When talking about vacation spots in the US, Florida is one of the places usually mentioned.
This state features sandy beaches and Disney World, but those are not the only things it is famous for.
Despite its label as the fishing and boating capital of the world, it's also a tourist favorite because of its never-ending list of diverse attractions.
Before these spots became Florida's best assets, this state, nicknamed the Sunshine State for its warm climates, also had an exciting past.
Its name came from the Spanish phrase "Pascua Florida," which meant the Feast of Flowers.
The Spanish, English, and French battled over the territory.
Eventually, in 1819, it became part of the United States, becoming known as a space center in the 1950s.
This state contains six regions: the Panhandle, Big Bend, West Florida Peninsula, Florida Keys, Southeast Coast, and Northeast Coast.
Below are the best things to do in Florida according to each region:
The Florida Panhandle comprises the northwestern part of Florida and is primarily an excellent choice for year-round aquatic activities.
Mainly a rural region, it doesn't stop showcasing Florida's sunny atmosphere and outstanding nature preserves.
It houses up to ten aquatic preserves and 36 state parks, all adding to Florida's tourism.
Without further delay, here are the best things to do in Panhandle on your next visit:
Ride a Bike around St. Andrews State Park
With over 1,200 acres of dense forest and a relaxing emerald-green ocean, St. Andrews State Park in Panama City is one of the Florida Panhandle's best-kept secrets.
Flanked on both sides by the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrews Bay, its popular recreational activity involves diving deep into calm waters.
This place opened in 1951; it was a spot for shellfish exploration for the native settlers.
Its great pines and dunes provide a more or less otherworldly experience.
There's an artificial gator lake and extensive campgrounds for those planning to stay there long.
Wildlife are also frequent visitors, so you can make your trip there more educational with every creature making its appearance.
For the whole St. Andrews State Park experience, head to State Park Lane in Panama City, Bay County.
Walk around the Sandy Beach at Henderson Beach State Park
Prepare for a sand-white dune getaway at Henderson Beach State Park in Destin, Oskaloosa County.
This state park on Emerald Coast Parkway is home to 30 feet of dunes and calming gulf waters.
Serving the public since 1991, it got its name from Sir Chris Ashly Henderson, who owned the property centuries before.
It has become an ideal vacation spot for its shoreline charm and family-friendly amenities, including a playground for the children.
Get beach access by strolling down the boardwalk and seeing the blue-green ocean meet the skyline far ahead.
Connected to the boardwalk are primitive campsites.
If you prefer the subtlety and intimacy of parks in Florida, Henderson Beach State Park may be your best bet for that family or group outing that's both memorable and fun.
Enjoy the Attractions at Navarre Beach Marine Park
In the dazzling beach town of Navarre in Santa Rosa County, Navarre Beach Marine Park dazzles travelers with its promise of rare seashells and water-based activities.
Spanning 150 acres, this marine park brings recreation and education into a lovely mix.
With waterfront views of the Gulf of Mexico and Santa Rosa Sound, it's a beautiful tourist location with beach access points and an offshore sanctuary.
The Navarre Beach Marine Science Station and the Navarre Beach Turtle Conservation Center are just a few blocks ahead.
Florida's longest pier is also within this park, measuring an extravagant 1,545 feet.
Strolling down Navarre Beach Pier is a scenic and meditative journey; you only need to pay a small fee.
Moreover, its amenities are both ADA- and wheelchair-friendly, so everyone can have fun despite their mobility challenges.
If Navarre Beach Marine Park interests you, drive down Gulf Boulevard to see all its beauty.
Admire the Aircraft at the Air Force Armament Museum
The Air Force Armament Museum breaks the boundaries of Florida's impressive museum collection.
This museum opened in 1976 as a gateway to over 29 aircraft, alongside other artifacts and memorabilia associated with the Air Force Armament.
Learn more about bombs and missiles, and examine the museum's gun collection as part of your exhibition tour.
Known as the only museum of its expertise and purpose all over the world, it lets you explore a variety of ammunition and air engines from wars, past or modern.
Best of all, admission is free, so you don't have to break the bank to get your aircraft knowledge sorted.
The Air Force Armament Museum is on Eglin Air Force Base on the Emerald Coast of the Florida Panhandle, right along Museum Drive.
Stay in the Cabins at Grayton Beach State Park
Do you want to visit an exotic state park excursion with your family?
Grayton Beach State Park is the answer!
This nationally-ranked park boasts a coastal forest and sundry trails that extend to over four miles, containing magnolias and scrub oaks.
Since its dedication and public opening in 1968, this park has been a stopover for many bird species.
You can expect to see bald eagles and shorebirds.
The backwaters of Western Lake, which is the park's best asset, are also open for your paddling adventures.
When you come by in the evening, prepare for a golden surprise on your sunset viewing with your family or a significant other.
Grayton Beach State Park is on Main Park Road in the glimmering city of Santa Rosa Beach in Walton County.
Explore the Fort Pickens Area
The Fort Pickens Area is a historically-bound exploration site that gets you access to educational tours and campgrounds.
Located on Gulf Breeze Parkway in Gulf Breeze, Santa Rosa County, this landmark also paves the way for nature exploration.
Its superb amenities include the discovery center, where you'll be amazed by the exhibits on display.
This is also where you can ask for a ranger to guide your immersive tour and watch the park film with loved ones who share an interest in historical excursions.
Explore the old batteries used in ancient defenses outside the Fort Pickens Area.
Bring your picnic along the area's pavilions, and try hiking the trails leading to the historic batteries.
See the Glittering Stalactites at Florida Caverns State Park
In Jackson County, it's an underground escapade when you visit Florida Caverns State Park.
Acquired in October 1935, the park property is a beautiful landscape with many rare and exotic plants and animals.
Beyond its photogenic cave curtains and other hidden gems, it also holds a rich history.
Chisel marks remain on many spots around the cave, products of the hard work of the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 30s.
Check out the glittering stalagmites and stalactites on top of other cave beauties you can find inside this tourist attraction.
Campgrounds, gift shops, and golf courses await you on this 1,300-acre park.
Don't wait any longer to explore Florida Caverns State Park on Caverns Road in charming Marianna.
Admire the Ocean View at Pensacola Lighthouse & Maritime Museum
If you've got the time to explore Florida history, don't hesitate to add Pensacola Lighthouse & Maritime Museum to your itinerary.
This historical lighthouse on Radford Boulevard has stood since 1859, and its beauty never dies down.
Alongside the lighthouse, don't miss the chance to visit the exhibits at Richard C. Callaway Museum.
A few years after the tower's construction, the museum soon became the centerpiece of the attraction starting in 1995.
Learn about the history of illumination, Pensacola's residents, and more about the US Coast Guard.
Then, climb 177 steps atop the Pensacola Lighthouse & Maritime Museum and see the stunning vista of the Gulf Coast.
Pensacola, Escambia County, never runs out of surprising sites and many recreational ventures.
Spot Birds at Blackwater Heritage State Trail
Within the Florida Panhandle, there's always a reason to commune with nature through hiking trails.
Blackwater Heritage State Trail is one of the prime examples of nature excursions you shouldn't miss.
Starting from the north of Milton in Santa Rosa County, it extends in a line through Highway 90.
The eight-mile trail introduces you to wooded and rural environments with the occasional creek underneath bridges.
Watch for birds and other creatures as you pass woodlands and piney forests.
Along the way, keep your eyes peeled for historic and recreational sites like the Milton Riverwalk.
Blackwater Heritage State Trail brings the family together through a collective love for cycling and jogging.
Head to Alabama Street and start pedaling!
Join Events at Destin History & Fishing Museum
Founded in 2005, Destin History & Fishing Museum on Stahlman Avenue is the ideal venue for diving deep into the fishing histories of Destin.
Going as far back as the 1830s, it has distinct galleries and exhibits planned to make you feel like you've gone back to the past.
The Rodeo Gallery, one of its specialized displays, tells of the longest-running fishing tournament that's been a staple in Destin.
Look at the Mike Long Memorial Fish Wall, which features over 100 fish mounts, and the Destin peninsula.
If you’ve got the time, join limited and annual events at Destin History & Fishing Museum!
Destin History & Fishing Museum may be just what you need for your Florida adventure.
Try the Skytrail Course at SkyWheel Panama City Beach
SkyWheel Panama City Beach adds color and new heights to your usual Florida trip.
Situated within Pier Park on LC Hilton Jr. Drive, this entertainment center brings together all your favorite rides and attractions.
At the SkyTrail & SkyTykes ropes course, challenge yourself to obstacles, suspended bridges, and cargo nets as you overcome your fear of heights.
Climb the observation wheel, which goes up to an impressive 200 feet, and get a new perspective on Panama City Beach.
The SkyWheel gondola ride also lets you bring a date.
There's also an 18-hole golf course and a snack shack for your breaks in between fun rides.
In Panama City Beach in Bay County, you have every opportunity to have fun the daring way.
Check Out the Dinosaur Sculptures at Tallahassee Museum
Along Lake Bradford, Tallahassee Museum is a Panhandle staple known for its animal exhibits.
Unlike the typical museum, Tallahassee Museum takes the learning journey outside, in the company of nature.
Founded in 1957, this museum saw its formation through the efforts of civic groups and other teachers.
It wasn't until the 60s that it solidified its roots on Museum Drive in Tallahassee.
In a few years, it has seen expansion and the birth of rope trails, outdoor dinosaur sculptures, and improved traveling exhibits.
Its tree-to-tree adventures are worth trying with the family for an all-around lifetime excursion.
Ride the various zip lines and other rope courses available for you.
Who said Leon County has zero adventures in store for you?
At the Big Bend coast, you are in for a tropical time with its marshland and woodland stops.
Located right next to the Panhandle and covering Florida's slight curve downward, the Big Bend's forest inclinations extend to stunning rivers, a manifold of plant and animal species, and crystal springs.
Are you ready to traverse a land with more animals than people?
Here are the best things to do on the Big Bend coast:
Catch a Show at the Monticello Opera House
Established in 1890, the Monticello Opera House has gone far from its mercantile purpose.
Once called Perkins Block, this opera house also had a stable around the back, housing wagons and mules for sale.
The theater was what one might call a Monticello Miracle.
After its abandonment, the theater reopened in 1973 when a company called Monticello bought it.
Its two-story building opens you to a night of theater excitement.
The Perkins Banquet Hall and the picturesque Garden Courtyard are on the ground floor.
Then, you'll find yourself at the 311-seated Historic Theater, where all the best plays and stage shows happen.
If you've got an event coming up, celebrate your milestone at the historic establishment of Monticello Opera House!
You can find this opera house on West Washington Street in Monticello, Jefferson County.
Breathe in the Scents of Nature at Manatee Springs State Park
Situated on Northwest 115 Street, Manatee Springs State Park gets you closer to nature through an 800-foot boardwalk.
You can expect a cypress forest and first-magnitude springs while you traverse deep into the woods.
On top of the clear view of the woodlands, there's also an 8.5-mile trail you can go through on foot or by bike.
With three loops and over 80 campsites, it's also an ideal venue to gather your family and become one with nature.
Likewise, manatees also show up during the coldest times to greet you and welcome your arrival.
Other activities at Manatee Springs State Park include boating and paddling in the nearby Suwannee River.
This state park is in the city of Chiefland, Levy County.
Take an Exciting Hike at Aucilla River and Sinks Trail
If you've got the spirit to go on a lengthy course along the Florida Trail, then go to the Aucilla River and Sinks Trail.
This trail is unusual, featuring sinkholes and pockmarked walls made of limestone.
From a single-track perspective, the river you'll be walking parallel to may "sink" and "rise."
The landscape continues like this for over eight miles, enough time to immerse yourself in the forest environment.
Anticipate rapids and rainbow swamps along your journey, too.
There are three campsites within the vicinity.
Bring your camping equipment if you want to stay longer to hear the river rush while you rest.
Get going to Goose Pasture Road to find the Aucilla River and Sinks Trail in Monticello, Jefferson County.
Ride Your Bike along the Nature Coast State Trail
The best way to experience North Florida, or the Big Bend Region, is by taking your discoveries to the streets.
The Nature Coast State Trail gets you up close and personal with some of Fanning Springs' most visited areas on your bike.
This trail was once a railway in the early 90s, specifically called the Atlantic Coastline Railroad.
It stretches to 32 miles and comes with two alignments that offer an intersection between communities like Trenton, Chiefland, and Cross City.
Multi-use trails may also be suitable for those using their mountain bikes for practice and as a way to get some exercise.
Have you packed your helmet and biking pads on your deep, challenging route along the Nature Coast State Trail?
You can find this trail on Northwest Old Fanning Road in the Gilchrist and Levy counties.
See the Butterflies at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
This place was once a refuge for birds migrating during the seasons.
St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge has served the community since 1931.
It also belongs to the North Florida Refuges Complex.
This nature preserve encompasses 17,000 acres of Big Bend.
Visit Nature's Classroom, which provides a conference room and other animal exhibits.
These exhibits include the Barred Owl Room and the Monarch Butterfly Room.
Practice your photography skills at the second oldest lighthouse in the state, St. Marks Lighthouse.
Also, don't forget to bring your binoculars for the best wildlife experience ever.
Prepare for a wildlife adventure at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge on Lighthouse Road in St. Marks in the magnificent county of Wakulla.
Meet Cute Manatees at Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park
Exploring a water zoo at Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park.
This nature preserve on Wakulla Park Drive helps you meet alligators and manatees from within the comforts of your boat.
Here, you meet face-to-face with Florida's most prized freshwater springs and cypress swamps.
Bring your snorkeling gear and swimming attire to prepare you for a day floating around Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park's designated water areas.
You can also sign up for a boat tour.
Take pictures of turtles and birds in their natural habitat.
Observe wild turkeys and white-tailed deer graze the deep forests and dense trees.
There's a Spanish-style lodge styled like the 1930s where you can fully relax after a whole day of exploring the wild.
This state park is in the city of Wakulla Springs, Wakulla County.
See Diverse Wildlife at Cedar Key Museum State Park
Cedar Key Museum State Park on Southwest 116th Court gives you solitude as you explore nature and learn more about the city's history.
With the help of interpretive exhibits at the eight-acre property, you can learn about the heritage of Cedar Key and Florida.
Moreover, this state park highlights the city's best salt marshes.
After making your historical rounds at the museum, take a peaceful walk on the nature trails leading to the boat launch.
You can choose to paddle, canoe, or kayak with a group to see Cedar Key Museum State Park's marsh.
Birds also soar above the site.
Don't miss the chance to spot birds or even study other wildlife on your boat.
Bring your family to this lovely park in Cedar Key, Levy County.
Join a Safari Ride at Giraffe Ranch
Along Mickler Road, Giraffe Ranch takes you on a safari journey unlike any other.
For a rolling countryside location spanning 47 acres, this wildlife and giraffe farm gives new meaning to native wildlife preserves.
With its five types of safari rides, you and your family can get closer to the animals on site and even live your dream of feeding giraffes.
This family-operated farm also specializes in breeding giraffes that live uphill at the ranch.
Meet zebras, rhinos, and cheetahs inside a guarded vehicle on the guided Wildlife Drive-Thru Safari.
Spice up your wildlife interaction at Giraffe Ranch by choosing the Segway or Camel Safari Tours.
The Segway Safari Tour, as the name indicates, lets you explore the ranch through Segways.
Moreover, the Camel Safari Tour puts you on a camel's back where you can relive how ancient settlers traveled.
Giraffe Ranch is in Dade City, the county seat of Pasco County.
Admire the Victorian Architecture of the May-Stringer House
On Museum Court in Brooksville, the May-Stringer House is one of three museums handled by the Hernando Historical Museum Association.
This Victorian-era home boasts four stories with 14 rooms in different themes.
In 1855, the original owners of this house—John L. May and his family—purchased the property and built the house.
After the passing of John L. May, the home eventually found its way into the hands of the association in 1980.
Sign up for a docent-led tour around the Parlor and into the Victorian Bedrooms.
Other themed rooms include a 1900s Communication Room and a Military Room.
At the center of Brooksville in Hernando County, the May-Stringer House is a testament to the city's living history.
Study the Visiting Birds at Hagen's Cove
Do you have an affinity for studying birds and finding relaxation in the activity?
Then, you should add Hagen's Cove to your itinerary.
This nature site overlooks various aquatic areas, including mud lands and marshes.
Located in Keaton Beach in Taylor County, Hagen's Cove is an ideal place to spot fowl, especially during summer and spring.
It's best to visit this site during incoming tide to see marsh wrens, Nelson's sparrows, and other bird species.
Lounge by the picnic facilities and enjoy a peaceful, quick bite.
Cross the Hal W. Adams Bridge
Hal W. Adams Bridge is the first suspension bridge in Florida.
Finished in 1947, the bridge enjoys a rich historical heritage.
It was named after Hal W. Adams, a county judge for both Suwanee and Lafayette Counties.
Standing at a magnificent 687 feet, its architecture is unlike most bridges; it has unenclosed anchor eyebars and riveted steel towers.
Hal W. Adams Bridge connects both counties mentioned together.
To get a broader perspective of the bridge, get on a boat at the Suwannee River below and see its magnificent glory on par with the Florida skyline.
You can find this bridge in the bustling Lafayette County.
Ride a Horse at Withlacoochee State Forest
Withlacoochee State Forest is Florida's second largest state forest, which has expanded to over 155,000 acres.
It encompasses many counties all over the Big Bend region in Florida.
Its vast areas of recreational use encourage visitors to try out all sorts of outdoor activities, including cycling, camping, and hunting.
If you prefer a leisurely activity, try paddling on the Withlacoochee River.
Its three-long loop trails and multi-use varieties can be ideal hiking spots for those who thirst for adventure on foot.
You can find Withlacoochee State Forest's visitor center on North Broad Street in Brooksville, Hernando County.
West Florida Peninsula
The West Florida Peninsula, also called West Central Florida, is a contemporary travel hub.
Alongside the usual Florida beaches travel stamp, it's also famed for its museums and theme parks.
You can also expect a closer look into animals and their habitats with its animal-centered excursions and tourist venues.
Family-centered activities abound within the West Florida region thanks to its gardens and parks.
Let your children tag along for the best things to do in the West Florida Peninsula.
View the Rotating Exhibits at the Museum of the Everglades
You can never go wrong with the Museum of the Everglades for a private historical excursion.
This museum, once only boat-accessible, has undergone various changes that made it stand out as a historical site in Everglades City.
In 1923, it served as the construction base for the Tamiami Trail, assigned by Barron Gift Collier, the county founder.
In 1927, it officially opened as a commercial laundry, but it became a museum over the years.
The Museum of the Everglades features permanent and rotating exhibits that tell the exciting past of "Florida's Last Frontier."
It is a Collier-inspired building on West Broad Avenue in Everglades City, Collier County.
Play with Your Kids at the Splash Pad at Bradenton Riverwalk
Are you looking for a place to spend your days and nights in Florida?
Bradenton Riverwalk may be your best bet for a contemporary and intimate exploration of Bradenton.
This riverwalk stretches 1.5 miles and highlights downtown Bradenton's culture, giving a front-seat view of the Manatee River.
Check out the Manatee River fishing pier and the Tidal Discovery Zone, which brings particular attention to the river's allure.
The Flex and Great Lawns are ideal for basking in the sun during summer.
For an improved family-centered adventure, head to the Family Fun Zone and cool down the heat with the Splash Pad's help.
Your little ones will thank you for this!
Bradenton Riverwalk is on 3rd Avenue West in Manatee County.
Buy a Plant or Tree at Edison & Ford Winter Estates
On McGregor Boulevard, a thousand opportunities await you on your quest for historical knowledge.
Edison & Ford Winter Estates brings the historical spotlight into world-renowned inventors Thomas and Mina Edison and Henry and Clara Ford.
Their contribution to the advancement of technology is the main highlight of this historical property in Fort Myers.
The onsite museum details inventors' works in immersive exhibits and other models.
Besides the Mangos in the Fords' secular home and the Seminal Lodge of the Edisons', it also has a laboratory where Edison did all his botanic research.
Take a trip to the garden outside with growing plants raised in research beds.
You can drive to the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers, Lee County.
Bring Friends to the Waterfront in Emerson Point Preserve
Experience coastal Florida at its peak with a trip to Emerson Point Preserve.
This nature preserve reserves hiking trails for wanderers who want a more immersive exploration of the city of Palmetto.
Located on 17th West Street, this site also features ancient ruins that only add to the place's ambiance.
Stroll down the paved trail and feel the warm Florida breeze against your skin.
Emerson Point Preserve also has the best waterfront view, so secure a seat at the dock and watch the sunset paint the water gold.
Pack enough for a lovely snack at the picnic areas after kayaking and canoeing.
If you've got the time, add the Emerson Point Preserve in Manatee County to your list of must-travel spots.
Join a Guided Tour of Ca' d'Zan
Do you want to make your trip to Florida more worthwhile?
Then, visit Ca' d'Zan, one of America's architectural treasures.
This revival mansion, whose name means "House of John" in Venetian, takes inspiration from Gothic palazzos in Italy.
Construction started in 1924 and finished after two years.
Its furnishings speak of a glamor imported from other cultures, like the Aeolian organ on the second floor and an original Waldorf-Astoria chandelier hanging from the ceiling.
There's also a reflecting pool out front that adds to the appeal of Ca' d'Zan.
This venue is an ideal location for fancier events and celebrations or maybe just a quick cultural trip.
Find this mansion on Bay Shore Road in Sarasota, Sarasota County.
Ride a Bike around the Venetian Waterway Park
Are you ready for an afternoon of bicycling and hiking on the West Florida Peninsula?
The Venetian Waterway Park on East Venice Avenue brings you scenic access to some of the best sites in Venice.
This linear park extends to over five miles.
When it connects to the Legacy Trail, you can expect 23 uninterrupted miles of solitude and refreshing greenery.
Challenge a friend to a biking race or have them join you on your early morning jogging or walking routine.
Along the way, meet wildlife just as eager to meet you and stop by the benches for a drink to replenish your energy.
The Venetian Waterway Park brings you the calmness and serenity Sarasota County offers visitors and first-timers.
Sit by the Fishing Dock at Red Bug Slough Preserve
Sarasota County always has something to offer fellow park enthusiasts.
Visit Red Bug Slough Preserve, where Sarasota brings forward family-friendly entertainment unique to this community.
Moreover, this park's pet-friendly amenities can make your furry pet's day brighter.
Spanning 72 acres, it also offers several miles of hiking trails interspersed among creeks and ditches.
Chill by the preserve's fishing dock while you reminisce over good memories with your family.
Watch your child have fun at the small playground.
Indeed, Red Bug Slough Preserve on Beneva Road is a nature escapade in the middle of urban Sarasota.
See the Butterflies and Flowers at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
On Mound Street, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a bayfront sanctuary that provides 45 acres of flowers and other plant species.
With a focus on horticulture and botany, this site stands out for its research on tropical blooms, including epiphytic orchids.
If you've got the time, watch the exhibitions or shows hosted at the garden site.
Visit the onsite Tropical Conservatory and Butterfly Garden, too, for an immersive botanical adventure!
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens has two campuses: one in Downtown Sarasota and another in Historic Spanish Point in Osprey.
Wherever you visit, enjoy aromatic and nostalgic journeys into the best flowers in Sarasota County.
Stay for a Picnic at Service Club Park
One of Venice's best well-kept secrets is the Service Club Park on Harbor Drive South.
This bayfront park may not look like much at first glance, but it's a favorite among locals because of its unpretentious atmosphere.
Its walk-on area leads to the beach and offers a broad view of the West Florida skyline.
It's also the best place to take your partner out for a date during sunset as you walk down the sand.
If you're visiting with a large group, try out sand volleyball to enjoy Service Club Park.
There are also picnic areas and a pavilion for your downtime relaxation.
This park in Venice, Sarasota County, lets you unwind with its beach access and improved onsite amenities.
Play with Your Dog at Brohard Beach and Paw Park
There's no reason for you to leave behind your furry pets on Harbor Drive.
Brohard Beach and Paw Park is the only beach area in the community that allows you to bring your beloved pet.
Don't waste the opportunity to pack your beach essentials with yours!
Play Frisbee with your pet dog or go to the fishing pier on Brohard Beach and Paw Park.
Venice, Sarasota County, doesn't cease to amaze travelers with its pet-friendly beach parks and stunning sea views of the Gulf of Mexico.
Learn about Marine Life at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
An underwater paradise awaits at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium.
This aquarium on Ken Thompson Parkway uncovers all the secrets of the sea through interactive exhibits and viewable working labs.
Combining technology and education, this laboratory also has an exploration gallery and over 100 marine species within their habitats.
The site also offers virtual reality experiences, allowing you to swim alongside your favorite sea animals.
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is a child's ultimate sea exploration site, offering further walking tours and internship opportunities for those seeking this field.
Find this nature research and laboratory in Sarasota, Sarasota County.
Tee up at Pelican Pointe Golf and Country Club
At the West Florida Peninsula, you can practice your skills on world-class golf courses.
Pelican Pointe Golf and Country Club is a prime example of these courses.
In Venice, Sarasota County, find yourself blown away by the award-winning 27-hole course layout and other sports amenities onsite.
Whether you're only a beginner or a seasoned golfer, Pelican Pointe Golf and Country Club has a place for you.
Besides being a training ground and recreational spot for golfers, the 1,000-acre course features wetlands and slopes, making it a nature preserve.
You can also find an Olympic swimming pool, two tennis courts, and a putting and side bunker for practice.
Moreover, you can celebrate your milestones on this golf course on Derbyshire Drive.
The Florida Keys are your best choice for a complete taste of Florida.
Encompassing 120 miles of sultry islands, this Florida region's island lifestyle can help you soak up the sun and embrace the state's immersive culture.
Experience the laid-back atmosphere of the art galleries and historical sites on land while in this region, too!
To help you plan your itinerary, below are the best things to do in the Florida Keys.
Visit the Cats at the Hemingway Home and Museum
Enter the legendary writer's residence at the Hemingway Home and Museum.
Ernest Hemingway spent much of his life in Keys West, where the historical home now stands.
The Spanish Colonial home, originally built in 1851, was renovated in the 30s when Hemingway and his wife took residence here.
When you browse the rooms and his studio, you'll find European furnishings and antiques reminiscent of Hemingway's trips and achievements during his lifetime.
Perhaps the most unusual proof of the author's stay in this home is the presence of six-toed cats all over the island.
During his travels, Hemingway met a sea captain who gifted him with a unique six-toed tomcat he took to Key West.
The descendants of this cat still roam the island in Monroe County.
You can see and pet them at the Hemingway Home and Museum on Whitehead Street.
Feed the Sea Turtles at Turtle Hospital
In the captivating city of Marathon, Monroe County, you can learn more about sea turtles in the Florida Keys region.
Turtle Hospital has served the community with continued extensive research, treatment, and release of sea turtles within the area.
Through the help of donations from doctors and local hospitals, injured sea turtles come back healthy after treatments and surgeries done at this hospital.
Sign up for an educational tour that lasts approximately 70-90 minutes.
Take a closer look at the hospital, the equipment used to save turtles, and the rehabilitation area where they relax and recuperate.
After your tour, you may even feed the turtles living permanently at the center.
Turtle Hospital on Overseas Highway doesn't avoid sharing its life-saving mission with those who listen.
See the Butterflies and Birds at Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
Located at the heart of Key West on Duval Street, the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory are worth visiting.
This Florida Keys attraction in Monroe County takes you on an exotic kaleidoscope centered on butterflies.
When you visit the Learning Center, you won't just learn about butterfly life cycles, but you will also see a live demonstration.
From mural maps and handmade art studios, the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory ensure your trip is worthwhile.
To get acquainted with familiar and exotic butterfly species, walk around the glass-enclosed garden and park.
It's a tropical surprise that you won't see in other sanctuaries in Monroe Country.
Take a Photo of the Southernmost Point of the Continental U.S.A.
Not every day do you reach the southernmost part of the United States, except when you go to the Florida Keys.
The Southernmost Point of the Continental U.S.A. features a buoy overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.
Erected in 1983, this historical landmark is a favorite among travelers looking to photograph their travels.
Strike a pose in front of the vibrant buoy, signaling its 90-mile distance from Cuba.
The Southernmost Point of the Continental U.S.A. is on Whitehead Street in Key West, Monroe County.
Go Snorkeling at Bahia Honda State Park
At Bahia Honda State Park, prepare to rediscover nature and wildlife through the sandy beaches and breeze.
In the 50s, this state park was a county park before becoming a Florida State Park in 1961.
What once was a tourist stopover on the way to Key West has become an essential spot for outdoor recreation and wildlife exploration.
See the natural beauty of the Florida Keys when you choose to snorkel nearshore or even swim to your heart's content.
Arrive early to secure your spot at Bahia Honda State Park because visitors may be plenty.
You may also have to return on another day if the park reaches maximum capacity.
Bahia Honda State Park is on Overseas Highway in Big Pine Key, Monroe County.
Meet the Sea Lions at Theater of the Sea
The Theater of the Sea, as the name implies, is a theater that gives you a complete view of the sea and all its many wonders.
This marine mammal park in Islamorada, Monroe County, is home to various sea creatures, including stingrays, crocodiles, sea turtles, and more.
Since its establishment in 1946, its purpose to bring people closer to sea animals has never changed.
Check out the shows and animal exhibitions, including fish, reptiles, and parrot events.
Go down the bottomless boat ride, where you can see the dolphins play around each other.
You can also celebrate functions and significant events in the Overseas Highway marine park.
Theater of the Sea has more surprises up ahead—or down below!
Swim with the Dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center
The Dolphin Research Center, founded in 1984, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a home for dolphins and sea lions.
This dolphinarium came to life because of a fisherman named Milton Santini.
His commitment to collecting marine animals for parks and providing a sanctuary in the 1940s marked the center's beginning.
Eventually, he created the deep lagoons in the Dolphin Research Center, which opened to the public in 1984.
When you visit this dolphin center, you can join behavior sessions with dolphins and sea lions, swim with them or watch high-flying acrobatic shows.
Head to Overseas Highway on Grassy Key, Monroe County, to experience dolphin magic!
See the Deer at National Key Deer Refuge Nature Center
Do you want to know more about animals on your journey to the Florida Keys?
The National Key Deer Refuge Nature Center brings your dream to life with its collection of deer and other wildlife species.
Founded in 1957, this 9,200-acre nature preserve dedicates itself to protecting endangered and threatened animal species.
It is also a sanctuary for 23 endangered and threatened species of both animals and plants.
Bring your cameras and take photos of the animals in hardwood hammocks and salt marshes.
You can explore the National Key Deer Refuge Nature Center on Overseas Highway in Big Pine Key.
Sit by the Shore at Fort Zachary Taylor Park
Don't be afraid to start a historical excursion at Fort Zachary Taylor Park.
This tourist landmark in Key West brings another side to the tropical escapade for which the Florida Keys is famous.
Spanning 54 acres, Fort Taylor stands tall as an epitome of Florida's rich history.
This fort, established in 1845, housed cannons and blockage equipment because of its role in the U.S. Navy’s East Gulf Coast squadron.
Explore its ruined architecture and vintage armaments in the various rooms of the fortress.
If you go down the beach at Fort Zachary Taylor Park, you're in for a pleasant surprise.
Swim, snorkel, and view marine wildlife up close at the beautiful beach of this state park.
Fort Zachary Taylor Park is found on Howard England Way, Monroe County.
Scuba Dive at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Located on the Overseas Highway in Key Largo, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park offers an impressive underwater experience.
This state park, boasting 70 square miles of water, brings a spotlight to sea creatures through saltwater aquariums.
Go on a bottom-boat tour and find vibrant coral reefs swaying with the current.
If you prefer a more interactive adventure, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park also allows swimming and snorkeling.
There are also reservable campsites with complete hook-ups for your ultimate experience in the wild.
Monroe County never disappoints with its under-the-sea explorations and sites, as proven by this state park.
Join Events at the Truman Little White House
The Truman Little White House is your best bet for a presidential and cultural tour of the Florida Keys.
This house offers an inside look at the president's life in this historic building from 1946 to 1952.
The house was built in 1890 as housing for naval officers.
Hear detailed stories and facts about the president at the house Thomas Edison visited and where Eisenhower spent his recovery.
Ride the Original 1950 Cosmopolitan Lincoln Limousine when you sign up for the White Glove Tour.
The Truman Little White House is on Front Street in Key West, Monroe County.
Learn More about Art at the Audubon House & Tropical Gardens
The Audubon House & Tropical Gardens is an ideal change from the normal water and nature-centered programs and venues within the Florida Keys.
Established in the 1840s, this house served as a wealthy family home.
In 1958, the Mitchell Wolfson Family Foundation saved it from demolition.
Step back into the mid-19th century at the Audubon House & Tropical Gardens on Key West, Monroe County.
The Audubon House & Tropical Gardens took inspiration from the American Classic Revival design for its frames and furnishings.
The house's gallery has a variety of art collections, botanical prints, and an archival frame shop.
Expand your art and culture knowledge at this must-see attraction on Whitehead Street.
The Southeast Coast of Florida is an exceptional blend of Hispanic and Caribbean attractions and cultures.
Its tropical climate helps highlight the region's art and deco community and boating and fishing culture.
Thanks to its diverse counties, including Miami-Dade and Palm Beach, it's easily a preferred getaway for those seeking adventure.
Should you need a guide on your trip to this populous region, here are the best things to do on the Southeast Coast:
Marvel at the Lush Flamingo Gardens
You can never go wrong with a trip to the exotic Flamingo Gardens.
This botanical garden opened in 1927.
It is a staple in Southeast Florida because it's also one of the oldest in the region.
Moreover, this garden is one of the few with the largest and most widespread collection of Florida wildlife.
Spanning 60 acres, it once had the name 'Flamingo Groves' and served the public as a citrus orchard.
After many changes, Flamingo Gardens eventually became the sanctuary for almost every plant and tree in the state.
Going through its fern and hammock garden, find many permanent and seasonal blooms.
Flamingo Gardens is on South Flamingo Road in Davie, Broward County.
Travel Back in Time at the Historic Stranahan House Museum
Get ready for a blast to the past with a drive to the Historic Stranahan House Museum on Southeast 6th Avenue.
Built in 1901, this house is the oldest standing building within the community.
It has once been a town hall, a post office, and the majestic home of the Stranahans, among many others.
Its wood-framed structures and close-up view of the New River tell the tale of historical Fort Lauderdale.
Experience the exhibits or even rent the whole place for your most celebrated occasions.
If the Historic Stranahan House Museum piques your interest, book your trip to Fort Lauderdale in Broward County as soon as possible!
Play with the Kangaroos at Jungle Island
Situated on Parrot Jungle Trail, Jungle Island is a zoological park known for its exotic and rare animals.
Established in 1936, this park made animal encounters for travelers and visitors more immersive with various programs.
The unique 18-acre property brings the Florida jungle into Miami with a contemporary and more hands-on twist.
Its unique flora collection is also worth checking out.
From the African sausage tree to the cycads, there's always something new to see.
Have lemurs perch on your shoulder or feed the flamingos in some well-known animal exhibits.
Meet and greet capybaras and kangaroos while you're at it, too!
At Jungle Island in Miami-Dade County, Jungle Island gives you many new ways of interacting with animals.
Meet Exotic Animals on Lion Country Safari
Lion Country Safari takes you on a quick tour around Africa through its cageless territories and roaming herds of animals.
Established in 1967, this park also highlights Florida's warm climate and tropical charm that's habitable for many species.
The drive-through areas have seven habitats.
Watch the alpacas and brown pelicans feel at home at the Las Pampas.
Find yourself amazed at the Greater Kudu at Ruaha National Park.
Try not to shout in excitement at the African lions in the Gorongosa Reserve.
Other stops on the safari include Serengeti Plains, Hwange National Park, and Kalahari Bushveldt.
Lion Country Safari is in Palm Beach County in the thriving city of Loxahatchee.
Check Out the Art Deco Museum and Welcome Center
Miami may be famous for its sandy beaches and refreshing vacation options, but did you know its art scene is also something to check out?
Along Ocean Drive, the Art Deco Museum and Welcome Center introduces you to the world of art through its regular and limited exhibits.
Discover more about Miami's most prominent architectural styles and the development of Miami Beach.
If you've got the time right, you can also sign up for lectures and films to fully absorb the art process in Miami.
Prepare to have your mind blown with the rotating art displays and historical information at the Art Deco Museum and Welcome Center in Miami-Dade County.
Walk through the Sculpture Garden at Coral Castle Museum
Are you seeking unusual art discovery while in Miami-Dade County?
Coral Castle Museum may work wonders for your ideal tourist stop fantasies.
This limestone-filled museum uses a coral rock for stand-out sculptures and outdoor furniture.
What makes this a beloved landmark isn't its cool-shaped pieces but the mystery behind their creation.
Their creator, Edward Leedskalnin, built the coral sculptures between 1923-1951 using only hand tools.
After purchasing a ten-acre property in Homestead, he transferred most of his pieces to the land.
No one knew how he did it because he took his secrets of coral sculpture creation with him after getting sick one day and dying.
You can visit Coral Castle Museum on South Dixie Highway for a small admission fee.
Bring a Date atop the Skyviews Miami Observation Wheel
One of Miami's best dating spots is the Skyviews Miami Observation Wheel.
This attraction overlooking Biscayne Bay and directly above Bayside Marketplace is a promising venue to experience downtown Miami fully.
If you're traveling to Miami-Dade County, don't forget to add this spot to your itinerary.
Bring a special person on the gondolas and make them see how big the world can be when you're on top of it.
The VIP Gondola Package is ideal if you plan to confess, propose, or celebrate anniversaries and other events with someone precious.
Head over to Biscayne Boulevard for a date of remarkable splendor.
Strike a Pose at the Torch of Friendship Monument
Miami's downtown area is full of points of interest, and at Biscayne Boulevard, ready your phones and cameras.
The Torch of Friendship Monument is a historically significant piece that signifies goodwill for Pan America.
Standing at a massive eight feet, it holds seals of the American Republic within its curved wall of 40 feet.
In 1963, this monument served as the dedication to President John F. Kennedy after his assassination.
Drive by and take a picture to commemorate your visit!
The obelisk of the Torch of Friendship monument is at Bayfront Park in Miami-Dade County.
Walk around the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
Are you planning to make your trip to Miami more memorable?
Bring the whole gang to Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, where you can satisfy your creative soul.
This museum and garden take you back to the Gilded Age with its breathy outdoor facilities and sophisticated garden and pond layout.
Whether you sign up for guided tours or rent the place for a wedding photoshoot, you'll have lots of fun exploring the site's terrain and imperfect features.
Visit Vizcaya Museum & Gardens on South Miami Avenue in Miami-Dade County.
Browse the Exhibits at Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens
While in Delray Beach, immerse yourself in Japan's rich and refined culture at Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens.
This museum in Palm Beach County is a careful blend of Japanese and Floridan traditions from centuries back.
Established in 1977, this center brings diverse architecture, wildlife, and collectibles to light.
Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens have three exhibition galleries, a quaint tea house, and lakeside terraces that call attention to the plants growing outside.
From bonsais to koi growing in the lakes, you'll have fun pointing out the culture of Japan within the suburban Florida surroundings.
Keep your eyes peeled for Morikami Park Road because that's where this picturesque site stands.
Go Fishing with Family at Pompano Beach Fisher Family Pier
Pompano Beach's tourist offerings provide a mark of their own to the travelers driving by.
At Pompano Beach Fisher Family Pier, your family's wishes for a tranquil bonding experience are all but a thing of the past.
Stretching 900 feet, it's the ideal outdoor venue for sightseeing and fishing.
Named after Mayor Lamar Fisher, this pier is shaped like a pompano fish, thus attracting more visitors.
Put your fishing skills to the test at Pompano Beach Fisher Family Pier.
Hang out at this pier on Pompano Beach Boulevard in Broward County when you have the time.
Take a Stroll along Hollywood Beach Boardwalk
The Southeast Coast of Florida is a never-ending avenue of camera-worthy landscapes and nature.
The award-winning Hollywood Beach & Boardwalk is the best place to explore this two-and-a-half-mile promenade in downtown Hollywood.
The ocean access at the front and the shopping and dining district at the back make it easy to get lost.
At the same time, the village feel of the boardwalk invites hikers, joggers, and cyclists to breathe the fresh air while exercising.
Hollywood Beach & Boardwalk is on South Boardwalk in Broward County.
Florida's historic region is the Northeast Coast, commonly known as the First Coast.
As the oldest settlement in the state, it's known for its laid-back culture and urban-style community.
With the warm sun and many surfing options, this region of Florida is home to Jacksonville and St. Augustine.
Below are some of the best things to do on the Northeast Coast if you plan a trip there.
Visit the Animal Exhibits at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
The Northeast Coast of Florida may be historical, but it also has some of the most noteworthy tourist spots in all of Florida.
One such spot is the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, which brings together 100 acres of animal exhibits and vast gardens.
Located on Zoo Parkway in Jacksonville, this zoo houses over 2,000 animals.
It gets you onboard wild adventures on a train, and by foot, so you see the entire venue and its lovely residents.
Bring your child with you on the wildlife-inspired carousel.
For a deep dive underwater, there's a 4D theater that will give you a fun and educational time.
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is a worthwhile spot for you to visit in Duval County.
Ride Canoes at Hanna Park
Hanna Park in Jacksonville makes it simple to commune with nature while still engaging in your interests.
This oceanfront park on Wonderwood Drive has various natural amenities to attract the outdoor lover.
Known as Florida's first African American beach resort, Hanna Park offers the ultimate outdoor recreation.
At its 60-acre lake, canoe, or kayak, feel the wonders of nature's charm while on a boat.
Spot a bird or any other creature lurking behind the forest at the park.
If you're enthusiastic about hiking, you should also check out Hanna Park's trails.
If you're a surfer, this park in Duval County can get you the surfing challenge you've been looking for.
Learn about Shipwrecks at St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum
St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum is your best choice for a maritime excursion to the past.
This museum in St. Augustine has been open since 1874.
It never runs out of activities for visitors to have fun with.
While the place centers on the lighthouse, it has numerous games and programs for the whole family.
Its Shipyard Playground is a rustic wonderland for kids to play and learn.
A Heritage Boat Works program also preserves the art of boatbuilding.
At the museum, search through archival documents and exhibits depicting Florida's historic coast.
It's always fun when you drop by St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum in St. Johns County.
Enjoy the Animals at St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park
Situated on Anastasia Boulevard, St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park underwent significant changes from a small-town reptile exhibition to a tourist attraction.
Founded in 1893, this zoo changed the meaning of zoos.
The best attractions at St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park include daily shows and animal-centered programs.
The Birds of Africa, Florida Native Reptiles, and the Python Cave are only three of the zoo's many shows.
For thrill-seeking explorers, the zip line course lets you zoom past alligators in a heart-dropping adventure.
St. Augustine in St. Johns County has many attractive programs and venues for your subsequent animal discovery.
Drop by this city when you visit Northeast Florida.
Celebrate Milestones at Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens
Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens and its 120-acre property are more than just a garden and arboretum.
It's also home to a diverse set of trails within 13 ecosystems.
Surround yourself with enigmatic trees and shrubbery while you stroll down the pathways.
Identify exotic flowers, perennials, and seasonal blooms in the gardens.
It's time to let nature flourish and see it all at Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens.
Site rentals are also available for those who wish to host their parties and celebrations onsite.
This Jacksonville tourist spot opened to the public in 2008 and is in Duval County.
Find Inspiration at Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens
Do you want to explore the fine arts culture of Northeast Florida?
Then, it's time you visit Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens on Riverside Avenue.
In Jacksonville, Duval County, this museum boasts an impressive 60 core collection pieces and more than 5,000 art pieces.
Explore the exhibitions on display at the museum or even join events if there is one onsite.
Admire the sculptures and chinaware created by diverse artists.
Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens may get you the inspiration and creative workflow to work on your art as well.
Don't miss it!
Go Sightseeing along the Shore at St. Johns County Ocean & Fishing Pier
Smell the Florida breeze with a stop at St. Johns County Ocean & Fishing Pier.
This fishing pier in St. Augustine Beach on Beach Boulevard features stunning beach views and kid-friendly facilities.
Besides the usual pier, other amenities at St. Johns County Ocean & Fishing Pier include sports courts and pedestrian ramps.
There is a splash park and a playground for your little ones to let their curiosities run wild.
Are you ready to unwind at this serene park and pier in St. Johns County?
Taste Authentic Wine at Saint Augustine Distillery
Brewing craft beer is beautiful, and Saint Augustine Distillery supports this statement.
Built in 2013, this distillery is a refreshing perspective on local agriculture and a quality bourbon experience.
Beyond its locally-sourced products and personalized distilling methods, it also offers self-guided tours on whiskey tasting.
Sample cocktails and learn to make one of your own at home, too!
If you've got the time, visit Saint Augustine Distillery in the thriving city of St. Augustine in St. Johns County.
Play Sand Volleyball at Main Beach Park
You are not visiting Northeast Florida the right way if you do not stop by Main Beach Park.
This beachfront park in Amelia Island in Nassau County is a notorious family-friendly park with a wide range of amenities.
Its large grassy area is ideal for a game of tag or catch and offers a nice break from the streets and sand.
There are two sand volleyball courts onsite to have fun with friends and strangers.
Enjoy the cozy atmosphere of Main Beach Park on North Fletcher Avenue.
Admire the Wax Figures at Potter's Wax Museum
Located on Orange Street in St. Augustine, Potter's Wax Museum mixes fun and creativity into your usual itinerary.
This museum is not only famous for wax figures of notable people in society but also for its exciting past.
It stands inside the oldest pharmacy in the country.
The first production facility in Potter's Wax Museum was built in Belgium in 1949.
Admire the finest details of the wax pieces while you stroll down the halls and come face-to-face with celebrities, artists, athletes, and more!
St. Johns County stands out on the Northeast Coast of Florida because of its great attractions and sites.
Sample Chocolates at Whetstone Chocolates Store
Experience a chocolate extravaganza at the Original Chocolate Tour in Whetstone Chocolates Store.
Since 1967, this family-owned chocolate factory has offered the ultimate dessert experience.
Promising a four-tiered tasting journey, this shop takes you to its factory, where you learn the chocolate-making process.
See how dark, white, milk chocolate, and other treats are produced, and have some for yourself while learning, too!
You can come with a group at the same time so you can share this sweet experience with them on King Street.
If you've got a sweet tooth, don't forget to add Whetstone Chocolates Store to your itinerary in St. Augustine, St. Johns County.
Learn Medieval History at the Medieval Torture Museum
The Medieval Torture Museum may be an unforgettable adventure for those with iron stomachs.
This museum in St. Augustine in St. Johns County brings to life the horrors of the Middle Ages within a 6,000-square-foot space.
Learn about the various punishments criminals face, depending on the severity of their actions.
Take a closer look at the intricate details put into every type of torture device.
As the first medieval torture museum in the country, it has captured the attention of so many individuals worldwide.
Dare to enter the Medieval Torture Museum at St. George Street.
Don't say you weren't warned!
Florida's spectacular landmarks and recreational spots don't just stop at beaches and sand.
Travelers who want to experience nature and its raw beauty would enjoy exploring the cities and famous historical and recreational spots here.
Whether you’re traveling to the north, south, east, or west, Florida’s fantastic topography, historical significance, and natural resources will surely never disappoint.
Discover the best things to do in Florida!