There Are 19 Must-See Florida Attractions

Updated on April 25, 2022 and written by Lana Law

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Florida is one of the most visited states in the United States due to its many beaches, amusement parks, national parks, and other attractions. Tourists in search of sunshine flock to Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and a string of cities along the southern Gulf Coast, while families travel to Orlando to enjoy the theme parks there.

Many people from other parts of Florida and neighboring states head to the Florida Panhandle in the summer to enjoy the pleasant breezes and beautiful white sand beaches.

The Florida Keys are the ultimate island getaway because of the relaxed pace of life there. When compared to the rest of the country, Key West and its inhabitants may as well be from another planet.

From the Kennedy Space Center to the Daytona 500 and everywhere in between, Florida is packed with amazing attractions. The Sunshine State is ripe for repeat visits, and we've compiled a handy guide to the best sights to see next time you're here.

Walt Disney World Florida's Magic Kingdom

There is no better theme park in the world than Disney World in Orlando. Even after all these years, the Magic Kingdom and the rest of Disney World's mega amusement park still manage to enchant millions of guests.

Over the years, the city has expanded its list of attractions to include more than just the usual amusement parks. You could also visit Disney Hollywood Studios, the exotic animals at Animal Kingdom Park, or the water parks at Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon if you're looking for more inspiration.

There are also fantastic restaurants, shops, and shows, some of which are aimed squarely at an adult audience.

The official Disney World website is:

Orlando's Best Resorts: A Place to Stay

Kennedy Space Center Location: Kennedy Space Center

One of Florida's best and most exciting tourist destinations is the Kennedy Space Center. This massive complex on Florida's Space Coast is where groundbreaking space exploration has taken place. See rockets and the Space Shuttle Atlantis, talk to a real astronaut, and find out about upcoming space missions.

Visitors to the Kennedy Space Center can explore the complex's many exhibits and displays at their own pace thanks to its mission zones. The interactive exhibits are fun for people of all ages, so the whole family can come.

You can see historic launch sites and other facilities that are off-limits to the general public on the Behind the Gates Kennedy Space Center Bus Tour. Your daily admission fee already covers this. Seeing everything at the Kennedy Space Center will take at least a full day.

While many visitors come for the day from Orlando, which is only an hour away if you avoid rush hour, you can also find quality chain hotels in the Titusville area if you'd like to be closer to the Space Center. The Hampton Inn Titusville I-95 Kennedy Space Center in Titusville, Brevard County, Florida, is one of the best hotels in the area (

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Universal Studios Studio Universal

The Orlando attraction Universal Studios is so enjoyable that many people prefer it to Walt Disney World. This enormous theme park features numerous exciting attractions, including recreations of film and television sets. It's a great destination for families with preteens and teenagers.

The new theme park from Universal, Volcano Bay, features some of the most incredible 3D and 4D simulator rides, thrill rides, and wet and wild rides in the world. There are also milder rides available that younger kids will enjoy.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where visitors can ride the Hogwarts Express, explore Hogsmeade Village, and, of course, escape from Gringotts, is one of the most visited and impressive attractions.

Please visit the official website at

Orlando's Best Resorts - A Place to Stay

  • Best Orlando Attractions & Where to Stay
Art Deco buildings in Miami Beach Photo by Lana Law, used with permission, of Miami Beach's Art Deco architecture

Although a day at the beach is a must on a hot day, there is much more to Miami Beach than the beautiful, wide stretch of golden sand that runs along the Atlantic Ocean. The Art Deco Historic District is a major differentiating factor for Miami Beach in comparison to other Florida beach towns. The city's vibrant history is reflected in the beautifully restored buildings, most of which date from the 1930s and 1940s, creating an atmosphere unlike any other.

Many of these structures have been renovated into luxury hotels, condos, and dining establishments. Hotel Breakwater South BeachThe Hotel Breakwater South Beach, The Carlyle, and the Park Central Hotel (now part of the new Celino Hotel complex) are just a few of the fantastic Art Deco structures that can be found along Ocean Drive, the legendary oceanfront street overlooking South Beach.

If you're in the mood for more classic architecture, take a stroll down Collins Avenue. The a href=""

Miami's Best Resorts: A Place to Stay

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  • Top-Rated Miami Beaches
  • Miami's Best Tourist Attractions
Everglades National Park Park of the Everglades

National Park Service safeguards 1 Wetlands covering 5 million acres provide a home to numerous animals including alligators, American crocodiles, Florida panthers, deer, turtles, egrets, manatees, and river otters. As one of the country's largest parks, it provides a rare chance to observe these animals in their natural habitat.

All of it is a broad, shallow river that empties into the Gulf of Mexico from Lake Okeechobee. Porous limestone covers a bedrock base known as the Tamiami Formation at the river's bottom. It stores precipitation and is the primary water source for much of southern Florida.

The best way to experience the Everglades and see alligators and other wildlife is on an airboat tour. Half-day tours from MiamiFrom your Miami hotel, you can take a half-day tour to the Everglades to see alligators and learn about the local wildlife. You'll be able to take a stroll down a scenic path.

Miami Combo Tour: City Sightseeing, Biscayne Bay Cruise, and Everglades Airboat RideConsider the Miami Combo Tour, which includes a city tour, a cruise on Biscayne Bay, and an airboat ride through the Everglades. This is a comprehensive, all-day tour.

For the real deal, check out:

Where to Stay near Everglades National Park Lodging Options Close to Everglades National Park

Daytona 500 International Speedway The International Speedway at Daytona

Daytona 500 is the first race of the NASCAR Cup Series season and is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious auto races in the world. Every year, thousands of people flock to Daytona Beach to watch the event at the Daytona International Speedway.

To get auto racing away from the beach, construction on the Speedway began in 1959. In the past, Daytona Beach's hard-packed sand was used for races and land-speed competitions. Even if you can't make it to the race itself, there are tours available so you can see the Speedway.

Click here to visit the official website for the Daytona International Speedway:

Daytona Beach's Top Lodging Options

  • Daytona Beach, Florida: Best Sights to See and Things to Do
SeaWorld Orlando Orlando's SeaWorld

SeaWorld Orlando, like Walt Disney World, is a massive amusement park that has long been a highlight of Florida vacations with the kids. The complex is well-known for its dolphin and whale shows, but it also hosts acts with an eclectic cast of animals, ranging from cats and ducks to otters and sea lions.

The Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin exhibit and the abundance of other aquarium displays that allow visitors to get up close and personal with marine life of all kinds are also must-sees. The Mako roller coaster, which can reach speeds of up to 73 miles per hour, and the Journey to Atlantis water coaster ride are two examples of the thrilling rides that visitors can enjoy at SeaWorld.

Click here to visit the official SeaWorld Orlando website:

Where to Stay near SeaWorld Where to Stay Close to SeaWorld

Meerkat at Busch Gardens Tampa Tampa's Busch Gardens features meerkats.

Busch Gardens is a major draw for visitors to the Tampa area. This African-themed amusement park boasts a wide variety of exotic animals and is frequently cited as one of the largest zoos in the Americas.

Animals as diverse as lions, tigers, elephants, giraffes, gorillas, and more can be observed. Open-air vehicle safari tours provide a chance to see animals like giraffes, zebras, rhinos, and ostriches in their natural habitat.

There are also tours that give you an up-close encounter with tigers and elephants, or a chance to get up close and personal with penguins. A lot of families enjoy going to live animal shows, which often feature an odd cast of characters.

Busch Gardens is not only home to amazing animal experiences, but also numerous wet and dry thrill rides. There are rides for younger children in addition to the wild and fast roller coasters.

Go to the official website right here:

Tampa's Top Lodging Options

  • Top-Rated Tampa Tourist Attractions
Manatees in a spring in Florida Florida manatees enjoying the springtime

It is said that Christopher Columbus mistook these gentle, slow-moving giant sea creatures for mermaids during his historic voyage to the Americas. You might wonder if old Christopher spent a little too much time at sea after seeing them up close and personal.

From November to about the middle of April, manatee watching in Florida makes for a fantastic family outing. The Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center at the Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach is one of the best places to see manatees in Florida. When the water temperature drops in the surrounding bays during the winter, manatees migrate to the lagoon by the plant to bask in the warm water used to cool the facility.

Crystal River is a fantastic destination for those with a more daring spirit. Here, you can join the manatees in the warm springs and swim alongside them. Crystal River Manatee Swim in Kings Bay National Wildlife RefugeThe Crystal River Manatee Swim at Kings Bay National Wildlife Refuge is the best way to see these creatures up close and personal for three hours. In a small group led by an authorized guide, you'll travel by boat to the manatees and swim in their company. You could also take a kayak trip, stand-up paddleboard out, or just stroll along the boardwalk and watch the manatees below you through the pristine water.

The Manatee Lagoon and FPL Eco-Discovery Center in Riviera Beach, Florida, are another great destination on the west coast. Manatees can be seen frolicking in the warm waters below the viewing platforms. It's also a great place to teach kids about manatees and the rest of Florida's ecosystem.

Dry Tortugas National Park National Park of the Dry Tortugas

The magnificent US Government-built Fort Jefferson can be found in Dry Tortugas National Park. Even though this is the park's main draw, the seven stunning reef islands that make up the Dry Tortugas are well worth the journey. Spend the morning exploring the fort, and the afternoon relaxing on the beach or going snorkeling in the calm, shallow waters.

There are a group of islands 70 miles west of Key West that can't be reached by car. Catamaran boat trips from Key WestDay-long catamaran trips from Key West include a visit to the fort, free time to swim, snorkel, and relax on the beach, as well as breakfast and lunch.

You can also set up camp here and have your very own "desert island" experience once the daytime tourists have left. You can get there by chartering a boat or taking the public ferry, which can hold up to ten campers.

For the real deal, check out:

Lodging: Top Key West Hotels

  • Key West's Best Beaches: More Information
Duval Street in Key West The famous Key West street, Duval

Key West, being the last in the chain of islands, is the ultimate destination for most tourists visiting the Keys. One of the best ways to enjoy the Florida Keys is with a stroll down famous Duval Street in Key West. Many of the stores and restaurants here have outdoor patios, and their historic buildings have been painstakingly restored. No matter the season, the energy is high, but it spikes on the days that cruise ships are in port.

Key West's Caribbean vibe sets it apart from other Florida tourist spots. Walkable residential neighborhoods and interesting attractions like the Southernmost Point in the continental United States and the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum complement the lively atmosphere of Duval Street.

Hotels: Key West's Best Resorts

  • Top-Rated Key West, FL Tourist Attractions
Castillo de San Marcos The Fortress of San Marcos

Despite Pensacola's claims to the contrary, St. Augustine is widely recognized as one of Florida's oldest communities. Augustine's historical sites and quaint old buildings are among the reasons the city deserves a visit. Flagler College, built in the late 19th century, is one of the city's most iconic structures. Henry Flagler, the railroad tycoon, commissioned its construction as a hotel.

The National Park Service describes the Castillo de San Marcos as the "oldest masonry fort in North America," so a visit there is a must. It was constructed in the 17th century, but despite its age it is still an impressive sight. The coastal panorama is also stunning.

St. Augustine's Five-Star Hotels and Resorts

  • St. Augustine, Florida's Best Tourist Attractions
Laboratory in Edison and Ford Winter Estates The Edison and Ford Winter Estates Laboratory

The lives and careers of inventor Thomas Edison and Ford Motor Company co-founder Henry Ford are chronicled in these two adjacent oceanfront mansions in Fort Myers. You can take a tour of the houses and outbuildings, see the labs where Edison ran his famous botany experiments, and explore the palm tree-lined grounds. You'll soon see why these two guys decided to spend the winters here instead of somewhere more northern once you reach the beach.

The Edison Botanical Research Lab is a National Historic Chemical Landmark and a highlight of the tour.

Fort Myers, Florida: 2350 McGregor Boulevard

You can visit the official website at

Ca' d'Zan Mansion The Palace of Ca’ d’Zan

Built primarily in the middle of the twentieth century in a Venetian style, this impressive property is home to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the Circus Museum, the Ca' d'Zan, and beautiful gardens.

The Museum of the American Circus honors the legacy of this one-of-a-kind performing art. In addition to exhibits detailing the history of the world-famous Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the museum also showcases a wide variety of circus costumes, props, posters, and other memor A huge scale model of the circus arriving, setting up, and departing from a location is one of the highlights.

John and Mable Ringling called the Ca' d'Zan home. Their travels throughout Europe and the great palaces of Venice served as inspiration for this Venetian-style mansion on the water. The 36,000-square-foot mansion is an architectural marvel in southern Florida that was finished in 1926.

After perusing all the lowbrow circus memorabilia, a visit to the art museum, housed in a stunning pink palace, can be somewhat of a culture shock. Famous works by Velazquez, El Greco, Van Dyke, Veronese, and Rubens are among those on display from the Ringling's extensive art collection. A visitor might assume that John and Mabel Ringling were trying to make up for their lack of means by displaying such expensive art.

Sarasota, Florida, 5401 Bay Shore Road

See for the real deal.

Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg The Saint Thérèse of the Dal Museum Photograph: Alexander Sviridov / Shutterstock | St. Petersburg com

Situated in the heart of St. Petersburg is found on the city's beautiful waterfront and is housed in a one-of-a-kind, ultra-modern building meant to reflect the artist's own unique vision. The building's curving glass facade makes what would otherwise be a rather boxy structure stand out in a dramatic way.

The museum's permanent collection spans Dal's entire career, presenting a comprehensive look at his artistic growth. This museum is interesting and thought-provoking even for those who are unfamiliar with his mind-bending artwork.

One Dal Boulevard, Suite St. Petersburg, FL.

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St. Petersburg's Finest Lodging Options

Beach near the Naples Pier Naples, Florida, beach (photo copyright Lana Law)

Some of the finest beaches in the entire United States can be found along Florida's Gulf Coast. Warm, calm, and typically shallow water distinguishes these Gulf of Mexico beaches from their Atlantic counterparts. Vacationers frequently stay at the beach resorts that dot this coastline.

Some of the best beaches along the entire coast can be found in Naples. The beach has fine, powdery sand, clear, calm waters, and plenty of room for your umbrella and chair. Volleyball courts and the largest number of sunbathers can be found in the area immediately surrounding the historic Naples Pier, which is also one of the busiest areas.

The beaches in Naples are casual and rarely crowded outside of peak times. The main stretches of beach are accessible from town, and if you're looking for something more natural, there are state and local parks all along the coast. Naples is a wonderful city with excellent restaurants and upscale shopping just inland from the beach.

Luxury Resorts in Naples, Florida

Great blue heron photographed on the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail Picture of a great blue heron taken along the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail.

There is a great diversity of birds due to Florida's varied ecosystems, which include the oceans, the Gulf of Mexico, The Everglades, and the swamps and bayous of the state's northern region. The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail is an excellent way to tick off the birds on your "to see" list.

The trail begins in Pensacola and travels all the way across the state, listing 510 different hotspots for birdwatching across the East, Panhandle, South, and West regions. The majority of these locations can be found in parks managed by various levels of government and are easily identifiable by a brown sign depicting a bird flying through a stylized O.

Website for the official Florida Birding Trail:

Pensacola Beach Lana Law's Copyrighted Photograph of Pensacola Beach

Pensacola Beach and the Gulf Island National Seashore are home to some of Florida's most stunning beaches, and they are often overlooked by tourists. The Gulf of Mexico's crystalline waters lap at the whitest, softest sand you've ever seen. You could bring a best-seller to read under your umbrella, but I bet you end up staring at the breathtaking scenery instead.

The Gulf Island National Seashore Park protects many of the beaches here, unlike those on Florida's eastern coast. Therefore, they have restricted development, so you can enjoy the beach in its pristine state.

Not that every one of them is entirely organic If you're looking for a beach vacation in the Panhandle, you should definitely check out Pensacola Beach. If you happen to be in the area when the Navy's Blue Angels aerial acrobatic team is performing their trademark high-octane, high-risk stunts, don't be alarmed.

Pensacola's Best Sightseeing and Tourist Activities: A Complete Guide

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park Located in Weeki Wachee Springs, Florida

The strange and wonderful assortment of sights to see in Florida are what make the state what it is. Where else in the world can you see a real mermaid swimming in a natural spring?

The show, which may seem excessive at first, is actually quite enjoyable. Over the past 60 years, Weeki Wachee has entertained visitors with its resident mermaid show. Settle into one of the 400 seats in the underwater theater for a show like no other.

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is where you'll find the mermaid show. You can also go on a river boat tour or enjoy the waterslides at Buccaneer Bay.

Visit the official website here:

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