The Top 20 Must-See Places in Florida
The Flowery Land
Florida's name comes from the Spanish word for "flowery." Spanish explorer Ponce de León named the region La Florida, which means "flowery land"—and for good reason, too. Florida has some incredible flora, perhaps some of the most diverse and beautiful flora in the world.
In addition to the plants, Florida is gifted with fine beaches, a warm climate, and a variety of animal species. The natural beauty of Florida has drawn people from around the world and made the state a classic travel destination. As a result, Florida boasts many of the country's greatest and most popular attractions and resorts, including Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando, and Sea World.
Whether you are interested in the cities or the reserves, the theme parks, or the national parks, this top 20 guide will help you to identify the places you want to visit on your next trip to the great state of Florida.
Your Most Amazing Trip to Florida
20. Billie Swamp Safari
Step on to the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation with 2,200 acres of diverse Everglades wetlands and exotic animals. The area has many airboat trails that allow guests to enjoy tours through the swamp and experience a true swamp safari.
19. Fort Myers Tanger Outlet Center
An outdoor shopping center with over 40 retailers from the Nike Factory Store to the Sunglass Hut to Calvin Kleen, Tanger Outlets have it all.
18. Fort Clinch State Park
Explore an old fort used in Seminal Wars and the American Civil War. Located in the very northeastern corner of Florida. Features some family recreation activities, living history and military re-enactments, and the possibility to see a dolphin or manatee.
17. Butterfly World
Butterfly World is exactly what it sounds like, the world's largest butterfly house. Located just ten miles north of Ft Lauderdale and right off the Florida Turnpike, it is easy to access and relatively affordable. Visit their website to get their full story of their history, sign up for a free subscription, learn about children's activities, and much more!
16. The Florida Mall
The very large Florida Mall contains seven anchor stores and 250 retail venues. The Mall is located close to much of the action in Orlando and is worth a visit if you are in the area.
15. Sanibel Island
Sanibel Island is a barrier island located on the Gulf Coast of Florida near Fort Myers. The island holds the City of Sanibel with a relatively small population of roughly 6,000. The island is also home to the J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, the Sanibel Lighthouse, Sanibel Historical Village, and many popular beaches. The beaches at Sanibel are well known for their seashells, as many get washed up on shore.
14. The Mall at Millenia
Perhaps Florida's most glamorous mall featuring Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale's, and Macy's as Anchor stores. With three stories of shopping at your finger tips, Orlando's first Apple Store, and many premium retailers, this is the place to be if you like upscale shopping.
13. Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens
A fantastic zoo with animals from around the world!
12. Daytona Lagoon Waterpark and Family Fun Center
A year-round family entertainment center with everything from mini golf to laser tag to go-karts not to mention a full waterpark with seven different attractions.
11. Adventure Island - Busch Gardens Waterpark
Located in Tampa Bay, Adventure Island has some of the best water rides in the state. Rip Tide, for example, features a 55-foot drop and allows four people to ride at once, each in their own lane. Imagine the racing fun for a family of four!
10. Cocoa Beach
Known as one of the best beaches in the State and not far from Orlando. Check it out!
9. Biscayne National Park
Have you ever seen a coral reef? Explored history underwater? Biscayne National Park is one of the country's most unusual protected reserves featuring sights you won't see anywhere else. Take a ride in a glass-bottom canoe, go snorkeling, see underwater videos, and explore indoor exhibits. These are some of the activities you can do while visiting Biscayne National Park. The "Plan your Visit" tab on the park's website will help you explore the opportunities available for your time at Biscayne.
8. Caladesi Island State Park
Located on Florida's west coast, the park allows for boating, fishing, hiking, camping, wildlife viewing, swimming, and more. Amenities at the park include showers, concessions, picnic areas, and a playground. Also known as a great spot for weddings!
7. St. Augustine
St. Augustine is the oldest European established city in the United States. Is was founded in 1565 by the Spanish explorer, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés. From the Lighthouse to The Castillo de San Marcos, St. Augustine is packed with history, excitement, and family fun.
6. Universal Studios Orlando
The company that makes some of America's best movies and entertainment also has some of the best-themed rides, attractions, shopping, and dining. Universal Studios Orlando features two theme parks, a resort with three on-site hotels, 60 different places to shop, and over 50 restaurants. It's not cheap, but it is an incredible little world.
5. Sea World Orlando
Sea World is another classic Florida destination. It is a theme park that actually has an incredible theme! From the famous Shamu Stadium to the Sky Tower, to the Manta roller coaster, it's all a family fun blast!
4. The Florida Keys and Surrounding State Parks
If can make it all the way south, don't miss going all the way down to the Florida Keys. There are several state parks and many great beaches in the area.
Which is your favorite?
Which of the top five places mentioned in this hub would you visit first?
Kennedy Space Center
3. Disney World
Disney World Disney World is the classic Florida destination. It's the place where dreams come true!
2. Everglades National Park
Unlike the Universal Studios and the Disney Worlds, the Everglades offer a unique sense of hinterland, even in a state that is home to over 19 million people. According to the National Park service, it is the United States' largest subtropical wilderness. It is the third largest national park in the 48 states, covering over 1.5 million acres. The park is internationally recognized for providing habitat to many threatened species and its unique wetland nature. The Everglades might not be for everyone, but it is one of the most incredible parks in the world. There are a lot of outdoor activities available at the park, but it is wise to plan in advance to make the most of your time. The official park website has a lot more details on things to do, directions, hours, fees, and general information.
1. The Kennedy Space Center
Visit the site NASA uses at the launching pad for every US space flight dating back to 1968. The center is located on Merritt Island, which geographically positioned about halfway between Jacksonville and Miami. Experience some of man's greatest engineering work here at the center where spacecraft are not only launched, but built. Tours of the center are offered and can include visiting the Launch Center or Launch Pad 39-A. If you are in the area, you don't want to miss this incredible Florida attraction!
Thanks for reading. Best wishes on your future travels. Enjoy Florida!