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15 Amazing Places to Visit in Florida

Florida is home to some seriously amazing places to visit! The first image that comes to mind when you think of Florida is probably that of a white sand beach, and while the state definitely is a haven for all that beach goodness, there’s so much more to the Sunshine State if you know where to look.

One of the best things about Florida? Its mesmerizing natural wonders that range from deep caverns to labyrinths of mangroves and crystal-clear springs set in the middle of verdant forests. 

15 Incredible Places To Visit in Florida

If you’re on the lookout for fantastic places to visit in Florida, here are 15 destinations in the Sunshinse State that need to be on your bucket list!

1) Blue Spring State Park

Florida is home to many beautiful parks. Located about 40 minutes north of Orlando, Blue Springs State Park is the largest spring on the St. Johns River and one of the best places to see Florida’s famous West Indian Manatees.

blue swamp with spanish moss at Blue Spring State Park
Blue Spring State Park

Swimming, kayaking, and canoeing are the most popular activities here, but make sure you also explore on foot by walking the 1.3-mile boardwalk, which takes you from the spring’s source all the way into St. John’s River and provides some of the most scenic views in the park. 

During the winter months, you can see hundreds of manatees at Blue Springs as the park is one of their favorite spots to take shelter from the cold ocean waters. One of the best things to do in the area is kayak or paddleboard with the manatees!

Besides manatees, the spring also attracts a variety of wading birds, ospreys, kingfishers, and eagles, making it a mecca for amazing bird-watching opportunities.

2) Florida Caverns State Park

Looking to dive a little deeper when exploring Florida? Florida Caverns State Park lets you go underground and weave into a maze of cave systems and hidden rooms, where you’ll get to see mysterious stalactites, stalagmites, draperies, and flowstones that look other-worldly.

Cavern room Florida Caverns State Park
Florida Caverns State Park

The state isn’t exactly famed for these types of sights, making this state park a truly unique experience in Florida. In fact, it’s one of the few places in Florida with dry caves, and the only state park to offer cave tours to the public!

3) Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are actually a coral cay archipelago made up of several different islands and the southernmost point of the United States. There are many amazing small towns in the Florida keys; each island has its own unique vibe, some are party islands while others are more laidback, some are upscale and home to the rich and famous, while others feature adorable beachfront cottages and mom-and-pop shops.

Key Largo, Key West, and Islamorada are some of the best places to visit in the Florida Keys but there are also plenty of other smaller islands too. One of the most noteworthy things about the entire area is the nature and you’ll find many incredible parks within the Florida Keys.

A few of the best things to do in the Florida Keys include snorkeling, kayaking, driving the Overseas Highway, and going on a sunset cruise.

Aerial image of the Florida keys with a bridge
Florida Keys

4) Ocala National Forest

Home to the world’s largest contiguous sand pine scrub forest, Ocala National Forest is a haven for all things nature. From crystal-clear freshwater springs where you can swim or even snorkel in search of marine life, to marvelous hiking and equestrian trails, Ocala is a little gem in northern Florida and the perfect place to escape the bustle and hustle of nearby theme parks for a day or two.

5) John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Set in Key Largo (or rather, right underneath it), John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is America’s first underwater state park and the third largest barrier reef in the world. 

If you’re into dazzling marine life, exploring this gem of a park is sure to please. From wading into the water to snorkeling in search of colorful coral to exploring aboard a glass-bottom boat, there are an endless number of ways to explore Florida’s underwater world at John Pennekamp. 

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Florida on the beach
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

6) Everglades National Park

Home to over 15 million acres of Floridian wilderness, Everglades National Park is made up of a number of different ecosystems, making it an absolute treat to explore if you’re up for a few days threading through some of Florida’s most varied landscapes. It is a definite must-see for any Florida nature bucketlist!

While here, you’ll get to kayak through mangroves, hike through hardwood hammocks, or go in search of marine life living under the sea (manatees, crocodiles, and alligators are pretty easy to spot here!) One must-do while in the Everglades? An airboat ride!

7) St. Augustine

St. Augustine is the oldest city in the United States. It perfectly combines European influence with the beachy, coastal vibe and the historic with the modern.

a main street in St. Augustine Florida
St. Augustine

You’ll find quaint streets lined with small businesses, white sandy beaches, and historical sites like Castillo de San Marcos and the St. Augustine Lighthouse. Spend the day exploring, then sail off into the sunset and relax on a boat tour.  

8) Dry Tortugas National Park

If absolute solitude is what you’re after, there’s no better place to find yourself a quiet little spot than Dry Tortugas National Park. Made up of 99% water, this gem of a national park is one of the most remote locations in the entire United States, making it a paradise for those looking to experience the best Florida has to offer without the hoards of crowds around.

Dry Tortugas is only accessible via boat or seaplane, which pretty much means most people can’t be bothered to visit. In fact, there’s a pretty high chance you’ve never heard of this place, simply because it’s so off-radar that even most local Floridians don’t know of its existence! 

While a day spent at the beach at Dry Tortugas is the epitome of paradise, there’s no better way to explore it than by going underwater. While visiting, you can snorkel in search of untouched coral reefs, try to find as many marine species as you can, or hit a few hiking trails on the 7 islands that make up the remaining 1% of the park. You can also charter a boat for an unforgettable experience.

beach and seaplane Dry Tortugas National Park Florida
Dry Tortugas National Park

9) Palm Beach

Palm Beach, or, perhaps, more accurately – Palm Beaches, as there are a few. There are numerous towns and beaches of Palm Beach County, including Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, and Jupiter.

aerial photo of West Palm Beach Florida with boat slips and the ocean
West Palm Beach

Each one is unique in their own way but together, they offer up over 47 miles of coastline, small towns, extravagant cities, shopping, water activities, and more. In West Palm Beach you can explore by free trolley and Palm Beach is the place to be for a bit of glitz and glam.

10) Naples

Naples is another European-inspired place to visit in Florida, located on the Western coast, more or less directly across from Palm Beach. 

a main street in Naples Florida at sunset

The entire area is called the “Paradise Coast” and it’s not hard to see why. Naples offers up white-sand beaches, high-end shopping, and upscale restaurants. It’s a romantic city and there are plenty of luxury options for shopping, dining, and staying. It’s also a well-known area for golfing.

If shopping isn’t your jam, there’s still plenty to do. Check out the Naples Botanical Garden, Naples Zoo, or any of the many art galleries throughout town. 

11) Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park

Even though sinkholes are relatively common throughout Florida, Devil’s Millhopper is unique because it’s one of the few places in the state where more than 100 feet of rock layers are exposed. It’s an incredible place to witness the way ecosystems develop as a result of geological features!

Put simply, Devil’s Millhopper is a 120 feet-deep cavity that leads down into a mini rainforest, creating a landscape that will make you feel like you’re walking inside a Jurassic Park movie (in fact, a ton of fossilized remains of extinct species have been found here!)

12) Orlando 

It’s hard to talk about the best places to visit in Florida without mentioning one of the biggest tourist destinations in the country. Orlando is home to allllll of the theme parks – Walt Disney World, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal’s Island of Adventure, SeaWorld and Universal Studios (plus a few lesser known parks like Gatorland and Discovery Cove!)

That alone is enough for many people to visit Orlando but if theme parks aren’t your thing, don’t write the city off just yet. 

Orlando is an excellent starting point to the rest of Central Florida, including NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Winter Park (the “Palm Beach of Central Florida”), the Blue Grotto, and Rainbow Springs State Park. Not to mention a variety of other beaches!

Magic Kingdom at Disneyworld Orlando Florida
Magic Kingdom at Disney World

13) Miami

Similarly to Orlando, it’s impossible to make this list without mentioning Miami. Miami is THE city in Florida, known for its international influence, art, and luxury experiences. The city is truly one of the best places to visit in Florida, and has some of the most luxe experiences in the state, with ultra-luxury hotels and shopping. 

colorful buildings in Miami Florida

And, of course, nightlife. If you’re looking for an “explore by day, party by night” type of city, Miami is it.  And the best part is that you’re still right on the beach, which sets it apart from many other US cities. 

14) Florida Panhandle

We’re cheating a bit with this one, as the Panhandle covers several of the best places to visit in Florida. Located in northwestern Florida along the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Panhandle includes destinations like Pensacola, Panama City Beach, Destin, and the capital of Tallahassee. 

Beach in the Florida Panhandle

And while you can obviously find beaches throughout Florida, the calm and warm waters of the Gulf provide some of the best beaches for swimming in the entire state. Plus St. Andrew’s State Park is nearby if you’d like some non-water activities to fill your day as well. 

15) Amelia Island

Located off the Atlantic coast about 30 minutes from Jacksonville, Amelia Island is a relatively untouched piece of paradise – or at least as untouched as a poorly-kept secret can be!

Amelia Island offers a combination of white, sandy beaches, dunes, and marshes so you can relax on the beach then head to Fort Clinch State Park for some nature trails. Kayaking is a popular way to explore as well. The island is also home to the oldest lighthouse in Florida.

sunset at beach in Amelia Island Florida
Amelia Island

Unlike the Florida Keys and the cities on this list, you’ll find few chains on Amelia Island. Accommodation options are more beachfront cottage than luxury hotel. 

Have you ever visited any of these destinations in Florida? Which one was your favorite? Let us know all about your time there!