What are the best places to visit in Florida? If you said, “Walt Disney World,” you’re partly right. It’s first on the list.
But it’s also partly wrong because there are 9 other points of interest in Florida you definitely don’t want to miss. Other theme parks, islands, biking, kayaking, snorkeling, museums, breweries—the list goes on and on.
To see all the great Florida vacation spots you’ve been missing, read all about them below.
1. Walt Disney World
There are a lot of theme parks in the world. But none fill you with the enchantment you’ll feel at the Walt Disney World 6-park resort.
The massive team running the resort strives to infuse every facet of your Disney vacation with wonder and magic. The hardest of adults find themselves feeling 10 years old again. It’s a refreshing, rejuvenating experience for all ages.
Each of the six parks gives you more than enough to enjoy for multiple days. Summer vacationers can enjoy Disney magic at the resort’s 2 water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Travel around the world in a day (or two) at Epcot.
Enjoy live animal attractions and unique rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Fly through Pandora on the new Avatar Flight of Passage ride.
Check out movie-centric rides and live shows at Disney Hollywood Studios. This park includes Jedi Training and the all-new Toy Story Land.
Make sure you set several days aside for the resort’s main park, Magic Kingdom. This park is 25% larger than Disneyland and has 42 exciting and unique rides and attractions.
2. The Rest of Orlando
As if Disney World wasn’t enough, it’s not even half of what Orlando has to offer. Neither is it half of Orlando’s theme parks.
Experience the movies, including the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando. If you’re all Disneyed out, this is the other best way to escape into fantastic, other worlds for a week.
Other than that, there’s Busch Gardens’ impressive assortment of roller coasters to enjoy, plus SeaWorld.
Or, for a completely different kind of intense, watch alligators devour chickens at Gatorland. It’s also very affordable at $30 a ticket.
Non-Theme Park Destinations
But if theme parks aren’t your thing, don’t dismiss Orlando just yet. Downtown Disney alone has enough shops, culture and themed restaurants to keep you busy for a few days. That goes for Universal City Walk, too.
Nature-lovers can enjoy the gorgeous, 440-acre Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve. There’s also Leu Gardens, 50 acres of botanical beauty. Or paddleboat around the fountain at Lake Eola.
If you’re into art, check out the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. There, you’ll see the world’s largest collection of Tiffany glass.
Miami is often hailed as the “most Latin city in the continental U.S.” A blending of Latin-American cultures fills this world-famous city with vibrance, creativity, and life.
Miami is your number one Florida destination for clubs and nightlife. Its highly-populated beaches are number one, too, especially South Beach.
In case you can’t tell, the top attractions in Miami are the crowds. Singles and minglers welcome.
Also, enjoy the iconic art deco architecture of the Miami buildings. You shoppers already know where you’re going: Ocean Drive. Plus, many of the Ocean Drive buildings are featured in memorable films including The Birdcage and Scarface.
Museum enthusiasts, don’t miss the Miami Seaquarium, Zoo Miami, and the Institute of Contemporary Art.
4. Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale is another great beach destination. Due to its notable and iconic network of canals, it’s nicknamed “Venice of America.” Enjoy plenty of watersports and family-friendly beach activities.
Besides that, it’s got as much fun, culture, and life as the more popular Florida vacation spots but at a much more affordable rate. Fort Lauderdale is your best bet for saving money on your Florida vacation without sacrificing enjoyment.
For museum lovers, stroll 22 blocks of art and culture in the Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District. This includes the Florida Grand Opera, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, NSU Art Museum, Museum of Discovery and Science, and more.
5. St Petersburg
St Petersburg, Florida gives you the perfect blend of art and outdoor fun. For art, visit the Salvador Dalí Museum to see a plethora of works by famous surrealist, Salvador Dalí.
There’s also Sunken Gardens, a 100-year-old botanical paradise. Amidst waterfalls and exotic plants from around the world, you’ll think you’ve been whisked away to a tropical island.
For outdoor fun, check out seven miles of beachfront parks. Also visit Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, six miles of trails through untouched, natural beauty.
For the hungry gourmand, there’s no better place than Locale Market. It’s 20,000 square feet of gourmet food from both merchants and restaurants.
You’ve had your fill of Florida’s eastern coast. Now, check out its western shore at Naples.
This quaint, scenic beach is only a 2-hour drive from Fort Lauderdale on the eastern shore, making it the perfect way to end your day. You can watch the sun rise up from the ocean in Fort Lauderdale and set into the ocean in Naples on the same day.
Explore art and history at the Naples Depot Museum, Holocaust Museum and Education Center, and Artis-Naples. View lush vegetation at Naples Botanical Gardens.
Stroll out over the water on Naples Pier. View Florida wildlife at Corkscrew swamp sanctuary. Feed alligators at Naples Zoo.
Beer lovers, be sure to visit Naples Beach Brewery and Riptide Brewing Company. A third Naples brewery, Ankrolab Brewery, is currently under construction.
Are the kids getting antsy? Take them to the waterslides at Sun-N-Fun Lagoon.
Sarasota is a huge, glorious, warm- water, white-sand beach, like many others in southern Florida. What makes it unique is that it was also the winter home of circus legend, John Ringling.
In addition to beachfront fun, you can visit the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art and the Circus Museum. You’ll see circus artifacts from the original Ringling Brothers circus act as well as centuries-old European tapestries. Even take a guided tour of John Ringling’s 66-acre estate.
Downtown Sarasota also offers a myriad of art galleries and museums. And flower-lovers won’t want to miss the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.
Nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike will enjoy the Crowley Nature Center. Hike through an authentic, Old Florida pioneer scene, complete with a pioneer cabin and blacksmith shop.
8. Fort Myers
If you want a more relaxing vacation where you can take it easy for once, head to Fort Myers. This laidback tourist destination is more than just a beach. Fort Myers offers several soothing, family-friendly activities.
The Fort Myers coast is perfectly positioned to trap countless seashells upon its shores each day. Take a break from swimming and go shell-hunting on the scenic seashell-blanketed beach. The nearby Shell Factory is the world’s largest retailer of seashell products.
For lunch, have a picnic in the beautiful flower fields of Newton Park. Then take a dolphin tour in the warm Gulf of Mexico waters.
Next, head to the Imaginarium to take a virtual reality historical journey through Fort Myers. The Imaginarium has over 60 fun, interactive attractions through which you and your kids will explore science and technology.
Also worth viewing are the Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium and the adjoining winter homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, the Edison and Ford Winter Escape. There’s also kayaking, biking, the Sun Splash Water Park, Zoomers Amusement Park, and more. It’s doubtful you could ever run out of things to do in Fort Myers.
9. Sanibel Island
For the fullest beach day with the thinnest crowds, come to beautiful Sanibel Island, a 45-minute drive from Fort Myers. Collect seashells from the shore or buy some at the local, mom-and-pop island shopping destinations. There are no chain stores on Sanibel Island.
There are no traffic lights, either. But there are 23 miles of quiet, bikable trails.
And don’t miss the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. You’ll see herons, ospreys, and maybe an alligator or two.
You won’t find a more laid-back, relaxing beach town than this in all the world.
10. Captiva Island
Now check out the other island off the coast of Fort Myers, Captiva Island. Captiva Island is another shell-collecting hotspot with many unique features of its own.
Compared to Sanibel Island, Captiva Island is smaller, more private, more romantic. This intimate setting and gorgeous white beach, blue ocean backdrop makes Captiva Island Perfect for vacationing couples on a romantic getaway. You can’t’ ask for a better setting for your wedding, either.
Activities include boating, biking, fishing, and nature and wildlife tours. It’s excellent for spotting birds and dolphins. There’s also snorkeling, scuba diving and golf.
If you didn’t get your fill of local shopping at Sanibel Island, cross the bridge to Captiva Island. There you’ll find the perfect souvenir among the handcrafted and one-of-a-kind island wares.
Best Places to Visit in Florida
If you only plan on visiting Florida once in your life, scrap that plan right now. There’s way too much to see and this list hardly scratches the surface! But the unmissable vacation spots above are a good start.
Don’t miss your chance to see these places to visit in Florida.
Now check out these Top Reasons Why You Should Join a Vacation Club.