Top 20 Best Places to Visit in Florida

20 Cool Places to Visit in Florida: Your Sunshine State Bucket List

Florida, the Sunshine State, boasts more than theme parks and beaches (though it has those in abundance!). From vibrant cities and historical towns to unspoiled nature and endless water-based adventures, Florida has an excellent spot for every kind of traveler. Let’s explore the 20 most incredible Places to Visit in Florida.

Highlights Of 20 Cool Places to Visit in Florida

  1. Miami
  2. Key West
  3. Orlando
  4. St. Augustine
  5. Sanibel and Captiva Islands
  6. Naples
  7. Everglades National Park
  8. Daytona Beach
  9. Clearwater Beach
  10. St. Petersburg
  11. Amelia Island
  12. Destin
  13. Fort Lauderdale
  14. Anna Maria Island
  15. Sarasota
  16. Crystal River
  17. Mount Dora
  18. Apalachicola
  19. Cedar Key
  20. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

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1. Miami: Where Urban Energy Meets Beach Vibes

  • Key Attractions: South Beach, Art Deco District, Wynwood Arts District, Little Havana, Vizcaya Gardens, Everglades National Park (day trip potential)
  • Why It’s Cool: Miami is a cocktail of cultures, flavors, and non-stop energy. Experience the iconic art deco architecture along Ocean Drive, explore Cuban heritage in Little Havana, or tap into the artistic spirit of Wynwood Walls. Don’t miss the lush beauty and Italian-inspired elegance of the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.

2. Key West: The End of the Road (and the Beginning of Eccentricity)

  • Key Attractions: Southernmost Point Buoy, Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, Dry Tortugas National Park, Sunset at Mallory Square, Duval Street.
  • Why It’s Cool: Laid-back and quirky, Key West feels like a world apart. Snap a selfie at the Southernmost Point of the continental U.S.U.S., step back to Hemingway’s house, or escape for a day trip to the remote Dry Tortugas National Park. Evenings are for watching sunsets at Mallory Square and wandering the lively Duval Street.

3. Orlando: Theme Park Central Places to Visit in Florida

  • Key Attractions: Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, Kennedy Space Center, Gatorland, Discovery Cove
  • Why It’s Cool: Orlando is the epicenter of family-friendly attractions and thrills! Choose your wizarding world at Harry Potter, ride movie-themed attractions, launch into space exploration at the Kennedy Space Center, or get up close with gators at Gatorland. For a unique experience, Discovery Cove offers a chance to swim with dolphins!

4. St. Augustine: A Step Back in Time

  • Key Attractions: Castillo de San Marcos, St. George Street, Colonial Quarter, Flagler College, Lightner Museum.
  • Why It’s Cool: Explore the oldest continuously inhabited European-established city in the U.S. Marvel at the imposing Spanish fort, Castillo de San Marcos, stroll historic St. George Street, delve into the past in the Colonial Quarter, and admire the ornate Gilded Age architecture of Flagler College.

5. Sanibel and Captiva Islands: Seashell Paradise

  • Key Attractions: Beautiful beaches, shelling, J.N.J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, Lighthouse Beach
  • Why It’s Cool: Leave the hustle behind and experience the world-renowned shelling of Sanibel and Captiva. With their gentle Gulf Coast waves, these islands are a haven for beachcombers. Spot dolphins, birds, and other wildlife in the J.N.J.N. “Ding” Darling Refuge, or learn about shells at the unique Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum.

6. Naples: Golf, Glamour, and Gorgeous Beaches

  • Key Attractions: Pristine beaches, high-end shopping on Fifth Avenue South, Naples Botanical Garden, Naples Zoo, Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park
  • Why It’s Cool: Naples is a slice of upscale Florida. Play on impeccable golf courses, indulge in some retail therapy, admire tropical beauty at the Naples Botanical Garden, or spot exotic animals at the Naples Zoo. Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park offers incredible beach time and nature trails and Places to Visit in Florida.

7. Everglades National Park: A Unique Wilderness

  • Key Attractions: Airboat rides, hiking trails, wildlife spotting (alligators, birds, manatees), Shark Valley Visitor Center, Anhinga Trail
  • Why It’s Cool: Experience the ‘River of Grass,’ a vast subtropical ecosystem unlike anywhere else. Take a thrilling airboat ride, hike to spot wildlife, or visit Shark Valley for excellent animal observation opportunities. The Anhinga Trail is famous for its abundance of wading birds and alligators and Places to Visit in Florida.

8. Daytona Beach: Motorsports and Beach Fun

  • Key Attractions: Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach Boardwalk, Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse, Marine Science Center
  • Why It’s Cool: Home of the Daytona 500, this city is a paradise for racing fans and beach lovers. Step onto the iconic speedway track, experience the boardwalk’s amusements, climb Florida’s tallest lighthouse, or learn about marine life at the hands-on Marine Science Center and Places to Visit in Florida.

9. Clearwater Beach: Sugar-Sand Beaches and Sunset Strolls

  • Key Attractions: Consistently ranked top U.S.U.S. beach, Pier 60 and nightly festival, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Sand Key Park
  • Why It’s Cool: Unwind on the powdery white sand, watch playful dolphins offshore, and embrace the lively atmosphere of Pier 60 at sunset. Visit Winter the Dolphin (star of “Dolphin Tale”) at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and Places to Visit in Florida.

10. St. Petersburg: Art, Culture, and Sunshine

  • Key Attractions: The Dalí Museum, Chihuly Collection, Sunken Gardens, Fort De Soto Park, vibrant murals.
  • Why It’s Cool: St. Pete’s art scene explodes with color. Explore the whimsical world of surrealism at the Dalí Museum, be amazed by glass sculptures at the Chihuly Collection, stroll through the lush Sunken Gardens, or relax at the pristine beaches of Fort De Soto Park and Places to Visit in Florida.

11. Amelia Island: History Meets Southern Charm

  • Key Attractions: Fernandina Beach’s historic district, Fort Clinch State Park, horseback riding on the beach, American Beach
  • Why It’s Cool: Discover the quaint atmosphere of Fernandina Beach with Victorian-era architecture, explore Civil War history at Fort Clinch, experience unique beach adventures on horseback, and learn about the essential African-American history at American Beach and Places to Visit in Florida.

12. Destin: The ‘Emerald Coast’ and Seafood Delights

  • Key Attractions: Beaches with sugar-white sand and emerald water, Destin Harbor Boardwalk, Henderson Beach State Park, Crab Island, fishing
  • Why It’s Cool: This Florida Panhandle gem is about its stunning coastline. Relax on the beach, stroll the boardwalk, explore the natural beauty of Henderson Beach State Park, enjoy the unique floating playground of Crab Island, and indulge in fresh seafood and Places to Visit in Florida.

13. Fort Lauderdale: The ‘Venice of America’

  • Key Attractions: Waterfront promenade, boat tours, Las Olas Boulevard, Hugh Taylor Birch Park, Bonnet House Museum and Gardens
  • Why It’s Cool: Experience Fort Lauderdale’s vast network of canals with scenic boat tours. Enjoy luxury along Las Olas Boulevard, relax in the beachfront Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, or tour the quirky Bonnet House with its playful monkey residents and Places to Visit in Florida.

14. Anna Maria Island: Old-Florida Charm

  • Key Attractions: Laid-back island life, beautiful beaches, Bean Point, Pine Avenue shops and restaurants, Rod and Reel Pier
  • Why It’s Cool: Embrace a slower pace on this charming island. Sunbathe on uncrowded beaches, admire the iconic Bean Point, stroll the shops of Pine Avenue, and enjoy fresh seafood with views at the Rod and Reel Pier and Places to Visit in Florida.

15. Sarasota: Art, Beaches, and Circus History

  • Key Attractions: The Ringling (art museum, circus museum, mansion), Siesta Key Beach, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, St. Armands Circle, Myakka River State Park
  • Why It’s Cool: Sarasota offers a unique blend of culture and nature. Embrace the legacy of the circus at The Ringling, relax on the award-winning Siesta Key Beach, admire the tropical paradise of Selby Gardens, and enjoy the upscale vibe of St. Armands Circle for a dose of wild Florida, hike and kayak in Myakka River State Park and Places to Visit in Florida.

16. Crystal River: Manatee Heaven

  • Key Attractions: Swimming with manatees, Three Sisters Springs, Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
  • Why It’s Cool: If you love gentle giants, Crystal River is your spot! Swim with hundreds of manatees in their natural habitat, especially in winter when they seek the spring’s warmer waters. Explore the boardwalk beauty at Three Sisters Springs, or spot a variety of Florida wildlife at Homosassa Springs and Places to Visit in Florida.

17. Mount Dora: New England Vibes in Florida

  • Key Attractions: Charming downtown with shops and restaurants, Renninger’s Antique Center and Flea Market, Lake Dora, boat tours
  • Why It’s Cool: This little town exudes a surprising New England feel. Stroll the picturesque downtown, treasure hunt in antique shops, savor lakeside dining or take a scenic cruise on Lake Dora and Places to Visit in Florida.

18. Apalachicola: Maritime History and Oysters

  • Key Attractions: Historic downtown and waterfront, Apalachicola Maritime Museum, St. George Island, oyster bars
  • Why It’s Cool: Journey back in time with Apalachicola’s maritime traditions, learn about the city’s history at the museum, relax on the beaches of St. George Island, and feast on fresh Apalachicola oysters, famed for their flavor and Places to Visit in Florida and Places to Visit in Florida.

19. Cedar Key: Authentic ‘Old Florida.’

  • Key Attractions: Laid-back island atmosphere, Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge, historic homes, local seafood
  • Why It’s Cool: Experience a Florida untouched by significant development. Wander the quiet streets, admire historic houses, spot wildlife in the refuge, and enjoy no-fuss seafood shacks serving the freshest catch and Places to Visit in Florida.

20. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park: Mermaid Magic

  • Key Attractions: Live mermaid shows, Buccaneer Bay water park, riverboat cruises, kayaking the Weeki Wachee River
  • Why It’s Cool: Since the 1940s, Weeki Wachee has been home to real-life mermaids performing underwater shows! This quirky, nostalgic park offers a water park, gentle river cruises, and kayaking on the clear river and Places to Visit in Florida.

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