Few states offer the same eclectic sites and activities as Florida. From amusement parks to art museums to luxurious beaches and hikes through the jungle, this state offers something for everyone. The trick is knowing where to look. Lucky for you, this article will outline thirteen of the most sought-after locations that you should consider including on your destination bucket list. Keep reading for 13 Florida destinations you don’t want to miss!
St. Augustine, Florida
Number one on the list: St. Augustine, Florida. Known for rich Spanish colonial history and beautiful beaches, this city offers a variety of activities for the average visitor. If you are a history buff, consider a visit to Castillo de San Marcos, a historically rich site dating back to the 17th century. Castillo de San Marcos boasts beautiful Spanish architecture and fantastical stories of battles between the Spanish and the British. If you enjoy museums, Ripley’s Believe It or Not and Potter’s Wax Museum offer one-of-a-kind experiences. Multiple pirate and shipwreck museums can teach you about how life was when pirates ruled the open waters.
Miami Beach, Florida
Of course, you cannot make a list of places to visit in Florida without including Miami Beach as a destination. Known as one of the top places to enjoy the nightlife in America. This island stretches over ten miles and can be accessed via a bridge from downtown Miami. Boasting an atmosphere worthy of the attention of models and celebrities, the island offers everything from family-friendly water activities to affordable eateries and high-end destinations. This beach has proximity to luxurious resorts and impressive five-star dining as well. Several hotels dot the area, including Miami Gardens Inn & Suites, making it relatively easy to find a place locally to stay.
Busch Gardens, Florida
Famous for its ranking among the top 10 amusement parks in America, Busch Gardens has every typical amusement park ride. Rides include top-rated roller coasters, in addition to being the home for over 300 species of animals. Located in Tampa, Florida, we invite you to come for the safari animals, but stay for the coasters!
If you are on the hunt for an activity that will have something for the whole family, look no further than Legoland. Located in between Tampa and Orlando, Legoland offers over 50 different Lego-themed rides and activities. For younger children who may not appreciate the rides, stations allow customers to build their own custom Lego creations or snap a selfie with their favorite Lego character. Regardless of age, this attraction is sure to keep everyone in the family entertained.
Again, you cannot make a list of Florida destinations without including Orlando. This city is a high-traffic tourist destination for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost, Orlando has two of the country’s biggest amusement parks: Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. While on the pricier side, these two parks make up a large portion of the city’s annual tourist traffic. For many children who cannot afford such activities, social fundraising steps in to provide these children with this incredible experience. Orlando also offers educational but fun attractions geared toward school-aged children, such as WonderWorks and Discovery Cove. For those who are future astronauts, the Kennedy Space Center might grab your attention. And for the animal enthusiasts, be sure to visit Gatorland for some amazing up-close encounters with some of the world’s deadliest reptiles.
Everglades National Park, Florida
Located in the southernmost part of Florida, Everglades National Park encompasses over 1.5 million acres of subtropical wetlands. It also houses hundreds of animal species, including the manatee and crocodile. If you are willing to brave the humid heat, the Everglades offers many activities through the forest like boat tours, hikes, and tram rides. This national park is a fantastic way to get out of the house and enjoy nature in a special way.
Salvador Dali Art Museum
If you are hoping to escape the Florida heat with an indoor activity, consider visiting the Dali Art Museum located in St. Petersburg. A relatively new attraction, this museum houses much of Salvador Dali’s famous artwork collection. Artwork includes The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus and other paintings and masterpieces.
Also known as Rock Gate Park, Coral Castle is one of Florida’s oddest sites. Built in the early 1920s by a broken-hearted Latvian, this beautiful structure was meant as an homage to his former love. As the creator, Edward Leedskalnin, kept very much to himself during the construction process. The castle was built without the use of heavy machinery or other assistance, so mystery and tall-tale legends surround the story of how this site was built. Over 1,000 tons of coral rock were carefully carved and situated in a particular manner to create the site that can be visited today. To this day, no one is sure how it was created.
Daytona National Speedway
Arguably one of the most famous locations in NASCAR sports history, the Daytona National Speedway holds the annual Daytona 500 every February. If you are visiting during the off-season, be sure to check for an activity schedule as concerts, festivals, and tours are often held at the track as well. Additionally, once you complete your visit there, don’t forget that beautiful Daytona Beach is just a short drive away.
Another fan-favorite, Destin, Florida has arguably one of the east coast’s most beautiful white-sand beaches. Located in the panhandle of Florida, Destin began as a simple fishing village as the waters were filled with fish. Nowadays, the community has spread to encompass many more residents and thousands of tourists every year. Visitors are drawn to catch rays on the beach, enjoy fishing, and take a shot at the breathtaking golf courses. Additionally, if you are looking for a way to cool off, be sure to visit the Big Kahuna Water Park.
For the daredevils, you may want to try scuba diving in Florida’s subterranean river at Devil’s Den. This cave collapsed inward to expose the river water below. This allows adventurers the opportunity to swim in its balmy waters. However, be advised that this location is a private training facility. If admitted inside, you will have to sign a liability waiver as this attraction is fairly dangerous to the novice diver.
Fort Meyers, Florida
If you are hoping to find a location that offers a wide variety of activities for the kids while also providing quiet time for Mom and Dad. Perhaps Fort Meyers is the destination for you. Originally home to a stronghold used during the 1800s. Fort Meyers is now a barrier island that stretches over seven miles long offering a plethora of activities in a wide price range. Enjoy dolphin tours, boating, snorkeling in the clear blue waters, or relaxing on the white sugar-sand beach. Alternatively, visit the Imaginarium Science Center for some hands-on science education.
Southernmost Point of the Continental U.S.
Finally, for a fun photo, visit the “southernmost point of the continental United States” located in Key West, Florida, just 90 miles from Cuba. While Hawaii extends further south than this point, this monument in Key West has quickly become a tourist attraction as gift shops, cafes, and bars have been built around the area.
In conclusion, while the state is a rather large one, you can find something worth visiting in almost any part of Florida. From art museums and amusement parks to historical sites and fantastical beaches, there is something here for everyone.