Florida, located on the Gulf Coast of The U.S., is a famous vacation destination for many people. It’s renowned for its warm weather, beautiful beaches, parks and wildlife reserves, and many historical landmarks.
If you plan to visit Florida soon, you must take advantage of the breathtaking places there. This state has a collection of tour-worthy locations for everyone, from St. Augustine to Dry Tortugas to Ginnie Springs.
Don’t miss out on these fifteen breathtaking places when visiting Florida. You’ll return with plenty of warm and beautiful memories that even your nerves will remember.
1. Clearwater Beach
Let’s start with one of the most gorgeous beaches in Florida, Clearwater Beach. Sitting on a long, thin island along the Gulf Coast, Clearwater Beach has a stretch of lovely, soft white sand where blue water crashes its waves.
Clearwater Beach entertains kids with Marine Aquarium, various nature parks, state parks, and Florida Botanical Gardens. Spectrum Field, Honeymoon Island State Park, and many more similar locations offer plenty of opportunities for couples as well. You can also enjoy your vacation here riding jet skis, parasailing, paddleboarding, and many other water sports.
For those who enjoy the nightlife, there are plenty of things to do in Clearwater after sunset, including beachfront dining, evening cruises, and live entertainment at various local spots.
2. Crab Island
If you’re visiting Destin, Florida, Crab Island is a must-visit place for you. Unlike the name, Crab Island is no longer an island. Instead, it’s now a sandbar entirely submerged in water.
Most visitors want to know how to get to Crab Island, and they can either rent a boat, jet ski, or water taxi as that’s the only way to reach Crab Island. Strong currents and deep channels will make it impossible if anyone wants to swim otherwise.
However, using these unconventional modes to transportation adds to the whole experience of visiting Crab Island. You can have delicious food at plenty of floating restaurants, enjoy kayaking, visit the Gulf Islands National Seashore, and even play with dolphins!
3. Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay offers good adventure, hearty food, and good breweries. From kids to adults, Tampa Bay in Florida has something for everybody.
Visit Busch gardens with your kids to enjoy some fun rides and watch animals live shows, and have good food in restaurants. Or, enjoy the Florida Aquarium in Tampa Bay, which has a staggering collection of marine life.
Don’t miss visiting Hillsborough River, State Park! You can paddle down the rapids, go camping, hiking on trails, view the amazing wildlife, and many more! Other entertainment media include theatres, various museums, and history centers.
4. Cape Canaveral
One of the main reasons people visit Cape Canaveral is the Kennedy Space Center. Everyone has this place on their bucket list, from kids to enthusiastic adults, wherever they visit Florida. However, Cape Canaveral has much more to offer.
Canaveral National Seashore protects and preserves wildlife native to Florida. Cape Canaveral also has popular cruise ports and cruise lines, so you can watch cruise ships at their glory all the time. Kids can also enjoy The Wizard of Oz museum, the U.S. Air Force Space & Missile Museum, the lighthouse, and many other attractions.
5. Crystal River
Have you heard of manatees, the gentle floating giants? They flock by hundreds in Crystal River, especially during the winter, making it a sight for every visitor there.
If you want to enjoy the migration of manatees, visit Florida during winter and go to the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. You can even swim with them in the shallow turquoise water.
Three Sisters Spring will offer you the chance to enjoy rich marine life. You can also kayak, hike, and enjoy delicious seafood in plenty of restaurants by Crystal River.
6. St. Augustine
When visiting Florida, you must not miss St. Augustine, the oldest city in America. This city’s admirable architecture is evidence of St. Augustine’s evolution throughout centuries, dating back to the 1500s.
That’s not the only attraction. Ghost hunters and paranormal enthusiasts visit St. Augustine, attracted by reports of haunted incidents. You can participate in a nighttime ghost tour as well in this city.
Kids can visit Lightner Museum, St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum, and many other historical landmarks that will tell them more about this ancient city. It’s also not short in parks and wild reserves, and you can relax on the beach at the end of your St. Augustine tour.
7. Key Largo
The entire Florida Keys has many beautiful points, such as its beginning point in the south, Key Largo, Islamorada, and the ending point Key West. You can ride through the entire seven-mile length on a bridge. However, don’t miss out on enjoying Key Largo before you start the tour, starting with the first underwater park in The U.S., John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. You can also enjoy a laid-back picnic on the beach, admire the manatees, and go snorkeling and scuba diving to enjoy the diverse marine ecosystem.
Don’t forget to fill your tummy with the delectable seafood the restaurants here offer!
Okay, now a little escape from all the beaches, rivers, springs, island-hopping, etc. If you like the energetic atmosphere of towns full of college students, you definitely should visit Gainesville.
The Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, widely known as ‘The Swamp,’ is a sports field at the University of Florida. If you feel nostalgic, then this should be on your must-visit list. You can also enjoy craft coffee in Gainesville and shop in vintage stores.
Paynes Prairie State Park in the south of Gainesville has horses and bison roaming around the flat fields, so you can enjoy a lazy day watching them. You can also explore the geological sites of Devil’s Den and Devil’s Millhopper nearby.
9. Dry Tortugas
A seldom visited gem, Dry Tortugas is a collection of islands located west of Key West. It has an exciting national park, Dry Tortugas National Park. The seven major islands of Dry Tortugas are surrounded by ships that met their ill fate there, and now their wrecked parts remain.
Dry Tortugas is also home to the Civil War-era unfinished fortress Fort Jefferson, with a dark history. As it’s said, criminals sentenced to Fort Jefferson actually had fate worse than death, which is why the island is also called Devil’s Island.
The only way to get there is by water transport. If diverse marine life fascinates you, Dry Tortugas will be an excellent choice to go snorkeling.
10. Cypress Springs
If you’re visiting Florida and not keeping Cypress Springs on your must-visit list of places, you’ll miss out on a gem. The contrast between the bright blue water and the Cypress trees surrounding them is eye-soothing.
It’s safe to say that this destination is more of a relaxing and therapeutic site since springs are well-known for abundant minerals and healing properties. Apart from soaking yourself in the good properties, you can dive in to enjoy the marine life, go boating and canoeing, or even enjoy kayaking here.
Some people prefer being surrounded by bustling city life. Sarasota can be the perfect escape for such people visiting Florida, as it doesn’t just have the laid-back beach vacation opportunity but also has the daily hustle and bustle.
You can walk your way to various restaurants and beautiful cafes. Don’t miss The Ringling, which comprises of John & Marble Ringling Museum of Art, Ca’ d’Zan, circus exhibitions, and performances.
If you’re more of a beach person, then you can visit the Gulf Coast barrier islands near Sarasota, including Lido Key, Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key, and Siesta Key. Visitors can also enjoy aquariums, botanical gardens, and sanctuaries.
12. Ginnie Springs
Florida isn’t just abundant in beautiful beaches and islands but also with magnificent springs. If you plan on visiting Santa Fe river, you must visit Ginnie Springs.
You can soak yourself in the crystal clear and blue water, snorkel to explore underwater caves, and even go kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding. The springs have three diving systems, The Devil’s spring system, teh Santa Fe River, and the Ginnie Ballroom, each providing unique and exquisite experiences.
If you wish to admire the beauty from afar, you can also enjoy sports on land, such as volleyball. Camping lovers can go camping here and bring their RV to spots fully equipped with electricity and water supply.
13. Everglades National Park
A visit to Florida, is incomplete without visiting Everglades National Park, the largest and most diverse park in Florida. The freshwater marshlands are home to various birds, and crocodiles and alligators surprisingly coexist here! You can also find panthers and manatees in this park.
UNESCO listed Everglades National Park as one of the UNESCO world heritage sites due to its diversity and how it preserves wildlife. Apart from watching the wilderness, you can enjoy camping at Flamingo, hiking at Royal Palm, going on a dolphin cruise, taking an airboat tour, and cycling on their fourteen-mile loop.
14. Biscayne National Park
The second largest national park in Florida, is the Biscayne National Park, comprised of ninety-five percent water. The main attraction here is boating, of course, due to water covering the vast majority of this park.
Although Biscayne National Park is less visited, it offers great opportunities for snorkeling tours and boat rides. You can also enjoy guided kayaking and go island hopping on cruises.
14. Panama City Beach
This list is complete with mentioning Panama City Beach. Once known for its reputation as a spring break destination for college students, it’s now a family-friendly vacation spot.
You can enjoy camping at St. Andrew’s State Park, view the marine life at Gulf World Marine Park, and visit the Shipwreck Island Waterpark. Bring kids here as well, as they’ll love to visit these places with many learning opportunities.
Florida, a diverse state on the Gulf Coast, has plenty of experiences to offer. The blue waters, underwater caves, and the natural springs make all these fifteen breathtaking places a must-visit when you’re in Florida. Besides, there are towns and cities that lovers of bustling atmospheres will admire.
We promise you, when visiting Florida, you’ll be glad you came across this article!