Most tourists who head down to Florida are going mainly for the sun and non-stop parties, but there is so much more to experience than that. So, we decided to make a list of some absolute musts that everyone should experience at least once in their lives.
The same way we highlighted the most surprising things to do in Dubai, we are now introducing a list of must-do in Florida. This gorgeous state of USA offers a unique tropical climate, fantastic sea landscapes and plenty of attractions.
1. Swim with Dolphins and Sea Lions
There are quite a few dolphins and whale watching tours available in Florida, and they offer an incredible experience. With snorkeling, snacks, drinks, dolphins playing in their natural habitat, and cruising around on a nice boat, what’s not to love?
These tours are great, but have you ever pet a dolphin? There are a couple of companies that offer dolphin, sea lion, and stingray encounters. If you have never tried one of these types of tours, you’re missing out – being able to actually touch and interact with these creatures is a truly wonderful experience.
2. Scuba Diving & Snorkeling
Florida is home to the fifth largest reef in the world down in the Florida Keys, so you know there is some excellent snorkeling and scuba diving available. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced, the Florida Keys reef will dazzle you with its abundance of aquatic life. Bright corals, turtles, fish that come in a rainbow of colors, spiny lobsters, and wild dolphins are just a little of what you will find on North America’s only barrier reef.
Alternatively, head on up the coast to Crystal River, home to herds of manatees between November and April. Go snorkeling and experience these beautiful animals up close as well as plenty of fresh water springs located in the area. If you’d prefer to see Sea Turtles up close instead, take a trip to West Palm Beach in the summer months.
3. Visit the Sunken Gardens
If you’re visiting the Tampa Bay area, make sure to take a trip out to Saint Petersburg and the city’s Sunken Gardens.
The gardens are more than one hundred years old and home to tens of thousands of plants over four and a half acres of land. Take in the beautiful and relaxing scenery as you walk along the paths and don’t forget to pay a visit to the garden’s flamingos!
4. Dry Tortugas National Park
There are a couple of ways to get to Dry Tortugas National Park: seaplane, charter boat, ferry, or even kayak. However you decide to get there, the trip is worth it. Seven small islands and an area covering 100 square miles that is mainly water, this eco-attraction should be on your bucket list.
The biggest attraction is Fort Jefferson. Built in the 1800s, it was used as a prison during the civil war and later as a coaling station. Now the largest masonry structure in North America is slowly sinking into the sea, so see it while you can.
If you want to stay on the island, there are camping sites available, and you might want to take advantage of them, or at least store your extra bags in a Key West luggage storage service before you head over to the park so that you don’t have to drag them around with you. It’s not just about Fort Jefferson – there are beautiful secluded beaches to hang out on, fantastic bird-watching areas, and some of the best snorkeling in the Keys.
5. Visit a theme park
It wouldn’t be a list of must-do activities in Florida without a mention of the state’s fantastic theme parks, would it?
Whether you want to explore the world of Mickey Mouse or take a trip on the Hogwarts Express, you can spend hours and hours – if not days and days – at Florida’s finest theme parks. Take a trip around the world at Epcot, step into your favorite movies at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, escape from Gringotts at Universal’s Harry Potter World, or take a family trip to Legoland. Parks offer multi-day tickets for those who don’t want the fun to end, or you could even book a stay in one of the theme parks’ hotels for a longer experience.
6. Spend a day at the beach
Florida is known the world over for its beautiful beaches, so you’ll have to pay a visit to at least one on your trip!
Take a trip to a waterpark on Riviera Beach, stroll down the boardwalk in Miami, paddleboard on St Pete Beach and in Orlando, or visit Shell Island from Panama City Beach. The list of activities that you can do at Florida’s beaches is almost completely endless, so make sure you set aside at least a day to make the most of one.
7. Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square
For anyone that finds themselves in the Florida Keys, it is an absolute must that you join in on the nightly celebration of watching the sunset from Mallory Square. With a host of local musicians, jugglers, magicians, psychics, artists, and food vendors, all coming together for a spectacular evening of pure fun.
The event starts 2 hours before sunset every single night. And just think you could be standing in the spot of such iconic figures as Mark Twain and Tennessee Williams, who came especially to see the same sunset.
So Much More…
There is so much to do and see in Florida that it’s difficult to cover it all in one article – and even harder to cover in just one trip! Not to mention the amazing luxury hotels there… Anyway, no matter what you choose, you can rest assured that you’ll have a fantastic time.