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Florida is world renowned for the perfect beaches that feature white sand and crystal-clear waters, some of the top theme parks in the country, and stunning scenery and wildlife. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach getaway or a lively vacation in one of the bustling cities or theme parks, Florida has it all with these destinations.
The southernmost point of the US is definitely worth exploring. With sparkling turquoise water all around, the drive from Miami to Key West is stunning. Some of the best stops along the way include Key Largo, Marathon and Islamorada islands where you can enjoy some of the best snorkeling, diving, and dine on some delicious seafood after the adventures.
To get away from the crowds, a stop at the Bahia State Park is ideal, where you will find one of the best beaches in the Florida Keys. Key West is the ultimate destination, captivating visitors from around the world. This small island packs a punch and can be explored anywhere from a few days to spending weeks without running out of things to do, with the abundance of water sports and island activities.
For a truly unique experience, a trip to the Dry Tortugas National Park can be made by boat or plane where you are able to camp out under the stars, right by the sea. It is home to the Fort Jefferson, wildlife, and of course, pristine beaches where you can swim and snorkel in the crystal-clear water.
One of the most visited cities in Florida, Miami is a luxurious destination with the most stunning beaches, plenty of shopping and fine dining. To get a sun kissed complexion or a splash in the waves, there are plenty of beaches to explore including the popular South Beach or the relaxed Sunny Isles Beach. Located near South Beach is the Art Deco historic district that gives Miami a unique vibe with a look at the vibrant historic architecture.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is an opulent stop to explore with over ten acres of gardens and shoreline surrounding the magnificent home. For an escape to nature from the bustling city, Everglades National Park offers thrilling airboat rides through the alligator filled waters as well as a look at other wildlife.
Known for the plethora of theme parks and attractions, Orlando attracts millions of visitors every year. The top theme parks, Disney World, Universal, and Sea World take the lead in things to do in this fun-filled city. From rollercoasters to swimming with dolphins, visitors can enjoy plenty of activities and create unforgettable memories. To learn more about history and the wonders of space, Kennedy Space Center invites visitors to experience what it’s like to train like an astronaut, and read the stories of NASA’s space pioneers.
When it’s time for shopping, Winter Park is the perfect place, with over 100 shops and boutiques lining the charming street. Orlando’s dining scene is on the next level as well, with many options including Kadence, that provides the popular sushi and sashimi tasting, but be sure to pre-pay your reservation there a month ahead.
Florida is home to the oldest city in the United States, St. Augustine, which was founded by a Spanish admiral. It’s no surprise that the city boasts many historical treasures waiting to be explored. Castillo de San Marcos is a fort that has stood for more than 200 years and is the oldest masonry fortification in the United States. As the only surviving 17th century military site in the country, it can be celebrated by watching the cannon firing demonstrations that are offered several times a day.
The Colonial Quarter which is St. Augustine’s historic district, as well as the centuries old Lighthouse and Old Jail, are all part of the city’s historic charm. St. Augustine Beach, featuring clear water with a white sand beach is a great place to relax after indulging in the traditional Spanish tapas.
Located about 90 minutes north of Tampa, Crystal River is the only place in Florida where you can legally swim with manatees. The warm springs, which keep at a temperature of about 72 degrees year-round, attract the manatees every year creating the largest gathering of manatees in North America. Explore
the abundance of waterways, including the Three Sisters Springs, with activities such as swimming, diving, and kayaking. The crystal clear, turquoise water among the groves provides a scenic backdrop for any activity.
While this city is known for manatees and celebrates it with the Florida Manatee Festival, the downtown is also a charming place to have a relaxing afternoon visiting the shops or restaurants.
Daytona is the ultimate destination for those who are a fan of NASCAR, but there is much more to this city than just the races. The long stretch of sand that is one of the only beaches that allows driving, and where the popular sport started, dominates the city. Lounge around on the beach, take a stroll along the boardwalk full of shops and restaurants, and visit the Museum of Arts and Science.
But if you just can’t stay away from the thrill of the race, consider a driving experience that offers the opportunity to drive a racecar on the Daytona International Speedway, or choose the sidelines with a tour of the world-famous speedway.
If you want to experience one of the best gulf coast beaches in Florida, Siesta Key beach has been ranked the number one beach in the nation. After soaking in the sun on the fine quartz sand, and taking in the views of the turquoise water, head out to explore the surrounding area. The Siesta Key Village is a lively village full of shops, restaurants and fun points of interest.
Nearby, Sarasota is the culture center boasting the spectacular Ringling Museum of Art which can be visited for free on Mondays and the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.
About the Author: Angela Miller
Having the travel bug since a very young age, Angela has been on countless adventures around the world and she’s not planning on stopping any time soon.