A bicycle left on a beach in Sanibel Island, Florida

Things to do in  Florida

Here comes the sunshine

There’s more to this panhandle US state than just Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom. An airboat experience in the Everglades showcases one of the world’s largest wetlands, the powdery sand beaches on the Gulf of Mexico offer the perfect getaway, and a walking tour of Miami’s vibrant food scene lets travelers in on some of the eclectic elements that make up Florida’s spirit. From Kennedy Space Center to the string of islands that make up the Florida Keys to, yes, Orlando’s ubiquitous theme parks, the Sunshine State mixes outdoor adventure, diverse culture, and family fun to form an all-in-one destination that delights all ages.

Top 15 attractions in Florida

Bayside Marketplace

Bayside Marketplace, a vibrant waterfront mall in downtown Miami—and the city’s most-visited attraction—sits above Biscayne Bay and features many shopping, dining, and entertainment options. The open-air market has more than 100 shops ranging from apparel to bath products to electronics, and often live performers are on hand to keep shoppers entertained.More

Fort Lauderdale Beachfront

Thanks to more than 23 miles (37 kilometers) of pristine sand, visitors to the Fort Lauderdale beachfront are spoiled for choice when it comes to water sports and sunbathing spots. Spend the day swimming, windsurfing, deep-sea fishing, or more—or stay on land playing volleyball, jogging, or just kicking back in a lounge chair.More

Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge

If you've ever dreamt of swimming with manatees in their natural habitat, Florida’s Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge is where to go. Established in 1983, the 177-acre (71-hectare) refuge is home to America’s largest concentration of the gentle giants. West Indian Manatees flock to the more than 70 turquoise-colored springs in Crystal River for warmth during winter. With hundreds of manatees in a small area, sightings are frequent.More

Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale

Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale is a linear public park located by the New River in the historic downtown district of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Its tropical landscaping and winding pathways link some of the city’s best attractions.More

Mallory Square

Overflowing with Key West quirkiness, Mallory Square draws a crowd at sunset thanks to its many restaurants, street performers, and daily Sunset Celebration. During the day, visitors come for some of Key West’s best shopping and to admire the open-air sculpture garden, which pays tribute to famous local residents.More

Little Havana

Vibrant Cuban culture permeates every aspect of the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami, Florida—you’ll find it in the colorful murals, the monuments to heroes past and present, the residents facing off in the domino park as they discuss politics, and in the cigar rollers at work amidst the ever-present aroma of Cuban coffee.More

Intracoastal Waterway Fort Lauderdale

Stretching 3,000 miles (4,800 kilometers) between the United States' Atlantic and Gulf coasts, Fort Lauderdale's Intracoastal Waterway provides easy access to maritime activities and on-shore attractions along the 300 miles (483 kilometers) of inland canals that wind through south Florida's unmistakable sky-high resorts and Everglades ecosystem.More

Kennedy Space Center

The Kennedy Space Center has been hurtling humans and shuttles into space since 1968 and is still a primary site for NASA launches. Parts of the sprawling campus are open to the public with daily tours offering opportunities to interact with real astronauts, test your skills with a simulated space flight, and see artifacts from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs.More

Las Olas Boulevard

You can spend a full day strolling up and down this eclectic South Florida district, which is filled with art galleries, boutiques, and al fresco dining options. The 10 blocks that span all the way to the ocean are lined with palm trees and Mediterranean architecture, and set the stage for a relaxing day or night in Fort Lauderdale.More

Sand Key Park

Beach-loving families (and anyone else looking for accessible white sands with great wildlife-watching opportunities) can find it at Clearwater’s Sand Key Park. Situated on the northern end of the barrier island Sand Key, this small park boasts ample amenities, including a playground, bathrooms, and lifeguards during the summer season. On the Gulf of Mexico side, visitors can find a wide, welcoming white sand beach where sea turtles sometimes lay their eggs. The park also includes a salt marsh where birdwatchers can spot herons, roseate spoonbills and great horned owls, among many other bird species. Beach loungers and water sports fans can find equipment rentals on-site—everything from cabanas and beach umbrellas to kayaks and bicycles.More

Historic Stranahan House Museum

The Historic Stranahan House Museum is the oldest surviving structure in Fort Lauderdale. It was built in 1902 as a trading post by Frank Stranahan, the founder of the city, and used by Stranahan’s wife, Ivy, as a school house. Over the decades it has also served as a post office, community center, and town hall. Today it’s a historic attraction that’s open daily for guided tours.More

Fisher Island

An exclusive home to the rich and famous, Fisher Island is located 3 miles (5 kilometers off the coast from Miami. The mansions, apartments, and yachts docked in the marina are owned by some of Florida’s wealthiest citizens. No roads or bridges lead to the island; it is accessible only by ferry or private invitation. There is a golf course and two hotels on the island.More

Coconut Grove

One of the first established neighborhoods in Miami, Coconut Grove melds an eclectic history with a modern vibe, creating a historic, hipster hub for food, art, and culture. From its idyllic waterfront on Biscayne Bay to quaint walking streets lined with boutiques and cafés, the village is the perfect laid-back base for a Miami vacation.More

Clearwater Beach

With expansive white-sand beaches and warm, turquoise waters, Florida's Clearwater Beach, a waterfront community on the Gulf of Mexico, is an ideal launching pad for kayaking, parasailing, boating, and biking. It’s known as being more low-key than its southern neighbor, the bustling St. Pete Beach, and many consider Clearwater Beach to be among the best beaches in America.More

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Encompassing 2,900 square miles (4,667 square kilometers, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protects an underwater world that’s home to the world’s third-largest barrier reef and more than 6,000 marine life species. Plus, several shipwrecks pay homage to the maritime heritage of the Atlantic.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Florida

Little Havana Food and Walking Tour in Miami
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Key West Sunset Sail with Full Bar, Live Music & Hors D'oeuvres
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Miami Sunset Cocktail Cruise

Miami Sunset Cocktail Cruise

Shark and Wildlife Viewing Adventure in Key West
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Half-Day Cruise from Key West with Kayaking and Snorkeling
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Half-Day Cruise from Key West with Kayaking and Snorkeling

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Key West Sunset Dinner Cruise with Tropical Buffet Dinner
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ATV Night Activity in Miami

ATV Night Activity in Miami

Key West Dolphin Watch Sunset Sail with Premium Wine, and Tapas Pairings
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All about Florida

When to visit

The Sunshine State is—you guessed it—quite sunny year-round. Summer is undoubtedly the most popular time to visit, though snowbirds and locals love the cool(er) weather winter brings. The shoulder seasons are ideal for most visitors. Spring brings outdoor fun like SunFest in the south and the Interstate Mullet Toss in the Panhandle. Fall is just as wonderful (hurricanes permitting), as manatees start arriving in Silver Springs State Park and international boat shows fill the waters.

Getting around

No doubt about it: You need a car to get around Florida. Interstates 4, 10, 75, and 95 act as arteries connecting cities like Miami to St. Augustine, Tampa to Orlando, Naples to Fort Lauderdale, and Pensacola to Jacksonville. Intercity travel varies; most cities have extensive bus routes and ridesharing is always an option. With flat roads and a beach never more than 60 miles away, you’ll be thankful for the flexibility—and air conditioning—a rental car provides.

Traveler tips

Florida’s theme parks and beaches are the major draw, but this state is so much more than its main attractions. Venture into the interior of the Panhandle and get lost in natural bliss in places like the Apalachicola National Forest and Winter Haven Chain of Lakes. Plan your itinerary with history in mind, too. Two of the country’s first incorporated African-American cities were founded in what’s now Sanford and Eatonville, and they’ve got the Southern and soul food to prove it.

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People Also Ask

What is Florida known for?

Florida is known for its spectacular beaches, sunny weather, diverse cities, and world-renowned tourist attractions. Florida’s Gulf Coast is known for its serene sunsets while the Atlantic Coast is known for surfing and deepwater fishing. Central Florida is known for theme parks while South Florida is known for ritzy nightlife.

What are 3 things Florida is famous for?

Three things Florida is famous for include Walt Disney World® Resort, the Kennedy Space Center, and Miami’s South Beach. Disney World encompasses four separate theme parks and two water parks. Kennedy Space Center is NASA’s hub for rocket launches while South Beach offers lavish dining, entertainment, and leisure activities.

What are some things you can only do in Florida?

Some things you can only do in Florida include visiting Walt Disney World® Resort, Kennedy Space Center, and the nation’s oldest continuously-occupied European-settled city, St. Augustine. Florida is also the only state in which you can drive from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean in under two hours.

Where should I go in Florida for the first time?

Your first trip to Florida should include a visit to one of the Gulf Coast beaches. Clearwater Beach, near Tampa, is regarded as one of the best beaches in the country. Other notable Gulf beaches include those found in Destin, Sanibel Island, Siesta Key, and St. George Island.

What is the prettiest spot in Florida?

One of the prettiest spots in Florida is Captiva Island. Located west of Cape Coral and adjacent to Sanibel Island, this island in the Gulf of Mexico is a tranquil place with a laid-back vibe. Scenic views, miles of shoreline, and a variety of leisurely activities make Captiva Island memorable.

How many days should I spend in Florida?

You should spend anywhere from a weekend to two weeks in Florida, depending on your desired experiences. Orlando’s theme parks alone warrant a full week, while cities like Miami and Tampa can be explored intimately within a weekend. You will also want to plan extra travel days if driving across the state.

Frequently Asked Questions