Trying to find great activities and attractions in the Sunshine State? Our guide to the best things to do in Florida is all you need to plan the perfect trip!
The Sunshine State is home to some of the best attractions in the world. From theme parks like Disney World and Universal Studios to big cities like Tampa Bay, Orlando, and Miami, it’s not hard to find what to do in Florida.
And to get an idea of what some of the best Florida attractions offer, we’ve established a catered list to fulfill a diverse range of tastes.
There are fun things to do in Florida for nature lovers, history buffs, artists, entertainment lovers, adventurous travelers, and everyone in between.
Whether you are looking to spend all of your time in one city or are interested in a great Florida road trip itinerary, our list of the best things to do in Florida features crystalline waters, sandy beaches, world-class art museums, impactful historical monuments, and much more!
If you’re looking for the best things to do in Florida, look no further! This state has amusement parks, natural beauty, history, and more.
Take on the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States at Everglades National Park or tour the home of the iconic American writer in the Keys at the Hemingway Home and Museum.
Read on for the best Florida activities to take on during your travels to the sunshine state!
Having ranked in the top four best national parks of 2022 and one of the top things to do in Florida, Everglades National Park is home to an abundance of Florida wildlife, including endangered species such as the Florida panther, leatherback turtle, and West Indian manatee.
The Everglades National Park is classified as an International Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site, and a Wetland of International Importance. It is the only place where crocodiles and alligators coexist, the American alligator and crocodile.
The subtropical conditions are perfect for the American crocodile. This diverse ecosystem includes nine distinct habitats and is home to the bull, lemon, and blacktip sharks that cruise through the rivers looking for their next meal!
Popular activities to adventure in this thriving national park include kayaking, fishing, camping, animal watching, hiking, and going on a boat tour.
The center for NASA’s space exploration and research, Kennedy Space Center, is one of Florida’s most favored attractions placing it on the list of things to do in Florida.
From launches to other space-centered events, Kennedy Space Center is where to find these unique attractions, thanks to the center’s visitor-friendly space.
The center’s $2 million construction was established in 1965 after popularity for futuristic growth and the race to space rallied among the people in 1963.
The site was initially called Spaceport USA. The name changed to Kennedy Space Center a week after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in his honor.
The bus tour takes guests to NASA’s launch pads and official facilities to see the largest rocket to cruise through the air, Saturn V. Other activities to take part in include trying out astronaut food, experiencing a live launch, undergoing astronaut training, and seeing the impressive Space Shuttle Atlantis!
Located in the Gulf of Mexico, Dry Tortugas National Park protects seven historically and ecologically rich islands, including Garden Key, Loggerhead Key, Bush Key, Long Key, Hospital Key, Middle Key, and East Key.
The only way to reach Dry Tortugas National Park is by seaplane or ferry. Discovered in 1513 by Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon, the famed explorer termed the island chain Las Tortugas, or “the turtles,” because of the rich amount of turtles found there.
The largest island at Dry Tortugas National Park, Garden Key, is home to the historic Fort Jefferson. It was constructed to control navigation leading into the Gulf of Mexico and protect the area from piracy. Sixteen million bricks were used to establish the fort in 1846, and still, the fort was never finished.
Visiting Fort Jefferson, snorkeling, birdwatching, and swimming are some of the most popular activities at one of America’s most remote national parks!
One of the best things to do in Miami is visiting this National Historic Landmark known as Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. The gardens are the former estate of businessman James Deering, who was an American executive that passed away in 1925.
A retired socialite and millionaire responsible for the Deering family’s business, Deering Harvester Company, James established his Vizcaya estate and villa in the Coconut Grove district of Miami.
He collaborated with indoor designer and artist Paul Chalfin to construct his Vizcaya home, which features Mediterranean Revival-style architecture.
Tours of the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens take visitors through the mansion’s 70+ rooms, some of which preserve artifacts that date back to the 15th century, and the gardens designed by architect Diego Suarez which includes the Fountain Garden, featuring a fountain imported from Italy.
Read about more of the best things to do in Miami here!
Dedicated to presenting and preserving original works from the iconic artist Salvador Dali, the Salvador Dali Museum is the place to fulfill any intrigue and curiosity about the arts.
At the Salvador Dali Museum, visitors will find the renowned melting clocks and other famed pieces by Dali.
The building is situated in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida, just outside of Tampa, surrounded by its picturesque waterfront views that can be admired in the museum’s refreshing gardens.
The museum’s cafe, Cafe Gala, serves authentic Spanish cuisine to be enjoyed in between exploring the unparalleled Salvador Dali Museum.
Key West is a true gem of south Florida, and it’s easily one of the most beautiful places to visit in the entire state.
If you decide to head down here, you can visit the southernmost point of the continental US! The anchored concrete buoy marks the lowest latitude of the continental US, and it’s fun to snap a photo of this famous landmark.
Heading here early is a good idea so you can escape the crowds, and the Buoy is a popular tourist spot.
This is a cool place to include in a Florida road trip itinerary as well! While exploring the state, you might as well make a stop at the southernmost point!
Read Next: Read our post to find out more incredible things to do in Key West!
Daytona International Speedway is a well-known car racing track that hosts the Daytona 500 and is one of the favored things to do in Florida when it’s time for the racing season!
The Daytona Beach race track opened in 1959, opening the season with one of NASCAR’s most prestigious races.
The track hosts SCCA (Sports Car Club of America), ARCA (Automobile Racing Club of America), IMSA (International Motor Sports Association), AMA Superbike (American Motorcyclist Association), and Motorcross.
Explore the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, take a Speedway tour, and learn Daytona International Speedway’s history through fun interactive exhibits!
Check out our ultimate 2-week Florida road trip itinerary!
Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River, Florida, is a wildlife refuge and natural inlet with three springs. There is no better way to spend a hot Florida day than dipping into these sparkling blue waters!
A refuge for wintering manatees, Three Sisters Springs is a 57-acre site boasting crystal-clear waters that attracts plenty of wildlife and people! People are allowed access to swim, snorkel, and kayak in the waters a majority of the year except for during the manatee season in the winter.
Be ready for a chill! The water in Three Sisters Springs is around 72 degrees. So it can be quite a test of courage dipping into the water.
On this Pontoon boat cruise, swim and snorkel with manatees while exploring the natural springs for a memorable experience you’ll never forget.
Famously known across the globe, Walt Disney World in Orlando is a renowned theme park that homes the magic of Disney. It’s one of the best amusement parks in the world!
A perfect activity for all ages, experiencing Walt Disney World’s fun theme park charm can conjure unforgettable moments and memories to be forever cherished. The park is home to four separate parks as well, including Magic Kingdom Park, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Meet the characters of your favorite Disney movies, including Aladdin, Mickey Mouse, and Darth Vader. And on the Walt Disney World Railroad, guests can easily travel to different sides of the park to explore more of this magical place.
The rides and activities target all ages so that whether you’re a starry-eyed adult or child, you’ll be able to feel the magic of Walt Disney World during your visit!
For more ideas, check out our list of the 24 best things to do in Orlando!
A world-class garden stretching across 175 acres, Naples Botanical Garden is the youngest garden in history to win the distinguished Award for Garden Excellence from the American Public Gardens Association.
It would be a crime to not place the Naples Botanical Garden on the list of top things to do in Florida!
Naples Botanical Gardens explore nature’s beauty by featuring reputable horticultural arrangements and plants from all over the globe. Walk through Naples Botanical Garden’s butterfly garden, surrounded by butterflies that flutter from one flower to another.
The diverse array of plants to be viewed through the well-maintained and themed gardens is a rewarding stroll that should not be overlooked. Located in Southwest Florida, this place is perfect for nature lovers.
One of the most popular attractions of Destin, Florida, and one of the best beaches in Florida, Henderson Beach State Park draws in many to its towering white sand dunes and sparkling emerald green waters.
Perfect for relaxing, sun tanning, fishing, swimming, and making sand castles, this park also features 60 campsites and a nature trail to adventure.
There are picnic pavilions to grab shade and eat under, restrooms to save the day, and showers to rinse off all the sand from a long day spent at the beach.
Henderson Beach State Park is also just a one-hour drive west of Panama City, which is a popular tourist destination in northern Florida. If you’re visiting Panama City, consider a day trip out to this stunning beach!
Read Next: Check out our post on Destin to find other great things to do in Destin!
The Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine is the oldest masonry fort in the United States. It represents the Spanish empire’s 300-year occupation of Florida.
The history of this national monument is rich in impactful moments and struggles that have shaped the nation. Made to protect the Spanish settlement from pirate raids, opposing powers, and hostile Indian tribes, the Castillo de San Marcos was never captured in battle.
Juan Ponce de Leon discovered the Florida peninsula in 1513, claiming the area for Spain. It represents a range of cultures, from Spanish to English, that have fought over the conquest of Florida.
St. Augustine is the oldest city in America and the longest inhabited European-founded city and, along with the Castillo de San Marcos, represents the foundation of the United States of America.
Find more things to do in St. Augustine here!
The place to party in Key West, Florida, Duval Street, is where to find the action!
Jokingly referred to as the “longest street in the world,” this world-famous street runs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, encouraging the clever name. Hanging out here is one of the best things to do in Key West.
On Duval Street, it’s not hard to find popping bars and pubs, quaint cafes, scenic galleries, and great restaurant options. Don’t miss Sloppy Joe’s, the world-famous bar where Ernest Hemingway ate, or the Red Bar Theatre for a high-class performance full of entertainment.
On this sunset party cruise, you can start the party before hitting up Duval Street on the spacious catamaran serenaded by talented musicians and breathtaking views of the sunset by the sea.
Did you even visit Florida if you didn’t visit Miami Beach? Miami is one of Florida’s most fun and famous cities, and Miami Beach is its own little city connected to the mainland by bridges.
South Beach is the most well-known area of Miami Beach. Located at the southern end of the city, South Beach is full of fun things to do.
Sunbathe on the sand, admire the historic art-deco architecture, go shopping at the Lincoln Road Mall, or grab a coffee in a cafe on Ocean Drive.
South Beach is also known for its glamorous side. There are lots of upscale nightclubs, cocktail bars, celebrity-chef restaurants, and international eateries.
One of the best ways to experience the fabulous scenery of the surrounding area is by going on a boat cruise around the city. See the Miami skyline from the water and see some magnificent Millionaires mansions!
Specially designed with themes of Asia and Africa, Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida, is an animal-themed park of 335 acres.
Busch Gardens boasts world-class rides, animal interactions, and shows that welcome those of all ages for a day of fun and thrill. Visitors can see gorillas, bats, tigers, cheetahs, and penguins throughout the numerous animal exhibits.
Then, go for a scenic train ride at one of the three train stations that travel around the park while seeing some of the animals and the habitats they call home.
The roller coasters at Busch Gardens are known for being some of the best, like Cheetah Hunt, which traverses through a rocky gorge with the movement patterns of a cheetah on the hunt!
This amusement park is one of the top Tampa Bay attractions to check out while you’re visiting Florida’s west coast.
Get a Tampa Bay CityPASS to save money on your entry to Busch Gardens and other local attractions!
One of the coolest attractions in northern Florida is the Florida Caverns State Park.
Here you can explore the geological wonders of an underground cave system that many tourists don’t even know about!
Many people come to Florida to lounge on beaches and view marine wildlife, but there is a whole underground world near the town of Marianna in northern Florida.
Head to this incredible attraction run by Florida State Parks to see stalactites, stalagmites, and other natural wonders.
In Jacksonville, Florida, the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is the largest fine arts museum in Northeast Florida.
The former owner, Ninah Cummer, donated her riverfront home and art collection after passing in 1958 to create the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens. The exceptional exhibits and offered lectures and seminars establish a remarkable educational opportunity for guests.
More than 5,000 works are on display, and after touring the indoor pieces, head outside to the gardens for a stroll featuring reflecting pools and exquisite fountains.
Read Next: Check out our post to add more things to do in Jacksonville!
The oldest national forest in the eastern United States, the Ocala National Forest is a primeval forest that features stunning natural springs, rare birds, manatees, and alligators.
People travel from all over the world to witness the beauty of the Ocala National Forest. The lands are untamed in the forest, offering chances to catch sight of wildlife as they go about their day.
The pools of water offer an explicit unraveling experience of the grandeur of nature’s untainted magnificence. Many come to soak in the springs, like Silver Glen Springs, or take up other recreational activities like kayaking, hiking, camping, or wildlife watching.
The Pensacola Lighthouse & Maritime Museum is home to the historic Pensacola Lighthouse, preserving the impactful history of this powerful landmark in Pensacola Bay.
Established in 1859, the lighthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places and features 177 steps that must be climbed to reach the top for spectacular views of the Gulf Coast, the historic Navy Yard, and three historic forts.
Touring the lighthouse, visitors can explore the restored Keepers’ Quarters, which is home to the Rich. C. Callaway museum with various exhibits telling the story of the lighthouse and local history.
This location on the Florida Panhandle is one of the top historic destinations in the state!
Read this post to find more great things to do in Pensacola!
The Hemingway Home and Museum in the Florida Keys, specifically Key West, is the home of the iconic American writer Ernest Hemingway perfect for the best things to do in Florida for literature fans.
Ernest Hemingway is renowned for influencing American literature with his mastered usage of prose and his macho persona. The Hemingway Home and Museum was where Ernest Hemingway lived for a short time and is famous for its favored Hemingway cats.
Most of these cats are polydactyl, meaning they have an extra toe. They are descendants of the white six-toed cat given to Ernest Hemingway by a ship’s captain.
Hemingway’s home is famous for the writer and its feline inhabitants. The Hemingway home was established in 1851 by an affluent marine architect and salvager, Asa Tift, using a French Colonial style.
Tours take guests through the museum and house preserved as close as possible to when Hemingway lived there. Peer at memorabilia, pet six-toed felines, and stroll through the gardens at Hemingway Home and Museum!
Read more about the best things to do in Key West!
One of the top things to do in central Florida is visiting Universal Studios Florida, a famous theme park in Orlando that has something fun for everyone.
Take on roaring roller coasters, meet your favorite movie characters, and visit worlds beyond our imagination!
One of the most popular stops at Universal Studios is Harry Potter World, where guests can drink butterbeer and don magic wands. There are Harry Potter-themed gift shops and rides that replicate the magical wizarding world and allow you to live it for yourself!
There are also live shows, boisterous performances, and plenty of roller coasters or other rides at Universal Studios theme park for a day filled with fun and excitement.
Settled in an iconic layout of a pink Renaissance-style palace, the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art can be found in Sarasota Bay, Florida.
The museum was founded by a famed circus magnate, one of five who owned the circus termed “The Greatest Show on Earth,” John Ringling, and his wife. Both shared a love and passion for art, Italy, and Sarasota.
Thirty-one galleries display impressive pieces of art that can be seen in a tour of this intricate art museum established with a courtyard featuring Greek and Roman sculptures and a bronze cast of Michelangelo’s David.
A safe, drive-through safari park in Loxahatchee, Florida, Lion Country Safari has claimed to be the first “cageless zoo” in the United States since its founding in 1967.
Spread out on close to 600 acres, the safari park near West Palm Beach is home to hundreds of animals seen in large herds as they roam about. Lion Country Safari is divided into seven habitats, each featuring impressive animals such as the rhino, giraffe, ostriches, and zebra.
In addition, the park has a walk-through portion where guests can feed fish, birds, and giraffes and take on other fun activities like miniature golf, paddle boating, and water park rides.
Clearwater Beach is famous for its soft white sand and clear blue waters, perfect for swimming, suntanning, and more!
It’s common to find beach volleyball tournaments running on the weekends here. And by water, people are boating, paddleboarding, jet-skiing, and parasailing along the salty waters of the beach.
Between tanning in the sun and building up an appetite from adventuring the coast, head to one of the many beachfront restaurants for seafood or a drink to energize for more fun.
You can easily visit this famous beach as a day trip from Tampa Bay as well as it’s only 30 minutes away.
Check out our list of the best things to do in Tampa!
One of the oldest roadies tourist attractions in the U.S., and the oldest living museum in St. Petersburg, the Sunken Gardens has been running for more than a century!
The impressive collection of some of the oldest tropical birds and plants in the region is homed in the Sunken Gardens. A stroll through the gardens takes visitors past lively pink flamingos, roaring waterfalls, and thriving gardens featuring tropical flowers and thousands of other plant species.
A local plumber built this hidden gem, the Sunken Gardens, in a sinkhole in 1903. It was even used for alligator wrestling back in the day! Thankfully, now it homes thousands of luscious plants, welcoming guests from all over the world to bask in nature.
DISCLAIMER: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means if you book accommodation, tours or buy a product, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help us keep creating more free travel content to help people plan their holidays and adventures. We only recommend the best accommodations, tours and products, and regularly review these. Thanks for your support, kind friend!
Leave a Reply