With more than 1,200 miles of sandy shorelines, 1,250 golf courses and dozens of theme parks, Florida welcomes more than 75,000,000 people each year. Are you surprised? Whether you want to do everything or nothing at all, Florida is the place to be. With sunny weather year-round and warm temperatures that serve as an escape from harsh winters up north, the Sunshine State is kids’ and adults’ favorite getaway destination.
While Walt Disney World may be the most beloved theme park in the world, there are plenty of other attractions in Florida beyond Mickey and Minnie. If you’re in the mood for a thrilling experience, but you also want to see some wildlife, there’s no better place in the Sunshine State than Busch Gardens. This park, located in Tampa, features roller coasters as well as tram rides that give you a sneak peak at some unique species. Other theme parks to add to your must-do list include Universal Studios, SeaWorld Adventure Park and Islands of Adventure.
The Florida Everglades are the only subtropical nature preserve in North America. The unique mangrove borders the 10,000 Islands and the Gulf of Mexico, making it one of the finest places in the country to view wildlife. Here you can hop in an airboat and cruise along the water's surface, bicycle or hike through the trails, or even venture on an airplane ride to get a whole new vantage point. In the Everglades you can go fishing, birdwatching, kayaking and more.
Many people come to Florida to dig their toes into the sand and relax to the calming sounds of the waves. But not all beaches are created equally. If you are looking for a lively beach to make new friends and have a good time, check out places like Fort Myers Beach, Panama City Beach and Daytona Beach. If you’re more in the mood to sit back and take in the scenery,
, Naples and Key West may be more your speed.
If you like to beat the crowds, stick to the low-key destinations that host small-town events and festivals, or head to smaller outdoors attractions like Falling Waters State Park, Silver Springs Theme Park or Orange Blossom Festival.
Things to Do
Whether you’re a science nerd or don’t know the difference between an atom and a neutron, the Kennedy Space Center is a truly fascinating place to visit. You can even head to the beautiful shorelines of Cape Canaveral and watch as a space shuttle launches into the great unknown. While you won’t be front and center for blast off, you can see and hear it clearly from the beaches.
Florida is the home of the most famous stock car racing track on the circuit: Daytona International Speedway. Whether or not you are into the high speeds and quick turns of NASCAR racing, this speedway is a sight to see. But there are plenty more sporting attractions in Florida than the race track. After all, the famous Gators from the University of Florida take the field here, and football games in the fall are unlike any other. Or why not grab tickets for a game to see the Miami Heat, Florida Panthers, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Florida Marlins in action.
Planning your trip around an annual event can be a great way to get in touch with local culture, but it also can just be an excuse to explore a new place. Events like the Ultra Music Festival, Fantasy Fest, the Florida State Fair, Epcot Food and Wine Festival, Florida Film Festival, Jacksonville Jazz Festival and Key West Race Week are just a few of the visit-worthy gatherings that will make your trip truly special.
Top Restaurants and Shopping
There’s plenty of shopping in Florida where you can open up your wallet, including open air flea markets, pedestrian malls and factory outlets. For those who like the finer things in life, head to Lincoln Road in Miami’s South Beach area or the Mall at Millenia in Orlando. If you’re looking for a place to find a good deal, head over to the Sanford Flea World, 192 Flea Market or Opa Locka Hialeah Flea Market.
Florida is also getting increasingly recognized for its culinary innovation, especially in areas like Miami Beach and Tampa. Some of the top restaurants around the state include Grille One Sixteen in South Tampa, Fly Bar & Restaurant in Tampa, The Bazaar in South Beach and Buccan in Palm Beach. There are also quite a few world class restaurants in
Florida may be known for its coastline, but there are plenty more things to do that can make your trip a once in a lifetime getaway. No matter when you’re traveling to Florida make sure to plan for bad weather, because although it’s called the Sunshine State, it
nearly every day in the summer here. Luckily, the storms tend to pass through in a jiff.