are hiking trails on which you can explore the virgin vegetation, woods, and wildlife of this park. The beaches on Caladesi Island have many seashells which you can collect and take home as souvenirs. This is the best place for swimming and beach activities, minus all the crowds.
The Florida Keys is a chain of barrier islands and these are made up of several islands. They stretch for 120 miles and are best for underwater adventure activities like snorkeling and deep-sea diving. These islands are connected with the mainland through bridges, which are spectacular themselves. Islands such as Key Largo, Marathon, Islamorada, have some accommodation facilities like lodges, and the most famous of these and the last of this archipelago is Key West. The seas are rich in coral reefs and marine life, and here you can also see the underwater Christ of the Abyss statue.
When it comes to special places to visit in Florida, or thinking of unique things to do in Florida, then Tampa might be the answer to both these questions. Here you will enjoy everything from museums and flea markets to nightlife and beaches. Busch Gardens Tampa is an amusement park with water rides and a zoo. Take a quiet stroll on Tampa Riverwalk or visit one of the many museums. Downtown Tampa is an exciting place with rooftop bars and streetcars. You can visit the Indian Temple of Florida or the woodlands of Lettuce Lake Regional Park.
Naples is a small town and one of the best places to visit in Florida. You will see luxurious homes, upscale shopping districts, golf courses, and 5-star luxury hotels. Naples has many attractions like Naples Botanical Gardens, Naples Zoo. There are unique museums like The Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples and Collier County Museum. Naples Pier is best for casual strolls, and if you love outdoor and wild spaces, then you can visit Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary or Crayton Cove where you can go on cruise tours or enjoy dinner by the sunset.
This city of Florida has some of the best entertainment, and if you want fun and thrill, then there is no place like Orlando. You will find the most famous theme parks in the US in Orlando. Walt Disney World and Universal Studios are in Orlando, as also others like SeaWorld Orlando, Discovery Cove, etc. Orlando is best as it is close to many of the top tourist attractions in Florida, including Kennedy Space Center and Everglades National Park. You can sail on a speed boat at beaches like Clearwater Beach or go on theme rides at Legoland Florida.
Pensacola is one of the best Florida tourist attractions and here you can visit beaches or historical attractions. It has historic buildings, museums in Pensacola Historic Village. You can visit Fort Barrancas, which is massive, and hike around its trails. You’ll be able to walk on white sandy beaches on Gulf Islands National Seashore and go kayaking in the blue seas. The National Naval Aviation Museum is where you see fighter airplanes, maps, photographs, and other memorabilia about airplanes and aviation.
What’s next waiting for you?
Now you know where to go and what to do in Florida, you can plan your travel with utmost enthusiasm. The above Florida travel guide covers everything from tourist attractions and top things to do in Florida. If you are looking for best places to visit near Florida then don’t forget to check our other travel guides.