Florida is home to many of the most popular U.S. vacation destinations. Whether you want to build sandcastles on the beach, ride roller coasters at theme parks, or have some adventures in the great outdoors, this is the state to visit. The Sunshine State has something for everyone’s ideal trip. The different regions of Florida offer a variety of outdoor, educational, and family-friendly sightseeing experiences.
Florida Historical Sites
Florida is home to numerous Native American tribes. The state was also under the control of the Spanish, French, and British at different points before becoming a part of the United States in 1845. This history has resulted in countless historical sites throughout the state, particularly in Tallahassee, Florida’s capital city, and Jacksonville, Florida’s most populated city.
Florida Oceanside Towns
Guide to Tourist Attractions in Florida
Florida is packed with opportunities for tourists to explore and enjoy. History, nature, and fun are all easy to find in nearly any part of the state.
When visiting “The Sunshine State,” don’t limit yourself to just one city or destination. Make the most of your trip by checking out a variety of special places and experiences around the state.
Popular Destinations in FL
Destinations all over Florida have plenty for tourists and locals alike to do. Popular cities in the state include Orlando, Jacksonville, Miami, and Tallahassee.
Additionally, visitors often enjoy exploring other unique tourist regions such as the Florida Keys.
If you want to visit a theme park, then the Orlando area is the place to go. Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld are some of the most popular attractions here. Orlando is also home to many impressive shopping, dining, and nightlife opportunities.
Additionally, this Central Florida city is just a quick drive away from many of Florida’s best beaches, making it the perfect well-rounded family vacation destination.
Florida’s most populous city, Jacksonville, aka “Jax,” is on the Atlantic coast. It is packed with museums and restaurants in the popular downtown area, and it also has great opportunities for connecting with nature.
Jax has the largest urban park system in the country. It also has more shoreline than any other city in the country, thanks to its 22 miles of beaches, the St. Johns River, and the more than 40 miles of Intracoastal Waterways.
Jacksonville has an interesting history, and its historical sites are some of the most notable in the state. It is also very close to St. Augustine and Amelia Island, which have additional historic sites that are perfect for a quick day trip.
Miami’s trendy restaurants, distinctive culture, and lively nightlife make it one of the most popular tourist areas in the state. Notable Miami neighborhoods include Wynwood, South Beach, and Little Havana, which each have a different vibe and opportunities for shopping, dining, and more.
The Miami area is also well-known for its great outdoors. This includes many popular beaches, waterways, state parks, and more. Plus, Miami has an international airport and the world’s busiest cruise ship, which draws in even more tourists from around the globe.
While it is not everyone’s first thought for a Floridian vacation destination, Tallahassee has many opportunities for tourists to explore and enjoy. As the capital city, it is integral to both Florida’s history and present-day laws and policies.
Historical sites in the Tallahassee area include plantations, mansions, religious sites, and more. Perhaps most notable is the Florida Historic Capitol Museum, which serves the community as an educational, architectural, and historical site. Today, the Florida state government meets in a different building, but this site remains essential to the state’s identity and foundation.
The Florida Keys are a group of islands off the southern coast of Florida. They are actually located closer to Cuba than Miami, giving them a more tropical and diverse atmosphere.
The different islands have a variety of experiences related to outdoor adventures and relaxation alike. Boating, fishing, and scuba diving are especially popular. This Floridian paradise is perfect for short and long vacations of all kinds.
Historical Places in FL
The Sunshine State is not all about beach vacations and bustling metropoles. Florida has many important historical sites that have affected the state, as well as the country as a whole, over the years.
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
The Spanish constructed the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, FL, in 1672. It was used to defend Spain’s power over Florida and is now the oldest masonry fortification in the continental United States. Visitors can explore the property and learn about its past through weapon demonstrations, chatting with volunteers in period dress, attending informational presentations, and more.
Kingsley Plantation in Jacksonville is one of the few plantation homes left in Florida. During the 18th and 19th centuries, many people came to Florida, including Zephaniah Kingsley, who built this plantation home in 1798. Guests at Kingsley Plantation can take advantage of free admission and audio tours, as well as special programs for children and teachers.
Key West Lighthouse
Key West, FL, became home to a U.S. military base in 1823. To ensure the safe arrival of both military and commercial boats in the area, the Key West Lighthouse opened in 1848. Visitors today can check out the lighthouse’s museum, which focuses on Key West’s maritime history and features photographs, objects, and personal accounts related to the site.
Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park
Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park is both the site of Florida’s largest Civil War battle and a popular place to participate in all sorts of outdoor activities. It is located in the Osceola National Forest in Northern Florida.
Henry Morrison Flagler Museum
Businessman Henry Flagler completed his famous estate in Palm Beach, known as Whitehall, in 1902. It is a grand Golden Age mansion with 75 rooms. The mansion is now home to the official Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, which features rotating exhibitions and offers self-guided tours.
Parks and Nature in FL
Beautiful parks, beaches, and other natural sites are abundant across Florida. All nature lovers are sure to find the perfect place to get outdoors and enjoy Florida’s sunshine and warm weather.
Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve
Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve is a 46,000-acre U.S. National Preserve located in Jacksonville. It is one of the last coastal wetlands left on the Atlantic Coast and contains many coastal dunes, salt marshes, and hardwood hammocks. This large nature preserve is known for outdoor activities like kayaking and hiking, as well as notable historical sites including Fort Caroline and Kingsley Plantation.
Everglades National Park
Florida’s Everglades National Park is world-renowned for being the largest remaining subtropical wilderness in the U.S. Its 1.5 million acres include many marshes and wetlands, as well as rare and exotic species of animals. Guests often enjoy canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and hiking while exploring this national park.
Fort Clinch State Park
Fort Clinch State Park is located on a peninsula on the northeast coast of Florida, near Amelia Island. It gives visitors the chance to participate in activities such as camping, wildlife viewing, hiking, mountain biking, and surfing, all with gorgeous beachfront views in close proximity.
Juno Beach Park
While there are numerous beaches around the Florida coastlines, Juno Beach is commonly recognized as one of the best. It is less popular and crowded than West Palm Beach and Miami Beach, both of which are within a two-hour drive, but Juno Beach Park has beautiful views and some fun tourist attractions that entertain visitors. It is also known for being the home to many sea turtles each summer.
Florida’s Coral Reef
Off the coast of Florida, beginning in the Dry Tortugas National Park, is Florida’s coral reef. Much of the reef is a part of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, which aims to protect the barrier reef, as well as the area’s wildlife and artifacts. Visitors can experience Florida’s coral reef through boating, fishing, diving, and snorkeling, though they are encouraged to do so respectfully and responsibly in accordance with conservation efforts.
Factory tours in FL
A unique way to experience Florida and its products is to take part in factory and manufacturing tours. Companies such as Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards, Florida’s Natural, and J.C. Newman Cigar Co. have interactive tours, tastings, and other events.
The Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards in Clermont consists of about 75 acres of vineyards, as well as a winery and retail store. Every day of the week, Lakeridge offers visitors complimentary tours and wine tastings.
Florida’s Natural orange juice originated from a small group of Floridian farmers, but today, it is one of the world’s largest co-ops of citrus growers. Visitors can learn about the orange juice production process at Florida’s Natural Growers Grove House Visitor Center in Lake Wales, FL.
J.C. Newman Cigar Co. is America’s oldest family-owned premium cigar maker. Its cigar factory, known as El Reloj, is located in Tampa, Florida, which is also known as “Cigar City.” It offers 75-minute factory tours, as well as a free cigar museum and theater where visitors can learn more about the company and its products.
Florida’s sightseeing options are truly limitless. No matter what you’re looking for, whether it’s an outdoor adventure, a buzzing restaurant scene, or a historical reenactment, you’re sure to find it in the beautiful Sunshine State!