Florida is one of the most frequently visited states in the United States, thanks to its beautiful beaches, amusement parks, national parks, and an array of unique tourist attractions. Families often travel to Orlando to delight their children with visits to theme parks, while sun enthusiasts gravitate toward coastal cities like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and a series of cities along the southern Gulf Coast.
During the summer, visitors from Florida and neighboring states frequently seek refuge from the heat by enjoying the refreshing breezes and pristine white-sand beaches of the Florida Panhandle.
For those yearning for a taste of island life, the Florida Keys offer a unique experience with a slower pace of life. Places like Key West and its colorful characters feel like a world apart from the mainland.
Scattered across the state are numerous must-see sights and activities, ranging from the Kennedy Space Center to the Daytona 500. Florida is a state that invites return visits, and you can plan your next trip using our list of the top tourist attractions in Florida.
1. Walt Disney World
There is no place like Disney World in Orlando for the ultimate amusement park experience. Millions of tourists flock here each year to experience the charm of the Kingdom and the many other attractions of this huge amusement park, proving that Disney’s charm has not worn off over the decades.
The variety of travel experiences and attractions in this destination has expanded over time, encompassing a wide range of options that extend beyond the conventional theme parks. If you are seeking more travel inspiration, you might want to explore the thrilling water parks of Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, immerse yourself in the wonders of Animal Kingdom Park with its exotic animals, or embark on an adventure at Disney Hollywood Studios.
In addition to that, you will discover extraordinary dining experiences, shopping districts, and captivating shows, a few of which are specifically tailored for adults.
2. Overseas Highway
The Overseas Highway, a renowned travel route, is also referred to as U.S. Highway 1. It serves as a vital link connecting the captivating Florida Keys to the mainland. The travel route extends 127.5 miles (205.2 km) into the Gulf of Mexico, starting from Key Largo and passing through Islamadora, Marathon, Lower Keys, and ultimately reaching Key West, the farthest and most renowned island. A significant portion of the travel route follows the path of a historic railway, which was initially constructed by the Overseas Railroad and completed in 1912. However, it suffered extensive damage from a powerful hurricane in 1935, rendering it mostly unusable.
The present highway opened in 1938, featuring a remarkable bridge spanning nearly seven miles in length. The Seven Mile Bridge is a popular travel destination that has been showcased in films like True Lies, 2 Fast 2 Furious, and Mission Impossible III.
For those unfamiliar with it, the Everglades can be mistaken for a massive swamp. However, it is in fact a sprawling expanse of a gentle, meandering grassy river that stretches all the way from Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay. While traveling during the dry season, one can observe the gradual drying up of various areas, except for the deeper spots.
Experience the wonders of a breathtaking subtropical wilderness, where an incredibly unique ecosystem thrives. Journey through this enchanting landscape and encounter magnificent creatures like alligators, bottlenose dolphins, manatees, and bald eagles. In the midst of the picturesque mangroves, towering cypress trees, lush hardwood hammocks, and vast stretches of grass, the magnificent Everglades offer a plethora of exciting adventures for travelers. Explore the boundless possibilities that this enchanting destination has to offer, including invigorating hikes, exhilarating bike rides, serene canoeing and kayaking experiences, thrilling boating escapades, unforgettable camping expeditions, and rewarding fishing excursions.
4. Key West
Key West is renowned as the southernmost city in the continental United States. Interestingly, it is situated closer to Havana, Cuba than it is to Miami. Key West, a charming destination in Florida, has a rich history as the largest town in the state. Over the years, it has flourished due to the abundance of treasures salvaged from shipwrecks. Enhanced navigation systems resulted in a decrease in maritime disasters, consequently causing Key West to experience a decline during the late 19th century.
Key West, a popular travel destination, attracts around one million tourists annually. Despite undergoing extensive restoration and revitalization, the town has managed to preserve its unique character and sense of seclusion, setting it apart from the rest of Florida. When visiting Key West, make sure to explore the iconic tourist attractions that this vibrant destination has to offer. Discover the allure of Ernest Hemingway’s former home, immerse yourself in the history and charm of the Southernmost Point, and admire the breathtaking views from the lighthouse. Additionally, Key West boasts a variety of lively drinking establishments where you can unwind and indulge in the local flavors.
5. Castillo de San Marcos
Situated in the charming city of St. Augustine, The Castillo de San Marcos is a must-visit destination for travel enthusiasts. This historic site holds the distinction of being the oldest masonry fort in the United States. When exploring the magnificent Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, it’s truly astonishing to imagine that this fortress was constructed during the late 1600s.
During your travel, you will be amazed by the longevity of this magnificent structure. Its remarkable design features diamond-shaped ramparts at each corner, strategically maximizing firepower. Additionally, the walls, measuring an impressive 14 feet in thickness, were ingeniously constructed to minimize vulnerability to any potential attacks. St. Augustine is a captivating destination renowned as the oldest European settlement in the United States, exuding a delightful atmosphere of romance and timeless allure.
6. Kennedy Space Center
Kennedy Space Center is a tourist attraction as it has served as the launch site for every US human space flight since 1968. Additionally, it now operates as a launch site for unmanned rockets, making it an exciting place to visit for space enthusiasts. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is a popular tourist destination in Florida. Visitors can explore museums, watch movies, stroll through a rocket garden, and take bus tours of significant shuttle preparation and launch facilities.
When embarking on a journey to witness a rocket launch, the Visitor Complex also offers “launch passes.” However, it is important to note that, in order to prioritize safety, the closest viewing point is located at a minimum distance of 4 miles away, and sometimes even farther.
7. Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Orlando Resort is a popular destination for travelers looking for an exciting and memorable vacation. As one of the largest Universal Studios Theme Parks, it offers a thrilling experience that rivals even Disney. The travel destination includes two exciting theme parks: The renowned Universal Studios Florida and the captivating Islands of Adventure. Other travel destinations include a vibrant nightlife scene and a variety of dining options, such as CityWalk, along with the convenience of three luxurious resort hotels.
Universal Studios Florida, established in 1990, offers an immersive travel experience where guests can embark on thrilling adventures inspired by iconic movies. Universal Studios offers a captivating travel experience where guests can immerse themselves in the enchanting world of movie sets. With a wide array of thrilling rides, captivating shows, and mesmerizing attractions, Universal Studios takes inspiration from beloved film, television, and music productions to transport visitors into a magical realm.
Universal’s Islands of Adventure is a thrilling travel destination that boasts 7 unique “islands” inspired by different types of adventures. Travelers embark on their journey at the Port of Entry, venturing through a multitude of captivating islands.
8. Fort Lauderdale
Situated on the stunning Atlantic coast, Fort Lauderdale is renowned as the “Venice of America” for its extensive and intricate network of canals. The destination is renowned for its stunning beaches and picturesque boat rides. Once a popular travel hotspot, this destination has transformed into a chic and refined urban center.
Located along the stunning beach strip, Fort Lauderdale Beach is a must-visit destination. Here, you can enjoy the refreshing ocean breeze while strolling along the newly constructed promenade, which beautifully separates the sandy beach from the charming low-rise accommodations, delectable restaurants, and delightful beach shops.
9. Miami Beach
When traveling to Miami, it is important to note that Miami Beach is actually a separate municipality located on a barrier island across Biscayne Bay. Many visitors mistakenly believe it is part of the city itself. Miami Beach is a renowned travel destination in the United States, known for its picturesque beaches and captivating art-deco architecture.
South Beach is a renowned travel destination, attracting visitors from all over the world. When the sun sets, the vibrant atmosphere comes alive with its bustling bars, exquisite restaurants, and lively clubs, offering an unforgettable experience for those seeking a memorable night out. Miami Beach is a travel destination that offers a vibrant cultural scene and plenty of sunshine.
10. Tampa Bay Area
Located on the stunning Gulf of Mexico, the Tampa Bay area beckons with its captivating charm. This region boasts Tampa Bay, a magnificent natural harbor, and a collection of vibrant cities that are simply irresistible. Among these alluring destinations are the bustling city of Tampa and the enchanting St. Petersburg. Tampa Bay is a popular destination for NFL fans, as it is the proud home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
When it comes to family-friendly adventures, one cannot miss out on the thrilling experiences offered by Busch Gardens. This renowned theme park boasts an impressive collection of roller coasters that are considered the finest in Florida. Additionally, it is home to a remarkable zoo that focuses on showcasing the diverse wildlife found in Africa’s Serengeti Plain.
When it comes to travel, St. Pete Beach is unbeatable for beachcombing. In 2012, travelers from around the globe voted it as the top beach in the United States and the fifth best worldwide, according to TripAdvisor. This stunning destination captivated visitors with its pristine white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters.
11. St. Petersburg
Situated at the tip of the Tampa Bay peninsula, St. Petersburg has transformed its reputation over the years, evolving from a renowned spring break destination into a captivating travel hotspot. Currently, there are captivating street art murals scattered throughout the city, adding a vibrant and fashionable touch to the historic center.
While exploring the vibrant streets, you will stumble upon charming boutique stores and delightful galleries, where you can immerse yourself in the local art scene. Don’t forget to visit the bustling farmer’s markets, where you can indulge in fresh produce and unique local products. And when it’s time to satisfy your taste buds, the city offers a plethora of atmospheric restaurants that will take you on a culinary journey. St Petersburg’s vibrant cultural scene, stunning beaches, and an incredible Dali Museum make it a destination worth exploring.
Sarasota, a sought-after destination for travelers, boasts a lively cultural and arts scene. The city is home to a variety of captivating museums that offer both entertainment and educational experiences. Among these museums, some are dedicated to celebrating the rich history of the renowned circus that once thrived in Sarasota.
Situated on the picturesque southwest coast of Florida, this city beckons travelers with its abundance of enticing restaurants and vibrant shopping malls. Moreover, it boasts a collection of stunning beaches, including the renowned Siesta Bay Beach, which is widely regarded as one of Florida’s finest.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Florida: Best Areas & Hotels
Q: Is Florida a year-round destination?
A: Yes, Florida’s mild climate makes it a great destination year-round, although winters are particularly popular.
Q: What is the best time to visit Disney World?
A: To avoid crowds and enjoy pleasant weather, consider visiting Disney World during the fall or early spring.
Q: Can you recommend some water sports activities in Florida?
A: Florida offers a wide range of water sports, including kayaking, paddleboarding, and parasailing.
Q: How far is the drive from Miami to Key West, and is it worth it?
A: The drive is approximately 160 miles, and it’s definitely worth it for the stunning views and unique Key West experience.